This story is about Narcissus, a man who fell in love with his own reflection and later died because he couldn't find the love of his life which was his own reflection only.
Echo was a mountain nymph who lived on the Mount Kithairon. She was a beautiful voluptuous woman with the perfect body one would always crave for. After all she was a nymph and they were known for their youthful skin and long dark hair. Echo was especially known for her full figure and her hypnotic way of attracting men.
Zeus, the famous Greek God was frequently attracted towards nymphs and he would often go and meet them. His wife, Hera, was jealous of the innumerable affairs he had. She sometimes tried to catch him, going after the women he used to visit. Echo was a clever woman . She would engage Hera in so long conversations, that she would also get to give the required time to Zeus and didn't allow Hera to find out it too.
One day Hera came to know of Echo's intentions. Here's face turned red like fresh blood. She was too angry. She started breaking all the urns and the pots in the hall. It seemed as if she was possessed by some angry devil. She felt betrayed. She was so annoyed and outraged by her deeds that she cursed her.
"May you suffer and feel the pain I am going through now. May you only be able to repeat the last words that anyone has said!"
Echo felt doomed. She was afraid that the curse might affect her life too much.
As she was worried and devastated and roaming around the woods one sunny day, Echo came across a handsome young man named Narcissus. He had a physique that no other man ever had on earth. His jawbones were shaped perfectly. His gait was that of a prince and his golden brown curly hair suited him so well. The green eyes were too beautiful for his long face. His nose was as sharp as the woodpecker. The bow he held in his hands looked more beautiful and royal. His chin reminded her of the well sculpted figures in the temple she used to visit.
Narcissus, was the son of Cephisus, the river God and Lyriope, a nymph. He was one of the favourites of God Apollo for his charming looks and great personality.
When Narcissus was young and used to go on hunting sessions, he was roaming the woods too and Echo saw him and fell for him. It was love at first sight. She was madly in love with him. But Echo could not talk to him because of the curse. Hera had ruined her life forever.
Echo started stalking him in the woods. Narcissus had gone to hunt that day. He had lost track of his friends while searching for a pink coloured rabbit which had sneaked into a hole. Narcissus felt as of someone was constantly following him. He was suspicious. He soon started yelling,
"Is someone there around? "
As Echo was cursed, she couldn't talk to him. So she repeated the words. Narcissus heard some voice and he responded to it and shouted again,
"Let's come together and meet! "
Echo was so ecstatic. She felt her heartbeats beat faster than ever . She was going to meet her love. Echo repeated his words and ran like a mad woman to see him and talk to him.
She came panting near a river where Narcissus was standing with his bow. Narcissus looked at Echo and made a scowling face. It seemed as if he was disgusted even by Echo's presence there. He said,
" So it is you! The well known nymph Echo! Well, what brings you here? And you with that starry eyed look, don't expect anything from me. I don't find you to be worth it. You are not that beautiful. "
"But I love you. You are the most handsome man I have ever met. Come with me. I will take care of you."
But Narcissus rejected her and he sat down by the river. Echo was shattered. She felt heartbroken. Her charming prince didn't find her to be the one. The one and only woman of his life. She sat there beside the river leaning against a chestnut tree and weaped and wailed all day long.
Meanwhile, Nemesis, the Goddess of Revenge, was listening to the story and she decided to teach Narcissus a lesson. For all that ego he had in himself for being the most charismatic man, Nemesis had a great plan.
Narcissus was sitting calmly by the river on the opposite bank and he was insensitive of Echo's feelings for him. He was feeling thirsty. He wanted to quench his thirst and decided to drink some water. Soon, he saw his reflection in the crystal clear water and was astonished by the beauty he saw. He fell in love with it. He put his hand inside the water as he was longing to touch it. He mused,
"I was searching for you only, my love! Where were you? I want you to marry me! You are so mesmerising!"
Nemesis was laughing at him. She was making fun of his stupidity and his useless brain. She was relieved now. Narcissus was punished.
Narcissus had got lost into the beauty of his own reflection. He sat there on the river bank all day and night only to admire his reflection in the water. He was amazed. He was in love with himself. One day, he wanted desperately to kiss his reflection. He bent down to the river water and tried kissing it but he lost his balance and fell into the river. He got drowned. While getting deeper into the waters of the river, Narcissus thought,
" Why can't I get him? He was so perfect for me. He was like an angel. I wanted him. How come a handsome person like me not get what I want? "
Narcissus had got drowned into the deepest trench of the river. On hearing of his death, Echo came running to the river bank and she longed to see him again. But he was gone. Echo was broken to peices. Only her sweet echoing voice was left behind in the woods after her death.
People of Greece today also say that Narcissus is still enchanted by his beauty in the Underworld when they look at the waters of the Styx.