52. Clytie becomes a Heliotrope

Once upon a time, Helios the sun-god, loved Clytie, an Okeanid nymph, but due to the requital of Venus, he began to love Leucothea, a Persian princess. Where no evil was known, the jealous Clytie created evil, by widely publishing the secret love of Helios and Leucothea, as a big scandal. King Orchamas, the father of Leucothea, was furious and he cruelly buried Leucothea, alive in the ground. Helios tried to save Leucothea, but the denial of fate did not give any vantage to his might. On Leucothea’s grave, Helios sprinkled drops of fragrant nectar, and a sprout of Frankincense grew from it.

Thereafter, Helios came no more to Clytie and spent his time with other nymphs. Although Clytie’s love might make excuse of grief, and grief may plead to pardon jealous words, but the heart of Helios disdained Clytie, the schemer of his sorrow, and he never visited Clytie again. From that unhallowed moment, Clytie, who had made the sweetness of love turn sour, pined for Helios.

Day after day, Clytie burned with envy of other nymphs whom Helios visited, and night after night, she wept alone in loneliness. She abandoned all cares of her body, which remained unadorned and unprotected from the frosty breeze. Moved by grief, Clytie sat unmoved on the cold and hard ground, with only the dew or the salty flow of her own tears, nourishing her. For nine days, in utter woe and yearning for Helios, she sat there never even once raising herself up. She fixed her gaze on the sun, and moved her face, as Helios moved across the sky.

After some time, her limbs became roots fastened to the ground and a pearly white, spread on her countenance. Few scattered blushing tinges became violet tints, and Clytie became the Heliotrope flower. Even as a flower, Clytie forever turned her face to gaze at the sun-god Helios, as if to prove that everything might change, yet through all the changes, love remained unchanged.

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

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