Fiction: By Madeline Hiller, Woodstock Elementary School
Getting out of that wedding was hard enough for Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, but not granting love and causing potential trouble, was much more difficult. Aphrodite brushed back her auburn hair and took a deep breath. She couldn’t resist the temptation.
Back at Mount Olympus, she gazed down to earth. She narrowed her mysterious, green eyes and set her sights upon a quaint village just off the coast of the Mediterranean. In this village sat a group of maidens, wrapped in rags and cloth. Poor girls. They begged and pleaded for scraps of food and jewels, but each and every soul ignored them. Across the way a tavern roared with excitement and fighting men. Looking back to the beggars, Aphrodite noticed one in particular. This one was pointing at merchants and whispering sly words that Aphrodite could not make out. After the woman was finished, the person it was directed to either fell over and crashed, or their stand fell over. This caused the middle of the street to turn to chaos. Aphrodite decided to grant each of the maidens love and happiness, EXCEPT the mischievous one. Little did she know, that the one casting the spells was Eris, the goddess of discord, whom had transformed to her mortal form.
Eris was furious when she found out about Aphrodite and the love she gave. Her blue eyes raged with anger. To know that she, Eris, was even in the cluster of women was even more infuriating, but Aphrodite didn’t know! For Eris was not in her usual appearance at the time. “Oh, Aphrodite, you don’t know what you have just done!” Eris hisses, her fists clenching together.
As Aphrodite admires her new golden belt, an obnoxious knocking comes from her door.
“ Come in! ” she cooes. To her surprise, Eris barges through the door. Her face is red and all of her blonde hair is dramatically tangled, as if it was blown by a firecracker.
“You…” Eris strides toward her, pointing a shaking finger at Aphrodite’s head.
“Now, Eris, what is this absurd visit you have paid me for?” Aphrodite says, calmly stepping toward her.
“You knew I was part of the eight maidens that you gave love to, but I didn’t find a handsome young man begging for me. Why did you refuse to give me the happiness I never had? Why?”
“Eris, I don’t recall seeing you in that group. Were you in your mortal form perhaps? Because, I have certainly never seen you as a mortal. But there was one extremely peculiar being. She was whispering to herself and directing her finger to merchants. Then something unusual would happen, anything. One man’s cart fell over and flew into the road. Another just ran into a big, hefty man and they got into a full fist fight! Chaos broke out everywhere.”
“Hey! That was me! Why didn’t you give that woman a cupified life?!” screamed Eris.
“I’ll make you a deal. If you stop presenting chaos wherever you go, THEN and only THEN, will I give you what you want.”
“Well, I simply just can’t do that missy,” seethed Eris.
“Then I guess you will live alone all your life and never find what real love is. What it truly means to have friends.”
“You will regret this Aphrodite! I will do a terrible thing to each and every one of those beggar woman! Each and every one!” rushing out the door, Eris reaches the edge of Mount Olympus and searches the town for the familiar faces of the, now happy, maidens.
She finds the whole lot of them sitting in a meadow. They’re laughing and dancing. Eris just snickers at them, thinking of an absolutely dreadful consequence. A spark flies from her sharp nail. The evil smirk evaporates from her face. Concentrating, she closes her eyes and raises her arms. A gust of howling wind blows her long blue dress against her. Woosh! The singing has stopped. The wind has died. The meadow is silent. No smiling women to be seen.
Aiscro, Apollo’s pet, longs for a friendly visit. He sighs and gloomily sweeps to the balcony. Out here he can see all of the world, all of the living souls on Earth. Bam! A flash of light hits him, pushing his flaming body into the marble floor. He peers up from the ground. To his surprise he finds a curious heap of girls piled on top of one another
“Why, hello there strange beings!” he cheerfully booms, dimple growing on his face as he welcomes them with an inviting smile.
One, a tall, red headed one, steps forward and boldly says.“Who are you?! Do you know where we are and how we might’ve gotten here? Did you send us away from our husbands? Away from our wonderful lives?!” She jumps at him, sneering.
“No, no, no! Ladies you have this all wrong! You all just popped up on my terrace and that was it! I had no clue you were coming! I promise!”
A bang at the door separates them from their argument. Aiscro glides across the floor, leaving a trail a heat behind. The door creaks open, when who should appear but Hermes, the messenger god.
“A message from Eris.” He opens a rolled up parchment and reads to the waiting audience.
“ Dear Aiscro,
I have sent a group of seven maidens to your home, the Sun. I am sorry for the inconvenience. This little “package” was sent to you so it would never return to Earth. They are stuck with you forever. I hope you find them to be miserable nuisances!
“Well, that explains it all!” says Aiscro, grinning.
“I guess you’re stuck with me forever! Don’t just stand there! Get comfortable. Hup, hup.”
But the maidens stay put, staring out to Earth.
“No! I won’t get comfortable! I won’t live here! I will hang out the balcony and reach for my spouse, forever. I refuse!!!” screams the leader.
“Me too!” shout the rest.
Protesting, they squirm to the balcony. They cry for their loved ones. They sob for hours. Their tears and sorrow reach Aphrodite. Guilt falls in her path. And the maidens are caught in a watery whirlpool of longing.
“If you are to be with me in this hot flaming ball for eternity, you must dress in my apparell. I will have my tailor make you your garments immediately. They will be white and yellow dresses with a glowing effect. This way you will blend with the surroundings and will be as bright as the Sun’s outer flame. The tailor will be here in an hour,” Aiscro proclaims.
When the dresses arrive, all the women are herded inside and away from the open sky. The tailor was quite, unusual. He had a large, deep gray beard and mustache that stretched all the way across his chapped face. The attire was even more bizarre. It looked as if he had stepped through a pile of black sheep. He was covered in dark fuzz. The name they were instructed to call him was Nimbostratus. Each time a sleeve was ripped or was too big, he thundered a most unpleasing roar.
“With this new clothing, I think I will call you my ‘rays’.”
No one replies. They head to the tapestry of the balcony and back off the edge of the Sun, but this time their fingertips grasped the grass and all on Earth could feel the love they had. The only time the women (now rays of the Sun) could not connect with their loved ones, was when they moved to a new part of the world or when the moon barged in and turned the day to night. If Aiscro had a visitor (a cloud) they were forced inside to be introduced and help with the entertainment. And as every cloud left, they all snuck out the back, one by one, to get a glimpse of their REAL home.