Thursday, 17 April 2014

Tree Lore #3: Alexander & The Flower Maidens

"There are many instances closely parallel to these classical myths in mediaeval and modern legend. The story of Alexander and the flower-maidens, for instance, which was a favourite with the troubadours, and was subsequently popularised by Lamprecht, and later by Uhland, was presumably founded on a legend current in ancient Greece. The story goes that in a certain wood, when spring came, numbers of enormous flower buds appeared out of the ground, from each of which, as it opened, there leapt forth a beautiful maiden. Their robes were a part of their growth, and in colour they were just like their flowers, red and white. They played and danced in the shade, and their singing rivalled the birds'. All past heartaches were wiped away, and a life of joy and abundance seemed to open to him who saw them. But it was death for a maiden to leave her shady retreat and encounter the scorching sun. When summer was past, and the flowers withered and the birds were silent, the beautiful creatures died. Alexander and his knights, coming upon this magical wood, mated with the flower-maidens, and for more than three months lived in perfect happiness, till one by one the flowers faded, one by one the nymphs died, and the king and his companions had sorrowfully to resume their travels."

Text: The Sacred Tree in Religion & Myth (J. H. Philpot, 1897)
Image: Nymphs and Satyr (William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1873)

By North Utsire

No comments:

Post a Comment