| Stories from Plato and Other Classic Writers|
|by Mary E. Burt|
|Twenty-seven stories adapted for young children from selections of works of classic writers of the ancient world. The stories were chosen by the author for their inspirational value, either 'because they contained fine moral points, or else because they were poetic statements of natural phenomena which might enhance the study of natural science.' Writers represented in the collection include Plato, Homer, Hesiod, Aristophanes, Pliny, and Ovid. Ages 6-9 |
A BUTTERFLY STORY
 PSYCHE was the daughter of a great and powerful king, and she was very beautiful.
The fame of her beauty awoke the jealousy and hatred of Venus, the goddess
of love, and she began to think of a plan by which she could get rid of her rival.
So Venus told her little son, Cupid, to visit the princess and send one of his darts through her
 heart, that she might be inspired to love some common man.
Cupid took his bow and arrows and went to the home of the princess, intending
to obey his mother. But when he saw the little maiden, he thought only of her
beauty, and resolved to carry her off to a happy valley where he could have
her for a play-fellow.
Then he took her away to a fairy palace in a vale of paradise, where they spent
many happy hours together without fear or care.
But there was one drawback to their enjoyment. Psyche was not permitted to look
at her little comrade with her mortal eyes; she could only see him with the eyes of
 the soul. Even this would not have troubled her, if her envious sisters had not
continuously urged her to look at him and find out who he was.
Yielding to the temptation, she took a lamp one night and stole into the room
where Cupid lay asleep, and what was her surprise, when she saw Cupid, the
god of love.
She was so alarmed at the discovery she had made that she let a drop of hot
oil fall on his shoulder.
He awoke, and finding that she had disobeyed his express command, left her alone to weep in
solitude and despair, while he returned to his mother. Then Psyche set out to find her lost
playmate and she wandered over many
 lands, searching for him everywhere.
At last she came to the palace where his mother lived, and begged to see her little
friend. But Venus made a servant of her and gave her hard work to do. After
awhile the goddess sent her down to the infernal regions under the earth
where lived dread Pluto and his bride, to get a box of beauty's ointment.
This was a great task but Psyche took the box back to Venus and sweetly
opened it for her, that the goddess might bloecome more beautiful than
ever. But the ointment had such a powerful odor that Psyche fainted and fell to the floor.
 Cupid could no longer resist her
faithful love for him and ran to her
help and brought her back to life.
The anger of Venus was appeased since by using the ointment
she could become as beautiful as Psyche. She had not now cause to be
jealous any longer. So she told Cupid not to shun Psyche any more, and their marriage was
 celebrated in the presence of the gods with great rejoicings.
Roses were scattered before them and a rose-tree grew up near them,
for the rose is a symbol of the beauty of love.
It is said that Psyche (the soul) gave her name to the butterfly, because,
like the butterfly, when freed from its chrysalis in which it had been
imprisoned, it wafted way through the light, soaring above earth.
And now, when artists paint a picture of Psyche, they give her the wings
of the butterfly, because they are beautiful and because the soul seeks the
freedom of the air; and they put links on her ankles
 to denote that the soul may be chained by love.
Sometimes they paint Cupid riding on a lion, to show that love makes people
courageous, and they give him the lyre to play upon, because love produces
harmony. And Hope is sometimes painted as a beautiful maiden standing
before them, holding a lily in her hand, because a lily is the symbol of the
purity of a soul wedded to love.
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