Η Τιμωρία της Περσεφόνης
“What do you see in him?”
“Everything you don’t.”
-excerpt from a story that I’ll never write
As soon as the God of the Underworld disappeared from her fields and returned back to the darkness of his kingdom, the frustrated and shaken mother took hold of her trembling daughter. Furious at her disobedience as she broke her rules, she began to take her back to the wooden cabin they called home where they would be having a long chat.
The young girl trembled as the familiar hut came in sight, scared of what would follow. Her mother was always caring and loving towards her -controlling and overbearing too sometimes, but never before had she dared to lay a finger on her. She couldn’t help but be terrified at this dark side of hers and she had every reason to, the proof coming from the throbbing pain on her red cheek.
As soon as they arrived at their humble adobe, the furious mother led them to her chambers. As the crying maiden sat on her bed, her mother took a few moments to calm herself down. Persephone couldn’t stop the sobs that escaped from her trembling form and the pearly tears that fell down her porcelain cheeks. She didn’t know for what she was more saddened about, but a heavy weight had been placed on her shoulders.
She was shameful and regretful for lying to her dear mother about her whereabouts and making her worry for her wellbeing. She knew that the Goddess loved and cared for her unconditionally, making her always her first priority and watching out for her. She knew that she was the most important person to her mother and, yet, she had intentionally lied to her.
She was also saddened at the fact that she had betrayed her trust and had overstepped the boundaries that her Goddess of a mother had created for her concerning the people she surrounded herself with.
However, she was also devastated for what would happen to her sweet and kind Hades. She considered him a dear friend and caring protector, who made sure that she was always happy and safe. She couldn’t help but blame herself for the punishment her father would cast down on him; guilt was eating away her insides.
If she hadn’t befriended him, Hades wouldn’t have to face Zeus’ wrath neither would he have to deal with all this Olympian drama. He would be peaceful and unbothered in his realm, having nothing at all to worry about. However, that wasn’t even the worst thing she was terrified about.
She was sure that they would never let her see him again. She would never again be able to meet him in her mother’s field and chase one another through the beautiful flowers. She would never be able to have these interesting conversations she had with him that always intrigued her and left her thinking for hours afterward. She would never again feel his cold lips on her forehead when she was too nervous and he tried to calm her down.
His amazing silver eyes that she felt herself getting lost into would only be part of her memories and so will his comforting embrace and soothing voice. Only in her dreams will she be able to watch his perfect smile and handsome face as he twirled her around in the air. Because that’s exactly what her beloved Hades would be from now on.
A dream that could never again come true.
Persephone could feel her heart stop beating at the thought and could not keep the sobs that spilled out from her mouth -this time for a completely different reason. She couldn’t imagine how her life would be without him and she didn’t want to find out either. He had become such a vital part of her everyday life that she didn’t want him to go away. He was like a breath of fresh air in her ordinary and boring life. He came into her black and white reality and painted everything in vibrant colors.
“Mother...“, she whimpered barely audible at her pacing form, not daring to look her in the eyes.
The infuriated Goddess and disappointed mother sent her a glare that made her blood freeze in her veins.
“How could you do this to me, Kore?“, she whispered at the scared girl.
The young Goddess of Spring flinched as she heard the name that her mother had given to her -the one she absolutely hated. The fact that she did not use any of the nicknames she usually called her by didn’t go unnoticed by her. She was in deep trouble and she was well aware of it.
“How could you lie to me like this? How could you break my rules? How could you, my own flesh and blood, betray me over a man? And the God of the Underworld out of them all!“, her mother mumbled in disappointment, but the deity dared not to make any sound.
Her form was trembling as her mother spoke to her. The things she was saying didn’t make any sense to her. The words that she had heard so many times before now seemed utterly crazy in her ears. She realized what her mother had been asking of her for so many years and understood how wrong it was.
Why couldn’t she make new friends without her approval?
Why couldn’t she speak to any males?
Why couldn’t she visit the rest of her divine family in Olympus and had to stay hidden in her mother’s fields?
Why did her mother control every aspect of her life, deciding from what she was going to wear for the day to whom she was allowed to speak?
Persephone began to understand that perhaps, her mother wasn’t always right. Perhaps, Demeter’s vision of what is right and wrong -acceptable and unacceptable had been corroded. Her mother’s ideals weren’t necessarily reflecting what was best for her and Persephone had realized this with the help of Hades.
Coming in contact with someone who wasn’t under Demeter’s influence and was from the lands outside of her fields has helped the Goddess of Spring to understand what was happening on the rest of the world and what was considered normal. Her mother’s change of behavior had only managed to confirm her suspicions.
