Zeus’ First and Twice-Born Sons

Storm's River
Storm's River

In his hands he held his lovely golden wand with which he can lull men’s eyelids or wake them from sleep: and with this wand he called the ghosts and led them, and they followed him*.

Zeus turned his attention to his golden son. “Step forward Apollo,” he said, “For I would have you build me here a house, where men from all corners of the world will come to hear of their destiny.

Standing on the outskirt of the forest, the Magician relayed a key message to his wine-loving friend:

“Zeus’s twice-born son, your time shall surely come.

As grows the living vine, the victory shall be thine”.

The wolf by Apollo’s side pricked up its ears and whined as he watched the two whispering on the edge of the emerald forest. Apollo looked down at his faithful beast and both cocked their heads to one side.
“And what of me, Father? Art I not the bringer of light, voice of all reason and destroyer of dark night? How shall my sun by worshipped if the temple is all thine and he is the death-defying vine?

Zeus looked long and hard at his progeny, whose heart was cold as his mind was brilliant light. “How soon, I wonder, my great golden child, ’til you think yourself greater, even, than I?”

It was then that Zeus’ deer silver daughter put a restraining hand on her golden brother’s shoulder and entreated him in an urgent voice.
“Bait him not, beloved brother; the chariot of the sun shall be struck down by lightening and the silver moon shall die of grief – then you would see that our licentious youth shall sober in a second and sit upon thy gilded throne!”

“Ay, sister of the moon, with his hairy hand upon my priceless goblet, while his sluts strum tuneless ditties upon my incomparable turtleshell lyre!”

Apollo’s eyes flashed hot and cold.
Dionysus raised his cup to them in a toast: “You have my blessing brother, I think not to steer the chariot of the sun, nor to take your hallowed place in heaven…”I’d rather have a bit of fun.
“You’ll have to watch the lyre, though, methinks the sound of music shall do much to make our mystery!”

Apollo turned back to their father with an ironic smile.

“The muses who love me shall make here their bed. The will of the King of the Gods shall be carved out in lead”.

Zeus clasped the prince of the Sun with both arms. “Ah, that’s my boy! And fear thee not, Prince of Paeans, for although it is my will that shall be done, it is you who shall dictate my whims and wishes to the wondering world.”

*Homer, The Odyssey

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