Psyche and Cupid – The Ancient Tale of Love


Once upon a time in Greece, there was a king who had three daughters, all lovely maidens, but the youngest, Psyche, is the loveliest one. People thought that her loveliness mortal. The story about her loveliness spread over the earth, makes so many men came and hoped can get her love. But, her loveliness made Venus, the God of Love and Beauty, felt jealous, because she listened that people even say that Venus herself could not equal Psyche’s loveliness.

            Venus, who felt very jealous, called her son, Cupid, and told him about Psyche. Venus told Cupid to make nobody in love with Psyche anymore. Cupid could not say that he was already in love with her, but he had no power to utter a word against her mother. What happened next was really as Venus expected, Psyche never fell in love at all and more strange, no one fell in love with her. Men were content to look and wonder and worship and then pass on to marry someone else. Both of her sisters were married, each to a king. It seemed that no man wanted her and it made her parents worry. Then, her father traveled to an oracle of Apollo and asked his advice to get a goo husband for her lovely daughter. Actually, Cupid had told him Apollo the whole story and begged his help. Apollo said that Psyche had to be set on the summit of a rocky hill and left alone. A man, stronger than the gods themselves would come to her and make her his wife.

            In short, Psyche lived in the summit of a rocky hill. When she sat, a soft breath of air came through the stillness to her, the gentle breathing of Zephyr, sweetest and mildest of winds. She was floating away from the rocky hill and down until she lay upon a grassy meadow soft as a bed and fragrant with flowers. No sound was to be heard. Suddenly, she heard some voices who said that there was a house for her and they were her servants. She really got every service that they promised to her, but still she could not see them. Since that time, she spent all days only with voices which gave everything she need. She believed that one day her lover and husband would come and would be with her. He was really coming, but only his voice. She believed that the voice was really him, not a monster or a shape of terror.

            One night, her unseen husband told her that danger in the shape her two sisters were approaching and she must not let them to see her or she would bring great sorrow upon him and ruined to herself. She promised him, she would not. But all the next day she passed in weeping, she really wanted to meet her sisters. Her husband let her to meet her sisters, but he warned her solemnly not to be persuaded by anyone to try to see him, on pain of being separated from him forever. She said that she would die a hundred times over rather than live without him. Sadly he promised her that it should be so.

            In the next morning, her sisters really came. They were happy to meet and to talk each other. But when her sisters entered the palace, Psyche’s house, they suddenly felt jealous with the entire best thing their sister had. They also really wanted to know about Psyche’s husband, but Psyche kept her promise and only told them that her husband was a young man and now on a hunting expedition. When they were on the way back, they realized that all their own wealth and good fortune seemed to them as nothing compared with Psyche’s, they were really envy and they came finally to plotting how to ruin her. In the night, her husband warned her again and begged her not to let her sisters come again. But, she did not want, she still invited her sisters to come.

            In that day, her sisters tried to disturb her with saying she never see how her husband look like and she did not really know what he was. They said that they had learned, Psyche’s husband was not a human, but a fearful serpent Apollo’s oracle had declared. He was kind now, but he would certainly turn upon her some night and devour her. Psyche thought about that and suddenly felt aghast. She was confused about her husband now and felt terror flooding her heart instead of love. She begged her sisters to advise her. Her sisters advise her to bring a knife when she slept at the night and hide it with a lamp near her bed. She must steel herself to plunge it swiftly into the body of the frightful being the light would certainly show her. They said that they would be there to carry her away when her husband was dead. She thought about it all day long. She loved him, but she really wanted to see him. She would kill him, but she would not. One thing she determined to do, she would see him.

