Seven pomegranate seeds Picture

Demeter, the goddess of agriculture had but one daughter, Persephone. She was such a light hearted young girl that she was known to all as the Maiden of Spring. One sunny morning Persephone and some friends were busy collecting flowers in a meadow near the city of Henna. As she filled her basket the petals of a beautiful narcissus caught her eye from the midst of a nearby thicket. In order to get a closer look the maiden quietly wandered away from the group, but as soon she reached out to pluck the bloom from it's stem the once tranquil garden became filled with the sounds of a thunderous roar.
At that instant the god Hades rose from a chasm in the earth and snatched the innocent maiden away in his brazen chariot. The footsteps of his mighty steeds made the ground tremble and the hills were filled with Persephone's frightened cries for help.
Hearing the commotion, the other maidens came running to assist their beautiful young companion. To their surprise they could find no trace of her. She had completely vanished leaving behind only the flowers she had been carrying.
Hearing her daughter's pleas for help, Demeter left Olympus and frantically sped across both land and sea to find her and bring her home.
Overcome with grief, Demeter refused to eat or bathe. She wandered the earth for nine days searching for her daughter, until finally on the tenth day she was met by Hecate, the goddess of the crossroads. The crone told Demeter that Persephone had indeed been carried off but she did not see the face of the young maiden's abductor. The two goddesses then traveled to the palace of the sun with hopes that maybe Helios had witnessed something during his daily travels through the sky.
The all-seeing sun god knew indeed who the culprit was. He told Demeter her daughter was taken by none other than Death himself. Trying to improve the situation Helios reminded Demeter that Hades, being the brother of Zeus was lord of one third of the universe and therefore a very suitable husband for Persephone. Demeter would hear nothing of it, and in her anger refused to return to Mount Olympus. Instead she disguised herself as an old woman and spent her time on earth wandering aimlessly from city to city.
She went to her temple, and there inside her shrine the goddess sat alone, wasting away with grief over her missing daughter. And so it was that just as Demeter's sorrow intensified, so did the suffering upon the earth. The angry goddess brought about a famine that lasted for a year causing many men and animals to lose their lives to starvation. Just when it seemed that all of mankind would surely die, Zeus stepped in and sent Hermes to Eleusis to seek out the heartbroken goddess.
Finding Demeter isolated in the temple, Hermes promised Persephone would be returned to her providing that if during her stay in the underworld she had not tasted the food of the dead. After leaving Eleusis, the winged messenger descended into Hades proclaiming Zeus' demand that Persephone at once be returned to her mother.
Because the unhappy bride had refused to eat even a crust of bread, Hades had no choice but to release the maiden into the hands of Hermes. As they were preparing to depart, one of the gardners known as Ascalaphus let out a loud bellow and said "I have witnessed Queen Persephone eating seven seeds from a pomegranate!" Smiling at this news, Hades told Ascalaphus to mount the back of Hermes' chariot and ride with them to Eleusis. Persephone ran into the open arms of her mother and the two tearfully embraced. But this moment of joy was short, for just then Ascalaphus proudly made his announcement.
As Demeter listened to the gardener tell his tale of the pomegranate seeds, she knew this meant Persephone must be returned to Hades. After hearing the news the devastated goddess refused to return to Olympus. She vowed the earth was to remain barren, the ground hard and the crops cursed. Zeus knew that he must take action immediately before all living things were destroyed by this great famine.
Running out of ideas, Zeus asked his mother Rhea to speak to Demeter, in the hopes of solving this potentially dangerous situation. Rhea agreed, and after much effort and persuasion on her part a compromise was finally reached between the two parties. It was decided that Persephone would remain three months of the year in the underworld, where she would reside with her husband Hades, and then be returned to her mother for the remaining nine months. While her daughter was away, Demeter would curse the crops and the earth would be barren and cold.
But upon the maiden's return, Demeter would once again bestow her blessings upon the earth and the world would again become fertile and brimming with new life. This is why the crops do not bear fruit during the winter months, but sprout anew in the spring.
Though her time spent in the realm of the dead was brief,
it was enough to change Persephone's view of the world forever.
She no longer could look upon a flower and see the beautiful bloom without seeing a withered stem just beyond it. For her there were no more endless summer days filled with carefree laughter. She was forever robbed of the carefree innocence that so made her the Maiden of Spring.


[Seven pomegranate seeds]
I've always loved this tale. From Greek mythology.

EDIT: That corner had always annoyed me, blanked it out
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