Gift of F. W. Clifford Family
Phaeton journeyed east to the sun god's grand royal palace. Helios welcomed his son and, to prove their bond, promised young Phaeton
any favor he wished. He did not anticipate that the headstrong boy would ask for permission to drive his powerful chariot by himself for
a day. Bound by his promise, Helios had to give in. Just before daybreak Phaeton donned his father's crown made of the sun's rays and
stepped into the shining chariot. Sensing unfamiliar hands on the reins, the sun horses thundered off across the sky, veering far off
their usual course.
Phaeton asks his Father Helios for the Sun's Chariot
Pen and brown ink with wash over black chalk
The David M. Daniels Fund
Unrestrained, the horses headed through the northern constellations. Chaos followed. Warmed by the sun for the first time ever, the small and
great bears became restless. The usually placid serpent became threatening and the plowman ran away, even though he was not used to moving
quickly, because of the weight of his plow. The startled black scorpion prepared to sting Phaeton.
Panicked, Phaeton let go of the reigns and the chariot careened haphazardly through the sky. When it fell too close to the earth, scorching
areas into desert, the earth pleaded for help. Zeus (zoose) came to the earth's rescue, hurling a mighty lightning bolt, which shattered
the chariot into many pieces. Phaeton tumbled to his death in a river. Mourning for Phaeton, his sisters turned into poplar trees, from
which their tears flowed and hardened into drops of amber.