11. Pyramus and Thisbe

Once upon a time, Pyramus, a handsome young man, and Thisbe, a lovely eastern girl, lived in adjoining houses. They loved each other and wished to get married, but their parents did not approve. However, the intensity of their passionate love increased, the more it was forbidden.

They resolved to quietly leave their homes at night, meet at the tomb of Ninus, beneath the snow-white fruit laden mulberry tree, which was near a cool spring, and thereafter, run away, to happily live together elsewhere.

As night came, Thisbe, made bold with love, covered her face with a veil and reached the mulberry tree, near the spring. But a lioness, after eating an oxen, arrived with blood smeared jaws, to quench her thirst at the spring. In fright, Thisbe ran and her veil dropped. The lioness tore Thisbe’s veil with her bloody jaws and went away.

Soon Pyramus arrived. Seeing the footprints of the lioness and the torn blood-stained veil, he slumped down beneath the tree, weeping wildly, while constantly kissing the torn veil. Then he drew his sword, pierced it deep in his bowels, plucked it out, and fell on the ground, which turned crimson with blood flowing from his wound.

Shortly after, Thisbe returned and saw the wounded Pyramus. She tenderly enclosed him in her soft loving arms, bathed his wound with unstoppable tears, and hysterically kissed his death-cold face. Pyramus, with great effort opened his eyelids, gazed at Thisbe, smiled a most loving smile, and remaining cradled in her fond arms, died.

Thisbe wailed uncontrollably. Then she took the sword, still warm with Pyramus’ blood, fixed the sharp point below her breast, and fell on the keen sword. While dying, she prayed that may their parents join them in death, and may the lovers blood spilled on the roots of the mulberry tree, darken the snow-white mulberry fruits. The Gods answered her prayer. The mulberry fruits darkened and their parents, joined their gathered ashes in a single urn.

Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time-II: 150 Greek Mythology Stories” by Rajen Jani

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