Chapter 13: Minerva’s olives
Maya felt a giddy relief at having accomplished the first task and obtaining Thor’s promise. Just as Thor was bidding a cheery farewell, Maya asked a hurried question.
“So, we were able to finally get your hammer or at least we will when we want it. We need to get Zeus’s bolt next. Can you tell us where we have to go next?”
“It’s not my place to tell you that. But I can give you a clue. Read this!”
Maya stared at the place where Thor had vanished and shook her head before opening what seemed like a small book. She dropped it in shock when the book started speaking. Hari gave a cheeky grin and picked up the book.
The book started its narration when Hari reopened it.
“In ancient times, each city had a patron god that looked after them.
Neptune, the sea god, was very powerful. Neptune liked the attention he received as being the patron god of many cities and towns and the temples built in his honour as well as the offerings and gifts he received. The prayers and offerings were said to sharpen the powers of the patron god.
Minerva, craved such attention and seeking to improve her powers decided to claim a coastal village. Neptune laid a counter claim to the village.
The villagers who were delighted initially to have Minerva watch over them originally were worried at the competition between Minerva and Neptune. The village could have only a single patron and they didn’t want to choose. They didn’t want to anger either of them.
Minerva understood their worry in her wisdom and suggested both Neptune and she give a gift to the village. The villagers were asked to select whoever gave the better gift as their patron god. Neptune agreed though the villagers worried even more at their quandary.
Neptune brought a beautiful stream in the middle of the village. The delighted villagers had almost convinced themselves that Neptune was the better god as fresh water was in short supply and extremely important to them. When they tasted the water, they tried to smile, but they had to spit the water out. It was salt water!
Soon it was Minerva’s turn. She waved her hand and lo! an olive tree began to grow. The villagers tasted the olives and celebrated. The olives were delicious. The olive tree would provide food, shelter, and oil for cooking. It was a magnificent gift indeed.
But no coastal village would risk angering the lord of the sea, the mighty Neptune. Fortunately for the people, they did not have to choose.
Neptune threw back his head and laughed his mighty roar. “Yours is a far better gift than mine, my dear niece. The village is yours!”
Hari glanced at Maya before speaking to the book tentatively.
“Errrr, thanks for the story. But how does that help us find Zeus’s bolt?”
“You have to find the olive tree and eat the olives of course to receive Minerva’s wisdom.”
(2) Last but not the least, you can read more of Maya and Hari’s original background here in the sample chapters for my earlier publication, Maya & the Mind Mystics.