The love story of Glaucus and Scylla is a twisted one.
It all began on a day that seemed like any other. Glaucus, a young dapper fisherman, had just made his way back to shore after hours of heavy fishing. He was in the process of emptying his catch onto the ground, when suddenly and much to his astonishment, the fish — some caught hours ago — came back to life and proceeded to wiggle their way back into the water, to swim away.
Unfamiliar with such peculiar behaviour, Glaucus thought he might have a sunstroke, but when he looked closer to the spot where he had emptied his net, he saw some strange looking herbs. Being the intelligent young fella that he is, Glaucus bent down to pick some up, gathering they might be the reason for this strange phenomenon. Intrigued by potential effect of the herbs, he ate them.
Coming up quickly, he immediately felt the urge to tear off his clothes — Hulk-style. He ripped up his garms and ran into the water. As soon as his body hit the waves, he began to transform into a merman, growing a big, scaly fish tail in place of his legs.
The events of this particular afternoon were well confusing, but Glaucus decides to go with the flow when the Gods decide to make him into the new sea god.
With his newly acquired physicality, Glaucus quits his job, and now spends most of his time loitering in the water. That is how he meets Scylla, who happens to walk past him on her afternoon stroll. However, Scylla, a beautiful, young water nymph — the most stunning of all nymphs actually — pays little attention to the bobbing shadow in the water.
Glaucus, who grows desperate for her attention, swims ahead and takes to the shore, where he arranges himself into a casual pose and waits for Scylla to happen upon him. Deeply in thought, contemplating the topic of her dissertation, Scylla doesn’t notice the merman who is obstructing her way, and nearly steps on him.
‘Oh hey, I didn’t see you there’. The perfect conversation starter.
The two begin to chat away, but when Glaucus asks for Scylla’s number later on she is reluctant. Deeming his merman physique highly unsexy, Scylla doesn’t consider him one-night stand material and while he seems like a nice guy, marriage and having children is just not on the table at this point in her life.
Rejected by Scylla, Glaucus buggers off to find the notorious sea witch, Circe, who he asks to brew a love potion for Scylla, because he is one of these men who can’t take no for an answer…
Circe, a recently divorced, middle-aged witch, who lives on a private island not far from Glaucus’ favourite spot, greets him with delight.
She thinks Glaucus is well fit, and tells him to forget about the snobby Scylla and be with her instead, but he is not interested. Glaucus, who isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, insists on Circe making a love potion for him anyway, ignoring her romantic advances.
The witch, who is obviously hurt in her pride, brews a potion and tells him to pour it into one of the natural pools that Scylla always bathes in in.
Returning from Circe’s island, Glaucus is pleased with himself and he goes to loiter about the natural pools, waiting for Scylla to turn up.
The sun is out and Scylla decides to take a dip in the pool, unknowingly of what awaits her.
Scylla lets herself down into the pool, but suddenly a pack of wild dog-heads surfaces from the water. Freaked out by such an unusual sea monster Scylla pulls herself out of the pool, yet the dogs follow her.
Examining her lower body for bite wounds, she realises that she herself is the monster: the dog heads are growing out of her.
Glaucus, who observed everything from a distance, now understands what had previously prevented Scylla from giving him her number. Shocked by her novel physique, he swims away.
Contemplating the unfortunate occurrences, Glaucus realises that if he had taken Scylla’s no for an answer, none of this would have happened. The only ingredient a love potion needs, after all, is consent.
Text by Vivianne Hericks