Episode 7 – How to Lose a God in 10 Days

Episode 7 Show Notes

Source: Greek Mythology

This week on MYTH, it’s one of the world’s first chick flick stories.  After listening to the Falling in Love Montage podcast, I’m pretty sure this story hits a lot of the standard tropes.  You’ll meet the archetype for the bitchy mother in law, hear why it might be a good idea to feed the ants once in a while, and learn that true love cannot be denied (at least if you have the right gods on your side).  Then, in Gods and Monsters, it’s a chick flick double feature, where we’ll meet the statue that has inspired multiple rom coms.  This is the Myths Your Teacher Hated podcast, where I tell the stories of cultures around the world in all of their original, bloody, uncensored glory.  Modern tellings of these stories have become dry and dusty, but I’ll be trying to breathe new life into them.  This is Episode 7, “How to Lose a God in 10 Days.”  As always, this episode is not safe for work.

  • This story is common in both the Greek and Roman mythologies, and it’s a popular one to steal from for writing fairy tales.  If you pay attention, you’ll see elements of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and many others.  What can I say, the Greeks really knew how to tell a good fucking story.  The version we know, however, comes from a Roman writer from the 2nd Century AD, Apuleius.  Since this story is basically a mythological fairy tale, I’ll tell it as such.
  • Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom there lived a King with his three daughters.  No Queen is mentioned, and we can safely assume that she died in a suitably tragic fashion since this is, after all, a Greek myth cum fairy tale.  All three daughters were known for being incredibly beautiful, but the youngest, a girl named Psyche, was by far the fairest.  As she grew, the people around her began to comment that, compared to her sisters, Psyche looked like a goddess consorting with mortals.  Her fame grew and spread, and soon men and women were coming from all across the kingdom to look upon the vision of beauty.  Her sisters, being completely ignored, began to be very jealous of their sister.
  • As Psyche reached maturity, people began to say crazier things.  “Dude, have you seen this chick?  She’s like, wicked hot!  I mean, I’ve never seen the goddess of beauty Aphrodite, but there’s no fucking way she’s hotter than that Psyche chick!”  What amounted to a cult began to develop around Psyche, completely without her permission, as creepy dudes abandoned their lives to come and worship at the mortal replacement for Aphrodite.  The goddess was pissed.  Her temples were abandoned, the ashes of animal sacrifices had grown cold and started to blow away, and all of her worshippers ignored her for this new bitch.  “This shit will not stand!  I am a goddess, and she is just a fucking mortal, doomed to age and die.  Fuck her and the horse she rode in on.  Just you wait, cunt.  I’m gonna fuck up your world.”
  • Aphrodite, known as Venus in the Roman story, had a son.  His name was Eros, though you might know him better by his Roman name, Cupid.  In the original stories, Eros wasn’t a fat winged baby.  That came later, as the Christians tried to absorb the imagery and combine it with the images of cherubim (winged fat baby angels).  No, he was tall, cut, incredibly handsome, and a skilled artist.  Think of your favorite man crush (I know you all have one), only immortal and with wings and divine powers.  Yup, powers, because Eros was the god of Love.  That bow and arrow you see him carry around aren’t just for show.  He had golden tipped arrows that could cause love in any living creature and he had lead tipped arrows that could remove love in any living creature (including gods).
  • “Eros, my son, I need you to ruin this bitch’s world.  This slut dares to be compared to me, and even though she hasn’t asked for any of this and it really isn’t her fault at all, I want her punished.”  Yeah, Aphrodite wasn’t a big proponent of lifting up other women, and she really liked to slut shame.  “I want you take your bow and arrow and put a fucking arrow right in her heart.  Find the meanest, ugliest, wife beatingest asshole you can and make her fall madly in love with him.  I want her to suffer.”  Eros, being kind of a mama’s boy, shrugs and goes to destroy someone because his mother didn’t want anyone else looking as good as her.
  • He finds a truly despicable human being for her, and then flies off to find her and seal her doom.  Unfortunately for Aphrodite’s vengeance, she hadn’t taken into account Psyche’s beauty.  He finds her sitting alone next to a small pond and is immediately smitten.  In some versions of the story, he flubs nocking the arrow and accidentally pricks himself, which makes him fall in love, but I personally prefer the version where he saw a kind, sweet, beautiful woman and decided he wasn’t that big a dick. 
