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Posts Tagged ‘Olympus’

The shepherd boy who could talk to Pan.

In Books etc., Children / Young Adults, Greece on February 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm

The Sheperd Boy who spoke with Gods.

When I was 11 or 12 years old I read a lot. Mostly English books. Occasionally Greek.

This is my favorite Greek children’s book: Old Olympus.  

The image you see here is from the original hardcover still gracing my bookshelf.

It is about a young shepherd boy called Giannos who lives at the foot of mount Olympus (the tallest mountain in Greece and home of the mythical Greek Gods).

One day he discovers that he can see the Gods, nymphs, fairies and other great historical figures and speak with them. So he embarks on a magical journey of discovery, adventure and learning through the legendary mountain and the history of Greece.

It has never been translated into English but here’s a small excerpt:

Pan had started jumping around letting out his now familiar cheerful cries while Hermes was already tying the gorgeous sandals on his feet. The child’s eyes locked upon those golden sandals, with straps that tied upward, criss-crossing above the ankles and sporting two small wings, one on the inside and one on the outside, making them appear like birds’ wings.

– These sandals are surely divine, the shepherd boy muttered in admiration.

– Of course they are divine. These take me wherever I want, fast like the wind’s breath, over endless lands and foaming seas.

Giannos’ eyes opened wide.

– What if someone else wears them?

– My winged sandals? And who would wear them? Am I not supposedly the messenger of the gods? Did I not make them myself, weaving patiently and with incredible craft the thinnest branches of myrtle?

– It would seem that he wants you to lend them to him, interjected Pan laughing out loud. Not that he ever gave them to me either, not for one little minute, silly shepherd boy. But I, being your friend have arranged everything for you, everything will be just fine and dandy, you hear … foolish child.

[…] 

Written in the 1970’s by Fani Papalouka, this book is a gem of historical fantasy for children.

It is rarely found in print anymore. Pity.