Why Do People Read?
Long ago, a great battle broke out between the Olympians and the Titans. Zeus, the god of the sky and ruler of Mt. Olympus, had rescued his siblings from their evil father, Cronos (he swallowed them, except for Zeus); this was the cause of the war. The Olympians had bested Cronos and the Titans, capturing them and locking them away. Cronos had fled the battlefield and was never seen again. The Olympians thought they had won, thought they were the new generation to take over. They were wrong. When Cronos left the scene, he had found a cave and lived in it, hiding from the Olympians in case they were searching for him. After many years, Cronos finally came out from hiding. He knew he had to do something about the Olympians. He knew he had to save the Titans from eternal imprisonment.
So Cronos set out, away from Mt. Olympus. He came across a small, but affluent village. That’s where he met Narmothia, the goddess of retribution. He fell in love with her, and they had a child a year later. They named their baby boy Narmotheus. You’d think Cronos would swallow this child, too, but he did not. He had other plans for Narmotheus. Once Narmotheus was old enough to understand, Cronos told him of Zeus. He told him that Zeus had overthrown him and destroyed his power, but he held back information concerning why Zeus had done this, and what Cronos had done. Narmotheus was outraged by this, knowing that a god who ruined his father’s life was still extant. Narmothia and Cronos sent Narmotheus to Mt. Olympus to free the Titans and bring them back to the village where they can plot their revenge on the Olympians. Narmotheus dressed as a weary oracle, knowing that it’ll fool the gods and goddesses. Since he was the third generation of Titans (the Olympians didn’t know that a third generation existed), he had the upper hand.
Narmotheus had reached Mt. Olympus and made his way into a nearby village. He went to a theatre to think about his plan, not to watch a play. As the most popular play Oedipus Rex went on, Narmotheus sat and thought about what to do. How was he supposed to free the Titans? How was he supposed to get to Zeus? How was he even going to get up in the sky to talk to them? Narmotheus had so many questions, but not enough answers. He stayed in the theatre and slept there all night, regardless of what the guard said. During his slumber, the goddess of dreams, Parla, and his mother visited his dreams. They both spoke of a great plan to free the Titans. As soon as Narmotheus awoke the next morning, he headed towards a field that was full of the most flowers.
The field had been vast and full of life. Flowers had bloomed in every nook and cranny, scents flying from one bud to the next. There were tree stumps, as if someone had cut them down. But regardless of all the grass and annoying insects, it was a peace haven to everyone. Narmotheus thought this too as he climbed the steep slope to the field. In the distance he saw two figures, possibly women, but he had not been able to tell; they were trotting through the groups of flowers. Narmotheus could hear them laughing as they skipped around the field. He got closer, and knew who they were instantly: two women; mother and daughter; Demeter, the goddess of Earth, and Persephone, her daughter. But where is Zeus? Narmotheus wondered. He must have been getting close. Running into an Olympian is a good sign.
Narmotheus approached the two women and greeted them generously. Demeter and Persephone welcomed Narmotheus and asked him who he was. Narmotheus had told them that he was an old, retired oracle from the village down the mountain. The two women had not heard of a village underneath Mt. Olympus, so they continued asking questions about him and where he came from. For a moment, Narmotheus had forgotten about his vengeance on Zeus. He was absorbed into the conversation with the two goddesses, not caring that he had been wasting time. He wanted to feel normal, like a mortal. He wanted to be asked questions. He wanted to feel loved. When noon had passed, Demeter left Persephone and Narmotheus alone; she had been summoned by Zeus.
Then, Persephone told Narmotheus that she had to leave. Narmotheus didn’t want her to go, so he asked her why. Persephone told him that it was nearing the end of summer; she was to go to the Underworld in a matter of days. Narmotheus came up with an idea after hearing this. He told her that he wanted to meet Hades (her husband, and the ruler of the Underworld). She then told him that he could meet him tomorrow, the day where she goes to the Underworld. Narmotheus agreed and then asked Persephone where he could find Athena. Persephone told him that it was nearly impossible to find an Olympian like Athena strolling about on the ground. She told him that he could go to one of her temples, pray, offer her gifts, and maybe she’ll visit him. Narmotheus thanked Persephone, and left her in the field, off to the temple.
