Saturday, January 30, 2010

Myth Manners- On Hospitality

Plagued by jealous gods? Bedeviled by man-eating monsters? In love with a centaur but you're allergic to fur? Maybe Myth Manners can help you!

Dear Myth Manners,

I know we’re supposed to respect the gods by showing all visitors hospitality, but my husband and I are really having a hospitality problem. We’ve been respectable goatherds all our lives and never had any issues before, but we just moved to be closer to our daughter and our new son-in-law, and our home is now right beside a public thoroughfare. We have visitors stopping in at all hours of the day and night, and if we have to slaughter any more goats to feed them, soon we won’t have a herd left to goatherd! Because we give the best bed to our guests, my husband and I haven’t even had a chance to sleep in our own bed in the new house yet. The gods can’t mean we’re supposed to be this hospitable, can they?

Sincerely, Harried by Hospitality

Dear Harried,

I’m afraid that the gods are absolute on this one: you must offer everyone who comes to your house hospitality. There’s a couple who lives a few towns away from me in Phrygia who had Zeus and Hermes come to visit in disguise. They offered hospitality where the rest of the town didn’t: now they’re the only ones alive.

Of course, every visitor that comes to your doorstep can’t be a god! But every time you refuse to honor the laws of hospitality, you’re risking your death. Perhaps think about moving away from the thoroughfare?

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