Rhys Hughes takes us through Greek mythology with his own brand of humour blending the past and the present
1 When Bellerophon saw a unicorn upon his lawn he was somewhat disappointed. “I have no wish to make a fuss,” is what he said, “but this is the day appointed for me to receive a visit from Pegasus instead.” 2 Hydras are bad in Hyderabad or so Hercules has heard. Needless to say he therefore plans to go there gladly on Pegasus Airlines but not before he goes to Goa because he badly needs a holiday. What a legendary chap! 3 In order to earn money as well as learn something, while writing her thesis on Theseus, Ariadne works as a guide to sightseers and gives them a Minotaur of the famous labyrinth. 4 Sovereign of dolphins, king of the waves, the god of the sea makes bubbles without any trouble when he plays the flute as he bathes. And jazz in the oceanic jacuzzi is cosy and groovy but the melody is unfamiliar to you. Yet I can name Neptune in one. 5 There’s a Zeus loose about this house, his thunderbolts will cook your goose, assuming that you are unlucky enough to have one. But even if you don’t, when you hear him stir, it’s better to duck! 6 Simple arithmetic ought to be taught in the schools that heroes go to, so they will know, without any doubt, that one minus one equals nought. The stealing of the Golden Fleece celebrated with a premature feast in the near vicinity of the daring theft adds up only to trouble. Sail away first before slaking your thirst, sail far from the hostile nation. But enraptured by wine and more potent brews Jason plus crew (that fiery few) are captured and thrown into jail. While serving time, forget the blue sea, remember instead all that you learned about subtraction and count down the years, one minus one equals nought, a free Argonaut… and that is the sum of this tale. 7 Atlas, holding up the sky, looks and sees aeroplanes flying by around his head and through his legs, the passengers respectful to his massive thighs but oblivious of his giant sighs. 8 Pan in the kitchen clattering pots and chopping boards. What’s the god of nature doing indoors? He’s frying so hard to be a domesticated chap, that’s what! A non-stick goatish do gooder with a skillet skill set. 9 Prometheus on the promenade walking in the shade of trees no longer gives away anything to humanity for free, not even lemonade: those days are over. Now he hopes to make money and only offers his fire for hire. 10 Socrates was such a tease in the market square. He doubted this and questioned that until some people had had enough. They felt he mocked their authority and in a cup of hemlock they turned a key, the skeleton key of his mortality. 11 While the rock goes up his socks fall down. Poor Sisyphus! When the rock rolls down his socks are quite forgot. Mighty but mild Sisyphus! As the moon goes up his efforts are with moonlight flooded thus. Don’t make a fuss, old Sisyphus! 12 A cyclops is like a bicycle headlamp coming the other way. We meet them on country roads at night when we are cycling far away. “How do you do?” we always ask as we zoom past very fast, but they never deign to reply. They just hiss and wink darkness back to life and softened by gloom or the glow of the moon they become rather more beautiful. Now there’s a cyclops for sore eyes! 13 Icarus upstairs on the omnibus. His wings were things that fell apart. Some people fly for business, others for sport: But since his accident Icarus finds that he prefers public transport.
Rhys Hughes has lived in many countries. He graduated as an engineer but currently works as a tutor of mathematics. Since his first book was published in 1995 he has had fifty other books published and his work has been translated into ten languages.
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