Erysichthon of Thessaly
Erysichthon was the son of Triopas possibly by Hiscilla, daughter of Myrmidon and thus, brother to Iphimedeia and Phorbas. In some accounts, however, he was called instead the son of Myrmidon possibly by Peisidice, daughter of Aeolus and Enarete, and thus, brother to Antiphus, Actor, Dioplethes, Eupolemeia and Hiscilla.
Erysichthon once ordered all trees in the sacred grove of Demeter to be cut down. One huge oak was covered with votive wreaths, a symbol of every prayer Demeter had granted, and so the men refused to cut it down. Erysichthon grabbed an axe and cut it down himself, killing a dryad nymph in the process. The nymph's dying words were a curse on Erysichthon.
Ceres responded to the nymph's curse and punished him by entreating Limos, the spirit of unrelenting and insatiable hunger, to place herself in his stomach. Food acted like fuel on a fire: The more he ate, the hungrier he got. Erysichthon sold all his possessions to buy food, but was still hungry. At last he sold his own daughter Mestra into slavery. Mestra was freed from slavery by her former lover Poseidon, who gave her the gift of shape-shifting into any creature at will to escape her bonds. Erysichthon used her shape-shifting ability to sell her numerous times to make money to feed himself, but no amount of food was enough. Eventually, Erysichthon ate himself in hunger. Nothing of him remained the following morning.
Rationalization of the myth
Palaephatus, who was trying to rationalize the Greek myths in his On Unbelievable Tales (Ancient Greek: Περὶ ἀπίστων ἱστοριῶν), wrote that Erysichthon was a rich Thessalian man who became poor. He had a beautiful daughter, the Mestra. Men who wanted to marry her gave horses, cows, sheep or whatever Mestra wanted. The Thessalians seeing the livelihood of Erysichthon piling up were saying "from Mestra came horse and cow and other things" (ἐγένετο ἐκ Μήστρας αὐτῷ καὶ ἵππος καὶ βοῦς καὶ τἄλλα), and this how the myth developed.
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- Images of Erysichthon in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database