Dionysus, born of mortal Semele (daughter of King Cadmus) and the Immortal Zeus, was for the first part of his life kept in hiding from Zeus’ Immortal Queen, Hera and raised as a girl. He was raised by either Hermes or his Aunt, Ino (depending on which story you believe) and learnt the values of the vine and how to extract the precious juice. He travelled to Asia, in particular, India to teach mere mortals the beauty of the cultivation. After a stint of madness induced by the wrath of the beautiful and formidable Hera, he set on his travels home in order to introduce to those of Greece what he had learnt.
The enlightener found himself in an unfortunate position after he set sail on what he thought was a ship to Greece. He had chanced upon a Pirate ship whose loot of choice was pert young men to sell as Slaves. And what a fine specimen Dionysus was with his long flowing locks, firm muscles and broad back all wrapped up in glorious purple cloak.
As the sailors attempted to bind our hero with rope, they discovered none would stay. One of the group, Achoetes, savvily surmised he must be an immortal and perhaps they should let him be and sail him to Greece on account of him being exceptionally powerful. The rest of the band of not-so-merry men ironically accused him of being a madman and told him to get on with his job before attempting to wrestle Dionysus to the ground. At this point some rather interesting events occurred: the sweet smell of the grape permeated their nostrils and before the Pirates could say ‘aye Jim-lad’ vines burst out and covered them in the delicious nectar. While the Pirates weren’t looking, Dionysus changed himself into a Lion and bounded towards them, roaring in anger. As the Pirates jumped overboard with fright, they were turned immediately into Dolphins. All except one; Acheotes. He was frozen to his spot in fright. “Who are you?” he asked. “I am Dionysus – son of Zeus, the Immortal. I bring across the seas the gift of wine to be shared and enjoyed.”
What a legend.