And Psyche grew in a girl of peculiar and divine beauty. Her father was oblivious that spring nested in her body, something that father’s seldom notice. She was still a child in his eyes, innocent and naïve, as she will remain forever. But in her reverence birds sang their songs, flowers blossomed if only touched by her hand and moonlight followed her like a shadow. Psyche liked to journey around the kingdom, and everywhere she went she was a guest of honour, as beside beauty she was blessed by compassion, modesty and warmth. Everything she touched became silver and gold, and flowers grew at her every footstep, even on bare ground. Psyche was often invited all over the kingdom, and she went with lief, bringing happiness and grace as gifts.
So at one time Psyche came to a small, secluded village, where she was as always recognized and merrily received, accompanied by hope and happiness like old companions. And when she was leaving, people wept tears of sorrow, and of joy too, as an earthly goddess walked upon them. She just had to be one. They encircled her, eager to touch her so the grace she seemed to radiate would pass on them too. Many offered gifts of gratitude. Modest presents given from the heart, she accepted in the way they were given, but those more valuable she declined with gratefulness and words that many others were in need for such things much more then she was.
Among all others, an old woman approached Psyche, to whom villagers gave passage out of apparent high esteem and dim fear. The woman said she was an oracle. Parcae – Nonam, Decuma and Morta whispered to her destinies and revealed the future events. She wanted to foretell the future to her, she said, to find where happiness awaited and where misfortune impended, so she can implore Parcae for more of the one and less of the other. Psyche laughed as careless youth always laughs in the face of fate and offered her hand to the foreteller. When she took it, time froze, and what lasted for only a brief moment seemed to last for an eternity. When she let go her hand, at last, the oracle badly disguised her worries and fear. She gave a look of great concern to the young maiden, and even Psyche felt apprehension, but youth washes away awe of things to come with unbearable ease.
The prophetess said:
-Future is a place of shadows and darkness that sometimes we cannot see through, and Parcae deafened me by silence this time. That is why I cannot tell you anything about things that will come – she lied and gently caressed young girl’s face, white as virgin snow.
-But I have a gift for you. – and although hoary, she leaped in heartily, with firm, decisive steps and ran to her modest hut, from which in a blink of an eye she came out carrying an unusual, checkered lamp.
Even in palaces of her father never have Psyche seen such a lavish stone like the one that lamp was hewed of, not even in homes of richest patricians where everything was made of gold, what should and shouldn’t be. It was a lamp gilded with so many colours, intertwining, binding, streaming and pouring pleasure to the eye, making even the celestial rainbow look poor and stingy. Colours of lavender, red-orange misty-rose, celadon and cerulean trailed, seethed and vied in parallel circles spreading towards the collar from which a burner peered. It had a touch smooth and warm as if it was lit only seconds ago, but the burner was clean and cold. No doubt that was a majestic gift worthy of someone as Psyche.
But she protested.
-An enrichment worthy of gods! But I cannot accept such a present. It seems to be a valuable thing that you could exchange for many riches. You could repair that roof over your head, get some warm clothes for the winter or help out your children and grandchildren. No, a prize like that I could not approve. –