Demeter’s honey eyes had darkened considerably in her state of rage, making a frostiness that wasn’t there before appear suddenly in their depths. The young Goddess was terrified, not able to recognize the furious woman in front of her as her loving and caring mother any longer. No. This was an outraged Goddess that had been disrespected and was out looking for payback.
“How long have these meetings of yours been going on?“, asked the furious mother.
Persephone hanged shamefully her head down, not sure if it would be best to tell her mother the truth or make up a quick lie.
“For how long have you been lying to me, Kore? For how long did you go behind my back and followed a man’s wishes over your mother’s rules?“, Demeter said making the poor girl flinch at her tone.
Persephone hesitantly opened her mouth to answer after finally deciding what she would say when she heard her mother’s booming voice again.
“And don’t you dare lie to me, daughter!“, the Goddess of Harvest warned her as she looked at her expectedly, “You’re already in enough trouble, do not make me angrier than what I already am!”
The young girl gulped and took a deep breath before answering.
“T--three years”, she mumbled in a quiet voice wishing for a hole to open on the ground and swallow her whole.
"Three years?! “, the Goddess yelled in surprise,” You’ve been lying to your own mother for three whole years?!”
Demeter’s fury was growing in her chest as she realized the severity of the situation.
“How dare you keep this from me for so long? I thought that we trusted each other with everything! I thought that we were close enough to tell me anything that was bothering you! I have taught you better than this, Kore!“, the Goddess screamed.
Anger bubbled in Persephone’s chest at her mother’s behavior -everything had a fine line and her mother had long ago crossed it. It was too much -her strict rules, her constant controlling behavior, her threats towards Hades, and the fact that she had slapped her.
Yes, the young deity trusted her mother more than anyone else in this world, but sometimes she felt that she didn’t treat her like her daughter. Demeter often made her feel like an object -a prized possession nonetheless but still, a lifeless material that she could use however she saw fit. Her controlling ways had begun to suffocate her, making it difficult for her to breathe freely.
It made her feel like a small flower that was trying to slowly open its delicate petals and bloom into a beautiful scarlet rose. Of course, it needed someone to care for it in order to do so -someone to water it and fertilize it, protecting it from the weather’s sudden changes and the bugs wanting to destroy it.
However, a flower needed also space to breathe and an open place where it could freely bloom into its beauty. It couldn’t possibly bloom inside of a glass box that restricted its freedom neither could it develop normally when someone watered it too much. Too much care and the restriction would make it wither and die, no matter the intentions its carer had.
And like the suffocating flower she was, desperately begging for a fresh breath of air under her carer’s watchful gaze, the Goddess of Spring dared to answer back to her mother, who stared back at her in utter surprise.
“My name is Persephone, mother! Not Kore! Can’t you just accept it? You control everything else in my life whether I want you to or not! At least, let me decide which one of my names I should answer to!“, Persephone let the words slip from her mouth as the frustration built inside of her.
Demeter’s eyes widened at her daughter’s behavior, the shock was evident in her expression. Her Kore never acted so inappropriately and bratty before, she was always an obedient and calm kid that listened to her rules. Her innocent child would never raise her voice and talk back to her under any circumstances.
“What has he done to you?“, Demeter whispered terrified of the answer.
Persephone shook her head negatively as her mother tried once again to make everything seem like Hades’ fault. Who wouldn’t believe the Goddess of Harvest against the God of the Underworld, when the later one was always a bringer of fear and bad news to the Olympians?
“He has done nothing to me! He just made me realize what is happening around me!“, Persephone defended him, “He opened my eyes to the cruel reality that surrounds me!”
Demeter was stunned at her daughter’s words, not recognizing her child any longer.
“This is not you, Kore! These are his words, the poisonous thoughts he has filled your head with!“, Demeter murmured shocked.
Angry tears of frustration fell down Kore’s cheeks, feeling completely helpless and misunderstood.
“Mother, this is all me!“, Persephone insisted.
“You’ve been tricked, my child!“, Her mother told her as she shook her head in disappointment.
He was the one responsible for this. He had taken her sweet daughter and deceived her. He had destroyed her innocence and filled her mind with treacherous words and idiotic ideas, turning her against her own mother. He was the one who took her away from the right path and put her on a pathway full of darkness and sin.
Suddenly, one particular thought filled the Goddess with panic, making her freeze in her spot. She slowly turned to her crying daughter, her eyes having a dark glint in them.
“What else did he do to you?“, she asked through greeted teeth.
“Nothing! He did nothing to me!“, Persephone answered truthfully to her mother, not believing what she was implying.
“Don’t lie to me, my child!“, Demeter gripped her chin to look her in the eye, "You are meant to be a Goddess of Eternal Maidenhood, like Athena and Artemis. Has this monster touched you?"
