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Ceres was the goddess of the harvest, and one of her daughters was Proserpina. One day, while the family was out gathering in the gardens, Proserpina caught sight of a lovely flower (the narcissus, to be exact. See Echo and Narcissus for an explanation of this flower.) and decided to go over and get some. Now, this was all a plot set up by Pluto, king of the Underworld, ruler of the dead, to get a lovely bride. And boy did Pluto love Proserpina! While she was picking flowers, Pluto comes charging through in his chariot and swoops up poor Proserpina.

Ceres became depressed, knowing she would never see her daughter again. She locked herself in a temple, while outside the world became desolate and nothing grew. Jupiter, realizing that man may starve to death, had the gods one by one try to get her to stop her anger. Nothing worked. Jupiter finally sent Mercury to tell Pluto to let Proserpina go home. Pluto agreed, but made her eat a pomegranate seed, ensuring that she would return.

Ceres was happy to see her daughter but became disheartened when she heard about the seed. She realized there was nothing she could do. It was decided that for eight months, Proserpina would stay with her mother on Olympus and for four months she would reign whith her husband Pluto in the Underworld. Proserpina was known forever after as ?The goddess who died?

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