Why am I awake

Wanna hear something gross?

so there’s this king Pandion
he’s the king of athens
(damn right kids
haven’t told a greek myth in a WHILE
fingers started to get kinda itchy)
and he’s really shitty at wars
which i guess isnt the worst thing to be shitty at
but still it means
that when athens goes to war
he has to hit up this other king Tereus
and be like yo Tereus
i hear you are the son of Ares
come win this war for me

so Tereus wins the war
pretty much with no problem at all
and Pandion is like oh damn
i guess i have to get you some kind of reward huh
and Tereus is like no shit

now Pandion has two daughters
Philomela and Procne
he had them with his wife Zeuxippe
who is also his aunt
talk about family efficiency
or you know
INCEST
so anyway Pandion does not give a three-legged fuck about his daughters
so he is like hey Tereus
do you like women
here
have my daughter Procne
go nuts

that last part might have been Pandion’s fatal mistake
because what tereus does
is he takes that instruction to go nuts pretty literally
see he marries Procne alright
and has a kid with her
Itys
and time passes and Procne starts to miss her sister
and Tereus is like well alright honey
lemme just go on back to athens
and bring your sister back for a visit

so he shows up in Athens all like
hey Pandion i know i already have one of your daughters
lemme borrow your other one for a quick second
and pandion is like i dunno
seems like that would give you a dangerous monopoly
over ALL MY DAUGHTERS
also i might need that one
what if I go to a wedding and forget to bring a gift
or i’m at a superbowl party
and they’re like pandion you forgot the spinach dip
and then i need to be like its cool you can have my daughter
Tereus you need to think about these things
being a king is hard
you need lots of daughters

but Tereus is like look dude i’m not asking for myself
your other daughter has been giving me no end of shit
about seeing her sister
so you’re gonna have to hook it up ok
because otherwise
i am not going to have any daughters of my own
get it
get it
and then he starts crying
like COME ON MAN LET MY WIFE SEE HER SISTER
SHE IS SO SAD
and Pandion is like ok i guess
here take my daughter Philomela

So Tereus starts going back home
to bring his wife’s sister
to see his wife
so they can catch up on old times

with me so far?
good

so Tereus takes philomela to a cottage in the forest and rapes her
he rapes her over and over
and when she complains
he cuts out her tongue
because PLOT TWIST
apparently he was madly in love with Philomela all along
i dont know about you guys
but the way i show my love
is always with a combination of rape and disfigurement
he actually cuts out her tongue
because she is really insistent on telling her sister
about this shit
and in the original poem it’s really really gross
like her tongue flops around on the floor for like
a solid minute
and then Tereus is like OH LOOK AT THE TIME
IT’S RAPE O’CLOCK AGAIN
oh man i just reread the myth
and it says around this point that Tereus is “warm for wenching”
which is either the best or wost euphemism
for RAPEHUNGRY
that i have ever seen

anyway then Tereus leaves Philomela in the woods
with a 24 hour guard around her house
and goes back to Procne
and Procne is like hey where’s my sister
and Tereus starts crying
he is expert at crying
and is like OH MAN I WENT ALL THE WAY TO ATHENS
AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW
YOUR SISTER WAS ALREADY DEAD
WHAT A TRAGEDY/COINCIDENCE
and Procne is like why do you smell like rape
and Tereus is like uh new cologne

so Procne goes into mourning for like a year
and meanwhile Philomela is busy in her little cottage
weaving a tapestry
that basically just says
HEY
HEY
TEREUS RAPED ME AND CUT OUT MY TONGUE
over and over
and when she gets done
she gives it to an old woman
and she uses SIGN LANGUAGE
to tell the woman to bring it to Procne

so procne gets the tapestry
and she reads it
and is like WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT
but she doesn’t say that out loud
only in her mind
because she is too full of grief
and also VENGEFULNESS
instead she waits for that special time of year
when all the women get to go out into the woods
to worship bacchus
i guess because bacchus is throwing a sweet party in the woods
and he doesnt want no sausagefest

