You are a prince in the ancient city of Troy. Your father is called Priam. He is the king. One day, while you are sitting in your palace, a messenger from Zeus comes to you and tells you that you are wanted to settle a dispute between the three goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. The messenger tells you that you have been chosen because you are the most handsome of all mortal men. You hesitate. It is an honor to be chosen by Zeus to settle something between immortals. You are probably the first. Then again, the three goddesses who are fighting are powerful. They can punish you eternally if you favor one of them. Finally, you choose to risk it. You promise yourself that you will be completely equal. The messenger takes you to the very peak of Mt. Olympus where twelve thrones of gold are positioned in a semi-circle. Four of the thrones are empty. They belong to Athena, Hera, Aphrodite, and Zeus.
"Welcome, Paris. Come here," You walk across the hall to his side so that you are directly in front of the three great goddesses. They appear not to be very happy at the fact that you are there. You begin to be afraid. What if you are forced to decide something that favors one of them? You look to Zeus in question. What is this all about? Why are you here? In answer, he says to you,
"Do you know what a golden apple is, Paris, prince of Priam's town?" You nod, confused. Golden apples are valuable and rare. They grow only in the garden of the Hesperities, where they are guarded by a dragon. What do they have to do with a dispute? Zeus continues, "An apple was rolled into this hall during a feast. On it these words were engraved, 'To the most beautiful'. Who do you think received this apple?"
You have no idea. All of the goddesses are equally beautiful. You shake your head.
Zeus continues, "three goddesses grew angry over this apple. Who was it meant for? Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite have all claimed that this apple was to be for them. You are wanted here so that you can decide who should receive this apple. You freeze. Just the words you are dreading. How can you choose? Just then, Hera pulls you aside.
"If you choose me, I will make you the king of all the Earth," she tells you. That would be awesome, you think!
You are about to choose her when suddenly, Athena comes over to you and says in a whisper,
"Choose me and you will become the happiest and wisest man in the world."
Now, you don't know who to choose. The offers sound equally good. Then, Aphrodite pulls you over and says,
"If you choose me, I will give you the most beautiful woman in the world for your wife." That offer also sounds great. You have decided, though. you walk over to Zeus and tell him your choice. Who did you choose?
Hera Athena Aphrodite