- , ECHOICEcho, daughter of air and earth, at the behest of Zeus, kept up an incessant chatter so that his wife, Hera (the queen of the heavens), would not know that he was involved in trysts with the nymphs. This chatter so distracted Hera that she was thwarted in her efforts to prove her husband's infidelities. But one day Hera learned of Echo's stratagem and punished her by depriving her of the power of speech—except to repeat what others said.As if that weren't bad enough, Echo, despite her handicap, fell hopelessly in love with Narcissus, the handsome son of a river god, who scorned all who loved him. When he spurned Echo's love, she gradually wasted away, hiding from society in caves until only her bones and voice were left. She had lost all her charm and beauty and could speak only when spoken to and only repeat words she heard.Nemesis, goddess of vengeance, thought of an appropriate punishment for Narcissus. She made him fall in love with his own reflection in the waters of a fountain, and, since such love cannot be consummated, he finally pined away and turned into a flower. Echo might not have known it, but Narcissus had the same feeling of loneliness and despair that she had.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.