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A Book of Myths

Page: 32

There began then for Psyche a time of torturing misery of which only those could speak who have knowledge of the merciless stripes with which the goddess can scourge the hearts of her slaves. With cruel ingenuity, Aphrodite invented labours for her.

In uncountable quantity, and mingled in inextricable and bewildering confusion, there lay in the granary of the goddess grains of barley and of wheat, peas and millet, poppy and coriander seed. To sort out each kind and lay them in heaps was the task allotted for one day, and woe be to her did she fail. In despair, Psyche began her hopeless labour. While the sun shone, through a day that was for her too short, she strove to separate the grains, but when the shadows of evening made it hard for her to distinguish one sort from another, only a few very tiny piles were the result of her weary toil. Very soon the goddess would return, and Psyche dared not think what would be the punishment meted out to her. Rapidly the darkness fell, but while the dying light still lingered in some parts of the granary, it seemed to Psyche as though little dark trickles of water began to pour from underneath the doors and through the cracks in the wall. Trembling she watched the ceaseless motion of those long, dark lines, and then,


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