Narcissus (another name for the daffodil), is the word from which we get “narcissism“, which is in reference to the tragic story of the haughty Narcissus in Greek myth.
In the tale told by Ovid, one day when the handsome Narcissus was out hunting stags, the beautiful nymph Echo (who, in another story, had been doomed by Juno to only repeat what others said to her first) stealthily followed the youth through the woods. Alas, she longed to speak to him but was unable to speak first.
When Narcissus finally heard her footsteps, he shouted “Who’s there?” Echo of course could only answer, “Who’s there?” And so it went. Finally Echo showed herself and rushed to embrace the beautiful young man. But he roughly pushed her away, and told her to leave him alone. Narcissus left Echo heartbroken and she spent the rest of her life in lonely glens, pining away for the love she never knew, until only her voice remained
His vanity, though, was his undoing. Eventually he became thirsty and, arriving at a pool of water, he bent down to drink. But there, in the reflection, he saw himself, and fell in love. In fact, he wouldn’t touch the water for fear of damaging his reflection, so he died of thirst, still staring at his own reflection. The Narcissus flower grew from where he died.
Thus, the daffodil is often shunned in ceremonies where there might be any appearance of vanity or exaggerated pompousness.
However, it is a favorite magical flower for many other reasons, which I’ll share tomorrow.