While Demeter, having taken the form of an old woman called Doso, searched for her lost daughter Persephone, she received a hospitable welcome from Celeus, the King of Eleusis in Attica. He asked her to nurse Demophon - his son by Metanira.
As a gift to Celeus, because of his hospitality, Demeter planned to make Demophon a god by anointing and coating him with ambrosia, breathing gently upon him while holding him in her arms and bosom, and making him immortal by burning his mortal spirit away in the family's hearth every night. She put him in the fire at night like a firebrand or ember - without the knowledge of his parents:
Demeter failed to complete the ritual because Demophon's mother Metanira walked in, saw her son in the fire, and screamed in fright; this angered Demeter, who lamented that foolish mortals do not understand the concept and ritual. Demophon would never obtain a life free from death, but Demeter's actions, in fact, prepared and destined him to become immortalized as a recipient of a hero cult: while Demophon survives in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, the scholia attest to other versions in which Demophon does not survive his time in the fire.
The bungled immortalization becomes the cause of his death, and funeral games in his honor were established[by whom?] at Eleusis under the guise of a ritual mock-battle, a quasi-athletic event known as the Ballêtus, which took place on a seasonal basis to compensate for the death of the baby cult-hero Demophon. This mock-battle seems to have been the ritual kernel of a whole complex of events known as the Eleusinian Games:
Forestalled in making Demophon immortal, Demeter chose to teach Triptolemus (Demophon's elder brother) the art of agriculture; from him the rest of Greece learned to plant and reap crops. He flew across the land on a dragon-drawn chariot while Demeter and Persephone cared for him and helped him complete his mission of educating the whole of Greece in the art of agriculture.