the story oF IO
| One day, Zeus fell in
love with yet another maiden, Io. He pursued Io and captured her, and asked to make love
to her. But he thought Hera, his wife, might find out, so he changed Io to a
cow. Hera saw right through Zeus' plot, and wanted to foil Zeus. So, she
pretended she thought Io was just a normal cow, and that she had taken a liking to it, and
so asked Zeus to give her the cow. Now, Zeus could not refuse Hera such a petty
thing without giving himself away. So he had no choice but to turn Io over to Hera.
Now Hera immediately put Io under the watch of Argus, a Hundred-Handed one who was friendly with Hera and was her trusted watchman. Hundred-handed ones make good watchmen because they have not only 100 hands, but also 100 eyes. And even when Argus was sleeping, he never closed more than half of his eyes.
Zeus began to feel great pity for Io, as it was he who had caused her to suffer in this way. So he asked Hermes to kill Argus, thus setting Io free. Hermes did this by telling Argus a variety of boring stories. After a great many of them failed to close all 100 of his watchful eyes, one of the stories did the trick. As soon as the 100th eye closed, Hermes picked up his ax and beheaded Argus.
Hera was enraged at this, but didn't know who had done it. Weeping, she put some of Argus' many eyes on the tail of a peacock. Peacocks have these eyes to this day. She sent a gadfly to torment Io without rest until she reached the Nile River, thus setting herself free from the reign and power of Hera. Io ran to the Mediterranean Sea, then swam to Egypt and ran all the way to the Nile River. She was then safe from Hera's wrath. She was also very far away. Because of this, Hera agreed to console Zeus by changing her back into a human, but only if Zeus swore never to look at or speak to Io again.
And so Io lived on in Egypt, and she was made an Egyptian queen.
To learn more about Egyptian Mythology, click here.