“The Stone God” / A Memorable Fancy #111

Artabas the Simple passed by the house of Dexios on his way to the village. It was market-day and Artabas wanted to trade a bushel of grain for a piece of warm clothing.

Dexios was busily working a few tools on a large black stone.

“What are you doing, Dexios?”

“I am carving the god,” he said.

“Which god,” asked Artabas. “One of the minor ones, perhaps? Haphaestus? Cybele?”

“No, Artabas,” said Dexios. “This is something different; it’s not a statue of a god, it itself is a god.”

Artabas was dumbfounded.

“All the old stories,” Dexios said, “tell us that people saw the gods, one or the other of them, all the time. Why, then, do we not see any gods ourselves, not even one?”

Without waiting for an answer (which Artabas couldn’t have provided in any case), Dexios continued. “I have taken the bull by the horns, as the Cretans say. I have decided to make my own god. It is nearly finished. When I am done, I will invite the village to worship it, and I will provide suitable priestly and prophetic services to those who choose to part with a few drachmas to have some part in its holy wisdom.”

“I see,” said Artabas. “Perhaps I should give you half a bushel of this wheat, to gain the god’s favor.”

“That would be wise indeed,” said Dexios with a smile.


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