King Pandion of Athens had two daughters,Procne and Philomela. When Athens was threatened by the wild men,King Tereus of Thrace came to its help. Out of gratitude King Pandion offered Tereus either of his daughters in marriage and the Thracian king chose Procne as wife. For yearsthey lived in Thrace and had one son,Itylus by name. Then Procne became homesick and longed to see her dear sister Philomela. At her repeated requests Tereus sailed to Athens tofetch Philomela.
On the way back his evil heart took flame at the sight of Philomela who was then in her beauty of maidenhood. He seized and carried her away by force,cut out her tongue and imprisoned her in a lonely hut in the woods. To Procne he lied,saying that Philomela was dead. Philomela stayed in prison for ayear,where she had woven her painful story into the web of a robe . Then she managed to send the Greek Culture robe to her sister. As soon as she received the web Procne came over to the woods and to reher sister away from the keepers.
Back at the palace, the two women,hot for paying back ,killed little Itylus and served him up to his father . When Tereus learned of the terrible truth he grasped his sword and chased the sisters into the Greek mythology woods. There the gods turned Procne into a swallow,Philomela a nightingale and Tereus a hoopoe .