a 2000 word challenge entry…
I knew she wanted to be an awesome princess; she wore pink ribbons in her hair and a lavender and rose tiara…running off with the prince of death is taking things too far…it gets a little colder each time she’s gone. Demeter
Yo ho ho, you mangy mortals,
I’m back from another seven seas search and rescue reconnoiter. It’s grand to feel the earth beneath my bare feet again. Tarnation, my scurvy faux-bro can drink enough rum to float a fleet of Titan Tubs. I prefer bitter, aged grapes of wrath—and my daughter back. For those that haven’t read my billion and a half other posts, let me catch you up. But first, a brief overview.
Ancient scuttlebutt says that an eon or two ago the immortal male offspring of Rhea and Cronus divided the universe into three kingdoms. One presided over the sky and everything below his cloud shrouded kingdom. The second ruled all bodies of water. The third got, many said, the booby prize, the Underworld. These men had three immortal female siblings. Historians assumed the girls got the rest, everything inbetween. To sweeten their rusty pot of chrome, the girls were appointed as patrons of the home and hearth, birth and marriage, and the fecundity of the land. Immortal cousins and other godly denizens got the dregs of what was left. It’s a common story, and about as true as the myth of eternal return.
Let’s just assume these immortals had a terrible talent for ruling, ruminating, and rutting. And that these powerful, capricious, horny toed bastards tried to one up each other constantly. That much is true. Faux-bro Zeus, the man with the gigantic ego, liked to think he was in charge. He taunted his petulant, overly sensitive bro Hades. Long story short, Zeus bet his bro Hades he couldn’t capture the affections of my daughter, Persephone.
She was only 15, a nubile girl child. He kidnapped her and dragged my darling girl to the Underworld, against her will and mine. After several millenniums of grieving, heaving, and demanding her return, the big sky Kahunna and I negotiated a deal. Hades would return her to earth for half the year. Basically, I got spring and summer. He got autumn and winter. In exchange, I would return earth to its green state so you mangy mortals could plant crops and feed your livestock and Buddha bellies. As an aside, I should mention historians thought Zeus was her father. He wasn’t, but that’s another story, another chapter.
Like all negotiations, there were problems. You see, we immortals age very slowly, but we do age. But when Hades took her down under she stopped aging. The clockworks didn’t resume when he returned her to terra firma. It took a while for it to register—my daughter is forever 15. Yeah—consider the complications that entails! Over the centuries, I did my damn’est to keep her out of trouble. But when your daughter is fair of face, with long golden tresses and a body that to this day makes Aphrodite sea green with envy, and has a mind of her own and a fury to match all the Gorgon sisters and a few Harpies put together—it’s a Herculean task.
Persephone spends six months in Hades, where she reigns as Queen of the Nether Regions and all that implies. Hades has, shall we say, rubbed off on her impressionable mind and vice versa. During the six months she spends above ground, she attempts to exert the same control on earth that she has in Hades. I work my magic and enlist the sisterhood to help keep her out of Tartarus’ reach. Do you think she’s grateful?
Nooo, she calls me the dark one, a witchy old crone, the worst mother in the universe. Ladies, you know what I’m up against. Still, it’s my job to keep her safe, for humanity’s sake. You see, back in what you mangy mortals call the Dark Ages, I tried to go about my business and leave her be. I even adopted a pet bat since we roughly kept the same hours, wore a lot of black and lace, and didn’t give her a backwards glance for 100s of years. What did she do—you’ve heard of the plague, no? You’ve heard of the discovery in the Orient of gunpowder, the Crusades, the … Yep, that’s my daughter, my delinquent daughter.
Inevitably, especially after the famine and plague years in the 1300s, I had to use both my wand and scythe to save you mangy mortals. I helped that weird little man Boethius write the Consolidation of Philosophy to soften the blow regarding why bad things happened to poor peasants and convinced Muhammad to leave Mecca and find new followers in Medina. Zeus was so furious, he had Morpheus put her to sleep in a coffin in a castle for 100 years. Hades didn’t fight it. I got some rest and you mangy mortals got a renaissance of sorts.
It was bittersweet to teach the cunning folk and midwives how to save the lives of mother and babe. My first born wants nothing to do with babes or what they become, but that’s another story, another chapter. It was more gratifying to remind those mangy mortals how to sow and reap, what rituals worked best to ensure bountiful harvests, what charms were most effective for predicting weather patterns, early frosts, and hailstorms.
Where was I? I’ve documented all the adventures I’ve had tracking her down, righting her adolescent antics, apologizing to you mangy mortals by sending or stopping the rain, bribing Uncle Sol to shine or seek cloud cover, or persuading Auntie Luna to let the good tides roll. In the early 1700’s, I started an Almanac, figuratively written in soil, stone, bone, and blood. The original intention was twofold, to record our wanderings and rendezvous, and to set the record straight on how we gods came to be, the reality of our genealogy and somewhat incestuous tree, and what we’ve done to help (or hurt) you mangy mortals. In ensuring centuries, it’s become much more. To catch up on my plethora of posts that describe in excruciating detail all I’ve been through, I’ve provided a link at the end of my blog. Currently, I’m writing for the Maddening Moon.
Avast, my hearties, it’s February once again. Mortals are clambering and yattering for spring. On the east coast of America, they’ve held another groundhog ritual. They’ve held up the rotund rodent and declared that since it didn’t see its shadow, spring must come early this year. They’ve lit bonfires, slaughtered lambs, swept hearths, lit candles in some sectors. Masses of younguns are heading to Poseidon’s shores to celebrate something they call spring break.
Well, I’m having none of it. My darling damn daughter is missing again. Oh, to be sure, Hades released her, a few days earlier than usual. She’d done enough damage down below. My pseudo-son-in-law won’t allow me to interfere in his domain, though he was very damn grateful when I…well that’s another story, another chapter.
Sometimes I fret that no one knows what troubles I’ve seen, or what I’ve been through dealing with a delinquent daughter and demimode, except perhaps for Time, a trusted colleague and confidant. Occasionally, you mangy mortals surprise me. I read a book in the 90’s, The Moon and the Virgin, by Nor Hall, and recall zeroing in on this line, “There is a void felt these days by women and men—who suspect that their feminine nature, like Persephone, has gone to hell…” Exactly, was my thought, perhaps a few of you do understand. Perhaps a few of you could help me. I’ve got to find her before the spring rites begin.
Here’s what I have in mind… (to be continued)