From the Mythic Gossip Series: Oh My Gods!
When we think of Gods, our minds naturally gravitate towards the power and prestige of Olympus, the charisma of satyrs, or the beauty of the nymphs. But in the mystical realm of Greek mythology, there's one figure who stands apart from the crowd - not for his charm or good looks, but for his unerring dedication to his rather grim profession. We're talking, of course, about Charon - the ferryman of the dead.
As elusive as he is enigmatic, Charon usually prefers to keep to himself, spending his time in the shadowy underworld. But in a rare and exclusive interview, he has finally broken his silence to share some of his experiences and insights from his eons ferrying departed souls across the rivers of the underworld.
Charon's job might be gloomy, but it’s vital, and he's been at it for what seems like forever. He's the guy who gets you where you need to go when you've shuffled off this mortal coil, and he does it with a kind of gruff charm that's almost endearing.
His resume boasts a list of passengers that reads like a who's who of Greek mythological figures. From heroes like Aeneas and Heracles to the lovesick Orpheus and the beautiful Psyche, Charon has seen them all, heard their stories, and, in his own brusque way, helped them on their journey.
But don't let his interaction with these high-profile passengers fool you. Charon is no pushover. In his own words, "No coin, no ride." This is a guy who knows the value of hard work and expects to be paid for his services, even if his currency of choice is the ancient obols coin.
As for his personal style, Charon is a far cry from the usual godly glam. He opts for utility over fashion, donning a simple tunic and a conical hat. His transportation? A rustic skiff that might not win any style awards but gets the job done.
Despite his seemingly grim profession and morose demeanour, Charon has a certain dark charm about him. His gruff, direct way of speaking and his unique perspective on life (and death) offer a refreshing contrast to the usual celebrity discourse.
In a rare one-on-one, we delve deep into the mind of the ferryman of the dead. Here's what Charon had to say…
Exclusive Interview with Charon:
Interviewer: "Charon, love, it's an absolute treat to have you here today, taking a breather from your ceaseless task. You’re looking... well, exactly as one would imagine the Ferryman of the Dead to look.”
Charon: "Consistency is key."
Interviewer: "Quite right. Now, you've been in this line of work for an age. Shuffling souls, one little coin at a time. There must be some right juicy tales you're just itching to let loose. Out with it, don't be coy. What's the most extraordinary thing you've stumbled upon in your job?"
Charon: "Living souls trying to hitch a ride. Aeneas, for instance. But the rules were bent, just that once."
Interviewer: "A rule-breaker, how scandalous! Now, Charon, let's address the ferry in the room. You’ve been called 'morose and grisly'. Would you say that's a fair assessment? Are we perhaps missing the real you beneath that foreboding cloak?"
Charon: "I'm as radiant as a black hole."
Interviewer: "Radiant, sure. Now, you've had the pleasure of hosting quite the array of notable figures on your quaint little boat. Psyche, Orpheus, even Heracles! What's it like rubbing elbows with the crème de la crème of mythic society?"
Charon: "Psyche was prepared. Orpheus, a charmer. Heracles, audacious."
Interviewer: Oh I do love a bit of Heracles tea, tell me what that daring demi-god got up to?"
Charon: "He needed to cross the Styx for his twelfth labour, and I allowed him passage. Nothing more to tell."
Interviewer: "Oh, I don’t know about that. Now people may not know this about you, but despite your looks, you have a reputation for being a bit of a strongman yourself. Is it true that Hercules challenged you to a wrestling match instead of paying his fare?"
Interviewer: "I also heard that you were punished for it."
Charon: "I’m not sure where you are hearing these sort of things from."
Interviewer: "Oh, we have our sources. Moving on to Orpheus, is it true you let him cross with just a song instead of a coin? Or did he have to cough up the obols like everyone else?"
Charon: “I found his music to be overhyped. But I thought him charming, so I paid two obols for the song, which he put toward his fare."
