If your last name rhymes with ‘husk’, ‘dump’ or you own a company that misappropriates a mythological tribe of female warriors, you may not want to read this story.
‘Demeter’s Sacred Grove’ tells the tale of of a man whose relentless pursuit of riches, disregard for the environment, and endless hunger of wanting all he and his army of servants could carry lead to not only to a pissed off God, but the origin of the phrase ‘Eat the Rich‘.
Erysichthon was used to getting what he wanted.
It’s not his fault that his parents never taught him to control his appetite for wealth. He was a King after all!
One day, after he had deforested all the nearby parts of his Kingdom of Thessaly, drunk on the power of his wealth, his attentions turned towards Demeter’s sacred grove. He ordered his men to cut down ALL of the trees in this grove.
He would be deprived of nothing!
When his men came upon a magnificent oak, that was covered in wreaths to symbolize people’s prayers to Demeter, they refused to cut it down. The rightfully feared the retribution of the gods. Erysichthon was having none of that. He grabbed an axe and cut down the mighty oak himself.
As the tree fell, he killed a nymph who was protecting the grove in the process. Her dying words were a curse, a curse that Demeter heard as a prayer, and one she was happy to grant as she was the god of the fertility, nature, harvest – and sacred law.
The King’s curse was ‘Limos’.
Now we are not talking about the ones that come with chauffeurs! ‘Limos’ was an insatiable hunger. So insatiable that Erysichthon sold everything he owned for food. This precious ruby can be yours for a nice souvlaki dinner!
This satisfied his unrelenting appetite for awhile, until he had sold everything he owned.
Well not quite everything . . .
You see Erysichthon had a daughter named, Mestra.
His hunger did not abate, so he did what any sociopathic hungry dad might, he sold her into slavery. Poseidon – a former lover – took pity on her and gave her a shape-shifting ability so she could escape.
But Erysichthon caught wind of this and sold her over and over again.
And not just as a slave, but as anything someone wanted. Can you imagine someone being born into privilege conning people?
One night though, Mestra was late getting home and guess who ran out of food?
You guessed it, and by the next morning Erysichthon was gone as his unrelenting hunger had caused him to unleash his appetite on himself.