Week 15 Story: Eleanor

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved her father very much. The girl’s parents were deeply in love, and they were overjoyed to learn that they would be having a daughter. Unfortunately for the family, the mother died in childbirth, leaving behind a beautiful and healthy baby girl. She was named Eleanor, after her mother, and she was raised by her father alone. Eleanor’s father was a merchant and, as much as he loved his little girl, he had to travel often to earn a living. As she grew older, Eleanor learned to enjoy the time she could spend with her father, as she didn’t get much of it. She knew that he traveled because he loved her, and he wanted to give her everything she needed, but that didn’t stop her from feeling lonely.

One day when Eleanor was a little past her 12th birthday her father came home for one of his rare, extended visits. He explained to her that, even though he still loved his late wife very much, he thought it best to remarry for the sake of his daughter. His wife-to-be was a widow herself, and had two daughters of her own, only a little older than Eleanor. Eleanor wasn’t sure how to feel about all of this. She was excited to meet her new family, but she was so used to it just being her and the servants. What would new people be like, Eleanor wondered? She didn’t have an answer for that, but she decided that not matter what happened, she would make the best of it.

Eleanor’s new family tamed some of her rough-and-tumble habits, but generally they were quite friendly. The girls were willing to play with Eleanor – even if the oldest, Marguerite, did occasionally laugh at Eleanor’s mistakes. The younger daughter, Jacqueline, grew quite fond of Eleanor, and even nicknamed her Ella as friends will sometimes do. Ella’s stepmother did her best to love Ella, who tried so hard to be sweet that it really wasn’t that difficult. She may have been guilty of sometimes favoring her own daughters over Ella, but who could blame her?

Ella and her family lived happily together for three years. Then knew returned from abroad that Ella’s father had died from an unknown illness on his trip to Ambiose. Ella could hardly cope with her father’s death and became deathly ill. On the advice from a doctor, her stepmother quarantined her in the only isolated part of the estate: the attic. While Ella was slowly recovering her stepmother had to figure out how to keep their family alive.

By the time Ella was well enough to help her step-family, everything she knew had changed. All of the servants had been dismissed and the girls and their mother had to do all the work to keep the household going. The biggest change for Ella came, not from their new situation, but from her stepmother.

“Good morning, Ella. How are you feeling today?” Stepmother asked as Ella entered the kitchen, one day soon after her illness.

“I feel much better, thank you.”

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but we won’t be able to move you back to your old bedroom. We need the space so much. Marguerite, Jacqueline and I have discussed it, and the girls are willing to make space for you in their room.”

Ella shuffled her feet and stared at the floor as she replied, “It’s very nice of them, but I think I’d rather stay in the attic. Everyone could have more room, and it’s not really that bad up there, stepmother.”

Ella’s stepmother put down the pan she had been washing and walked over to where her stepdaughter stoop. “Listen Ella. Many things have changed since you were last feeling well. The most important thing now is that we all have to do our share and work together to survive. I don’t want to here ‘stepmother’ any more. You’re one of my girls too.”

Ella surged forward and wrapped her stepmother – her mother – in a hug as tears began spilling down her face. Maybe a world without her father could still be a good one.

———

As the weeks turned into months, the small family developed a rhythm for their lives. Marguerite and Jacqueline didn’t have many skills, so they spent their time with their mother, learning what they could do to help the household function. The girls’ mother worked as a seamstress from their house, and made sure they had food on the table. It then fell to Ella to go back and forth to town to deliver her mother’s work and collect payment. She also did all of the shopping for the household while she was there. At home she tended to the animals and did all of the outdoor chores, sometimes assisted by her sisters. However they were more likely to accidentally hurt themselves than help Ella.

One day, on her way home from town, Ella was caught up in a hunt. Her horse was spooked and started running as fast as it could away from the strange sounds. Ella couldn’t get it back under control until a young man broke way from the group and pulled her horse to a stop.

“Are you alright miss?” the man asked as he checked her horse over for injuries.

