Once upon a time, in the ancient lands of Greece, long before fleece sweaters or flannel sheets, there lived two twins of Sparta, Castor and Pollux. Although these two were twins because Zeus meddled with their mother’s life, Castor was mortal and Pollux was immortal.
Not only could Pollux live forever, but he was also unbelievably strong! However, Castor did not let the attention Pollux received get him down; instead, he spent most of his days with his favorite horse, Pep. As Pollux’s strength grew, Castor and Pep grew to know each other so well that Castor became known as one of the greatest horsemen ever to gallop the Grecian lands.
Thus, when someone would seek out Pollux’s strength and vitality, they would also desire to see Castor and Pep for their guidance, curiosity, and aid. The twins remained together, always. Many would marvel at the sight of the incredibly quick Pollux, smashing and thrashing about, followed closely by Castor on his valiant steed. Neither seemed afraid; each seemed to adore the other brother; and they had differing personalities, to be sure. And yet, the synergy of the brothers allowed for great things to happen to those that they encountered.
Eventually, Pollux and Castor (and Pep) were greeted by the famous Jason and the Argonauts! Jason, upon seeing the greatness of the two brothers, quickly asked them to join his group of Argonauts. Always interested in a new adventure, the two immediately agreed to join Jason on his sacred quest to find the Golden Fleece.
Skinned from the back of the high and mighty golden and winged Ram, the Fleece gave immediate confidence and fierceness to all who wore it cloaked over them. It was gifted to a great king, as the story goes. The twins were steadfast together in their desire to acquire this magnificent piece of material—to ordain themselves in the prominence that the Ram’s Golden Fleece represents.
On their long journey to find the Golden Fleece, however, their sister Helen was abducted by a prince of Troy. Well, that was one such reading of the story. Other interpretations suggest that after falling deeply in love with the prince of Troy, Helen left Sparta with him. The King of Sparta was outraged and sought help from his many, many armies.
Along with Jason and the Argonauts, Pollux and Castor now joined the vast Spartan empire in an attempt to take Helen back from Troy. These battles became known as the Trojan war.
Fatefully, Pollux survived the war and Castor did not. Pep and Pollux mourned the death of their dear friend and brother. Once the battle had finished, many lives perished, and Pollux felt no desire to retrieve the Golden Fleece without his beloved brother.
Too weak and grief-stricken to move, Pollux lay slumped on Pep’s back for days and days. Pep walked him knowingly towards the tallest mountain to grace the Greek lands, Olympus.
Zeus had been observing. The moment he laid eyes on his true son Pollux, the demigod, he knew his fate. Pollux cried out, “I cannot bear to live this immortal life without my dear brother. Please, please: make me mortal.”
Zeus’ sympathy for Pollux and Castor was great, and he saw in the twins a bond that should not be broken. Zeus not only immortalized Pollux and Castor in the sky as the constellation Gemini, but he also rewarded them with the gift of the Golden Fleece, immortalized as the great Ram Aries in the night sky, as well. The two (including Pep) now grace the heavens, living in the constellations Aries and Gemini.