  • Instead, he did…nothing.  Psyche didn’t fall in love with anyone, and no one fell in love with her.  Aphrodite was, to say the least, confused.  Men would gaze upon her, even worship her, but then go on to marry other people.  Even her two sisters, whom everyone agreed were less beautiful and had a little bit of a mean streak towards Psyche, were both married off to local king’s.  Since Greece at that time was a collection of independent city-states, there were a lot of kings floating around, but still.  It wasn’t like everyone got to marry one.  The two sisters felt a little better about things since they could now lord their rich, powerful husbands over their spinster sister.
  • Psyche, far renowned for her grace and beauty, was left to sit at home alone wondering why no one wanted to marry her.  Her parents were also confused and a little worried about this, so they went to consult the oracle at Delphi, who was the oracle of the god Apollo, who’s Roman name is also Apollo, because the Romans got kind of lazy with their grand theft deity.  They asked the oracle what they needed to do to find Psyche a good husband.
  • The answer that they got was fairly horrible.  “Your daughter, dressed in funeral clothes, must wait alone atop a rocky hill.  There, a fearful winged serpent, stronger and meaner than the gods themselves, would come and take her to his lair to be his wife.”  Psyche was regretting letting her parents talk her into asking the oracle, because spinsterhood was starting to look pretty fucking good compared to being married to a literal monster.  It seemed that Aphrodite would have her revenge at last.
  • Since disobeying the gods was a good way to find out exactly how this situation could possibly get worse, she agreed.  With much weeping and wailing, her parents and her sisters (who had wanted her to suffer, but this was a bit much) dressed her in mourning robes and walked her to the peak she was to wait at.  Psyche, however, seemed resigned and annoyed.  “You assholes should have wept for me before, when this cursed beauty completely isolated me and now even made heaven jealous.  I didn’t want this shit, but I’m glad it’s finally going to be over.”  No one knew how to respond to that, so they hugged Psyche and left.
  • As the sun set and darkness fell, Psych shivered.  She had never been this alone, and she had no real idea of exactly what was coming to claim her.  Her imagination was running wild with the idea of a winged serpent, and none of the images were pleasant.  As she wept and trembled, alone on the peak, she felt a warm, gentle wind rise around her.  It was Zephyrus, also known as Zephyr, the god of the gentle west wind.  The breeze lifted her up gently and carried her away.
  • She was carried along for several miles, then set down in a lovely little meadow, with grass as soft as a bed, and filled with flowers.  The peace of the greenery, following the terror of the rocky peak, soothed her enough that she passed into an exhausted slumber.  She awoke to the gentle sounds of a river, sparkling in the sunlight.  Across the bank, she saw a large castle that she hadn’t noticed in the dark.  It was beautiful, with walls of silver and pillars of gold.  As she approached the doors, she could see that the floors were made of marble inset with precious stones.  “This is an incredible place!  Surely even a king could not afford such luxury.  It seems fit for a demigod!”
  • As she approached, the place was silent, apparently empty and abandoned.  She walked up to the threshold, but hesitated.  If this was the home of some king or demigod, they probably wouldn’t appreciate someone snooping around while they were out.  Psyche had just about decided to turn around and leave, she heard voices speaking in her ear.  She whirled around, ready to apologize to whomever had found her, but she saw no one.  The voices spoke uninterrupted in her ear.  “Welcome, lady, to your new home!  This entire palace has been built for you, and we are here to serve.  Enter, please, my lady.  Bathe and refresh yourself from your journey.  You must be hungry; a banquet table will be set out for you.”
  • Psyche shrugged, and decided that a bath and a meal did sound nice.  Sure, this could totally be a trap, but since she had already resigned herself to being taken by a hideous monster as a god-constrained sex slave, even a trap was probably an improvement.
  • The tub was huge, and the water maintained itself at exactly the right temperature.  The perfumed water relaxed muscles she hadn’t realized were tense.  She put on the plush robe left for her, and went down to find a huge table set with all kinds of dainties.  All of her favorite foods were there, along with many that she had never seen before, although they too were delicious.  While she ate, music played quietly, though she could see no musicians or instruments.  “I could get used to this” she said to herself around a mouthful of food.
