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Whoever coined the phrase “let sleeping giants lie,” knew nothing of sleeping goddesses. To rouse a sleeping goddess brought consequences far beyond those of awakening a paltry giant. Sleeping goddesses, once awoken, wreak havoc. It is best to leave sleeping goddesses to lie, lest they discover the object of their awakening and react. Such reactions generally fall under the description of “poorly.” Sleeping goddesses react poorly to being disturbed from sleep, especially when disturbed by the god of the sun himself. Such was the rousing of Aphrodite.

“Aphrodite, you oughtn’t sleep so soundly. You have missed an oath.”

Aphrodite narrowed her eyes at Apollo, partially out of irritation, and partially due to his blinding countenance. She had no part in the frivolity of the other gods. Her task was a busy one. She alone was responsible for the dealings of humans–she started wars, she destroyed kingdoms, she rent the world in two–she possessed full command of humanity’s strongest emotion. What did she care about some foolish mortal’s oath? So many vowed in the name of Zeus, still more cursed by Hades’s name, yet more promised honor to Demeter for the sake of the harvest. Many prayed to Aphrodite, but none swore in her name. This oath, which had caught the attention of Apollo would be much discussed in Olympus, but Aphrodite would have no part of such insipidness. Her sleep disturbed, she resolved to ignore Apollo and his precious oath-taking mortal, just to spite his interruption of her time. This resolution firmly planted in her mind, Aphrodite gracefully lifted herself from her resting place, and airily swept past the sun god towards the edge of Olympus. Apollo, finding he had angered her, grinned impishly and followed after her, trailing sparks.

“Aphrodite, lovely Aphrodite, let your sweet countenance grace Zeus’s throne! He requires your beauty in his hall, for the mortal’s oath has been swore against you, yes, even you!”

Gently turning from her path, Aphrodite glided towards the center of Olympus. How cruelly she had been awoken, only to be required by Zeus! Yet, her curiosity found itself equal with Pandora’s, for never had a moral sworn against her. No, for no mortal was foolish enough to damn themselves to Hades without first having loved. Should any fool anger Aphrodite, she would curse his loves, that each should die in some miserable manner.

“Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, queen of love, come! Observe the mortal who swore against you, and make your judgement.” Zeus’s thundering voice shook the foundations of Olympus. It was a wonder to Aphrodite how the mortals did not hear him.

Aphrodite peered through the clouds to the earth below, looking closely at the fool who cursed her. A young woman, of all things! What woman did not desire Aphrodite’s favor? It was in her power to bestow beauty unknown among mortals, or to strike wretchedness beyond imagination. It was she who held the power to bestow love, to force the emotions of mortals to be joined together, or to forcefully tear them apart, should a union displease her. She held the human heart in her hand; who would dare curse her?

“What did the little fool say exactly, my lord Zeus?”

“‘Hear me, oh stars! Listen closely, you sparkling gods, and know my speech! I shall never love. Never shall I cast my affection to another, never shall I bear the sorrows and joys of another, never shall I command or be commanded by another. I shall know reason all my life, and my heart shall not be my master. You stars, you gods above, are witness!'”

Hermes relayed the mortal’s speech to the glowing goddess, and the celestial court awaited her judgement.

Aphrodite looked down at the pitiful little mortal who attempted to defy her most precious gift. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, looked with glee upon her newest amusement.

“The little fool shall love.”

The whispers of the other gods began immediately. Aphrodite smiled into the clouds, knowing of the fun she would have, stripping the girl of her reason and watching her fall foolishly in love. For the sake of this little mortal, it would have been much better to have let the sleeping goddess lie.

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Regent Contributor Author: Scarlett Bloodworth 

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