Dolos was always a mischievous soul, saying he was the god of Trickery. He loved playing tricks on everyone and everything, especially on April fools day. Sometimes he takes pranks a little too far, like once when he turned Cerberus into a weiner dog. Or one time when he made a sugar mold of Zeus’s Master bolt and pretended to break it. There was also another time where he made the Gods’s thrones into fire and water. Only Hephastus and Posideon could sit on the thrones.
Dolos has a close friend named Prometheus, who is a titan. If you remember, Prometheus is the one who gave humans fire, which was actually Dolos’s idea. Prometheus paid for it. Dolos usually hid behind others to cover his trickery. He got away with everything. He used others as cover, so he wouldn't get caught, but one day… He saw a poor man walking to his home, carrying a package in his arms. The man looked sickly and weary, he had on tattered clothing and smelled of manure.
Thinking it would be fun to turn the package into something hilarious, Dolos followed the man to a small stone temple. There he set the package and started muttering strange words. This is my chance, thought Dolos. Dolos focused his whole body on what he wanted the package to turn into. The package had started to softly glow, whether it was the kneeling man’s muttering or Dolos tricks, something was certainly happening to the thing inside the package.
Two things happened at once. The package unwrapped, showing the most grotesque, ghastly thing. It had murky brown, slimy skin. Small arms, not unlike the ones that come on a doll, coming out of every side. And the sides that weren’t taken up by arms, there were the most bloodshot, dry eyes imaginable.
The man stopped his muttering and looked at the creature, lying on the table in front of him. His face turned paler, and he started to backaway, but before he could make it to the door a fiery earth symbol appeared above the grotesque creature. This made the man squeal in fear and bent over as if trying to shield himself. The whole earth shook as if it were yelling in anger. The man straigented up, bolted out the door, running to the small shack, which Dolos assumed to be his house, and was shouting words in Greek.
Dolos was a bit shaken by the sudden earthquake but shrugged it off as nothing. He was soon rolling around in a fit of laughter. After Dolos recovered from laughing, he went to look for his next victim.
He was lying on a cloud, spitting bits of lightning bolts onto passersby’s, shocking them. While taking aim at a woman’s ear a buzzing sound had started in Dolos’s ear. Thinking it was just a bee he waved a hand in an attempt to make the noise stop. But it just continued to grow louder and louder.
Sudden realization fell over Dolos like a blanket being draped over a child. A cold chill crept up the back of Dolos’s spine before he muttered, “What do you want mother?”
“I want you to stop being an infuriating nuisance,” replied a dry and hoarse woman’s voice.
“Oh why I would but you see I was created to do tricks and things alike,” answered Dolos airily, twirling the spitting tube between his fingers. The earth gave a jerk and he fell from his cloud onto the ground.
“You will listen to what I have to say or you’ll be cleaning out the gutters in Tartarus,” said the voice forcefully. This seemed to have gotten to Dolos a little because he sat up straighter and nodded.
“That prank you just did to that poor man, he was making an offering to me and you disrupted it, and I don’t want to punish the poor man so instead I’ve chosen to punish you.” said Dolos’s mother. Dolos was in outrage.
“That is not fair! You of all people should appreciate a little laugh now and then, what with you trying to wake again and destroy the world. Why do you choose to punish me this time for this harmless little prank?” questioned Dolos.
“Harmless? Harmless? You sent that that thing to me. Do you know how repulsive it is to have a many armed, several eyed thing fall on you while napping?” said Gaia, half shouting.
“Well I didn’t realize that…” muttered Dolos, picking at a patch of grass.
“You don’t realize anything that’s not shoved between your two eyes or anything that makes you laugh while other people pay. But not this time. You will take that poor man's place and take care of his farm.”
“B-but Mother, there's no need for that-” replied Dolos nervously. But Gaia said nothing, instead she willed with all her might to turn her son into a human.
Dolos felt a searing pain start in his toes, it began to creep up the rest of his body. Fear was in his eyes, fear that he would soon have to do manual labor, fear of his mothers wrath, and fear of being in a vulnerable mortal’s body.
His arms shot back into his body, his legs following them. His body became more round in the stomach region. His facial hair became as long as a horse’s tail and the hair on his head receded into his scalp.
