Tyrrhenian Sea Robbers
Dionysus punished and Tyrrhenian sea robbers, but not so much for not recognizing him as a god, how much for the evil they wanted to do to him as a mere mortal.
Once there was a young Dionysus on the shore of the azure sea. The sea breeze gently played with his dark curls and slightly stirred the folds of the purple cloak that fell from the slender shoulders of the young god. A ship appeared in the distance at sea; it was rapidly approaching the shore. When the ship was already close, the sailors - they were Tyrrhenian sea robbers - saw a wonderful young man on the deserted seashore. They quickly landed, went ashore, grabbed Dionysus and took him to the ship. The robbers had no idea that they had captured a god. The robbers rejoiced that such a rich booty had fallen into their hands. They were sure that they would get a lot of gold for such a beautiful young man by selling him into slavery. Having come to the ship, the robbers wanted to put Dionysus in heavy chains, but they fell off the hands and feet of the young god. He sat and looked at the robbers with a calm smile. When the pilot saw that the chains were not held on the young man's hands, he said to his comrades with fear:
- Unhappy! What are we doing? Do we really want to bind God? Look-even our ship can barely hold it! Isn't it Zeus himself, isn't it the silver-armed Apollo or the earth-shaking Poseidon? No, he doesn't look like a mortal! This is one of the gods living on the bright Olympus. Let him go soon, put him on the ground. How would he not summon violent winds and raise a formidable storm on the sea!
But the captain angrily replied to the wise helmsman:
- Despicable! Look, the wind is fair! Our ship will quickly rush along the waves of the boundless sea. We'll take care of the young man later. We will sail to Egypt or Cyprus, or to the distant land of the Hyperboreans, and there we will sell him; let this young man look for his friends and brothers there. No, the gods sent him to us!
The robbers calmly raised the sails, and the ship went out to sea. Suddenly a miracle happened: fragrant wine flowed through the ship, and the whole air was filled with fragrance. The robbers were petrified with amazement. But now the vines with heavy bunches turned green on the sails; dark green ivy wrapped around the mast; beautiful fruits appeared everywhere; the rowlocks of the oars wrapped garlands of flowers. When the robbers saw all this, they began to beg the wise helmsman to steer quickly to the shore. But it's too late! The young man turned into a lion and stood on the deck with a menacing growl, his eyes blazing furiously. A shaggy bear appeared on the deck of the ship; she bared her mouth terribly.
Terrified, the robbers rushed to the stern and crowded around the helmsman. With a huge leap, the lion rushed at the captain and tore him to pieces. Having lost hope of salvation, the robbers one by one rushed into the sea waves, and Dionysus turned them into dolphins. The pilot was spared by Dionysus. He assumed his former image and, smiling affably, said to the helmsman:
- Don't be afraid! I fell in love with you. I am Dionysus, son of the thunderer Zeus and daughter Cadma, Semely!