Long, long ago, before the first Thanksgiving, before Columbus sailed to the new world, there lived a husband and wife. The husband, Excloron, loved his wife, Rosonia, more than himself. The love between them was so true, loyal, and immense, that the love goddess, Aphrodite, blessed them herself. Now, at this time, legends about Greek Gods and their myths just started spreading. The couple worshipped the Gods and Goddesses and believed in all the stories. Anything this family ever desired for: fame, wealth, happiness, children, everything was theirs. This family was sweet, selfless, and modest. But, one good deed fetched bad luck knocking at their door. Their story of bad luck gave us some good luck.
One happy, blossoming day, a stressed man was walking past a huge, glistening mansion. Looking at it, he thought, “I think I should rest here for a while.” So, he trudged up the royal steps and knocked. Excloron opened the door and welcomed the stranger inside.
Why did he just let an unknown, outsider come into his house? This was because of the Law of Hospitality. In Greece, this law stated that if someone was unwelcoming to guests or strangers, the wrath of the Gods would be upon them. As a result, Excloron obeyed this and welcomed anyone with open arms.
The welcomed stranger introduced himself. “I am Eurmon. I come from the west of these mountains, over the river of hatred and in the city of greed.” A puzzled look came across the couples face. The stranger continued and told them his dreading story. “I was once a happy man with a happy family like yours. But, then, my treacherous, deceiving brother plotted against me. He snatched everything that was mine! I was exiled, never to see my beautiful wife and growing kids again.” Eurmon blinked furiously, trying to fight his tears. Excloron and Rosonia nodded as if they understood. To get his mind off things and make him feel more welcomed, they started to talk about other things. Slowly, the family became more open with the stranger. The kids were merrily playing. The husband and wife sat close, laughing with the stranger. As the hours passed, Eurmon wearily observed the tight-knit family. Recognition from his old life turned into envy. That envy morphed into hatred. The hatred boiled inside him. As the sun dived under the horizon, Eurmon got up from his seat. “Thank you, good people,” he expressed, “You have treated me very kindly. May the Gods of Olympus bless you.” Excloron and Rosonia thanked him and opened the massive, gold doors.
Eurmon feigned some gratefulness. But, before he stepped outside with his tattered, old footwear, he looked up in the sky and uttered, “You people have made me remember my old life. I curse you. I curse you that you will lose this luxurious life. Just like I have lost my loving family and relaxing life, you will lose a part of yours as well. But not as swiftly as I have. Slowly and steadily and painfully, something will leave your life. I curse you.” Then, Eurmon stepped outside and walked through the moonlit path.
After that day, Excloron and Rosonia went on with their lives, forgetting all about the stranger. Aphrodite observed them with pity. She knew their future. Aphrodite might have been just a beauty-obsessed divinity but, she knew how to love. Excloron and Rosonia were a flawless example of the ideal married couple. Alas, she could not interfere with destiny. She could help them, though. So, one day, Aphrodite took the disguise of a young, teenage beggar and knocked on the couple’s doorstep.
“Hello sir. I have a random suggestion for you,” she said without letting Excloron answer, “In the land of the east, you shall seek light before such might. A curse has been cast but, when blood red falls, the curse will become history. If your love is true, then the white shall be white and the red will be red.” With that, the “little” girl skipped down the path leaving a very dumb-founded Excloron.
“Ahh! Excloron! Oh Gods!” Shaking out of his surprise, Excloron realized this was his wife’s voice from inside the house. He ran into the mansion. He was stopped short when he saw her. Rosonia was clutching her head. On the floor, she was squirming around and wheezing in pain. Where her soft, kind, beautiful face was, now a pool of dark blood covered it. Just the mere sight of his wife like this put Excloron in deep pain. “Oh no! What?!” He ran to the kitchen to get a towel. He took her face in his hands and dabbed her face with the white towel. The pure white slowly turned into a blood red color. Excloron immediately understood the girl’s words. “I need to pay the Gods a visit.”
Excloron walked out of the house after cautiously laying Rosonia on the bed. He left her with water and some ambrosia. Also, he told her that the local healer was on his way. As he took one painful step from his house after the other, he finally reached the door of the temple. He sat down inside and prayed to all the Gods. “We have worshipped and devoted ourselves to serving you. Now, this is the first time we really need you! Please show me some guidance. The little girl was right. The white became red. Just…I ask for one thing. Let Rosonia acquire the life she deserves. Let me be in her place instead.” In his last words, he broke down into sobs. He cradled his head against his knees and wept to his heart’s desire till a voice answered. Do not cry. I love you and your wife’ love. It is true and loyal. A feminine voice called. Now, follow the little girl’s words. Go east. Walk until your feet have so many blisters that they bleed. Then, the blood will trickle to the cure. In the end, you will be the reason your wife lives. But, this journey may cost your life. Do not go back home. Start immediately on your quest. Go mortal! Save your wife before time runs out! Excloron listened intently as he wiped the tears out of his eyes. Shaking, he got up and touched the gods’ feet. “Bless me.” When saying that, he exited the temple. Excloron walked. He walked for miles and miles to the east. He passed numerous towns and villages. He saw many different people. But, he took little rest. The love in his heart gave him so much energy that he did not have to sleep or eat. Of Course, he had Aphrodite’s help in that too. He walked out of Greece and into current Turkey. Soon, he entered current Syria. In the south, he was hit by a lovely smell. The smell of Rosonia’s hair. He pictured her dancing with him. And lovely music in the background. He was slowly drifting off into a fantasy. He clicked his eyes wide open. Excloron knew he had to keep moving. When he moved, he noticed his feet where slimy and wet. As he tilted his head to see the blood red liquid, a small stream of blood trickled down the dusty path. Excloron beamed with happiness as he ran down to follow the stream, ignoring his bloody feet. The blood seeped and seeped until it reached a halt. Blooming right there, in full sunshine, was a tall, elegant, majestic white flower. As soon as a drop of blood touched the flower, it became blood red. “Then, the blood will trickle to the cure.” Excloron remembered. He ran to the flower and delicately plucked it. A breath of relief came from Excloron. Ahead, a glittering, gold form appeared. It shaped into a tall, beautiful, extraordinary goddess. “Lady Aphrodite!” Excloron breathed and bent down on his knee. “You have proved,” Aphrodite announced, “that an ordinary husband can risk his life for his wife. I am truly astounded. So, I bless you. I bless you that no one and nothing can come in between your never-dying love. Now, I will transport you back to your house and wife. I am extremely happy for you!”
In a split second, Excloron was back in his bedroom with Rosonia. He had the flower in his hand. “Rose,” he said. “It is a rose for you, my beautiful Rosonia. A rose for a rose.” Excloron tucked Rosonia’s hair behind her ear and secured it with the flower. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. At that moment, red roses started sprouting everywhere in the world. Till modern day, a rose is identified as a symbol of love and affection. As for Excloron’s stream of blood, it trickled down all the way to an opening of land between present-day Africa and Europe. That opening filled with red water is now called the Red Sea. Seasonally, it turns into a crimson red. But, there is still a question left to answer. How did roses get thorns? A delicate, graceful red flower with sharp thorns? Scientists claim it is a defense mechanism from Mother Nature. But, we know otherwise. Are you curious? That is, however, a story for another time! Greek Gods and Goddesses might still exist. Who knows?