A Book of Myths

Page: 31

“Thou must dree thy weird like all other daughters of men, fair Psyche,” he said. “He or she who fain would lose their lives, are ever held longest in life. Only when the gods will it shall thy days on earth be done.”

And Psyche, knowing that in truth the gods had spared her to endure more sorrow, looked in his face with a very piteous gaze, and wandered on. As she wandered, she found that her feet had led her near the place where her two sisters dwelt.

“I shall tell them of the evil they have wrought,” she thought. “Surely they must sorrow when they know that by their cruel words they stole my faith from me and robbed me of my Love and of my happiness.”

Gladly the two women saw the stricken form of Psyche and looked at her face, all marred by grief. Well, indeed, had their plot succeeded; their malice [Pg 60] had drunk deep, yet deeper still they drank, for with scornful laughter they drove her from their palace doors. Very quickly, when she had gone, the elder sought the place where she had stood when Zephyrus bore her in safety to that palace of pleasure where Psyche dwelt with her Love. Now that Psyche was no longer there, surely the god by whom she had been beloved would gladly have as her successor the beautiful woman who was now much more fair than the white-faced girl with eyes all red with weeping. And such certainty did the vengeful gods put in her heart that she held out her arms, and calling aloud:

“Bear me to him in thine arms, Zephyrus! Behold I come, my lord!” she sprang from the high cliff on which she stood, into space. And the ravens that night feasted on her shattered body. So also did it befall the younger sister, deluded by the Olympians to her own destruction, so that her sin might be avenged.

For many a weary day and night Psyche wandered, ever seeking to find her Love, ever longing to do something by which to atone for the deed that had been her undoing. From temple to temple she went, but nowhere did she come near him, until at length in Cyprus she came to the place where Aphrodite herself had her dwelling. And inasmuch as her love had made her very bold, and because she no longer feared death, nor could think of pangs more cruel than those that she already knew, Psyche sought the presence of the goddess who was her enemy, and humbly begged her to take her life away.

[Pg 61] With flaming scorn and anger Aphrodite received her.

“O thou fool,” she said, “I will not let thee die!
But thou shalt reap the harvest thou hast sown,
And many a day that wretched lot bemoan;
Thou art my slave, and not a day shall be
But I will find some fitting task for thee.”