'Once upon a time there was a king and a queen,' writes Apuleius in 'Le Metamorfosi', 'they had three very beautiful daughters. The two eldest, although attractive, were quite normal girls, the third one that was the youngest, was so incredibly beautiful that you could not even described it. Many citizens and many foreigners were coming in town only to see her, having heard how beautiful she was. They would remain astonished seeing her and her beauty'.

The goddess of Beauty, Venus, heard of how much this little girl was getting admired and she got a little annoyed and disappointed by that.

'Is it possible that I, the ancient mother of nature, is forced to share the honors of beauty with a young girl and to see my name profaned within heaven? I swear that whoever is this unhappy girl, will not be able to enjoy its benefits and I will make sure that she immediately regrets of such unlawful beauty '.

This is the story of Love and Psyche. Venus tells her son Eros, aka Love, to throw one of his arrows in order to make Psyche fall in love with a monster. However, the eternal young man falls madly in love with Psyche and decides to take her into a beautiful gold and isolated palace and to marry her. The only condition that Love sets is that Psyche will never see him in the face. Love will go to meet her only at night without any type of light. If ever she would get curious and want to see him , Love would would never see her again: 'Psyche, you should know that it is not possible to look at love: if you see it, even if only for a moment, he will disappear forever! '

Far from the envy of Venus, in a house where she gets is served , Psyche could be very happy, but unfortunately decides to share her joys with her sisters. These two, seeing their young sister house and hearing about the beautiful mysterious husband, they feel an uncontrollable jealousy and decide to make him pay. 'Surely you're married to a monster, that’s why you can’t see his face' and they suggest 'tonight bring a candle and a sword in bed with you. Be ready to light the candle and immediately to take his head off '. The little young naive girl follows their advice, but as soon as she turns the light on she sees a beautiful young man with beautiful skin and golden curls. She gets very surprised and Love runs away flying! Yet when she asked to be able to take her sisters to the palace, he had warned her: 'Remember, Psyche, that you can’t share happiness: the only way to preserve it is to keep it as a secret!' The story goes on, Psyche will have to undergo many tests but eventually she will receive the gift of immortality and she and Love will be forever husband and wife.

'Happiness is not divisible'! Saint Paul invited to share joy with those who are in joy and crying with those in suffering, but how difficult it is to find people who know how to apply this lesson! Moral philosophy also teaches that the good (lawful) of the other is your good ...

Envy is a deadly sin and can be the cause of evil thoughts. What is the point? Envy is not being happy with something that someone else has: 'if I can’t have it, better that he / she does not have it'. Myths and story are full of fatal episodes happened because of envy, but the first envious of all is devil. The Holy Scripture says that death entered the world by 'envy of the devil'. He hates us, hates man, his election and his beauty and wants to ruin us. Envy therefore has a diabolical origin and is a feeling not to be cultivated. On the other hand it is good to avoid ostentation and at nowadays that we are very 'social' maybe it is better not to show everything about our lives ...

(Maximiliano Cattaneo)

ph: Love and Psyche - François-Édouard Picot - 1817 - Paris