Do you know what happened to Echo?
She was a nymph who lived in the caves and mountains and grottoes, and who ended up helping Zeus cover up his little fiascoes with the other lovely nymphs. No one knows quite how she ended up being his accomplice, but she did. Maybe because she was so smart! This prissy little nymph figured out how to distract Hera whenever the goddess came down to earth from Olympus looking to catch Zeus in the arms of a lover. Echo would make such a loud chatter, indulge the goddess in small talk, and carry on so that Hera would forget all about looking for her husband.
That is until Hera caught on to the whole conspiracy. Was she ever angry! She punished Echo for her part in Zeus’ infidelity by taking her voice away, leaving her only with the ability to repeat the last word that was spoken.
Echo’s story doesn’t end there, sadly. While Echo was under this punishment she met the handsome young Narcissus and the two immediately fell in love. But alas, Echo could do nothing but repeat only his last words.
Think of how frustrating that would be. I remember as children we used to do that to each other and indeed, it can drive you crazy. Well, it drove Narcissus mad as well, since he thought she was mocking him. He left her in a fury, never to return.
Echo died of a broken heart. To this day, her bones still cry out from the mountain walls hoping to tell Narcissus how much she loves him. But the only thing she can utter are the last words she hears.
*Painting by one of my favorite artists, John William Waterhouse 1903