I know none of my friends have me pegged as a romantic, but I wish at times that romantic love did happen in my life. I used to love a Greek myth in childhood, and I loved it so much that as an adult–and maybe if I am lucky it will be published someday–I rewrote in which instead of the gods Zeus and Hermes the being who visited the poor couple was Elijah. So here is the story:
There was a time when the gods looked down on earth and saw that men were behaving in such a way that it was a disgrace. No man cared for his fellow, not one bit. So Zeus and Hermes decided to go down to find somebody righteous with the plan to reward them with anything they desired. Down they went, into the world of man. They looked all over the world, searching for that one righteous man or men. And they did not find him. People unwittingly threw the two gods out on the street.
Finally, they came to a hovel in the middle of nowhere. An elderly couple lived there. And the couple welcomed them into their home, and feasted them like kings. They baked a lamb for them and treated them to wine. Truthfully, the food–though it was the best they could cook–was not the feast of kings except that the company was so good. The company listened to all the stories the gods told them. They told the stories of other travelers to the gods. Then, finally, the gods revealed themselves as Father Zeus and his son Hermes.
The old couple was frightened. The gods finally assuaged their fears, asking them what they would like as their reward. The two of them consulted each other and then the man stepped forward, “The truth is that we have everything we want except one thing. If you could grant it so that each one of us dies on the same day, the same moment, neither one outliving the other, than we would be eternally grateful. For you see–each of us could not bare to live without the other.”
Well, the gods granted their request. Yet they did something more. If you look at the right place in the wilderness, there are two trees joined at the base. Those two trees are the old couple. They are joined in immortality.
I have wished my entire life for a love as deep and pure as that old couple. That is why I rewrote the story with Elijah visiting the old couple instead of the Greek gods. I wrote a whole book with similar stories, though most of them are purely my own invention: A Child’s Haggadah. Yet I am not sure anyone shall ever publish it.