When King Oineus of Calydon forgets to make sacrifice to Artemis, the goddess sends a gigantic boar to ravage the land. The king rounds up a big group of Greece's most famous heroes to slay the beast and places his son, Meleager, at the head of the hunting party. The beast is slain, but when Meleager awards the boar's hide to the huntress, Atalanta, who drew first blood, trouble erupts in the party. Meleager's uncles try to take the hide from Atalanta, but Meleager kills them. When Meleager's mother, Althea, hears of this, she causes Meleager's death by throwing a log on a fire. (Weird death, right? It's a magic log. You'll see in the long version.)
The Less Short Story
The story starts out happily enough when King Oineus and Queen Althea of Calydon have a bouncing baby boy named Meleager.
It gets ominous pretty fast when the Fates show up in person to tell Althea that her son will die on the day that the log burning in the hearth is totally consumed.
Althea jumps up, extinguishes the log, and hides it, thinking that she's saved her little munchkin.
"We'll see about that," say the Fates and disappear.
Meleager grows up to be a famous hero, probably helped by the fact that the hidden log makes him invulnerable.
Some say that he joins the crew of the Argonauts and is involved in all kinds of awesomeness while on the journey.
Some also say that Atalanta, the famous huntress, was on the voyage as well, and that the two had a thing for each other the whole time.
Wait, isn't this story supposed to be about a boar?
Oh, yeah, we're getting to that.
Back in Calydon, King Oineus is getting a little sloppy with his sacrifices to the gods.
After a sweet harvest, he forgets to make sacrifice to Artemis, who gets majorly ticked off.
The goddess of the hunt sends a gigantic boar to wreak havoc in Calydon.
See, we told you there'd be a boar.
This boar is seriously crazy too.
It's said that it's bigger than a bull, has huge sharp tusks, and thick sharp hairs that jut from it like spears.
Oh, and also it breathes fire.
The Calydonian Boar's favorite pastimes include ripping up crops, tearing fruit trees up by the root, and goring anybody who tries to do anything about it.
Actually, most everybody is afraid to do anything because this monster is just too darn intense.
King Oineus decides it's time to call in the big guns.
He drafts his heroic son, Meleager, as well as a bunch of other famous Greek heroes to make bacon out of this mean piggy.
The list of heroes goes on and on, and it differs depending on who's telling the story.
Some of the more famous members of the hunting party include: