The story of Troy was never about the wooden horse. That is only what people want to remember, something tangible and easy to imagine, something children can build with the popsicle sticks in their minds, then shove full of plastic warriors. The story people know goes like this: a gate, opened; the horse thrown inside; an explosion of violence accompanied by a soundtrack of killing, dying, and victory.
But the horse was only ever just a prop, something to hold the imagination, something simple to focus on instead of what the war, what any war, is really about. The horse was not full of soldiers but hopes and dreams and fears and secrets, all the things tucked inside the hearts of people who are lost. The story started long before that, with the gods and their eternal bickering, their
jealousy and revenge and desire and all the other dysfunctions they passed onto their children, cursing man to a life of eternal wandering.
Heroes claim all sorts of things, but their journeys are never all that complicated. They pound their chests and show off their bloody trophies, but no one ever really remembers why they fight. They say it was about a woman, or land, or honor, or God, but in the end it is always about one thing—paradise—losing it and wanting it, finding it and defending it, and yearning, always yearning, for somewhere or something or someone that will make them feel whole.
Home. That is what the hero is always searching for. Sometimes other words are substituted. Love, for instance. Or God. But these are just other ways of saying “home.”