Apollo once loved a mortal woman named Coronis who, for a change, cheats on him. He learns of the treachery and kills her but saves her unborn child. He takes the infant boy, Aesculapius, to the centaur Chiron, who raises him and trains him in the arts of medicine. Aesculapius is such a good doctor that he raises a man, Theseus’s son Hippolytus, from the dead. Because this is a power no mortal should have, the angry Zeus strikes Aesculapius dead with a thunderbolt. Apollo, enraged at his son’s death, attacks the Cyclopes, makers of Zeus’s thunderbolts. Zeus condemns Apollo to serve as a slave to King Admetus for a number of years.
The fifty daughters of Danaüs, the Danaïds are pursued by their fifty male cousins. Danaüs is opposed to the marriages, but the men somehow capture the women and arrange for a gigantic marriage ceremony. Danaüs gives each daughter a dagger. On the wedding night, each girl except one, Hypermnestra, kills her new husband. Danaüs imprisons Hypermnestra for her treachery, but the other girls receive worse torment in the afterlife. They must fill a series of jars with water. The jars are full of holes, so their task never ends.
A fisherman who eats magic grass, Glaucus becomes a sea-god. He falls in love with the nymph Scylla, who resists his advances. He asks Circe for a love potion, but she falls in love with him. Circe instead makes a magic poison and pours it into Scylla’s bath water. When Scylla touches the water, she becomes the famous rock-monster that later torments the Argonauts, Odysseus, and Aeneas.
Erysichthon dared to cut down Ceres’ (Demeter’s) sacred giant oak tree. As punishment, Ceres condemns him to starve to death, no matter how much food he eats. He sells everything he has, including his daughter, for food. His daughter prays to Poseidon to free her from slavery, and the god helps her by transforming her into a fisherman so that her master will not recognize her. She returns to her father, and they perpetrate the scheme again and again: Erysichthon sells her into slavery, and she then transforms and escapes. Erysichthon remains hungry, however, and he finally dies of starvation.
Pomona, a Roman nymph, loves only her fruit orchards. Vertumnus loves her, but she ignores him. One day, he sneaks into her orchard disguised as an old woman, slips up to her, and kisses her. In disguise, he explains that a youth named Vertumnus cares for her and for the same fruit trees she loves. He reminds her that Venus hates women who reject love. He reveals himself as Vertumnus. Pomona relents, and the two cultivate the orchard for the rest of their lives.
Note: As this chapter summarizes what Hamilton categorizes as less important myths, the following is a brief listing and summary of several of the most recognizable characters.