“I am, thanks to you. It was very kind of you to help me.”

“Miss – what do they call you?” the man asked, finally looking up from her horse.

” Elea… Ella. They call me Ella.”

“Well miss Ella, you shouldn’t be this deep in the forest alone.” He said it with a laugh, not really meaning it.

“I come this way almost every day. Besides, I’m not alone, I’m with you mister – what do they call you?”

“You don’t know who I am?” The man seemed very surprised, but then backtracked quickly. “That is, they call me Kit. Or my father does when he’s in a good mood.”

Their conversation was cut short by the hunt, which continued on without Kit. As he rode away he called back to Ella, “I hope to see you again, miss.”

After that day Ella looked for Kit every time she went to town. He wasn’t always there, but when she did see him they would take time to talk with each other. Ella told Kit stories of her childhood: things she could remember about her father or things that he had told her about her mother. She rarely talked about her families current situation, instead saying that her family treated her as well as they were able. Kit, in return, told her about his relationship with his father, and what it was like being an apprentice. He never told Ella exactly what it was he was learning to do, but she didn’t mind. She just enjoyed talking to him.

One day, nearly three years after her father’s death, Ella heard in the town square that the prince of their small country was holding a ball to choose a wife, and that all the eligible maidens of the land were invited. Ella happily carried the news home to her family. They would love the chance to go to a ball, and they had each kept one nice gown for formal occasions from their old lives. Ella didn’t have anything to wear, but she didn’t much mind. She didn’t think the prince would live up to Kit in her estimation.

As Ella was riding home through the forest, she saw Kit waiting for her near where they first met.

“Ella! Have you heard the news? There’s to be a great ball at the palace!” he called to Ella as she approached him.

“Yes, I’m going to tell my family now. They’re sure to be very excited.”

“Will you be coming?” he asked with a strange intensity.

“No… I don’t think so. My family probably will, but I don’t have anything that would be suitable to wear to the palace. Besides, I don’t think anything would come of it, and I don’t know that I care for meeting the prince.”

“You must come Ella! Promise me that you’ll think about it!” Kit asked so earnestly that Ella couldn’t bring herself to refuse. She nodded and headed home.

When Ella returned home and told her family about the ball, they were as excited as she expected. They all rushed about, airing out their old dresses and trying them on. Ella’s mother found some old gowns for Ella to try, but none of them fit; she offered to try and make Ella a gown, but Ella refused. They had enough work to do without adding to it, she said. She knew that Kit would be disappointed, but there was nothing she could do.

The day before the ball Ella woke to find a parcel at the front door with her name written on it. When she opened it, it was a beautifully made ball gown with another note that said “For the ball.” Ella had a suspicion who had left it for her, and rushed to show her mother. They spend the day adjusting it so that it fit perfectly, and, the next night, Ella found herself on her way to the ball with her family.

Walking into the ballroom of the palace, for Ella, was like walking into a dream. She and her sisters joined the queue to meet the prince while their mother greeted some of her old friends. As the line inched forward Ella kept searching for Kit in the crowd. He has to be here somewhere. Finally they reached the front of the line and Ella had to stop her searching. She curtsied deeply and looked into the Crown Prince’s face.

“Kit!” Ella exclaimed before she could stop herself. “But… what…” She looked at him in confusion. Kit just laughed a bit and introduced himself to her sisters before asking her to dance.

“You look lovely,” Kit said with a grin, gesturing to Ella’s dress. It complemented his own attire so well, it couldn’t have been an accident.

“You sent it! Why didn’t you tell me? Any of it?”

“I enjoyed knowing you without any pressure – just Kit and Ella. By the time I though I should tell you, I didn’t know how. Then my parent’s started mentioning that I needed to get married, and I realized that I already knew who I wanted it to be.”

Ella’s stomach felt like it was full of butterflies as she registered what Kit was telling her. She knew she loved him to – had known if for a while if she was honest with herself. She smiled and leaned into him as they danced the night away. So this is love, she thought.


Author’s Note: So this is much longer than most of the story telling post for Mythology and Folklore (twice as long, actually!). But, since this is the last story for the semester, I wanted to write to the end, even if it took me a while. I wrote about Cinderella last week as well, in a very different way, and that’s what I like about this fairy tale so much: it’s extremely versatile. I took inspiration from the 2015 live action Cinderella, the 1998 movie Ever After, the Disney animated Cinderella, and a book by Cameron Dokey called Before Midnight, as well as from the original source material. The main changes I made were to make the step family not evil (no one is evil without a reason, and I just couldn’t think of a good one) and to make sure that Ella and the prince met before the ball. Love at first sight is not something I could ever write about. The names for Cinderella and the prince and some of their dialogue was taken from the 2015 movie, the stepsister’s names, the first line, and the place where Ella’s father died were from the 1998 movie, the kind family and the stepmother telling Cinderella to call her ‘mother’ is from Before Midnight, and the last line is from the animated movie. The prince sending Ella the dress instead of a fairy godmother was my own touch. I thought that he would want to ensure that the girl he was in love with would make it to his ball.

Bibliography: “The Cinder-Maid.” Europa’s Fairy Book, collected by Joseph Jacobs. Web source.

Image: Cinderella by Ma_Co2013. Source: Flickr

Week 14 Story: The Trial of Cinderella

“Eleanor Rigby, you are hereby charged with four counts of murder, by way of poisoning, of your father and step-family and one fact of attempted murder in front of three dozen witnesses. That being the attempted murder of the crown prince. How do you plead?”

Eleanor stood from the bench where she had been quietly singing to herself. “Guilty of course,” she said with a laugh.

The judge’s gavel sounded like a clap of thunder as it struck his bench. “So be it. Your sentencing will be in one week. You have until that time to ready your case.”

Eleanor kept singing to herself as she was led from the courtroom. Her song seemed to echo in the silent room long after she was gone.

If you should die, dilly dilly, as it may hap,

You shall be buried, dilly dilly, under the tap

———

One week passed, and Eleanor was sent to live out the remainder of her life in Bethlem Psychiatric Hospital. No one disagreed with the verdict of insanity. She had a tendency to answer questions that nobody had asked or laugh at something that no one said – it was all in her head. The constant singing didn’t help either. It was always the same children’s song, over and over.

Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green,

When I am king, dilly dilly, you shall be queen

There was also evidence of abuse around Eleanor’s house and person. It suggested that her step-mother and step-sisters would regularly lock her in her room, over work her, and not feed her enough. There were also bruises on her back and shoulders, as if she had been beaten with a broom. The official theory, based on this evidence and that found at Eleanor’s house, was that she was abused by her step family and, when she asked to go to the ball that the queen and king threw for their son, the step-mother and step-sisters began taunting Eleanor and ripping up the dress she made for the ball.

Eleanor fled to the kitchen, but the other women followed her. She pulled a knife from where she had hidden it in the cinders and killed her family. She then stole the younger step-sister’s gown and went to the ball. How she got into the palace was a mystery (the inquest was still underway) but she made it all the way to the ballroom where she proceeded to attempt to stab the prince with the knife she still had while singing the same children’s song.

Lavender’s green, dilly, dilly, Lavender’s blue
You must love me, dilly, dilly, cause I love you,

Occasionally doctors would go to Eleanor with their evidence and theories, to see if they could get a reaction or pull her from her psychosis. Every attempt ended with Eleanor curled up on her bed, gently shaking, and softly singing to herself.

Who told you so, dilly dilly, who told you so?

‘Twas mine own heart, dilly dilly, that told me so.


Author’s Note: This story is loosely based on the story of Cinderella. Here Cinderella goes crazy from the treatment that she gets from her step family and kills them. She also tries to kill the prince because he was all her family talked about for weeks because of the ball. I changed her name to Eleanor because I always thought that Cinderella couldn’t be her real name, and it ended up as Eleanor Rigby because that’s what I was listening to as I wrote this. The song that is repeated here is an English nursery rhyme that dates from the 17th century and was also featured in the 2015 Disney live action Cinderella.

Bibliography: “The Cinder-Maid.” Europa’s Fairy Book, collected by Joseph Jacobs. Web source.

Image source: Eeorme

Week 12 Story: The Raven

The Hatter sat at his table, feeling a bit lonely. Time had finally forgiven him and tea time was over. The Door mouse and the March Hair both returned home. At least that bothersome girl had also disappeared. Honestly it was quite rude of her to invite herself to tea and interrupt the Door mouse’s story as she did. She was constantly saying things she didn’t mean and meaning things she didn’t say. It was honestly quite rude. She didn’t even bother to tell him why on earth a raven is like a writing desk.

On top of all that, she decided to grow so unbearably big during the trail of the knave of hearts (why did he have to steal those tarts?). It was quite uncivil. To top it off she just disappeared in the middle of presenting her evidence, frightening the King of Hearts out of his wits! Although, to be fair, he never had many wits to begin with. That girl with the awful hair.

“What was her name?” The hatter asked himself, quite cordially.

“How in Wonderland am I supposed to know if you do not?” he answered himself with a disgusted shake of his head. Really, the questions some people asked.

“Oh I remember now!”

Now you remember. You have such horrible timing.”

“Don’t you go bringing time back into this. He just let us out of tea time!”

“Does he know the girl’s name?”

“What girl,” the hatter asked himself. The hatter was thoroughly confused at this point, but it is rather hard to carry on a conversation with oneself.

“The strange girl that didn’t explain why a raven is like a writing desk!”

“That’s right, Alice never did explain that. Why is a raven like a writing desk?” the hatter asked himself again.

The hatter shrugged and lifted the plate of crumpets so that he could eat them. Why get your hands dirty when you can just move the plate to your face? Underneath was a sentence written with butter in the hatter’s handwriting. Butter is a very good writing utensil after all, the hatter thought to himself as he squinted, trying to read his message.

Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat, and it is nevar put with the wrong end it front.

The hatter nodded to himself – it made perfect sense. Since it was written down he should never forget it again!

So happy was the hatter with his discover that he set the plate of crumpets back down on top of it, and he wandered off to share the news with his friends. Five minutes later the hatter had forgotten the whole thing.


Author’s Note: This story is loosely based off Alice in Wonderland, where Alice first meets the Mad Hatter. He asks her why a raven is like a writing desk. When she can’t answer, he reveals that he also doesn’t know the answer. I’ve always wondered about it, and when I was reading the story for this class I decided to Google it. I thought I would just find some interesting theories, but apparently Lewis Carrol did reveal the answer himself, which is what is included in this story. I know that it may be difficult to follow, but since the hatter is mad, I made the story a bit confusing to emphasize that.

Bibliography: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. Web Source.

Image: “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” by Dustin Gaffke. Source: Flickr

 

Week 11 Story: The Man who could not tell a Lie

Once there was a man who could not tell a lie. It’s not that he wanted to lie, but no matter what he did he would always tell the truth. He was terrible at keeping secrets, and no one ever told him about surprises they were planning. But as people the people in his town knew him longer, they came to accept and even appreciate his unwavering honesty.

After a few years living in the village, he married a young woman who loved the fact that he always told the truth. She knew she could trust him no matter what happened, and she loved the honest way he lived his life; he couldn’t lie with his actions any more than he could lie with his words and, because of that, never tried to cheat anyone of what they were due.

The two lived happily for a time, the husband maintaining his honest ways and the wife preventing anyone who was less honest than her husband from taking advantage of him (sometimes the man forgot that not everyone was as honest and good natured as he was). Eventually the wife became pregnant and the two were overjoyed that their family was going to grow.

However, not everyone was as happy as the two of them. There was one woman who committed a crime in the village and the man who could not tell a lie reported her wicked ways. She was locked up because of it, and harbored a deep hatred for the man and his family. The evil woman knew that the man losing his wife and children would hurt him far more than anything she could do to him, so she escaped her imprisonment and tried to kill the pregnant wife. She did not succeed, but vowed to keep trying until the wife and children were dead.

The man who could not tell a lie and his wife were very frightened about this and they agreed that the wife should go into hiding until the evil woman could be caught. They also agreed that the husband could not know where his wife was hiding, because if anyone were to ask him, he would have to tell them.

As they had agreed, the wife went into hiding. As she was leaving the village she was chased by the evil woman. The wife ran as fast as she could and got away, but she never looked back. Unfortunately, the reason she successfully got away was that the evil woman tripped and fell on her neck, killing her instantly, which meant the wife no longer needed to hide. But she didn’t know that, and hid herself as well as she could.

Not long after this happened, the man who could not tell a lie found the body of the evil woman and knew that his family was safe. He set out to find his wife and tell her, but didn’t know where to start looking. After years of searching, he finally found his wife and, to his surprise, their twin sons. The family returned to their village and lived a happy life for a while.

Eventually, as the boys grew, they began to explore the world around them and cause trouble, as children do. Their father would tell the boys places they should not go for their safety, and that is exactly where they would go, as soon as their father turned his back on them. They sometimes got scrapes and bruises – once a broken arm – but they hadn’t gotten seriously injured. Yet. Their parents worried constantly about the boys.

One day the man found a dangerous ravine close to their village and asked his wife to tell the boys to stay away from it. The wife agreed, but then forgot to pass on the message and the boys spent the day playing in the streets of the village. When the man returned home that night, he asked his wife what she had told the boys to convince them to stay away. She confessed that she had forgotten to tell them about it, and together they realized that they couldn’t go to these dangerous places if they didn’t know about them.

The man who could not tell a lie was worried – of course he had to tell the boys, he couldn’t lie to them. But his wife had a plan. Every time he found somewhere dangerous he told his wife. She made the decision on whether to tell the boys or not. After that the family lived happily together for many years.


Author’s Note: This story is loosely based on the Native American Hero Tale “Lodge-Boy and Throw-Away,” in which there is a man and wife who are expecting twins when the wife is murdered, and the boys are thrown away. Eventually the father is reunited with his sons and they “wake up” their mother. The boys then go to various dangerous locations that their father tells them not to go. Every time they do this, however, they fix whatever the problem is. When I read the story, I thought the obvious solution was to just stop telling the boys about things. I also changed the wife’s fate, because I thought it was weird that she died and then didn’t. Finally, I made the man unable to tell a lie, so that he had a reason to keep telling his sons about the places he found.

Bibliography: “Lodge Boy and Throw-Away” by Stith Thompson. Web Source.

Image: Twins by Free-Photos. Source: Pixabay

 

Week 6 Story: Determination

Scheherazade was with her younger sister, Dinarzade, when they both heard the news.

Everyone in the world knew how much the Sultan Schahriar loved his wife, and to hear of her betrayal of the Sultan. No one was happy. Although Scheherazade, more than anyone, thought of how the Sultan would react. She had observed him for most of their lives – he was not much older than she – and Scheherazade understood the Sultan’s temperament very well. She admired him deeply for the kindness he showed his people, but he was also apt to be impulsive, stubborn, and unlikely to forgive the wrong that had been committed against him.

And so Scheherazade worried.

When her father, the Grand Vizier, announced what the Sultan had decided, Scheherazade and Dinarzade weren’t even present for the proclamation. But the reaction of the people brought the two girls out into the streets. At first Scheherazade thought that the news must be false, and the people hysterical; it seemed impossible that the king had decided to protect his heart by marrying a new woman each night and having her killed in the morning. She and her sister ran to their home in the palace and asked to speak to their father. When he did arrive, he seemed to have aged years in the few hours since Scheherazade had seen him. She didn’t even have to ask to know that the rumors were true.

