Ovid's Metamorphoses: Marysas

This story is part of the Ovid's Metamorphoses unit. Story source: Ovid's Metamorphoses, translated by Tony Kline (2000).

The tale of Marsyas

When whoever it was had finished relating the ruin of the men of Lycia, another storyteller remembered the satyr, Marsyas, whom Apollo, Latona’s son, had defeated, playing on the flute, that Tritonian Minerva invented. He had exacted punishment.

Marsyas cried, ‘Why do you peel me out of myself? Aah! I repent,’ he screamed in agony. ‘Aah! Music is not worth this pain!’

As he screams, the skin is flayed from the surface of his body, no part is untouched. Blood flows everywhere, the exposed sinews are visible, and the trembling veins quiver, without skin to hide them: you can number the internal organs, and the fibres of the lungs, clearly visible in his chest.

The woodland gods, and the fauns of the countryside, wept, and his brother satyrs, Olympus his friend and pupil, still dear to him then, and the nymphs, and all who pastured their fleecy sheep and horned cattle on those mountains. The fertile soil was drenched, and the drenched earth caught the falling tears, and absorbed them into its deep veins. It formed a stream then, and sent it into the clear air. From there it ran within sloping banks, quickly, to the sea, the clearest river of Phrygia, taking Marsyas’s name.







(300 words)

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