Echo and Narcissus
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Read the following Greek Myth and answer the questions at the bottom. Make sure to print a copy of the assignment.


Hera's eyes flashed angrily. She was looking down at earth. The goddess was watching the beautiful wood nymphs as they played in the forest. When she finally spoke, all of Olympus shook with her fury.

"Now I have found you!" she cried. "And with you I will most surely find my husband Zeus!" Hera was certain that Zeus was in love with one of the nymphs. She decided to go to earth herself and find out which one it was.

Unaware of Hera's anger, the wood nymphs ran laughing through the woods. They had spent a busy morning following and teasing Narcissus (nar sis' us), the most handsome boy in the land. Each of the nymphs loved Narcissus, but he ignored all of them. One of the nymphs loved him more than all the others. Her name was Echo (ek' oh).

It was Echo who was the first to see Hera that day. She knew that the goddess's arrival meant trouble. Everyone knew of her jealous rages. Echo quickly began chattering at Hera. She wanted to give the other nymphs a chance to hide. By the time Hera realized what Echo was doing, the nymphs were gone.

Hera was furious. Stupid girl! Do you really think it is so simple to trick me? Your silly chattering will fool no one again. From this moment on you may never speak first to anyone. You may only repeat what others say!"

Echo opened her mouth to argue. The only words that came out were "repeat what others say."

"Now, leave me alone," Hera ordered. "Me alone," Echo repeated sadly. She wandered off by herself.

In the days that followed, Echo became more and more miserable. She couldn't talk to any of her friends. Worse, she couldn't talk to her beloved Narcissus. He hadn't cared for her much before, but now he liked her even less. He found nothing attractive about a girl who only repeated what others said. In despair, Echo went off to hide in a lonely mountain cave.

Meanwhile, Narcissus continued to scorn the many maidens who loved him. The gods became tired of his pride. They decided he must be punished. "Since Narcissus will love no other, he will be doomed to love only himself," they said.

The next day, Narcissus caught a glimpse of his reflection in a pond. He gasped at his own beauty. He immediately fell in love with himself. "Now I understand why others have loved me so," he thought. I cannot bear to look away from this lovely sight."

For many days Narcissus sat, unable to leave the pond. Nothing else on earth mattered to him any more. He wanted only to look at the object of his love, himself.

And so Echo and Narcissus both became victims of the gods' tempers. Left alone in her mountain cave, Echo's body soon wasted away to nothing. Only her voice remained. To this day one can hear Echo as she calls through the mountains. But she still can only repeat what someone else has said.

Narcissus did not live long either. Like poor Echo, he soon faded away. As he died, he said farewell to the image in the pond. From far away Echo heard him."Farewell," she repeated.

When the wood nymphs came to bury Narcissus, they discovered that his body was gone. In its place was a flower of great beauty. In honor of their beloved, they named the flower the narcissus.

Write what these sentences from the story mean.

1. When she finally spoke, all of Olympus shook with her fury.



2. "Since Narcissus will love no other, he will be doomed to love only himself."



3. The next day, Narcissus caught a glimpse of his reflection in a pond. And so Echo and Narcissus both became victims of the gods' tempers.



4. Why did the gods punish Narcissus? What did he do that angered them?



5. Many Greek myths try to explain things that happen in nature. What two things does this story try to explain?



6. How did Hera punish Echo? Why do you think she chose that particular punishment?



7. Why did Echo hide by herself in a cave?