In Greek mythology Narcissus is an example of
a beautiful young man who spurned sex and died
as a result. As such, the Narissus myth has much
in common with those of Adonis and Hippolytus.
In the Roman poet Ovid's retelling of the myth,
Narcissus is the son of the river god Cephissus
and the nymph Liriope. Tiresias, the seer, told
his parents that the child "would live to
an old age if it did not look at itself."
Many nymphs and girls fell in love with him, but
he rejected them. One of these nymphs, Echo, was
so distraught over this rejection that she withdrew
into a lonely spot and faded until all that was
left was a plaintive whisper. The goddess Nemesis
heard the rejected girls prayers for vengeance
and arranged for Narcissus to fall in love with
his own reflection. He stayed watching his reflection
transfixed to the point of letting himself die
over the matter. It is quite possible, however,
that the connection between Echo and Narcissus
was entirely Ovid's own invention, for there is
no earlier witness to it.