Another tale in a series of assignments from my Mythology and Folklore course:
Once upon a time in a remote valley by the River Bithynia, there lived a happy farmer, Baxter, and his jolly wife, Philisha. Baxter farmed the land and Philisha kept a few animals: a milk cow, a plow horse, and a few chickens. The contented couple relished their simple life and lived their entire married days above the barn in a cozy little space that Philisha tended fastidiously.
Everything they had ever needed they brought forth from their own hands. They fetched cool, clear water from the river, their garden produced a bounty of vegetables, they had a small fruit orchard, and they tended beehives for their honeycomb, as well.
(The Comfy Abode of Baxter and Philisha — Photo by Cynthia L. H.)
One evening, just as Philisha was setting the table for supper with a steaming plate of biscuits and gravy, two weary travelers rapped upon the door.
Baxter welcomed them to stay for the meal and rest, as night was fast approaching. Baxter said, “I’ll even bring out a jug of my best moonshine, if you’ll just stay, ya’ll. We seldom get visitors in these parts, do we, Sugar? And dagnabbit if I’ll turn you away to wander the darkness in these boondocks.”
“Baxter Dear, please watch your language in front of the guests, won’t you.” Philisha quietly chided. “And perhaps run down to the garden and fetch a cantaloupe or two?”
“Yes, My Angel,” Baxter said. He brought out his pipe and tobacco.
The travelers agreed to stay and so all passed a joyful time of fellowship.
When the sun rose the next morning, the guests gathered their belongings and prepared to depart.
“Baxter and Philisha, we have to tell you. We are gods disguised as men, searching the earth for genuine, kind-hearted souls,” said One.
“And some really good ale,” said The Other. “I think yours was definitely nine and a half on a scale of one to ten.”
“Why, thank you,” Baxter said. “I have won several awards and been featured in Better Shines and Gardens magazine a time or two. But I ain’t braggin’, or nothin’.”
“Why, of course not,” said the One. “Anyway,” continued the One, “we think that you are just the nicest folks we’ve ever come across. We want to grant your fondest desire.”
“Choose anything,” said the Other, “anything at all.”
Baxter and Philisha were just completely flabbergasted. Nothing like this had ever crossed their minds.
“We’re perfectly pea-pickin’ happy,” Baxter said. “There ain’t nothin’ we need, is there, Baby?”
“Well, if I may,” Philisha interjected. “There is that teensy issue of the aging process making it not quite so easy to climb up into our little cottage here above the barn. You remember, Baxter Dear, that today you almost fell. Then when I reached to help, you nearly pulled me on over with you, Hon.”
(Philisha Saving Baxter From Falling From the Barn — Photo by Cynthia L. H.)
“Aw, psshaw, Philisha. I ain’t gettin’ old. My joints was just stove up from plowing so long yesterday. I’m fine, now, Sweetcakes.” Baxter said.
“Nevertheless,” said the One, “we would like to grant you a wish.”
“Any wish at all,” said the Other.
“Just go ahead and pick one,” said the One. He nudged the Other and whispered, “I hope they hurry up and decide. We’ve got places to go.”
Philisha took the opportunity to declare, “Now, Baxter Dear, remember that house up on top of Knob Hill?”
“That mansion?” Baxter asked.
“Yes, that one,” Philisha said. “I’ve heard through the grapevine that it is sitting empty. The owners… you know, what were their names?”
“Oh, yes, um, let me see … now….” Baxter scratched his beard trying to remember.
The two gods looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
Philisha said, “Betty. Bettisimma. Bandy. No. Barbie. That’s it ….”
“Barbie and Ken,” Philisha and Baxter said at the same time.
“Oh, yes, Dear. That’s it,” Philisha said. Barbie and Ken. They’re divorcing.”
“No way,” Baxter said.
“Way,” Philisha said.
“What is the world coming to?” Baxter asked.
“I don’t know, Dear. So sad. Anyway, I would loooove to live in that mansion. Can you do that for us?” Philisha blinked her long, however gray, lashes at the two gods.
“Definitely,” said the One.
“Most definitely,” said the Other.
They closed their eyes and clasped their hands in front of them and said a tiny prayer.
At the end of the prayer Philisha and Baxter thought the two gods said “Abracadabra,” instead of “Amen.” But not to worry.
Poof. Baxter and Philisha were suddenly in a lovely pink mansion that overlooked the valley where they used to live in the barn.
“Oh! Isn’t this lovely, Baxter Dear,” Philisha said.
“Well, I’m homesick, Pookie … just a little,” Baxter said.
“Oh, pishposh, Baxter Dear,” Philisha said. “Well, just go on down and sleep in the barn, then, Hon,” she continued. “I’ll cook supper. Look at this kitchen! My my! Even a microwave! I am just so excited.”
“What are we havin’ for supper, My Love?” Baxter asked, just a little hesitantly.
“Why, biscuits and gravy, Dear. Of course,” Philisha said.
“Perfect, Darlin’,” said Baxter. “I think I’ll stay.”
“Perfect,” said Philisha. She smiled and hugged Baxter.
He smiled and kissed her cheek with his scratchy beard.
And they lived happily ever after. Dear.
Author’s Note: The inspiration for my story came from Ovid’s Metamorphoses — Philemon and Baucis. Many of these Ovid tales seemed ridiculous. I decided that another ridiculous story was in order. I switched the names around. The female in the Ovid tale was Baucis. The male was Philemon. I made the female, Philisha, and the male, Baxter. I had a little too much fun with this one. ;^)