  • She spent the day exploring the castle.  Other than the invisible servants that were always there to provide for her needs, she was utterly alone.  Even so, she felt sure that the man who was now her husband would be coming with the fall of night.  She felt sure that only a good, kind man could have built such a beautiful, extravagant house for a woman he had never met, so she looked forward to meeting him.  “My husband” she said to herself with a small smile.
  • And so it happened.  She went to bed that night, and once all the lights were out, she felt his warmth beside her, and heard him murmuring in her ear.  She turned to him eagerly.  This was no monster to be feared.  This was a good man who loved her, and she was going to fuck her new husband’s brains out.
  • Time passed swiftly, and she was mostly content.  She couldn’t ask for a better husband, or a more splendid home, but the invisible servants weren’t much for company.  She whiled away her time wandering the house and grounds.  She often brought food with her, and left it for the ants and birds who were her only companions.  Sometimes she would just sit beside the river and admire the way the water flowed through the reeds.  She began to grow lonely in her splendid isolation.  She knew that her family must thing her dead or worse, and she longed to reassure them.  That night, after experimenting with her adventurous lover of a husband, she mentioned her desire to him.  She felt his form grow still in the darkness.
  • “My love, I ask you to forget about this.  I have seen a danger coming, in the form of your two sisters.  They are going to be at the rocky peak where they last saw you to weep for you.  I know how it breaks your heart, but you must not go to them.  If you do, you will bring me great sorrow and yourself great ruin.”
  • She did not want her husband to be cross, so she agreed, but she had trouble sleeping that night.  All the next day, she found herself weeping at the thought of her poor sisters mourning her loss and with her unable to comfort them.  She was still crying that night when her husband came home, and not even his kisses and caresses could stop their flow.  With a deep sigh, her husband relented.  “If that is your wish, my love, then I can deny you nothing.  But again I warn you: you seek your own destruction.  If you must go, heed my warning.  Do not listen to anyone who will try to convince you to see my form.  I hide myself for your safety, and if you try and break this one rule, then you and I will be separated forever.  Promise me, my wife?”  She could hear the pain and the fear in his voice.  “I promise, my husband.”
  • The next morning, Zephyr brought the two women to see their sister at her new home.  The three embraced, and many joyful tears were shed that she had not, in fact, been devoured by a horrible monster.  Of course, that was before they noticed the fucking gold and silver palace.  It was before they noticed the ate the incredible food, and it was before they experienced the invisible servants.  Envy coiled around their hearts and began to whisper jealous thoughts.  It had been easy to love their dear, doomed sister tragically lost to a terrible fate.  Now, though, their kingly husbands and tiny mansions didn’t seem so impressive. 
  • The two sisters put on shit eating grins and began to pry shamelessly, trying to figure out who the fuck had married their sister and showered her in such opulence.  Psyche was evasive, telling them only that he was a handsome young man, away for the day on a hunting expedition.  As the afternoon wound towards evening, it was time for the elder sisters to go back home.  Psyche filled their hands with gold and jewels, and took them back to the meadow to ride again on Zephyr’s wind.
  • Once they were home, the two sisters got to talking.  It wasn’t fair that Psyche had done so well for herself.  Their marriages to kings were supposed to have balanced the scales, but now they were on the short end of the goddamned stick.  Their talk quickly turned to plotting how to ruin their sister’s good fortune.  “Fuck that bitch,” they said.  “What did she ever do to deserve a gold fucking palace?”  Never mind that neither elder sister had done anything to deserve marrying a king except being born to the right daddy, but sibling rivalry can be a bitch.
  • That night, Psyche was overjoyed at having had company all day, so she wasn’t overly thrilled when her mysterious husband again cautioned her against letting them talk her into trying to pry into his identity.  He begged her not to see them again, now that they knew she was alive and doing well, but she scoffed.  “Don’t be ridiculous, husband.  Of course I’m going to see my sisters again.  I’m not allowed to see your face and all of the servants are invisible.  Am I to never see another human face ever again?”  He knew it was a mistake, but he couldn’t deny his dear wife anything she wanted, so he relented.
