I uThe Golden Disk/I/u
Daphany woke up and looked around her. Good, she thought, no one else is up; I can work on my pottery. So she snuck out of the room and went into the main room. It was still dark out side but she wanted to work on her pottery in peace. She took some clay and put it on the wheel; her father had brought it back from one of his trips to the east.
As the sun rose, so did the rest of the household. Daphany wandered into the kitchen where her mother was talking to one of the housemaids.
"Good morning, mother," She said, and kissed her mother on the cheek.
"Good morning, dear. Did you get up very early; you were not there when I woke up?" her mother asked.
"Well, I did get some work done, but my pottery is not good enough to be in the Iceramicus,/i" Daphany replied unhappily.
"Well I'm sure all you need is a little inspiration, the pottery itself is very well made"
" Yes, it is but I have no inspiration," admitted Daphany, and as they talked, they took their porridge into the eating room.
"By the way, your father is coming home from Olympia tomorrow because the games have just ended. Demetrius will be with him and your father also has a large cargo of goods with him." Her mother informed Daphany, as she stirred honey into her porridge.
"Oh, Demetrius… I have not seen him since he went to Athens to study as a scholar. I wonder how he is?" She murmured sarcastically "will father be bringing me home anything? Some clay or maybe a lyre. I have always wanted one of those. "
"Well he did say that he would bring you something. But he's coming home with some jewelry and various Ichitons/I for both men and women, to be traded overseas."
"Do you think father will tell us about the Olympic games? It is the 86th Olympic festival right? Whom do you think won in the chariot racing? Do you think I can go in four years for the next Olympic games?"
"Well of course you're father will tell you abut the games, but I cannot tell you if you would be able to go for the next games. That is up to your father or your husband" her mother started to say. But she was interrupted by one of the housemaids who came to tell her that the maid who normally went to get the water has fallen ill and is in the maid's quarters. Her mother excused herself and went to see to the sick maid. When her mother came back, she had a worried expression on her face.
"It seems that the servant is very sick," her mother explained. "She won't be able to do any of her chores today, she is in no condition to fetch water. Daphany will you go get the water, it won't take you very long."
"But mother I don't want to, I want to work on my pottery!" Daphany complained. "Can't someone else go instead? Why do I have to go?"
"You have to go because all the other maids have more work because they have to take the sick maid's chores and no one else but you has any time to go, I have a household to run"
"But mother…" Daphany sighed. "Fine I will go, I have no choice. "
"Good now you know the way to the well, you go past the agora…" her mother explained.
"I already know how to get to the well"
"Fine take the bucket in the courtyard, and don't forget to be careful the woods near mount Olympus can be dangerous, it is where the power of the Gods and Goddesses is the strongest," her mother warned.
"Don't worry, I will be careful," Daphany promised.
So Daphany took the bucket, and went to see the cook in the kitchen for some honeyed bread and left. She walked past the Iagora/I, saying hello and good morning, to the people that she passed and took the path that led to the well. After walking for quite some time she came to a fork in the road and, in the center, there was a patch of wild flowers. She stopped and took a small break and picked a bouquet of wild flowers for her father. Daphany then took the path to the left and after walking a while she realized that she was not on the path to the well. As she turned to leave, she bumped into a man with brown, curly hair, emerald eyes and a kind face.
"Oh… you startled me, I did not see or hear you behind me" Daphany said, and noted that he had the oddest sandals, I have never seen sandal that have wings before, she thought to herself.
"I am sorry that I startled you. Were you getting water?" he pointed to her bucket, "You are a long way from the well."
"Yes I seem to have taken the wrong path. My name is Daphany; my father is a very important ship captain. What is your name?" she asked politely.
"My name… it is not important. But if you would be so kind, I have a small favor to ask of you."
"What kind of favor? Why should I help you?" she asked, curious, he was most likely going to ask her for some pottery, her pottery was well known as being very durable.
"Actually I need you to find some thing for me. It is very expensive and precious, and I have no time to go look for it" and muttered "there is a possibility of a reward"
"Fine I will find what you're looking for. What is it?"
"Yes I suppose you would need a description…" and Daphany nodded, "well it is a golden disk, with silver around the edges. It has a diameter about the length of your arm. I lost it near the Temple of the Gods; at least I think I did. Oh… also it has the words 'Home Sweet Home' appear at the center of the disk".
"The temple of the Gods? You mean the ivory stoa in the forest, right?" this time the man nodded and Daphany turned to look down the path "is it some sort of welcome sing?"
She heard no answer to her question, but instead, she heard the man mutter "Zeus is going to be mad at me if I don't bring back the disk" when she turned to question the man about what he said, but he had vanished.
As she walked farther along the path, she saw statues of various people and creatures from the stories that she heard as a child. She stopped at the statue of a dryad, a small wood nymph. It was at that time that she heard someone calling her name. When she looked around to see who had called, she noticed a small maiden that looked like the statue. "Hello, I am Bellanthy, I am the guardian of this forest, I know all of its secrets. How are you today?" the little maiden inquired.