            When at last her husband lay sleeping quietly, she tiptoed to the bed with a lamp in her hand. What she saw next is not a monster, but the sweetest and fairest of all creatures. She suddenly fell in love for the twice to her husband. When she admired her beautiful husband, some hot oil fell from the lamp upon his shoulder and made him awake. He saw the light and knew his wife faithlessness, and without a word he fled from her. She rushed out after him into the night. She could hear her husband disappointed voice said that love cannot live without trust. Psyche prayed to the God of Love that she could not live without her husband and she would do anything to make her husband back to her. So, she started her journey without knowing where to go, the only thing she knew she would never give up looking for him.

            Cupid went to his mother to have his wound cared for, but when Venus heard his story about Psyche, she left him angrily alone in his pain. Venus tried to find Psyche and wanted to show her what it meant to draw down the displeasure of a goddess. Poor Psyche prayed and prayed to Gods to help her, but none of the Gods wanted to make Venus their enemy. Then, Psyche went to Venus and said that she would be her servant in order to make she met her husband in his mother’s house and also she tried to soften Venus anger. Venus laughed aloud and said that she had nothing to do because her husband almost died of burning wound she had given him. But then, Venus challenged her by train her. Venus gave her the seeds, wheat, and poppy and millet and so on and mixed them. Psyche should sort them before nightfall.

            Psyche did not know what to do. She thought that impossible she could sort all the seeds before nightfall. But she heard the ants cried each other to help her to sort the seeds. It did not need a long time until every seed in its kind. Venus came and angry because of that. So, Venus gave her a crust of bread and bade her slept on the ground. Venus wanted to make all her beauty lost. Until then she must see that her son was securely guarded in his chamber where he was still suffering form his wound.

            The next morning, Venus gave her another task to do and it was more dangerous. She had to get some of gold fleeces of the sheep in the river bank. When she was there, a great longing seized her to throw herself into it and all her pain would end. But suddenly, she heard of voice which came from a green reed near by her feet who said that she must not drown herself and just waited until evening and the sheep would come. Then, she could get their golden wool hanging in on the sharp briars. Venus received it with an evil smile. She knew that somebody helped her. That was why, she gave her another task which made her had to fill a flask with water form the river Styx, the terrible river which is called hateful. When she was there, she thought that only a winged creature could do that, took water from the river Styx waterfall which full of stones in all sides. Lucky her, she got another helped again, now from an eagle. The eagle seized the flask from her and filled it with the black water of the river by his beak.

            But Venus kept on. She gave Psyche a box which she was to carry to the underworld and ask Proserpine to fill with some of her beauty. She was to tell her that Venus really need it, she was so worn-out of nursing her sick son. One more time, Psyche did what Venus wanted her to do. She looked for the road to Hades, she found her guide who gave her a clear direction to get to Proserpine’s palace, first through a great hole in the earth, then down to the river of death. From there, the road led straight to the place, but the door was guarded by three-headed dog, but if she gave them a cake, they would be friendly and let her pass. All happened, of course, Proserpine was willing to do Venus a service. Psyche, then, bore back the box and returned far more quickly.

            Unfortunately, Psyche could not handle her curiosity. She really wanted to know what kind of beauty charm inside the box. She knew after all happened to her because of Venus, she was not lovely anymore and she would meet Cupid soon. She wanted to make herself lovelier for him. She opened the box, but nothing inside. Immediately, a deadly languor took possession of her and she fell into a heavy sleep. At the same time, Cupid was healed of his wound and longing for Psyche. Venus had locked the door of his prison, but there were a window. Cupid was flying out and starting to look for his wife. He found her near by the palace, laid helpless. Cupid wiped the sleep from her eyes and put it back into the box. He was thrust one of his arrows to awake her and scold her a little for her curiosity. He told her to take Proserpine’s box and gave it to his mother and assured her that all thereafter would be well.

            After that, Cupid took Psyche to the Olympus and asked Jupiter to allow them to be married. Jupiter allowed it and  offered Psyche a drink that made her immortal. Venus could not do anything else, because she could not object to a goddess for her daughter-in-law. Finally, they lived happily ever after in heaven with their children to care for.

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