This is a post for my March book challenge, #marchmonthofmythology.
We already met Narcissus in the story of Echo, and I promised to tell you more about him. Specifically, why everyone fell in love with him as soon as they met him.
Narcissus is too beautiful for his own good
It’s quite simple: Narcissus was so beautiful that every single person he met was attracted to him. No matter their gender, everyone fell in love with Narcissus. There were two negative sides to this: 1) Narcissus wasn’t interested in anyone he met, and rejected every single admirer; 2) according to a prediction made to his mother, he would only be safe as long as he never saw himself. His mother made sure to keep her son away from mirrors, which wasn’t too hard since not a lot of people owned such a luxury item. Meanwhile, Narcissus had made himself quite unpopular by always rejecting everyone. Sure, people still thought he was the most beautiful person alive, but except for his mother and a few of his hunting buddies, no one really wanted to be around him any more. Narcissus didn’t care, because he didn’t really like those other people anyway.
Narcissus is so beautiful he can’t even resist himself
After his encounter with the nymph Echo, another one of his rejections, Narcissus kept wandering through the woods alone. He was lost and separated from his friends. At some point he encountered a clearing with a pond. He was thirsty and knelt down to drink – but what was that?! As he bent down and looked at the water, he saw the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. A young man, more handsome than anyone alive. He was very quiet; he only smiled, looking just as bewildered as Narcissus himself. Narcissus opened his mouth to speak, just as the stranger did – they both laughed. Narcissus reached out, and so did the other; but just before they touched, Narcissus’ hand reached the water and the ripples made the image before him disappear. That was when he realised the stranger in the water was his own reflection. (Narcissus wasn’t very bright.)
Narcissus pines for his own reflection
Heartbroken, Narcissus kept staring at the image in the water. He wanted to touch the image, but whenever he tried, the water’s surface would ripple and the reflection would be gone. Now and then, a tear would disrupt the reflection as he sat there, motionless. He finally understood the hurt of all those people he rejected, but instead of feeling sorry for them, he just felt sorry for himself. As he sat there, lamenting his impossible love, forest nymphs started to gather around him, entranced by his beauty just as he was. They didn’t dare disturb him. Narcissus was slowly leaning down, either because he couldn’t resist any longer, or because his arms were starting to give way, and in an attempt to kiss his reflection, he fell down into the pond… and drowned.
Narcissus is a flower now
Either because of unexplainable magic, or with help of the mourning forest nymphs, a yellow flower grew at the place where Narcissus had sat: a daffodil – also known as a narcissus.
(The moral of the story? Self love is important, but don’t go overboard with it.)
Narcissus – fell in love with the cover, didn’t love the book
Whether Narcissus was mean to everyone he rejected, or they were all just very spiteful people, his admirers definitely made the mistake of judging a book by its cover. Just because someone is pretty doesn’t mean they’re interested in a relationship (or that they’ll let you down gently if they don’t) and just because a book has a stunning cover doesn’t mean you’ll love the story inside. Fortunately that hasn’t happened to me often, but unfortunately that means I’m posting a picture of Nevernight again.
What about you? Have you ever been disappointed by a book with a beautiful cover?