"Hello, I am fine and you? My name is Daphany. You are a dryad, are you not?" responded Daphany, not believing her eyes.
"Yes, I saw you walking along with that bouquet of flowers, I know where you can pick the most beautiful flowers for your husband," Bellanthy smiled.
"I am to marry next spring only"
"Then perhaps you could get flowers for your father. He should receive a better bouquet then that. Come, I know a field off this way" she replied pointing to the northwest.
"Well my father does love flowers," she paused and thought. "Yes I would love to go but I told this man that I would find something for him" and she explained her situation.
Bellanthy's face fell. She nodded and said, "Very well if you say you can't" and turned to go.
"Maybe we can go pick flowers some other time…I never said I didn't want to go, I just can't at the this," Daphany cried after the young maiden as she disappeared into the forest.
Off she went, continuing along the path pausing to look at the statues and thinking about the dryad. She continued along until she came to a statue of Pegasus, the winged horse, it had always been her favorite character from the stories that she heard as a child. She put her hand on the horse's neck and imagined herself flying on his back. Once again, she heard a voice calling out her name. This time the statue of Pegasus turned into the real Pegasus!
"But…how…you were a statue a second ago" she stammered then sighed "This is becoming a very weird day indeed. How did you get here?"
"Well hello to you too," the winged horse replied. "I am a magical beast, did you need to ask how I got here? But how and why are you here?" he asked and listened patiently as Daphany explained the day she had so far. "Well that is something. Come on, the man can find the disk himself. Why don't you climb on my back and I will give you a ride to visit the Muses," the horse offered.
"Oh wow! Really, you would do that for me? The Muses would be able to inspire me with my pottery! Hey…wait a minute? Why would you do that for me? What would you get in return?" Daphany started.
"You do not trust me? Can't I offer to do something nice for you? I have seen your pottery and indeed it is well made but even you admit that it lacks inspiration, I am trying to offer you that inspiration"
"You are serious. That is very generous of you. What could I do to repay you?" Daphany could not believe what she was hearing and thinking she was dreaming, pinched herself. But no, she was awake.
"Well I ask nothing of you in return, but if you wished you could make a vase that I can keep," he paused "that is, if you want to come with me."
"Well I see no reason not to, I'm sure my mother would not mind. I mean I am going to visit the Muses, and they are renowned for inspiring mortal humans. Why would she mind? But before we go, could we stop at the well. I did tell my mom I would get water for her."
She climbed on his back and as he started to fly she cried, "Stop! Wait, I can't, I want to go, more then anything, but I completely forgot."
"It can wait until we get back, can't it?" the horse asked, sounding a little annoyed. "I can only take you now. This is a once in a life time opportunity for you. Are you sure you can't wait?" Daphany sighed, and thinking about her conversation with the man she shook her head.
"I'm sure," she sobbed. "I gave the man my word that I would find that disk for him, I have to keep my word. Do you think you could wait until I find it?"
"I'm sorry, I had to go see the Muses anyway so I could only take you now. Are you sure you do not want to tell Her…um… the man that he can find it himself" he said as he took her back to the ground and let her off. She looked at him with such sadness and he knew that she had made a great sacrifice to help the man, but he knew he could not tell her his reason for appearing to her.
"What name were you going to say?" she asked, then thought the better of it. "Oh, well I guess it does not really matter. I won't be seeing the Muses today it seems, but do you give me your word that if you are in the area of Hermaves that you will come to see me and will take me to see the Muses?"
"I cannot promise you anything but I can try" And with that the horse became a statue once again. Daphany was even more disappointed then before. She had sacrificed the only chance she might have had to become inspired with her pottery. Now she might never find inspiration. She hoped the man understood the sacrifice she had made and if not she was going to tell him.
It was now midday and she was becoming hungry, so she stopped for a break and ate her honeyed bread. After the short rest, it was not long until she came to the Temple. The Temple was very beautiful and like none she had ever seen before. It was a long ivory building with gold and bronze trim that was open along the whole of the front. It was the pride and joy of the people of Hermaves. Many people visited the temple if their ship had pulled into port and were there for a few days. Other people came to pay homage to their patron gods and goddesses; the messenger god, Hermes, was the Ipolis'/I patron god, much like Athena was the patron goddess of Athens.
She looked around the outside of the temple and when she did not find the disk she went into the cella. Inside there were many statues, one for each of the gods who lived on Mount Olympus. It was at the statue of Apollo that she found the disk. It was resting against the left leg of Apollo. She looked at the statue and wondered what it would be like to meet one of the gods. Would they appear like normal people or would they look like giants? She did not have the answer to her question but maybe the man would. She took the disk and went outside.
As she walked back along the path she was not visited by any more creatures and she was somewhat disappointed. She had liked talking to them. They seemed nice, but untrustworthy at the same time and she did not know why. She was thinking about the day she had had so far when she came to the place where she met the man. Looking around her, she did not see him. She did see, however, her bucket had been filled with water.
