please follow the requirements to write a roughly 750 words essay

For this assignment, you will choose one (short) myth from the stories we have already read in the Edith Hamilton book, and re-interpret it by changing some important aspect of it: maybe you will change the ending, or change which characters are involved, or where it takes places — or anything. You must re-write the myth in your own words, as creatively as possible: your new myth can take any form you choose (including poetry, song, skit, etc.), but it must ALL be your own original writing. At the end of your new myth, write a one-sentence description of the moral of the changed story, or the lesson you want it to teach. out joyfully into the daylight. Then he turned to her. It was too soon; she was still in the cavern. He
saw her in the dim light, and he held out his arms to clasp her; but on the instant she was gone. She
had slipped back into the darkness. All he heard was one faint word, “Farewell.”
Desperately he tried to rush after her and follow her down, but he was not allowed. The gods
would not consent to his entering the world of the dead a second time, while he was still alive. He
was forced to return to the earth alone, in utter desolation. Then he forsook the company of men.
He wandered through the wild solitudes of Thrace, comfortless except for his lyre, playing, always
playing, and the rocks and the rivers and the trees heard him gladly, his only companions. But at
last a band of Maenads came upon him. They were as frenzied as those who killed Pentheus so
horribly. They slew the gentle musician, tearing him limb from limb, and flung the severed head
into the swift river Hebrus. It was borne along past the river’s mouth on to the Lesbian shore, nor
had it suffered any change from the sea when the Muses found it and buried it in the sanctuary of
the island. His limbs they gathered and placed in a tomb at the foot of Mount Olympus, and there
to this day the nightingales sing more sweetly than anywhere else.
ships tossed up. Oh, do not go. But if I cannot persuade you, at least take me with you. I can endure
whatever comes to us together.”
Ceyx was deeply moved, for she loved him no better than he loved her, but his purpose held
fast. He felt that he must get counsel from the oracle and he would not hear of her sharing the perils
of the voyage. She had to yield and let him go alone. Her heart was so heavy when she bade him
farewell it was as if she foresaw what was to come. She waited on the shore watching the ship until
it sailed out of sight.
That very night a fierce storm broke over the sea. The winds all met in a mad hurricane, and the
waves rose up mountain-high. Rain fell in such sheets that the whole heaven seemed falling into the
sea and the sea seemed leaping up into the sky. The men on the quivering, battered boat were mad
with terror, all except one who thought only of Alcyone and rejoiced that she was in safety. Her
name was on his lips when the ship sank and the waters closed over him.
Alcyone was counting off the days. She kept herself busy, weaving a robe for him against his
return and another for herself to be lovely in when he first saw her. And many times each day she
prayed to the gods for him, to Juno most of all. The goddess was touched by those prayers for one
who had long been dead. She summoned her messenger Iris and ordered her to go to the house of
Somnus, God of Sleep, and bid him send a dream to Alcyone to tell her the truth about Ceyx.
The abode of Sleep is near the black country of the Cimmerians, in a deep valley where the sun
never shines and dusky twilight wraps all things in shadows. No cock crows there; no watchdog
breaks the silence; no branches rustle in the breeze; no clamor of tongues disturbs the peace. The
only sound comes from the gently flowing stream of Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, where the
waters murmuring entice to sleep. Before the door poppies bloom, and other drowsy herbs. Within,
the God of Slumber lies upon a couch downy-soft and black of hue. There came Iris in her cloak of
many colors, trailing across the sky in a rainbow curve, and the dark house was lit up with the
shining of her garments. Even so, it was hard for her to make the god open his heavy eyes and
understand what he was required to do. As soon as she was sure he was really awake and her errand
done, Iris sped away, fearful that she too might sink forever into slumber.
The old God of Sleep aroused his son, Morpheus, skilled in assuming the form of any and every
human being, and he gave him Juno’s orders. On noiseless wings Morpheus flew through the
darkness and stood by Alcyone’s bed. He had taken on the face and form of Ceyx drowned. Naked
and dripping wet he bent over her couch. “Poor wife,” he said, “look, your husband is here. Do you
know me or is my face changed in death? I am dead, Alcyone. Your name was on my lips when the
waters overwhelmed me. There is no hope for me any more. But give me your tears. Let me not go
down to the shadowy land unwept.” In her sleep Alcyone moaned and stretched her arms out to
clasp him. She cried aloud, “Wait for me. I will go with you,” and her cry awakened her. She woke to
the conviction that her husband was dead, that what she had seen was no dream, but himself. “I
Ovid is best source for this story. The exaggeration of the storm is typically
Roman. Sleep’s abode with its charming details shows Ovid’s power of description.
The names of the gods, of course, are Latin.
