Sunday, April 5, 2015

#ATOZCHALLENGE: Letter E: The Unheard Voice, Echo

Echo hiding in the forest

This is one story that broke my heart. I believe that these kind of myths  subjugated women in every part of the world. We are termed as the weaker sex. Male dominance is given precedence. Where did these ideas come from? As I turned the pages of History, it became clear that all our social norms and expectations stemmed from there. The Story of Echo is a story of woman punished due to her courage to ward off the sexual advances of a man. Though there are many myths. the seed of their birth must have taken place in  the minds of humans. For Myths are lores passed on from generation to generation via storytelling. Here is my tribute to our first recorded 'Damini.' Though there are many legends of Echo, I  have based my story on the version of Longus, a Greek Author, in the 2nd CE.

The fireflies cast an yellow glow around the forest. Tonight there was an unusual hum in the air. All the animals were alert for they knew that their lord Pan would visit them tonight. And sure enough before  the sun rose in the glen, every bird, every flower and even the tiny insects felt alive with expectations. Soon Pan trotted with his band of wild shepherds, intoxicated and merry. 

They lit a fire and sat down to rest; while all the animals and fairies ran about  to make them comfortable. Suddenly, their laughter was cut off by a melodious voice coming from the somewhere deep in the forest. 

"What a lovely voice!" Pan said shushing his merry men. As silence descended, the voice took over his senses and he could no longer bear it. Leaving his friends behind, he trotted deep inside the forest in the direction of the melodious voice. After trotting for sometime, he came upon a clearing where the small waterfall was gurgling. His eyes oblivious to the beauty around him searched for the voice. It was then he found a beautiful girl, sitting on the rocks, singing to her heart's content. He trotted towards her careful not to make a sound for he did not want to scare her away. 

But she must have felt his presence, for she stopped singing. She she turned towards him and gasped. Upreturbed at her reaction, for he was used to it, he quickly spoke up before she bolted away,  "Don't be afraid. I'm Pan, God of the Shepherds and Folks. I came to visit this jungle after many centuries."

The maiden got up and bowed down before him, giving him his due respect. "I'm Echo, a forest nymph."

"You've a beautiful voice," said Pan, his eyes taking in the beautiful nymph before him. 

Echo looked at him curiously. She had of course heard of Pan, but had never seen him. His half man and half goat figure made her both afraid and intrigued. But she kept her fear hidden. It was rumoured that Pan thought that he was very good looking and made any one's life miserable if told otherwise. 

"Will you sing and dance for me if I play the flute?"

Echo agreed and they spent some time lost in music. Soon Pan's band of shepherd joined them and amidst all this, Pan suddenly decided to kiss her. Horrified Echo tried to back away but Pan riding high on music, beauty and drinks, did not hear her pleas. 

"Let go of me, you goat man!" Echo screamed. her fear overcoming her shyness.

There was pin drop silence in the woods. "What did you say?" asked Pan, his voice dangerously quiet. 

"How dare you force me against my will?" Just because you are a god you cannot do this. Have you ever seen your face in the mirror? How grotesque you are!"

Pan shook in rage. He hated it when someone pointed out his goat legs.  "So you find me grotesque?" he thundered.  "I hope you find my 'men' more up to your desires. 

From that day onwards, the beautiful maiden, Echo was never seen but her sorrowful voice could be heard- repeating every desire of man, every pain and scream of men leaden with her own pain. 


Note:
Echo was a nymph whose myth provided the limitations of how a woman's sexual preferences had to be curbed. Both the myths associated with her, talks about how she was punished for speaking out. When she falls in love with Narcissis, she was mocked for letting her desire be known and her legend with Pan makes her suffer for she rejected the sexual advances of a man. In the Pan's version, it says her body was shredded to pieces by the Shepherds to punish her for insulting Pan.Today we call such actions of men - gang rape. 

This Post is linked to A to Z Challenge Write Tribe Pro Blogger The Book Club 


#ATOZCHALLENGE: Letter E


A PROUD MEMBER OF THE TEAM HOLTON'S HERO

Reactions:

26 comments:

  1. Ina, a tale that is so touching! I also remember the myth of Echo and Narcissus, another heartbreaking story! As I have said earlier, I love the way you weave these myths! Looking forward to all your posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Deepti. Sad that either way told a beautiful voice has the same violent end..

      Delete
  2. *sniffles* Powerfully told, and so tragic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry if it made you sad Devika but this tale somehow touched my heard. Even with so much violence, it is one of the forgotten stories in the pages of mythology.

      Delete
  3. Really tragic and sad, makes my blood boil. Even the Gods? And such an ego!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is one aspect I want to explore Ruchi. Were they Gods?

      Delete
  4. Heartrending tale, well told. This is how Human consciousness deteriorated over time - more and more as they respected women less and less. Kudos Ina!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sundari. Women have been subjuagated from time immemorial.

      Delete
  5. Very nicely narrated and a very sad story. Respect for women is not a virtue a lot of men care for it seems.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a sad story. :( Powerfully narrated.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ah, yes. Tales and myths make up our attitude to the role of the sexes. However, maybe, just maybe, she shouldn't have insulted him. Maybe it would have turned out differently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really think so Francene. I hope so too. But when a man filled with lust confronts a woman, the ending has to be tragic for his ego is too big for him to think. Moreover, under any circumstance I don't think rape can be justified. And that too gang rape.

      Delete
  8. That was heart-breaking tale. And I also like the forewords. It's true that even now woman's voice is smothered for shattering a man's ego. Nothing much has changed, has it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This story reminded me of Damini. So yes... nothing has changed Prasanna :(

      Delete
  9. A really heart breaking tale narrated so well!

    Entrapped

    ReplyDelete
  10. The story is so well written that I could visualise it completely and that disturbed me alot. Even if it is mythology but what kind of Gods were these or what were they made out to be? Shouldn't Gods be depicted as epitome of Love, kindness, compassion and peace?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Anamika, seems like Gods had their own desires and way of life. Good or bad, it was there. Today we use the stories as morals. Mayb it was for that. Leaving morals behind. We can never be sure but none of the Gods were without flaws of their own.

      Delete
  11. Thank you Prachi for your kind words. This hidden tales are what facinates me. Seems like 'men' have not evolved.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've always been amazed at how honest the Greek god stories were. It's hard to read your Echo story, but it does still happen today. A woman telling her story might just save another. I hope Echo's story saved a few woman through the centuries :)

    You can find me here:
    ClarabelleRant

    ReplyDelete
  13. Its true that this kind of torture has been happening since time immemorial. A very sad story, but what's scarier is how close it is to real life.

    ReplyDelete