The years went by quickly—quick even for a god—and one day Chronos, who didn’t pay much attention to such things as years or decades or even a million billion millenniums, felt the presence of Gaia standing behind him. A row of two-legged and duck-billed dinosaurs stood in front of him like a row of ducks. Chronos had made himself appear giant-sized compared to them. Gaia made herself the same size as Chronos or maybe just a bit bigger.
“What in the world are you doing?” she demanded.
“Can’t you see? I’m teaching these creatures to line dance.”
“Oh, Chronos, isn’t it time for you to find more interesting animals to play with.”
“My dinosaurs! Not interesting! Here watch this.” And he began to move his arm to a beat that volcanoes in the near distance tooted along with. “And one, and two, and three, and hit it boys.”
The line of dinosaurs began to stamp their feet, sway a bit, and kick out their legs on every fourth beat.
Gaia stepped in front of Chronos, leaned down to the dinosaurs, and said, “Shoo! All of you. Go on. Go eat leaves and lay eggs.”
“Gaia!” wailed Chronos.
“I have more serious business for you to attend to,” she said and then paused to let the seriousness of her serious business seize the full attention of Chronos. “It’s time for the young gods to be assigned responsibilities.”
“Already? They just got old enough to climb out of their cribs,” he said as he put down a dinosaur he had stopped from running off. “They’re still learning to walk, aren’t they?”
“No, they’re leaning to run and fly, and they need something to occupy their time because they are beginning to drive me crazy.” With that she disappeared into a gust of wind that carried her to the roof of the sky.
Chronos sighed, shook his head, and then he too disappeared into the air. A second or maybe a year later, he descended from the highest clouds and set himself in front of the nursery temple.
Three little gods and three little goddesses stood in a line on the top step to the temple. Each one was about a third of the size of Gaia. Their faces still had a baby look to them. Chronos couldn’t believe he was about to give them their god powers. He looked up to the stars. He drew a deep breath. Then he stared down at them with his hands on his hips.
“Look,” he said in a stern voice. “Being a god is a serious business. And as it turns out, I’ve already hired a few gods to do some of the work. Atlas holds up the sky. Helios moves the sun along in his chariot. So there isn’t much left for you little ones.”
At hearing this, the young gods looked alarmed and then sad enough to cry. Gaia folded her arms and glared at Chronos.
“But I do have some jobs left for you to do and they are important. Or at least they will be someday. So give it some time—and I’ve plenty of that to spare—and you will all do very well. Or so I hope.”
He looked at the six babes in front of him and then commanded, “Girls first.”
The three girls stepped forward. Chronos looked to the boldest one, the girl who met his eyes, and didn’t seem afraid of him. “Hera, you will be the goddess of women and marriage. It doesn’t seem like much now, but give it some time … well, you wait and see.”
At hearing this, the boys looked a little puzzled, but no matter—maybe Chronos was saving the good powers for them.
The next little goddess stepped forward, and Chronos told her, “Hestia, you will be the goddess of the home, of the neighborhood, and of every town and city. It is for you to encourage good order and proper behavior.”
“For the dinosaurs, Father Time?” asked Hestia, who ignored the words she hadn’t understood because the thought of teaching the dinosaurs some manners appealed to her.
“No, not the dinosaurs,” and he sighed as if he knew of a great sadness to come, but it was something he could not reveal to anyone.
He turned to Demeter and said, “You will be goddess of the harvest.”
At hearing this, Demeter’s little face remained blank, so Father Time added, “A harvest comes from a farm after they grow plants for mortal beings to eat. But not dinosaurs; the dinosaurs don’t have farms. It’s for the mortals. They’ll be along in just a few more million years.”
Now the boys looked up at Chronos, each anxious to learn what their powers would be. The tallest of them stepped boldly forward.
“No, Zeus. You go last,” said Chronos, who then turned to the boy just behind Zeus and said, “Poseidon, you will be the god of the seas and all the creatures who live there. I know you’ll have fun with that so here is your trident.”
Chronos handed the little god a metal rod with three very sharp points on one end. “Be careful with that. You could poke an eye out.”
With his hand resting on the tiny Zeus’s head as if to keep him calm, Chronos looked down on the next little god. “Hades, you will be the god of the underworld and the afterlife. All of Earth’s gold and silver and diamonds lie underground and they are yours to keep or give away. You’ll just have to provide a home for the dead. Here’s a helmet—tell you about it later.”
Chronos now looked down at Zeus. Before saying anything, he put a hand on each of Zeus’s shoulders and gazed a long time into the little god’s eyes and finally he said, “Zeus, you will be the god of thunder and lightning.”
“What’s that, Father Time?” he asked.
“Let me show you. Stretch out your arm and point your finger. Not at me. At that rock over there. Now say—oh, I don’t know—‛a bolt of lightning’.”
“A bolt of—” he began, but before he could finish, a tiny bolt of lightning shot away from his finger and blasted the rock. The two other little boy gods stared at him with wide-eyed wonder and admiration. They crowded around him clamoring for him to do it again.
“Hold on,” said Chronos. “You have to be careful with that. And, oh, after awhile, you won’t have to say, ‘A bolt of lightning,’ you’ll be able to just think it.”
Gaia stared at Chronos and said, “That’s it? His godly powers are to make sparkles come out of his fingers?”
“No. No. Not just that,” and he turned to Zeus. “You are also lord of the skies, the clouds, the rain,” and then in a quieter voice and very quickly he said, “And someday you’ll be the most powerful of the gods and therefore you’ll be their boss.”
The little boys didn’t seem to hear this being too busy inspecting the blasted rock and Zeus’s index finger, but Hera heard every word and a tiny frown appeared on her pretty little face.
“Well,” said Chronos, “I must be going. I’ve got to round up those dancing dinosaurs. We’re having a moonlight dance tonight. Gaia, why don’t you take the girls to see the dollhouse you created just for them.