Interviewer: "It sounds to me as if the rules are bent maybe a little more often that you let on. Now, about your get-up - the pointy hat, tunic, and pole - it’s quite a...singular ensemble. Enlighten us about your sartorial choices."
Charon: Utility, not style. This pole is the rudder for my boat. I need it to steer.
Interviewer: "And you've decided to take it with you... Understood.
Charon: It also becomes a hammer when I do this.
Interviewer: OH! Now isn’t that handy? Is that for unruly passengers?
Interviewer: I best stay on your good side. Now, Charon, let's dig a bit deeper. Why so glum, love? Is it the job, or is it just you?"
Charon: "I am what I am. Son of Erebus, God of Darkness, and Nyx, the Night. I’m pretty bright in comparison."
Interviewer: "You have a point. We're all eager to know, who was your most troublesome passenger? You must have some incredible tales with all the souls you’ve ferried."
Charon: "Sisyphus. Tried to cheat death."
Interviewer: No one likes a cheater. So tell us, just what is a typical day like for the underworld ferryman?
Charon: "Wake up. Ferry souls. Repeat. Exciting stuff, I know. But remember, it's not just a job. It's an eternal damnation."
Interviewer: I think we can all relate to that sentiment. Now, Charon, It must be difficult having to deal with the recently deceased all day. Is it all crying and bargaining? Does it get depressing? Bit dull?
Charon: "You'd be surprised. Some souls cry. Some bargain. Some are stoically silent. It's like a theatre of humanity's last act, each performance different. Depressing? Maybe. Dull? Never. Keeps eternity interesting, at least."
Interviewer: Humans are a bit dramatic aren’t they? Now, Charon... let me ask you what we're all wondering. You've been in the underworld for a long time, longer than even Hades isn't that correct?
Charon: "Time's a funny thing in the Underworld. But yes, you could say I've seen it all. Been here since... well, since the beginning. Before Hades set up shop. He's a newcomer in comparison."
Interviewer: Oh yes, he's like a baby compared to you, isn't he? What is our King of the Underworld like? I mean we've all seen his polished and quiet persona, but what is he really like? Are the rumours that he plays the lyre true? Does he have a softer side?
Charon: "Hades is always buried in his ledger books and lists of souls. But he runs a tight ship. And his sense of fairness is unparalleled in the divine world. As for the lyre, wouldn't put it past him. Everyone needs a hobby, I suppose, and his wife enjoys music.
Interviewer: Speaking of our Queen… what do you think Persephone sees in him? And what is she like, you know when the paparazzi aren't around?
Charon: "She is fierce, kind, and more powerful than most give her credit for. She sees in Hades what few others do. As for what she's like away from prying eyes? Wouldn't be proper for me to say. A ferryman knows to keep his passengers' secrets."
Interviewer: Of course, of course. Let's get back to you being there from the beginning how did you get this job anyhow? Did you apply? Lose a bet?
Charon: No, nothing like that.
Interviewer: Tell me about Kronos. You were ferryman when he was king. Did you two ever interact?
Charon: "It’s complicated."
Interview: And in the big war between the Titans and the Olympians, which side did you favour?
Charon: I ferry souls. I don’t get involved in that sort of thing.
Interviewer: But Styx herself favoured the young Zeus did she not? Whereas Archaeon helped the Titans and was punished by Zeus. Do the two of them get along? Does it ever get awkward working with them?
Charon: It’s fine.
Interviewer: Would you like to elaborate a bit more on that?
Interviewer: Alright, let’s wrap this up. Charon, any parting words for our eager readers?
Charon: Always keep an obols handy. You never know when you'll need to pay me.
Interviewer: "A chilling reminder, but good advice nonetheless. Well, that's all we've got time for today. Charon, it's been...enlightening. Thank you for joining us."
Charon: "The pleasure was all mine. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have souls to ferry."
So there you have it, my lovelies - an exclusive peek into the life (or should we say, afterlife) of the ferryman of the dead. As we continue our journey through this thing called life, let's keep Charon's advice in mind - always keep some coins handy. You never know when you'll need a ride!"