  • A few days later, the sisters came again to see Psyche.  This time, they knew what to expect, and they came prepared with a vicious fucking plan.  Psyche had stumbled a little when asked to talk about her husband, so they correctly guessed that she didn’t know much.  A few questions quickly convinced them that she had never laid eyes on her husband, and they went to work.  “Dear sister, you don’t have to be brave with us!  We know how terrible your life is right now.  Oh, I grant you, it’s a beautiful cage, but it’s still a fucking cage.  You’ve never seen your husband have you?”  Psyche didn’t say anything, but she didn’t have to.  “I thought not.  We were worried about you, so after our last visit, we did some digging.  Psyche, your husband is no man.  He is the terrible winged serpent that the oracle warned you about!  Sure, he’s kind enough now, but that’s just because he’s fattening you up.  You’ve already put on weight from eating all of that rich food, and everyone knows that fear makes meat taste sour.  One night, and soon, he’ll devour you in the night.”
  • Psyche tried to protest that this wasn’t the case, but they hadn’t planted seeds of doubt.  Why WOULDN’T her husband let her see his face?  Fuck, she didn’t even know his name.  She had wondered before why he wouldn’t let her see him.  Either there was some terrible secret he was hiding, or he was being very cruel in denying her this simple pleasure that all other wives had.  She began to weep.  “Oh, sisters!  I fear you are right!  There must be something very wrong for him to shun the light of day!  What do I do?”
  • You know that evil fucking grin the Grinch has when he comes up with his plan to steal Christmas?  The two sisters had that smile, only on the inside.  They had hoped she would ask that.  “Why, dear sister, there is only one thing you CAN do.”  One sister pulled an oil lamp out of her robes, and the other pulled forth a sharp knife.  “You must hide these in your bedroom tonight.  Once your husband is asleep, sneak up beside him.  Use the dagger to fucking kill that evil sonuvabitch, then use the lamp once he is dead to reveal his terrible form.  We will be nearby tonight, and we will spirit you away once the monster is dead.”
  • They handed her the lamp and the knife, and then they took their leave to let their sister prepare for tonight.  Psyche was tormented by fear and doubt.  She trusted her sisters (even though she really shouldn’t), and she made up her mind about what to do at least a dozen different times.  He was her dear husband, whom she loved, and she would trust him.  No, he was a foul monster out to murder her; she would murder him first!  Evening as approaching, and she still wasn’t sure what to do.  As the sun set, she decided that she must see him.  She would use the lamp to see his form while he slept.  If he was a monster, she could stab him.  If not, she could get back into bed with him none the wiser.
  • That night, after lying her ass off about how the visit with her sisters went, she waited in the dark, terrified.  She finally heard his breathing settle into the even rhythm of sleep, and she rose.  The lamp and dagger were under the bed, where she had left them.  Summoning all her courage, she lit the lamp, raised the dagger, and turned to the bed. 
  • The light revealed the most beautiful man she had ever seen before.  Even the white, feathery wings stretched out towards her did not detract from his beauty.  If anything, it made him exotic and even more handsome.  She stood motionless, awestruck at the incredible man who was her husband.  She was unworthy.  He had trusted her, and she had betrayed him.  She brought her arm down and turned the dagger towards herself, fully intending to plunge it into her own breast in her shame, but her trembling hands betrayed her and she dropped it on the floor.  Hardly noticing, she leaned over to get a better look at his face.  Unfortunately, she was careless, and burning oil from the lamp sloshed out and fell onto his shoulder.
  • He awoke, startled and in pain, and he saw her standing over him with a light.  Eros, for naturally that’s who it was, met her eyes.  She saw that his face was full of despair and anguish at her faithlessness, and without a word he went to the window and leapt out soaring away into the night.  He couldn’t believe she had betrayed him.  He had called in a favor with Apollo to get his oracle to deliver a fudged prophesy so that his mother wouldn’t know he was in love with the woman she wanted him to destroy.  He had truly believed that she loved him.  Maybe his mother was right.  Humans were faithless and untrustworthy.  He should have listened to her.
  • Psyche ran out the door after him, but he was gone.  Above her in the darkness, she heard his familiar voice, telling her who he was and all that had transpired.  Then he bid her goodbye.  “I warned you not to listen to those bitches you call sisters.  I needed you to trust me.  Love cannot survive where there is not trust.”  And he was gone.
