Saturday, October 22, 2005

Rainbow of Love

As a child I loved mythology. I devoured it like some children read Superman comic books. So when I was in 8th grade, I tried my hand and writing a myth of my own. I have tweaked it over the years and I present it here for your enjoyement.

Rainbow of Love

“A fine painting, Zenas,” praised Serena. “It will be beautiful in Aphrodite’s new temple. Artemis looks so alive with her hunting bow at the ready and the moon peering over her shoulder. She could walk out of the painting any minute and ask if we had seen a stag run by. Why, your father couldn’t have done a better job!”
“Hush, Serena. Have you no fear? I have seen my father strike down mortals for less. I’ve never completed any work that would rival Apollo’s. He is god of the Arts because of his wondrous abilities. To suggest otherwise would be to invite great harm upon yourself.”
Zenas kissed Serena. “I beg of you beloved, do not invite the wrath of the Sun god. Horrendous consequences would surely result. I must go now and meet him. I am pleased you like the painting. I’ll return tomorrow and we can talk while I work on my next painting.”
“What will that be, my darling? Will you paint the mighty Zeus with his thunderbolt raised? Or perhaps Poseidon riding the back of a whale?”
“No, Serena. Tomorrow is a special day. It is the day that Aidoneus will take Demeter’s daughter, Persephone, to the Underworld for her three-month stay at his side. I will paint Aidoneus hiding behind a pillar watching Persephone eat the three pomegranate seeds that will doom her to her yearly visits to the Underworld. I will then paint Demeter’s face high in the sky with tears falling from her eyes as she watches her daughter’s mistake.”
“It shall be magnificent,” Serena exclaimed. The entire world will travel to see your paintings and I am sure Aphrodite will be most pleased.
After Zenas left, Serena carried the painting of Artemis to Aphrodite’s temple. She stopped often on the way to allow the villagers to admire Zenas’ fine work. Many whispered that the son would soon surpass the father in artistic ability.
The breeze carried the villager’s words to the top of Mount Olympus where several of the gods and goddesses were relaxing.
“Your son has many admirers,” Zeus commented to Apollo.
“His work is quite good,” Hera added. “Perhaps he should be god of Arts instead of you, Apollo.”
Apollo’s face reddened with rage. “No son of mine will steal my title! I swear on the dreadful lake, which I have never seen, but which we gods swear by in our most solemn engagements. Zenas will cease painting or he will die before sunset tomorrow!”
Apollo stormed out to meet his son, leaving his fellow gods shaking their heads in amazement over his brash decision.
The further Apollo traveled from Mount Olympus, the more his anger cooled. He didn’t know how he could have been so foolish. He only hoped his son would be willing to give up his art.
When Apollo reached his home, he found Zenas waiting for him. “Son,” he began. “I have done a foolish thing today, but you have the power to undo my mistake.” Apollo told his son what had happened. Zenas hung his head in sorrow.
Raising his head Zenas replied, “Father, you do not understand. I had promised Aphrodite that I would paint whatever she wanted for the next year in return for the love of a maiden. If I do not fulfill my promise, Serena will be taken from me and her beauty will be taken from her. I have no choice but to paint, Father. In turn, you have no choice but to end my life.”
Apollo cried out in anguish as Zenas turned and walked to his room, his heavy
footsteps echoed down the silent corridor.
Zenas considered saying good-bye to Serena, but he feared the temptation to try
and escape with her would be too great. He sent a message instead.
My dearest Serena,
I will not be able to see you tomorrow as we had planned. Remember that my love for you is as pure as the colors with which I paint. Until we meet again.

Zenas pondered how he could paint one last time. He wanted to leave behind a work that all would remember him by. He reflected on the sorrow that tomorrow would bring. Not only to his loved ones, but to Demeter as well. He knew that Demeter’s sorrow would be brief, since her daughter would rejoin her in three months. Zenas wanted to leave behind a promise of hope to help his loved ones with their grief.
Hours later, an idea occurred to him for his final masterpiece. He selected five of his magic paints and prepared them for his greatest endeavor. He picked purple because that was the color of the iris that Serena often wore in her blond hair. Red would represent the love they had shared. Blue was chosen because it was the color of Serena’s eyes. Green was included as a symbol of the vibrancy of life and the earth he loved. Yellow would honor his father, the sun god.
Zenas was completing his preparations when Apollo appeared. “Son, I can not retrieve the words which I sent forth so carelessly yesterday. I would like to grant you a final boon if it is within my power.”
Zenas responded, “Thank you, Father. I would like to ride across the sky with you one last time, so that I might gaze again on the world which will soon be forever lost to me.”
Apollo bowed his head. “You shame me with your simple request. I will be most honored if you will ride with me.”
Together father and son climbed into Apollo’s golden chariot. The rows of diamonds on the chariot reflected the brilliant rays that Apollo placed upon his head. Zenas turned his back to his father so as not to be blinded by the glorious sight of the sun. Then Apollo took the reins and began the sun’s journey across the sky. He was too busy controlling the difficult horses to notice what Zenas was doing.
Demeter’s tears fell from above and Zenas painted a beautiful line beside Apollo’s chariot. The colors rested side by side in the curve of Zenas’ final journey across the sky.
Apollo’s tears mixed with Demeter’s. Without warning, he turned and pushed his son from the chariot. Zenas immediately dropped his paints as he hurdled to his death. Without Zenas’ touch, the magical paints disappeared.
That night Apollo roamed the halls in misery. The time came when he had to again journey across the sky. After mounting the chariot, he saw his son’s final masterpiece. He named the painting “Rainbow.” “Rain” for the tears that fell from Demeter’s eyes causing each color to sparkle. “Bow” because the curve reminded him of the weapon with which Artemis flung her mighty arrows.

Copyright 1980


At 2:35 PM, Blogger D L Ennis said...

Well done...a wonderful story!


At 7:20 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Thanks DL:)

At 1:54 AM, Blogger B O B said...

I really enjoy your writing mom.

At 7:15 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Thanks Bob:)


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