|Europa on the back of her Bull|
Really, Europa? Nothing odd at all about an alarmingly beautiful and perfect bull wanting to be petted and fondled? I mean. Normally I am not all about blaming the woman but... c'mon, now! I'm not sure I can buy the fact that she really had no idea what she was doing, no matter what Ovid says--it sounds kind of like, well, bull-honky.
Apollodorus tells us:
Zeus loved her, and turning himself into a tame bull, he mounted her on his back and conveyed her through the sea to Crete. There Zeus bedded with her, and she bore Minos, Sarpedon, and Rhadamanthys;
And Ovid goes into greater detail in The Metamorphoses (book 2):
And, now perceiving all her fears decay'd,
Comes tossing forward to the royal maid;
Gives her his breast to stroke, and downward turns
His grizly brow, and gently stoops his horns.
In flow'ry wreaths the royal virgin drest
His bending horns, and kindly clapt his breast.
'Till now grown wanton and devoid of fear,
Not knowing that she prest the Thunderer,
She plac'd her self upon his back, and rode
O'er fields and meadows, seated on the God.
He gently march'd along, and by degreesNow, Europa did get on the bull's back of her own accord, but she clearly hadn't anticipated being whisked away to parts unknown. Fortunately for her, Hera didn't seem to notice any of this mess, and after Zeus, ahem, revealed himself and left her on Crete, she ended up marrying one of the Cretan princes who didn't care that she'd been knocked up by Zeus first, and her son Minos became King of Crete afterward.
Left the dry meadow, and approach'd the seas;
Where now he dips his hoofs and wets his thighs,
Now plunges in, and carries off the prize.
Minos, son of Zeus, really isn't much of a demigod. Certainly he was no hero, and he had some pretty bad luck when he came to power, all stemming from the moment he broke his promise and didn't give Poseidon his bull back in sacrifice, after the god helped him to claim the kingship of Crete. Minos' wife was cursed to fall in love with that bull, which resulted in the birth of the Minotaur (the Minotaur was actually named Asterion, if you were wondering). Then, on top of that, Minos' son was killed in Athens over some silly jealousy issue, and of course we all know what happened after Athens started sending youths to Minos in payment for that crime. Theseus. Minotaur. Fall of Crete. Etc.
So what if Europa and her friends had seen the signs and realized that the bull was Zeus before she climbed on its back? Well. Somehow I don't think it would have stopped Zeus from having his way. Honestly, Europa really lucked out. If you have to get kidnapped and raped by a god, ending up royalty in another kingdom is definitely not the worst that could happen as a result.
The Moral of this Story: Don't accept rides from bulls you don't know! Especially when they're acting all weird. It is no doubt a god in disguise, and you can't count on Hera not noticing that trick a SECOND time. (She's got a nose for cheating husbands.)
*Sometimes Europa is the daughter of someone else-- Apollodorus says Phoenix. It doesn't really matter that much, one way or another, for the outcome.