Beginnings and Demophon

Hello all!

Welcome to the Undead Author Society, where we exhume by dead authors and bring some life to them. The first set to come up is H.P. Lovecraft’s, who has left over 200 unused ideas. Every week I’ll either post research on the story prompt, or the story itself at about fifteen hundred words.

The prompt for the upcoming story is:

Demophon shivered when the sun shone upon him. (Lover of darkness = ignorance.).

Now, with Mr. Lovecraft it is important to remember that proper nouns aren’t usually made up (unprouncable names of horror are usually marked off as ‘horrific names’). Thus, to begin the prompt, we probably want to know who Demophon is. And a quick search on Wikipedia reveals Demophon’s story, a haunting tale of horror from antiquity.

Demophon is the son of Theseus and sometimes the king of Athens. As any proper hero of his generation, Demophon served in the Trojan War for sometime, before returning home. On his way home he stopped by a city in Thrace and enamored the local princess, Phyllis. The two were married, and Demophon then left, promising as all Greek sailors and gods do that he would return as soon as possible. Before he left, Phyllis gave him a casket with the symbols of Rhea on it, telling him to open it when all hope of returning to Thrace was lost. He proceeded to stay in Cyprus, forgetting entirely about his wife.

And his wife waited, as only a tragic wife can, weeping by the shore every day until the appointed day past. She then committed suicide, becoming a tree in the more child friendly versions of the tale. Demophon, after an unspecificed amount of time dawdling, remembered he had the casket and opened it. Whatever he saw drove him mad, resulting with him riding around on his horse until he fell off and was impaled on his own blade.

Now, Mr. Lovecraft’s inspiration is pretty easy to glean. Demophon’s madness due to revelation is a common Lovecraftian trope, but there are other stranger pieces of the story. Why does the casket have Rhea’s symbol on it? Digging only a little reveal Rhea as the mother of the gods and a mountain goddess. A strange symbol for a casket. But there ends my research for the time. Come back next week to see what story I managed to raise from the crypt!

If you’d like to support the Society, receive more stories or research, or are feeling generous, please check out our Patreon here.

2 thoughts on “Beginnings and Demophon

  1. The idea for this blog is super creative and really neat! I’m interested to see what kind of things you come up with. I like how you devoted this post mainly to sharing research, because it gives readers (especially ones who are clueless about this kind of stuff like me) some background and gives you credibility.

    Like

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