The Myth of Echo
The mythical story of Echo
by Lilian Stoughton Hyde
The Myth of Echo
Echo was a nymph who talked too much. She was very fond of having the last word. One day she spoke rudely to the great Juno, who said that for this offence Echo should never use her voice again, unless to repeat what she had just heard, but since she was so very fond of last words, she might repeat the last words of others.
This was almost as bad as if Juno had changed her into a parrot. Echo was very much ashamed, and hid herself in the forest.
Narcissus, a young man who had hair as yellow as gold and eyes as blue as the sky, - a very rare thing in Greece, where most people were very dark, - used to hunt in the forest where Echo was hiding. As she was peeping out shyly from some cave or from behind a great tree, Echo often saw Narcissus, and she admired him very much.
One day Narcissus became separated from his friends, and hearing something rustle among the leaves, he called out, "Who's here?"
"Here," answered Echo.
"Here I am. Come!" said Narcissus.
Picture of Echo
"I am come," said Echo; and, as she spoke, she came out from among the trees.
When Narcissus saw a stranger, instead of one of his friends as he had expected, he looked surprised and walked quickly away.
After this, Echo never came out and allowed herself to be seen again, and in time she faded away till she became only a voice.
This voice was heard for many, many years in forests and among mountains, particularly in caves. In their solitary walks, hunters often heard it. Sometimes it mocked the barking of their dogs; sometimes it repeated their own last words. It always had a weird and mournful sound, and seemed to make lonely places more lonely still.
The Legend and Myth of Echo