|Greek and Roman Mythology > Rhoecus
injuries. The story of Rhoecus proves this. Rhoecus, happening
to see an oak just ready to fall, ordered his servants to prop it
up. The nymph, who had been on the point of perishing with the
tree, came and expressed her gratitude to him for having saved
her life, and bade him ask what reward he would have for it.
Rhoecus boldly asked her love, and the nymph yielded to his
desire. She at the same time charged him to be constant, and
told him that a bee should be her messenger, and let him know
when she would admit his society. One time the bee came to
Rhoecus when he was playing at draughts, and he carelessly
brushed it away. This so incensed the nymph that she deprived
him of sight.
Our countryman, James Russell Lowell, has taken this story for
the subject of one of his shorter poems. He introduces it thus:
"Hear now this fairy legend of old Greece,
As full of freedom, youth and beauty still,
As the immortal freshness of that grace
Carved for all ages on some Attic frieze."