1"Strangers ... you shall return no more, not one of you to the city he loves and his beautiful home and his dear wife. Here, instead, you shall keep my rich temple which will be honoured by many people. For I am the son of Zeus. I declare I am Apollo. ... I led you here so you would take care of my rich temple which will be greatly honoured by all people. You shall know the will of the immortal gods ... Come, quickly, do as I say. Take ... your possessions out of the well-balanced ship and make an altar ... Light a fire and sacrifice white barely grains and then pray. And since at first in the misty sea I sprang upon your swift ship as a dolphin, pray to me as Delphinios." (Homeric Hymns, p. 51 - 52)
And while you're at, you petty mortals, scrub the floors of my temple, wash my dishes, and pluck my eyebrows! For I am mighty Apollo, son of Zeus, and I shall spring upon you as a terrible and frightening dolphin once again, should you disobey me! Go now, and pick my toe jam, buy me some puppies, and burn your ship in my honour! Quickly now.
Then all the grumpy humans moped around, burning their possessions and longing for their beautiful home and wives. As they picked godly toe jam from Apollo's feet, he spoke again.
Petty humans, hear me! I have just beared witness to a precious little duckling taking flight from the mother's nest. It has cheered my heart, more so than your offerings, and so I command that you now pray to me as Ducklinthios and bring to me all the ducks of the land so that I may pet them and enjoy their company while you find better ways to please me.
The humans grumbled and smiled falsely at Apollo, telling him that they would return with many kind gifts, as well as all the land's ducks. 'Oh, fast and far-working Apollo, thank you for the chore. We shall bring back with us all the riches we can find that may sooth your greedy heart.'
And so the humans searched, far and wide across the island of Delphi, gently capturing each and every duck and duckling that existed. As they hauled their duffle bags and carriages filled to the brim with fluffy ducks back toward Apollo's temple, one man began to think aloud. 'These pesky gods, oh how they have spread such treachery upon my life! They think they own us just because they are immortal and we are only slaves! My dear wife and sweet daughter are probably starved by now back home in Crete with no man to plant the crop for food. I swear to seek revenge on this god, and to escape his cruel reign of power on this place!'
One other man shouted out in agreement, smiling and waving hands. Most other men kept quite, knowing mighty Apollo would surely hear, one way or another. And there was one man in particular, a thin and hideous man with a wiry beard, who had no wife nor children back on Crete and now felt purpose in pleasing Apollo, and who had kept his toothless mouth shut and his eyes paved to the path before him.
Petty humans! Apollo yelped as the first man entered his temple with his cart of ducks and ducklings. You have finally returned with my precious ducks, now place them all here, upon my godly lap!
The men heaved the many pounds of fluffy duck upon Apollo and knelt before the altar, praying to Ducklinthios, as he giggled gayly before them.
Now go out once more, and find for me the gifts that you think should please me most. Each man must return with a flower and his gift, and tell me as he presents his flower to me why he has chosen the gift.
All the men but one turned to leave and find for Apollo, son of Zeus, a flower and a gift. The thin and hideous man with a wiry beard, whose name was Thinniddeous, spoke to Apollo. 'Kind lord, I am your only mortal friend. For I have heard amongst the men a terrible thing about you! But I did not agree with it, for I have no one back home on Crete and your chores give me great purpose and delight.'
Tell me, thin an hideous man with a wiry beard, what is your name and what has been said of me?
'My name, dear Ducklinthios, is Thinniddeous, and one man said that you are non but a pest and treachery upon his life! He wishes to seek revenge upon you!'
Insolent human! Apollo stood tall with great fury and crushed a precious duckling in his angry fist. Look at what your news has done! It has crushed to tiny pieces this innocent duckling! Tell me now, Thinniddeous, what you wish for most and I shall grant you it in exchange for the man who said these awful, untrue things of me.
Thinneddeous smiled with joy and told Apollo how he wished to be stronger and more beautiful and act as a love curse among all women of the island, with long flowing hair and hard, shiny muscles. Apollo agreed and set off, disguising both of them as ferrets, to search for the man who said terrible things of Apollo.
