Once every year the city of Athens would experience terrible trembles and shudders. The sky would turn black as coal and hail would fall knocking people to the ground and leaving them unconscious. Everybody feared going out and the city was like a ghost town. This terrible happening was believed to be Coranithus, the ancient half crow and half Snake, demanding an innocent girl’s life in return for a safe city.
So every year the people of Athens sacrificed a young girl in a bid to save their city. However, this did not seem to work as still Coranithus disrupted city life once a year. Desperate, the people of Athens begged King Stradivari to sacrifice his daughter, Princess Athena, to Coranithus. They had come to the conclusion that Coranithus was after a special girl in particular and who was more special than the King’s daughter.
Every year the people begged but every year the King refused. Until one year, when the princess was the only girl still alive. King Stradivari was not pleased, he loved his daughter dearly and did not want to lose her to the deadly Coranithus, so he came up with a plan. He decided to send his daughter to fight Coranithus. This way there was still a sliver of a chance that he would see her again.
When the day arrived, King Stradivari kissed his daughter on the head, placed a jewel encrusted sword into her hands and watched her walk away to the dark and dingy lair of Coranithus.
Athena herself was not scared of Coranithus. She knew exactly how to defeat him. When she was out of eyeshot of her father she chucked her sword into a pile of rocks and listened to the twang as it broke in half. She would not be needing the sword as she was not intending to fight. However, she was not intending to surrender either.
As she came closer to Coranithus’ lair, Athena picked up a handful of mud and smeared it all over her face. She then killed a passing hare, and rubbed the blood into her hair. Wrinkling up her nose at the smell, she smiled. If this didn’t work then nothing would. After several more minutes of walking she arrived at the home of Coranithus.
Coranithus was waiting for her. His cold, beady eyes, watched her as she approached him. Suddenly, he staggered back in shock, his claws reached for his nose but underestimating his own strength he ripped his nose to shreds. Blood spurted out of his nose turning his shiny black feathers into a sea of red. After a few minutes of staggering around he fell to the floor lifeless.
Athena smiled smugly. She has been right. Coranithus’ nose had been overpowered by the hideous smell of hare blood and mud that he could not bear it. That was his one weakness his strong sense of smell could not cope with too much odour.
Victorious, Athena hurried back to Athens to tell her father the good news. When she had told her story a banquet was prepared and everyone partied all night long. As for Coranithus he was never heard of or seen again. It seems what he thought of as his strength had backfired and became his weakness.
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This story is in mythic tradition - with the need to fight a marauding monster. However, it is a little 'out of the box' with a clever princess who scorns swords for unusual tactics! Well written with lots of interesting detail.