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That Was Fun
A beautiful goddess was bathing in the woods. Her name was Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt. A young Theban Prince, Actaeon, stumbled across her. He stood and stared at the amazingly dazzling body of the Goddess. As Artemis turned around she caught him staring.
“Who are you?” She bellowed, “What are doing looking at me?”
Prince Actaeon mumbled nonsense words to himself, not quite understanding what she said, still entranced by her beauty.
Artemis narrowed her eyes, and wrapped herself up in a cloth by the side of the pool. “If you don’t want to get seriously punished, then you better leave.”
Actaeon blinked and looked up at the Goddess’s face, “Huh?”
“That’s it! You’re getting on my nerves, talk! Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“Oh…” Actaeon finally realized what she was saying and replied, “I’m Actaeon, Prince Actaeon.”
Artemis raised an eyebrow, “Prince?”
He nodded smugly, “And who might you be, fine lady?”
“Fine lady? You think I’m a fine lady? Ha! I could kill you with one draw of my bow. I am Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, the Forest, and the Hills! Now tell me what you’re doing here human!”
Actaeon blinked, stunned but not surprised that this women was a goddess. “I am also a hunter. My hunting hounds are around here somewhere, would you like to see them?”
Artemis glared at the prince, “Answer the question.”
“I -- I was just exploring the land and I stumbled across you bathing.”
“And why didn’t you look away? I would think you would have learned your manners back at your palace.”
“I was too stunned by your magnificent beauty too look away.”
She rolled her eyes. “Think you can stop me from punishing you just because you have kind words?”
“I’m not just saying that, I’m-“
“I have decided what you punishment shall be.” She waited for a reply, but only received a shocked stare from Actaeon. “If you make a single sound, I will turn you into a stag.” She smiled smugly.
He started to open his mouth and then thought better of it. He glared at the Goddess who put this curse on him.
“Now, now Mr. Prince, don’t glare at me! It’s your own fault that you got punished.”
He shook his head furiously.
“Oh yes it is. It’s your own fault that you’re a peeping tom that likes to peek at girls bathing. But it seems you chose the wrong girl this time. Or should I say Goddess!” She giggled to herself, thinking her joke funny.
He turned around and stormed off, not looking back at her.
“Remember, not a single sound!!” She called as he walked away, smiling to herself.
Later that day, Actaeon decided to go and hunt with his hounds. He took his bow and arrow and they all started to sneak around as quietly as possible. After a while his dogs seemed to smell something and raced off to chase it. His dogs quickly disappeared in the thickets. He heard his hound call and without a thought cried out to them, running toward them all the while.
He realized his mistake immediately. His skin started to sprout hair all over his body at an alarming rate. His chest got larger and his hands tougher and more hoof like. After less than two seconds he was completely transformed into a stag.
He galloped into the clearing and stopped, seeing his hounds hanging their heads in defeat. They hadn’t succeeded in capturing their prey. They looked up and saw him. They saw a defenseless stag, one standing in the middle of the clearing, practically taunting them to eat him.
The dogs attacked. They ripped him limb from limb, making sure they would be victorious this round.
After they had eaten the stag, Artemis appeared. “I told him not to make a sound. Stupid human.” She shrugged and bent down to pet one of the bloody dogs. After lingering a while, looking at Actaeon’s remains, she decided to leave.
“Hmm… That was fun.”
Bronx, New York
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