He found the temple after a few hours of walking. The temple was huge with crisp, white columns coming out from the top. There was no door, just an open archway. Vines crept out from inside the temple. Narmotheus cautiously approached it, being aware of anyone inside. He walked in, and looked around; there were trees planted on each side of the building. Plentiful fruit bloomed out, orchards falling silently to the ground. Narmotheus was very impressed. But he didn’t let a big temple intimidate him. He knew he was in the temple of one of his enemy’s sisters. He had to be careful. Foolishly of Narmotheus, he had forgotten to bring an offering to the shrine. So instead of going back and rummaging through people’s rubbish, he ripped off a piece of his clothing and gave that instead. He said a small prayer, involving the gift and the wish of seeing Athena. He stood up, and eyed the shrine. Suddenly, a bright light shined down from the sky, and there she was: the great Athena, goddess of war strategy, and literature. She had a book in her hand that looked like a bible.
Athena looked down on Narmotheus, suspicious of his actions. Narmotheus introduced himself and dropped to the floor, overdoing a bow. Athena, as modest as she was, said that it wasn’t necessary but thanked him anyway. Narmotheus got to his feet, flashed her a devious smile, and then pinned her against a temple wall. Doing this caused his oracle-looking clothes to fall off, revealing his Titan shorts. Athena had dropped her book to her side, and raised her hand, ready to defend herself. But Narmotheus was too smart for her. He pinned both of her arms to her sides, flipped her until she was on the ground, and sat on her until she stopped squirming. Athena huffed, and asked what he wanted. Narmotheus told her that he wanted her to cast a curse. Athena gasped as he went into detail: the curse would be placed on every book that existed in Mt Olympus. If anyone who dared to open any sort of book, they’d be sucked into the book and trapped in the pages – forever. Athena said that she would NEVER listen to him or follow a Titan’s directions! Again, Narmotheus was too smart for her. He told Athena that if he didn’t help him with the curse, he would kill Odysseus, the mortal she was most fond of.
Athena held back a grunt. She sighed, and told Narmotheus that she accepted his terms. Narmotheus let her up. Athena brushed herself off, raised her palms, and cursed her book. Then, she raised her palms to the sky, cursing all the other books on Mt. Olympus. Narmotheus let out a mischievous laugh Athena dropped her head in shame. Narmotheus, as sly as he was, picked up the book when she wasn’t looking and opened it! The pages flew wildly as a powerful wind current suddenly barred. Athena yelped in terror as she was sucked into the pages of the novel. She was gone. Narmotheus closed the book and grinned. He wasn’t going to let a dumb Olympian like Athena get in the way of his plans. Step one was complete. Narmotheus put his oracle disguise on, tucked the book under his armpit, and scurried away from the temple, towards the fields to wait for Persephone to show.
Narmotheus slept in a flowery part of the field. The next morning, he woke up and waited for Persephone to show. She came around noon, carrying her pouch and a flower she seemed to have her eye on. Persephone greeted Narmotheus with a cheery smile, and then she showed him her flower. She told him it was a “goodbye for now” present from her mother. He complimented the flower, and asked when they were off to the Underworld. She said right now! They walked towards the bottom of the hill where the field rested. The air seemed to get colder and colder as they pressed on. They finally reached a dark tunnel in the ground, leading to the world below. Persephone was about to tell Narmotheus that he shouldn’t make Hades mad when Narmotheus suddenly opened the book he carried, sucking Persephone into the pages with Athena. Sorry, Persephone, but this is a part of my plan. I hope you can forgive me someday, Narmotheus thought to himself. He took the pouch that had fallen off Persephone and put his book in it. He slung the pouch around his shoulder and jumped into the tunnel.
Meanwhile in the Underworld, Hades sat at his throne, looking at the grandfather clock he had received as a gift from Zeus. He admired his brother, Zeus, and he wanted to look out for him the best he can. After all, he had to set an older brother example to him. After Cronos disappeared, Hades had always felt like a father figure; but not today. No, he felt like an anxious child. He was waiting for his dear wife, Persephone, to come back. It had been another six long months without her. He needed her. He loved her.
A loud crash sound echoed through the Underworld. Hades stood up, aware of a visitor. He knew what Persephone’s footsteps sounded like. These boom, boom, boom, boom footsteps did not belong to his kind wife. He cautiously left the throne room, and went to the side of the river of souls. His handy watchman, Charon, was nowhere in sight. Hades peered into the direction of the other side. Then he saw him: a Titan. Hades raised his hands, ready to kill the monstrous being, when the Titan shouted stop. Hades kept his hands in the air, but waited for a better view of the Titan.
