19. The Queen of Heaven Also Tried to Slay Her Husband’s Children With a Mistress
The heavily pregnant Leto was forced to roam for years while in labor, unable to find a place to rest and give birth. She finally came across a barren island that was not connected to the ocean floor, so it did not count as a real “island” by Hera’s definition. The island’s barrenness also meant it had nothing to lose, and thus nothing to fear from Hera’s vengeance if it defied the Queen of Heaven’s will. There, Leto finally gave birth to Zeus’ children, the gods Artemis and Apollo. That just made Hera even more jealous of Leto, so she sent a dragon to chase her and her newborns around.
In their flight, they sought refuge in Lycia, whose peasants, on Hera’s instructions, sought to prevent Leto and her infants from drinking water. So Leto turned them into frogs, before the infant Apollo eventually slew Hera’s dragon. Hera also sent the gigantic Titan Tityos to assault Leto, but she was once again saved by her children, Apollo and Artemis, who killed their mother’s would-be attacker. Hera eventually came to terms with the situation, accepted things as they were, and let Leto and her children be. Leto then went on to become a goddess of motherhood, whose portfolio included protection of the young.