The Librarian's Revenge ©

The Librarian's Revenge ©

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Orpheus and Eurydice

EXERCISESPosted by Georgina Harris 27 Apr, 2009 06:07PM

An exercise from UEA finally unearthed: 'Rewrite a Greek Myth.'

A summary of the original tale:

"Orpheus marries the beautiful Eurydice. Shortly after their wedding Eurydice is bitten by a snake, dies, and falls into the underworld. Able to make the gods weep with his ability to play such sad music and sing so mournfully, Orpheus travels down to the Underworld to to play for Hades and Persephone (who are its King and Queen) and persuade them to allow him to bring Eurydice back. They agree to his plea, but only on the condition that he walks ahead of her and does not look back on the way up. So worried about her, he turns to look at her and she vanishes forever."

Unfortunately (?) I am unable to post the whole text in one go, but here is an extract. If you wish to read more, let me know.

....Eurydice's head had fallen on a patch of soil which had been badly trampled and where the grass was squashed and pulped; juices ran clear from their textured stems. Her clay-coloured hair, curling like ivy-stalks, spread out erratically over the dirt. A beetle used it as a bridge between two stems.

Her body began to sink into the earth, submerged in clods of soil and beetles, burrowing animals chewing and spitting it out around her. And still Orpheus. Her cheeks turned from peach to sallow and she was aware of a feeling like a ghost's; a translucent, colourless feeling pervading and permeating the smoky fabric of her wedding gown. She felt beads of an ashy substance draining from her clothes and knew that her scent was being pulled away as she too felt pulled through the earth.

Underground streams became more like distant rumblings rather than the hard sound of water filtering and dribbling through pebbles that she had heard closer to the surface. Her eyes failed to trace the line and curve of the growing rock. Her own form had become a woven texture of vapours moulded into various shapes. Marrow and fibres sank into a filmy substance. She felt as if her flesh remained, though only as a sponge to bulk her little frame. The feeling was not unpleasant, it was only a gradual loosening or a lessening of her body. Her mind was still lucid, and maddeningly vivid, and she thought of her husband.

There were other forms decending, too. She was aware of similar shapes, of closeness, of similarity. She felt like one face of a many-sided shape, one aspect of a cliff-face even, a singular shape part of a complex whole which she could not make out through her narrowed vision. Her eyes were simply blind beams...