Leda was taking her usual walk on the beach. Times were hard in Sparta, the crops had been smaller than usual because it hadn’t rained enough, and even the royal family and their servants were feeling the pangs of hunger. Her husband, king Tyndareus, was even considering sending raiding parties to the neighbouring states to steal food. Prayers to Zeus, ruler of the gods, and to Demeter, goddess of crops, had not been successful.
“If only Zeus would send us some food,” she thought. “Right now, I would gladly yield my body up to anyone who would feed my family.”
Suddenly she noticed a big white bird out on the water. “Why, that’s a swan,” she thought to herself, “and it’s a big one. How beautiful!” The graceful white bird approached her and seemed quite friendly and tame, even putting its head in her lap when she sat down to rest. When it tried to clamber into her lap, Leda said “whoa there, big fella!” and tried to gently push the bird off her lap, but it persisted and Leda found herself in a struggle as the bird’s strong feet tore at her skirts and its wings beat against her arms.
Later that day, a dazed, bruised and dirty Leda staggered up to the gates of the palace, her hair matted, her clothes torn and a big smile on her flushed face. There were feathers in her hair and blood stains on the front of her dress and on her hands. She leaned against the palace gate and beckoned to one of the guards.
“Come, Leandros, take this to the kitchen and have it cooked. Tonight at least we will not go hungry. Just look at that big, plump swan the gods sent us!”
Copyright by Anonyma.
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A speculation on what might have happened if Leda had been in basic survival mode when Zeus visited her as a swan.