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.