Nausithous and Dorkas
By Jeff Baker
Long ago, when Ancient Greece was new, there lived a young man so good-looking that everyone fell in love with him. Including him. He was so in love with himself that the people in his village used to say that he was some kind of narcissist. And, they were close to the truth. For the young man was, in fact, the son of Narcissus and Echo, the result of their one-night tryst which wound up with his father turned into a flower by a reflecting pond and his mother a disembodied voice. And, unfortunately for young Nausithous, he was also the recipient of the curse that had befallen his parents, for he couldn’t get enough of himself in the mirror.
One afternoon, when young Nausithous was finishing lunch after a pleasant morning admiring himself in the mirror there was a knock at the door. Making apologies to the mirror he went to the door and found standing there, a gorgeous young woman holding a scroll.
“Hello,” she said. “My name is Dorkas and I’m working my way through school selling subscriptions to The Daily Acts and I was wondering…”
“These daily acts,” Nausithous asked, “are any of them about me?”
“Um, I don’t think so.” Dorkas said. “But then, I haven’t read the latest edition.”
“Sorry, not interested,” Nausithous said as he closed the door and went back to his mirror.
But outside, what Dorkas heard was; “Interested. Interested. Interested.” So naturally, being a good salesperson, she opened the door (they had no locks on doors in those days, just a well-trained slave boy who slept in front of it at night) and went in. Meanwhile, Nausithous was back to admiring himself in the mirror.
“Oh, if you weren’t a mirror I could tell you how much I love you,” he said to his reflection.
In the other room, the voice (this time sounding just like Nausithous) repeated; “I love you. Love you. Love you.”
For the voice, of course, was Echo. Besides being a disembodied voice, she was after all, Nausithous’ mother. And mothers know what their sons want, even if the sons don’t.
“Mister Nausithous,” Dorkas said. “Did I tell you about the Sunday supplements and our coupon offers?”
But what Nausithous heard, courtesy of Echo, was: “Sunday supplements tell you about Nausithous. Nausithous. Nausithous.”
“Lemmie see one of those Sunday supplements,” he said. And then he looked into her eyes and realized he could see himself reflected in them perfectly.
“I love you,” he said to his reflection in her eyes.
“I love you,” she said back.
“I love you. Love you. Love you,” repeated the voice.
So, they soon were married and it was perfect for them. Dorkas was always out selling subscriptions and Nausithous was too preoccupied with himself to get into any trouble. Of course, tongues in the village wagged, as they often do. But soon, all the talk was about the scandal with Oedipus and his family, so the locals realized that there were more awkward relationships and that this one wasn’t the end.
“The End. The End. The End…”