Zeus, of Greek mythology fame, has long been one of literature and culture’s favorite figures.

But until this week, nobody actually thought he existed!

“I had heard about him, sure,” said Amy Leonard. “Who hasn’t? But I thought he was like Santa Claus or Napoleon, just a made-up person.”

Then Leonard was on a vacation in Iceland with her husband Brad, driving in the countryside, when the couple spotted a hot air balloon. “It was scary,” said Brad. “I have never seen a hot-air balloon in real life, and this one was coming down fast.”

The balloon landed right near the Leonards’ car, a rented Skoda Octavia. “It was silver,” said Amy. “The car, I mean. The balloon was red and yellow. It hit the ground and then just sort of crumpled up.”

“One thing about the car,” Brad said. “I asked them if we could rent a Fjord and the young lady at the counter laughed.”

“Right,” Amy said. “Because she’s never heard that joke before.”

“She was quite attractive,” Brad said.


The couple parked the car and ran to see if anyone needed assistance. “Just as we got there, a man stepped out from underneath,” said Brad. “He was huge, maybe seven feet tall, with a curly salt and pepper beard. And this guy was ripped. I mean, biceps, triceps, delts.”

ZEUS – as described
by Amy & Brad Leonard

The Leonards were not sure if the man spoke English but soon found out that he did. “I guess you can say that,” Amy said. “He didn’t speak out loud, but we both understood him perfectly. He had piercing black eyes.” The man announced himself as Zeus, the sky and thunder god and the ruler of all immortals. “He explained that he had gotten tired of Olympus and had decided to tour the world in a hot air balloon.”

The Leonards were skeptical at first, but Zeus fired off a series of lightning bolts to convince them. “One hit very close to the car,” Brad said. 

Zeus asked the couple to help him patch a hole in his balloon, after which he inflated it with a single breath and climbed back into the basket. “We asked him if we should keep it a secret from everyone else on earth,” Amy said. “He just shrugged. Again, he didn’t say a word, but we heard what he meant in our heads. Tell everyone, he was saying. What does it matter to me? I’m Zeus.”

The balloon ascended back into the sky.


“You know,” said Brad, “now that I think about it, it’s kind of a boring story. Nothing super-intense happened.”

“Except for the part where we met Zeus,” Amy said.

“I guess you’re right,” Brad said. “I think I just expected more god stuff.”

“He threw lightning,” Amy said.

“That’s true,” said Brad. “I forgot about that.”

Amy also noted that she hoped the incident would give Brad something to talk about other than his Fjord joke. 

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