There is an old saying, “Jealousy is affection’s grave.”
Both jealousy and envy are truly life-threatening to the human soul since many times those that are driven by either negative emotion often do so while wearing masks covered over by the guise of either Love or caring concern.
Unfortunately for our story’s heroine, jealousy’s loving masquerade would be introduced to her by those closest to her heart.
Once the initial shock had passed after realizing her bridegroom wasn’t a deadly dragon-like monster but rather a most attentive and loving spouse, for the first time in her life, Psyche was happy.
Where her admirers had placed her distantly above on a pedestal of idealistic worship in the past, her husband had placed her in his arms and held her closely to his heart. Where her beauty had been previously idolized, it was now celebrated and fully appreciated. Where she was made to feel unapproachable and very much alone as the Goddess of Love, Psyche now was made to feel anything but alone as a woman in passionate love.
The nervous fear she had initially felt during her first night in the castle now had been transformed into that particular kind of joyful anticipation one experiences while waiting for their true love’s arrival. The girl reveled in her lover’s touch and ached for his presence when he left the castle grounds just before dawn each day.
Psyche was perfectly content but with the exception of one thing. She could look at her husband only in near darkness. The winged youth made not a single demand of Psyche save that she promise never to gaze upon his face in either candle or sun light. He warned his wife that should she look upon his person in clear view, it would be the last time she would ever see him again.
Not wanting to put her freshly felt joy in any kind of jeopardy, Psyche agreed never to pursue looking at her husband unless his visage be shielded in darkness.
“The oath was taken only by my eyes and not my lips to kiss nor my hands to caress.” she assured herself, remaining blissful and content in her newly experienced happiness.
Over time, however loneliness took its toll. Psyche’s days were spent alone in the castle. Beside her solitary self, there was no else in the massive fortress. Although she made the most of the castle’s many luxuries and her nights were thoroughly satisfied with her husband by her side, Psyche grew ever more lonely with each passing day. Without anyone to speak or converse with, the castle gradually felt more like a gilded cage to her rather than a place she called home.
It all became unbearable when she discovered the bewitched bird fountain.
Psyche walks in Cupid’s Garden by Kinuko Craft
One day as Psyche weepily wandered the outer most edges of the castle grounds, she came across a water filled fountain teeming with many chirping birds. Delighted by the distraction it provided, Psyche approached the water holding structure. As she drew near, the birds grew silent but instead of flying away they lingered on the branches of a nearby tree watching her intently. Upon reaching the fountain, Psyche smiled at the various multicolored birds and much to her surprise each animal lowered its head at the same time. Taking their cue, Psyche lowered her own head with her gaze being directed down upon the water’s smooth surface. As she did so, one of her tears fell from her face, disturbing the water’s placid exterior. As the tear rippled outward, Psyche’s reflection became replaced by an altogether different vision.
The water’s reflection revealed her sisters. Like Psyche, her siblings were also crying but at the site where she last saw them both, the rocky crag where she was shackled and left alone to face her doomed fate. They repeatedly cried her name aloud as they beseeched the surrounding air where their little sister had been taken. Psyche gasped as she turned away from the fountain, clutching her throat and weeping anew. Her heart stung with such deep longing to see her sisters again, she couldn’t stop the flow of her tears which now were constant and seemingly unending. So much so, the girl was sobbing harder than ever as her husband alighted down to their bed chamber later that evening.
Since she hadn’t the ability to hide her tears, neither could Psyche conceal the pain of longing within her heart from her husband. Upon his arrival she immediately entreated upon her spouse’s mercies to grant her sisters’ passage to the castle. Being reunited with her family once again would not only lift the dark shadow of loneliness which surrounded her each day, the girl explained, it would also dispel the grim shadow of her sisters’ mistakenly believing their youngest sibling had left this world, never to return.
Much against Cupid’s better judgement, he agreed in two days time to summon the god of the Western Wind, Zephyr, to transport Psyche’s sisters to the castle grounds in the same way his wife was first delivered to the fortress.
“If only to see thee smile once again.” he said to his wife.
Psyche’s sisters were still clinging to each other screaming for their dear lives when they were told to open their eyes after Zephyr had delivered them in the same manner as his mistress when she first arrived. Their screaming once again resumed but in the form of joy, laughter and shock upon seeing their long lost sister standing before them. After countless hugs and tearful salutations were exchanged, Psyche approached the castle’s bridge saying: “Come my sisters, I bid you warm welcome into my home where I am mistress.”
Upon entering the Great Hall, the hugs once again began but the joyous circle of reunion among the three siblings was almost immediately broken by Psyche’s sisters walking off in opposite directions as their eyes took in the castle’s many expensive luxuries, their faces contorting with reactions mixed with wonder and shock.
“Surely you are a guest here, sister?” said one as she marveled slack jawed at the sheer vastness of the reading room.
“A thousand pardons, sister, but in my joyous state I must not have heard you correctly in saying you were mistress of this place and everything housed within it?” asked the other as she stood stunned with disbelief while her eyes took note of the many fine things which adorned the enchanted sitting room.
Psyche laughed with delight as she took both of her sisters’ hands, “Your ears did not deceive you, dearest sisters. I reside here not as a guest searching for lodging but as mistress of this place and all within it. The gods have blessed me not only with this fortress as my home but with more abundance than I could ever hope to desire. Abundance which I freely share with those whom I hold closest to my heart.”
Leading both siblings by the hand, Psyche turned a corner where what awaited them were two separate troves each containing jewels, coins, and chalices made of pure gold. Both sisters gasped in shock as each made claim of their respective treasure pile. While one bit into a gold coin to verify its purity as the other looked at her mirrored reflection newly adorned with an emerald tiara, the two sisters looked up and intensely glared at each other while nodding in tacit mutual agreement.
Psyche couldn’t believe what she heard next.
“Sister, look at the time. I’m afraid we must part.” said one.
“Our visit was far too short, sister, but ‘tis so.” confirmed the other.
Not a word of thanks was uttered by either sibling as they both hastily prepared to take as much of their respective treasure troves as they could with their bare hands. Psyche was rendered too stupefied for words while her closest kin vacantly air kissed her farewell as they asked how long it would be for them to be brought back to the place from which they came.
*Text image “Psyche offers gifts to her sisters” by A.E. Fragonard, 1798
Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.