The various oracles in ancient Greece were, as everyone knows, elevated to that status from a humbler; in many cases nothing is known about the profane life which preceded investiture with the god's trust. However, in one case we know a little bit about both someone who was to become the Sybil at Cumae, and someone who was to become the Delphic oracle, in their early lives, in an incident which was storied in the ancient world but is today known only to specialists. My present aim is to increase its currency in the general populace. Since their given names do remain unknown, I'll refer to the future Sybil as Amaltheia and the future Delphic oracle as Pythia, using the names by which they would have been referred to after assuming their respective mantles.
We know about both people because they were lovers for a spell; the anecdote concerns how their relationship ended: in, if you can believe it, a dispute about food. Cumae, whence they hailed, is part of what is now Italy, and even then pasta formed an important part of the local cuisine. Amaltheia and Pythia, as is not uncommon, had established a division of household duties whereby the former, who was generally accounted a good cook, prepared the food, and the latter, who was generally accounted lazy and critical, ate it and bitched about it. (Nobody said it was an ideal division.) Despite her being generally talented, however, Amaltheia could never quite get the hang of Pythia's favorite dish, and came in for endless criticism—always arriving too late or, on the rare occasions when it was offered in a timely fashion, arriving too cryptically to be of any use. (
It would probably help if you roasted the squash instead of boiling it;
You used way too much flour; these are inedible, etc.) It got to the point that Pythia would take one bite and simply refuse to eat any more, giving nothing but a curt assessment of the failings of the latest attempt. Things finally reached a head, and the last time Pythia acted that way Amaltheia announced,
I've had enough: I'd rather hang in a cage for the rest of my life than deal with you one more night. Gnocchi seauton, 'cause I sure as hell won't. And that was that.