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Arcadian Lives and Loves

My father, the Great god Pan, told me once that I was not like his other progeny. Oh, I had the ears and tail of a horse, of course (whinny!) And I had the powers of a demigod. I would live almost forever, and I could see into the future, just a bit. Not everything. And I was not as lustful as my brothers and sisters. I spent most of my time with my animal friends. I lived in Arcadia, where my father was born to be the immortal Pan. But I had my own home in a mountain glen where the nymphs would gather to talk and play with me.
Oh, Pan, god of the earth.
My pipes will praise your life,
And all your gifts give birth
To Gaea's world so rife.
I was like a big brother to the Dryads, and Naiads, and Nereids, and all the other kinds of nymphs. Some never came because they were bound to their places, as the Hamadryads were bound to particular oak trees, or the Meliae were bound to their own ash trees. But of the others many came to cavort with me as I played the pipes, and we would dance under the full moons. I would partake of the wine as would the nymphs, but I was different. I never drank too much.

Many a morning I was helping the nymphs as they revived from the Dionysian rhapsodies they had celebrated among themselves the night before. I was odd, I knew this. But my father never reprimanded or criticized me. I loved just talking to the nymphs. It was strange how many problems such creatures seemed to get into. Like Echo, who lost her ability to talk, except to repeat back, because she angered Hera with her incessant chatter. Of course she then loved Narcissus and could not convey that, and he fell in love with himself and was condemned to love his own reflection. They both died of grief and he is a flower now.

But this was all by the way. My main purpose, my real function was mending the creatures that came to me in my glen there in the mountains of Arcadia. Some came from very far, and some lived there in the same forest with me. I tended to the physically torn and warped. I bandaged sores and cuts. My salves and unguents, made from the bounty my father produced for me, were life savers and pain healers.

Over the years many had mended their lives and hearts here by my hearth. It was my pleasure, what I had been called to do. Many were thankful. Some, however, returned kindness with hurt and pain. This, too, I accepted.
Giving help to the lost
Is what I do for all,
I do not count the cost,
Answering every call.
Once there came to me a jungle cat. This was a creature that was not often found in our world. It came from far away across the Anatolian plains. One day in the long away future it would be called Felis chaus in the language of the conquerors. The ones who turned satyrs into a joke of goat-like creatures. But to me she was known as Billī the Beloved. She brought joy and a soulfulness into my shed-like home. Her gratefulness was wondrous to behold.

Her hurts were inside. She had been wounded by her closest family and the pain was enough to make her roam the world seeking relief. She found it in my humble home and heart. In those days creatures could speak to such as I. The language they spoke was easy for me to understand. And we spent long nights conversing about her sorrows and how they might be changed into triumphs and lack of pain.
Evermore I vow thus
To you my soul healer
That I'll not allow us
To lose this new favor.
One evening we were lying upon my pillows in my little shed and she was cuddled beside me purring with her usual gratitude and love. Suddenly we heard a beast out on the mountainside wailing with what sounded like a deep pain or sorrow. It was quite heart tearing. At least to such as she. Her heart was ever tuned to the griefs of those less fortunate. I could feel her body quivering.

She spoke to me in our language and told me she must go out to this creature and try to heal it as I had healed her. I feared for her. I knew there were many animals roaming the world whose one need was the adulation of unsuspecting hearts such as hers. They would eventually drain their victims of all compassion and peace, but in the meantime the lost soul would try over and over to heal that which was not healable. I told her all this.

"It is not my way nor my function to tell any creature what they must do. You are a free creature of this world formed by Gaea with the help of my father Pan. You may always do as you wish. I do not stand in your way my dear Billī my Beloved. Do as you will."
Away she went to find
This creature of the night,
Ever being so kind,
Vows passing from her sight.
I never saw her again. But I would hear the howls of the beast echoing through the mountain glades and glens. And I would remember her last act was to kneel before me, in cat blessing, before she slipped silently out the door of wind fallen timbers. Even satyrs may cry now and then.

After that loss I did not lack for hares and roe deer to tend to. They often harmed themselves in their battles over mates in the glades of the forest. I would mend them and they would go forth seeking to win once again.

Often in my memory lives a wild cat of this continent. Such are familiar to us here in Arcadia. Again, the new folk would call her Felis silvestri or European cat, but I called her Katze the Dear. Europa of course was seduced by our god Zeus when he took the form of a great white bull. Now her name is given to this land of ours.

Katze's pain was also of the mind. Her body was fine and strong. But her heart was beaten and bleeding from the blows of too many of the males of her species. Although she had allowed this pain to occur she had never understood her own heart or needs, and her males had taken advantage of this, many times. I was there to take her in.

Again, she sought my comfort. Again it was freely given. I was not one to begrudge the gift I had. I could often heal, but not always. I tried and tried with Katze but she never accepted my care. She was too locked into her pattern of hurting and forgiveness, and then again the hurting and the forgiveness. It ran through her mind and heart like a snake through the deep sward of a woodland glade.
Let this healing pass me,
I'm not worth the trying.
Never will I feel free,
Just leave me to crying.
When she finally left she scratched me with her claws. It was a way for her to attack a male without fear of retribution. I was never going to hurt her. She knew this. I was her scapegoat, so to speak. (May the Romans never be forgiven for making us satyrs Caprine creatures in their future!)

Katze the Dear became Katze the far, so to speak. Her mission was to find one male of her species who would not bleed her heart dry. Would that I had found her earlier. Her search carried her far beyond Arcadia. My friend Echo brought me repetitions of her cries for many years after. They played plaintively in the wind.

So many cures over the years that my time was spent with good profit indeed. The most grateful were often those least able to show it. I did not discriminate. I had triumphs. But always there were the failures. The ones who showed promise only to be lost to their own diseases and disabilities. Any who came to me were tended until they healed or passed away to the west, seeking Oceanos and Elysium. Perhaps they would enter there. If they had caused hate or distress then Tartarus could be their Fate. 

There were many happy days in the glen. My nymphs would visit often. Almost weekly I would greet and cavort with Alseids because they lived here in the groves, but once in a great while I would get to meet and joyously celebrate with an Oceanid who had swam far upstream, and often the Oreads came down the mountainsides to play and dance to my songs and pipes. It was a fine life for this satyr. If only I could heal all the wretched ones who came to me for help.

My deepest pain of the heart came from my failure with Alepoú the Trusted. She was a common red fox. We had so many here in our world. My father told me they were found around the world. Their misfortune was to always be distrusted. I would try the opposite. I would give her my heart and my best cures. Whatever she needed and I would expect only kindness and honor in return.

The "new ones" would call her Vulpes vulpes, and she was the one I most trusted to be saved. She was frisky and garrulous. I gave her all of my best techniques and she responded. You see, she was pining away for the love of her lost mate. And I tried my best to offer her what she needed. I sent out all of my nymphs to find this illusive lover. And they succeeded!
My darling dear is here!
I see the beaming smile!
Lusty and so near!
This satyr I revile!
Oh the horror! My most Trusted had betrayed me. It was to be expected. Whenever my heart gave of itself too deeply and honestly it always felt the sting of the emotional dagger. As in the past and ever in the future I would find out too late that I was too trusting myself. Alepoú passed from my heart and my vision never to show herself again.
I was left with my pipes to play and my songs to sing and the loving caresses of the nymphs who were always to be trusted to love and adore their satyrs. Especially their lord Pan. Would that this world would last forever.
Body and heart to heal
Shall ever be my quest,
As the world will reveal,
Beauty Pan doth invest.



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