As promised, another great 'Word Article' and part 2 of our story on the Minotaur. Enjoy!
Conversation turned, a while back, on the subject of the Minotaur. You will recall that his birth to the wife of Minos, then living it up as the king of ancient Crete, really had the old phone wires humming as the news got out that Mrs. Minos (her friends called her Pasiphae) had been delivered of a baby with a bull's head, and, according to all accounts, a bull's personality.
Doubtless you also recall that this unfortunate event was the direct result of some sharp practice in cattle trading carried off by Minos, who had got the better of a rather watery deity named Poseidon. Minos stood to make. a fortune in breeding fees on Poseidon's bull, and Poseidon. was not pleased. The Minotaur (his friends - if he had had any, which he didn't - would have called him Asterius because that was his name) was Poseidon's revenge, in the form of a rather nasty but witty practical joke.
Practical jokes tended to take rather devastating turns back then. Take Mrs. Minos's sister, a cute kid name of Circe, who had a considerable reputation for being not quite nice. Well, let's not beat around the bush: what she had specialized in at community college was Witchcraft, and she had gotten high marks in all the prescribed courses from Brews, Potions, and Philtres 101, to Advanced Deviltry 492. The course that really took her fancy, though, was Metamorphosis Plain and Fancy. Turning anybody who popped in into something quite different and usually unpleasant tickled her funny bone, or so I'm told.
Things like that get around, of course, and her reputation spread. It's hardly surprising, under the circumstances, that nobody much called her up or offered to take her out for a hamburger at MacDonalds. Her social life was shot, to put it
bluntly. But of course you always have to give a little to get a little and Circe was really quite happy in her work.
Unfortunately for the neighbours, Circe didn't always stay at home, keeping the pot boiling. One day, as she was gallivanting about through the countryside, presumably looking for some cheery herb like Rats-bane, or maybe Toadflax, her eye. fell upon a young lad by the name of Picus, and it was love at first sight.
Apparently he was, as the phrase puts it, quite a hunk, and not only was he a hunk, he was also quite well connected socially. You'll understand what I mean when I tell you that his dear old dad was a god by the name of Saturn. Unfortunately for Circe (but, as it turned out, even more unfortunately for the young man), he happened to be engaged to a wood nymph.
There. aren't a lot of wood nymphs around these days but there were a lot of them back then. Oh there were Oreads and Naiads and Nereids and Dryads and Oceanids and a whole lot more. All of them were quite attractive, but they lived in different places. Picus's intended, being a Dryad, happened to hang around trees. I hope that helps you. Of course, marrying a wood nymph made things awkward if the boss told you you were being transferred to Toronto. Either you said good bye to the little woman or you had a moving job of monumental proportions on your hands.
Well, when Circe found that Picus only had eyes for the girl in the oak tree she was just furious! She forgot all about looking for Ratsbane and, there and then, she turned poor Picus into a woodpecker.
You see what I mean about practical joking. Circe may not have been the most popular person on her block, but you have to admit she did have a sense of humour.
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We moved to our farm in Sussex, New Brunswick from Toronto in 1977, only moving away in 2014.