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CLASS II A (LICEO SCIENTIFICO) YOUNG AND OLD TOGETHER PHILEMON AND BAUCIS The story of Philemon and Baucis is told in book VIII of Ovid‟s most famous work “Metamorphoses”. It is about an old married couple who lived in Phrygia, a region of modern Turkey. We have chosen it because we thought it was meaningful for the values it is based on and suitable to celebrate the essence of love and life between a husband and his wife. After leading a simple and poor life, living in harmony and peace, they welcomed Jupiter and his son Mercury in their very humble, little house. The gods were travelling the area and, without making themselves known, had asked for hospitality to all the inhabitants, who had refused it. Philemon and Baucis were very generous with them, fully honouring a host‟s duties and offering them everything that their land supplied. The gods appreciated their kindness and decided to reveal themselves and recompense their generosity. Therefore, when the inhabitants of the area were punished and their houses were covered with water, only Philemon‟s house was saved and changed into a temple. And when Jupiter invited them to express a wish, Philemon and Baucis asked to become priests in that temple and they added the hope that one of them should not outlive the other. So that one day, already worn out by age, while they were remembering the past events of the area, they suddenly saw leaves growing out of their bodies. «Mutua – dum licuit – reddebant dicta.» As long as it was possible they spoke to each other. «„Vale‟ que „o coniunx‟ dixere simul, simul abdita textis ora frutex. » “Farewell, my dear spouse”, they both said at the same time while the tree bark covered their faces hiding them. So Philemon and Baucis talked to each other until their humanity allowed it, but they stuck together even after being transformed into tree trunks. For young people, such as we are, this tale conveys a real message of hope and it is appeasing to think that it has been communicated by two old people to a world where human relations seem superficial and fickle. Therefore we, like all the visitors to that place, would ideally like to lay down a garland of flowers to honour them, but above all to pay a homage to all elderly people.
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