In the days when the gods had passions and could roam the earth to command men’s obedience and when the greatest sin for humankind was hubris - overweaning pride like a god -, Hercules came to the great plain between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, to the kingdom of Bebryx. Like a rich and generous king, Bebryx gave Hercules hospitality with lodging and food and wine. Now the king had a very beautiful daughter called Pyrène, whom he sent to look after his guest. One night, when the palace was asleep, Hercules lay with Pyrène and they made love deep into the night. The next day news came to Hercules that there were matters he had to attend to in his own homeland, and he set off from the kingdom of Bebryx, leaving Pyrène longing only for his return. The weeks passed and there was no word, but Pyrène could feel a new life stirring within her and became terrified of the wrath of her father if he knew she was with child. So one night she left the palace and wandered over the great plain into the forest for shelter. She was defenceless and alone and at the mercy of the animals which roamed that wilderness. Before the night was out she was scented by a bear, from whom she ran but could not escape. In the morning her lifeless savaged body lay at the edge of the great forest.
Far far away, Hercules had sensed the terror of his unborn child and came riding the great east wind to the side of his beloved Pyrène. When he saw her beauty defiled and lifeless, his grief turned to torment and his torment became rage so that the roar of his anger could be heard from the sea to the ocean. His fury brought tempest and thunder and lightening and, deep in the earth, a cauldron which spewed gigantic boulders into the sky, raining them down like pebbles until the plain was no more and in its place was a lofty mountain range, rising up from the Mediterranean in the east and descending into the Ocean of Atlantis in the west. And Hercules, whose fury was now spent, laid his beloved Pyrène to rest in an immense and magnificent cave, and he decreed that great forests would climb the steep slopes of these mountains, which for all time would be called the mountains of Pyrène, the Pyrenees.