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Interview with Hermes (Mercury)

Hermes has a pretty long track record as a thief. He even stole stuff on the day he was born. Below you'll find a record of his first brush with the law.

Judge: The Honorable Zeus, King of the Gods
Defendant: Baby Hermes
Plaintiff: Apollo
Also present: Maia, mother of Hermes

Zeus: The court recognizes the plaintiff, Apollo, god of light, prophecy, and music. State your claims.

Apollo: Father, I have been wronged. My sacred cattle have been stolen.

Zeus: Please point out the individual whom you think is responsible for this crime.

Apollo points to the adorable baby Hermes, who smiles and waves from the lap of his mother, Maia.

Zeus: How could your newborn half-brother have done such a thing? He's only a baby.

Apollo: He's the craftiest baby you've ever sired. Look at him, Father ... look at those sneaky eyes.

Baby Hermes winks and grins mischievously.

Zeus: What proof do you have of your accusations?

Apollo: There were cattle tracks leading all the way to his cave.

Maia jumps to her son's defense.

Maia: That doesn't prove anything. Those tracks were leading in the opposite direction.

Apollo: Your son must've walked my cattle backwards to make it seem that way.

Maia: Nonsense! How could anyone get an ox to walk backwards?

Zeus: Silence, Maia. You have not been recognized.

Maia: Zeusy-poo, he's your son...

Zeus: But if he commits a crime, he will pay for it.

Baby Hermes flies up into the air on his little winged sandals.

Hermes: Father Zeus, brother Apollo, if I may be so bold as to offer a defense.

Zeus looks to Maia in shock.

Zeus: He can speak?

Apollo: See! He's not any ordinary baby god.

Baby Hermes runs a little hand through his golden hair and laughs.

Hermes: This is true, dear brother Apollo. Please let me make amends. Firstly, I do admit that I stole your sacred cattle.

Apollo: I knew it!

Hermes: However, I am but a little child and did not know any better. I am new to the world. Can you blame me for being curious? Can you blame me for wanting to explore? Can you blame me for wanting to test my ingenuity? You must admit it was a clever trick.

Apollo: I am not amused.

Hermes: Well then, perhaps this will amuse you.

From out of the air, Hermes produces a stringed instrument made from a tortoise shell.

Apollo: What is that?

Hermes: A lyre, dear brother. As you are the god of music, I thought you might appreciate it.

Apollo: It doesn't look like much to me.

Hermes begins to play the lyre. His little baby fingers flow gracefully over the strings. Incredibly beautiful music fills the courtroom, as Hermes flies about on his winged sandals. Slowly but surely, everyone starts to cry at the overwhelmingly gorgeous music.

Apollo: (weeping) Brother, that is the most amazing instrument ever created. How did you come up with the idea?

Hermes: It's just a little something I threw together. Here, take it as a gift.

Baby Hermes flies over Apollo and places the lyre in his hands.

Apollo dries his eyes on his robes and turns to Zeus.

Apollo: Father, please don't punish my brother for his crimes. This gift – this beautiful instrument – is worth even more than my sacred oxen.

Hermes pats Apollo on the back.

Hermes: Play it well, dear brother.

Zeus scratches his beard and considers.

Zeus: Hmm, not only will I not punish this boy, I will give him a job. Hermes, from this day forward you will be the messenger of the gods. You will use your gifts of speech to carry my words throughout the heavens and the earth.

Hermes: Sounds great.

Zeus: Furthermore, you will accompany the souls of mortals to the underworld, where they reside for eternity with my brother, Hades.

Hermes: Well, that sounds a little depressing, but OK.

Zeus: Then let it be so.

With a loud boom of thunder, Zeus disappears.

Maia: Come, son, let's go home. It's time for your bah-bah.

Hermes: Mmm, I do love my bah-bah.

Hermes gives a little wave to Apollo.

Hermes: Enjoy the lyre, brother.

The little god takes his mother by the hand and they whizz into the air.

Apollo: Hmm, maybe he's not such a bad guy.

Apollo pats his robe.

Apollo: Wait a minute ... he stole my wallet!

From somewhere up in the air, the laughter of Hermes is heard.

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