Great Greek Mythology
     Once upon a time, a baby girl named Atalanta was left on the mountainside because her father wanted a boy and not a girl. A bear found her and nursed and cared for her. As she grew up, she lived as the bears did by eating wild honey and berries, and hunting in the woods. Finally as a young woman on her own, she became a follower of Diana the Goddess of wild things. Enjoying being alone, Atalanta blissfully roamed the shadowy woods and sunlit fields. Apollo agreed with her choosing to be alone. 
     "You must never marry," he told her one day. "If you do, you will surly lose your own identity,"
     In spite of her decision never to marry, Atalanta was pursued by many suitors. As men watched her run through the fields and forest, they were struck by her beauty and grace. 
     Angry about the men for bothering her, she figured out a way to keep them away. 
     "I'll race anyone who wants to marry me!" she announced to the men following her. "Whoever is so swift that can outrun me will receive the prize of my hand in marriage! But whomever I beat will die,"
     Atalanta was so certain that these harsh conditions would discourage everyone from wanting to marry her. But she was wrong. Her strength and grace were so compelling that many men volunteered to race against her.   
and all of them lost their lives.
     One day a young stranger was wondering through the countryside and stopped to observed a crowd that was watching a race between Atalanta and one of her suitors. When Hippomenes realized the terms of the contest, he was appalled. 
     "No person could be worth such a risk!" he explained "Only an idiot would try to win her for his wife!"
     When he saw Atalanta speed past him he realized he wanted her to be his wife.
     "Forgive me," he said to the panting loser being taken away to his death. "I did not know what a prize she was,"
     When Atalanta was crowned the victory of winning once again, Hippomenes stepped before her and spoke to her before the crowd. 
     "Why do you race against men so slow? Why not race against me? If I defeat you, you will not be disgraced, for am the great-grandson of Neptune, God of the seas!"
     "And if I beat you?"
     "If you beat me, you will certainly have something to boast about!"
     Atalanta thought about that for a while.
     "Go stranger. I'm not worth the loss of your life," she said softly.
     The crowd cheered wildly until Atalanta was forced to give in. She gave the man until the next day.
     In the pink twilight, alone in the hills, Hippomenes prayed to Venus the Goddess of love and beauty. He asked her to help him in the race. She led him to a mighty tree in the middle of an open field. The tree held golden leaves and golden apples. She told him to pluck 3 apples and told him how to use them to win against Atalanta during the race.
     The crowd roared as Atalanta and Hippomenes crouched at the starting line. Under his tunic, Hippomenes hid his three apples. When the horns sounded, the two shot forward and ran so fast their feet barely touched the ground. The crowd cheered for Hippomenes but Atalanta rushed ahead of him. When Hippomenes began to pant, he tossed one of the aples toward Atalanta. The gleaming apple hit the sand and rolled across Atalanta's path. She left her course and chased after the glittering ball and Hippomenes took the lead. The crowd went wild but when Atalanta got the apple, she scooted ahead of Hippomenes. As he took out the 3rd apple, he realized this was his last chance. He threw it as hard as he could and Atalanta watched it fly across the sky. Atalanta decided not to run after it but Venus touched her heart and told her to chase it. She ran off the course to go get it and as she did so, Hippomenes crossed the finishing line. He won Atalanta as his wife but made a terrible mistake. He forgot to give gifts to Venus for helping him. She got so mad that she called the moon Goddess, Diana, and said that Atalanta and Hippomenes should be punished. 
     One night when they were laying together in the moonlight, changes started to happen to their bodies. They then turned into a lion and they stayed that way forever.
        Moral: Don't say you are better than someone because you could both get hurt.