The story of the ferryman scared the crap out of me when I was growing up. You see my grandfather was a big western fan and I made the mistake of asking him as a child why the cowboys had coins on their eyes. Before you know it my Grandfather, Bill a survivor of world war 2, was all too pleased to tell me about the ferryman and how you had to pay him to take you across the river of souls into the afterlife. So, there you go as a child who didn't have two pennies to rub together been told he needed the pennies when he died, or he would be stuck in purgatory or worse go to hell.
Thoughts like that stick with you and hang around your neck like a dead weight. As a child we don't have the capacity to process these feelings correctly and we begin to obsess about them. The monster in the closet, the ghost in the well or the witch that is causing the disturbance in the forest these are all stories that a child can't reason with and that is why children fear them.
A child unable to process this new knowledge and without a true understanding of fiction and non-fiction takes their research where they can find it a black and white movie, an episode of the Twilight Zone or an urban legend book. Without the ability to distinguish truth from fantasy this information forms the foundations of beliefs that will be partially scrubbed clean by education and age.
The ferryman myth comes from Greek mythology, in the stories he is known as Kharon the ferryman of Hades whose job it is to take the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron to deliver the souls from the world of living to the world of the dead. Although I suspect this isn't a luxury journey with bar service and nuts, more likely just a bowl of blackberries with oil to drink.
My point I suppose is that all knowledge is just stories handed down over time and the thing with stories is that we can’t comprehend what is real or fantasy because in our concept of time we are all still children. A hundred years is an exceptionally long time in human life but nothing in an eternity of all time. If age and time increases our knowledge yada yada yada you get the point, right?
So, this morning when my girlfriend came into the bedroom and used my pet name Goose, thinking I was just a sleeping goose, she expected a reply. I would have expected to reply. So you can only begin to understand my surprise when I found myself here standing at the edge of a river in my pyjamas with a tall hooded man standing over me and I don't have any change on me.
So, my question to you Kharon is “Will you take an IOU?”.