All the while Apollo and Thinniddeous were speaking, the man who spoke ill of Apollo, whose name was Tom Wiggins, was mixing a poison, deadly to mortals but only strong enough to weaken a god with Apollo's strength, and make him fall limp to the ground in deep sleep. Tom Wiggins had prepared a syringe which he would use to inject this poison into a luscious coconut that he would present to Apollo for dessert.
'I have found the greatest gift of all!' One man shouted as he held a gorgeous, practically glowing, ferret above his head. He looked down at the rat-like ferret that accompanied the healthy one and kicked it, and it yelped.
Do not fear, kind man. For I am Apollo. Hold me higher above your head so that I may see each man who searches for gifts that I may receive. Now, tell me, Thinniddeous, which man do you blame for putting my name to shame, and for harshly crushing that poor duckling in my temple? Is he the one who holds me high above his head so that I may see?
'No, sweet Apollo,' the rat-like ferret squealed. 'It was he, the man who fiddles with a coconut over yonder!' Apollo looked to the man with furious ferret eyes and spoke to him.
Was it you, coconut fiddling man, who wished to seek revenge on me for being a pest and treachery upon your life?
Tom Wiggins quickly hid the syringe beneath a rock, and rose to his feet holding only the coconut. 'Yes, Apollo, it was I, Tom Wiggins. For I despise the work you put us through and long for my home and wife and precious daughter.'
I will hold no mercy upon you, Tom Wiggins. Apollo said to the man, who secretly winked to that guy who agreed with him earlier, whose name was Capisco.
Apollo held up his mighty ferret first and released an awful curse upon Tom Wiggins. You shall forever live as this creature now, a terribly fowl looking toad with a raspy voice and warts and one leg sprouting from the center of your belly. And ugly and depressed mortals shall come to look upon you to feel better about themselves and laugh at your inability to keep balanced. You shall be known for all eternity as Tom Wiggins, the Teetering Toad.
Tom Wiggins shrunk to the ground as a despicable toad, wobbling helplessly in the dirt, and all the men looked on in fright. As for you, Thinniddeous, I shall grant you what you wished, for that was my end of the agreement. However, you must not change your name, for you are still thin and hideous on the inside for having given up your fellow man. I do encourage it, but Thinniddeous is who you are as a mortal.
Thinniddeous cared not what his name was, only that he now had thick, gleaming muscles and long flowing hair and attracted women where ever he walked upon the island of Delphi, where Apollo's sacred temple was built.
I order all men to continue searching for the greatest gift to bring to me at the feast I shall hold tonight in my temple. And none of you shall go near the coconut in which Tom Wiggins wished to grant to me, for I now despise coconuts! You all have until sun down to offer gifts to me, be at my temple by midnight. As for you, Thinniddeous, you have done a great deed, and now all I ask of you is that you bring Tom Wiggins up to a great mountain with thick red dirt in the distance and place him upon an uneven rock where he shall sit forever, unbalanced. After you have done this for me, you are to return to sit at my side as I receive my gifts and help me unwrap them, for I have very fragile fingertips.
As each man continued their search, Capisco secretly obtained the syringe and followed Thinnideous, who carried poor Tom Wiggins in a brief case, up and up into a distant mountain through thick red dirt, where he would carry out his orders from Apollo to place the Teetering Toad upon an uneven rock for all eternity.
Thinniddeous finally came upon the most perfect imperfect boulder that existed on the island, and he released teetering Tom Wiggins onto the rock and threw away the brief case. Thinniddeous let out a loud cackle and showed no remorse as he cruelly danced around poor, teetering Tom Wiggins, gloating about his two legs. Then Thinniddeous ran off down the mountain, to return to Apollo's temple and assist him with the unwrapping of gifts.
Capisco appeared from behind a shrub and approached the moping toad, Tom Wiggins. 'Tom Wiggins!' he hollered, 'What has that terrible immortal done to you? Do not fear, for I am on your side! I wish only to seek vengeance and return home. Tell me, Tom Wiggins, what was your plan with this syringe. It will only put Apollo to sleep, it will not kill him, for he is forever.'
Tom Wiggins teetered to and fro and spoke to Capisco with a raspy voice, 'My dear friend, my plan will no longer work. You must now sneak past Thinnideous and get Apollo to drink wine that has been mixed with the poison in this syringe. Once he is asleep, you must quickly come back to retrieve me and I will show you where I have kept a secret sail boat, built only for one but will hold us two.
