When I was a 14 year old studying at the Lyceum in Utrecht, my favourite teacher was Harry. He taught us Greek and Latin. After slaving over difficult texts such as Xenophon, Ovid and Homer, during the last lesson on a Wednesday afternoon, he would read to us from Homer’s Odyssee, in Dutch fortunately. Harry was a born story teller. He transported us away from the dreary classroom into the heroic tales of the king of Ithaca. We were there, on Odysseus’ ship.Β 

A tale I still remember is that of the Sirens. Odysseus had to pass the island where these beautiful and alluring women lived. They sang a song so wonderful, that it was impossible to withstand their haunting tones, and many a sailor abandoned his voyage, followed the Sirens, and died. For that is what they did. They sang a song promising the hearer all knowledge, but death was the only outcome.

Searching for knowledge followed by death? Sounds familiar? The tree in the garden, the snake, the apple, she made me do it, sin, exile and eventual redemption by a divine being?

Odysseus wanted to hear the Siren song, and live to tell the tale to Telemachos, his son. Cunningly he made his crew plug their ears with beeswax, so they couldn’t hear, and then he had himself tied to the mast. He instructed them not to untie him, no matter what he said. Courageously Odysseus faced the music. And heard the song. It was unlike anything he had ever heard. Yet he lived.

A metaphor?

Fasting blood sugar this morning: 5.2 mmol/L (94 mg/dl). No hypos for the past 48 hours. One injection of 5 units of Levemir per day appears to be all the insulin this starchivore carb-eating diabetic needs!