Orpheus and Eurydice
Extract from the book Orpheus and Eurydice:
…by repeated questioning, he learned that on the flanks of Mount Taygetus, in the Peloponnese, there is a gorge leading to a dark cave which Heracles had once descended into to bring up Cerberus, the unsleeping guardian of Hades, a hideous three-headed dog with a tail which ended in a dragon’s mouth.
It was a fearsome path that led to the underworld. The closer Orpheus got to the gorge, the wilder and more deserted the countryside became.
The last man whom Orpheus saw on his way called out to him:
“Hey! Where are you going? Turn back! No mortal ever takes that road, and no man ever steps inside that gorge. We would rather not set eyes on it, or even think about it.”
But Orpheus entered the gorge and pressed on between the towering crags as if he had not heard a word. It was a landscape in which nothing grew but thorns and no creatures lived but snakes, but the strength of his love for Eurydice gave Orpheus the boldness and determination he needed to step over the threshold of Hades.
The further Orpheus went, the bleaker and more unwelcoming the scenery became, but he continued on his way until he reached the end of the terrible gorge and found himself facing a yawning black hole.
Any other man would have recoiled on seeing the fearsome gate of Hades, but Orpheus pressed on resolutely, and passed from the brightest daylight into the deepest darkness.