Pygmalion and Galatea
By Ismail Veli…….
Once upon a time on an island in the Mediterranean sea where the mountains were beautiful and its shores had sands that were golden smooth, arose from the foams a beauty known as Aphrodite.
A king ruled the island who went by the name of Pygmalion. Cyprus belonged to the love Goddess Aphrodite, but the King Pygmalion had no bride to call a queen, not that there was a shortage of beautiful women who yearned to be his bride, but because Pygmalion was in love with Aphrodite. no matter how many beautiful women were offered to him, his heart only yearned for the one woman he could not have.
”why would you not lie with me, oh heartless one?’ he wailed to her.. ‘there are other men on whom you have bestowed your favours, why not me? But Aphrodite remained tantalizingly alluring and frustratingly distant.
Pygmalion did not know what to do. His yearning for her love made him ill. He could neither eat or sleep. He was lost in his misery. He could not eat or drink other than the smallest portions. His eyes haggard and his cheeks became hollow, he wandered the palace rooms like a ghost. Being a King was no consolation for his yearning for Aphrodite. His position as king offered no comfort to his heart to which Kings and commoners were equal prey. Like a boy in the throes of love he was horribly lovesick.
The King decided that if he could not possess Aphrodite then he must have her image. He set to work with chisel and blade and created an exact life-size statue that was an exact replica of his beloved Aphrodite in ivory. The statue was identical to Aphrodite in every physical detail. Her hair, her eyebrows the curve of her body, the gentle sweep of her nose, the swell of her breasts, her thighs, the delicate line of her ankles were modeled to perfection. His passion and yearning for love knew every inch of her beauty and helped create her statue in perfect detail.
The statue gave Pygmalion comfort and relief from his yearning for her love, he would not be parted with her statue and even took it to bed with him. Alone with her image he would caress and embrace the cool curves and smooth statue as though it was really Aphrodite. He dreamed that the statue was really her and hoped that it would respond to his desires, it was no use. The statue remained cold and unresponsive. ‘have pity on me!’ Pygmalion cried out to Aphrodite. ‘Can you not see how I suffer. Even your image gives me no comfort, I am cursed by your love. Release me from this bondage or I shall die‘. His arms were put despairingly around the statue and he sobbed endlessly with his broken heart.
His tears rolled onto the statue’s cheeks and down her breasts, and then something strange happened. a miracle occurred in response to Pygmalion’s weeping. A small, perfect dew drop issued from the corner of the statues eyes and rolled down the side of its exquisite nose. The statue was crying. Aphrodite heard Pygmalion’s prayer and entered her ivory twin and breathed life into it. The statue raised her arms and cradled Pygmalion. The cold statue turned to warmth and life. The cheeks flushed with rose. The silent lips now spoke. ‘My name is Galatea,’ the statue said. Pygmalion was astonished and believed his prayers were finally answered.
Pygmalion now had a real flesh and blood Aphrodite of his own. He married Galatea. His desire for life improved and he no longer yearned for the divine and original Aphrodite. Galatea eventually bore him a son by the name of Paphos. His son in turn had a boy named Cinyras who founded the Cyprian city of Paphos and there he built a famous temple to Aphrodite without whose kindness neither he nor his father would have been born.