Orpheus was a mortal, son of a Thracian king but his music was godlike. The gods would have been envious had they not been so enchanted. Among the wood nymphs was one who listened more intently than any of the others. Her name was Eurydice. Orpheus sang as if to her alone. He loved her and had set his heart on marrying her, and she loved him.
One of the creatures sacred to Mars was the wolf and it happened that a great she-wolf lived with her cubs in a near-by cave. As she came down to drink from the river, she heard the desperate cries of the hungry babies and soon found them hidden in the basket. She pried the lid open with her teeth but instead of killing and eating them, as you might expect, she lifted them out and carried them carefully in her mouth back to her cave in the hillside. There she washed them gently with her tongue and fed them with her own milk. Warm and contented, they slept with the cubs, snuggled among the she-wolf's fur.