Thomas Bulfinch > The Age of Fable > Vols. I & II: Stories of Gods and Heroes > XXII. c. Rhœcus
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Thomas Bulfinch (1796–1867).  Age of Fable: Vols. I & II: Stories of Gods and Heroes.  1913.

XXII. c.  Rhœcus
 
THE HAMADRYADS could appreciate services as well as punish injuries. The story of Rhœcus proves this. Rhœcus, happening to see an oak just ready to fall, ordered his servants to prop it up. The nymph, who had been on the point of perishing with the tree, came and expressed her gratitude to him for having saved her life and bade him ask what reward he would. Rhœcus boldly asked her love and the nymph yielded to his desire. She at the same time charged him to be constant and told him that a bee should be her messenger and let him know when she would admit his society. One time the bee came to Rhœcus when he was playing at draughts and he carelessly brushed it away. This so incensed the nymph that she deprived him of sight.   1
  
Our countryman, J. R. Lowell, has taken this story for the subject of one of his shorter poems. He introduces it thus:
        “Hear now this fairy legend of old Greece,
As full of freedom, youth and beauty still,
As the immortal freshness of that grace
Carved for all ages on some Attic frieze.”
   2

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