Inquiry Focus

As Told To Us By Jeff Stockton


The Girl Who Cried Flowers

In ancient Greece, a shepherd finds a beautiful young baby, a girl who cries flowers. She was found under a tree in the forest. As the girl named Olivia grows up, the villagers come to love her beauty and gentle, giving ways. The flowers are precious to the villagers, and people come from near and far to beg garlands, bouquets and funeral wreaths. Olivia loved making people happy.

One day, a young man, Panos, comes to get a garland for his sweetheart, and falls immediately in love with Olivia. He tells her funny stories, and makes her laugh. He marries Olivia and they seal their love in one passionate kiss when they marry. As husband and wife, Panos forbids her to cry, for seeing her sad, makes him sad. One day, when he is out working the fields, an old woman comes to the door, and tells Olivia that her granddaughter was to be married in the morning, but had no flowers to carry. It makes Olivia sad, so she begins to cry flowers for the old woman.

Soon, all the villagers are stopping in with tales of woe; Olivia is crying the whole time Panos is out in the fields. One day, he comes home unexpectedly and catches her. He is so furious he cannot even speak. Olivia, unsure of how to please everyone and overwhelmed with disappointment, flees.

After a day, Panos tries to find her, and can only find a small flower hut at the edge of the village, in the forest. As he opens the rose door, he cuts his finger, and his blood drops to the ground, and an olive tree begins to grow, the trunk of which has the figure of a woman. Panos builds a hut by this strange tree that bears flowers and olives year round, until he dies.

The tree continued to grow after his death, but never had another blossom, and the olives were as bitter and salty as tears. It turns out that Olivia was within the tree. During the day, she stayed in the tree and at night, she came out to be in the hut to be with the love of her life, Panos.

Students listening Jeff listening Jeff and class listening Jeff playing the harp
Echo and Narcissus

Jeff Stockton came to Kindergarten on February 22nd to tell us the story from Greek and Roman Mythology or Echo and Narcissus. It goes like this:

Echo was a beautiful nymph, fond of the woods and hills, where she devoted herself to woodland sports. She was a favorite of Diana, and attended her in the chase. But Echo had one failing; she was fond of talking, and whether in chat or argument would have the last word. One day Juno was seeking her husband, who, she had reason to fear, was amusing himself among the nymphs. Echo by her talk contrived to detain the goddess till the nymphs made their escape. When Juno discovered it, she passed sentence upon Echo in these words: "You shall forfeit the use of that tongue with which you have cheated me; except for that one purpose you are so fond of REPLY. You shall still have the last word, but no power to speak first."

This nymph saw Narcissus, a beautiful youth, as he pursued the chase upon the mountains. She loved him, and followed his footsteps. Oh, how she longed to address him in the softest accents, and win him to converse, but it was not in her power. She waited with impatience for him to speak first, and had her answer ready. One day the youth, being separated from his companions, shouted aloud, "Who's here?" Echo replied, "Here." Narcissus looked around, but seeing no one, called out, "Come." Echo answered, "Come." As no one came, Narcissus called again, "Why do you shun me?" Echo asked the same question. "Let us join one another," said the youth. The maid answered with all
her heart in the same words, and hastened to the spot, ready to throw her arms about his neck. He started back, exclaiming, "Hands off! I would rather die than you should have me." "Have me," said she; but it was all in vain. He left her, and she went to hide her blushes in the recesses of the woods. From that time forth she lived in caves and among mountain cliffs. Her form faded with grief, till at last all her flesh shrank away. Her bones were changed into rocks, and there was nothing left of her but her voice. With that she is still ready to reply to any one who calls her, and keeps up her old habit of having the last word.

Narcissus was cruel not in this case alone. He shunned all the rest of the nymphs as he had done poor Echo. One day a maiden, who had in vain endeavored to attract him, uttered a prayer that he might some time or other feel what it was to love and meet no return of affection.

The avenging goddess heard and granted the prayer. There was a clear fountain, with water like silver, to which the shepherds never drove their flocks. Nor did the mountain goats resort to it, nor any of the beasts of the forest; neither was it defaced with fallen leaves or branches; but the grass grew fresh around it, and the rocks sheltered it from the sun. Hither came one day the youth fatigued with hunting, heated and thirsty. He stooped down to drink, and saw his own image in the water; he thought it was some beautiful water=spirit living in the fountain. He stood gazing with admiration at those bright eyes, those locks curled like the locks of Bacchus or Apollo, the rounded cheeks, the ivory neck, the parted lips, and the glow of health and exercise over all. He fell in love with himself. He brought his lips near to take a kiss; he plunged his arms in to embrace the beloved object. It fled at the touch, but returned again after a moment and renewed the fascination. He could not tear himself away; he lost all thought of food or rest, while he hovered over the brink of the fountain gazing upon his own image. He talked with the supposed spirit: "Why, beautiful being, do you shun me? Surely my face is not one to repel you. The nymphs love me, and you yourself look not indifferent upon me. When I stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and answer my beckonings with the like." His tears fell into the water and disturbed the image. As he saw it depart, he exclaimed, "Stay, I entreat you! Let me at least gaze upon you, if I may not touch you." With this, and much more of the same kind, he cherished the flame that consumed him, so that by degrees he lost his color, his vigor, and the beauty which formerly had so charmed the nymph Echo. She kept near him, however, and when he exclaimed, "Alas! Alas!" she answered him with the same words. He pined away and died; and when his shade passed the Stygian river, it leaned over the boat to catch a look of itself in the waters. The nymphs mourned for him, especially the water-nymphs; and when they smote their breasts, Echo smote hers also. They prepared a funeral pile, and would have burned the body, but it was nowhere to be found; but in its place a flower, purple within, and surrounded with white leaves, which bears the name and preserves the memory of Narcissus.

Here are the pictures we saw in our own imagination as he told us this wonderful story…


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