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Tales beyond belief

The Myth of Hyacinthus
One day, upon a green hillside, Apollo saw another shepherd lad, who was playing upon a pipe, and making music which sounded like the sighing of the pine-trees. Apollo drew near and stood before the shepherd. " What is thy name, noble youth?" he asked. The shepherd was dazzled by the brightness of the god, but answered simply. " Hyacinthus." " Thy name is well suited to thee. Let me play upon thy pipe," said Apollo.

Hyacinthus, although astonished at the great beauty of Apollo, was even more amazed at the sweetness of his music, for no mortal had ever heard such music before. The shepherd lad was charmed into silence, as were also the birds and bees, while even the little brook, which had been rippling down hill, paused in a quiet pool to listen. Apollo finally returned the pipe, saying frankly, "I like you, Hyacinthus.' We will be friends, and you shall go with me to the palace of King Admetus."

Hyacinthus' eyes sparkled; he longed to go, but when he thought of his sheep, he said, " But what would become of my sheep? I must not leave them. No, no, Apollo; I cannot go with you!? " Noble youth, I love you the better because you prefer duty to pleasure; and since you cannot come with me, I will come to you. To-morrow I will come again." Apollo came again; and for many happy days they played and talked, and learned to love each other, as only the best of friends can do.

One day they were playing a game of quoits. They were both very eager and earnest, Hyacinthus wishing that Apollo might win, Apollo wishing for the success of Hyacinthus. Apollo picked up the discus, and made a splendid throw. He would have won, but a sad thing happened. The West Wind. who. as you know, is a wild and gloomy fellow, had grown jealous of the friendship. No doubt he thought that he could make them quarrel. He blew the discus so that it bounded back and hit Hyacinthus on the forehead. Apollo rushed forward and tenderly lifted the wounded head from the ground, but it drooped like a broken flower. Apollo wept and moaned, for poor Hyacinthus was dead. He could play no more with his beloved friend.

"Ah, Hyacinthus, would that I could have died for thee. My lyre shall tell of thy sad fate, and I will cause thee to be remembered, for thou art indeed a noble friend." So where the bright blood of Hyacinthus had fallen, Apollo caused to spring up the beautiful flower which bears his name, the hyacinth.

The Legend and Myth about Hyacinthus

The Myth of Hyacinthus
The story of Hyacinthus is featured in the book entitled Stories of Old Greece by Emma M. Firth first published 1895.

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