The Adventures of the Argonauts (VI)

When we last left our hero and his heroes, they had just washed up on the shores of Iolcus – exhausted and overcome with emotion to be home again. Jason found his father and Pelias sitting together in the palace, warming themselves by a dead fire, old and near death. Jason’s father is blind and at first doesn’t believe that Jason is who he says he is but Jason convinces him and the chapter ends with the two locked in a loving embrace and Aeson asking Jason never to leave him again.

Introduction

Well folks, here we are. I’m back from my business trip – apologies for the one-week break – and ready to bring you the final chapter in the story of the adventures of the argonauts. This is going to be a short episode but fear not! Next week we’ll be starting the story of Theseus and after that we’ll begin our Norse series, which we’re very excited about because we’ve been able to team up with a certain cowboy-hat-wearing Norse expert to make sure we get it all right. Some of you already know who I’m talking about – those of you who don’t will have to wait and see!

When we last left our hero and his heroes, they had just washed up on the shores of Iolcus – exhausted and overcome with emotion to be home again. Jason found his father and Pelias sitting together in the palace, warming themselves by a dead fire, old and near death. Jason’s father is blind and at first doesn’t believe that Jason is who he says he is but Jason convinces him and the chapter ends with the two locked in a loving embrace and Aeson asking Jason never to leave him again.

Last episode we did the whiskey review before the story and I think I liked that better, so we’ll do it again this time around – then we’ll jump right into the story.

Whiskey Review

Yellow Spot Irish whiskey is the second addition to the “Spot” range of Irish whiskies – the first being Green Spot, which we’ve reviewed on this show before. The Yellow Spot is a single pot still Irish Whiskey which has been matured in three separate types of casks: American Bourbon, Spanish Sherry, and Spanish Malaga and friends, the flavor is something very special.

The nose is rich with fleshy fruit like peach, jujube, mango, and apricot. Hints of dry sherried fruits too with a touch of vanilla and sweet nectar.

The palate is much the same as the nose, wrapping all those flavors into a velvety concert of fruit sweetness.

The finish gives you marzipan and candied apricots with a long, dry, satisfying linger.

I am very tempted to give Yellow Spot a 100, but to have recently given out a 100 and to have made a big deal about how rare it was to do so… it seems like tossing out another would damage my whiskey credibility…but when you’ve earned it, you’ve earned it, and I’m sorry but Yellow Spot has earned it. I give the Yellow Spot a 100/100 and suggest you pick up a bottle as soon as you’re able.

The Story

AND now I wish that I could end my story pleasantly; but it is no fault of mine that I cannot. The old songs end it sadly, and I believe that they are right and wise; for though the heroes were purified at Malea, yet sacrifices cannot make bad hearts good, and Jason had taken a wicked wife, and he had to bear his burden to the last.

And first she laid a cunning plot to punish that poor old Pelias, instead of letting him die in peace.

For she told his daughters, “I can make old things young again; I will show you how easy it is to do.” So she took an old ram and killed him, and put him in a cauldron with magic herbs; and whispered her spells over him, and he leapt out again a young lamb. So that “Medeia’s cauldron” is a proverb still, by which we mean times of war and change, when the world has become old and feeble, and grows young again through bitter pains.

Then she said to Pelias’ daughters, “Do to your father as I did to this ram, and he will grow young and strong again.” But she only told them half the spell; so they failed, while Medeia mocked them; and poor old Pelias died, and his daughters came to misery. But the songs say she cured Æson, Jason’s father, and he became young, and strong again.

But Jason could not love her, after all her cruel deeds. So he was ungrateful to her, and wronged her: and she revenged herself on him. And a terrible revenge she took–too terrible to speak of here. But you will hear of it yourselves when you grow up, for it has been sung in noble poetry and music; and whether it be true or not, it stands forever as a warning to us not to seek for help from evil persons, or to gain good ends by evil means. For if we use an adder even against our enemies, it will turn again and sting us.

But of all the other heroes there is many a brave tale left, which I have no space to tell you, so you must read them for yourselves;–of the hunting of the boar in Calydon, which Meleager killed; and of Heracles’ twelve famous labours; and of the seven who fought at Thebes; and of the noble love of Castor and Polydeuces, the twin Dioscouroi–how when one died, the other would not live without him, so they shared their immortality between them; and Zeus changed them into the two twin stars, which never rise both at once.

And what became of Cheiron, the good immortal beast? That, too, is a sad story; for the heroes never saw him more. He was wounded by a poisoned arrow, at Pholoe among the hills, when Heracles opened the fatal wine-jar, which Cheiron had warned him not to touch. And the Centaurs smelt the wine, and flocked to it, and fought for it with Heracles; but he killed them all with his poisoned arrows, and Cheiron was left alone. Then Cheiron took up one of the arrows, and dropped it by chance upon his foot; and the poison ran like fire along his veins, and he lay down and longed to die; and cried, “Through wine I perish, the bane of all my race. Why should I live forever in this agony? Who will take my immortality, that I may die?”

Then Prometheus answered, the good Titan, whom Heracles had set free from Caucasus, “I will take your immortality and live forever, that I may help poor mortal men.” So Cheiron gave him his immortality, and died, and had rest from pain. And Heracles and Prometheus wept over him, and went to bury him on Pelion: but Zeus took him up among the stars, to live forever, grand and mild, low down in the far southern sky.

And in time the heroes died, all but Nestor, the silver-tongued old man; and left behind them valiant sons, but not so great as they had been. Yet their fame, too, lives till this day; for they fought at the ten years’ siege of Troy: and their story is in the book which we call Homer, in two of the noblest songs on earth,–the “Iliad,” which tells us of the siege of Troy, and Achilles’ quarrel with the kings: and the “Odyssey,” which tells the wanderings of Odysseus, through many lands for many years; and how Alcinous sent him home at last, safe to Ithaca his beloved island, and to Penelope his faithful wife, and Telemachus his son, and Euphorbus the noble swineherd, and the old dog who licked his hand and died. We will read that sweet story, children, by the fire some winter night. And now I will end my tale, and begin another and a more cheerful one, of a hero who became a worthy king, and won his people’s love.

Final thoughts on the Argonauts

So what did the Dark Witch Maiden do to seek her revenge on Jason and why? Well, Jason fell out of love with Madea and took another wife. In response, Madea killed their children even though it was difficult for her to do. The effect this had on Jason cannot be overstated. Jason died, depressed and a failure in his own mind, after being struck on the head by a falling beam as he sat beside the Argo, praying for death. Killed by the ship and the adventure that he thought would bring him everlasting glory.

I think it’s important to go back to Chiron’s words here, as I think it is perhaps the moral of the entire lesson. Do you remember what Chiron told Jason before he left? He told him never to go back on his word and never to speak aggressively to anyone. We are lead to believe, based on Jason’s inner dialogue, that this only matters during his interaction with Hera at the river and his initial argument with Pelias at the palace, but how many other times did Jason go back on his word? How many other times did he speak aggressively and loose his cool? Indeed, his first outburst at Pelias is what dammed him to the adventure of the Golden Fleece in the first place.

There are other lessons in this story, of course, especially in the full version by the original author Apollonius of Rhodes, but I think the macro-lessons are simply: don’t lose your temper, anger robs us of our sense and, keep your promises for you never know what they betrayal of a promise will inspire the betrayed to do in retaliation.

What did you think of the Adventures of the Argonauts? Be sure to visit our website, legendsmythsandwhiskey.com, and leave a comment on Part V to let us know. If you’d like to hear this series again, visit satyrproductions.bandcamp.com and pick up the newly released Mythosymphony which combines these 5 chapters into a single album.

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