Thisbe

November 19th, 2007 by sabrina

Thisbe (pronounced THIZ-bee) is a Babylonian Goddess of unrequited love. She was the fairest maiden in her village, and her next door neighbour Pyramus was the most handsome young man. They were deeply in love, but their parents forbid them to see each other. They continued to converse through a crack in the wall between their houses, and made plans to run away together.

Thisbe was the first to reach their intended rendezvous point, a white mulberry tree next to a spring just outside their village. As Thisbe waited, a lioness came to drink from the spring, her mouth dripping with blood from a recent kill. Thisbe, frightened by the lioness, ran off to a nearby cave, but in her haste she left behind her cloak, which had been a gift from Pyramus. The lioness, seeing the cloak, tossed it around in her mouth, leaving it bloody and torn.

Pyramus finally arrived at the mulberry tree, where he found Thisbe’s bloody cloak and saw the footprints of the lioness. Fearing the worst, he blamed himself for persuading Thisbe to meet him alone. Pyramus took out his sword and drove it into his heart, thinking that he would meet his beloved in the next world.

In the nearby cave, Thisbe heard Pyramus cry out and rushed to his side. He opened his eyes long enough to see her, and then slipped away. Thisbe then took Pyramus’s sword and stabbed herself too, so that they could be together forever. Their blood splashed on to the mulberry tree and soaked down to its roots. The berries on the tree turned red, and have stayed that way ever since.

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