Narmotheus reached the beginning of the river within a matter of seconds. His shouting plea had seemed to work; Hades wasn’t attacking him. Hades shouted across the river questions. Narmotheus told him that he was an oracle, here to tell him of the news surrounded his wife, Persephone. Narmotheus saw Hades’s fearful eyes fill with sorrow. Narmotheus crossed the river, and met Hades in his throne room. Hades gestured to a chair for Narmotheus to sit. He sat and watched Hades light a candle – a way to pay respect to visitors if they found the odor of the Underworld revolting; Hades sat down next to him, and asked him to start at the beginning. But Narmotheus wasn’t going to start at the beginning. He was going to cut to the chase.
Narmotheus took the candle from Hades, and then shoved Hades back. Hades fell on his bottom, but quickly got up and raised his palms again. He summoned Cerberus; the dog came marching down from the opposing room. He stood by Hades side, ready to help him in combat. But none of this fazed Narmotheus. Narmotheus told Hades that he shouldn’t attack him, or else he’d burn the book. Hades said that he didn’t care if he burned it. Then, Narmotheus told him that he should care; Narmotheus told him that his precious wife and the Olympian, Athena, were trapped in the book. Hades dropped his hand and shooed Cerberus away. He then asked Narmotheus what he wanted.
Narmotheus told Hades that he wanted him to summon Zeus. Hades told him that he’d never drag his family into a problem between them. Narmotheus dangled the book above the candle, as if he was about to drop it. Hades sighed and said that he’d do it, and asked if he could spare mercy to his wife. Narmotheus agreed, telling him that he’d let his wife and Athena go tomorrow. Hades thanked him, and offered Narmotheus a place to sleep. Hades wasn’t trying to be nice. He just wanted to keep his wife safe. He didn’t want to lose her for the seven-hundredth time. He wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he knew he was the reason Athena and Persephone died.
Hours had past and Narmotheus was fast asleep. Hades snuck out of the room he was supposed to be sleeping in and went to summon Zeus. He called for his royal pigeon that lived beside him. The pigeon came after a couple of whistles. Hades scribbled down a note to his brother and attached it to the pigeon’s foot. Hades told the pigeon to deliver the message to the great ruler. The pigeon cooed, and flew through the tunnel leading to the surface. Hades sighed, relieved that the problem was to be solved. He went back to his required sleeping room and sat in a chair. A great weight was lifted off his chest. He knew Zeus could solve this problem free Persephone and Athena. He drifted into a deep slumber, dreaming of his sweet Persephone.
The next morning, Zeus had received a strange note from the Underworld. It came from Hades. The note involved the discussion of a Titan, a book, Athena and Persephone, and their father, Cronos. Zeus was skeptical about the message, but he did not waste time. He gathered the remaining Gods and Goddesses, Demigods, and even summoned some mortals from down below to help prepare. He believed that Hades wasn’t making any of this up. So he waited for the Titan to show.
Narmotheus and Hades made haste to the top of Mt. Olympus. They arrived a little after noon. Narmotheus clutched the book in his hand. When Zeus showed, Narmotheus and Hades bowed. Even though he hated his guts, Narmotheus had to show some respect for his half-brother. He told Zeus to release the Titans. Zeus did; he then asked for the book. Narmotheus slid the book towards Zeus, Hades running after it. Narmotheus hugged the released Titans and rejoiced in the moment. He did not notice Athena and Persephone popping out of the book. Athena was immortal! A Goddess! Nothing can stop her! And she even released Persephone, too! Athena raised her palms and took position after Zeus whispered his plan to her. She used her mystical powers to create a very, very large book. The book levitated over Narmotheus and the Titans. Before any of them could look up, Athena let go of the book. Splat! The book sucked in the Titans. Zeus took the great book and locked it up. Everyone on Mt. Olympus cheered. But then Hades gasped as he realized the curse was not yet lifted. Since everyone in Mt. Olympus liked to read, they weren’t even sure how many people were gone from the curse. So Athena came up with a resolution. She casted a spell on every book on the Mountain: whenever you open a book, a human soul is freed and released back to their rightful homes. The Olympians agreed it was a success spell. Everyone went back to their duties. The people on Mt. Olympus were safe to read again. The spell encouraged people to read even more! This is why people read.
Hope you enjoyed this! xoxo (:
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