In Greek mythology, Tereus was a son of Ares and husband of Procne. He had one son: Itys. Tereus loved his wife's sister, Philomela. Telling Philomela that her sister had died, he seduced her, cut her tongue out and held her captive so she could never tell anyone. Philomela wove a tapestry that told her story and gave it to Procne. In revenge, Procne killed her son by Tereus, Itys, and fed him to Tereus unknowingly. Tereus tried to kill the sisters but all three were changed by the Olympian Gods into birds: Tereus was a hoopoe; Procne was a nightingale whose song is a song of mourning for the loss of her son.; Philomela was a swallow commonly thought of as a voiceless bird.

The names "Procne" and "Philomela" are sometimes used in literature to refer to a nightingale, though only the latter is mythologically correct.

Hoopoe (Upupa epops)


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