The Meaning of Life

Artemis was a curious young goddess, always asking questions.

'Why is the sky blue?' 'Why is grass green?'

The other gods would appease the young goddess with stories answering her questions and Artemis would leave, her hunger for knowledge satisfied until her young mind found something else to question.

One day, as she looked upon the mortal world she saw something she didn't understand. Many people, all dressed in black, followed a large stretcher, on which lay the body of a young woman. The women in the procession had painted black tears on their faces and were tearing their hair out. They wailed in a most unnatural way so the horrible sound penetrated even the heavens, far above.

'What is this?' Artemis wondered aloud.

'Death.' came a voice from behind her.

Artemis jumped. She turned and came face to face with her uncle Hades. It took all her control to repress a shudder. Her uncle scared her though she knew she shouldn't be afraid of him.

'What is death?'

"Death is me, I am Death' Hades replied cryptically, then he touched his hand to her forehead.

Artemis was suddenly overcome by visions of death, decay and darkness. Demons leaped at her from every direction and the shadows seemed to move. The vision ended just as suddenly as it began and Artemis woke from it, shaken to the core.

'That is Death,' Hades replied simply 'Now, I have things to do' and with that he bid his niece goodbye.

Artemis sat for days, contemplating what she'd seen, trying to find a question which would some up what she wanted to know. Finally she had a question to ask the gods. With excitement, she approached them, 'I have a question for you!'

There were many groans and rolled eyes and when her mother, Leto, asked 'What is it?' her tone was filled with a repressed frustration.

'What is the meaning of life?!' Artemis asked.

There was silence.

Artemis' face fell, 'Does anyone know'

There was shuffling of feet and mumbled apologies

'I don't know.' 'Why does it concern us immortals?'

'Athena, do you know?' Artemis asked hopefully.

'No child. I'm sorry'

Artemis left with a heavy heart. If Athena didn't know, who would? Then it hit her, the mortals themselves might know. She quickly devised a plan.

Artemis descended into the secular realm, disguised as a peasant girl. She found herself in the agora of a large city. In the farthest corner of the agora sat an old man, a crowd of children huddled around his feet, listening to the man's every word as he told them the stories of the gods. Their eyes were round with excitement and wonder and they did not notice when Artemis quietly joined the edge of the group. The man spoke until dusk settled over the city. Gradually all the children left until only Artemis remained with the old man.

'What is it you want to know, little goddess?' the old man asked.

'How did you know me?' Artemis asked puzzled.

'I knew,' he replied mysteriously, 'What is your question?'

'What is the meaning of life?' Artemis asked.

'Hmm,' the old man pondered, 'It is . . . love.'

'Love?' Artemis asked skeptically.

'Yes,' the old man replied, 'Love'

'How so?'

'Well,' the old man replied, 'Without those you love and the things you love, life is not worth living'

'I see' Artemis replied.

'What do you love?'

'I love my little brother, Apollo; and my mother, Leto; and I love to hunt; and I love the moon; and I love my friends, the nymphs,'

'There you are, little goddess, is your question answered?'

'Yes,' Artemis replied, 'Thank-you wise man'

'A pleasure' the old man replied as the goddess disappeared before his eyes.

Back on Mount Olympus, Artemis rushed excitedly to where the other gods sat, playing games in a clearing.

'Guess what? Guess what?' Artemis shouted excitedly.

There were many rollings of eyes and moans of frustration. Finally, Artemis' mother, Leto, relied resignedly, 'What is it child?'

'I have discovered the meaning of life!'

'That's nice.' The other gods replied, uncaring, before going back to their games.

Artemis felt hurt. She ran from the clearing, distraught. She returned to the place where she had first seen the funeral, flumped onto the ground and began to cry. She cried and cried, sick of being left out and alone. It was then that she realized the Truth. It didn't matter what anyone else thought because she knew that deep down she had found the answer to the ultimate question, and, in doing so, had found herself. She knew who she was and what she wanted and just how to get it. Suddenly she remembered it was her birthday today and set out to find her father, Zeus. She had some birthday wishes to fulfill.

What do you think? My first story and I know all is not technically correct. Please R&R.