Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baucis and Philemon

Do you remember Ovid's story of the old couple Baucis and Philemon? Zeus and Hermes had disguised themselves as peasants and had come to B and P's town, looking for accommodation. Everybody refused them hospitality but Baucis and Philemon welcomed them and Baucis realised they were gods when the pitcher of wine remained full in spite of her frequently filling their glasses. Philemon suggested killing their goose in honour of the gods but the goose leapt onto Zeus' lap and Zeus said that they shouldn't worry about the goose but instead all leave as he was so furious with the ungenerous town that he was going to destroy it. The town was completely destroyed by a flood except for Baucis and Philemon's cottage which was transformed into a temple. Zeus granted the couple a wish. They chose to stay together as guardians of the temple and to die at the same time. When they died, Baucis became a linden tree and Philemon an oak and they remained guarding the temple.

7 Comments:

Blogger kinglear said...

I've always rather liked The Gods in Ovid. They display human frailties and playfulness, and an appreciation of services rendered.

3:55 pm  
Blogger Eurodog said...

Did Ovid ever live in Brittania? Not too many linden trees or oaks in the Southern Mediterranean.
Does not really matter. Beautiful and very moving all the same, WW.
It has made my day reading this.

10:20 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Did you get my last comment on this post?

9:05 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi ED - you are right - I should have called it a lime tree. Glad you liked the story anyway.

No Ellee, I didn't!

9:31 am  
Blogger Eurodog said...

All I wanted to say was that I found it strange that oak trees and linden or lime trees would figure in the Southern Mediterranean but then this was prior to climate change.

5:17 pm  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I like the story, too.

10:51 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi ED - They were supposed to live in Phrygia, which is modern day Anatolia in Turkey which I think can be quite cool.

9:27 am  

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