Published on January 16, 2008
Three Greek Stories - Pyramus and Thisbe - Orpheus and Eurydice -Baucis and Philemon By Haley Carpenter 5 th Hour, Mr. Patterson
A long time ago, mulberries used to be white instead of red. This transformation happened in the form of a sad, romantic tale, where the death of two lovers was the cause.
The person on the left is Thisbe, and the person on the right is Pyramus. They lived in Babylon, and they were the most beautiful people in the land. They had grown up together, and soon learned to love each other. But their parents forbade them from marrying, much less even seeing each other.
But their love would not die. They found a crack in the wall that their houses shared, and talked to each other every night. Soon, they grew weary of never seeing each other, and planned to run away. They decided to meet by the Tomb of Ninus, by the mulberry tree that produced white fruit.
That night, Thisbe stole away to the tree, waiting for her darling Pyramus. But he did not come.
Suddenly, a lioness who had just hunted appeared, with blood on her lips. Thisbe ran away in terror, and left her scarf by accident. The lioness gnawed on the scarf, leaving bloodstains.
When Pyramus arrived, he was horror-stricken. “The lioness has eaten my darling Thisbe!! .. Well, if she’s dead, I might as well die too.”
He pulled out his knife and plunged it into his side, spraying the tree with blood.
Thisbe was afraid of the lion, but not as afraid of failing her lover. She returned to find Pyramus dead.
She tried to wake him, but it was no use. “Dear Pyramus!! I shall follow in suit!!” she exclaimed as she stabbed herself as well.
And thus, the mulberries were stained with lover’s blood, making them forever red. The End.
Orpheus was the son of a muse, and a Thracian prince. The Thracians were considered the most musically gifted people, and Orpheus became greatly known as a performer. He went on many adventures, and came with Jason on the Argo and is said to have played so sweetly that he saved them from the Siren’s song.
One day, Orpheus met Eurydice, and he fell in love with her. She, of course, could not resist the power of his music and fell in love with him as well.
They decided to marry, but on the day of their wedding she got bit by a viper and died. Orpheus swore he would retrieve her from the world of Death with his music.
He played so sweetly, that the Underworld stood still to listen to him play. When Persephone, the wife of Hades, heard him play, she cried at its beauty. So Hades decreed that Orpheus could have his wife back, but that he must not look at her until he is out of the Underworld.
Orpheus did as he was told, but as soon as he was out of the cave, he swerved around to see his wife. However, she was still in the cavern, and she started to disappear again, only to whisper the words “Farewell.”
Afterwards, Orpheus became depressed and never sought the company of women again. He was later disemboweled by a group of Maenads and the Muses gave him a proper burial at the foot of Mt. Olympus. And to this day the nightingales sing sweeter here than anywhere else.
Sometimes, Zeus would tire of the Heavens. So he would go down and have little adventures on the Earth, disguised as a human. He usually brought Hermes with him as well, being the crafty fellow he is. One time, they decided to check the hospitality of a city called Phrygia.
Although he was disguised as a poor traveler, no one would let them in. The city was prejudice and hated the poor. So Zeus and Hermes marched onwards to find a house that would provide warmth and hospitality, and one after another they were turned down by the rich and the middle class alike.
Eventually, he came upon a small hut with a thatched roof. The occupants were a poor, old couple that welcomed in the gods without a moment’s pause.
The wife was named Baucis and the husband Philemon, and although they were extremely poor they offered the gods the finest they had. They were happy with themselves at the hospitality they brought, until they noticed the wine and the food never ran out. They immediately realized that they were hosting the gods.
“ We- we- we have a goose, we should have served that to your lordships first.” stammered Philemon. They tried, to the amusement of the Gods, to capture the goose, but it was in vain.
Finally, Zeus took the tired couple aside and said “You have hosted gods. Your country shall be punished for their incompetence, but you may be rewarded.” And he took them outside and their house became a marvelous temple. “Please, make a wish and I shall grant it.” The couple wished that they could guard the temple and that they die together. “So be it.” exclaimed Zeus.
And they guarded the temple for quite some time.. Until eventually they had to die. And when they did, they became two trees, a linden and an oak. But they were still together, for they both grew from the same trunk. To this day, people hang up wreaths on this tree to celebrate the faithful and pious pair.
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