Endymion was a young shepherd who led his
flocks high up on the sides of this mountain
and let them browse on the rich pasturage
along the margins of its snow-fed streams.
He loved the pure mountain air, and the
stillness of the higher slopes, which was
broken only by the tinkle of his
sheep-bells, or the song of birds. There he
dreamed his days away, while his sheep and
goats were feeding; or, at night, he leaned
his head on a log or a mossy stone and slept
with the flock.
Selene, the moon-goddess, loved to visit
Mount Latmus; in fact, the mountain
belonged, in some sense, to her. It was her
influence that made everything there so
quiet and beautiful. One night, when she had
stolen down from her place in the sky for a
walk through one of the flowery meadows of
Mount Latmus, she found Endymion there
The shepherd looked as beautiful as any
flower on the mountain, or as the swans
which were floating in the lake near by,
with their heads tucked under their wings.
If it had not been for his regular
breathing, Selene would have believed that
she stood looking at a marble statue. There,
at a little distance, lay his sheep. and
goats, unguarded, and liable to be attacked
by wild beasts. Oh, Endymion was a very
careless shepherd! That was the effect of
the air on Mount Latmus.
Selene knew that it was the wonderful air of
her mountain which had made the shepherd
heedless, as well as beautiful, therefore
she stayed by his flock all night and
watched it herself.
She came the next night and the next, and
for many nights, to gaze at the sleeper, and
to watch the unguarded flock. One morning,
when she returned to the sky, she looked so
pale from her watching that
her where she had been, and she described
the beautiful shepherd she had found on her
mountain, and confessed that she had been
guarding his sheep.
Then she begged of Jupiter that since
Endymion was so very, very beautiful he
might always look as she had seen him in his
sleep, instead of growing old as other
mortals must. Jupiter answered, "Even the
gods cannot give to mortals everlasting
youth and beauty without giving them also
everlasting sleep; but Endymion shall sleep
forever and be forever young."
So there, in a cave, on Mount Latmus,
Endymion sleeps on to this day; and his
wonderful beauty has not faded in the
smallest degree, but is a joy still to all
who can climb those lofty heights.
The Legend and Myth of Endymion
The Myth of Endymion
The story of Endymion is featured in the book
entitled Favorite Greek Myths by Lilian
Stoughton Hyde, published in 1904 by D. C.
Heath and Company.