In Greek mythology, Procrustes was a robber who lived near the city of Eleusis. He invited travelers to spend the night, offering them his hospitality.

However, as soon as the travelers were in his house, Procrustes would tie them to an iron bed. If they were shorter than the bed, he would stretch them on a rack until they were as long as the bed. If the guests were taller than the bed, Procrustes would cut off their legs until they fit. In either case, his victims died. Procrustes met his end at the hands of the Greek hero Theseus*, who killed him the same way that the robber took care of his victims. Today the term Procrustean bed means a standard or set of conditions, determined arbitrarily, to which everyone is forced to conform.

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