The pool and Narcissus

By Paulo Coelho

Almost everyone knows the original Greek story about Narcissus: a beautiful boy who would go every day to contemplate his own face in the waters of a pool. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, when he was trying to get still closer to his reflection, he fell into the water and was drowned. In that place a flower sprang up, and we call that flower narcissus.
The writer Oscar Wilde, however, gives the story a rather different ending.
He says that when Narcissus died, the Oreads, who were goddesses of the woods, came and saw that the sweet waters of the pool had changed into salt tears.
‘Why are you crying?’ asked the Oreads.
‘I’m weeping for Narcissus.’
‘We do not wonder that you should mourn for Narcissus in this way,’ they said. ‘After all, we could only run after him through the forest, but you could gaze on his beauty from close to.’
‘But was Narcissus beautiful?’ asked the pool.
‘Who better than you to know?’ the Oreads replied, somewhat taken aback. ‘It was, after all, on your banks that he would lie each day.’
The pool was still for a moment. Then it said:
‘I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that he was beautiful. I weep for him because whenever he lay on my banks and looked into my waters, I could see my own beauty reflected in his eyes.’

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  1. Annie says:

    stopping by to say thank you, said Narcissus <3

    Love and Gratitude

    1. Kealan says:

      It is always nice to stop by :)

  2. Quennie says:

    Everything truly is a matter of perspective. Sometimes we become unaware that we feed on each other’s vanity.

  3. fLUXman says:

    hi everyone,
    and you gaze into liquid depths,
    an ever changing flux of energy,
    trying to reach your true self ,
    the arousal of intuition,( your water exercise, paulo )
    an astral journey ,
    there is no I,
    there is only us,
    only us ,
    a seed of love,
    may it grow in our fertile minds,
    let the flowers of paradise bloom.

  4. Serene says:

    Beauty in the eye of the beholder indeed!

    Have you ever felt so beautiful you had to weep? Have you ever met someone whose soul crashed & burned & dissolved into every inch of you? Have you ever had a memory of someone whose being becomes the treasure of your heart, to have & to hold even though you’re so far apart?

    Hmm maybe that’s how you feel about your wife! Or, your books? Those are something. Esp the river piedra one, now holds special meaning. Indeed, to see the world in a grain of sand, heaven in a wildflower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, eternity in an hour!

    You have just inspired me man! Now I only need to wait till the time I will next be free by myself on my home computer… xoxo from a stranger

  5. Leaf says:

    I also heard a version of this story where Narcissus was in love with an impossible dream – to marry the beautiful goddess who lived in the water….but it was doomed to fail…her being H2o etc.

    Yes, good old Oscar Wilde was also known for his sarcasm, wit, and inappropriate humour – apparently.
    I’d just say, there’s always an other view.

    I like his one about the Winter Garden…I did have a book of his works, but I lent it to someone….
    so I rely on my poor memory.


  6. Yajna says:

    Dearest paulo,

    its in each other, than we see ourselves. And we begin to love ourselves..

    Thank you for being,

  7. catherine forsley says:

    how to escape vanity
    i am an actress/model/writer is who is plunging deeply into that pool…….
    thank you and bless you for all the words you have made the world see.

    much love

    1. catherine forsley says:

      Brida is stIll Your best book

  8. Leaf says:

    Beauty in the eye of the beholder?

  9. rosa de los vientos says:

    Me gusta esto, le da una vuelta total a la historia. Narciso era mas útil de lo que se pensaba, el punto de vista del Lago es precioso y da a entender que el Lago también existe.
    “Siempre hay varios puntos de vista y Dios tiene distintos puntos desde donde ver” del libro “Señor Dios soy Ana”.