You never know what interesting things you might stumble upon doing research.
In my current work in progress aimed for 2014 and titled so far as Breakwater Bay, one of my characters is a book illustrator. He is doing the illustrations for and yet another children’s version of the Odyssey.
Now I’ve studied Homer, but it was a while ago and I wasn’t sure which characters were in the Iliad and which were in the Odyssey. So I googled.
Holy Moly!!!! I couldn’t believe what I found. I say that all the time, Holy Moly! My characters often are heard saying it. I always just assumed that it was one of those mildly drat kind of expressions like gosh durn and other light weight swear words that won’t get you into trouble with readers or your mother.
Well, guess again. Holy Moly is an herb. A Holy herb. A magical herb that is written about in the Odyssey. Hermes gives this herb to Odysseus to protect him from Circe, so that he can rescue his crew, whom she has turned into swine. Sounding familiar?
Supposedly this magical herb is grown from the blood of a giant killed on the isle of Kirke or Circe.
It has been suggested that this was actually a plant in the species Galanthus or the snowdrop; evidently it substances can counteract the affects of hallucinations. As kids we were always told snow drops were poison. Here’ s a lovely photo of the snow drop taken by Simon Garbutt.
Anybody know how moly or molu grew from an herb in the Odyssey to an expression of surprise?