|Narcissus and Echo|
|Narcissus was a very handsome
mortal lad. All the maidens longed to be his, but he
would have none of them. He wanted someone as beautiful
as he was handsome. Heart broken maidens were nothing to
him. Even the saddest case of the fairest nymph, Echo,
did not move him. Hera happened to come inquiring where
Zeus was, as she suspected him of seeing one of the
nymphs. Echo's gay chattering kept Hera diverted from her
investigation as all nymphs left. Hera turned against
Echo in rage. She condemned her never to use her tongue
again except to repeat what was said to her.
"You will never initiate a conversation; you will always have the last word."
As Echo followed Narcissus one day in the woods, he became lost. He looked around and cried out, "Does anyone know the way out of the woods?" Echo softly cried, "The woods!"
"Yes, I'm lost and need to know the way out of the woods."
"Don't you understand? Help me find the way out of the woods."
Echo ran to him and threw herself at his feet! Narcissus, confused, picked her up and said, "Oh, you are just like all the other nymphs who try to kiss me and tell me 'I love you.'"
Her pushed her away, turned and went on his way. Echo prayed for help silently. Nemesis, the goddess of righteous anger, heard Echo's prayer, for prayers to not have to be spoken to be heard and replied, "May he who loves not others love himself."
As Narcissus bent over a pool for a drink, he saw there his own reflection and for a moment thought it was a beautiful nymph, as beautiful as he was handsome, and fill in love with it. He stayed by the pool vowing he would stay there until the nymph came out. Echo was nearby and heard Narcissus' plea, "Won't you ever come out?"
As Narcissus came close to dying, he faintly cried, "Farewell!"
Narcissus became a very handsome flower whose head bends toward the water rather than the sun. The flower, narcissus, is a daffodil, one whose flowers have a short corona and are usually borne separately. The word "narcissism" means egoism, love of oneself.