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February - Searching for Narcissus


The Legend of Narcissus

Narcissus was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. He was so beautiful that many fell in love on first sight but he showed only disdain and contempt. Narcissus’s mother was told by the blind seer Tiresias that he would have a long life provided he never recognised himself. When the mountain nymph Echo saw him it was love at first sight and she followed him … eventually revealing herself and her true feelings she attempted to embrace Narcissus. He pushed her away and told her not disturb him again. Echo, in her despair, roamed the woods for the rest of her life until only an echo sound could be heard.

Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and revenge, learnt of Narcissus’ behaviour and she decided to punish him by leading him to a pool and letting him stare at the water. Instantly Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection and once he understood he was pining for the man he could never have, himself, he melted away from the fire of passion burning inside eventually turning into the gold and white flower we know as Narcissus.

February brings more sunshine, lengthening days and Narcissus ’tazetta’. By now the Narcissi are abundant, giving off a powerful scent. These little daffodils can be found in patches of waste land, by the road side or filling vases in many of the local shops and restaurants. Climate change being what it is, this month we have had more rain and freezing winds than in living memory, but the Narcissus tazetta is everywhere!