Pegasus, the Flying Horse
Perseus, the son of a mortal woman and the king of the Greek gods, Zeus,
was sent to capture the snake-haired Medusa's head. Even though one look at
Medusa could turn anyone to stone, Perseus used his shield as a mirror and
successfully sliced off her head. Blood flowed from the dead monster's neck
and into the ocean. From this water sprang the white-winged horse known as
Pegasus, the child of the sea god Poseidon and Medusa.
With Pegasus' help, the hero Perseus next rescued a princess.
Afterwards, Athena, the goddess of war, entrusted the Muses, a group of sisters
who inspired poets, with Pegasus' care. When he met them, Pegasus was so
excited that he beat his hooves against the side of the mountain, producing a
magical well that gives inspiration to all who drink from it. One of the Muses
foretold that Pegasus would go on to greatness.
Bellerophon, a lesser-known Greek god, longed to capture and tame
Pegasus. Upon capturing Pegasus, Bellerophon used the mighty-winged horse as a
vehicle in his quest to kill a creature known for having a lion's head, a
goat's body, and a serpent's tail. After the slaying, Bellerophon ordered
Pegasus to fly him up to Mt. Olympus, the home of the gods. This angered Zeus so
much that he had a fly sting Pegasus, causing him to buck his rider. Bellerophon
fell to his death, while Pegasus flew to Mt. Olympus, where Zeus turned him into
a heavenly constellation. Pegasus is said to carry Zeus' lightning bolts
across the sky, and as he rushes across, his hooves create rumbles of thunder.