There are several versions of the legend of Hercules forming of the Pyrenees. The one I’ve read recently involved Atlas and Hercules – two of the most powerful gods. Atlas lived happily in his city of Atlantis. He had a peacful and placid caracter. Hercules on the other hand was violent and cruel and naturally they were enemies.
Atlas had a daughter Pirene who was the most beautiful of the goddesses. When Hercules saw her he wanted her for his wife and with his power he was used to getting what he wanted. But Pirene loved her father and would never take one of his enemies for a husband. Hercules flew into a rage and cleaved with his axe what we know call the Straits of Gibralter, allowinging the seas of the Atlantic Ocean to flood Atlantis and creating the Mediteranean Sea.
Everybody perished in the city of Atlantis apart from Pirene who managed to escape. Other versions of the story say that a giant glass dome protected the city and it survives to this day under the sea ready to one day rise to the surface and reclaim it’s title as the most idyllic city on earth.
Pirene fled the ruins of Atlantis and went to the most beautiful mountains in the world where she was hidden by shepherds. Hercules never renounced his love for Pirene and began searching the universe for her. Pirene heard news of Hercules quest and decided to set the mountains alight and threw herself into the flames prefering to take her own life rather than fall into the arms of Helcules who she now hated.
Hercules arrived in Italy during his famous ‘labours’ and from there saw the huge plume of smoke caused by the fire. He hurried to find the cause of the smoke and arrived to find all of the forests burnt – trees reduced to burnt stumps. Searching among the charred remains he found Pirene dying. He tried to save her but he was too late and could do nothing to save her. The tears of Pirene as she died created the lakes of the Pyrenees that survive until this day.
With infinte care and love Hercules buried the body of Pirene creating with his own hands a giant mausoleum of giant rocks. When he had finished a long chain of mountains stood which he called the Pyrenees in memory of his love for her and as a symbol of her independence.
In another version Pyrene was the daughter of a Mediterranean king who gave hospitality to Hercules during one of his ‘labours’. Hercules got drunk and raped Pyrene. Pyrene gives birth to a serpent and runs away inshame to the woods. Wild animals find her and kill her. Hercules finds the girl body and overcome by grief carries her remains to the mountains and tells them to protect her and to carry her name forever.