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Once upon a time at a certain place,
there was a young man named Narcissus.
He was a very good-looking guy,
but he didn't know it
because mirrors of glass or of alloy of copper
were not known in those days.
All that they have to see themselves
were polished metals,
which were of terribly poor quality as mirrors.
Narcissus wandered into a dense forest
by mere chance.
He roamed aimlessly
till he came across a spring.
The spring was sleeping
in the depth of the forest.
Trees surrounded it so densely
that no breeze reached.
Its surface was very calm and smooth
with no hint of ripple.
Being tired from walking,
Narcissus sat down to have a rest
with his back against a rock
on the edge of the water.
Then he kneeled to drink.
When he brought his face close to water,
he was surprised
to find a person on the surface.
It was the most beautiful one
he had ever seen.
I guess you know
who the person he saw was.
Fascinated with what he saw on the water,
Narcissus did not stir an inch,
fixing his eyes on the reflection of himself.
He fell in love with his own reflection in the water.
(A different version of the story says that actually he was not so much handsome. But it made no difference. The point is, he looked very beautiful to his own eyes anyway. Beauty is a matter of subjectivity, as you know.)
By the way,
the spring belonged to a woman named Artemis,
whose father was called Zeus,
and her brother was called Apollo.
She was a woman of matchless beauty.
For some unknown reason
She had a great liking
for killing wild animals and birds
with her bow and arrows.
On that day, as usual,
she came to the spring after the hunt,
to cool her body and excitement down.
What was unusual of her
at that particular day was,
she was somewhat dazed,
because she had just lost a hunting dog
which was her most favorite one.
The dog was counterattacked and killed
by her game of the day,
a gigantic wild bore.
Artemis, depressed with loss of the dog,
did not noticed Narcissus kneeling behind a rock.
Getting out of her clothes,
she plumped into the water.
Disturbed by her bathing,
the surface of the spring rippled.
Ripples spread throughout the spring
to where Narcissus was.
Narcissus, who had been overwhelmed
by the beauty of his own reflection until then,
recovered his senses
as the reflection was broken.
He looked over the rock
to see what disturbed the calm of the spring.
And he saw it.
A woman taking a bath,
wearing nothing but her dazzling beauty.
Narcissus, who was easily moved
as well as somewhat dull-witted,
was captivated by stunning beauty of the woman
and kept looking admiringly at her.
He realized that he had made an error
to think the person he saw on the water
as the most beautiful in the world,
because the woman he was seeing now was
ten times more beautiful
than the person he had seen earlier
on the same day.
But, a dull-witted lad as he was,
he did not realized at all
that it was very impolite of him
to gaze at a lady with nothing on.
All of a sudden,
croaks of a crow broke the hush of the forest.
That bird was a servant of Artemis.
On an earlier occasion
she had been stolen a peek in her bathing
by a peeping Tom.
In her great anger,
she transformed the outrageous fellow into a deer
to shoot down with her arrow.
Since then, Artemis had the crow watch around her
while she was bathing.
No sooner had the crow warned her
than she noticed Narcissus seeing her.
She soon decided to make him turn in to a deer
to shoot him down,
as she had done before.
When she saw him in the face, however,
she changed her mind.
She read no dirty feeling in his face.
Nor any horror neither,
though he saw her fitting an arrow to the bowstring.
All that shown in his face was --- admiration.
His eyes told eloquently
that he single-mindedly admired her.
They reminded Artemis of eyes of her dog
she had lost.
Artemis was touched, and took pity on him.
Instead of transforming him
into a deer to shoot down,
she metamorphosed him
into a dog to serve her.
Thus, Good-looking Narcissus was
turned into a dog
to be owned and used
Kneeling at her feet night and day
he served faithfully
to his comely mistress.
And they lived happily ever after.
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