When Narcissus Met His Image

A long time ago in a land far away somewhere in the mystical country of Greece, there lived a gorgeous man. Everything he’d do, or touch would garner him honor and praise.

Sometimes he’d walk down the market place just to watch the ladies swoon. He’d wink, point, and say, “Hey there. I’m gorgeous, aren’t I?”

They’d clasp their hands together, emphatically nod, and scream until they fainted.

He replied, “Why thank you,” then continued his trek around town. He was strong and capable. He would do anything to gain people’s approval. If an old lady needed help crossing the road, he’d take them by the elbow and guide them.

The chariot drivers would stop in the streets and proclaim, “Oh Narcissus, if only we all were as great as you.”

“I know.” He’d sound sympathetic. At the end of the slow trek across the road, without even giving the woman a chance to say a word, he’d say, “You’re welcome ma’am.”

His sheer beauty and charisma made him the life of every party. The minute he entered a room, the crowd would form around him. Every man, woman, and child would flock to him just to watch him speak. The pets and livestock stopped to take notice of him. Where most men would worry about other’s approval, Narcissus knew they all loved him.

One day, after a long trek through the city where his praise was higher than normal, he found himself at the edge of the woods. In his heart he knew his visage had the power to end great battles, nourish mighty trees, and part giant seas.

He stepped into the woods. As he walked through the dense foliage, he stretched out his arms and let his fingertips touch the bark as he passed saying. “You’re welcome. I know…I know…you’re blessed…How amazing you must be now.” Even the wild creatures became tame in his presence and stopped to gaze upon his magnificence.

After a long trek of exhausting praise from the very trees deeply rooted in the earth, which loved every step he graced them with, he came upon a deep pool. Speaking aloud, because he loved his own voice and surely the wind did as well, he said, “Oh gorgeous pond, wait until you have the privilege of reflecting my great beauty. Maybe I will even have you part, so you may garner the honor of me passing through you much like these trees have had the honor.”

He walked to the edge of the pond and looked down. It was the calmest pond he had ever seen. He thought that it was probably because today, it was stunned by his visage. It was deep, it had to be to reflect the depth of his amazingness.

He knelt at the pond to drink. “Why hello there gorgeous.” He reached out his hand to cusp water but stopped just short of his fingers disturbing the water. “No…you are such a marvelous reflection of me. It would be a shame to even cause a ripple.”

So, he did not drink but instead kneeled as close to the edge as he was able. He rested his hands on his knees and shifted his weight as far over the water as possible. Ignoring his own thirst, and the setting of the sun, he stared deeply into that pond.

Every movement of his head revealed something even more glamorous. He smiled, the greatest smile, and said, “Surely there has never been one more stunning than me. There have been times where I thought I knew love but in this moment, I know what real love is.”

And he loved his image. A full moon and stars cast down rays of bright light on him to perfectly embody his image. Narcissus knew that they loved him as well and that the universe was moving in a perfect motion to confirm the love he felt in his heart.

Thirst nagged him, but he didn’t dare disturb his love. His eyelids weighed heavy, so he lifted his hands from his knees and used his fingers to keep open his eyes. “Oh, my love, even my heavy eyes, grumbling stomach, and dry mouth will not keep me from gazing upon you. Nothing can separate us.”

For a moment, he drifted to a waking dream of a life where he never had to leave the side of the pond. He caught himself from slipping. “Shh…shh…shh…” He told the pond, “No need to worry, my love. Nothing will ever disrupt my perfect vision of myself in you.”

The Moon shifted down the horizon. Narcissus knew it didn’t want to, but the sun was growing eager to gaze upon him. He fought off tiredness as long as he was able, rocking on the end of the deep pond, until it overtook him, and he fell into it.

He floated to the bottom before he woke. In his head he thought, “Oh my love, I have forsaken you.” His knees hit the earth and he looked upwards. He saw his reflection in a new angle, so magnificent, so perfect. Being smarter than most men, he knew just how deep the pond was, so he didn’t bother to stand. There was no way to swim to the top. It was far too deep.

Instead, in his wisdom, he stayed there, admiring his beauty, and the love of his reflection, even as he choked on the water. He was so sure of his beliefs and his love as his lungs filled, his eyes closed, and his mind stopped.

His body floated. His knees lifted off the ground. The crown of his head met the surface the minute his legs had stretched to full length and his toes dug into the mud. Still face down, unable to breath, Narcissus died.

When the townsfolk, grief stricken by the loss of such a beautiful man, fished him out of the pond, no one could figure out how the man drowned. He had no enemies, and the pond was only chest deep. The mystery would be talked about for generations until the legacy of Narcissus was that of the love he had for himself.

Aaron Daniel Behr

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