  • “Holy shit, I’m married to the God of fucking Love!  Or was.  I’m not sure how this whole thing works, since we never really had a ceremony.  Fuck, stop getting distracted.  Is he gone forever?  I can’t really blame him.  I should have talked things out instead of getting all sneaky.  Damn it damn it damn it.  Alright, Psyche, calm down.  He’s gone, but you can still try to find him.  You know he’s a god, so maybe he can see you even if you can’t see him.  What you’re going to do is dedicate the rest of your life to trying to find him again so you can beg his forgiveness.  Even if he doesn’t love me anymore, I can show him how much I love him and how sorry I am.”  Personally, I don’t entirely blame her for being curious about the whole nameless, faceless husband thing, particularly considering a holy oracle told her he would be a terrible monster.  On Eros’ side of things, there’s a long history in Greek myths of people being told not to look into things, and it always ends badly when they look anyway.  We’ll get into some of those stories in later episodes, so I won’t go into them now.  Suffice it to say that looking upon a god who isn’t holding in his god shit for a mortal can fucking murder someone, so asking her to not look really was for her benefit (not to mention hiding her from a vengeful goddess).
  • Eros went to his mother’s home, and she rushed out.  “Oh, my dear son!  You’re wounded!  Here, let me take care of that.  What happened?”  Eros told her the whole story, and when she learned that her son had been shacking up with that fucking slut, she left him in his pain and stormed out the door.  “I can’t believe that ass-wipe of a son was getting his dick sucked by the whore I told him to destroy!  I’ll show that cunt what it means to cross a goddess!”
  • Psyche, meanwhile, was trying to get on the good side of the other gods to try and get their help in her quest.  She offered prayers and sacrifices at every temple she found, but no one would help her.  Not even gods want to piss off the goddess of love and beauty or her son with the magic weapons that could affect even a god.  Zeus had enough trouble keeping it in his pants without magical help, and the other deities didn’t want to end up controlled by their libidos.
  • Eventually, Psyche had exhausted every option, every temple, except one.  She steeled her nerve and went to the temple of Aphrodite. If none of the gods would intercede on her behalf, she’d just have to do it herself.  And hope that the goddess didn’t just murder her outright.
  • Psyche walked hesitantly into the cool, perfumed temple.  It appeared to be empty, but as she entered, she heard a booming scornful laugh.  “Looking for a husband, bitch?  I hear that the one you had kicked you out after you nearly killed him with flaming oil.”  I mean, he’s an immortal god, so at worst it hurt a lot, but no one ever accused Aphrodite of being calm and rational.  “But seriously, whore, you’re so ugly that the only way you can get a husband, even with MY help, is through hard labor.  I’m such a generous soul that I’ll even help train you for the labor you’ll have to do to get even an ugly SOB to marry you.”
  • Psyche, seeing no other option if she wanted Eros back, agreed.  “Alright then.  We start now.”  The goddess appeared in the temple with a number of filled sacks.  She dumped them all out onto the floor, creating piles of all of the smallest seeds known to the greeks, such as poppy and millet, and then mixed all of the piles up together into one huge mound.  “Alright, slut, sort these seeds by nightfall or get the fuck out of my sight.”  And with that, the angry goddess was gone.
  • “Fuck me.  It’s already past noon, and there’s no way I can sort millions of seeds in less than days.  I should have known Aphrodite wouldn’t play fair after I burned her son.  Serves me right, I guess.”  Psyche sat down and began to weep.  Between sniffles, she heard a small sound.  Looking up, she saw the seeds sorting themselves on their own.  “What the fuck?” she asked aloud.  Looking closer, she saw that the seeds were actually being carried by the ants.  “Don’t cry, lady,” said the massed voice of the ants.  “We’re grateful to you for the feasts you’ve brought to us, so we’re gonna help out.”
  • In a matter of hours, the seeds were all neatly sorted into their various piles with not a single seed out of place.  Aphrodite reappeared as the sun sank beneath the horizon, ready to give the wretched girl a swift kick in the ass.  She was surprised and outraged that the impossible task was somehow complete.  She had her suspicions, but the task was complete, so there wasn’t much she could do.  “Don’t think this is over, bitch.  We’re just getting started.”  The goddess tossed Psyche a stale crust of bread and locked her in the temple, with nowhere to sleep but the hard stone.  “There’s no way she can keep this up.  If I keep her at hard labor and half starved to boot, she’ll crumble.  I’ll break that bitch yet.”
