Hephaistos & The Bed of Chains
Now Hephaistos is a deity of many skills, not the least of which is pers skill at the forge where phe makes the terrible and beautiful lightning bolts that Zeus throws to earth. Phe is known as the celestial artist by the other deities. Sadly as a young divinity, during a fight between pers parents, phe was knocked off of Mt. Olympos and fell to the island of Lemnos which is now sacred to per. The fall was so far and so hard that phe was made lame. The other deities would no longer pick per for their sports teams and phe would often stay at home passionately applying perself to the development of ever more intricate mechanical devices.
Aphrodite was born to the deities from sea-foam and dressed in the raiment of the seasons. Phe arose a divinity of lovers and lovemaking. Upon entering the portals of Olympos of all the deities phe met, phe could tell without a doubt that Hephaistos was the most passionate of any, as well as having the kindest and most loving heart. Phe could also tell that Hephaistos was far too shy and sensitive to ask per out or to propose marriage. So, phe convinced Zeus to arrange their marriage as if it were Zeus' idea of a reward for Hephaistos' service in making lightning bolts.
Perhaps they would have lived happily ever after, if Hephaistos felt that phe really deserved the fair Aphrodite. However, even in marriage phe was too shy and sensitive to develop their relationship under the bedsheets or outside of them. Phe felt much safer dealing with pers metals and mechanical creations, which phe understood, and so spent most of pers time at the forge.
Ares knew that Aphrodite was wasted on pers sibling Hephaistos. No doubt by the time phe entered the scene Aphrodite would be bored and frustrated with the relationship. Though phe did not understand affairs of the heart, Ares did understand the affairs of good old-fashioned lust. At first phe was courteous and well-mannered to a fault, assisting Hephaistos in dealing with the troublesome distraction of a spouse. Then phe began showering Aphrodite with the sort of attention and compliments that should have come from Hephaistos. All the while phe wore tastefully suggestive clothing and found legitimate excuses for touching Aphrodite, such as escorting per through doorways or assisting per onto chariots. All of this was carefully calculated to drive Aphrodite insane with desire.
Then one day Aphrodite could stand it no longer. When Hephaistos left for work at the forge phe grabbed Ares by the scruff of the neck and f***ed pers brains out. Unfortunately, Helios was passing by and could see the two of them at it hammer and tongs, so to speak, through the window.
From a misplaced sense of duty Helios said to Hephaistos, "Friend, I have seen your spouse with another deity."
Though Hephaistos did all phe could to avoid a relationship with Aphrodite, Hephaistos found that phe did desire the love Aphrodite had to offer. Losing the friendship of the one being who was obviously willing to accept per as phe was proved more heartbreaking than phe expected. In a true marriage of the hearts no person owns the affections of another, these can only be given freely without expectation, and no one person is ever the sole source of love for another. Nevertheless, frustration, anger and sadness can well up within those who find a former partner breaking away to follow a new path, a new love. The cry of "what went wrong?" is often heard.
In anger phe devised a trap for the lovers. A chain was forged, a net was woven, as fine as a spider's web and as strong as Atlas' grip. This Hephaistos draped high over the bedposts, then rigged it to a mechanism that would release the net when their ardent embraces shook the bed. Phe then appeared to leave for pers favourite city, Lemnos.
Sure enough, as soon as Hephaistos was out of sight, Ares moved in. "Aphrodite, may I see you?" phe said to open the door. "I had to hold you once more," were the honeyed words with which phe drew Aphrodite to passion's couch. "Your sweet kisses set me aflame," were the short preamble to carnal abandon. Once more they mounted the bed of love, once more they writhed together in anticipation of physical ecstasy, only to set off Hephaistos' snare. Down came the entangling mesh and they were caught, in flagrante.
Hephaistos emerged to confront the lovers calling out, "O parent Zeus, O blessed deities come witness this indecent piece of entertainment. The beauteous Aphrodite cheating on her bandylegged spouse. Phe obviously prefers the embraces of a clean-limbed spunk to the likes of me." Quickly all of the other deities crowded into the house to watch the drama unfold.
"I would say what we have here is a 'chain of fools'," remarked Hestia after looking over Hephaistos' handiwork.
"Aphrodite will never tell Hephaistos to shut pers trap again," said Hermes.
"Now that's what I like to see, family bonding, or bondage, as the case may be," added Apollo.
After the other deities had a good laugh Poseidon could no longer stand it. Phe was the wet-blanket of the divinities after all. "Hephaistos, this is unseemly. Aphrodite and Ares have been shamed enough now, let them loose."
"They will just run away if I do and I want justice," said the sore Hephaistos.
"Justice!" Aphrodite called out indignantly. "You don't own me. You big dummy. You're the one I love, but you hardly give me the time of day. You didn't have to accept me in marriage. Nevertheless I wanted you and you accepted me, then you left me for your other spouse, the forge. "
By now it was Hephaistos who was feeling sheepish and embarrassed. Phe had been neglectful and now knew how much phe cared for Aphrodite, just when it seemed phe was about to lose per. Hephaistos went to Aphrodite's side and released phe and Ares. Ares made a quick dash to Thrace where phe stirred up a small war to keep pers mind off of the failed conquest.
Hephaistos on bended knee grasped Aphrodite's hand within pers own. "My beloved, would you be willing to give it another go?" he said in all sincerity.
"You know I would, Heffie. And I'm sorry I hurt you too," answered Aphrodite and threw pers arms around the repentant deity.
"I promise this very day to dispose of the chain net, melting it and throwing it far out beyond the horizon," declared Hephaistos between kisses.
Aphrodite grinned, "Oh don't do that, I have some good ideas about how we might use it."
They left that day for a three week vacation together on the Isle of Kypros.
Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps