Tag Archive: mythology


Count your blessings

Dori’s scream of anguish hadn’t done it justice, nor had the steady stream of tears.  All they had done was leave her hoarse and salt crusted as she clutched at the broken mess in her arms.  Ep swore he hadn’t meant to break it, but she had seen the way he looked at it.

Dori had always referred to it as “her box of treasures” never thinking a thing about it, but Ep’s eyes had gone round and wide at the offhand mention of treasure.  It was a look which was not lost on Dori.  So she kept the tiny coffer near her when she was home and put it out if sight when she was gone.  Hoping that Ep would leave it alone.  However, curiosity is one of the unstoppable forces in the world which, unfortunately, only grows.

Dori looked at what was left of the small hand carved wooden box.  The lid hung at an angle, the panels were all cracked, and the contents…were scattered to the winds.  She ran her thumb over the small inscription that ran along the bottom, a secret remembrance of her mother.

When you count your blessings leave hope for last.

The shadow of a smile shone through and Dori’s tears finally abated.  Yes trust, restraint, and good grace had vanished as soon as the first splinters appeared, but hope remained even now.

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I based this re-telling of Pandora’s Box on Aesop’s Fable where in the husband not the wife opens the box allowing all the good and useful things to escape back to Olympus (as seen on http://www.theoi.com).  I hope you enjoyed the story and the new perspective.

Aesop, Fables 526 (from Babrius 58) (trans. Gibbs) (Greek fable C6th B.C.) : “Zeus gathered all the useful things together in a jar and put a lid on it. He then left the jar in human hands. But man had no self-control and he wanted to know what was in that jar, so he pushed the lid aside, letting those things go back to the abode of the gods. So all the good things flew away, soaring high above the earth, and Elpis (Hope) was the only thing left. When the lid was put back on the jar, Elpis (Hope) was kept inside. That is why Elpis (Hope) alone is still found among the people, promising that she will bestow on each of us the good things that have gone away.” [N.B. By “in human hands,” the story of Pandora delivering the jar to mankind is implied. However, in this version it is apparently the husband who opens it.]

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Warned

By the time Andrea made it across the gilded expanse of lobby that Ceasar’s Palace boasted Cassie was trembling.  Andrea made a quick left to right glance.

“Did some creep bother you,” Andrea asked concern lacing every word as she continued to scan the crowd.  Turing back to Cassie she found her still in a state of shock eyes unfocused, jaw clenched, and hands shaking.  “Oh my god…Cassie…Cassandra!”  Finally, the words penetrated and Cassie blinked and shook her head.  “What the hell Cas?” 

“Na…nothing.  It’s, I’m fine.”

“My ass your fine!  What was…that,” Andrea said gesturing toward Cassie.  Defeated she sat down, from her crouched position, on the cold marble floor, and looked up into Cassie’s eyes unaware of the strange looks she was getting.  “What is going on Cas,” she pleaded.

“You won’t believe me,” Cassie said as her head dropped.

“Try me.”

“It’s going to sound like the lamest scary story ever,” Cassie said with a sad half laugh, but Andrea only raised her eyebrows daring her to continue.  “Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Andrea wrinkled her forehead in confusion but stayed silent.

“Do you see that guy on the stair case?”

Andrea turned and looked none too subtly.  “There are lots of people on the staircase Cassie,” she conceded.

“I meant the one that is staring at me,” Cassie said matter-of-factly.

Andrea could feel the blood drain from her face as she made herself look again.  This time she took her time, assessing each male upon the stairs, but no one was both stopped and looking in their direction.  Without looking back she said, “Cassie,” slow as if to begin a very important question.

“Well, do you?”  Cassie’s question hung in the air like a looming storm cloud.

“No,” Andrea said as she shook her head turning back to Cassie, “I don’t.”  She paused for a second, “Are you kidd…”

“Oh…I do,” Cassie said her eyes never leaving the first landing, “and he said I’m going to die.”

Andrea had to force herself not to look again.  “This is in really poor taste Cas, I thought someone actually hurt you,” she said as placed her hand on Cassie’s knee to help herself up.  However, Cassie grabbed Andrea’s wrist holding her in place and staring deep into her eyes.

