Narcissus, the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Leiriope, was an extremely good-looking Greek youth. His beauty ultimately led to his death. A prophet named Tiresias told Leiriope that her son would enjoy a long life as long as he never knew himself or saw his reflection. Although Leiriope did not understand the prophecy at the time, its meaning eventually became clear.

nymph minor goddess of nature, usually represented as young and beautiful

prophet one who claims to have received divine messages or insights prophecy foretelling of what is to come; also something that is predicted

Narcissus was so handsome that many women and men fell in love with him. He rejected all of them. One of his admirers was the nymph Echo, who had been cursed by Hera* to repeat only the last words spoken to her. Ameinias, another admirer, was so devastated by Narcissus's indifference toward him that he killed himself. Before doing so, however, Ameinias called on the gods to punish Narcissus. They caused the beautiful youth to gaze into a pond at his reflection. He fell in love with his own image and drowned trying to touch it. In other accounts of the story, Narcissus killed himself out of sorrow and frustration. The gods then changed him into the flower that bears his name.

See also Echo ; Greek Mythology ; Tiresias .

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