The Boars of Mt. Parnassus

On that rocky island I made the cattle dance behind me. Their broad and red backs paved the fields to my heights, where, by means subtle and obscure, I made them mine, made them over in my image. As I, uncertain their parentage, unknown their origin, mystifical their history. For no sweating hours were the lowing herds taken in payment, not for brave deeds, nor sweet ties of marriage-bed. Blood will out, and so clever my hands.

But clever too the owner-king. Impious, cannibalistic, incestuous, ribald, but keen his mind, and wise to lawlessness. Though he stared into the changed face of his kine, and cupped their unaccustomed shanks, and peered at broad and anonymous teeth, his eyes sought slowly for the hidden hoofmark that said, as clear as any beamish boy, “I am Sisyphus’s!” For this was I beaten — which I bore well enough. Such pride in my parentage still I have. — and my daughter taken to high holt, rude bower, and thus were we tossed to the sea.

And now here is my grandson, a child of my anger, and so named Anger. In his face I see — though he bears the name of my daughter’s husband — that laughing, canny, odious king. And mine, too, pressed upon his brow, and in the working of his hands, and something even of my father. But of his mother, nothing, nor his grandmother, nor of any woman, and so I worry. Now he is at the boar hunt, where so many men have gone, and I feel his destiny closing upon him, and still I worry. But Fate comes to all men, and all women, and even to the gods…