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By Mary Cuff, Crisis Magazine, Oct. 12, 2022

Mary Cuff is an independent scholar, wife, and homeschooling mother. She holds a PhD in American literature from the Catholic University of America and has published in the Southern Literary Journal, Five Points, Mississippi Quarterly, and Modern Age. …


Avatar photoThere’s a story about the greatest of all heroes, Achilles. His mother, Thetis, terrified that her son will meet an early death at Troy, forced him into hiding, dressed up as a woman in the crowd of daughters of King Lycomedes of Skyros. Clever Odysseus, tasked with collecting heroes for the war, brought a trunk of gifts for the princesses, with a sword hidden in the pile of dresses and jewelry. As the real princesses delighted over the contents of that chest, the false princess half-heartedly stood by until the glint of cold steel caught his eye. Springing forward, Achilles seized the sword and roared, “and this, this is for me!”

I was reminded of this rather obscure tale the other day as I watched my two-year-old son pick through the frilly pink piles of his sisters’ dress-up clothes strewn across the playroom floor. He was in search of his cap gun. …