Posted tagged ‘Hephaestus’

Friday Feature ~ “Pandora’s Tackle Box”

July 15, 2022

I’ve had an affinity for Greek mythology, going back at least to high school Latin class (which I guess should have steered me to Roman mythology, but here we are). And I’ve had a semi-ambition to write my own modern versions of some of the tales just because they are colorful and peek into human nature so well. (Michael Cunningham has done something similar with his collection Wild Swan, though he used folk tales.) My early story “Moron Saturday,” for example, is a retelling on the Diana and Actaeon story.

The only other story I’ve brought to completion in this endeavor is “Pandora’s Tackle Box,” set in the Ozark mountains and dealing mostly with a crusty character I named Old Festus, who stands in place of Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods. Hephaestus was tasked with creating Pandora, whose purpose in turn (according to some myths) was to tempt the Titan Epimetheus and bring about his downfall because his brother, Prometheus, stole fire from the gods and gave it to the humans. (The Judeo-Christian character of Eve is believed to have been derived from Pandora.) Hephaestus gave Pandora all of her lovely attributes, and Zeus gave her the box (better translated as “jar”) full of woes and hardships. Pandora, being the weak female character needed to explain/excuse male weakness, opened the box and let all of the woe and hardship into the world, leaving only hope left in the box.

In my story, the ne’er-do-well character Ep wants to win a fishing tournament, and Old Festus sees this as a chance to rid himself of his high-maintenance daughter, Dora, by marrying her off to Ep. He begins this seduction by equipping Dora with some very nice fishing tackle. Ep falls for it. On the day of the tournament, as Ep and Dora are on the water in a small boat, a tussle over the tackle box sends all of the lures to the bottom of the lake. Only one lure remains.

“Pandora’s Tackle Box” was first printed in A Golden Place in the spring of 2011, an online journal that has since disappeared. (They also used my real name in the byline rather than my pen name, so maybe it’s just as well that it’s disappeared.)

I later submitted it to the Harnessing Fire anthology. It’s described as a Hephaestus Devotional. Since my story had the Old Festus character, I thought it might be a good fit, and it was. The print anthology appeared 2013. This is part of a series of devotionals devoted to old Greek gods and demigods published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina. (I’m not clear if their intent is actual worship of the Greek gods or not.) My story appears in the latter half of the bound anthology, which seems to be where all of my stories are destined to be placed.

“Pandora’s Tackle Box”

January 3, 2013

Let’s start the new year (arbitrary transition that it is) right.

My story “Pandora’s Tackle Box” has been accepted for the Harnessing Fire anthology. The collection is subtitled A Hephaestus Devotional. Hephaestus was the blacksmith to the Greek Pantheon and, among other things, he is said to have created Pandora to bedevil poor Epimetheus. My story is a modern retelling of that myth, centered in the Missouri Ozarks and dealing with a fishing tournament, thus the tackle box. My character’s name is Old Festus, and he is a blacksmith, as it happens.

The Harnessing Fire anthology will be a print publication, due to come out this spring. I’m eager to see it since it appears to be focused on literary and scholarly writing. I feel classed up a bit.

Long time readers (or those who have delved into the sidebar of this humble blog) will recall that “Pandora’s Tackle Box” has already seen publication. It first appeared in A Golden Place in the Spring 2011 issue. Now a new set of readers will have a look at it.

Simple pleasures.