The Oak Chest by Abigail Morris
Long before the luxuries of modern marvels, life was simple and hard. Slave girls, Adonia and Dorise, began their morning ritual of chores by making greek pots for their masters. Adonia was a slender, dark complected girl with blonde hair. Dorise, slightly taller possessed the same beauty. Adonia and Dorise were both dedicated to their Greek roots. Adonia believed in strength and wisdom, thus, worshiped the god Athena. Dorise choose water over land and paid tribute to the god Poseidon. Even though Athena and Poseidon were sworn rivalries, Adonia and Dorise were the best of friends.
While their early morning tasks baked in the harsh golden sun, Adonia and Dorise decided to cool off in the crisp cool water. After washing off the black and orange pottery paint, “let’s go on a walk”, Adonia suggested. “Sure, can we take this path? I don’t remember seeing it here before,” questioned Dorise.
Strolling down the dusty path, Adonia and Dorise stumbled upon a peculiar stone. Adonia reached down, “this looks out of place”, she said. The oddly shaped piece of mason was smooth and strange. Dorise spoke up, “this color is unnatural and almost mesmerizing”. BANG! The stone exploded and silvery dust burst everywhere. When the air cleared, there was a figure standing in a cloak of light from the sun before them.
“Hello, I am Hestia, the Goddess of hearth and home”, the silver figure explained. Looking down upon Adonia and Dorise, Hestia spoke, “I have been waiting so long for someone to find my stone and that will retrieve my precious oak chest. I do have a favor to ask”.
“Y-y-yes my lady.” Adonia said.
“I need you to retrieve my oak chest from high above on Mount Olympus”, Hestia said with remorseful sigh. “The all powerful Zeus wont let me back into Mount Olympus since I gave up my seat for Dionysus,” Hestia said. “Dionysus is not only the god of wine, he is not the beloved favorite son of Zeus”, Hestia continued. “Zeus has never forgiven me”, Hestia whispered to herself.
“Yes, my lady, we will do it” Adonia told her. Adonia was thinking of Athena and how Athena would never back down out of challenge. Dorise calculated to herself what tools they may need for their journey, whether it is on land or by sea.
Hestia engaged Adonia and Dorise on a quest. In order to exchange her oak chest, Adonia and Dorise needed to pick one of the juicy golden apples from the hidden groves that surrounded the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a huge stone building dedicated to honor the goddess Athena in Athens. The apple groves are a safely locked away in secret. In order to find the hidden grove they would need to answer Athena’s riddle. If they failed by answering incorrectly, Adonia and Dorise would never return. After a moment of deep reflection, Adonia and Dorise accepted Hestia’s quest.
Adonia and Dorise were very aware of the jealousy among the gods on Mount Olympus. The greeks knew when Zeus was angry from the rainstorms that washed out their lands. Poseidon had a temperament to destroy fishing vessels. Even Hades, who rarely entered Mount Olympus, had a tendency to open the ground just for fun. The slave girls decide they would not tell Athena of Hestia’s quest for fear of recourse or even death.
Traveling the long treacherous route across Greece, Adonia and Dorise walked down many winding roads until they reached the Parthenon in Athens. Athens,named after the greek goddess of wisdom-Athena, sat high upon a mountain top. Adonia and Dorise approached the massive stone gate with apprehension. The gates were solid and still with a golden stone lock in front. The trees beyond were twigs with wilted leaves. “I don’t see any trees with large juicy golden apples”, exclaimed Dorise. “Maybe we were tricked by the gods”, Dorise continued. “Do we need a stone key? Sometimes we can’t see the truth with our eyes” proclaimed Adonia. At that moment Athena appeared to them, “hungry?”, she said in a coy manner.
Adonia and Dorise knew once they met the goddess, there was no turning back. Knowing that Athena was very wise and she could not be tricked into giving them one of her beloved juicy apples, the slave girls approach cautiously. Adonia and Dorise began their encounter by complimenting Athena on her wisdom and beauty. Adonia impressed Athena by her own knowledge of Athena’s history of quests. Athena was delighted to have met someone who worshipped her for her talents and not just her beauty. Feeling comfortable, like she had made a new friend, Adonia asked Athena if they could have just one of her juicy golden apples.
The idea of owning two new, young servant girls appealed to Athena. After thought and consideration, Athena answered quickly agreed, “you may have one of my juicy golden apples, and only one of my juicy golden apples, IF you answer my riddle correctly. IF you answer incorrectly, you must and will work my golden apple orchards everyday for for the rest of your lives”. Adonia and Dorise mulled over Athena’s request. The thought of maintaining an orchard of dying twigs with littered with brittle leaves was not appealing. The slave girls wondered what Athena would do if they were not successful in her dry and unkempt grove. Reluctantly, Adonia and Dorise agreed to Athena’s challenge. Athena amusingly smiled.
From what seemed like thin air, a wooden table appeared before the three women. Placed upon the table perched a basket woven from golden branches of an olive tree. Inside the golden olive tree basket were five of Athen’s juicy golden apples. Mischievously pointing to the basket, Athena stated, “ this basket contains five of my juicy golden apples, divide them among five meaningless demigods so that each one of them has only one apple, but, one apple must stay in the basket. You shall have three minutes to figure out the riddle before you begin your work in my beloved golden orchards”. Adonia and Dorise walked over to the massive stone gate contemplating their answer and their fate. Adonia and Dorise whispered quietly to themselves trying to figure out Athena’s riddle. After squabbling amongst themselves, time seemed to fly by, Adonia and Dorise went quiet. When time was almost up, Adonia shouted, “I have the answer!” Adonia turned to Dorise, “do you trust me”. “Trust means nothing when you are out of time”, Athena said triumphantly.
Facing herself to Athena, Adonia stated, “to answer your riddle Athena, you must give each of the demigods only one of your apples, but, the fifth demigod must hold his apple while it is still in the golden olive basket!” Athena made a sour look upon her face, she looked as if she had just eaten a sour apple. Hesitantly Athena proclaimed, “Adonia, you are a worthy opponent. You have answered my riddle correctly, you may have one, and only one, of my juicy golden apples”. Magically, at that moment the massive stone gates turned to gold and floated open. The desolate looking grove metamorphosed to a lush and fruitful grove. The garden of juicy golden apples was breathtaking. Before Adonia and Dorise walked through the golden oasis they both secretly agreed to pick the biggest and juiciest apple they could find, worthy of Zeus. Athena looked at them quizzically, “why are you taking so long? Are you planning to stay and work my orchards even though you answered my riddle correctly?” Worried that Athena may ask more questions about their intention, Adonia and Dorise picked one of the juicy golden apple. Adonia and Dorise thanked Athena and vowed to make an offering at her temple. Now the must hurry back to Hestia.
They found Hestia sitting under a willow tree. Hestia was so thankful to Adonia and Dorise that she granted permission for them to travel togheter to Mount Olympus. Zeus was not pleased to see mortals stand before him and threatened to strike Hestia and her companions down with a bolt of lightening. Hestia blocked the lightning path, taking responsibility for Adonia and Dorise. After begging for forgiveness, Hestia presented the juicy golden apple as a gift to Zeus in exchange for her precious oak chest. After deep contemplation, Zeus was pleased with his token and allowed Hestia to retrieve her beloved oak chest.