All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Gift of Knowledge
The Gift of Knowledge
In the vast, rolling hills and towering mountains of Greece, there laid a small village by the name of Mythos. Mythos was a quiet, peaceful town where almost nobody could be seen on the streets during the day. At the time when the mighty god, Apollo, raised his glowing staff towards the sky, the town seemed deserted. It was if the whole town was dead. If you were to walk around the town during the day, an eerie silence would surround you. The only sound you would be able to hear would be the minute whispers of the Keeper of the Winds, Aeolus. But once Apollo was at rest, the sky would turn a radiant black, filled with twinkling stars and a shining, pale white moon. Only then would the town awake.
The people of Mythos were sometimes titled, “The Night Walkers”, for night to them was day and day, was in fact, night. With the moon high in the sky, the small, quiet village became a bustling city, filled to the brink with people of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Among these people were two, young loves, Kiron and Metis. Kiron and Metis were not your average people. They were quite an odd, peculiar couple. They lived their life in secret and, at times, they were no where to be found. It was if they had disappeared off of the face of the Earth. And yet, they were kind people, who were open to help anybody.
Now, Kiron and Metis had a special gift: they knew everything about anything. When the light of the brilliant Greek sun flickered out, they came out onto the streets of Mythos and taught the villagers, for most of them were too poor to attend school. To the town of Mythos, which had no specific leaders, Kiron and Metis were the high nobles; the villagers guides.
Kiron and Metis were happy and content with their lives. They had almost everything they had ever wanted: a small cottage by the lake, a good, stable fortune, and a powerful, immense love for one another. Their lives were seemingly perfect. Except for one thing. The couple so wished for a child. Night and day, they sat by the window, praying to the gods for what they wanted most. The gods and goddesses soon heard these pleas and were ready to respond.
Now, the almighty god, Zeus, was particularly pleased with Kiron and Metis. In fact, they were his favorite mortals. Zeus had important plans for Kiron and Metis. As they grew older each day, Zeus wondered what would happen to them in the afterlife. This couple deserved more than the cold, lonely life of a wandering soul; doomed to be with Hades for all of eternity, never to shine their brilliant light on the world again. Oh no, Zeus did not want such a life for Kiron and Metis. They deserved a greater life than that; a life as good as the gods.
Zeus feared that the inner depression of the young couple would ruin their chances of the magnificent afterlife that he hoped for them. Compelled by fear, Zeus was forced to bestow a baby onto the couple.
Now, this baby would be different than any average, ordinary infant. The baby, a young boy, would be a perfect infant: nice, handsome, likeable and, not to mention, intelligent. And, after Zeus’ work was done, he waited for nine long months. But his long wait finally paid off, for on the second day of the second month, the little baby boy was born into the world. Zeus watched from the high heaven above at the tiny baby in the woman’s arms; a baby with charcoal black curls, emerald green eyes that sparkled in the dim light of the moon and pale, white skin. The infant was named Solon, the Greek name which meant wise.
The town rejoiced and celebrated that first night at the little baby’s birth. Fireworks bursted into the black sky, chorus of laughter and singing filled the streets, and the people danced the night away. The baby’s birth brought happiness and joy to the town. The people believed that nothing could go wrong. But what can go wrong, will go wrong.
Less than a week later, Metis was found dead in bed; cold, pale, and lifeless. Kiron, who was also a doctor, had come to the conclusion that Metis had contracted an infection from her incisions at child birth. For, you see, in the time that Kiron and Metis lived, there was no remedy for an infection. It was a miracle if you were to live but not surprising if you were to die. For five days and five nights, the heavens seemed to weep along with Kiron. The loss was tragic; a scar that would be left on Mythos for a long, long time.
But time goes on. Months passed and the town partially healed; just enough to recover from the loss. And as each day went by, young Solon grew. Soon, he was old enough to walk and talk and could speak to people in complete sentences; a skill not learned by most infants until the age of 3. At night, when the moon shined its magnificent light upon the town, you could find Solon with Kiron. Together, they taught the town as father and son. Zeus watched on the highest cloud, proud of his creation. On his right hand side sat a joyous Metis, who was watching her son grow every day
The days went by quickly and each day, Solon grew taller, muscular, and, above all, smarter. He was soon smarter then even his father. But as Solon grew older, so did Kiron. It had come to the time when Kiron was no longer physically and mentally able to teach the villagers of Mythos. And so, Kiron passed the duty of the grand teacher to his son, who was eagerly waiting for this moment since he first started to help his father many years ago. Solon, now the age of 22, accepted the job with high hopes of becoming the greatest teacher that Mythos had ever seen.
