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Rosetheus and Chrysanthea
On the dark edge of the forest in the shadow of Mount Olympus, was a small village of thatched houses. The small humble home with the stone path to the door belonged to a young woman named Chrysanthea, and a young man named Rosetheus lived in a modest sized home with a row of rocks around its edges. The small houses closest to the forest’s edge with a small cluster of animals around the back belonged to the farmers and their children.
Chrysanthea was tall and beautiful with vibrant, almond shaped green eyes that lit up a room. She had waist long strawberry blonde hair that seemed to glisten and sparkle in the bright, golden sunlight. Chrysanthea wore a bright crimson tunic, but even that could not steal attention away from her radiant eyes.
Rosetheus was extremely handsome. He had a bright, blinding smile the glimmered every time he opened his mouth. He had chestnut brown hair that accentuated his baby blue eyes.
One afternoon while Chrysanthea was in her garden praying to Demeter, she heard the sweet sound of a lyre drifting through the air.
The beautifully haunting music lifted her off her feet. Captivated, she followed the drifting melody, which lead her down the village path to the house next door.
Chrysanthea knocked on the door as she called softly, “Oh Rosetheus! Rosetheus is that you?”
Rosetheus saw as Chrysanthea lingered in his open doorway, calling to him. His breath caught in his throat and he immediately stopped playing his lyre. Astonished, he looked into her eyes and said, “Chrysanthea, what are you doing here?”
“I-I was in my garden and I heard lovely music, I wanted to know where it was coming from,” she quickly replied.
“Oh. You really thought it was good? I mean I know I’m not the best and-“ Chrysanthea put a finger to her lips and hushed Rosetheus’s apologies.
“Rosetheus, I thought it was astonishingly beautiful. Won’t you please play more for me?” Chrysanthea asked sweetly as bright red erupted in Rosetheus’s cheeks.
Rosetheus had never been so surprised in his life. The most beautiful girl in the village wanted him to play for her. He slowly lifted his lyre and began to strum as he hummed a lullaby for Chrysanthea.
When he finished Chrysanthea was in tears. She had never heard anything as beautiful as Rosetheus’s playing. The music entranced her, and drew her to Rosetheus. Chrysanthea had lived by Rosetheus for as long as she could remember and she never gave him much thought.
She continued weeping for several minutes and as the time slipped by, Chrysanthea thought about how she could have possibly missed how lovely Rosetheus’s baby blue eyes were. She thought about how radiant his smile was when he caught her looking up at him and how he kept strumming his lyre and staring into his own dream like state of mind.
Finally Chrysanthea realized that the young foolish boy she had grown up next to was the talented young man she wanted to marry. She leaned over to Rosetheus and whispered in his ear a short poem her mother had taught her and then she kissed his cheek lightly. Rosetheus blushed once again and looked down at his feet, until Chrysanthea tilted his chin up and kissed him again.
Meanwhile on Mount Olympus, Aphrodite, sitting on her throne, watched Chrysanthea and Rosetheus closely. After all, she was the goddess of love.
Demeter walked up to Aphrodite slowly with a smile on her face and asked, “Aphrodite, who are you toying with now?”
“Oh, just two mortals in the forest village. The young man, Rosetheus, is sweet, and the young maiden, Chrysanthea, is beautiful and delicate. They are perfect,” Aphrodite sighed.
“I shall make both their gardens plentiful and fruitful. I believe that the girl prayed to me today,” Demeter exclaimed.
“This is a very special couple, Demeter. They must be married within the week!” Aphrodite commanded.
“I shall summon Hera at once. I shall have Persephone arrange a lovely bouquet of flowers and Dionysus will prepare the most exquisite wine. Poseidon shall make her all her jewelry and I shall call upon Athena to craft the most beautiful dress,” Demeter bubbled.
Demeter sprinted away and left Aphrodite to her duties of watching the two new lovebirds.
And so it was, Chrysanthea and Rosetheus were married in two days and two nights. Poseidon provided them with two horses to enjoy a few days alone.
Chrysanthea and Rosetheus rode down to the beach and stayed there together for three days and nights before they rode back to their awaiting village. The two were very happy together, but there was one small problem that developed, Rosetheus’s love for Aphrodite.
Aphrodite often haunted Rosetheus’s dreams and he often awoke sweating with her face engraved in his mind. Rosetheus finally rode off one day on his horse to a large, but quiet meadow on the forests edge. He called to Aphrodite.
For what seemed like hours Rosetheus kneeled in the meadow calling for Aphrodite until finally she came down. She looked confused at first, but as soon as she saw the pain and longing in his eyes she knew he was unhappy and wanted her love.
She asked no words of him, but Rosetheus spoke anyway, “Great Goddess Aphrodite, your enticing beauty haunts my dreams, leaving me empty without your love and only your face. Please I ask only one thing of you and I shall return home to my wife.”
Aphrodite returned his love and then returned to Mount Olympus as Rosetheus mounted his horse and rode home to Chrysanthea.
When Rosetheus arrived home he saw Demeter sitting on the floor with Chrysanthea holding her tightly and lovingly. Upon sight, Demeter unwound her arms from Chrysanthea and pointed hatefully at Rosetheus.
“Do you see the pain you have caused her?” She thundered, “Do you see her tears? Can you sense her fear? Does the look of her empty face make you even regret what you did?” Demeter did not let Rosetheus answer; she grabbed Rosetheus’s hands and pricked each fingertip deeply with her small dagger.
She went out back to Chrysanthea’s garden and grabbed Rosetheus by the wrists.
Each of Rosetheus’s bloodied fingers became a petal and his legs turned into a long, thick, green stem.
Chrysanthea ran out the door and around the house to her garden only to see a beautiful red flower in Demeter’s hand. Demeter handed it to her and she held it close to her face, letting it catch her salty tears.
Chrysanthea did not release the flower until she could cry no more. She handed the flower back to Demeter solemnly.
Demeter said to Chrysanthea, “Sweet child, I have made this flower for you, and for every tear you shed on it, there will be a thorn.”
“Thank you, dear Goddess, for this gift. But, please let me talk to him one last time,” Chrysanthea cried.
Demeter went back into the house to let Chrysanthea speak to her departed husband one last time.
“Rosetheus, Rosetheus, Rosetheus, Rosetheus,” Chrysanthea cried over and over again. “Rosetheus I loved you, I still do, and I always will. I forgive you and I wish to hear your music and your voice. I long to feel the soft skin of your hand in mine. Your forever-soft velvety petals will remind me of your beauty, but your thorns will always remind me of the pain of your love. Goodbye Rosetheus, I shall always love you, my dear.”
Chrysanthea slowly walked away from the garden to the warm embrace of Demeter.