The song of love

There once lived a musical genius, son of the Muse, Calliope. Ever since he was a child and no one really knows when it all began, Orpheus could hold an audience of god’s beasts and men spellbound with his lyre. at a very young age.

It is said the rivers would change course just to listen to him and the beasts forgot to eat and sleep, at the sound of his lyre. During one such musical rendition, Orpheus noticed a shy wood-nymph, Eurydice and immediately lost his heart to her. Fortunately for him, so did she and soon the two were married. The marriage was a grand affair with much celebrations and the spirits sending their best wine and blessings for the newlywed lovebirds and as the day came to a close, the two looked forward to a night of love and quiet. 

But the fates, as they say, are always waiting in the wings. In the shadows was Aristaeus, a shepherd, who secretly loved Eurydice and could not bear the sight of Orpheus and Eurydice together. He plotted his murder but at the last minute, his plans went awry and the couple fled from the scene with Aristaeus in hot pursuit.  

As they raced through hills and fields, Orpheus suddenly saw his lady love buckle over. Eurydice had stepped on a poisonous snake and had keeled over, losing all life within her in the instant. Distraught Orpheus walked around in agony, laying soulful tunes on his lyre and refusing to let go of his love. He was so adamant that he followed her right into the underworld where the gates automatically opened for him, a living being, for such was the power of his music.  

Soon Hades, the god of the Underworld and Persephone, his queen were caught in the trance of his lyre and moved to tears by his story. Hades said Orpheus could take his love back but only if he did not look back to see if she was truly following him, until they had crossed over into the light. Her soul would be with him through the journey and he had to trust that it would take the form of his beloved once they reached the living world. Ecstatic Orpheus agreed, but then just as they neared the end of their journey and the first light of the Sun hit his eyes, he turned back. His impatience cost him dearly as Eurydice was unable to cross over with him and the lovers were separated forever.

 And ever since joy deserted Orpheus, he gave up on everything and turned a recluse. He shunned women too as everywhere he went he was reminded of his love. However he did not realise that this would be the cause of his tragic end as maenads,  attendants of Dionysus, unable to gain his affections pounced on him and killed him (some versions have it that he sought his death and that all the animals who heard him, killed him weeping all through the act of killing him!). The Maenads threw his body in the river, and it is said that his head and his lyre floated down to the island of Lesvos, where the Muses gave him a decent burial. And Orpheus and Eurydice were united in the Underworld.  

Read another interesting love story of Roopmati and Baz Bahadur

Story collected by: Utkarsh Patel

Source: Greek Mythology, Edith Hamilton

Image details: Wikipedia