Arion and the Dolphin
Herodotus tells us that in the time of Periander the tyrantof Corynth (which would be about 625 BC), there was a great singer whose name was Arion. Arion sailed from Corinth to Sicily to sing in a singing contest there.
Because Arion was such a great singer, he won all the singing contests and got tons of prizes. Among other things he also taught them the song and dance in honor of Dionysus and the vine; it afterwards became one of the most famous songs of Greece. He had heaps of gold and jewels. When the contests were over, Arion got on a ship with all his prizes to go home to Corinth.
But once they were out of sight of shore, the sailors on the ship decided to steal Arion’s gold and jewels. Arion begged the sailors to just take his prizes and let him live, but they thought it was too dangerous to let him live. He might tell on them when he got home.
So Arion asked the sailors to let him just sing one last song before he jumped into the ocean, and they agreed to let him sing one last song. As the last notes of his song were dying away, Arion jumped into the water with his lyre.
But a family of dolphins had been listening to Arion’s beautiful song. Just as Arion was drowning, the dolphins swam over and picked him up upon request of the goddes Dionysus.
Arion rode all the way back to Corinth on the back of a dolphin. When he got there, he told the tyrant Periander what had happened. Periander waited for the sailors to get to Corinth; then he arrested them and got all the gold and jewels back.
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