Back to: West Bengal Board Class 7th English Guide and Notes
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The narrative is based on the Greek myth of Demeter and Proserpine, which explains the seasons by Proserpine’s travels to Pluto’s kingdom: when she is trapped in Pluto’s kingdom, autumn and winter blanket the land, while spring and summer flourish when she returns to live with her mother, Ceres.
Goddess Of Harvest, Jupiter And Pluto.
Ceres, the Goddess of Corn and Harvest, was a goddess of harvest and prosperity. She lived in the beautiful island of Sicily. She was the deity of crops, flowers, and woods. Hence, she was in charge of everything linked to the happiness and wellbeing of the entire world. Proserpine, her only child from her marriage to Jupiter (Zeus), the ruler of the gods, was her only daughter. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were vivid blue. Her golden locks shone brightly. Pluto, the king of the underworld and ruler of the dead, often invited several goddesses to come and live with him, but none of them wanted to live among the corpses. Pluto, as a result, was extremely lonely.
The Lovely Maiden
One day while venturing through the earth, he saw Proserpine picking flowers with her companions and instantly fell in love with her. He was enchanted by her magnificent beauty. He grew interested. Pluto thought to himself that he needed to take this lovely lady and turn her into the Queen of the Underworld. He grabbed her since he knew asking her to be his queen would be futile. Pluto snatched Proserpine and carried her down into the underworld with him, riding a chariot drawn by four black horses. Pluto hurried from the site where he had captured Proserpine. He was worried that Proserpine’s mother might show up looking for her daughter. Pluto eventually arrived to a river’s edge. The river was up to the neck in water, and he couldn’t drive across it. So, he smote the ground with his sceptre, and it opened. As the ground closed in on her, Proserpine grabbed her girdle and slid out into the river. She hoped the girdle will reach Ceres and she will be able to track her down.
The Lost Daughter And Gloomy Earth
Ceres got home that evening after Pluto had taken Proserpine, only to discover that Proserpine had not returned. Nothing like this had ever happened before. She grew concerned and looked for her everywhere. She searched every nook and cranny of the farms and valleys. She embarked on a long hunt for her daughter, spending days combing the oceans, mountains, valleys, and hills. Ceres had hurried to her daughter’s rescue after hearing her scream, but she was too late. Ceres looked for her daughter all around the world.
Because she needed to find Proserpine, she put all of her other responsibilities on earth on hold. As a result, crops failed all over the place, and the land became barren. Famines occurred all throughout the planet, and it was almost as if the earth was crying alongside the grieving mother. The world’s population was starved. Ceres was asked to return the harvests and save the lives of the people. Ceres, on the other hand, declined, claiming that she couldn’t focus on caring for the planet until she found her daughter.
The people decided to pray to Jupiter, the King of Gods, after all of their requests failed. They prayed to Jupiter to save everyone’s life by bringing Ceres’ daughter back.
Message From The Nymph
Ceres continued her search and eventually arrived in Sicily. The waves brought something to her feet as she passed by the river. It was, to her amazement, her daughter’s girdle. Tears began to stream down her cheeks. Ceres was alarmed by the sound of a voice coming from the fountains. It was the voice of the fountain nymph. They had seen her daughter on a throne in Pluto’s empire, the voice said. She was instructed to pray to Jupiter by the voice. Ceres rushed back to Jupiter and begged for him to return his daughter. Jupiter was touched by Proserpine’s pleas and declared that if she hadn’t eaten anything in the underworld, she may return.
Ceres sank into the realm of the dead instantaneously. Unfortunately, Proserpine had eaten six pomegranate seeds the same day, and she was doomed to spend a month in the land of the dead for each of those seeds. Thus, Jupiter resolved that Proserpine would spend half of the year with her mother and the other half with Pluto in the underworld. Proserpine would return to her mother for six months every year. Flowers blossomed, birds hummed, and the land smiled and greeted the young queen as she returned home. Ceres, however, would weep for six months when she returned to the realm of the dead, making the earth sorrowful and dreary in the process.