The Broken Toy

copyright 2010 by Chris Benedict

Athena held the broken shape of a fair young boy in her arms.

 “Father,” she cried. “I was playing with him, and he fell.” She didn’t mention that she had made him believe he was a bird, and he’d tried to fly from the top of a cliff. No need to call attention to her mistake, in light of her role as the Goddess of Wisdom.

 Zeus sighed mightily. “Bring him here, Daughter; let me see. Why, his life has fled this shell.”

 Athena burst into tears. “He broke,” she explained. “I didn’t mean to… can you fix him?”

 “Let me see what I can do,” Zeus replied. He tucked Athena into bed, kissing her forehead gently, and turned out the light.

 When Athena woke, the boy was sitting at the foot of her bed. In joy, she leapt up to greet him. As she picked him up, though, she saw that one leg was now shorter than the other, and his spine had a permanent twist to it.

 “Is Mighty Zeus not wonderful?” the boy croaked to her, where yesterday he’d sung as beautifully as a nightingale.

 “He certainly is.” Smiling sadly and shedding a tear, Athena sent the boy home to his mother.