At first Scheherazade held out the hope that Sultan Schahriar would change his mind. But as night after night passed and more and more young women fell victim to the Sultan, Scheherazade knew something had to be done. As upset and frightened as everyone was, no one seemed to be prepared to do everything, and nothing came close to breaking the sultan’s resolve. But this could not be allowed to continue.

And so Scheherazade planned.

She thought through everything she had learned of Sultan Schahriar over her whole life, wracking her brain for anything that could be more powerful that his fear and sorrow. Scheherazade grew more determined every day that the sultan took a new wife, but each scheme she created seemed bound to fail. Until one day she told her sister Dinerzade a story that she had forgotten the ending to. Dinerazade queationed Scheherazade for days about the ending, even asking her to create something. Scheherazade was reminded of the insatiable curiousity that the young sultan had never grown out of.

When Sultan Schahriar was young, all of his tutors loved that he would learn anything they could teach him. As he grew older, his tutors despaired because they had already taught him everything, and now he asked questions they couldn’t answer.

A story then, Scheherazade decided. A story that would never end, to hold the sultans curiosity until he remembered that he was a good and kind man, and not a monster. But it would have to be a truly wonderous story to convince Sultan Schahriar to go against his original proclamation. Scheherazade all but locked herself in her room, Hardin each day that she wasn’t ready and another girl died, but knowing she would join them if she didn’t prepare properly.

At last, Scheherazade felt that she was ready. She could go up against the sultan and remind him of who he really was behind the hurt and the fear. All that was left was to put her plan into motion. Scheherazade knew she could do this.

“Father, I have a favor to ask of you. Will you grant it to me?”

 


Author’s Note: This story is based on the frame tale story of the Arabian Nights (or 1001 nights) where a sultan is betrayed by his wife and declares that he will take a new wife each night and see her killed the next day. A young woman named Scheherazade marries the sultan and tells him a wonderful story that she isn’t able to finish in one night. The sultan allows her to live until she finishes the story, and he ends up falling in love with her and trusting her enough to let her live. I thought that the beginning of the story was too rushed, and I wanted to show some of what I image Scheherazade was thinking as all of the events leading up to her storytelling were happening

Bibliography: The Arabian Nights translated by Andrew Lang. Web Source.

Image: Arabian Nights by Quentin088. Source: Pixabay

Week 3 Story: A Tale of Revenge

Nemesis was tired. The goddess of revenge was rarely able to rest, there was always someone who wanted revenge. She sighed and focused on the current task at hand, as boring as it was. Venus wanted revenge. Not surprising, as hate often follows love. Nemesis and Venus would have been friends if the goddess of love wasn’t so air-headed, and if she didn’t always make so much extra work for Nemesis.

This time Venus wanted revenge on her son, Cupid. Apparently Venus sent him to punish a mortal girl for being pretty, and he didn’t do it quite the way his mother wanted. Typical. Revenge is best left the professionals. The idiot fell in love with the mortal girl and decided to marry her instead. So now I have to fix this mess, Nemesis thought.

After centuries of doing her job, Nemesis had perfected the art of getting other people to do her job for her. In this case she whispered in the mortal girl, Psyche’s sisters ears. She made them first fear for their sister, and then grow hateful and jealous when the finally found her. Humans are resourceful. Nemesis was sure the sister’s would find some way to ruin their sister’s happiness. Besides, there’s nothing quite like family to ruin a good day. Nemesis smiled at that though and started scheming on avoiding Venus in the future.

Later, time is hard for goddesses but it was definitely later, Nemesis was enjoying a well deserved rest when she was rudely interrupted.

“WHAT DID YOU DO?”

Psyche glared at Cupid from where she had been sleeping. “I didn’t do anything to that girl of yours. Her sisters however,” Nemesis shrugged. “Them I may have had a conversation with. Why does it matter?”

Cupid slumped over. He didn’t seem to be able to form a coherent response. Weird. And now that Nemesis got a good look at the god of Love, he really didn’t look like himself. Nemesis started to feel a bit bad.

“Look, I was just doing my job Cupid. When your mom wants revenge, she sends the best.”

“Why did my mother want revenge on my Psyche? She already got that.”

“This wasn’t revenge on the girl. It was on you. For not doing as you were told.” At the last sentence Cupid seemed to experience several emotions at once. Shock, anger, determination, and a few others Nemesis didn’t really have a name for.

Finally Cupid seemed to find his voice again. “I think I need to have a… conversation with my mother.”

“Need any help?” Nemesis asked eagerly. She’d love to put one over on that goddess.

“No. I want to work on this myself. But would you mind taking care of Psyche’s sisters? They shouldn’t have messed with my wife.”

Nemesis’ answering smile looked more like a grimace than anything. “Consider it done.”

It really isn’t fair for humans caught in the games of gods, Nemesis remarked to herself as Psyche’s second sister followed the first over the edge of the cliff. Nemesis hadn’t even had to do much. She just showed Psyche how to most effectively take revenge on her sisters. They were all to ready believe that Cupid preferred them over Psyche and they both rushed off the cliff. It really wasn’t fair.


Author’s Note: This story is based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche. In the story Psyche is so beautiful that it makes the goddess of beauty, Venus, jealous and she sent her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with a horrible person as punishment. Cupid couldn’t bring himself to do it, and he fell in love with her instead. They were married, but Psyche didn’t know who her husband was, and she was never allowed to see his face. Eventually, at her jealous sisters’ urging, Psyche looked at her husband’s face while he was asleep. Once she saw her husband was Cupid, she accidentally spilt hot oil on him and woke him up. When Cupid saw the Psyche had broken the rule, he fled and Psyche wandered to her sisters’ kingdoms. She convinced each one that Cupid preferred them to her because of what she’d done. They each jumped off a cliff, expecting the wind to carry them to Cupid. They both died.

I took the plot from Cupid and Psyche and retold it from the point of view of the goddess of revenge. She wasn’t in the story, but I like to image that she was very involved in the background.

Bibliography: Cupid and Psyche by Apuleius and translated by Tony Kline. Web source.

Image: Angel of Revenge by Comfreak. Source: Pixabay

Week 2 Story: To Answer a Prayer

I wish… like my ivory girl.

Venus closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. This day was always difficult, when every believer called on her for the blessing of love, but this plea was the one that caught her attention. This prayer, so heartfelt, was unlike anything she felt from a human for centuries. Venus focused even more intently, listening for the voice that caught her attention. It had faded, almost to nothing, but was not gone. The human had not given up hope yet.

“If you can grant all things, you gods, I wish as a bride to have one like my ivory girl.”

It was a man in Cyprus, making his offering to Venus at his festival. But Venus could hear hesitation in his words, and she looked into his thoughts to hear what he was not brave enough to say. She saw this man, Pygmalion, carving stone into the likeness of a woman in his memory. She wasn’t perfect but Pygmalion looked at her as if she were. Venus could see in his memory how his love for his creation grew day by day. Venus saw Pygmalion’s true prayer in his thoughts and in his heart.

I wish as a bride to have my ivory girl.

Impressed by his devotion, Venus granted his wish. She watched as the fire expressed her intent and Pygmalion ran to his statue. His love gave the statue life, as Venus intended, and as long as Pygmalion continued to love her, she would stay alive.

Venus watched as the two began their lives together, pleased with their happiness. She couldn’t see the future, humans rarely did what was expected anyway, but she imagined they would be happy together for many years. While their story would probably not be remembered – and who would believe it, even with the gods?- Venus would remember the man who’s love was strong enough to bring his ivory girl to life.


Author’s Note: This story is based on Pygmalion by the Roman poet Ovid. In this story a sculptor, Pygmalion, carves the likeness of a woman. He falls in love with his sculpture and asks Venus, the goddess of love, for the girl as his wife. Venus answers his prayer and the sculpture comes to life. In this story I changed the point of view from that of Pygmalion to Venus.

Bibliography: “Pygmalion,” Roman myth by Ovid. Web Source.

Image: Photo of Lely’s Venus. Source: Wikimedia