On a small hill in Phrygia stand two trees. One is an oak; the other is a linden.The hill is surrounded by marshy waters. This land is unfit for land or beast. But it wsn't always this way. Once this area was rich farmland filled with cottages.
One day long ago, Zeus decided to leave Olympus and visit earth. He brought his son Hermes with him. To disguise themselves, Zeus wanted to find out how kind the people of earth would be to two ragged travelers.
The two gods knocked at the doors of many cottages and fine houses. But at each place, they were rudely sent away. "Begone beggars!" The people cried. "We don't want your kind around here!" It seemed there was no one who would help two strangers. Zeus grew angrier and angreier at the unkind behavior of these mortals.
Finally they arrived at a small miserable cottage that looked poorer than all the others. An elderly man and woman opened the door. "Welcome to our home," they said, "Please come in and warm yourselves by the fire. We don't have much to offer, but you are welcome to all we have." The woman's name was Baucis; her husband was Philemon. They had been married for many years and were each other's best friend.