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The Story of Cadmus from Ancient Mythology
Read about gods, goddesses and mythical creatures in the myth story of Cadmus

The short mythical story of Cadmus is one of the famous legends that feature in the mythology of ancient civilizations. Discover the myths about the ancient gods, goddesses, demigods and heroes and the terrifying monsters and creatures they encountered on their perilous journeys and quests. The amazing story of Cadmus really is easy reading for kids and children who are learning about the history, myths and legends of the ancient Roman and Greek gods. Additional facts and information about the mythology and legends of individual gods and goddesses of these ancient civilizations can be accessed via the following links:

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The Myth of Cadmus

The mythical story of Cadmus
by Lilian Stoughton Hyde

The Loss of Europa

One day, a little girl called Europa was playing in a meadow by the seashore. She sat on the grass with her lap full of flowers, and was plaiting the flowers into wreaths for her three big brothers, Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix, who were not far away.

Suddenly she looked up and saw a snow-white bull, with beautiful silvery horns, standing near her. At first she was afraid, but the bull seemed so gentle, and looked at her in such a friendly way, that she lost all fear of it. Taking some clover blossoms from her lap, she ran up to it and held them to its mouth. It ate the flowers daintily from her fingers, and then began skipping around on the grass almost as lightly as a bird. Finally, coming to the place where Europa was plaiting her flowers, it lay down by her side. She patted it and threw some of the wreaths over its horns, then clapped her hands to see how pretty they looked. After this, she climbed up to its back, when it got up and galloped around the meadow with her. Europa, holding on by one of its white horns, laughed, and enjoyed the ride, and did not notice that the bull was taking her farther and farther away from home, and closer to the shore, till it suddenly jumped into the sea and began to swim away with her. Then she was frightened and screamed for her brothers, who heard her, and ran down to the shore. But they could not stop the white bull. Europa was carried off, and was never seen nor heard from again.

When the three brothers told their father, King Agenor, what had happened, he was quite broken-hearted and very angry besides. He said that little Europa should not have been left alone, and he blamed Cadmus more than the other brothers, because Cadmus was the oldest.

Finally he said to Cadmus, "Go and find Europa and bring her back; or, if you cannot find her, never enter the doors of your father's palace again."

In those days, one could not go far from a walled city without meeting with many dangers; hence, in order that Cadmus might not be entirely alone, his father sent two slaves to bear him company.

When the great gates of the city closed behind them, the three started out, walking toward the west, as that was the direction that the bull had taken. They passed through lonely forests; they crossed mountain-chains; they contrived to make their way across the sea to other lands; but they could not find Europa nor hear any news of her. Cadmus felt quite sure that the search was useless.

Cadmus slaying the Dragon

Picture of Cadmus slaying the Dragon

Cadmus and the Dragon

As Cadmus did not dare to go home without his sister, he asked the oracle at the shrine of Apollo what he should do. The shrine of Apollo was in a cave at the foot of Mount Parnassus, and the oracle was a mysterious voice that seemed to come from the heart of the mountain. The voice told Cadmus to follow a white heifer he would see, and afterward to build a city on the spot where he saw her lie down.

After leaving the cave, Cadmus hardly had time to scramble down into the road again before he saw a white heifer, which he followed, as the voice had told him to do. When the heifer came to a certain beautiful valley, she raised her head, as if she were looking up to heaven, and then made a great lowing, after which she lay down, seemingly quite contented with the spot. Cadmus knew that this was the place where he must build his city.

Near the spot the heifer had chosen was a grove of very old trees, and among the trees, in a rocky place, was a cave. The mouth of the cave was so choked with willows that one could not see what it was like inside, but Cadmus thought he could hear water trickling down, and the sound seemed so cool and inviting that he sent one of his slaves into the cave to look for a spring. The man did not come back. Then Cadmus sent the other slave to see what had become of the first one. But that one did not come back either.

