Proteus lived in Pharos, an island off the the coast of the Nile Delta. According to Homer, he was the master and herdsman of sea monsters and sea animals. Proteus' daughter, Eidothea, met with Menelaus on this island, who was in search of his son Telemachus; she told him that if he could capture Proteus, her father would reveal him how to return home. When Proteus came out of the sea to sleep, Menelaus managed to capture him, despite the god taking different forms of animals, including that of a lion, a serpent, a leopard, or even became water. Proteus eventually revealed how Menelaus could return to his home, and also told him that Agamemnon had been murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus, that Ajax had shipwrecked and was dead, and that Odysseus was in Calypso's island.
In a different myth, Aristaeus, son of Apollo and Cyrene, had beehives, but all of them suddenly died. He was then advised to go to Proteus and hold him in a similar fashion that Menelaus had done, so that he would reveal what should happen next. Indeed, Aristaeus managed to capture Proteus, who then told him that the death of the bees was a punishment for causing the death of Eurydice. What he should now do was to sacrifice twelve animals to the gods, and return three days later. So he did, and upon his return, he found a swarm of bees in one of the animals, which he captured and took back home.
Who was Proteus?
Proteus was a primordial deity in Greek mythology, protector of the seas, rivers and other bodies of water. He was one of the figures that Homer called Old Man of the Sea.