Son of the Oceanid Clymene and Apollo

The Story of Phaethon

Phaethon raced Epaphus, son of Zeus, in a footrace and won. An argument occurred and Epaphus said that Apollo was not really his father. Phaethon was determined to prove that he was son of Apollo, and therefore went to his father's village. He got lost on the way, so Apollo sent bird' s to rescue him. Apollo received his son and asked why Phaethon was here. Phaethon told him he wanted to know if Apollo was really his father. Apollo said he really was. Phaethon then asked him, since he was his son, if he could drive the sun chariot. The sun chariot was driven only by Apollo. Apollo was hesitant at first, but then agreed. He gave Phaethon very detailed instructions: don't fly too low, or you will burn the earth, don't fly too high or the earth will freeze over, and don't stop because then the earth and sky would burn. Phaethon followed these instructions at first, but then realized he needed to prove to Epaphus that he really was the son of Apollo. He went down towards the earth and burned all the small towns. When he realized what he had done, he went back up in the sky, and the towns froze over. Then he went back down again so that he thaw out the ice, but the ice melted to quickly and started a flood. It also caused the flood waters to boil. Phaethon went back up into the air, and lost control of the horses and the chariot. The chariot continued upward into the sky, were there wasn't much air, making it hard for Phaethon to breath. He then lost all control of the chariot. When Zeus saw the disaster on earth, he immediately threw a lightning bolt at Phaethon, which killed him. When his sisters saw what happened, they cried for a very long time, and Apollo turned them into poplar trees. From then on, no one besides Apollo was aloud to drive the sun chariot.
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Works Cited

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