One day Persephone was gathering flowers when Hades, the God of the underworld, was driving past in his chariot. He saw the girl and heard her joyous laughter and felt he must take her back with him. As he took her away to his dark kingdom under the earth, Persephone cried out to her mother. Demeter heard the cry yet was unable to rescue her daughter.
Demeter began to search in vain for Persephone. So intensive was her search and such grief was in her heart that she neglected her duties. The flowers drooped, the grain parched, and the grass perished. Helios, the sun god, traveled as much under the earth as over it and knew Persephone's location. He told Demeter that her daughter was being held in the underworld. In despair, Demeter went to Zeus, the king of the gods, begging him to allow Persephone to return. Zeus, seeing that all vegetation was dying because Demeter was neglecting her role of tending to the plants, granted Persephone permission to return if she had not eaten anything while in the underworld. Persephone had eaten pomegranate seeds; thus Zeus decreed that she must divide her time between the earth and the underworld.