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    Elizabeth Wayland Barber quote

    Once upon a time an Athenian princesss named Prokne was wed to Tereus, king of the barbarous Thracians of the north. When Prokne's unfortunate sister, Philomela, came for a visit, Tereus fell madly in love with the girl locked her away and raped her, then cut out her tongue to prevent her from telling anyone of the crime. Philomela, however, wove into a cloth the story of her misfortune. When Prokne, receiving the cloth, understood what had befallen, she freed her sister, killed her own son, Itys, whom she had borne to Tereus, and served the child up to his father at a feast--the vilest revenge she could think of. When Tereus discovered the truth, in wrath he pursued the two sisters, thinking to kill them, but the gods transformed all three into birds: Tereus into the hoopoe (a large, crested bird with a daggerlike beak), Philomela into the swallow, which can only twitter unintelligibly, and Prokne into the nightingale, which spends the night singing 'Itys Itys!' in mourning for her dead son. All these birds have reddish spots, it is said, from getting spattered with the blood of the child....It is interesting in our purposes because it shows in yet another way the great importance that clothmaking had in women's lives, becoming central to their mythology as well

wordporn: Once upon a time an Athenian princesss named Prokne wa... - Elizabeth Wayland Barber
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