18. Myrrha desires her father

Once upon a time, Paphos, the daughter of the statue-bride and King Pygmalion of Cyprus, gave birth to a son named Cinyras, who became the king of Cyprus. King Cinyras married Cenchreis, who begat him a daughter Myrrha. It is certainly a crime to hate a parent, but loving a parent as Myrrha did, is undoubtedly more criminal than hate. Myrrha loved her father, not with the love of a daughter, but with the love of a wife.

Being quite aware of her immoral desire, Myrrha’s inflamed heart burnt with a guilty passion, to consort with her own father, for although he was her’s, yet he was not her’s, and although he was near, yet he was not near. She thought that if she became the mistress of her father, she would then become the competitor of her mother. If a son is born, then she would be the sister of her son, as well as the mother of her brother. Myrrha’s tormented heart knew no relief and every moment, she struggled with herself.

Cinyras loved Myrrha, as a father would love a daughter and greeted several suitors, who met him for the hand of Myrrha. When Cinyras asked Myrrha which suitor she liked, she replied the one who was just like him. Cinyras failed to understand her true meaning, and he thought she answered as any loving daughter might answer. But Myrrha, finding no way of consorting with her father, in utter dejection, tied one end of her girdle to a strong beam, and the other end, she fashioned as a noose around her fragile neck. In despair, she prepared to hang herself.

However, an old attentive nurse, hearing the sorrowful murmuring of Myrrha, promptly opened the shut door, saw the deathly preparation, screamed, seized the girdle, tore the noose apart, and embraced Myrrha in tears. Thereafter, she tried to find from Myrrha the reason for taking such a drastic step. After much persuasion failed, the rich experience of old age made her aware of Myrrha’s perverted love, although Myrrha never spoke of it at all.

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

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