Procrustes, the infamous scoundrel, was said to be a son of Po­seidon. He was notorious for his habit of lying in wait for strangers who passed by his house on the road from Eleusis to Athens, inviting them in, and then fastening them to a bed (a long one for short people and a short one for tall) and stretching them or 'lopping' them to fit it accordingly.

His name was actually a nickname, 'stretcher out', from procrouo, 'to hammer out', with his real name being either Polypemon ('much suffering', from polys, 'much' and pema, 'suffering'), Procoptas ('cutter away', 'lopper', from pro, 'away' and copto 'to cut') or Damastes ('subduer', 'tamer', from damazo, 'to tame'). It is possible, however, that one or more of these were also nicknames, since they are obviously descriptive.

On a kind of 'eye for an eye' basis, Theseus treated Procrustes as he had treated others, and killed him by fastening him to a short bed and lopping off his head. His name survives today in the term 'Procrustean', to mean 'seeking to enforce uniformity by violent methods'.