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Celaeno's Curse

So, here's a weird topic. Around 2000 years ago, a Roman named Virgil wrote an epic poem called the Aeneid. And it contains a story which had a huge effect on me, and made me think about the world differently. And I'm going to tell you about it. Isn't that exciting!

The Aeneid is, roughly speaking, a story about a bunch of Trojans, who, after the Trojan war, which they did not win, went wandering through the world, and eventually find Italy, and become the progenitors of Rome, and the Roman empire.

Like all epic poems, it's long and rambling. Aeneas, the protagonist of the story, and the person after which the book is named, goes wandering around getting in all kinds of trouble, everywhere he goes. And he get's cursed quite a bit. The most famous of these curses is Dido's curse. He and Dido had been, well, rather intimate, and then he suddenly took a notion to leave, and she put a curse on him that her people and his would fight endless war until one of them was utterly destroyed. This did not work out well for her people. But that is a different story.

The curse I'm here to talk about is Celaeno's curse. Caeleno was a harpy, who were basically bird women with wings. Wait, I will get to the good stuff eventually. The Trojans were fleeing from somebody and they wandered into the harpies' realm. In the process of escaping, Celaeno put a curse on Aeneas and his pals. She cursed them with hunger, horrible, horrible hunger.

She said that they would be consumed by hunger, a hunger so terrible, they would have to eat the tables.

So, they sailed around, had adventures, met the afore mentioned Dido, and eventually landed in Sicily.

It was nice there, so they had a picnic. A big picnic. They did not have picnic blankets, so they used these mats, made from a kind of hard bread crackery kind of thing to put the food on. And they were hungry, so they ate all the food, but crackery things were kind of sitting there, so they ate those also.

And that's when Aeneas' son, Ascanius, realized what had just happened. They were so hungry, they ate the tables.

You may wonder why I am telling you this boring story.

Because it's not boring. Aeneas and his crew were cursed before the gods. They were doomed. Doomed to a horrible fate. And yet, that prophecy came true, and it was as nothing. It was literally a picnic.

That had a huge effect on me, and how I view the world. Fate, destiny, the path I am forced to tread, there is naught I can do about that. But I own it. It is for me to decide what it means. I can take what I am handed and make it a picnic.

And that's a pretty good lesson from a two thousand year old text. I'll take it.


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