Briefly named in the Metamorphoses of Ovid, Lethaea was the vain and hubristic lover of a man named Olenus. The gods found fault in her overweening self-admiration, so they turned her to a stone at Ida. Olenus, in despair and feeling responsible for flattering her until she reached such a perilous state, begged to share in her blame, and so he became a part of the same boulder.

Ovid refers to this tale as a metaphor for the stricken grief of Orpheus, after failing to bring his wife Eurydice safely back from the underworld, where he had just ventured and gone through great peril to recover her. According to Ovid, Orpheus was just as petrified and weighed down by his failure, and just as pitiable in his romantic fate, as the stone which had been Lethaea and Olenus.

Iron Noder 2015, 30/30

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