  • At sunrise, Psyche was kicked awake by the pissy goddess.  “New day, new labor.  Go down the road directly towards the sunrise.  When you find the river, you’ll see a flock of sheep with golden wool grazing on the bank.  Fetch me some of their wool before sundown.”
  • Psyche headed down the road, thinking.  This task seemed easy.  Too easy.  When she got to the riverbank, she saw the trick.  The sheep were there, alright, but they were the size of elephants.  As she stood there, a squirrel hopped off a nearby tree and made for the river.  It only got a few steps before one of the golden sheep snatched it out of the air and ripped it to shreds.  Psyche recognized these sheep from stories.  They belonged to the sun god, Phoebus.   Despairing, she decided that a quick end was better than being torn limb from limb by violent sheep.  She walked up to the river, intending to throw herself in, when she heard a small voice from near her feet.
  • “Things aren’t that bad, lady.”  She looked down.  There was nothing there but the river, flowing past the reeds she had admired.  “Your admiration made us feel beautiful, lady, so we’ll give you some advice.  We heard the goddess’ command, and there’s a way.  Towards evening, the sheep always go through the bushes over there to rest in the shade.  Wait until they do that, and you can collect the wool from the branches and thorns.”
  • Psyche thanked the helpful, talking reeds.  In a world where she was interacting with an angry goddess for the love of a god, nothing could really surprise her.  Sure enough, as the sun moved past its peak, the sheep began to move into the bushes to rest, leaving bundles of wool on the sharp briars and branches.  She gathered it up with only a few scratches and carried it back to the temple, arriving with barely minutes to spare.
  • At sundown, the goddess again appeared and was again disappointed.  “Spill, bitch.  Who helped you?  There’s no way that you did this on your own?”  “I’m sorry, goddess, but I’ve seen no one but you all day.”  Aphrodite threw her another stale crust of bread and locked her in for another night.
  • The next morning, Psyche was again kicked awake by the angry goddess.  The smile on her face was positively venomous.  “Alright, you cheating bitch.  I’ll give you a chance to prove that you’re as serious about this shit as you pretend to be.  No one’s gonna be able to help you this time.”  Aphrodite led Psyche outside.  Do you see that mountain off in the distance with the black waterfall streaming over it?  That is the source of the river Styx, the boundary between the lands of the living and the dead (and not the overrated band from the 70s and 80s that some of you were thinking of; even she’s not that vindictive).  Your task is to take this bottle and fill it up from that river.”
  • Psyche took the bottle and headed out, full of dread.  Every task so far had been far harder than it had first appeared, and this one already seemed damned hard.  As she approached the waterfall, after walking for several hours, she dropped to her knees in despair.  This job was well and truly impossible.  The waterfall plunged off of the inaccessible mountain peak and plunged into a deep crevasse.  The rocks that were the only access to the roaring water were tall, slick, and sharp.  Unless she somehow grew wings, there was no way she would ever be able to get close enough to fill a bottle. 
  • As she sat, wondering what to do, she saw a fluttering beside her.  There, perched on a branch, was an eagle.  “Don’t worry, lady,” said the eagle.  “My brothers and I are grateful for your help.  All of the food you’ve left for the bird and rabbits has made them fat and slow, and they’ve been easy prey.  I can help you with task in thanks.”
  • With that, the eagle grabbed the bottle in its beak and flapped into the air. It circled once, and then dove through the spray, filling the bottle with the black water.  It soared down, dropped the bottle into Psyche’s hand, and then flew off.  She headed back, another impossible task complete.
  • Aphrodite was downright homicidal when she saw Psyche enter the temple with the stoppered bottle.  The little bitch was doing things that should have gotten her killed several times over.  “Fuck this” she thought.  “time to bring out the big guns.”
  • “Alright, whorespawn, I’ve got another task for you, if you really think you’re worthy of ever being loved by anyone.  Take this box to Persephone, the queen of the dead and wife of Hades, god of the underworld.  I’m worn out from nursing my son back to health after you tried to murder him to death, and I need some of her beauty.  Have her put it in the box, then bring it back to me.”