Capisco listened intently and nodded with understanding, 'Yes master, for you are my leader now. I shall present Apollo with the greatest of gifts and I will become his favorite mortal next to Thinniddeous. I shall sneak into his temple while he plays with ducks and ducklings and give him wine in celebration of how he enjoyed my gift. Then I shall return to you, master, tomorrow at mid night, and we will leave together and sail home again to our families.
And so Capisco went on his way in search of the greatest gift of all. He looked all across the island of Delphi, under the heaviest of rocks and into the deepest ponds. Finally, amongst a soft pile of leaves near the water, Capisco found a lonely duckling egg whose mother had been taken away to live with Apollo at his temple. Capisco saw a slight crack in the egg that golden light gleamed through, and he knew that this egg would hatch the most beautiful duck on the island and Apollo would be most pleased. He had to hurry, for if the plan was to work, the egg must hatch before Apollo and love only him.
As the sun set and the men filed into the temple, Apollo's midnight feast began. Each man sat along a large table, facing Apollo with their multicolored and scented flowers draping over carefully wrapped gifts.
Several men presented to Apollo daises and dandelions or un-thorned roses and tulips, all of many colors and shades. They offered baby racoons and sweet peaches and hair conditioner and chapstick to Apollo, and he happily accepted each one.
'I believe that this baby coon will help encourage your tiny ducklings to grow stronger and healthier, and they will live longer for you, my dear Apollo,' one man said.
Another spoke, 'My dear Apollo, such a beautiful god such as yourself, always running here and there so quickly, must get such chapped lips. I offer this chap stick to you, watermelon flavoured, in honour of your godly mouth that I hope my never curse me.'
Another man spoke and he said, 'Apollo, your precious, long hair must get so tangled while you sleep peacefully in your temple. I have for you this delightful smelling hair detangler, simple to use with the push of the cap releasing the fresh mist into your godly hair.'
Last to speak was Capisco, who stood tall and radiant for he knew with great confidence that his gift would appear greatest of all. 'Strong and mighty Apollo,' Capisco began as he moved close to present his gift. 'I have found for you, from the highest top of any cliff on Delphi, this precious flower called a Bird of Paradise. With its blue and orange wings, I wish that it may grant you great pleasure as you gaze upon its glory. As for the greatest gift you shall receive on this night, I offer you this egg, discovered near the water on the opposite end of the island. It is the last duckling and you can see it is about to hatch. This duckling will be the most gorgeous of all the ducklings and shall love only you for all its life, for she is yet to hatch.'
Apollo's eyes began to tear as he gripped the precious Bird of Paradise and held the egg gently in his palm. A golden light gleamed from the growing crack in the hatching egg, and all the men looked on in awe, curious to see if this last duckling would truly be the most beautiful of all the ducklings. And the egg fully cracked open and the duckling hatched, and it laid its eyes first upon Apollo, and in a heavenly voice sang, 'Maaaaamaaaaa!' Apollo and Thinniddeous and Capisco and all the men gasped at this duckling's overwhelming charisma and magnetism.
Apollo immediately kicked everyone but Thinniddeous and Capisco out of his temple so that he could fawn over his most prized gift and cuddle with it and introduce it to the other ducks. I will name her Capisculet, and she shall live near me forever and I, as if her father, will choose for her the best drake of all my ducks. And they will mate and she will give wonderful birth to three baby ducklings. The first two will be drakes, Don Ducko and Juan Feather, whom I shall offer to my father, Zeus, so that he may fancy their strength and company as I do. The third, a lovely duck whose name shall be Aphroduckie, for her beauty will parallel that of Aphrodite. And she will be given away by her father to the most loyal of creatures on Delphi.
And so Apollo was enlightened and payed no more mind to weary Thinniddeous, who became afflicted with great remorse and jealousy for Capisco. So while Capisco and Apollo celebrated, Thinniddeous quickly snuck out from the temple to search Capisco's hut for more sacred gifts that he himself could present to Apollo, for he was the only man who did not present a gift. 'I will surely win back Apollo's heart if I find something more heavenly than Capsiculet. And I am most positive that Capisco has more gifts hidden cleverly in his hut.' Thinniddeous thought.