Spotting a puddle of water on the ground, Dolos went over and peered at his reflection. It was of a stranger, foreign to him. He cringed and the person in the water cringed.
“What have you done to me!” roared Dolos, intending to speak to his mother. If she replied he would not have heard a reply because he was now a mortal and could not communicate with gods.
As the realization hit Dolos he yelled a worded curse to his mother and proceeded to try if he still had his powers. But it was a flop, the stick he tried turning into a rabbit just stayed a stick.
Frustrated, he walked around and kicked a tree stump, which he immediately regretted. Now that he was a mortal he could feel pain. And the kick he threw, wasn’t a small one.
“Hey! You!” yelled someone from behind Dolos. Turning he saw the poor man from earlier. His eyes seemed red and puffy like he had been crying and his knees were sore and bloody.
“M-me?” asked Dolos, taken aback at this person's sudden appearance.
“Yes you. You’re my new help, what’s your name?” said the man irritated.
“I’m Dolos,” answered Dolos, stopping himself from adding, “god of trickery and guile.”
“Dolos? The god of trickery and guile? Yeah right, stop kidding yourself, who are you really?”
Dolos went pale in the face, he didn’t know any names on the top of his head, other than fart head or doctor dooty. He looked around at his surroundings and saw the stump he kicked and the puddle of water.
“I’m Struddle,” made up Dolos.
“Struddle? That’s your name?” said the man unbelieving.
“Yes it is, my mama gave it to me and I wear it proudly. Might I ask your name?”
“I’m Andrei, we should get to work before it gets late, follow me,” and with that Andrei turned and set off down a dirt road. Dolos walked after him, a little slower, he wasn’t too eager to do manual labor.
“Are…. we... there yet?” huffed Dolos, who was sweating profusely.
“We’ve only been walking for ten minutes!” exclaimed Andrei.
“Come on, let’s go,”
And so they walked and walked and walked until finally a small field came into view. The sound of cows mooing met their ears. Andrei smiled at the sound.
“Papa! Papa!” yelled a small girl, running at Andrei with her arms open.
“Hey there baby girl!” beamed Andrei, pulling his daughter into a bone crushing hug. She wiggled out of his grasp and started smiling up into his face.
“The cow is about to give birth! Mama thinks we’ll get twins!”
“Then we better get over there and make sure she’s comfortable!” instructed Andrei, “And Struddle why don’t you come with us,” added Andrei as an afterthought. Dolos had to suppress a groan, helping give birth to a cow was not on the top of his to do list. But he followed behind them into the smelly barn.
A woman with dark thick hair was rubbing a cow with a very swollen belly. Dolos guessed this was the pregnant cow.
“There you are Andrei, took you long enough,” joked the woman, looking up as the party of three entered.
“Sorry dear, had to pick up the new help,” said Andrei, motioning to Dolos. He gave a polite nod but said nothing.
“How long has she been in labor?” asked Andrei, joining his wife on the floor.
“About an hour, I haven’t been able to get any water for her, I didn’t want to leave her side and Anastasia can’t carry a pail of water by herself,” reported his wife. Andrei got an I-have-an-amazing-idea sort of look.
“Struddle can you fill the pail of water please?”
“Yeah alright,” agreed Dolos. He went back outside and a little way away was the water pail and water tap. After the pail was filled with water he carried it over to the barn.
“We’ll need more of these,” said Andrei. Dolos grit his teeth and proceeded to fill up ten more pails of water. And five hours later there were two new members of the cow herd.
After all the heavy lifting Dolos was so tired he’d gladly lay next to the cow and fall asleep. But Andrei had other plans. He had Dolos muck the stalls, replace the water, feed the horses, and gather the eggs.
The sun had already set by the time he finished with all the chores. He walked sleepily to the small house, dragging his feet behind him. When he opened the door a heavenly smell met his nose.
“I’ve whipped up some chicken and tomato soup for you, I figured you’d be hungry,” explained Andrei’s wife.
“Oh thanks but I’m not very hungry,” refused Dolos.
“I insist, you haven’t eaten in who knows how long, you must be famished!” pressured the wife. Giving in Dolos sat at the table, pulling the bowl of warm soup towards him.
