Mariah Matthews

Mariah Matthews


("Myth is not a distortion of fact, but the womb through which fact must come.", Jane Roberts, THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE NATURE OF MASS EVENTS)


I love Mythology, always have, can't remember when I didn't. My name is Mariah Matthews. I live in the USA, and this blog is about a novel that I'm currently writing, working title: : MYTHS OF HELICON MOUNTAIN.

07 September, 2008



The traders began to leave, returning to their camps. A few stayed, lingering in private conversations; among them, Pholus and his brother Eurytus.

“You brought more silver than usual,” Oncus remarked to Pholus.

“Yes. I understood that a company of Bithynians would attend your fair this year. I hoped to trade with them for a sample of their metal.”

“The Bithynians? You mean the iron smelters of Bear Mountain. No one said anything to me about that!” 

“Better not traffic with the likes of them!” King Erich, about to leave with his son, cautioned.  “Even Chione and Cleopatra’s people stay clear of Bear Mountain. The men there are fierce and cruel. They have no respect for the sun or the moon, or even the dawn. They worship the fire that burns inside their mountain and use it to melt the ore that’s there in abundance.”

“What things do they make with their ore?” Pholus asked.

“Clubs and daggers and they use them to maim each other. I’ve yet to see a useful thing come from there, but I have seen men with their eyes blinded by fire and their tongues cut out to prevent them from showing the way to the mines.”

“That’s disappointing,” Pholus muttered. 

“You can always trade your extra silver for one of Prince Maenalus’s pretty daughters,” young Tros joked.

Maenalus who tarried there also and overheard saw nothing humorous in the remark. “Contain yourself, you simple rogue,” he responded. “My personal misfortune is not for sport!”

King Erich’s eyes narrowed. Eurytus, a champion of the young, came to the rescue. “The boy meant nothing by it, Maenalus. Consider it a compliment. I’d trade my finest horse for one of your beautiful daughters!” 

Pholus pinched his lower lip thoughtfully. “My brother makes more sense than he realizes,” he said, pointing his finger in Maenalus’s direction. “You aren’t the only one embarrassed by a willful child, Maenalus. As you may have noticed, my son Hippomenes—who should be here—is not. He’s somewhere else, no doubt flirting with a young woman and hoping to seduce her before the night is over. It occurs to me that if he met the right young woman, someone as lovely as your youngest daughter, he might settle down.”

Maenalus bristled. “What are you suggesting: that I’d trade my daughter for a horse?” 

“Call it a gift. I speak plainly enough. Young women cannot resist my son! What do you imagine would happen if we brought him and your daughter together?” 

“She’s in Macedonia and refuses to come home.” 

“So I’ve heard. Let us go there together; you and I, and speak to their King about my games.”

“What games?” 

“The games I intend to hold on my land along the Peneius River. Surely, as their champion, your daughter will be expected to represent the Macedonians, and if Hippomenes fails to gain her affection I’ll give you a horse anyway and throw in a second one for good measure.” 

“I have no use for horses,” Maenalus mumbled . . . warming to the challenge. 

“Silver, then . . . , name your price!” 

“Three times what you paid for oil this year,” Maenalus answered and, surprised by this turn of conversation, the other men looked on.

“A deal," Pholus replied and called upon those present to witness the agreement.  The men started making wagers on the side and Eurytus even offered a silver goblet to the man who came closest to guessing the birth date of Hippomenes and Atalanta’s first offspring.  

To Oncus, there was something unseemly about all this . He left the clearing with an uneasy feeling, but when he reached his wife's house a matter of more importance confronted him.   “It's Oleia!” his wife cried in despair. “She’s missing; she’d been gone all night! Someone said they saw her with Hippomenes and they were on their way up to the springs to see the mark of Pegasus.” 

With the memory of the crude remarks spoken in the clearing about Maenalus's daughter in mind and the thought that these same men might soon be making bets about his daughter and laughing behind his back, Oncus hurried up the trail to Oraea Springs. To his great relief, he met Oleia and young Hippomenes returning.  Seeing him, Oleia ran to him and exclaimed: “Father, we found the mark of Pegasus in the rock, and it's the same mark that Hippomenes's horse makes, just as Ortelochus said it was!" 

The excitement in her voice seemed innocent enough. Never-the-less, Oncus advised his wife: “Keep her away from Pholus's son while the Centaurs are here. Pholus has other plans for that lad!" 

From then on, Oncus and his wife accompanied Oleia almost everywhere, seldom letting her out of their sight, until Pholus gathered up his family, his oil, his extra silver, and the horse, and left Mount Helicon.

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