In Greek mythology, Mestra (Ancient Greek: Μήστρα, Mēstra)[nb 1] was a daughter of Erysichthon of Thessaly. She had the ability to change her shape at will, a gift of her lover Poseidon according to Ovid.
Her father exploited this gift in order to sate the insatiable hunger with which he had been cursed by Demeter for violating a grove sacred to the goddess. Erysichthon would repeatedly sell Mestra to suitors for the bride prices they would pay, only to have the girl return home to her father in the form of various animals.
- She is also occasionally referred to as Mnestra in modern sources, though the form is not anciently attested; cf. Clytemnestra, whose name does appear with and without the n in ancient authors. The pseudo-Apollodoran Bibliotheca (2.1.5) uses the form Mnestra for one of Danaus' daughters who marries and then murders Aegius, son of Aegyptus.
- Fantham, E. (1993), "Sunt quibus in plures ius est transire figuras: Ovid's Self-Transformers in the Metamorphoses", CW, 87: 21–36, JSTOR 4351453.
- Hopkinson, N. (1984), Callimachus: Hymn to Demeter, Cambridge, ISBN 978-0-521-60436-9.
- Ormand, K. (2004), "Marriage, Identity, and the Tale of Mestra in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women", AJPh, 125: 303–38, JSTOR 1562169.
- Robertson, N. (1983), "Greek Ritual Begging in Aid of Women's Fertility and Childbirth", TAPA, 113: 143–69, JSTOR 284008.
- Robertson, N. (1984), "The Ritual Background of the Erysichthon Story", AJPh, 105: 369–408, JSTOR 294833.