Moxie gasped, “Run, Nana!!!” Hephaestus hushed her and I continued.
“When Nana Rhea asked where their daughters were, Papaw Cronus told her they were in the woods playing hide and seek and would be busy all day. Nana Rhea had no reason not to believe him, so she promptly put them in the back of her mind, so she could focus on her husband. How wonderful it was to have him pay attention to her again after all this time! It took three days before Nana Rhea got concerned that something might have happened to Hestia and Demeter.
Now you know that Gods can take care of themselves, even the little ones.” I winked at the children. “Plus, the girls often spent time with Mama Gee without asking, so Nana Rhea thought that’s where they were. At least, she thought that until the third day, when Mama Gee came by to play with the girls. Nana Rhea turned to Papaw Cronus and asked if he knew what happened to the girls.”
“Ooh, Papaw is gonna get busted now!” Nike whooped excitedly.
“Papaw Cronus knew he had to think quickly, so he told Nana that the girls were spending time with his brother Oceanus and he just forgot to tell her. Papaw Cronus was nervous, because he was sure that Mama Gee would know he was lying.”
Moxie nodded her tiny head firmly. “That’s right. Mama Gee knows everything. She’s super smart.”
Nike leaned forward. “What did Mama Gee say?”
“She is, Moxie-moo, but Mama Gee said that she thought she’d overheard Oceanus talking about taking the girls on a boat ride. Because Mama Gee didn’t sound concerned, Nana Rhea just hugged her and Mama Gee left. Now we all know that Goddesses are very smart and observant – more so than the Gods, and a female Titan is even smarter than a Goddess! Eventually, Nana Rhea knew something was wrong with Papaw Cronus, because he kept complaining of an upset stomach and heartburn, and would barely eat anything.”
Ares giggled. “W-women do have that effect on m-men.” Hephaestus held out his tiny fist to bump with Ares.
Moxie looked wiser than her years. “Only a God could keep a Goddess happy for three days on a full stomach.” Hephaestus laughed and reached between the beds to fist bump with Moxie. Nike had to hold Moxie around her waist so she didn’t fall off the bed reaching for Hephaestus.
I stood from my chair. “I suppose this means I’m done then.”
Ares made a motion to zip his lips.
“No, no, no, no! Please, Lady Hera. Don’t stop.” Nike begged and stared fiercely at her brothers.
“No, Ma!” Hephaestus pulled his comfort blanket up to his chin.
I took a deep breath and slowly sat back in the chair. “Fine. Before Nana Rhea could confront him about it, she found out she was pregnant with their third daughter! Nana Rhea was so happy to be having another baby, she sat on Papaw Cronus the very next morning and held him down so she could tell him her news.
Hephaestus snickered. “And probably do more than that.” Moxie wiggled her eyebrows as Nike shushed him.
“Unfortunately, she sat right over top of where Hestia was in Papaw Cronus’ stomach. He opened his mouth and Nana Rhea heard her first daughter’s scream for help come out of her husband’s mouth! Nana Rhea was horrified and she demanded Papaw Cronus tell her what happened. When he wouldn’t answer her, she jumped on his stomach to try and get him to throw up their daughters, but Papaw Cronus was stronger than Nana Rhea, and he held her down so she couldn’t hurt him anymore.
“S-slice him s-stem to s-stern!” Ares cheered.
“Nana Rhea struggled with Papaw Cronus and demanded that he release their daughters, but Papaw Cronus bellowed in her ear that he knew her plans with his brothers to overthrow him and take everything he held dear, and that he knew they were going to use one of his children to do it. Nana Rhea couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She never had even the tiniest of thoughts against her husband because she loved him more than herself. Confused and struggling, she knew that Papaw Cronus would always be physically stronger than herself so she had to outwit him!”
I leaned forward, resting my elbows on my knees. “Nana Rhea knew she had to be patient and cunning but she couldn’t hide her newest pregnancy from him. With her heart in her throat, Nana Rhea told Papaw Cronus about her newest pregnancy. She spent the entire pregnancy begging Papaw Cronus not to eat their baby. When their third daughter was born, Nana named her Hera just before Papaw Cronus dropped the baby down his throat and gobbled her up!”
Moxie gasped, “He totally sucked!”
Nike clenched her hands together in her lap. “That was you, wasn’t it, Lady Hera?”
Ares looked confused. “S-so, if h-he ate you…d-does that mean y-you’re a clone ma?”
I rolled my eyes at Ares and nodded at the girls. “Yes, little one, that was me. Hestia and Demeter were still growing inside Papaw Cronus, and did their very best to take care of the baby Hera.”
Ares still looked a little confused. He opened and shut his mouth a couple of times, reminding me of one of Poseidon’s fish. Ultimately though, Ares decided not to say anything and I smiled at him as I continued. “As much as Nana Rhea loved her husband, she grew bitter. Every day, she looked for a way to save her daughters, but Papaw Cronus was ever vigilant and slept with one eye open. Regardless of what he did, Papaw Cronus loved his wife very much. Back then, there wasn’t really much for Titans to do except…” I looked at Nike and cleared my throat, “…um, love each other, and Nana Rhea got pregnant again, this time with their first son, Hades.”
“Oooh, we know him, too!” Moxie exclaimed.
“Wow, Uncle Hades is older than Daddy?”
I smiled at Nike. “Yes, little one, your father is the youngest of us. Like with Hera’s birth, Papaw Cronus was there and swallowed the baby Hades immediately after Nana Rhea named him.”
Ares snorted. “You’d t-think P-papaw would learn to k-keep it in his p-pants so he wouldn’t have so much heartburn.”
The children erupted into giggles.
“Men don’t know any better, my heart. Titans, Gods, or mortals.” This caused the girls to giggle even louder. Once they had calmed down, I continued. “Finally, Nana Rhea consulted with Mama Gee and told her what was going on. Nana begged Mama Gee for help.”
Nike bounced on the bed. “I bet Mama Gee was MAD!”
“Mama Gee was so sad about what Papaw Cronus had done, but she couldn’t help Nana Rhea. You see, Mama Gee had heard the voices, too. They were a little different, though.”
- The Trials of Herakles, Part VII - September 1, 2022
- The Trials of Herakles, Part VI - November 5, 2021
- Herakles, Part V - October 18, 2021