The Hesperides, Daughters of the Evening
Submitted by: swampy
“…amidst the gardens fair
Of Hesperus and his daughters three,
That sing about the golden tree.” (“Comus” by Milton)
The Hesperides are Daughters of Nyx, the Mother Night – although later mythology has Them as daughters of Atlas or of Hesperus. The three sisters – Aegle (the luminous one), Erytheia (the crimson one) and Hesperia (the evening one) – are nymphs who live in a beautiful garden, situated in the Arcadian Mountains (Greece) or, alternatively, at the western extreme of the Mediterranean, near Mt. Atlas. In this garden grows the tree with the golden apples of immortality. This garden is guarded by Ladon, a dragon with a hundred heads and who has the gift of human speech. The Hesperides are known for Their sweet singing voices and also have the ability to change Their shapes and become trees – Aegle into a willow, Erytheia into an elm and Hesperia into a poplar.
The only person who ever succeeded in obtaining some of the immortal golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides was Hercules, who tricked the God Atlas to get the apples for him. The apples were later returned to the garden by Athena because the sacred fruit were not to remain outside the garden.
The Hesperides have as associations: the apple; the color gold; immortality; gardens; and the trees poplar, elm and willow.