Hi y'all. Well, I don't know most of you, but to those I do, long time, no see, huh? If you don't know me, I'm a dedicated member of this club and joined in May last year. I have a fanfic, Magic's Journey, but it is on hiatus until further notice. I have just been very busy for the past year to really do anything.
But here I am, just for a few minutes, though.
When we were doing the mythology unit in English (which on the test I was the only one in the grade to get a 100), we had an assignment to write an original myth and present it. I did mine alone, but there was an option to do it in partners. So this is my myth. I presented it with a red tissue paper flower I made and my paper literally rendered the class and Mrs. S speechless. I hope it has that effect on you.
The Story of Acacia
There is a beginning to every fantastic myth, and the beginning of this one starts with brothers Danaus and Aegyptus. King Danaus had fifty fair and polite princess daughters, and King Aegyptus had fifty handsome, ill-mannered prince sons. One day, Aegyptus and his sons came to Argos, Danaus’ kingdom, to claim the Dainades as their brides. However, Danaus did not want his lovely daughters marrying his brother’s rowdy brood, so he received the king and his princes warmly, for he did not want to break the laws of hospitality. But secretly he gave a sharp knife to each of his daughters with the assignment to kill their husbands on their first night of marriage as soon as they were alone. The daughters obliged, for they disliked their husband-to-be’s loud manner. Only one, the eldest, was not like his brothers. Lynceus was respectful towards his new bride, the beautiful Hypermnestra. On the night after the wedding, only forty-nine sons of Aegyptus were murdered. Hypermnestra fell in love with Lynceus and together they fled to another kingdom, where they lived happily ever after as king and queen. Hypermnestra’s sisters never married again, though they were purified by Hermes and Athena, for the thought terrified every man in the kingdom. And when they died, they were sentenced in Tartarus to fill a leaky bathtub with water to wash off their sins. In vain they did this for the rest of eternity, while Hypermnestra alone avoided punishment.
Acacia of Thebes was descended from the virtuous Hypermnestra and Lynceus, and she inherited Hypermnestra’s beauty. She was a very lovely girl. Her beauty attracted men from far and wide just to get a glimpse of her bright green eyes and curly locks of chestnut hair. Her widowed mother, Amaltheia, was very pleased with this. Her mother had always wanted to be rich and had big plans for her daughter. Amaltheia was very vain and hoped one day her daughter would marry into the royal family. However, Acacia was only interested in roaming the woods and hunting wild beasts. She had no desire to wed a wealthy stranger. She would come home proudly with a dead animal in hand while her mother would forcibly sit her at the loom or stove so she would learn the proper chores of a lady.
But foolish was her mother the day she boasted that Acacia was lovelier than even Aphrodite!
Acacia, fearing for Amaltheia’s and her own safety, she ran, swift as a deer, to the nearest altar to the Olympians. There, she sacrificed her latest kill and prayed to Aphrodite begging for her forgiveness. Aphrodite was just about to strike down the girl, for she could not have anyone competing with her beauty! But she smelled the scent of burnt offerings, and once again smiled down upon Acacia and her mother, though she thought all pretty girls should be married. Acacia was afraid that if she stayed with her mother that the bragging would continue.
The girl ran from the temple into the woods, never to be seen by the people of Thebes again.
Acacia had no idea where she was going when she fled the place of worship, but she soon found sanctuary with the nomadic Hunters of Artemis. She solemnly swore the oath of chastity, promising that she would never love a man. Acacia had no trouble fitting in with her quick running and hunting skills. She was very happy in the Hunt. Here, she could be with fleet-footed maidens who were alike her in many ways. In time, she even met Artemis herself. She was very impressed with Acacia, and challenged her to a footrace. Of course, no one can outrun a goddess. Artemis won, but Acacia wasn’t far behind. Artemis rewarded Acacia with the rank of Lieutenant Huntress for her fleetness of foot.
Meanwhile, in Thebes, Amaltheia was distraught. She blamed Aphrodite, saying she was responsible for taking her daughter away. Amaltheia accused her of eliminating those who were said to be prettier than her. She no longer thought highly of the goddess and openly invoked her name with curses. Now that her daughter was gone, her dreams of being part of the royal family of Thebes were crushed.
