Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Story of Troy: Part One | Socyberty

The Story of Troy: Part One

by Allison Jae

The story of the fall of Troy.
Part One of Seven.

It began with a nightmare.
Hecuba, queen of Troy, was with child. The night before the birth, she woke up shrieking. “The fire!” she cried out. “It spreads!

King Priam bolted up. There was no fire. Hecuba had been dreaming. Shaking, she stammered out what she’d dreamed about. Instead of bearing a child, she’d brought forth a tangle of flaming snakes.
“Send for Calchas!” commanded Priam.
Old feet shuffled through the palace. Priest of Apollo, interpreter of omens, reader of dreams and the future, Calchas gave ear to the queen.
“The vision speaks plainly,” he pronounced. “The child will bring fire and ruin upon Troy. There’s but one course of action.” He peered at the queen, then the king. “When it’s born, cut the infant’s throat.”
At first light Hecuba gave birth to a boy. She held him until noon, weeping all the while. Priam at last took the baby from her arms but couldn’t bring himself to kill him. Still, he knew what must be done. He had a herdsman brought to the palace and entrusted him with the child and the deed. “Take him high on Mount Ida,” he instructed. “Seek an untraveled spot and leave him.” He touched his son’s face, then the rattle his wife had pressed into his tiny hand. He then turned away.
The herdsman obeyed and left the infant to die. Five days later he returned to the place—and gasped. No crow-pecked corpse lay before him, but a living baby, being suckled by a she-bear. Amazed, sure the boy was fated to live, the man carried him home to his wife.
The next day, he walked to Troy and presented Priam with a dog’s tongue as proof that the prince was dead. He then returned to his hut. He would raise the child in secret. He and his wife named him Paris.
The lad grew up hardy, handsome, and quick with his wits as his feet. He tended cattle, unaware that he was a prince. When the herdsman set their bulls to fight, fair-minded Paris was often asked to judge the winner. Zeus, chief among all the gods, watching from his palace on Mount Olympus, took note of the young man.

It was at this time that the gods attended the wedding of the sea goddess Thetis. They’d all been invited, with one exception. Eris, the spiteful goddess of strife, had been shunned. Enraged, she plotted her retaliation, and in the midst of the festivities she flung a golden apple into the throng. Written upon it were the words: FOR THE FAIREST. Zeus’s wife Hera assumed it was meant for her. Athena, goddess of wisdom and battle, boasted that her own beauty outshone Hera’s. Appalled, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, insisted that the apple should be hers. Their quarrel grew vicious, halting the feast. Watching, Eris grinned. Finally, Zeus had to be called on to choose the most beautiful of the three. He eyed them all, knowing that the two he passed over would make his life a misery. He longed to pass the task to another.
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The Story of Troy: Part One | Socyberty

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