The Legend of Cupid

The Legend of Cupid

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Cupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols -- a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows. Cupid aims his arrows at people, causing them to fall deeply in love.

In Roman mythology, Cupid's mother Venus was jealous of the beauty of Psyche, and ordered Cupid to punish the mortal. Instead, Cupid fell deeply in love with her. He took her as his wife, but as a mortal she was forbidden to look at him.

Psyche was happy until her sisters persuaded her to look at Cupid. As soon as Psyche looked at Cupid, Cupid punished her by leaving. Their lovely castle and gardens vanished too. Psyche found herself alone in an open field with no signs of other beings or Cupid.

As she wandered trying to find her love, she came upon the temple of Venus. Wishing to destroy her, the goddess of love gave Psyche a series of tasks. Psyche was given a small box and told to take it to the underworld to capture some of the beauty of Proserpine, the wife of Pluto.

During her trip she was given tips on avoiding the dangers of the realm of the dead and was warned not to open the box. But Temptation overcame Psyche and she opened the box. Instead of finding beauty, she found deadly slumber. Cupid found her lifeless on the ground. He gathered the deadly sleep from her body and put it back in the box. The gods, moved by Psyche's love for Cupid made her a goddess.

Today, Cupid and his arrows have become the most popular of love signs, and love is frequently depicted by two hearts pierced by an arrow -- Cupid's arrow.

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