Cupid & Psyche by HeadBoy
“Cupid don’t draw back your bow, Sam Cooke didn’t know what I know” •Jakob Dylan
It was a mythic day, long ago, when Psyche was a princess so beautiful that the goddess Venus became jealous. In her anger-blinded attempt at revenge, she instructs her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with a hideous monster, a mullet-wearing incarnation of evil; but instead Cupid falls in love with her himself.
He becomes her unseen husband, visiting her only at night. Brushing her long hair, kissing her supple neck, nibbling her and bringing her great joy and pleasure.
Psyche doesn’t listen to Cupid when he instructs her that she should never attempt to look directly at him, and when she does she loses him. She is heartbroken, love struck and alone. She must have him back, no matter what.
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Psyche’s search leads her back to Venus, a now-bitter goddess who blames Psyche for the loss of her son, the noble Cupid.
Psyche pleads with Venus, to no avail…
“Please tell me where he is.”
“No, you are not worthy.”
“Then let me prove myself worthy, I’ll do anything you ask.”
“Anything?” Venus said, possibilities racing through her mind.
“Anything you command.”
Venus raises her hand, and Psyche’s long, luscious hair disappears, leaving her bald. “Then let him see you like this,” Venus said, cackling in a goddess of thunder voice.
Venus then laid out a series of tasks, each more difficult, and more unpleasant, than the one before. Cupid, still invisible, is forced to sit at his Mother’s side and watch. Watch as Psyche battles a beast. Watch as she pushes a pebble across a beach, without leaving a trail. Watch as she battles a sea beast with more tentacles than a dozen squid. Watch as she sleeps, and has nightmares of her head being rid of its hair, over and over again. Watch as she wrestles the wind. Watch as she weeps for her now-gone hair. Cupid can watch no longer, he looks to his Mother and pleads with her:
“Mother,” Cupid begs, “I cannot stand by any longer and watch… hasn’t she proven herself yet?”
“You mean you still love her, as she is right now: bald, filthy and broken?”
“She is not broken Mother, she has true love in her heart. Nothing can break that.” Venus cast Cupid in chains, and sent him to Hades, god of the underworld to serve while Psyche proved herself worthy.
Cupid looked up from the underworld, and saw Psyche stop in one of her arduous tasks and help a lost girl find her way home. As the lost girl ran into the arms of her relieved parents, Psyche mumbled, “Wherever you are, my Cupid, I love you and will never stop searching for you.”
Hades saw her kindness, and his evil heart melted.
“She really is a beautiful woman, my friend.” Hades smiled, for the first time, and the last.
“Yes, and she has endured much,” said Cupid.
“Then go to her,” Hades said, releasing Cupid from bondage, and into the arms of his beloved Psyche.
Her caressed her bruised shoulders and kissed her naked skull. They didn’t speak for days, instead they embraced and kissed, and thought of nothing but each other.
From the top of Mount Olympus, Venus sat, stewing.
“Fine,” she said, still wracked with hatred for her son’s love. “Then let her stay bald, forever, and let my son spend eternity leading women down the path his wife chose.” Venus cursed Psyche with the eternal dream of sitting each night in her dream, and letting Venus shave her head. Each night, she would stand afterward, thank Venus and look into the nearby lake. The shock was the same each night. The moon would glisten off of her naked scalp, her ears would appear to be sticking out too far. Her heart would shuffle into her throat and then fall to her feet. She’d wake in a cold sweat, and look over at her lover Cupid. She would smile then, and fall back to sleep to repeat the dream.
Psyche took Cupid to her home, where her Father the King ruled. He was elated to see his daughter return. Elated with her return, and shocked by her shorn head.
“What happened to you?”
“Venus decried this fate upon me when I fell in love with her son.”
The King looked at Cupid, he knew the rules, he could not harm a god. He looked at Cupid, “Do you love my daughter?” he asked.
“With an eternal heart, your majesty.”
“Then the women of my kingdom shall not have hair as long as my daughter has none.”
The King’s will was law, and he asked Cupid to oversee the shaving of every woman’s head in the kingdom.
It took three months of Cupid gathering up the women of the kingdom, many of them screaming in protest, many of them begging for this not to happen. Some resigned to the fact that it would happen. Some secretly enjoying the thought. The men of the kingdom protested, but the King turned a deaf ear.
Head after head was denuded, and the King had forbidden the wearing of scarves. The women of the Kingdom plotted ways of revenge, spoke of open rebellion, but nothing came of it, it was the will of their King. In time, they all got used to it, many never would grow to like the new look. And unlike Psyche, the women under her Father’s rule had to shave their own scalps, some daily.
But Cupid and Psyche lived happily by the lake, going for long walks by the waterside, eating lunch in the tall grass. Their love grew, and it had a way of taking over anyone they came in contact with. Anyone who came within sight of the pair was instantly in love with whomever they were with, and the Kingdom grew to be a happy place. A happy place full of bald women, and sturdy, hardworking men. Venus still sat atop Mount Olympus, but she wondered what had become of her son.
She ventured down off the mountain and into the tiny kingdom. Not wanting to be discovered, she took on the form of a peasant woman and walked up the cobblestone road to the castle.
A man pulling an ox cart up the road noticed her right away. She stuck out as different, being the only woman in the entire kingdom with hair. She was taken into custody by the sheriff and brought before the King and his daughter, Psyche.
Venus was trapped, did she let on who she was and earn the wrath of her son forever? Or did she stand before the King and do his bidding.
“It can’t be that bad,” Venus thought, “they’ll throw me out of the kingdom and I’ll merely take on the form of a man when I return. Venus opted to stay and stand before the King.
“As you are in my kingdom,” he said in his noble baritone, “you are my subject.”
“Yes, um, Your Majesty,” Venus said, humbly.
“Then you shall look like one,” he said, clapping his hands and bringing forth the Royal straight razor.
Venus sat stunned, unable to move as the Royal barber gathered her long, dark curls into his hand. “No, Your Majesty,” Venus begged, and there was silence except for the sound of her hair being sliced off and dropped at her feet. Tears welled in her eyes as the Royal barber began above her right ear, and scraped away a path on the side of her head. She shook slightly as the razor worked its way up the side of her head. She wept openly as it mowed away the curls atop her head. She began to moan and wail as the last pass was made.
Then the soap was rubbed onto the stubble, and Venus froze in total horror. By now, she’d forgotten she could just leave this situation and not have to submit to this. But her fear had paralyzed her. She couldn’t move a muscle.
But she could feel the razor scrape away the last of the dark fuzz on her head, leaving Venus shining and bald.
As she stood to leave, the Royal barber made her turn to thank the King.
“Thank you, Your Majesty.” And she walked out quickly.
Venus went straight back to Mount Olympus to see Zeus and tell him of her day with the common folk. Zeus had long ago tired of Venus’ ways.
“You know,” Zeus said, “I like you this way. Why don’t you keep your head like that?’
“I’d prefer not,” she replied, rubbing her head and hating it.
“I insist, and since I am Zeus, so be it.”
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