Paraphrase a Myth: Hades and Persephone

Welcome to the first post of my new blog! I am so glad you made it. 🙂

I have decided to begin with a story from Greek mythology. If you make it to the end of this post or read my “About” section, you will see how my blog got its name and what I hope to do here.

But for now…

The story of Hades and Persephone has it all.

Motherly love. Innocence. Desire. Dominance & Abduction. Pursuit. Trickery. Consequence. Legality & Compliance.

The more I look at the story, the more I see. It is one of many thousands of stories that can teach a lesson while prickling the imagination. Here is my retelling of the myth.

Demeter and her beloved daughter Persephone went out for the day. While Demeter ran her daily errands of checking crops, Persephone went to play with the naiads near the water. She saw something that caught her interest: a narcissus flower. It was beautiful. She went to pluck it, but her friends could not accompany her. When she had finally pulled it loose, which took a great deal of effort, considering that it was planted by Gaia, a dark hole expanded in the ground. It got large enough that Persephone fell through.

One poor naiad tried and failed to help Persephone; she was reduced to a puddle of tears. The abduction was all part of Hades’ plan. He claimed his prize and stole Persephone away to the underworld.

The livid Demeter turned all remaining naiads into sirens. Then she begged Helios, the god of the sun, for answers. She discovered that it was her brother Hades who had kidnapped Persephone. In her despair, crops had died and nothing could be harvested. Zeus intervened.

Hades was forced to relinquish Persephone from his kingdom, but she had made a mistake. By force or temptation, she had eaten the seeds of a pomegranate. The seeds she consumed represented the time she would spend in the underworld each year, reigning as Hades’ wife. Each year at their parting, Demeter became so grief-stricken that again, no crops could grow or be harvested until her daughter’s return.

This story inspired me to think about how two small, trivial actions on Persephone’s part rewrote her entire fate. She uprooted the narcissus flower, and she ate the pomegranate seeds. It makes me wonder how many small, trivial actions rewrite my own fate.

More importantly, the tale of Persephone would have been buried long ago if story-tellers had not shared it. Herein lies the magic of story-telling.

“Such Small Seeds” is my place to practice the magic of story-telling.  There will be fun writing exercises (because even when you have graduated from school two times over, you still can’t help but go back), stories and quotes, Top 5 Wednesday book lists, and anything else that quenches my reading and writing itches. I hope to become a better writer here, and if you find my challenges useful or interesting, you are welcome to join!

The Challenge: Read several different versions of a familiar myth. Without referring back, tell the myth in your own words. What details did you include? What did you leave out? Do these choices reflect how you found meaning in the story?

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Looking forward to reading posts below!

Cited
“Kyane”, by Ignazio Lo Verde at http://www.bestofsicily.com/mag/art311.htm
“Rape of Perspephone” by Apollodorus and “Rape of Persephone” a Homeric hymn at http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/HaidesPersephone1.html
“The Myth of Hades and Persephone” at https://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com/myth-of-hades-and-persephone/
Image by NatasaIlinic at http://www.deviantart.com/

Download a display version of the writing prompt here: suchsmallseeds-worksheet-retell-a-myth

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3 thoughts on “Paraphrase a Myth: Hades and Persephone”

  1. This sounds so interesting! I wrote my own version of the Hades and Persephone myth some time ago, on my blog. I changed some bits, but one thing is true – I gave it the meaning I wanted the myth to have, even thought it might not.

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    1. That rocks. I would *love* to read it! (An asterisk and an exclamation point? Is clearly not just saying that.) Do you have it up on your blog still? Send me the link!

      Like

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