|A Painting of Echo and Narcissus|
According to Greek Mythology, Echo was a nymph, who was well known for talking a lot. Once when Zeus, the King of Gods, was busy romancing some other nymphs, Hera, his jealous wife came down to earth looking for him. Zeus used Echo to distract Hera. Every time Hera asked something, Echo would start talking endlessly, giving enough time to Zeus and the nymphs to move away. It took some time for Hera to realise this and it upset her to no end.
Hera cursed Echo, that from then onwards, she would not be able to speak on her own; she would only repeat the last words of the person who speaks to her!
Narcissus was the son of a river god and a nymph. On his birth, the sages had predicted, that Narcissus, would live very long, provided he didn’t see his face. His mother immediately ensured that all mirrors be removed from the vicinity, and soon Narcissus grew up to be a handsome young man, who spurned, the love of many a nymph, man and woman, as he believed that none were worthy of his love.
After Echo had lost her ability to speak on her own, once she saw Narcissus, and fell in love with him instantly. During the chase in the jungle, Narcissus said – “Who’s there?”, and all poor Echo managed to repeat was “there”, and this went on, till Echo flung herself on him, to be violently rejected by Narcissus. This left Echo heartbroken.
Echo in the meanwhile was saddened by the death of Narcissus, and it is said that she still wanders around in the mountains of the world, seeking her love. She is found in deep valleys and caves, and if you call out to her, and if she is home, she will answer back, the last words of the caller! That’s how we get the meaning of ‘echo’. Now you also know why a person who is so full of himself is known to have a ‘Narcissistic’ personality!