Orchidě and Aiolos
The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together
The Nymph Orchidě was weaving herself a crown of olive leaves and pink meadow flowers. At her feet in the soft grass near the foot of Mount Olympos, his eyes deeply ablaze with lust and love, a young goat-herd sat and worshipped his new goddess. He put out his hand to touch the crown, but Orchidě snatched it from him. ‘Not for you, Aiolos. This is a crown fit only for an Immmortal, and all the silver and gold in these mountains could not buy it.’
She placed the last pink spike carefully in the centre of the wreath. ‘Not for you, Aiolos.’ she said again and holding the crown high above her dark gold curls danced around the love-sick boy, the bright mockery of her laughter boring jaggedly into his brain. ‘Poor little earthling doomed to die, what would you give me for Orchidě’s Crown?’ The boy sighed. ‘That crown is a part of you, and I want so much to have a part of you to keep as my own. There is my new kid, with a fleece as white and soft as swansdown; there is my grandfather’s pipe on which he played the tunes the Muse Aiodě taught him. Those could be yours. Great Zeus knows how much I want that crown, but alas I have nothing else to give you.’
Orchidě came close to him and stroked his cheek. ‘If you were to give me your soul, I would place my crown on your head and take you to where the Islands of the Blessed are cradled by the waters of Oceanos. In this Paradise we would walk together across the bright sand, dine on grapes and honey cake, drink sweet Khios wine and you would be mine for eternity. Will you pledge me your soul?’ she asked softly. He hesitated, and then: ‘Oh yes. Yes. Yes.’ She smiled, radiant, jubilant in her dark triumph.
Finger tip to finger tip they stood motionless beneath the sultry sky while dense leaden clouds swirled around the top of the mountain and plunged down into the darkening meadow. The one eyed Cyclopes struck their anvil. A monstrous thunder growled and angry fingers of blinding light ripped apart the enveloping cloud as the thunder bolt cast by Zeus flew like a double headed arrow into the hearts of the impious Nymph and the sacrilegious boy.
When the dark clouds lifted and the Cyclopes put aside their anvil and their hammers, Ophělos the hermit, roaming the slopes of the Mountain heard the echo of a herdsman’s pipe in the song of the stream and the laughter of a girl in the wind rustling through the olive trees. At last he came to the meadow where the grass was soft, and saw that from it had sprung a tall exotic stem bearing waxen petalled, delicate striated pink flowers. Close by he found a curiously coloured small marble statue of a young man who wore a wreath of olive leaves decorated with spikes of pink flowers which looked, he thought, just like a cloud of hovering butterflies.