Greek Myths for Kids
Echo had the most beautiful voice. She very
musical and possessed a good and loving heart. She was a wood nymph. She lived
deep in the woods and rejected all suitors, which made her, of course, a
favorite of the goddess Artemis.
There are many stories of Echo. Here are three of them, loosely retold.
Echo and Hera
One day, Zeus tore into the woods,
looking for a place to hide. His wife, Hera, was after him again. Would
he never learn to stop flirting with the nymphs who lived deep in the
woods? Apparently not. Spotting Echo, he asked her to help him escape
the eagle eye of his wife. One did not turn down a request from Zeus,
not and live to tell about it.
When Hera tore into the woods after Zeus,
Echo sidetracked her with chatter and gossip. For some time, this worked
well for Zeus.
When Hera figured out what was going on,
she punished Echo by denying her much of her beautiful voice. All Echo
could do forever after was repeat the last few sounds she heard.
Echo & Narcissus
Echo spotted the most beautiful
young man. His name was Narcissus. Echo did something she thought she
would never do - she fell in love. But Hera had taken most of her voice.
All she do was was echo sounds made by others. She could howl like a
wolf, or sing like a breeze through reeds, but how could she tell
Narcissus that she loved him?
One day, she spotted Narcissus looking
into a stream. He seemed enchanted by what he saw.
"Come to me," Narcissus begged,
looking into the water.
"Come to me," Echo
Narcissus swung about. "Who's
there?" he angrily demanded to know.
"Who's there," Echo echoed
"Stop that!" Narcissus snapped.
"Stop that!" Echo echoed.
"Let's meet," Narcissus said in
a much softer voice that he had used so far.
"Let's meet!" Echo echoed
happily. She stepped out from behind a tree.
"Go away," Narcissus said
"Go away," Echo echoed sadly.
Echo went sadly away.
Things did not go well for Narcissus
after that. Narcissus returned to the stream again and again. He stared
at the lovely young man he saw in the water. He did not know it was only
the reflection of himself.
Hidden from sight, Echo watched Narcissus
as he lay by the stream. She repeated the last three words that
Narcissus might say.
Narcissus ignored her. Day after day he
lay by the stream, admiring his own reflection. He stopped
eating. He stopped drinking. And finally, he died.
The god Pan spotted Echo one day and fell
madly in love. But Echo would have nothing to do with him. This made Pan
so angry that he used his powers to panic his shepherds. They went mad, and tore Echo to pieces.
Pieces of Echo were carried by the wind all over the world.
Gaia, the Earth mother, who had always
like Echo, could not change what Pan had done. She could not change what
Hera had done. But she could let the pieces of Echo keep what voice
remained to them.
Thanks to Gaia, even today, you can
sometimes hear a piece of Echo repeating the sounds around her - the howl of a dog,
the toot of a train, or the last few words that people