anyway procne finds her sister’s cottage
and breaks her loose
and sneaks her back into the palace
and when they both get there they sit down like hm
Tereus is the ultimate wretched excuse for a human being
what can we do to teach him a lesson
and Procne is like OH I KNOW
FILICIDE
HEY ITYS
and itys comes bounding in
like hello mother what do you need
i will do anything for you because i love you so much
and Procne is like
STAND OVER HERE WHILE MY SISTER AND I STAB YOU TO DEATH
and Itys is like ok

so they stab him to death
and cut off his head
and make a pie
and Procne gives it to Tereus
and Tereus is like mm this tastes like my son
what’s in this
i want to share it with my son
bring him in ok
and Procne is like OH ITYYYYSSSS
and Philomela walks in holding his severed head like WHAT
it is just like if you have ever seen rocky horror picture show
that scene where frank n furter pulls off the tablecloth
and meatloaf is there under the table
with a big chunk cut out of him
gross
meatloaf used to be pretty good
but i saw him on american idol a couple years ago
and he sucks now

ANYWAY then Tereus is like oh shit I’ve been pranked
BITCH IMMA KILL YOU
and Procne and Philomela are like O NO YOU DONT
and the start running
and they run SO HARD
they turn into BIRDS
Procne turns into a nightengale
basically so she can be sad forever
and Philomela turns into a Sparrow
cuz sparrows are mute
and Tereus
not to be outdone
turns into a houpou
which is a bird which is constantly saying the greek word
for WHERE
WHERE
GOD DAMMIT WHERE

by the way guys
as far as i can tell from the internet
what i just did there was the first good retelling of that myth
since OVID
guys i dont think you realize how disappointing the internet is sometimes

anyway where was i
oh yeah the moral
man where do i fucking start
Pandion is an asshole for giving away all his daughters
and then Tereus is an asshole for raping them
and then even procne and philomela turn out to be assholes
when they KILL PROCNE’S SON AND FEED HIM TO HIS FATHER
so i guess the moral is
if you have to be like anyone in this story
be like Itys?
except then you get eaten by your dad

oh well can’t win em all

The end.

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10 thoughts on “Why am I awake

  1. This has got to be the most fucked up one so far. Sometimes I get the feeling Ovid was just really good at getting gossip from people and only occasionally good at adding a lesson in. Like this one: straight up trainwreck and you can't look away.

  2. Wasn't there a Shakespeare play about this? I remember the "bake your kids in a pie" thing from Theatre of Blood. Although I guess greek myth may have just used that one more than once for kicks.

  3. TITUS ANDRONICUS is the play you're thinking of. Shakespeare is a classy thief, because he stole it from Seneca's Thyestes.

    I think this is why we all know so many Greek and Roman myths, btw. It's because England was obsessed with the Classical World and has been mercilessly pillaging it for art and plots and poems for hundreds of years now.

  4. THYESTES! THAT'S THE NAME I WAS TRYING TO REMEMBER. The one that is like exactly the same at this story more or less. or really just the children eating part. actually i think even more children die in thyestes right?

    anyway fuck britain go america

  5. heading through the archives at blinding speed except not really and
    this is great, but the greeks and then the neoclassicists got some dumb all up in this
    i mean
    the neoclassicists decided Philomela was the nightingale, even though she was the one with no tongue, and like wrote poems about her and shit
    and then
    sparrows definitely aren’t mute
    those little fuckers chirp like fuckin nonstop outside my windows all day

  6. Female nightingales are mute. Only the male sings. ;-)

    Another variation has Procne become the nightingale, who sings a lament for the son she murdered, and Philomela become a species of swallow that twitters rather than sings.

    A third version of the story has Tereus come to Athens and announce that Procne has died and he wants Philomela for his new wife. He brings her back to Thrace with him and *she* gives birth to Itys — and then she finds out that Procne is still alive, but Tereus cut her tongue out and sent her to the slave quarters. Cue the babymurder.

  7. Pingback: THE BIRDS (but not the Hitchcock version) (but kind of the Hitchcock version) | Myths RETOLD

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