A Bawdy Tale

Like many of the best diviners and nearly all of the best harpers, Demodokus was blessed with a sense of humour. Being able to view time in the same way that others view space requires the stability that comes from seeing the amusing side of things.

Human existence, if taken too seriously, can be heartbreaking. But with the light laughter of compassion, moments can be savoured, days enjoyed and a lifetime culminated with a sense of well-being and fulfillment. Lesser diviners are often more lauded, because of the grand and sweeping drama with which they paint the future. Like a roller coaster ride or a horror story, they titilate people with moments of fear and excitement. However, diviners like Demodokus inspire facing the world with good-humour and self-confidence. They are held in love not dreadful awe within people's hearts.

Demodokos was a favourite fixture of Queen Arete and King Alkinoos' household, drawing many people simply to hear him sing and tell stories. On this festal day like any number of other days people gathered around him to join in the early fun. Later he would be asked by the king to recite heroic events requiring a sombre telling.

"Has anyone heard the story," asked Demodokos, "Of Hephaistos and The Bed of Chains?"

"No!" the people replied, though fully one half had, but were happy to hear it again.

Demodokos casually strummed a few notes on his harp. "Then either I'm going senile thinking I recognise many of you, or you are." The crowd chuckled. "All right then, Hephaistos and The Bed of Chains it is."

Hephaistos & The Bed of Chains

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps