Niobe,the queen of Thebes,had indeed good reason to beproud of her herself . Both her father and mother were gods. Her husband was a capable and outstanding musician. And she was both wealthy and powerful. But what madeher the happiest lady in the world was her fourteen children,seven manly sons and seven beautiful daughters. They were allso strong and fair that the whole world looked upon them with admiration.
It happened at the time that every spring the Theban womengathered at the temple of Leto to offer flowers at the altars of the great mother. She had given birth to two grand children,Apollo and Artemis. Her women showed a great deal of loyaltyand respect to her. This made Niobe jealous and angry. Whenthe nuns of Leto called the women again to the sacred place ofthe mistress of Zeus one spring,Niobe decided to put an end to the foolish act forever.
In her pretty flowing robe she came to the women and blamed the crowd for their mad faith in a goddess. They had never seen this goddess. Niobe declared herselfnobler and greater,and demanded to be admired in place of Leto,who,she said,was no more than a poor mother of twochildren. The frightened women were loyal to the queen,and left the sacred place in silence. Leto was neglected.
Niobe, Greek mythology
Standing on top of a hill overlooking Thebes ,Leto saw allthis and was ready to pay back. She found out Apollo and Artemis and told them the story. Before long,the impatient Apollo arrived outside Thebes in hidden clouds. The seven sonsof Niobe were playing on the ground,two riding horses and two wrestling while the other princes happily stood by. Appllo heldout his bow. One by one the princes fell under his accurateshooting. Even the youngest,who prayed for mercy,was not spared. Dead Sea
Niobe was greatly changed. She was all sorrow and grief,but her rude spirit was not put down. She came to the dead bodies of her sons with her daughters and let out a torrent of impolite words at Leto and her children. This time it was Artemls' turn to draw her bowstring . Almost in a twinkling of an eye all the seven lively daughters fell,turning in their blood,and soon stopped to breathe. Nio be became numb of feeling . She sat among the fourteen dead bodies,motionless,her eyes blank,her tears rolling down her cold face. Her bitter anger had turned her into a stone!Later,a gust of wind swept her to her homeland in Asia,where she could still be seen sitting on top of ahill,tears of bitterness streaming out of her strong eyes.