legend of Narcissus

A youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his one beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he felt into the lake and drowned . at the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called narcissus. But this was not haw the story ends. When Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water , transformed into a lake of salty tears.

” Why do you weep?” the goddesses asked.

” I weep for narcissus,” the lake replied.

” Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus”, they said, ” for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand”.

” But… was Narcissus beautiful?” the lake asked.

“Who better than you to know that?” the goddesses said in wonder. “After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!”

The lake was silent for some time. finally , it said:

” I weep for Narcissus, but I never notice that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected”.

—taken from “The Alchemist” prologue by Paulo Coelho—

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