PHAETHON was a young son of Helios and Klymene who begged his father to let him drive the chariot of the sun. The Sun-god reluctantly conceded to the boy's wishes and handed him the reigns. However, the inexperienced Phaethon quickly lost control of the immortal steeds, and the sun-chariot veered out of control setting the earth aflame, scorching the plains of Africa to desert. Zeus was appalled by the destruction and struck the boy from the chariot with a thunderbolt, hurling his flaming body into the waters of the river Eridanos. His sisters, the Heliades, gathered on the banks, and in their mourning with transformed into amber-teared poplar trees.
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