Happy Birthday

These stories are fictional, but based on factual events. The historical significance of birthdays as mentioned has been researched and is true. This is actually why birthdays began.

Ptolemy V sat on his majestic stone throne, bedazzled with precious gems embedded in magnificent swirling designs which filled the viewer with awe and a certain inferiority in front of the Egyptian king. The king, though not unaware of the fact, did not then care of exhibiting his power and grandness – indeed his face displayed something quite contrary to the two qualities mentioned above. Expectant, yet wary, his fearful eyes rested on the bent, bald head of a shriveled old man, who was at that moment juggling some very curious objects in his hands, the largest of which resembled a sort of dial. A sizeable telescope was standing in the corner of the glass dome-like roof, which had been specially constructed for the incredible purpose it had been assigned.
“Aapep, do ask the man to reveal to me his work. I have been waiting the whole day”, the young king impatiently said to his bodyguard. The man at once bowed dutifully, and walked rapidly to obey his orders. His steps approached Panhsj, who had his scales and papers spread in an awkward fashion on the expensive mosaic floor, and the old astrologer’s head immediately snapped up. Not oblivious to the bodyguard’s task, he took hold of a small table placed by his side, and helped himself to his withered feet.
“King of kings! Today is your birth-date, and I am honoured that you have bestowed upon me the kindness of telling you your future. I do not wish to make you wait, you who have suffered through so much! Do forgive me.
“I see a change, I see the winds of disturbance move in the opposite direction – these destructive forces now benefit you! They give you something extremely valuable, and that valuable thing benefits you even more. Oh king, you shall see contentment”, the old man then looked over his shoulders to the latticed doors behind him, from whence entered a confident, muscular man in the style of a distinguished and wealthy class. His gait was strong and his big footsteps quickly reached Panhsj, where he bowed gracefully to the king.
“You have arrived Bestet”, the king joyously exclaimed, “I have had a good birth-date this year, come let me tell you all about it.”
The advisor reverently sauntered over to King Ptolemy V Epiphanies, and wished him a happy birth-date indeed.
*        *        *        *        *        *                                       
“Alexandro! I hope there has been no trouble this day?” Aesop asked his brother as they both wandered in the spacious open courtyard in the middle of their home.
“Not yet, Aesop, but I am mighty thankful to the gods that I have friends and relatives. Those spirits could not possibly harm me now”, he sighed.
“And that is why you have no reason to worry at all!” Aesop brightly said, and clasped Alexandro’s hand tightly.
Birthdays were no small matter in Ancient Greece. It was the birthday of a person when he would be remembered by all sorts of spirits and demons, it was the birthday when they decided to visit him, to either bring him happiness or curse him to a fatal destiny. So, Alexandro had every reason to be worried – it was his birthday, and the demons might be on their way to cause every kind of unwanted trouble for the boy. He might not even survive the day – the mere thought sent shivers down his backbone. His face turned white with fear.
“One of my friends fell from the top of the roof of his house on his birthday because he had nobody with him, he swears now that he saw the demons – they were laughing at him as he almost smashed his head”, Alexandro hysterically announced.
Before his sympathizing brother had a chance to soothe his fears, the doors behind them opened to reveal the brothers’ aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbours and friends. Each of them briskly walked to the unlucky one, and gave him a bear-sized hug, singing poems of happiness to chase away the demons and invite the spirits of goodness to bless the boy under attention. The girls covered the entire house with flowers and talked enthusiastically, hoping to introduce a cheerful atmosphere. Laughter richoted off the walls as everyone sat around Alexandro and wished he had a very happy birthday, each of them in their frightened hearts praying desperately for the salvation of the boy.
                                      *        *        *        *        *
These stories have been divided into a series. This was part 1.
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