Epona on Ungrateful Barbarians
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Thanks for dropping by. Trust me, the bored gods and goddesses really appreciate it.
And you should see our Waiting Room today. It is chock-a-block with bored gods! Anne has been wringing her hands lately and gazing at her navel instead of seeing to these lonely deities. Bad Anne. Very bad.
So it's been a veritable God Triage Operation this afternoon, trying to figure out quickly who ought to have the podium today. And the winner is . . . the Goddess Epona!
For those of you not up-to-date on your ancient pantheons, Epona was widely venerated through Europe back in the misty reaches of time. And justifiably so. She gave humankind a gift -- the horse!
But as with every other gift from the gods, right down to Gaia herself, humans have abused their privileges, horse-wise. Let's give a big "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Epona!
Anne: Epona, you are sorely grieved. It's evident from the way you're ripping up your riding habit.
Epona: Yes. Oh yes! I wish I could turn back time. I'd make horses carnivores and set them upon Homo erectus, and your species would be toast.
Anne: I think I know what's got you going. (My goat judge expertise helps here.) You're furious about the Kentucky Derby, how Barbaro was bred to have massive, powerful haunches poised on his elongated ankle and toe bones, culminating in his hooves.
Epona: Correct. It's like asking a bunch of three-year-old children to run at breakneck speed in toeshoes.
Anne: Or booty-rich geezers like me to streak off in stilettos.
Epona: I dare you.
Epona: I gave humankind horses for transportation and help with crops. Not to be lashed to war chariots. Not to be finely tuned for speed, so fat cats can buy them and race them and poor folks can lose their shirts betting on them.
Anne: And not to be sold as babies to the dog food factory, either.
Epona: Correct. Now, when I first doled out the horse to people, at least they were grateful to me, and careful with their new domestic species. But that was thousands of years ago. Since then it's been a steady downhill slide, both for me and for horses. And we're both sick of it.
Anne: Some religions say that animals have no souls. Other religions feel that all living things possess an eternal spark, from bird flu viruses to giant Sequoia trees. So, what's your take on horse souls?
Epona: Oh, horses have souls. Trust me. Have you ever looked one straight in the eye?
Anne: Goats are my specialty, not horses.
Epona: Oh yes, that's right.
Anne: And I have recommended more than one laid-back goat for use as a stall companion for a high-strung young thoroughbred. However, after delivering a goat, I spend as little time at the horse-training facility as I can. To me the whole horse racing industry provides a clear-cut case against eugenics. If we consider it a sin to breed a Master Race of humans, why is it okay to breed a Master Race of horses, and damn their nagging little injuries?
Epona: I'm thinking of rescinding my offer.
Anne: Can't blame you a bit. But you know, human beings are so despicable that, for lack of horses, they'd probably start racing Galapagos tortoises. Anything that can move. The idea is to part people with their money, and call it "sport." Look what they do to greyhounds!
Epona: Miserable, wretched humans. I was just trying to be helpful, give your sorry species a lift -- so to speak -- and look how it turns out!
Anne: I wish I could apologize for the whole human race, honored goddess, but I can't. Maybe I can cheer you up, though. Have you ever read Misty of Chincoteague?
Epona: Oh, I love that book!
Anne: Well, it's shaping up to be a splendid day. If we get out of here before the Memorial Day rush, we could go stroll along Assateague Island and see the wild ponies.
Epona: A capital idea. Go grab your bathing suit!
Anne: Oh ... errrr ... ummmm ... I won't need my bathing suit. The water's too cold. I'll just wear this nice, slimming sweatsuit. Yeah. And then I won't get sunburnt, either!
Epona: Let's stop at the supermarket and get some carrots.
Anne: Are you kidding? I'm a goat judge. I always have massive supplies of carrots. But we will need some ice and beer. And, by the way, honored goddess: Is Barbaro going to be okay?
Epona: Barbaro will be fine. It's the Barbarians that worry me.
Anne: Point taken.
Epona: You're going to roast in that sweatsuit.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
AREA 14, STAR 14