To keep the story short, I won’t tell you how the subject came up, but at lunch we were talking about a myth (one guy thinks it is Greek) where the hero [Hercules][Ulyssis][Some other hero] lands on an island and comes across a lame [old man][monkey][monkey man] who asks for assistence [crossing a stream][going somewhere] When the hero puts him on the his shoulders the creature immediately locks his legs around the hero’s throat and strangles him whenever he trys to leave. In the end the hero gets the creature drunk and escapes.
I know I should know this, but I can’t recall it to mind. I’m sure a doper will come along and ID it in less than 10 minutes.
It’s not Greek mythology – it’s one of the stories from the Alf Layla Wa Layla – the 1001 Nights’ Entertainment, AKA The Arabian Nights, specifically the story of Sinbad the Sailor. The Old Guy is the OLd Man of the Sea. Sinbad ultimately gets him drunk and is this able to get him off his back.
Thanks! I was pretty sure it wasn’t Greek and I was pretty darn sure it wasn’t a monkey, but I just could not recall the darn origins. My companions wanted to tell me that this was the origin of having a “monkey on your back.” Although I have no idea what the origins of that phrase is, I was pretty darn sure it had nothing to do with THIS story.