Danaus had fifty daughters and his brother Aegyptus had fifty sons. A match between their children was proposed by Aegyptus, but Danaus was unwilling. He and his fifty daughters fled to Argos, where they found refuge for a while. But the fifty sons of Aegyptus found them and Danaus came up with a plan to help his daughters escape the unwanted marriage. He pretended that he was willing at last for the marriage, but he secretly gave each of his fifty daughters a sharp knife and told them, ‘On your wedding night, kill your husbands with these so that you may escape this marriage.’
On their wedding nights, all fifty daughters, except one called Hypermnestra, killed their husbands. When they died, they were assigned the task of filling up a leaking jar with water carried in a sieve. Hypermnestra, who had spared her husband Lynceus, lived happily and went without punishment after death.
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