The next night, once the darkness fell upon the small village, Solon stood at the center of the town, awaiting his first students. Just as he expected, the people of Mythos arrived in large numbers to be taught by their new teacher, as like any other night. Soon, the whole town gathered in the town center every night to hear the wise words of their great and noble teacher, Solon.
The town envied the young man. He was their king, their teacher, their guide. But with envy comes a great expense to pay. All of the praise the villagers gave Solon was now going to his head. He believed he was the smartest man in all of Greece. One night, a single question changed the course of Solon’s life, for the worse.
The crowds flocked into the town square just as any other night. The torches that lit the streets flickered in the darkness of the night. When Solon entered the square, the crowds cheered, causing the whole town to echo with sound. Solon raised his hand and waved to the town, then beckoned the villagers to come forward.
“Hello, fellow citizens of the great town of Mythos. On this beautiful spring night, I
bring to you a surprise. For tonight, I shall accept your questions. Ask me anything
and I shall have an answer.”
A young man in the audience by the name of Euphrates, was the first to ask a question; the only question of the night.
“Oh, great Solon!” he shouted over the loud noise of the townsfolk. In an instance, the villagers silenced. The only sound to be heard was the dripping of water from a nearby tap.
“Yes, Euphrates?” Solon responded, awaiting the question that would be presented.
“Is it true that you are smarter than your father, Kiron?”
Solon thought for only a second, and then answered the question.
“Ha!” he laughed loudly. “I am smarter than the peasant who is my father! He is a
great fool and knows nothing! I am smarter than him! In fact, I am smarter and
wiser than even the gods themselves!”
The last sentence that Solon spoke was a dreaded mistake, for those words were screamed up to the heavens. It rung in the great Zeus’ ears, pounding against his head, filling him with fury and anger. He yelled a deep, furious roar that shook the palace in which he stood. The sky filled with flashing, bright lightning and rolling thunder. Outside the grand marble palace, the clouds turned an ugly grey and rain poured down upon the village of Mythos, soaking all who dared to stand outside.
Zeus, once calmed down from his loud, dangerous outburst, collected himself and told his servant to fetch his son Hermes.
Hermes was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene. His mother, the Pleiade Maia, was the eldest daughter of the Titan, Atlas. She was the most beautiful and shyest of her seven sisters. Her sister and herself were pursued by Orion and were turned into pure white doves to protect their safety. Zeus was awed by Maia’s immense beauty, and, in the dead of night, secretly begot Hermes upon Maia.
After giving birth to the infant, Maia fell asleep, and, the rapidly maturing Hermes, crawled away to Thessaly, where by nightfall of his first day on Earth, he stole Apollo’s cattle and invented the lyre. Zeus assigned the young one the job of messenger of the gods. Not only was Hermes the messenger, but also the god of trickery; a cunning, young fellow from the day he was born.
Upon hearing his father calling, Hermes rushed to the Kingdom of the Heavens. Zeus slightly smiled as he saw his son, but still, he was full of rage.
“Come forth, Hermes.” He bellowed in his deep voice. Hermes took a step towards his father and bowed in respect.
“I have a job to assign you. For you see, a while back, I bestowed a baby onto my
favorite mortal couple. They named the infant Solon. I molded him with my own
hands; a perfect baby indeed. I saw greatness and potential in the young boy. I gave
him the gift of knowledge, and today, he abused that gift. Today, Hermes, he
proclaimed himself smarter than you and I and the rest of the gods.”
Hermes gasped as he heard his fathers words, and he, too, filled with anger.
“What can I do, father?” he asked.
“Ah, good question, my boy. For I was going to ask what you can do for me.”
A devious smile appeared upon Hermes face. He walked up to his father and leaned into him. He then started to whisper his plan into Zeus’ ear. When Hermes finished, Zeus laughed and replied:
“Go for it.”
After the storm had cleared up and once again, Apollo’s brilliant light shone in the air, Hermes flew down from the heavens, prepared to begin his task. He landed in the wide open green meadow. The morning dew sparkled like diamonds in the sunlight and daisies tickled his bare legs. He could not approach the town yet, for all the villagers were still asleep in these daylight hours. And so, the young god sat and waited in the meadow, eager for the sun to lower behind the mountains.
