Similarly I was fascinated by myths and legends, particularly the Greek myths, where a miserly king could turn his beloved daughter into gold, and gods and goddesses plagued the lives of mortals.
I must have had a maudlin mindset though, as the myths which particularly captured my imagination were ones where the hero was set an impossible task which they would invariably overcome, or even more to my liking were the ingenious punishments meted out in Hades, such as the one eventually endured by King Sisyphus, who spawned his own adjective.
He had a long-running feud with the gods which was bound to end in tears. First he angered them by telling Asophus that Zeus (who admittedly did have a reputation for such things) had carried off his daughter, Aegina. Not content with that, when Death came for him, Sisyphus chained him up, temporarily granting immortality to all of humanity. When he was finally brought down to the underworld he instructed his wife to leave his body unburied which served as an excellent excuse to travel back up (primarily in order to punish his long-suffering wife) and live for a long time before dying again. However, by that time, inevitably, he had built up a lot of bad blood in Hades, so when he finally arrived he was given a cruel and unusual sentence.
His punishment was to endlessly roll a massive stone up a hill. As soon as it reached the top it would fall all the way back to the bottom and he would have to start again.
He must have been a bit of a tourist attraction in Hades, as Homer wrote:
And I saw Sisyphus at his endless task raising his prodigious stone with both his hands. With hands and feet he tried to roll it up to the top of the hill, but always, just before he could roll it over on to the other side, its weight would be too much for him, and the pitiless stone would come thundering down again on to the plain.
The Greek myths are littered with cracking stories like this, such as the daughters of Danaus whose task was drawing water in a sieve, or poor Tantalus (who gave us the word 'tantalising') who had to stand in a pool, his chin level with the water, eternally thirsty, as if he bent his head to drink the water immediately drained away. As if that wasn't bad enough, he was also surrounded by fruit laden trees but if he tried to pick any, the winds whirled the branches high above his reach.
So, the moral of these tales is fairly obvious...... don't aggravate the gods.
But I digress.
This morning I am tackling a similar ordeal.
There is not a single square millimetre of useful space on any surface anywhere in the workroom. Likewise the floor, which is piled with boxes, bits of display stand etc. A bit of mess is to be expected in the run up to a fair but this is ridiculous.
So I intend spending the next few hours attempting to restore some semblance of order to the chaos.
My very own Sisyphean task.......