Hades and Persephone

Hades and Persephone–blendspace.com

I was alone—so very alone. Cast out of Olympus, feared by both gods and men, would I ever find a place where I could find peace or even a person who would dare to speak my name let alone stand beside me? My life was so encumbered with work and sorrow that I knew no such thing as happiness…at least that was what I thought. Then I met her—the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I saw her and immediately felt myself come alive and my cold, hardened heart began to melt. She was so beautiful, so kind and so tender. I thought a young girl like her would never look at me with love in her heart. I knew her mother, Demeter, would never approve if I asked for her hand. Her mother was determined that her daughter stay by her side forever—a chaste virgin, innocent, pure. Not tainted by life or man. I had decided that I would love no other. She would be my queen and sit alongside me. She would rule as equal to me—no mere possession.

I had barely finished asking Zeus for his daughter’s hand when his smile widened and he agreed. Demeter would not be happy about this, but Zeus and I had a plan. We would kidnap her from right under mother’s nose and that’s just what we did. One day while she danced with the nymphs in her field, I broke the earth open and grabbed her, bringing her down to the underworld with me.

She had been crying for days. It was obvious to me that she missed her mother and her life above in the sun. I loved her so much and it broke my heart to see her like that, however we were wed now and she would rule here as my queen. Her tears could not change that. I knew if I loved her as much as I could, she would soon see that I just wanted her to be happy. I gave her everything she asked for, even building Elysium for her—a paradise for the righteous. Never had they seen anything but the Underworld, but now they had a place where they could live forever in peace—all because of her, my beautiful queen.

Looking down from my window one day, I saw her walking in the gardens. She was not eating. She looked so gaunt and weary from her weeping. I knew why. She knew that if she ate food from the Underworld, she would never again see the sun. She still had hopes of going home one day. Persephone, please be happy—that is all I wish for you.

Something has changed in Persephone. She seems happier and looks at me differently. Maybe I was just imagining it? Did she really see me as more than her captor? I hadn’t forced her to do anything she didn’t wish to do. She sat beside me every day and judged men and women with me. Some bound for her Elysium, others the dark Underworld. The more we worked together, the more I began to think that perhaps we could become friends. Was that possible? Would she ever forgive me?

She was walking again in the gardens one day, while I sat on my throne tending to matters of the Underworld. I missed her beside me but gave her a time of silence and peace among her beloved gardens. It was there that she did something I never thought she would—she ate of the fruit of the Underworld. Only 6 pomegranate seeds, but it was enough. Her fate was in my hands. Did this mean she had grown to love her home in the Underworld? Or was it merely an act of desperation driven by her hunger?

Almost immediately, Hermes—messenger of the gods—came down to the Underworld with a distressful message for her. Her mother was in absolute sorrow. She had frozen all the crops of the mortals and had caused a great famine as a result. Mortals were dying because of the famine Demeter had caused. I suppose that’s what happens when you upset the goddess of the harvest. Persephone had gone up to Olympus the moment she had heard. I was so busy I didn’t even notice her absence until later.

Once I noticed her absence I instantly was up in Olympus, but it seems I had walked in on an argument between Zeus and Demeter. She was demanding her daughter’s return, while Zeus explained the promise, he had made to me. Then something happened that I will never forget. Persephone grabbed her mother’s arms and uttered words I never thought she would. She looked from me to her mother and then her father, as though asking permission to continue.

I nodded and she began, “Mother, he has done me no harm. He has been nothing but loving and kind to me. I know he just wants me to be happy. Please, understand, the Underworld is my home now. He treats me like I am a queen and I rule beside him as one. I love you, but I am his wife and must rule beside him. Please, mother, understand.” At these words, Demeter staggered back and looked to Zeus. Zeus then looked to Persephone and then to me. I looked down at myself and saw my cloak, soiled by the day’s work, then to my black hair cascading down around my shoulders. Demeter and I no doubt thought the same thing: How could I be fit for this young beauty standing between us? She was wearing her white tunic with her orange hair falling down her back in tendrils. Zeus rested on his throne, taking all this in.

“Demeter, Hades, I have made my decision. As Persephone has eaten 6 seeds from a pomegranate of the Underworld, she will rule 6 months with her husband, Hades, in the Underworld and 6 months in the sun with her mother, Demeter, assisting in the harvest.” Neither of us were amused with Zeus’ ruling, but it was a compromise we would have to come to for the sake of Persephone.

Years later…

Whether I had had an affair with the nymph or not was irrelevant to Persephone. In anger and jealousy, she had transformed the poor nymph, Mynthe, into a mint plant and hadn’t spoken to me for days—she was enraged with me. Was it my love or the nymph’s youth that Persephone felt offended by? Or was it perhaps jealousy? To me, Persephone was the most the beautiful woman in all the world—the only woman I would ever love—but I knew she still held slivers of resentment towards me for taking her from her mother and her world above. This arrangement we had made had served to satisfy her, but I still wondered if she missed her life above and her mother. I still felt that I had deprived her of her happiness. I had placed the world at her fingertips, even creating a heaven for her in the midst of hell. I had showered her with all kinds of gifts and more love than any woman could ask for, yet she would never completely yield her heart to me. She promised she would stay with me, but did she really want to? After all these years, despite the toll the years had taken on her, she would always be that beautiful girl I had seen in the field all those years ago. My Persephone. My love. My queen.

Regardless of all my doubts, she was my queen of the Underworld and sat beside me 6 months every year as was arranged by her father, Zeus. She ruled with me, judging the souls of men and women, deciding the fate of souls—whether they were fit for Elysium or bound for the Underworld.

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