The Spirit of Pythagoras

Written by: Ant Gavin Smits

Michelle slid from the bed, slipped on some khaki shorts, and went out to the balcony. The imminent sunrise was splashing the rocky slopes of Mt Kerkis with warm pink light. She stretched and looked out over the glinting Aegean.

Samos was beautiful, especially at this hour. But she wanted more from her Greek holiday than a tan, and they’d done little else for three days but lie on the beach.

“Hi.” She leaned back into Nick’s embrace as she felt him come up behind her.

“Breakfast on the beach?”

She heard the smile in his voice. “I don’t think they serve it before nine. And, Nick …” She turned to face him. “I don’t want to swim and sunbathe today. Let’s do something else. We’ve got ten days left. We could see the whole island!”

“Ok babe,” he said. “I’ll get dressed.”

Michelle followed, telling him she was intrigued by the story of Pythagoras and suggested they go see his cave. She picked up a map from the front desk on their way out to the early-opening bakery. She studied it as they walked.

“Only three kilometres, Nick. It says the cave he lived in is marked by a red dot.”

She was pleased it wasn’t five kilometres. The hotel hadn’t mentioned it was all uphill, with little shade. Sweat soaked her top, and dust kicked up by a pair of four-wheel bikes left an irritating film on her sunnies.

Eventually, the valley narrowed and they reached a kiosk selling souvenirs. There was no sign of a cave. But an old man sweeping marble steps that continued upwards through wildflowers and olives stepped off the path as they approached and gestured upwards.

“Ef̱charistó̱.” Michelle was pleased she’d learned the thank you word.

It was like climbing the stairs in an office building. Before long, they were breathing heavily and the kiosk roof was a long way below.

“There.” Nick pointed to a red dot on the rock face near a turn in the steps. A barely discernible path led them away from the paved route, through clumps of spiky mountain scrub. There were no more steps, but a spot of rock climbing was needed, only possible because a rope had been left tied and dangling.

The cave mouth was almost an anti-climax - a tiny hole in the cliff, almost covered by a large, wind-battered tree. Inside, it was quiet, roomy. A whitewashed ceiling helped spread light from another opening up to the left – another entrance.

“I’m going up there,” Michelle said.

Nick nodded. He was reading some graffiti.

She had to clamber. And it wasn’t an entrance; the drop was sheer for thirty metres with no way up or down.  This was a window; the vista was extraordinary. Well worth the climb.

Then she gasped. Someone else was standing in the cave mouth, against the rock. He was the old man who had been sweeping the steps.

He turned to her. “Kalimera, Michelle,” he said, “Welcome to my cave.”


Writing order: Anthony Smits (Samos Island), Hemali Ajmera (India), Shmavon Azatyan (Australia), Greg Rochlin (Australia), Jasmine Groves (Australia), Suraya Dewing (NZ), Ray Stone (Cyprus), Donna McTavish (NZ), Suraya Dewing (NZ).


An interesting and intriguing preface Anthony. I was in Greece in May and just loved the country and the people. I actually visited some way out spots like the one you mention above around the Acropolis. When I read this preface, I knew I had to sign up. Maybe my visit will help me to add some authentic details to the story. The ending was a surprise and opens up so many possibilities for the other authors. Very nicely done!
Thank you, Hemali. I've climbed to that cave, the one where Pythagoras stayed - maybe - 2500 yrs ago. Who knows? And I've walked around the inner part of Athens. Fascinating. I look forward to your take on this tale.
This could be one of our best. The detail is superb especially as Gavin lives on the island of Samos (GREECE) and his experience of the people and the colorful culture that spans thousands of years shows through. Great detail and a great storyline. What will happen next? Only the next writer can say. I have to book a chapter.