Instead of a gift, he found tracks of thick red dirt upon entering Capisco's hut. He grinned and sly scooped up the dirt into a sack and dashed back to Apollo's temple. Just before Apollo was about to take his first sip of Capsico's poisoned wine, Thinniddeous entered yelling, 'My lord, Apollo! This man Capisco is a traitor, for he has been conniving with that reckless toad, Tom Wiggins! I have proof, here is some thick red dirt from that mountain where I left Tom Wiggins, found in Capisco's hut.'
A mortal who has presented such a lovely gift must have a decent excuse for this! Capisco, explain this thick red dirt that sneaky Thinniddeous has found in your hut.
'Worthy Apollo, I will not lie, I have gone up the distant mountain in search of Tom Wiggins, the terribly cursed toad. I went to him before I searched far and wide for your most prized gift, Capisculet, so that I may have a great boost of confidence and encouragement to find for you such a desirable gift. If what I have done is wrong, then I shall unburden you with myself and my gift and I will go sit up on the mountain with the golden duckling, beside the Teetering Toad, whose balance never again will exist.'
Apollo smiled and chuckled lightly, Capisco, my mortal friend, you have done nothing wrong. Using that wretched toad as I have intended humans to use him is no crime, and because it has encouraged you to find me such a lovely gift that I should very much hate to lose, you shall not be punished. Come now, Capisco, have a toast with me while Thinniddeous turns away in shame and withers back to his pitiful shape. May he have one long lasting woman and all the rest shall he lose, for he is coward and filth.
Apollo glared at Thinniddeous and Thinniddeous turned away, his heart filled with deep sorrow, to exit Apollo's great temple. And it was then that it happened, that Apollo took in an enormous, godly gulp of poisoned wine, and within moments the arrow shooting god had fallen fast asleep, resting peacefully with Capisculet in his arms.
Capisco rose quickly and moved out of the temple, packed up his valuables, and ran swiftly up the distant mountain with thick red dirt to retrieve Tom Wiggins. Much to Capisco's surprise, Thinniddeous was slouched before Teetering Tom and weeping of his failures. 'Hopeless fool,' said Capisco to Tinniddeous, 'Have you no wits!?'
'What? What's this? Why have you come, to boast that you have won over Apollo, stolen him from me? You have taken all that I have ever wanted, and I am left only with a withering wife who does not even do the wash for me or prepare my supper.'
'Pathetic coward, Why don't you crawl back to your master's temple where he sleeps, and shall remain asleep for days on end and no man or woman or animal on this island of Delphi shall receive gifts from him, for he will be dreaming. And when he wakes, he will expect many gifts, more than you could ever give, to make up for his deep sleep. As for me, I shall taken my wise friend Tom Wiggins away with me, to where our hearts still remain, dear land of Crete.'
Thinniddeous coward in fright and shock and immediately rose to his weakening feet to run to the temple and wake Apollo. 'You will never make it in time, we will be far gone before you even reach his bed where he lays.'
Capisco scooped up Teetering Tom Wiggins the Toad and stuffed him gently into a sack, then they ran down the opposite side of the mountain to where the boat was kept.
Days later, not by grace of the god Poseidon or any other immortal being, but by luck Capisco and Tom Wiggins, who was merrily returned to his normal state once he left Delphi, were nearing their long missed home of Crete. By this time, the poison had worn of and angered Apollo had awakened. His rage was so intense that he banished all ducks not only from his temple, but from all the island of Delphi. He felt so deceived and saddened by this trickery that he set an example to all others who mistreated him, and made it so that Capisculet was the ugliest duckling in all the world. No one, not even her own mother and father, would dare go near her.
Victorious Capisco and Tom Wiggins were kindly greeted by their village and greatly welcomed back by their families. They were seen as heros against this god Apollo, who shoots far reaching arrows, and from that day began the war between Greek gods and goddesses and the mortal humans.
To this day, the majority of the world does not believe in those immortal beings, and only learns of them in Mythology class from strange, shy professors who are terribly frightened by technology. Today, mortals may only make guesses as to what really happened. Perhaps the humans stopped obeying them, no matter what the consequences, and the angry gods and goddesses took up their powers and belongings to another dimension, leaving behind only their myths and stories. Perhaps, they still exist among us, disguised as miracles and fate and coincidences, so that we may never know they are still here.