Aphrodite caught wind of this and her anger resurfaced. These petty mortals must be punished! How dare that woman, speaking of her like that! But it was not Amaltheia she would punish directly, but Acacia. Acacia was the one being compared to her and this was simply unacceptable. Aphrodite’s ultimate fear was that the people of Greece may actually believe that a mere mortal was prettier that she. So she called upon Eros, her mischievous little son better known by his Roman name, Cupid. She instructed Eros to shoot a golden arrow of love into Acacia’s heart, but a dull arrow of lead into the heart of Menacles, the prince of nearby Mycenae. Yes, Aphrodite thought, my plan will work nicely…
Eros did as he was told and zoomed to Mycenae on his feathery white wings. He loosed the arrows in the Mycenaean marketplace, where the Hunters were looking for new maidens to join the Hunt. Menacles was just passing through the plaza on his way to the mountains when Acacia’s eyes found him. Never had she seen anyone so handsome!
In the dead of night, while everyone was sleeping, Acacia stole to the mountain where Menacles was sleeping. He was a shepherd as well as a prince. Acacia entered his hut and woke him. She told Menacles that she loved him, but Menacles did not feel the same way. Menacles became frightened, for he knew she was a Hunter of Artemis and had sworn to never love. Fearing Artemis’ wrath, he fled, Acacia hot on his heels.
In the morning, Artemis discovered she was one Huntress short. Being the protectress of animals, she asked a flock of songbirds what had become of her missing companion. The birds told Artemis what Acacia had done. Furious that the sacred oath of chastity had been broken, Artemis sent a mad she-bear to gore Menacles. The bear slashed him with her deadly sharp claws and dealt many fatal blows. Menacles bled to death from his wounds, and his blood flowed into a river, which was renamed Erythropotamos, meaning “red river,” in memory of the young prince.
Artemis was now satisfied, but Aphrodite’s plan for revenge was not completed yet.
Acacia deeply mourned the loss of her love. She had now lost everything. She no longer had a family, not only with her mother, but with the Hunters as well. She wandered around in a sort of dazed, aimless state. She did not eat, nor did she drink. Acacia was there, but her mind was not. Her once luminous green eyes were now dull. Her chestnut hair lost its luster and faded to a blunt brown. She was on the brink of madness.
Acacia roamed through Greece without purpose, until she came to a gorge in the Sahara Desert in what is now Egypt. She did not want to suffer anymore. She made up her mind to jump, but when she looked down she knew she could not. Acacia prayed to Zephyr, the gentle West Wind, for help. Zephyr answered her call, but when he saw that such a beautiful maiden was planning to kill herself, he tried to sway her with sweet words not to and become his wife instead. Acacia told him her sad story, and Zephyr promised to quench Aphrodite’s thirst for vengeance. But Acacia would not listen to him. Her heart already belonged to another, and now that he was gone, there was nothing to live for. The god pleaded once more, but realized that his attempts were all in vain. With a heavy heart and a soft puff off air, Acacia was no more.
The West Wind grieved the death of the young maiden, and he created the acacia tree on the last place she stood above the ravine in memory of her. Acacia means “resurrection” and the tree shaded roads with its long branches in the desert as a reminder of Acacia’s tragic life. The acacia blooms are a fiery red that symbolizes the spilling of Acacia’s blood. But Aphrodite was not done. She cursed the flowers with thorns so none would dare to pick them.
Amaltheia received news of what had happened to her daughter and in her sadness hung herself. Acacia descended into the Underworld with Hermes, but she could not pay Charon, the greedy ferryman of the River Styx, because she died so suddenly. So she wandered the shores for one hundred years until she was able to cross the River of Hate. She passed Cerberus’ gnashing teeth and her fate was decided by the Judges of the Dead. Acacia drank from the River Lethe, the River of Forgetfulness, and forever fluttered as a transparent ghost in the Fields of Asphodel, not remembering her past life.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my tragedy. That's a touch morbid, don't you think?