Monday, October 18, 2010

The Myth of the Four Lovers, Chapter 1

Arouse, O Muse, thy ancient mouth,
And form thy song upon the theme
Of converse between gods and men.
For many times the gods have come
And made a mockery of love.
But now, Behold! Thy tale has changed!

The earth is large, but not the world. Occasionally, he who is privileged to live upon the earth for a brief sojourn before he travels into Hades or Elysium (Depending on his deserts, not his cunning, for the Feather of Truth lies not) finds a space, perhaps an island surrounded by coral, perhaps a walled garden, perhaps a vessel upon the deeps of the sea, where the very landscape seems to be bounded Being.
There once was such a place, half of a small Aegean island, neither in Ilium nor far from that great dead city of Troy. The gods had seen fit to raise up a mound of stone in the midst of the sea, the island of Gaes. Mostly mountain it was, but in between the two feet of the stone titan (the mountain had no name, for the people of the island were sensible enough not to honor a mountain that did not occasionally spew fire like an angry god) there stretched an expanse of rolling grassy hills, with hedges and small forests of pine, juniper, birch and aspen scattered here and there.
One could not discern the sea from the midst of the plain, where the brooks and rivers met, for Poseidon had shown favor to the people of the island, shrouding it in mist during the day, thus warding off the hostile eyes of enemy ships. Unfitting it was, therefore, for those who lived there to gather their food from the sea. Some were farmers, others shepherds, and all looked upon the sea and the gods with reverence and gratitude for their plentiful flocks, their abundant fields of grain, and their life of peace.
The king of the island, descended in a line of sons from time immemorial, bore the name of Cithos. He was a shepherd, and he diligently kept the festivals, drawing the sacrificial bull to the altars and pleading with the Apollo and the spirits of heaven and earth for plentiful harvests, numerous lambs, perpetual peace, and cornflowers. (It was unknown why he prayed for cornflowers; this too had been handed down in a line of sons from time immemorial.) And, so that the line of the kings might not fail, he himself had two sons: Lithmanes, the older and a farmer, and Karethos, the younger and a shepherd.
This is the description of the island of Gaes; its lands, its peoples, and its inhabitants. And if there be anything lacking, any beauty unmentioned, hold me not at fault, O Muse, Who walks upon the mists of the grey sea!