Along with Demeter, Dionysus was worshipped as a god of the gifts of earth. He was the God of the Vine from which the grapes used to ferment wine were grown. Dionysus granted wine to the people of Greece in his travels, when he taught men how to cultivate grape vines.
One of the most famous stories featuring Dionysus was during said travels, when Dionysus was spotted by a troop of pirates. He was a handsome, strong youth clad in opulent attire and so was mistaken to be a prince of sorts—the son of a king who would be able to grant a great ransom. The pirates brought Dionysus aboard and attempted to restrain him with ropes, but anyplace the rope touched Dionysus fell apart.
When the crew realized their captive must be a god, a lone helmsman beseeched the captain to free him. The captain and the rest of the crew objected, at which point Dionysus used his divine powers to hold the ship in place with vines. Terrified, the crew leapt overboard to save themselves and where turned into dolphins when they hit the water. Only the helmsman was granted Dionysus’ mercy.
Although Dionysus is characterized as a benign and beneficent, as any Olympian god this story reveals the cruelty Dionysus was capable of inflicting on mortals.