In the shadows

 thehindu.com  10/12/2019 09:39:17 

Eros was the son of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. This is the tale of his own love story. Psyche was the beautiful daughter of a king. People compared her to a goddess on earth and said her beauty was greater than that of Aphrodite. The jealous and angry goddess told Eros to make sure that Psyche fell in love with some horrible creature. Are you wondering how Eros could do that? If Eros shot an arrow at a human, he/she fell in love with whatever they first saw.

Eros set out to fulfil his mothers order but, when he saw Psyche, he fell in love with her. Instead of shooting an arrow at her, he set about figuring out how he could marry her.

Abandoned

Back on earth, Psyche was unhappy. Though, everyone praised her beauty and character, no one came forward to marry her, even though her two sisters were married to great kings. Finally, her father decided to consult the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. But, he returned in great sorrow, for the oracle had decreed that Psyche must be abandoned on a mountain top. She was destined to marry someone more powerful and terrible than the gods themselves. Everyone interpreted this as a monster, and poor Psyche was left at the peak, weeping.

As she sat there, she felt a gentle touch against her cheek. Zephyr, the west wind, had come to comfort her. Gently, he lifted and bore her away to a beautiful meadow on the border of a castle. Timidly, she approached and was welcomed with music. But she couldnt see anyone. She bathed and ate some delicious food and rested through the day, guarded and soothed by the disembodied voices.

At night, when all was dark, Psyche felt another presence. I am your husband, said a gentle voice. So long as you dont try to see me, we will be happy. In the morning, he was gone. As the days passed, Psyche was happy, but felt a great longing to see her sisters.

One night, she spoke of this to her husband. If your sisters come here, they will cause great sorrow to us, he said. But when she persisted, he agreed to let them come. The next day, her sisters arrived, carried by Zephyr. At first they were happy to see her but soon began to feel jealous of the unmatched treasures that Psyche now owned. They asked her questions to which Psyche had no answers. Finally, when they were leaving, they said, Psyche, we say this only out of love. Find out who your husband is. Why is he hiding himself if he is not a monster?

Poor Psyche was now torn by doubt. That night, when her husband slept, she lit a candle and held it over his form. Instead of a monster, she saw the handsome form of Eros. She was so excited that her hand shook. A drop of candle grease fell on Eros shoulder and woke him up. Upset, he told her of his mothers anger against her and how he had been trying to protect her. Since you didnt trust me, I have to go away, he said, as he flew away. Anguished, Psyche vowed to win her husband back. How she did that you will read in the next instalment.

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