  • That’s right, Aphrodite was literally telling Psyche to go to hell.  Very few people had ever made that journey and returned (and they made some epic stories, which we’ll be covering in later episodes), and they had told their story when they returned.  Not far, she knew of a black stone tower where a man lived who claimed to know the road to Hades.  She told the man her story, and he offered to tell her the way.
  • She followed his instructions along a road that led to a black pit in the ground.  She followed the road down into the bowels of the earth.  When she reached the River Styx, which flowed around the underworld, she went to the rickety looking wooden dock.  Per the tower’s instructions, she pulled a coin from her pocket to pay the ferryman, Charon.  He poled her across the river of the damned and let her off at the far shore.  She continued down the road until she arrived at the gates of Hades, guarded by the gigantic three headed dog, Cerberus. 
  • Again, the tower had prepared her for this.  From her bag, she pulled three small cakes and tossed it to the dog.  Cerberus may be a giant, but he’s still a dog, and he loved anyone who gave him treats, so he let her pass unmolested.  The road led her all the way to the throneroom, where Persephone was waiting.  The Queen of the dead was more than happy to be owed a favor by the goddess of beauty, so she filled Psyche’s small box and handed it back to her.
  • “Holy shit”, though Psyche.  “I might actually pull this off.”  She retraced her steps, giving Cerberus a scratch behind the ears as she passed, and again paying Charon for a trip across the river.  As she reached the surface, she got sight of her own reflection in the black waters of the Styx.  The stress, long hours, and limited food had taken its toll on her.  She looked at the wooden box in her hands.  Inside was beauty sufficient even for the goddess of beauty.  “If I’m going to see my husband again (and I damn sure better after all of this shit), I want to look beautiful for him.  I bet Aphrodite won’t even miss it if I take a little of her beauty cream.”  Psyche opened the box, and was dismayed to find it empty.  “Did Persephone trick me?  Why would she…” but she didn’t finish the thought because languor rushed through her limbs and sleep overtook her, right there on the path back out of Hades.
  • The beasts of the forest began to gather around the motionless, delectable form of the young woman.  One of the wolves began to gather its courage to take a test nibble, when he was startled by the sound of rushing wings.  They all scattered as Eros swooped down from the sky.  He had healed from his wounds, and had overheard his mother’s plans to keep Psyche toiling away at impossible labor forever as she tried to win back his heart.  He was moved by her dedication, and tried to go find her, but Aphrodite had locked him in his room.  Being the goddess of beauty rather than brains (that would be Athena, by the way), she forgot that he could fucking fly, so he went out the window in search of his wife.
  • Leaning over her still form, he wiped the magical sleep from her eyes and put it back into the box (which is, of course, the source of beauty as anyone who’s ever cut short their beauty sleep knows) and pricked her with an arrow.  She started awake, and for a moment thought she was still dreaming when she saw Eros’ face above her. 
  • He assured her it was not dream, and told her to take the box to Aphrodite.  He would handle everything else.  “Everything’s gonna be fine,” he promised.  Trepidatious, but striving to trust her husband (since that was the point of their fight in the first place), she continued on the road.  Eros, meanwhile, flew up to Mount Olympus to see Zeus, the king of the gods. 
  • Zeus quickly agreed to Eros’ plan.  “Dude, you’ve caused me no end of grief, including that time you made me turn into a swan and rape some chick or that time you made me turn into a bull and rape some chick, but maybe if you settle down, you’ll leave my dick alone.”  Personally, I think blaming Eros is a cop out, and the whole raping thing was all on Zeus, but it’s very in character for him to not take the blame.
  • Zeus summoned all of the gods, including Aphrodite, and decreed that he was grating Psyche immortality so that she and Eros might be wed.  “Surely, my dear, you can’t be upset if your son marries a god?  And besides” he added in a whisper for Aphrodite’s ears only, “if she’s up on Olympus with your son, she’s not on earth where people can see her.  They’ll quickly forget her and run back to you.”  She couldn’t well refuse her king, so she agreed.  And so, Love and Soul (for that is what Eros and Psyche mean) lived happily ever after.
  • And as the credits roll over some upbeat pop song (I’m hearing This Will Be by Natalie Cole), it’s time for Gods and Monsters.  This is a segment where I get into a little more detail about the personalities and history of one of the gods or monsters from this week’s pantheon that was not discussed in the main story.   This week’s entry is the myth of Galatea and Pygmalion.  This is a story you probably know, even if you don’t recognize it.  The story was the basis for the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion, which is in turn the source for My Fair Lady). 
