I saw a "story from Greek mythology" referenced in my morning paper, and I'd never heard it before.

A woman came to the River Styx and asked to be taken across into that dark land. [The ferryman] Charon reminded her that the dead were offered the option of drinking from the River Lethe, whose waters removed all memory of previous existence.

She wanted to know, “Will I forget how I have suffered?” Charon replied, “Yes, but you will forget how you have rejoiced.” Then she asked, “Will I forget my failures?” Patiently, Charon responded, “Yes, and your victories as well.” Finally, she wanted to know, “Will I forget how I have been hated?” “Yes,” said Charon, “but also you will forget how you have been loved.” After a few moments of reflection, the woman decided to leave the waters of Lethe untasted.

This story is entirely new to me, and the only references I can find are other people saying "There's this Greek myth..."

Is this in fact an actual myth? What's the origin, or at least what's the oldest version recorded?

  • 1
    This question would be easier to answer if we knew what your "morning paper" is. Could you cite the source of the quote?
    – user62
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 15:12
  • It was an op-ed, and the version I quoted above has more detail than the version in the paper, so providing the context of the newspaper doesn't add anything. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 20:44
  • it does: someone may be familiar with that paper/author and know why they used that quote. It's not likely, but it is possible.
    – user62
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 23:27

1 Answer 1


The only relevant thing I found on the web with the exact description is here .

READY: We all have to cross the River Styx

I wish I could take credit for this topic, but the truth is my friend Rev. Thomas Butts wrote something like this for his weekly column in the Monroeville paper several years ago. He kindly gave me permission to paraphrase some of his thoughts. I also found a similar treatment in a 1992 Easter sermon by Dr. James Baird for First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Miss. The theme for both pieces is that river we are all going to cross someday from this life into the next.

Goes on with the conversation as you quote it.

It seems to me it is a modern narrative created by a pastor in the US as a paradigm of religious significance.

  • That's the web page I copied my source quote from, but I couldn't find anything beyond that or anything with more detail, which is why I'm asking here. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 20:44
  • 2
    you should have provided the link if you knew it. In any case nothing relevant came up with a wide search. it is a morality story appropriate for parsons , their creation in my opinion,
    – anna v
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 3:04
  • Yeah, nothing I've heard of either. I'm with Anna on this one.
    – cmw
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 4:47

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