Juno’s husband Jupiter lusted for Juturna, and his heart was conquered by exceeding love from the first day that he saw her. He pursued after her, when he saw her hiding in the woods among the hazel-thickets, and then bathing naked beneath the waters of the river Tiber. Jupiter asked the nymphs to catch her for him, rationalizing that she should not shun the advances of the supreme god because their union would be for her own good. He told the nymphs to look to her interests and to his, for what would be a great pleasure to him, would also benefit everyone. He said that if she flees, that they should stop her on the edge of the bank, before she is able to plunge into the water of the river. The nymphs all agreed, and they helped Jupiter catch Juturna. Some say it was a love affair and others say that Jupiter forcibly took Juturna’s virginity, but either way Jupiter turned Juturna into a water nymph after the encounter. Juturna’s spring and shrine were located close to the temple of Janus the god of Gates and Doors and they eventually married.
Life on Mount Olympus was never dull, and it must have been a little bit like keeping up with the Kardashians, with one scandal being bigger than the next, as they all enjoyed gossip. Juno was a very jealous goddess, and she had this uncanny knack for finding out who her husband was screwing around with. All of the nymphs agreed to keep quiet about Jupiter’s affair with Juturna, except the nymph Larunda, who enjoyed talking too much. Juno learned about the affair that Jupiter had with Juturna from Larunda who betrayed this secret, so Jupiter got his revenge by cutting out Larunda’s tongue and making her mute, as a punishment for her being incapable of keeping secrets.
Jupiter told the other nymphs, “Your sister is her own enemy, because she is incapable of holding her own tongue, and telling my wife that I made love with Juturna.” Jupiter called his son Mercury and told him to take Larunda away to the place for the dead, and Mercury obeyed. On their way they came to a grove, where Larunda seduced Mercury. She was unable to talk, but she stripped out of her clothes and let her body do the talking for her and Mercury became smitten with her. Mercury had his way with Larunda, and he knew that she didn’t want to go to the land of the dead, so he took pity on her and turned her into a tree nymph in a dark forest where nobody would ever find her. He told Jupiter that he took Larunda to the land of the dead, but she became pregnant and bore twins, and they were worshiped at the crossroads where Mercury and Larunda did the deed.
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #183.