“He did nothing, I swear! Hades was always kind to me! He never harmed me in any way! W-We just used to play in the fields and talk! That’s all...“, the girl answered frightened as she tried to pry her mother’s painful fingers from her chin.
Demeter let her go, but she did not calm down.
“You want to tell me that the Lord of the Dead just came to talk with you?“, Demeter shouted irefully, not believing a word from what she said.
Persephone just nodded in confirmation, her throat closed from all the sobs that she was trying desperately to keep to herself. Demeter’s body seemed to shake from her anger.
“You’re lying, Kore”, Demeter trembled with burning rage, “And you know how much I hate liars!”
The Goddess of Harvest sat beside her, before gazing deeply into her eyes.
“Did he touch you?“, Demeter asked firmly.
“He never tried to harm me, mother. He never would”, Persephone whispered to her hoarsely, “He was just a friend of mine. Please, just let this go”, she begged her mother as tears escaped her eyes and sobs filled the room.
She couldn’t take it anymore. The look in her mother’s eyes was filled with anger, betrayal, and anguish. She wanted her loving mother back.
“Very well then.”
Demeter said unwillingly, turning her back to her sobbing form.
“You, my dear, made a terrible mistake”, the Goddess finally said, ” You have to learn from it and therefore, you are grounded, young lady.”
Persephone just nodded agreeing with her mother, having no strength to talk back any longer.
“W-what are you going to do, mother?”
“I’m hurt by your actions, Kore. I’m not just your mother -I’m your superior Goddess, the deity you answer to”, Demeter shook her head in disappointment, “I cannot let your lies go unpunished, my child.”
Persephone froze at her words. She was such an easy and calm child that she was never punished before.
“You are not allowed to leave this household unsupervised until my trust in you is restored”, the mother said firmly, “Hermes or Carya will assist you in your daily tasks to make sure that something like this won’t happen again. They’ll accompany you to your garden in the morning and they’ll bring you back before nightfall.”
Persephone remained speechless for a couple of moments.
“Please, mother! You have to reconsider this”, the girl begged, “You are confining me in this house! You control the people I’m surrounded with! You have me under constant supervision!”
The maiden stood before her mother, facing her head-on.
“You are taking away all my freedom...” Persephone whispered to the trembling Goddess, “You are leaving me no room to breathe...”
She hanged her head low, feeling her strength leaving her. A gentle touch on her chin forced her to look at her mother.
“Everything I do, I do to protect you”, Demeter whispered tearfully caressing her bruised cheek, “I’m sorry for harming you, my daughter. It was never in my intention to cause you any harm. But just the thought of you having to deal with the pain I faced... I’ll never allow this to happen.”
“Shh, my child”, the mother cut her off, “I know you do not agree with this. I know you don’t like it. But if this is the only way to protect you, I’m going to take the risk. It is better for you to hate me rather than for you to be hurt. I won’t let you make the same mistakes I did.”
Persephone let a tear slip from her emerald eyes.
“What if it wasn’t a mistake?“, the girl questioned, “Who defines whether something is right or wrong?”
“Your heart does”, the mother smiled sadly, “I know you believe otherwise, but you’ll have to trust me on this. I know the God of the Underworld better than you do. He’s the master of deceit and a great manipulator. He’ll break your heart, my child. By the time you’ll realize your mistake, it will be too late.”
Persephone shook her head at her mother’s words. No. Hades would never harm her.
Her mother was the only one who was mistaken here.
“I’ll have to inform Zeus about this”, her mother stated after a while, “He’s your father -he should be aware of what happened. I may not like him, but he has the power to protect you.”
“Mother...“, the maiden shook her head, “Please, don’t.”
Demeter caressed her daughter’s hair lovingly, trying to somehow comfort her.
“I don’t have much of a choice, my flower”, she sighed deeply, “It is for your own good.”
A kiss was placed on her forehead.
“Don’t worry, Kore”, the Goddess smiled at her, “Everything will go back to normal.”
Persephone knew that everything would change from now on.
And this wasn’t particularly a good thing.
End of chapter 7!!
Title Translation: “The Punishment of Persephone”
Story explanation :
The Greek Pantheon is full of various deities. At the top of these are the Olympians, followed by their children. Besides these, there are other deities with lesser powers f.e. the Nymphs, fairies, etc.
Superior deity is considered the most powerful God/ Goddess in their specific field (Zeus being superior to all of them since he is the King). They are responsible for their descendants and the lesser deities who follow them. Those beneath her are bound to obey her.
The part of the superior Gods is fictional -I came up with it to spice up things a little bit.
Follow & Comment & Vote
Until next time!!