So Cadmus threw a lion's skin around his shoulders, took his lance and his javelin, and went into the mouth of the cave himself. At first, it was so dark inside that he could see nothing. When his eyes had become accustomed to the change from the bright sunshine he had just left, he saw, in the darkness, two bright spots, and knew that they must be the two eyes of some beast. As he could see better, he made out the form of a huge dragon lying with one of its ugly claws across something, which he feared might be the body of one of his faithful slaves. He took up a large stone and hurled it straight at the creature's head, but the scales of the dragon were so hard and tough that the stone rolled away without doing it any harm. Then he threw his javelin at it, and wounded it with that; but not being much disabled, the creature came out of the cave hissing, and attacked him fiercely. As it came nearer, he pushed his lance straight into its open mouth, and finally pinned it to an oak which grew there, and so killed it.

As Cadmus stood looking at the dragon, he realized that although he had killed the monster, he had lost his two slaves, and was alone in a strange country, where, without help, he would have to build the city ordered by the oracle. Just then he was aware that some one was standing at his side. He looked up and saw a tall, strong-looking woman with clear gray eyes. She had a lance in her hand and a helmet on her head. He knew at once that it was the warrior-goddess, Minerva, and as he looked at her he felt his courage coming back.

Minerva told him to plough the ground near by and sow the dragon's teeth. This seemed like strange seed to plant, but Cadmus did as he was bidden to do, and then stood waiting to see what would happen. After a short time the soil began to heave up a little in places, as it does when corn is growing, then, instead of blades of corn, sharp steel points began to show. As they came up farther, these looked like spear-points; then helmets appeared all along the rows; finally, fully armed men had grown up out of the earth and stood looking around fiercely, ready to fight.

Cadmus thought he had a worse enemy now than the dragon, and made ready to defend himself. But there was no need. For the armed men were hardly out of the soil before they began fighting, one with another, and they fell so fast that soon only five were left.

But these last five were wiser than their brothers, for they saw that they gained nothing by killing one another. Instead, they threw their arms on the ground with a crash, and shook hands, to see what would come from helping others.

This worked much better. Cadmus shook hands with the rest, and then they all united to build the city on the spot where the heifer had lain down. The new city was called Thebes. It was prosperous, and all lived there happily for many years, with Cadmus as king.

The Legend and Myth of Cadmus

The Myth of Cadmus
The story of Cadmus is featured in the book entitled Favorite Greek Myths by Lilian Stoughton Hyde, published in 1904 by D. C. Heath and Company.

Cadmus - A Myth with a Moral
Many of the ancient Myth Stories, like the legend of Cadmus, incorporate tales with morals that provided the old story-tellers with short examples of exciting tales for kids and children of how to act and behave and reflected important life lessons. The characters of the heroes in this type of fable demonstrated the virtues of courage, love, loyalty, strength, perseverance, leadership and self reliance. Whereas the villains demonstrated all of the vices and were killed or punished by the gods. The old, famous myth story and fable, like Cadmus, were designed to entertain, thrill and inspire their young listeners...

The Myth of Cadmus - the Magical World of Myth & Legend
The story of Cadmus is one of the fantastic stories featured in ancient mythology and legends. Such stories serve as a doorway to enter the world of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The names of so many of the heroes and characters are known today through movies and games but the actual story about such characters are unknown. Reading a myth story such as Cadmus is the easy way to learn about the stories of the classics.


The Magical World of Myth and Legend

The Short Story and Myth of Cadmus
The myth about Cadmus is featured in the book entitled The story of Cadmus is featured in the book entitled Favorite Greek Myths by Lilian Stoughton Hyde, published in 1904 by D. C. Heath and Company. Learn about the exciting adventures and dangerous quests undertaken by the mythical characters that feature in the hero myths, fables and stories about the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece and Rome that are available on this website.

Myths and Stories about gods and goddesses - Apollo riding his golden chariot

Myths and Stories about gods and goddesses


  • Short story of Cadmus
  • A Myth Story of the Ancient World
  • The gods, goddesses of the ancient Myth Stories & Legends
  • The monsters and beasts of classical Mythology
  • The story of Cadmus by Caroline H. Harding and Samuel B. Harding
  • A famous Myth Story and fable of the Ancient World for schools and kids

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