Two Acts of Troy
The Tales of Aquarius, Aquila and Gemini

Chapter 1: Ganymede

From the immortal heights of Mt. Olympus, Zeus surveyed a static universe. It was silent and it never changed. From that height where past and future were only figments of the imagination, everything blended and all time was the present. There was no change to seasons and no effect of the passing of years. There were no textures in the fabric of life. The mountains, the seas, and everything within their reach were complete for the universe was ideal.

Zeus was bored with perfection. He was bored with the lack of change and the predictability of time. He spread his arms and wings grew. He became an eagle and descended from the stasis of Olympus to a place where time changed. The eagle flew to a stage called Earth.

As he flew, he watched the silent, stitched-lace seam of land and water explode into a crashing foam of endless restless motion. It was never silent here and never still for on earth the living passed through a process of growth and decay called mortality.

Along the shore, the crashing foam washed sun-drenched sand, and the sun-bronzed feet of Prince Ganymede. Ganymede's father was Tros, a king who named his city after himself. That city was called Troy.

On this beautiful cloudless day, Ganymede filled an urn with wine and set off to walk across the long sandy beach. It was his favorite pastime on a sunny afternoon. His youthful bronzed body was a handsome sight as he lazily walked the shore. He took a sip of the wine and noticed that the urn he had chosen was decorated with a painting of Deucalion and the Great Flood. "How amusing," Ganymede thought, "that I am drinking wine while the gods can only drink water." The wine made him laugh aloud as the chilled seawater splashed his toes. He looked across the sea and wished that some day he might visit the far reaches of other shores to walk their beaches and drink their wine.

The wave, which had tickled his toes as it came to shore, receded, leaving a small rock at his feet. He picked up this gift from the sea and turned it over in his palm. One side was pale, the other dark, and both bore pictures. On the pale side a lightning bolt filled the sky and ended with a huge wave in a dark sea. To the right of the bolt, the sky was clear and serene and to the left a storm was etched with the pattern of the wind and rain it ushered in to shore. The dark side held a small bolt of lightning high above the glow from a city in the clouds. Ganymede was a reader of omens. He drank some more wine as he contemplated the meaning of this rock.

High above, Zeus spread his eagle wings and stirred the air with long rhythmic strokes. Although his strokes were gentle at first, he moved his wings faster and faster until the speed charged the atmosphere and the air came alive. Whirling, churning currents of air pulled clouds from every direction into their vortex and as the clouds were ripped away from the distant mountains, they echoed in pain. The winds whipped the thick cloth of clouds against mountain ridges and sparks flew. Flashes crackled across the heavens. A bolt split the air and sea below and a bubble of light exploded around it. Like thoughts across a synapse, lightning rippled across the sky.

A stroke of lightning hit the sea and the foam churned fast around it. Ganymede looked up to see the clear air above, but behind the bolt the sky raged gray and hostile and blended into a gray and hostile sea. With his jug in one hand and the little pictured rock in the other he sprang upright and ran fast from the approaching storm. His feet barely touched the ground and as he ran he felt himself to be lighter than air. The swiftly moving storm surrounded him now. Rain and wind seemed to come from every direction, obscuring all landmarks. Confused, without direction, he continued to run for what seemed to be hours. He knew he had gone a long way down the beach but this seemed too far unless he had been turned around, running in the wrong direction. The rain stopped hitting his face. Strangely he could still feel the rain against his waist and legs. He stopped running and opened his eyes.

Looking down, he saw he was standing in a cloud and could feel himself being lifted. The wind had stilled and the sun blazed bright against a serene azure sky. Ahead of him rose a golden city resting gently on the clouds. Rays beamed from its towers as though it was a second sun. Unsure of his footing, he stepped gingerly along the cloudy path until he reached the gate. It was then that he saw Hera, Aphrodite and Athena gracefully lounging in the garden. "What have you brought for us, dear Ganymede?" Aphrodite asked.

He looked at the garden. He looked at the rock and on it he saw Olympus and the lightning bolt that had brought him there. "My dear queen of love, I bring you the nectar of the gods. It is called wine." He found a golden jeweled goblet and poured his special gift with such grace and charm that his goddess was enchanted. "It will bring you mirth," he said as he presented it to her and bowed.

Aphrodite tasted the ruby liquid. "Hera, Athena, you will love this," the goddess said. "Pour them some," she said to Ganymede. "You will find two more cups over there," she pointed to a table by the fountain. Ganymede poured the wine and served them.

The goddesses drank and giggled for more as Ganymede filled their cups. The laughter brought Ares, armed only with curiosity. Ganymede fetched a cup and took the god of war by siege. Poseidon and Hephaestus joined the party, and they too were overcome with gaiety. "Don't worry, Ganymede," called out Aphrodite, "your urn will never run dry in Olympus." And that is how Ganymede was given the honor of filling never ending cups with ever flowing wine for the immortals.

While far below on earth, besieged by the storm, the city of Troy lay in ruins. The walls, built by Poseidon so long ago, cracked and the city washed into his sea. But more than the loss of those protective walls, King Tros was broken by the loss of his son. Zeus looked down and had pity on the poor father. In response, he placed Ganymede in the sky as Aquarius, so Tros could always see his son.

Then Zeus sent the king a gift as a consolation and a messenger to explain what had happened to the charming young prince. A herd of magnificent storm-gray horses materialized from white-capped breakers as they crashed to the shore where Ganymede had walked, and the wave of horses washed ashore a small rock -- one side pale, the other dark, and each side bore a picture.

Myth Index | Chapter 2: Brothers and Sisters

Tales of the Immortal Night ©2003, J.J. Kuhl


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