One day, as he sat on the ground by a
spring, looking absently into the water and
thinking of his lost sister, he saw a face
like hers, looking up at him. It seemed as
if his sister had become a water-nymph and
were actually there in the spring, but she
would not speak to him.
Of course the face Narcissus saw was really
the reflection of his own face in the water,
but he did not know that. In those days
there were no clear mirrors like ours; and
the idea of one's appearance that could be
got from a polished brass shield, for
instance, was a very dim one. So Narcissus
leaned over the water and looked at the
beautiful face so like his sister's, and
wondered what it was and whether he should
ever see his sister again.
After this, he came back to the spring day
after day and looked at the face he saw
there, and mourned for his sister until, at
last, the gods felt sorry for him and
changed him into a flower.
This flower was the first narcissus. All the
flowers of this family, when they grow by
the side of a pond or a stream, still bend
their beautiful heads and look at the
reflection of their own faces in the water.
The Legend and Myth of Narcissus
The Myth of Narcissus
The story of Narcissus is featured in the book
entitled Favorite Greek Myths by Lilian
Stoughton Hyde, published in 1904 by D. C.
Heath and Company.