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Beauty Visibly Surpassed
Prince Adrastos had everything the gods could offer: fresh vegetation surrounded him, musical pipes played their melodies while the gods sang through the wind that traveled over the Mediterranean Sea, lovely Cocus flowers bloomed everywhere around him. It was striking, but it wasn’t enough. The drink of wine given from the god Dionysus could not quench his thirst and the wool cloak placed gently over his shoulders could not keep him warm. Even while watching the White Stork sore over the Caucasus Mountains, he could not feel harmony; only a divine longing to love a beautiful maiden and have her love in return.
Having known in his heart his true devotion, he asked Eros, the god of love and desire, to help him find a wife. Unexpectedly, Adrastos heard something from the near by forest. In the distance, a fawn emerged quickly onto his path. Adrastos extended his arm for his dagger, attached aloofly from his hip, startled by the sudden movements disturbing his prayer. A hand grasped his; not firmly, but gentle. He turned and saw who the hand belonged to and fell directly to the ground, finding himself on his knees.
“Eros,” he said, unable to match the gaze of the magnificent being that stood before him.
The god’s massive strength was of no comparison to his own.
“You seek my help, Prince Adrastos. Are you not happy with what the gods have to offer you already?”
“I am, but there is one thing I have not yet in my possession.”
“And what is it you seek most in this world my dear Prince?”
While a crestfallen expression took over his face, Adrastos finally met Eros’s gaze.
“The love of a beautiful maiden.”
The air was moist and sweat tickled the spine of Adrastos’ back. The mountains were quiet and still. The trees danced with the wind while the leaves scattered across the Earth’s surface. Eros released himself from Adrastos, moving swiftly to the edge of the mountain; it appeared as though he was gliding across the surface.
“I will help you, but I warn you…human suffering springs from unmanageable desire. Unless one frees themselves from the grasp of greed, one will not free themselves from the prison of sorrow.”
He looked back at Adrastos with a penetrating glare.
“ Remember this my Prince, greed is a fat demon with a small mouth that can never get enough. All I ask is for you to appreciate what you chose; learn to look beyond what lays in front of you.”
“I swear.” said Adrastos.
“Very well then. Be on your way.”
With the sound of the wind, Adrastos lifted his head and all he could see in the path was the fawn that was birthed from the forest earlier before. He then arose to his feet; the winds had died and the air was calm. He felt boastful about what lay ahead in his future and he started his journey home.
Adrastos found himself lingering through the woods. His sandals dug deep into the loose, moist soil. The cold and steady atmosphere sent a sharp pain to his skin; the days had never seemed so dreary to him. With every step he took, the air grew colder.
He spotted a woman in the distance. Long, ebony hair hung lifelessly down her back. Her pearly skin looked as if she were carved from stone. Her laughter pierced through the atmosphere making Adrastos’s knees buckle. Having never seen a woman so mesmerizing, he was captivated by her alluring beauty; so he stepped closer.
Staring at her was like being touched gently on the shoulder by the god Thanatos; therefore, just one gentle touch is all it would take to stop his heart from beating.
Her icy blue eyes met with his.
“You seem to be pretty far from home wouldn’t you say Prince?”
Adrastos was caught by surprise. The sound of her voice left a warm feeling in the air. It made his blood boil and dance beneath his skin.
“I was just passing by my lady, I am…” he was cut off unexpectedly.
“I know who you are.”
As he drew nearer he lost his breathe. Based on her graceful behavior she had to have been one of the Charite Goddesses.
“My name is Danai.”
The words protruded from her mouth as if they were a song she was singing. Her eyes were hidden from her thick eyelashes. She appeared so innocent to him. Adrastos now stood in arms length from her. Never before has he felt so at peace. He knew she was the one he’d wanted to marry. He reached out a gentle hand towards Danai.
“Would you like to accompany me back to the village?”
She placed her silky soft hand in his without hesitation. No sign of uncertainty was in her gaze. She was so trusting. They continued on their journey back together.
When they reached Adrastos’s palace, he announced to his family his love for Danai and that they wish to be married. His father approved and arrangements were made; they were to be married that night.
Adrastos stepped onto the balcony linked with his bedroom. The night stood still, the sky was clear, and was lit with bright stars as if the gods themselves were looking down on him. He felt a hand touch him on the shoulder warmheartedly.
“Eros,” he said as he bowed before his god.
“I see you have found a maiden to take as your wife.” Eros’ voice was in a mischievous tone.
“There is only one thing I want you to do before you are certain about your decision.”
“What’s that my lord?”
Eros chuckled under his breathe as if he were planning something.
“I want you to kiss her.”
“Certainly my lord.”
Adrastos felt uncertain and worried about what Eros was planning, but he did it anyway. He looked Danai deep into her eyes and locked his lips with hers. He could hear the musical pipes playing their melodies while the gods sang through the wind that traveled over the sea. The smell of Cocus flowers that bloomed around him was sensational. He felt as if he had everything he ever needed, but when he opened his eyes he felt otherwise.
Danai’s hair was gnarly, greasy, and stuck to her skin. Her eyes were slightly drooping down her once perfect face. Adrastos took a step back and was disgusted from the hideousness that stood before him. Danai expressed with a worried voice…
“What’s wrong my love?”
Adrastos shouted and yelled for her to leave. She was then dragged out of the palace with tears streaming down her face; pleading and begging to know why he suddenly does not love her. The next day Prince Adrastos found a new woman to make his wife, Roxanni. She was stunningly attractive. She wore golden jewels and her appearance offered contrasting colors to the eye. Eros’s brother, Anteros, was furious with Adrastos’ actions.
The night of Adrastos’ wedding, his wife appeared as Danai did: haggard, gnarly hair, and missing teeth. Anteros approached Adrastos from the opposite side of the room. He shoved him onto the balcony to look down on the woman he cast out of his palace the day before. Adrastos saw her now; her beauty visibly unsurpassed. She was as beautiful as the Goddess Aphrodite herself. Her dazzling white body twinkled in the moons rays.
Adrastos heard Eros’s gentle voice at his side.
“Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth that can never get enough.”