Callisto and her son Arcas transformed as the Great Bear and the Bear Warden.
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Courtesy of Nova Development Corporation

Callisto and her son Arcas

Callisto was the favorite companion of the goddess Diana. She accompanied Diana on the hunt and attended her at her bath after the hunt. One day the god Jupiter caught a glimpse of the beautiful Callisto and fell in love with her. Knowing that Diana had warned Callisto of the deceitful ways of men and gods, Jupiter assumed the guise of Diana.

In this disguise, Jupiter seduced the beautiful Callisto. Callisto succumbed to the beautiful seductive words of Jupiter, and in Jupiter's loving embrace, she conceived a child. When Jupiter's wife Juno saw this evidence of Jupiter's infidelity she became enraged, and changed Callisto into a bear.

Callisto was ashamed and afraid, and fled into the woods, not to see her son for many years. One day, when Arcas was a young man, he decided to go hunting and went into the woods where his mother Callisto, the bear, resided. Callisto saw her son, whom she had not seen for many years. Forgetting she was a bear, she rushed forward to embrace him. Arcas only saw a bear rushing down on him. He lifted his bow and let fly an arrow to the mark.

At the last moment Jupiter intervened and cast Callisto and her son into the heavens as the constellations Ursa Major, the Great Bear, and Bootes, the Bear Warden. Arcas is always standing next to his mother. Arcas became the ancestor of the Arcadian race in the Peloponnesus.

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