  • There was a sculptor from Cyprus named Pygmalion, and the dude was a straight up misogynist (and that was by ancient Greek standards, so damn).  In some versions, he just hates women because fuck it, he’s an asshole.  In others, he has gets conned by a prostitute and blames all women for it.  Either way, he resolves never to marry and spare himself the trouble.
  • Unfortunately for him, he can’t get women entirely out of his mind, so he sets out to sculpt the perfect woman (and thereby show every other schmuck just how terrible their ladies were by comparison).  He spent weeks laboring on it, getting every curve exactly right, every line just so.  When he had finished, he realized he had succeeded.  The woman he had sculpted was far more beautiful than any other sculpture, than any other woman.  In his passion, he had created something which hardly looked stone.  To see it, you would imagine it alive, pausing misstep for a moment only before moving on.  And, because this is a rom com and the asshole male lead has to learn his lesson, he fell in love with the statue.
  • Instead of making him happy, his success made him far more miserable.  Instead of making other men jealous, he was himself hopelessly jealous that their lovers could hug back, could kiss back, could FUCK back.  It didn’t stop him from trying though.  He would kiss her stone lips, he would caress her stone face and hair, he would hold her stone body.  Naturally, it didn’t respond because it was a fucking statue and that’s how they work.  If he’d been able to, the poor bastard probably would have built the world’s first sex robot.
  • For a while, he played pretend with her.  He would buy her expensive clothes and drape them on her.  He would buy sweets and sparkly things, and pretend she liked his gifts.  He even put her to bed at night, and tucked her still form in beside him.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite crazy enough, and he soon tired of the game.  In his despair, he cried out for help to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.
  • Aphrodite heard him.  She was intrigued by the world’s first objectophile, and decided to help the poor guy out.  Since Cyprus was the first island that Aphrodite came to after arising from the foam of the sea, her feast day was special there (remember back in Episode 1A when Chronus’ dick, full of semen, was thrown into the ocean?  Well, he apparently knocked the ocean up, and it gave birth to a goddess).
  • It was a day when unrequited lovers would ask for Aphrodite and Eros to convince the person they loved to love them back.  Pygmalion went to the festival, and asked only that he find a maiden like his beloved statue.  He was more than a little surprised when the flame on the altar shot to the ceiling three times in response to his prayer.
  • He wasn’t sure what it meant, but no woman materialized from the shadows, so he went home.  He saw his lovely statue standing in the middle of the room and couldn’t help himself.  He went to her and caressed her face.  He froze.  “Uh, is it just me, or does she feel like flesh rather than stone?”  He kissed her lips, and felt them grow warm and soft beneath his own.  He felt her hands embrace him back and knew that she was alive.  So yeah, it’s also the precursor to Mannequin.  He named the woman Galatea, and naturally she loved him back because Aphrodite is vengeful, but she’s not that mean.  And they, too lived happily ever after, even conceiving a son named Paphos after Aphrodite’s favorite city.

That’s it for this episode of Myth Your Teacher Hated.  Keep up with new episodes on our Facebook page, on iTunes, on Stitcher or on TuneIn, or you can follow us on Twitter as @HardcoreMyth.  You can also find news and episodes on our website at myths your teacher hated dot com.  If you like what you’ve heard, I’d appreciate a review on iTunes, since it helps increase the show’s standing and let more people know it exists.  If you have any questions, any gods or monsters you’d want to learn about, or any ideas for future stories that you’d like to hear, feel free to drop me a line.  I’m trying to pull as much material from as many different cultures as possible, but there are all sorts of stories I’ve never heard, so suggestions are appreciated.  The theme music is by Tiny Cheese Puff, whom you can find on fiverr.com.

Next time, we’ll be picking back up with the epic tale of the Monkey King as it nears it’s end.  As the story goes on, it gets crazier and crazier, and Monkey looks saner and saner by comparison, especially after he meets his own evil twin, gets involved in a demonic domestic squabble, and fights a snake monster that wields spears…somehow.  Then, in Gods and Monsters, it’s an excitable super dog with an unfortunate habit of shitting right in the middle of the goddamned floor.  That’s all for now.  Thanks for listening.