Ceyx, a king in Thessaly, was the son of Lucifer, the light-bearer, the star that brings in the day, and
all his father’s bright gladness was in his face. His wife Alcyone was also of high descent; she was
the daughter of Aeolus, King of the Winds. The two loved each other devotedly and were never
willingly apart. Nevertheless, a time came when he decided he must leave her and make a long
journey across the sea. Various matters had happened to disturb him and he wished to consult the
oracle, men’s refuge in trouble. When Alcyone learned what he was planning she was overwhelmed
with grief and terror. She told him with streaming tears and in a voice broken with sobs, that she
knew as few others could the power of the winds upon the sea. In her father’s palace she had
watched them from her childhood, their stormy meetings, the black clouds they summoned and the
wild red lightning. “And many a time upon the beach,” she said, “I have seen the broken planks of
saw him, on that very spot,” she told herself. “So piteous he looked. He is dead and soon I shall die.
Could I stay here when his dear body is tossed about in the waves? I will not leave you, my
husband; I will not try to live.”
With the first daylight she went to the shore, to the headland where she had stood to watch him
sail away. As she gazed seaward, far off on the water she saw something floating. The tide was
setting in and the thing came nearer and nearer until she knew it was a dead body. She watched it
with pity and horror in her heart as it drifted slowly toward her. And now it was close to the
headland, almost beside her. It was he, Ceyx, her husband. She ran and leaped into the water,
crying, “Husband, dearest!”-and then oh, wonder, instead of sinking into the waves she was flying
over them. She had wings; her body was covered with feathers. She had been changed into a bird.
The gods were kind. They did the same to Ceyx. As she flew to the body it was gone, and he,
changed into a bird like herself, joined her. But their love was unchanged. They are always seen
together, flying or riding the waves.
Every year there are seven days on end when the sea lies still and calm; no breath of wind stirs
the waters. These are the days when Alcyone broods over her nest floating on the sea. After the
young birds are hatched the charm is broken; but each winter these days of perfect peace come, and
they are called after her, Alcyone, or, more commonly, Halcyon days.
he resolved never to marry. His art, he told himself, was enough for him. Nevertheless, the statue
he made and devoted all his genius to was that of a woman. Either he could not dismiss what he so
disapproved of from his mind as easily as from his life, or else he was bent on forming a perfect
woman and showing men the deficiencies of the kind they had to put up with.
However that was, he labored long and devotedly on the statue and produced a most exquisite
work of art. But lovely as it was he could not rest content. He kept on working at it and daily under
his skillful fingers it grew more beautiful. No woman ever born, no statue ever made, could
approach it. When nothing could be added to its perfections, a strange fate had befallen its creator:
he had fallen in love, deeply, passionately in love, with the thing he had made. It must be said in
explanation that the statue did not look like a statue; no one would have thought it was ivory or
stone, but warm human flesh, motionless for a moment only. Such was the wondrous power of this
disdainful young man. The supreme achievement of art was his, the art of concealing art.
But from that time on, the sex he scorned had their revenge. No hopeless lover of a living
maiden was ever so desperately unhappy as Pygmalion. He kissed those enticing lips-they could
not kiss him back; he caressed her hands, her face-they were unresponsive; he took her in his arms
-she remained a cold and passive form. For a time he tried to pretend, as children do with their
toys. He would dress her in rich robes, trying the effect of one delicate or glowing color after
another, and imagine she was pleased. He would bring her the gifts real maidens love, little birds
and gay flowers and the shining tears of amber Phaëthon’s sisters weep, and then dream that she
thanked him with eager affection. He put her to bed at night, and tucked her in all soft and warm,
as little girls do their dolls. But he was not a child; he could not keep on pretending. In the end he
gave up. He loved a lifeless thing and he was utterly and hopelessly wretched.
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
This story is told only by Ovid and the Goddess of Love is therefore Venus. It is an
excellent example of Ovid’s way of dressing up a myth, for which see the Introduction.
A gifted young sculptor of Cyprus, named Pygmalion, was a woman-hater.
Detesting the faults beyond measure which nature
has given to women,
This youth, whose name is so famous, has a very short history. Some of the poets say he was a king,
some a hunter, but most of them say he was a shepherd. All agree that he was a youth of surpassing
beauty and that this was the cause of his singular fate.
Daphne was another of those independent, love-and-marriage-hating young huntresses who are
met with so often in the mythological stories. She is said to have been Apollo’s first love. It is not
strange that she fled from him. One unfortunate maiden after another beloved of the gods had had
to kill her child secretly or be killed herself. The best such a one could expect was exile, and many
women thought that worse than death. The ocean nymphs who visited Prometheus on the crag in
the Caucasus spoke only the most ordinary common sense when they said to him:-
Endymion the shepherd,
As his flock he guarded,
She, the Moon, Selene,
Saw him, loved him, sought him,
Coming down from heaven
To the glade on Latmus,
Kissed him, lay beside him.
Blessed is his fortune.
Evermore he slumbers,
Tossing not nor turning,
Endymion the shepherd.