“He said they are coming for us…”

“What?”

“and it’s all Paris’ fault.”

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Cassandra Princess of Troy as seen on Wikipedia

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All eyes turned to me expectant and doubtful in the firelight.  I had been unable to stop myself, but after being regaled for over an hour with the old standbys, including the man with the hook, who has my golden arm, etc, who could blame me.  I more than any of my, slightly drunken, peers knew the meaning of story telling especially in a group and circled round a fire.  So, I stopped the noisy prattle with a sentence, “I bet I know one you’ve never heard before,” and I did, lots of them.  However, as my grandmother was always want to remind me, “Each gathering has a story waiting to be told, Dianna, you cannot just pick one at random.  If your gifted enough, listen closely enough, the story picks you.”

In the collectively held breath of my captive audience I heard a flutter of wings and the sharp cackle of a crow as a small shadow darker than night rested in a nearby tree.

“So be it.

Many years ago when the woods still teemed with the unknown, and most decent folk feared the dark. A terrible disease ravaged the countryside. The superstitious blamed a small family, the Brenns, who had moved into town as the epidemic claimed its first life. For as time went on the small family survived while the rest of the town burned funeral pyers.

On the same day the Brenns announced the betrothal of their only daughter, Merla, the last child succumbed to disease in the town. Spurred on by fear and resentment the town people rose up and attacked all the merry makers at the family’s celebration. However, Merla was saved by hiding in the branches of the rowan tree in the woods off their property. In one day she had lost everything to the epidemic, her family and her beloved.

For fear of her life the girl hid in the branches till night fall, and then buried her family at the base of her tree. For 100 days and nights the Merla wept upon those graves, and all the while the towns people searched for the girl believing that once the family line was broken the curse of the disease would be lifted. However, while the girl was never sighted among the shadows in the branches all were haunted nightly by her keening.

As the sun set on the 100th day Merla opened her eyes to the sound of laughter. Weary of a trick she climbed lower to get a better look, and saw much to her surprise her family sitting as if for a picnic among a garden of bleeding heart and white chrysanthemum flowers. She quickly joined them, and the family spent the night laughing with no pain of loss to separate them. They were so engrossed in their reunion that the Brenns did not hear the towns folk creeping ever closer. The people were drawn forward to the point where the unearthly sounds of mourning had been replaced with joy, but fear held them from entering the woods till dawn was nearly upon them.

In time with the starting day both the people of the town and the sunlight pierced the shadows below the rowan tree simultaneously. In the light the Brenns family withered away like dew drying upon a meadow. Merla stood with tears streaming and decided she would never run again. With a single heart wrenching sob she threw her arms wide and dissolved into a mass of black wings. In the light of the new day the girl no longer hid among the branches rather 100 crows littered the tree and filled it with their cawing lament.

Something more than disease had taken hold of the town as the crows kept them from rest all day and the family picnic kept them from sleep all night, and so the town folk faded away.

None now live near The Blackbird Woods for it and its inhabitants remember when not so long ago decent folk turned dark.”

Dianna paused taking in the open mouths and confused glances. Her tale had not been scary in the most conventional sense of the word, but she supposed that at least a few of them were recalling, through their drunken fog, that Dianna Brenn was one of the people their mothers had warned them against.

~Reader Note~

Yeah, I have made it to 100 followers thank you for reading and commenting! I hope that I have given you something that at the very least was entertaining, and I hope you liked it enough to continue with me on this literary journey.

Happy reading
~Jess

As I sit pen over paper or hands poised above the keyboard I wait.  Silent.  Hoping.  Eyes closed.  So that I might catch your seductive scent waft into the room like some welcoming blast of a trumpet, or hear your light step as you cross my threshold.

I do not have to peak to know that just outside my window, gnashing its teeth, pulling its hair, and pacing, is my worst fear.  The terrible feral worry of every writer, that bastard child of self doubt, and with her she brings endless pages filled with only regret.

So still I sit, wondering when I will again hear your honeyed words in my ear.

Know that I wait with bated breath, as I have so oft before, for you to tell me a story…

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Awakening Muse By Don Lawler and Meg White

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