00.00.00 00.00.00 loading
narcissus looks at reflection

Ever heard someone called "narcissistic?" It means they love themselves a LOT. The word comes from an ancient Greek boy named Narcissus who was so into his own reflection, he forgot about everything else! Imagine missing out on life because you're too busy looking in a mirror. A water nymph named Echo tried to say “hi” to him but he was too in love with his own reflection to notice her. You could say Narcissus invented the Selfie! Remember, it's great to feel good about yourself, but don't forget the world around you!

Read by Natasha
Adapted from Ovid by Bertie

Hello, this is Natasha

Have you ever come across the beautiful flower with white petals and a shimmering golden center known as the narcissus? Or have you ever shouted in the mountains and been surprised when your own voice shouted right back?
Well, I’m here with a Greek myth that unveils the mystery behind the very first Narcissus flower and introduces you to a unique girl named “Echo”, who had a peculiar habit of only repeating the last words she heard.

There was this lad named Narcissus. At sixteen, he stood at the crossroads of youth and adulthood. And My! He was a good looking boy. The gods had blessed him with such good looks that flowers would twist and twirl to watch him wander by, and even the breezes couldn't help but spread tales of his captivating charm.

An old and insightful seer, Tiresias, once made a curious prediction about him: "He'll live a long life, unless he comes face to face with himself." Quite a riddle, right? What do you think he meant by that? After all, mirrors were not even invented back then, so how could he come face to face with himself? We shall see.

On a sun-kissed day, while exploring the meadows, Narcissus discovered a pond with water so clear, it mirrored the world above. As he peered into its depths, he saw a radiant face staring back. "Who might this be?’ he thought. It was love at first sight. The face was so beautiful that he could help falling for it. Deep, deep in love.

Yet, every time he reached out to touch the mesmerizing face, it would ripple away.

Day after day, he sat by the pond, completely entranced. The face in the water smiled, cried, and laughed just as he did. "Why won't you join me?" he often wondered, not realizing he was admiring his own reflection.

Hidden in the shadows, the nymph Echo watched with a heavy heart. Once a chatterbox, now the Goddess Juno had cursed to only echo the last words she heard. That’s why she was called Echo, Right?

She wished to call out to the beautiful boy. But all she could do was repeat his sighs. When he lamented, "Oh, I'm in love," she'd echo, "in love." And when he said “I’m so smitten,” she would echo back, “so smitten.”

But here's the twist: Narcissus wasn't talking to Echo when he declared his love. He was enamored by his own reflection! And when he heard Echo's reply, he believed his watery twin was responding.

And poor Echo thought that he had fallen in love with her! But he hadn’t even noticed the poor nymph. He was totally absorbed in his own reflection. I know it sounds unbelievable that a man could be so vain and totally in love with himself, but this is a true story.

Yet, his every attempt to kiss his reflection only ended in ripples and wet cheeks. With each passing day, Narcissus grew more forlorn, wishing his reflection could step out and they could embrace. Echo, watching from afar, would echo his wishes, adding to the confusion.

The boy was so love sick for his own reflection that he could not sleep. He stopped eating. He did not drink. He hardly breathed.

One fateful evening, bathed in the glow of a setting sun, Narcissus whispered his heart-wrenching farewell, "Goodbye, my love, goodbye." And Echo, her voice quivering with sorrow, echoed, "Goodbye."

By sunrise, where the heartbroken boy once sat, a radiant flower blossomed, its white petals guarding a golden heart. It was christened 'Narcissus', a tribute to the boy who was lost in his own beauty.

So, next time you spot a narcissus flower or hear an echo, remember this tale of a boy lost in his own reflection and of a nymph whose love remained unspoken.

What a mesmerizing tale, right? Narcissus' story is an age-old reminder about the dangers of being too self-absorbed. And it's thanks to him that we call someone who thinks too highly of themselves a “narcissist.” If you meet one of these people, don’t be like Echo and just repeat back everything they want you to say. Narcissists can be very controlling. If you can, avoid. That’s my advice.

Next time you see a narcissus flower or hear an echo in the mountains, remember this tale and the importance of loving others and not just ourselves.