"Now how did that get there? I don't remember leaving it." Daphany wondered out loud to herself. Her reply did not come from her thought; it came from above.
"I filled it up for you," the man said, and Daphany watched as he jumped down from a tree branch. "I thought it would be a nice Idea since I was around that area anyway." Daphany looked puzzled and the man understood why and explained "I should explain myself. I am not just an ordinary man, I am in fact the patron of your polis. My name is Hermes. Perhaps you have heard of me," he said smiling.
Daphany's jaw dropped open and she stuttered "h…how?…but why did you ask my to …oh I don't understand!"
He chuckled, "well the thing is that Zeus, you must have heard of him, had this sign made for the gates to our home on top of Mount Olympus. Well when I brought it to him he had just finished eating and it slipped from his hand, I know what your thinking, not that smart right? Anyway, he asked me to go to earth and find it. But I am a very busy god and had no time to find it, that is when I saw you walking along the path and I came down and asked you to find it. Also Zeus had asked me to test the loyalty of a young child and I thought I could save myself some time and do both things and once. To help me test the loyalty of human mortals, dryads and other creatures help me, that is why Bellanthy and Pegasus visited you. They were there to tempt you and test your loyalty and honor. So, I must say, I am very grateful that you found the disk, and impressed with your strong sense of loyalty." As he said this, both the dryad and the winged horse appeared beside him.
"Well I'm happy that you have your disk back but…do I get a reward?" she squeaked.
Hermes smiled and looked at the two creatures, who nodded.
"So you heard that part, didn't you? As you gave your word, so do I, and yes you shall be rewarded. Now do I have to ask you what you want or is it safe to assume you are looking for inspiration?"
"Yes you are right, I wish to have the inspiration to form beautiful pottery" she admitted, and with a wave of his hand and a puff of dust, Daphany suddenly felt odd, like she knew a secret that had eluded her for all this time. She felt inspired, she wanted to go home and work on her pottery. "Thank you ever so much. What can I do to thank you?" she asked.
"Well you can make me a jar to hold my food in," Pegasus suggested.
"And you could make me a vase to hold flowers in. I love to decorate my home with flowers," Bellanthy replied.
"Oh… of course I will, and you Hermes what do you want me to make you?" Daphany asked the man.
"Well, you have done enough for me already. You owe me nothing. Now I think that you should be on your way home, I'm sure your mother is worried about you," Hermes answered.
"Oh I almost forgot about my mother! She is going to be so mad at me, I thank you and when I am finished your pottery, I will bring them to the Temple. But right now I must be on my way." She said in a rush, and she turned to leave but stooped when she heard Pegasus call out to her.
"Please, stop" he cried, "let me give you a ride on my back. It will be much faster."
"Yes, okay" and she climbed onto his back and with a flap of his wings they were up in the air. Daphany looked down and waved at her new friends. She knew this was going to be a day she would never forget.
When she arrived home her mother was frantic with worry, but after seeing for herself that her daughter was fine, she let Daphany tell her what had happened that day.
"Well, that is some story, you will have to tell it to your father when he comes home tomorrow. Now off to bed with you, you seem to have had a long day," her mother, now much calmer, replied.
When Daphany awoke the next day, her father had already arrived and was bringing in the gifts that he had bought for his family. After he had finished and all was unpacked, Daphany was able to tell her father and her brother the events of yesterday. Her father looked at Daphany, in disbelief, he did not seem to believe her. But it was her brother that surprised Daphany by coming to her defense.
"What she has told us is not unheard of," her brother, Demetrius said, "it is quite possible that the gods have tested the faith of Daphany. Some stories have been told that the gods have tested the faith of others and when they failed to prove their loyalty, they were brought to Hades. Therefore, it is entirely possible for the gods to meddle in the lives of us mortals. Some times, they meddle in our lives for fun other times they meddle in our lives to test our loyalty, like in Daphany's case. Daphany can consider herself lucky that she was loyal to Hermes or she might have been hurt."
"Well, yes we are lucky to see you safe and sound. Really, that is quite some tale. I do believe that Homer would have been jealous of your story, it is quite incredible!" her father told her with a laugh. "Now, do you want to see what I brought you back form my trip?" Everyone nodded. "Good, for you Daphany I brought back some Olympian clay. It is very high quality, so use it wisely. I know that you wanted me to bring you back a lyre, but I could not find one for you so I bought you an Iaulos/I instead."
"Father, that is just fine with me," Daphany said and smiled, happy that her father believed he even if her brother had to confirm what she said could have been true. She did not care; she was just happy that her father had time to listen to her and, would maybe now let her devote more time to her pottery.
Greek word: English word or definition (if applicable)
Agora: central market place
Aulos: a flutelike musical instrument
Cella: the inner space of a building
Ceramicus: Potter's quarter, were potters sell their good
Chiton: garment made of linen or wool, worn by men and women
Lyre: a small, harp like musical instrument
Stoa: a long Greek building that is open in the front and columns along the front