Greek and Roman Mythology > Acis and Galatea

Acis and Galatea

Scylla was a fair virgin of Sicily, a favorite of the Sea-Nymphs.
She had many suitors, but repelled them all, and would go to the
grotto of Galatea, and tell her how she was persecuted. One day
the goddess, while Scylla dressed her hair, listened to the
story, and then replied, "Yet, maiden, your persecutors are of
the not ungentle race of men, whom if you will you can repel; but
I, the daughter of Nereus, and protected by such a band of
sisters, found no escape from the passion of the Cyclops but in
the depths of the sea;" and tears stopped her utterance, which
when the pitying maiden had wiped away with her delicate finger,
and soothed the goddess, "Tell me, dearest," said she, "the cause
of your grief." Galatea then said, "Acis was the son of Faunus
and a Naiad. His father and mother loved him dearly, but their
love was not equal to mine. For the beautiful youth attached
himself to me alone, and he was just sixteen years old, the down
just beginning to darken his cheeks. As much as I sought his
society, so much did the cyclops seek mine; and if you ask me
whether my love for Acis or my hatred for Polyphemus was the
stronger, I cannot tell you; they were in equal measure. Oh,
Venus, how great is thy power! This fierce giant, the terror of
the woods, whom no hapless stranger escaped unharmed, who defied
even Jove himself, learned to feel what love was, and touched
with a passion for me, forgot his flocks and his well-stored
caverns. Then, for the first time, he began to take some care of
his appearance, and to try to make himself agreeable; he harrowed
those coarse locks of his with a comb, and mowed his beard with a
sickle, looked at his harsh features in the water, and composed
his countenance. His love of slaughter, his fierceness and
thirst of blood prevailed no more, and ships that touched at his
island went away in safety. He paced up and down the sea-shore,
imprinting huge tracks with his heavy tread, and, when weary, lay
tranquilly in his cave.

"There is a cliff which projects into the sea, which washes it on
either side. Thither one day the huge Cyclops ascended, and sat
down while his flocks spread themselves around. Laying down his
staff which would have served for a mast to hold a vessel's sail,
and taking his instrument, compacted of numerous pipes, he made
the hills and the waters echo the music of his song. I lay hid
under a rock, by the side of my beloved Acis, and listened to the
distant strain. It was full of extravagant praises of my beauty,
mingled with passionate reproaches of my coldness and cruelty.

"When he had finished he rose up, and like a raging bull, that
cannot stand still, wandered off into the woods. Acis and I
thought no more of him, till on a sudden he came to a spot which
gave him a view of us as we sat. 'I see you,' he exclaimed, 'and
I will make this the last of your love-meetings.' His voice was
a roar such as an angry Cyclops alone could utter. AEtna
trembled at the sound. I, overcome with terror, plunged into the
water. Acis turned and fled, crying, 'Save me, Galatea, save me,
my parents!" The Cyclops pursued him, and tearing a rock from
the side of the mountain hurled it at him. Though only a corner
of it touched him it overwhelmed him.

"All that fate left in my power I did for Acis. I endowed him
with the honors of his grandfather the river-god. The purple
blood flowed out from under the rock, but by degrees grew paler
and looked like the stream of a river rendered turbid by rains,
and in time it became clear. The rock cleaved open, and the
water, as it gushed from the chasm, uttered a pleasing murmur."

Thus Acis was changed into a river, and the river retains the
name of Acis.

Myth Collection

Achelous and HerculesAcis and GalateaAdmetus and Alcestis
Agamemnon, Orestes, and ElectraAmphionAmphitrite
AntigoneApollo and DaphneApollo and Hyacinthus
Aurora and TithonusBacchusBaucis and Philemon
CadmusCastor and PolluxCephalus and Procris
Ceyx and HalcyoneClytieCupid and Psyche
DaedalusDiana and ActaeonDryope
Echo and NarcissusEndymionErisichthon
Glaucus and ScyllaHebe and GanymedeHercules
IbycusIo and CallistoLeucothea dnd Palaemon
LinusMarsyasMedea and Aeson
MelampusMenelaus and HelenMidas
Minerva and ArachneMonstersMusaeus
NeptuneNereus and DorisNiobe
Nisus and ScyllaOrionOrpheus and Eurydice
Pegasus and the ChimaeraPenelopePerseus and Medusa
PhaetonPluto and ProsperinePrometheus and Pandora
PygmalionPyramus and ThisbePython
ThamyrisThe Calydonian HuntThe Camenae
The CentaursThe Golden FleeceThe Graeae and Gorgons
The Griffin, or GryphonThe IliadThe Myrmidons
The PygmiesThe Rural DeitiesThe Sphinx
The Trojan WarThe Water DeitiesThe Winds
TheseusThetisVenus and Adonis
Vertumnus and Pomona

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