Pegasus, the white winged horse, is the result of a close encounter between Medusa and Poseidon. When Perseus slew the Gorgon, blood flew out of her head and mingled with the foam of the ocean and Pegasus was born.
With a slash of his hoof, he created the Hippocrene, the sacred spring of the Muses on Mt. Helicon. And that may have been the last we heard of Pegasus if it were not for human jeaolousy and distrust.
In the kingdom of Lycia, a messenger brought letters to the king from his son-in-law Proetus. What King Iobates read meant death for the messenger. Proetus was distrustful of the friendship between his wife and the young warrior Bellerophon, and had ordered him to carry the fateful message with the request for his own death. (From this story of Bellerophon unwittingly delivering his own death-warrant, we get the expression “Bellerophonic letters”)
At this time the fearsome Chimaera made great havoc in Lycia. She was, Homer tells us, in the fore part a lion, in the hinder a serpent, and in the middle a goat, breathing forth in terrible manner the force of blazing fire. A quick answer to the jealousy of Proteus was fortuitously to hand and Bellerophon was duly dispatched to combat. No man had faced the Chimerae and lived.
As Bellerophon slept, a dream came to him of Athena. Giving him a golden bridle, the goddess revealed a vision of a beautiful white horse drinking at the well of Pirene. In his dream, the young warrior crept closer. The stallion was of pure unblemished white, about 20 hands high, with a proudly elevated silver crest. His neck was elegantly curved, his capacious shoulders and head exquisitely sloped, his shoulders were deeper and lay further into his back than any horse Bellerophon had seen. Behind his shoulders there was but small space, before there rose, wondrously, a pair of great golden wings ! When Pegasus caught sight of the gleaming bridle he came up and bowed his noble head. Bellerophon awoke, and the bridle was still in his hand.
And so it happened. Bellerophon went to the well, bridled Pegasus, and, mounting, rose with him into the air. Soon enough they found the Chimaera. Bellerophon flew above the beast and thrust between her jaws a huge lump of lead which melted in her fiery breath, flowed down her throat and burned her to death.
After the conquest of the Chimaera, Bellerophon was exposed to further trials and labours by his unfriendly host, but by the aid of Pegasus he triumphed in them all. He grew arrogant at this, and his pride and presumption drew the anger of the gods. He even attempted to fly up into heaven!
Zeus sent a gadfly, which stung Pegasus and he reared, throwing off Bellerophon who fell on the rocks below. The former hero from Corinth wandered about the earth for the rest of his life miserable, blind and lame, shunned by all and left to die alone.
As will happen to all those who boast in the hearing of the gods!