|Helios and Phaethon
Helios had a mortal son named Phaethon. One morning as Helios was about to set off on his daily journey across the sky; Phaethon came to him and begged him to grand him one wish. Helios, who was fond of his handsome son, swore by the river Styx to grand his sons wish. However, when he heard Phaethons wish, he regretted his promise to grant his sons wish. Phaethon wanted to drive Helioss chariot across the sky for one day, but Helios knew that only he himself could drive the chariot.
However, Phaethon was determined to have his wish, and Helios had to give in. So Helios placed the golden rays on his sons head and rubbed divine ointment on his skin so he could withstand the heat of the chariot. Unfortunately, he had no time to warn Phaethon to stay in the middle of the path before the gates were thrown open. Phaethon grasped the reins and the steeds rushed out. All went well until the steeds realized that an unskilled man held their reins. The steeds veered off their path, and angered the animals of the zodiac. The lion roared and the scorpion lashed its tail. The steeds got scared and threw Phaethon half way out of the chariot, Phaethon looked down at the earth, got dizzy and dropped the reins. The steeds took off across the sky, they raced so close to the earth that it dried up and cracked, and lakes and rivers dried up. They raced so high that the earth froze and turned to ice.
Zeus stood on Olympus and decided he had to stop the chariot to save the earth so he threw a thunderbolt at it. The chariot flew apart and Phaethon fell into the river Po. His sisters mourned so long on the banks of the river that Zeus felt pity for them and turned them into poplar trees and their tears into drops of golden amber.
Hephaestus had to work the entire night to mend the chariot so that Helios could drive it the next day. Helios had learned a tragic lesson and he never again allowed anyone to drive his chariot except for the god of light, Apollo.