Clytie The Heliotrope
: MAY DAY
: Good Stories For Great Holidays
BY OVID (ADAPTED)
There was once a Nymph named Clytie, who gazed ever at Apollo as he
drove his sun-chariot through the heavens. She watched him as he rose in
the east attended by the rosy-fingered Dawn and the dancing Hours. She
gazed as he ascended the heavens, urging his steeds still higher in
the fierce heat of the noonday. She looked with wonder as at evening
he guided his steeds downward to their ma
y-colored pastures under the
western sky, where they fed all night on ambrosia.
Apollo saw not Clytie. He had no thought for her, but he shed his
brightest beams upon her sister the white Nymph Leucothoe. And when
Clytie perceived this she was filled with envy and grief.
Night and day she sat on the bare ground weeping. For nine days and nine
nights she never raised herself from the earth, nor did she take food
or drink; but ever she turned her weeping eyes toward the sun-god as he
moved through the sky.
And her limbs became rooted to the ground. Green leaves enfolded her
body. Her beautiful face was concealed by tiny flowers, violet-colored
and sweet with perfume. Thus was she changed into a flower and her roots
held her fast to the ground; but ever she turned her blossom-covered
face toward the sun, following with eager gaze his daily flight. In vain
were her sorrow and tears, for Apollo regarded her not.
And so through the ages has the Nymph turned her dew-washed face toward
the heavens, and men no longer call her Clytie, but the sun-flower,