May you never, oh, never behold me
Sharing the couch of a god.
May none of the dwellers in heaven
Draw near to me ever.
Such love as the high gods know,
From whose eyes none can hide,
May that never be mine.
To war with a god-lover is not war,
It is despair.
He never woke to see the shining silvery form bending over him. In all the stories about him he
sleeps forever, immortal, but never conscious. Wondrously beautiful he lies on the mountainside,
motionless and remote as if in death, but warm and living, and night after night the Moon visits
him and covers him with her kisses. It is said that this magic slumber was her doing. She lulled him
to sleep so that she might always find him and caress him as she pleased. But it is said, too, that her
passion brings her only a burden of pain, fraught with many sighs.
Daphne would have agreed completely. But indeed she did not want any mortal lovers either.
Her father, the river-god Peneus, was greatly tried because she refused all the handsome and
eligible young men who wooed her. He would scold her gently and lament, “Am I never to have a
grandson?” But when she threw her arms around him and coaxed him, “Father, dearest, let me be
like Diana,” he would yield and she would be off to the deep woods, blissful in her freedom.
But at last Apollo saw her, and everything ended for her. She was hunting, her dress short to
the knee, her arms bare, her hair in wild disarray. Nevertheless she was enchantingly beautiful.
Apollo thought, “What would she not look like properly dressed and with her hair nicely arranged?”
The idea made the fire that was devouring his heart blaze up even more fiercely and he started off
in pursuit. Daphne fled, and she was an excellent runner. Even Apollo for a few minutes was hard
put to it to overtake her; still, of course, he soon gained. As he ran, he sent his voice ahead of him,
entreating her, persuading her, reassuring her. “Do not fear,” he called. “Stop and find out who I
am, no rude rustic or shepherd. I am the Lord of Delphi, and I love you.”
But Daphne flew on, even more frightened than before. If Apollo was indeed following her, the
case was hopeless, but she was determined to struggle to the very end. It had all but come; she felt
his breath upon her neck, but there in front of her the trees opened and she saw her father’s river.
She screamed to him, “Help me! Father, help me!” At the words a dragging numbness came upon
Ovid alone tells this story. Only a Roman could have written it. A Greek poet would
never have thought of an elegant dress and coiffure for the wood nymph.
into a river, followed her through the tunnel and that now his water mingles with hers in the
fountain. They say that often Greek flowers are seen coming up from the bottom, and that if a
wooden cup is thrown into the Alpheus in Greece, it will reappear in Arethusa’s well in Sicily.
her, her feet seemed rooted in the earth she had been so swiftly speeding over. Bark was enclosing
her; leaves were sprouting forth. She had been changed into a tree, a laurel.
Apollo watched the transformation with dismay and grief. “O fairest of maidens, you are lost to
me,” he mourned. “But at least you shall be my tree. With your leaves my victors shall wreathe their
brows. You shall have your part in all my triumphs. Apollo and his laurel shall be joined together
wherever songs are sung and stories told.”
The beautiful shining-leaved tree seemed to nod its waving head as if in happy consent.
Alpheus makes his way far under the deep with his waters,
Travels to Arethusa with bridal gifts, fair leaves and flowers.
Teacher of strange ways is Love, that knavish boy, maker of mischief.
With his magical spell he taught a river to dive.
This story is told in full only by Ovid. There is nothing noteworthy in his treatment of
it. The verse at the end is taken from the Alexandrian poet Moschus.
In Ortygia, an island which formed part of Syracuse, the greatest city of Sicily, there is a sacred
spring called Arethusa. Once, however, Arethusa was not water or even a water nymph, but a fair
young huntress and a follower of Artemis. Like her mistress she would have nothing to do with
men; like her she loved hunting and the freedom of the forest.
One day, tired and hot from the chase, she came upon a crystal-clear river deeply shaded by
silvery willows. No more delightful place for a bath could be imagined. Arethusa undressed and
slipped into the cool delicious water. For a while she swam idly to and fro in utter peace; then she
seemed to feel something stir in the depths beneath her. Frightened, she sprang to the bank-and
as she did so she heard a voice: “Why such haste, fairest maiden?” Without looking back she fled
away from the stream to the woods and ran with all the speed her fear gave her. She was hotly
pursued and by one stronger if not swifter than she. The unknown called to her to stop. He told her
he was the god of the river, Alpheus, and that he was following her only because he loved her. But
she wanted none of him; she had but one thought, to escape. It was a long race, but the issue was
never in doubt; he could keep on running longer than she. Worn out at last, Arethusa called to her
goddess, and not in vain. Artemis changed her into a spring of water, and cleft the earth so that a
tunnel was made under the sea from Greece to Sicily. Arethusa plunged down and emerged in
Ortygia, where the place in which her spring bubbles up is holy ground, sacred to Artemis.
But it is said that even so she was not free of Alpheus. The story is that the god, changing back

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