Greek Myth: Dionysus and the Pirates

Dionysus was one of the gods of ancient Greece. He was the god of wine and revelry, and sometimes he would disguise himself as a human being in order to travel about in the mortal world. On one such occasion, Dionysus disguised himself as a handsome young man and went wandering along the shore of the sea. Some pirates saw him and kidnapped him, thinking he was a prince for whom they would receive a great ransom.

The wicked pirates dragged Dionysus onto their ship, but when they attempted to tie him up, no rope could restrain him. Dionysus said nothing and merely smiled at the men, who were baffled by what was happening.

The ship's pilot, however, suspected the truth and exclaimed, "You fools, do you not realize that this is a god we have brought on board our ship? He might be the god Zeus, or perhaps Poseidon, but in any case I am sure that he is a god. We should bow down and worship him, begging his forgiveness so that he will not bring about our destruction!"

The captain of the ship scoffed at the pilot's words and ordered the men to try once again to bind their prisoner. Yet as they reached out to grab Dionysus, he turned into a lion and began to roar. He also conjured up a bear and together they attacked and killed the captain. The other pirates leaped overboard into the sea, turning into dolphins as they hit the water.

The only man left on board the ship was the faithful pilot. Dionysus blessed the man and said, "Behold, I am Dionysus; have no fear!" So the man worshipped the god and remained his devoted follower ever after.