“This is great thanks….” praised Dolos, but trailed off realizing he didn’t know her name.
“I’m Dion,” supplied Dion. Dolos smiled and continued to down his food. Once he was finished Dion showed him where he would be sleeping. Which was in the barns loft. It wasn’t the ideal spot to sleep, but it was warm and comfortable and very inviting to Dolos who just ate a large bowl of warm soup.
He laid down on the hay, wiggling around to get comfortable. Soon he was fast asleep, curled up in the hay.
But the peacefulness didn’t last long. As soon as the sun was up he was being shaken awake by Andrei.
“What, it’s still dark out why are you waking me up so early,” groaned Dolos.
“It’s how we farmers start the day! Up before the sun!” said Andrei brightly. Dolos didn’t want to get up but figured he’d be back to being a god in no time if he did as he was told so groggily he got up and followed Andrei to milk the cows.
The day was as tiresome as the last. He developed calluses on his hands and blisters formed on his feet. He would eat dinner then go up to his bed in his loft and immediately fall asleep and wake up at dawn with Andrei. Sometimes in the evening when they finished early Dion would heat water and let them soak their feet.
For the first few days it was hard for Dolos to do the work, he had never lifted a finger for anything in his life. He was bitter that his mother had him do this work. But over time he got better, his attitude changed and he started to enjoy the work. It was no longer a chore to wake up at dawn, he enjoyed seeing the sunrise and the morning dew in the grass.
While working in the fields Dolos and Andrei liked to talk, they talked about the weather, what was to do next, how Andrei and Dion met. Small things like that.
“Where do you come from Andrei?” asked Dolos, pulling some weeds from the ground.
“When I was a boy my family lived in Ródos. But I moved here,” motioning around at the farm, “when I was nineteen, I had to try hard to keep this farm up at the start, it was only me with half a dozen cows, ten chickens, and eight pigs.” explained Andrei.
“Wow, looks like you’re a hard worker….I came from a life of luxury, never lifted a finger in my life until now...I never truly appreciated how hard you guys work.” mumbled Dolos, looking at the dirt on his gloves.
“Don’t worry about it buddy, you never know something until you’re put in their shoes,” comforted Andrei, patting Dolos on the back. Dolos looked up and returned the smile.
“C’mon let’s finish up here and wash up, it’s Anastasia’s birthday today and Dion is making a special cake,” said Andrei. The two of them finished pulling weeds and went back inside and changed into clean clothes.
The celebration was very fun. Dion made the most delicious and moist chocolate cake imaginable. They sang, and danced and cheered. Andrei led everyone, including Dolos, out to the far side of the barn. Andrei had Anastasia's eyes covered with a rag.
He untied the rag, revealing to Andromeda a small foal with a beautiful, shiny auburn coat.
“Oh papa!! It’s beautiful! I love it! Thank you so so much!” cried Anastasia hugging her father.
“I’m taking it that you like it?” asked Andrei.
“Of course I do! You know I’ve always wanted my own horse!” replied Anastasia. Dion pulled her husband aside and whispered, “Where did you get that foal? It doesn’t look cheap,” “An old family friend offered a discount, I’ve been saving for months,” answered Andrei. Dolos couldn’t stop smiling at this wonderful family moment. It was wholesome, sweet, and even more important true.
That night when Dolos went to bed, he realized he felt something he hadn’t in a while, full, but not with food full of love and happiness. Not the kind he got from pranking or tricking people, a new kind of fullness. When he fell asleep his mother visited him in a dream.
“It’s nice to see you again son, I’ve been watching your progress, and I think it’s safe to say you’ve learned the meaning of hard work and respecting people. You’re welcome to come back as a god.” offered Gaia. Dolos considered this offer, thinking of the past few weeks.
“Thank you mother, this is a generous offer but I am afraid but I have to decline. I have found something I love here, and I’m not ready to leave.” declined Dolos. Gaia was taken aback, thinking that her son would wish to be back as a god.
“Well, if that’s what you want, then you may stay on this farm,” said Gaia, reliving Dolos of his dream. He woke up abruptly, the recent dream fresh in his mind. A feeling of peace settled over him, he smiled to himself, knowing he’d be sleeping in this loft for weeks to come.
A special thanks to my friend who helped me write this!