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was the mortal
son of Helios
, the Sun. He was very proud of his dad (as he should be). One day he wished he could drive the Chariot of the Sun across the sky, so while it was still night he visited his dad and begged him to grant his dearest wish. Now Helios loved his son dearly, and because of this he made a serious blunder: he swore by the River Styx
, the strongest oath possible, because once you swear by it you had to do what you said. Phaethon
said he wanted to drive the chariot, Helios paniced, knowing that Phaethon
could not do this. But he had
sworn by the Styx, so he gave in. He crowned his son with the sun, and gave him the chariot.
At first Phaethon did well and the boy stood proudly at the reigns. But soon the horses figured out their driver was just a boy, and went out of control into the zodiac. This enraged the beasts of the heavens, who began to chase the chariot. Then the boy lost control and the chariot swooped down over Africa, turning it's inhabitants deep black. Then the horses dashed upwards and everything froze from the cold.
Jupiter had become fed up with the whole thing. He couldn't let life die, so he threw his lightning bolts at the chariot, smashing it and sending Phaethon plunging to his death in the River Po, where his sisters mourned and were turned into poplar trees.