Soon, after a long days wait, the sky turned black and Hermes could hear, in the distant village of Mythos, the chattering of many people. Hermes, with a snap of his finger, transported himself into the crowded town and searched for the only man he was looking for: Solon. Finally, he spotted the black curls and pale skin of Solon’s head. In a loud cry, Hermes shouted:
Solon quickly jerked his head to the left and before his eyes grew wide, he was transported out of Mythos into the daisy meadow, now shrouded by the darkness of night. Hermes landed in the field along side Solon, a sly smile spread across his face. Once Solon took in his surroundings, he turned to the god, who, though younger than himself, stood about a foot taller, looking almost like a giant.
“Who… Who… Who are you?” he stuttered nervously.
“Who am I, you ask? Well, I am Hermes, the son of the great god Zeus and the
beautiful Pleiade, Maia, messenger of gods, and let alone, a god myself.”
He stood up proudly, and though the meadow was pitch black, you could see a faint, golden glow of light surrounding the young god. Solon stared in awe and amazement.
“Why have you come?” Solon asked, puzzled by this unexpected event. Hermes merely smiled and replied:
“I am here to assign you an important task. For you see, my father’s prized lightning
bolt was stolen. If you are to find it, you shall be rewarded beyond your wildest
Solon’s eyes widened and he nodded.
“I accept the task.”
“Good. Now listen carefully, for if you miss a step, it may lead to your death. First...”
Solon did not listen to Hermes. He knew all that was needed and did not require any help. He yawned from boredom once Hermes was finished.
“Did you get all of that?”
“Ah, yes, I did. Now, can I begin my task? Dawn will be approaching soon.”
“You may begin…..”
There was a moment silence and then Solon felt a tugging at his shirt. He was lifted into the air and started to spin around and around.
“Now!” shouted Hermes and Solon disappeared. Hermes work was done… for now.
When Solon reappeared, he landed in an unfamiliar place; a jungle filled with vine and trees as tall as building themselves. The green canopies of trees surrounded him and he heard the noises of various animals all around him. Solon was tentative at first about the task but then, as if the gods could make it any easier, Solon saw the bright golden yellow glow of the lightning bolt in the distance.
Not knowing what he was leading himself into, Solon trudged through the jungle towards the beacon of light. The thorns on the vines scratched his toga as he clambered through the green but he kept on going, for he intended on getting the lighting bolt, in turn for the magnificent prize. Sooner than later, Solon was only inches away from the prize. He could almost feel its immense power in his hand. The radiant glow from the lighting bolt was blinding and tiny sparks of electricity twirled around the bolt, as if they were dancing. Solon outstretched his arms and grasped his hand around the stick of electricity. But as soon as he touched it, he heard a menacing laughter. Solon dropped the lighting bolt, sending sparks of electricity everywhere when it hit the cold, muddy ground. His mouth opened to scream in fear as a woman with snakes as hair appeared before him; a gorgon known only as Medusa. Solon stared into the red slits of eyes on her face and almost immediately, Solon felt himself stiffening. He looked down at his body, only to see that grey, rough stone was covering it. In less than a minute, Solon had turned into a statue and Medusa disappeared. The jungle was silent, other than the occasional squeaking, squealing, and growls of animals.
Hermes appeared hours later and once he saw the grey, hard stone figure of Solon, he broke out into laughter. With a flick of his fingers, Solon turned back into his human self. A look of embarrassment and shame was on his face and tears ran down his cheeks.
“This is your punishment, Solon. You have angered the gods with your proclamation of being wiser than us. As we can see,” He pointed at Solons feet, which were still made with stone, “that has been proved wrong. You may not return to Mythos, for you have been banished. Other than that, my work here is done.”
And in a flash, Hermes disappeared, leaving Solon alone. For once, Solon listened to someone other than himself, for he did not dare to return to his hometown of Mythos. Embarrassed by the failing of his task, Solon fled to the high mountains of Greece, where the snow capped tops touched the heavens. There, he hid in a cave, never to be seen, or heard from, again.
After a couple of months of seeing young Solon sad, depressed, and lonely, Zeus decided to step in. Now Zeus, even though still enraged, felt horrible for him. He consulted with Kiron and Metis, both together in the afterlife now, to decide on what to do with Solon. Finally, the three came to a valid decision and Zeus, lightning bolt in hand, changed Solon into a creature with a shell, a green body, and stubby arms and legs; an animal in which we call today a turtle. The next time you see a turtle, it might just be Solon, a wise man who still hides embarrassed with shame in his shell everyday.