In Greek mythology, Echo (Greek Ηχω) was an Oread who had the job of talking incessantly to Hera, the Queen of the Gods, so that her husband, Zeus, wouldn't get caught in his numerous affairs. According to some sources, Hera caught on to Echo's trick and cursed her to only be able say what others had just said--hence our modern word "echo".

Echo was a nymph that loved her own voice. Zeus, loved being with beautiful nymphs and visited them on earth very often. Eventually, Zeus wife, Hera, became very jealous. Hera wanted to visit earth and catch Zeus with the nymphs. Echo wanted to save her nymph friends. She talked to Hera (talking was her passion anyway), in order to distract her and allow for Zeus and the nymphs to leave. Hera finally was able to interrupt Echo and go see her husband. When she saw an empty field, Hera realized what Echo had done and punished her. Now, Echo could say only the last words of other people's sentences. In the time of Echo's suffering, there was a human named Narcissus. He was so handsome that every girl that saw him immediately fell in love with him. Narcissus had no heart, and loved no one. One day, Echo met Narcissus and, like every other girl, fell in love with him. Echo was embarrassed to talk to him, because she couldn't, but she had an urge to see him. So Echo followed him, just enough to see him, but not enough to be seen. Narcissus noticed that he was lost and called out, "Is anyone here!?" Echo said, "Here, here, here." Narcissus told whoever was there to come out. After repeating as usual, Echo came out and, because she couldn't talk, she used her hands to show Narcissus how much she loved him. Narcissus, annoyed that so many people liked him, rejected her love. Echo, heart-broken, refused to eat any food and withered away until only her voice was left. As for Narcissus, one of the other girls whose love he refused prayed to the gods for him to be punished. "He who doesn't love others will only love himself" became Narcissus' curse. One day, he was cutting wood in the forest and took a rest by the water. Then, he saw himself in the stream. He fell in love in with the reflection and wouldn't leave. Narcissus eventually turned into a flower now known as the Narcissus.

Echo fell in love with a human named Narcissus but he loved only the image of himself, reflected in water. Echo pined away with love for him but Narcissus was unmoved. Gradually, Echo faded until nothing was left but her voice, repeating the last words of others. Narcissus turned into a daffodil.

Alternatively, Echo was a nymph who was a great singer and dancer and scorned the love of any man. This angered Pan, a lecherous god, and he instructed his followers to kill her. Echo was torn to pieces and spread all over the Earth. The goddess of the earth, Gaia, received the pieces of Echo, whose voice remains repeating the last words of others. In some versions, Echo and Pan first had one child: Iambe.

Echo, Alexandre Cabanel

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