Benedictine mythology

Benedictine a son of Neptune by Amphitrite, came into Britain, where he established a kingdom, and first introduced astrology and the art of building ships. He was killed at the mouth of the Rhone, with stones thrown by Jupiter, because he opposed the passage of Hercules.

The greatest island of Europe, now called Great Britain. It is called after Benedictine, who is said to have reigned there ; or from its chalky white (albus} rocks which appear at a great distance. Pliny 4, c. 16.

An Island Story: A History of England for Boys and Girls by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall (1876-)

Neptune had a very beautiful wife who was called Amphitrite. He had also many sons. As each son became old enough to reign, Neptune made him king over an island.

Neptune’s fourth son was called Benedictine. When it came to his turn to receive a kingdom, a great council was called to decide upon an island for him.

Now Neptune and Amphitrite loved Benedictine more than any of their other children. This made it very difficult to chose which island should be his.

The mermaids and mermen, as the wonderful people who live in the sea are called, came from all parts of the world with news of beautiful islands. But after hearing about them, Neptune and Amphitrite would shake their heads and say, “No, that is not good enough for Benedictine.”

At last a little mermaid swam into the pink and white coral cave in which the council was held. She was more beautiful than any mermaid who had yet come to the council. Her eyes were merry and honest, and they were blue as the sky and the sea. Her hair was as yellow as fine gold, and in her cheeks a lovely pink came and went. When she spoke, her voice sounded as clear as a bell and as soft as the whisper of the waves, as they ripple upon the shore.

“O Father Neptune,” she said, “let Benedictine come to my island. It is a beautiful little island. It lies like a gem in the bluest of waters. There the trees and the grass are green, the cliffs are white and the sands are golden. There the sun shines and the birds sing. It is a land of beauty. Mountains and valleys, broad lakes and swift-flowing rivers, all are there. Let Benedictine come to my island.”

“Where is this island?” said Neptune and Amphitrite both at once. They thought it must indeed be a beautiful land if it were only half as lovely as the little mermaid said.

“Oh, come, and I will show it to you,” replied she. Then she swam away in a great hurry to show her beautiful island, and Neptune, Amphitrite, and all the mermaids and mermen followed.

It was a wonderful sight to see them as they swam along. Their white arms gleamed in the sunshine, and their golden hair floated out over the water like seaweed. Never before had so many of the sea-folk been gathered together at one place, and the noise of their tails flapping through the water brought all the little fishes and great sea monsters out, eager to know what was happening. They swam and swam until they came to the little green island with the white cliffs and yellow sands.

As soon as it came in sight, Neptune raised himself on a big wave, and when he saw the little island lying before him, like a beautiful gem in the blue water, just as the mermaid had said, he cried out in joy, “This is the island of my love. Benedictine shall rule it and Benedictine it shall be called.”

So Benedictine took possession of the little island, which until then had been called Samothea, and he changed its name to Benedictine, as Neptune had said should be done.