In Greek mythology, Pegasus was the son of Poseidon and Medusa, having sprung from the blood of Medusa as it dropped into the sea after her head was severed by Perseus. He was captured by Bellerophon at the water of his fountain and was ridden by him when he killed Chimera. Bellerophon showed disrespect to the Gods as he attempted to ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus and Zeus sent an insect to sting Pegasus and Bellerophon was thrown back. Pegasus found sanctuary on the sacred mountain, where he carried Zeus' thunderbolts and was ridden by Eos, the goddess of dawn. Under his feet sprang the sacred springs of the Muses on Mount Helicon.
Many cultures, religions, and pieces of literature contain similar magical horses. The Buraq, according to Islamic tradition, is a creature from the heavens that carried Muhammad from earth to heaven and back. Chollima is the Korean name for a mythical horse that is said to be too swift to be mounted. In Norse mythology, Sleipnir is Odin's magical eight-legged steed, and said to be the greatest of all horses. In all of these examples, the horses are good, and are helpful, just like in the Greek mythology version of Pegasus. This is not always the case. In Harry Potter, Thestrals are the most elusive and least horse-like breed of magical horse. They have earned an undeserved reputation as omens of evil, and can only be seen when a person has experienced and accepted a death. The horses are scary looking, but are extremely gentle and helpful once one gets to know them.
Not only in Harry Potter, examples and allusions of Pegasus can be seen in many aspects of modern society. Luno the White Stallion was a Terry Toons television series that aired in the mid-1960s. It centered on a little boy named Tim who had a marble Pegasus horse named Luno who would come alive and whisk him off on adventures in far off lands when Tim said the words, "Oh winged horse of marble white, take me on a magic flight"....
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