Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Psyche

The PsycheThe Psyche

There was once a sculptor in Italy, many years ago, but only a day in a star’s eye. The sculptor was talented and was great, but often lacked patience. He would often destroy his work if not entirely satisfied. He had to have something finished to show people to say that he was an artist.

One day he saw a young noblewoman and envisioned her as Psyche of mythology. He sculpted her of clay and people liked it. They went on to say that he just had to sculpt it in marble. So he started on the task.

He soon knew a bit of fame. He soon knew a bit of fortune. He thought himself high. The statue was finished and people thought it wonderful. The father of the girl whose image was immortalized in the stone thought it just wonderful and so did the girl.

After a time, the artist was invited to go and see the girl. He had fallen in love with her. He told her so at their meeting, but she did not return his feelings. He left broken-hearted. He sought to destroy his statue, but an artist friend told him that he could not. The artist friend told him he had to move on with his life. He had talent.

The artist listened for a time, but then pitched his statue down a well and covered it with the Earth. He went away to become a monk. He was a monk for many years and later met up with this same artist friend. This friend told him he still had much talent and should return to the world. The artist reviled against his friend.

Later he thought about it and realized that God had given him a talent and he had wasted it all for his pride. He then died. Many years later the beautiful psyche statue was found. It was praised as a beautiful example of artwork from the era, but no one knew the name of he who had made it.

psycheObservations

Psyche is a figure of Greek mythology and her story is one that is the basis for several fairy tales that I just love. The Polar Bear King and The Iron Stove are simply versions of the story about Psyche. Psyche is married to Cupid, but does not know she is married to Cupid as he only comes in at night when Psyche cannot see him. Her sisters talk her into looking at his face, which she isn’t supposed to do. He then leaves and goes to the house of his mother, Venus. Psyche searches for him and finally finds him where she then must complete tasks set for by Venus. Cupid finally finds her and they are married for real.

Psyche has been the basis of many pieces of artwork, including the one to the left, which is Bertel Thorvaldsen’s version. The name Psyche has come to represent the soul or the mind. The marriage of Cupid and Psyche was the ideal marriage of soul and love.

Themes

The artist did hide his talent. He let his pride get the best of him. He let his emotions rule him. Emotions are great and all, but you’re not supposed to let them make you blind to your life. The artist in this story could have been remembered from this point on. Who made this statue? That guy. Who made this statue? Also that guy. That guy is the perfect example of a sculptor from so-and-so era and is used in art history text books the world over. That could have been what this artist had, but he let things get in the way.

His hid his talent away in an abbey because some woman rejected him. Some woman–you’re going to let one woman ruin your life? You’re going to let one person have that much control over you?

In the scriptures, it basically says that you’re not supposed to hide your talents in a bushel. You’re not supposed to hide what God has given you away from the world. You have a talent or intelligence for a reason; you’re supposed to share it with the world. If you have some talent, you’re not supposed to sit on your butt at home not using it and neither are you supposed to put that talent away when your life gets rough. Capisce?

Overall

Don’t be this guy.

Weigh In

Do you think we let any one person have too much control over our lives?

Do you think God condoned the artist hiding in his abbey?

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