Princess PSYCHE was the most amazingly beautiful mortal ever. She was almost as beautiful as APHRODITE with acne on a bad hair day. People beholding her gorgeousness were likely to forget their own names and swoon at her feet.
Although not usually a malicious Goddess, APHRODITE wanted this lovely princess out of the way. Her temples were being neglected by PSYCHE fans and it just wasn’t on. So she conspired with EROS to make the princess fall in love with the ugliest man they could find. That would soon get her out of the public eye.
EROS fluttered off and got ready to launch an Arrow of Love at the innocent PSYCHE. But by chance, he pricked his finger on that very arrow and fell hopelessly in love with her himself. This caused all kinds of problems for all concerned, and eventually PSYCHE found herself cut off from mortals and Gods alike as APHRODITE’s wrath pursued her.
She contemplated suicide by drowning, but even the waves refused to take her. The only way to salvation was by passing APHRODITE’s cruel and unusual tests. Forget sorting poppy seeds from lentils before daybreak or grabbing a cup of water from a mountain monster — the ultimate challenge was this: Go down to the Underworld and steal PERSEPHONE’s beauty cream.
Her heart quailed, but Princess PSYCHE made her radiant way down the gloomy steps. Seeing the approach of loveliness, CERBERUS, the ill-tempered Hound of Hell, rolled over like a puppy. One sweetie from her maidenly hand and he was friends for life. And grim CHARON, taking one look at her youthful beauty, blushed to his boots and gave her free passage. So finally she arrived at the throne room of HADES himself.
Now HADES is very proud of his domain, and doesn’t tolerate the living turning up. It spoils the atmosphere of gloom and despair. So he would’ve killed PSYCHE there and then, but his wife PERSEPHONE saw this was no ordinary interloper and asked why she’d come.
As the story unfolded, PERSEPHONE took pity on PSYCHE and gave her a big jar of her finest beauty cream. HADES sighed and allowed her to return, making a mental note to cancel CERBERUS’s doggie chocs for the next hundred years.
PSYCHE struggled back to the land of the living with the jar of beauty cream. What did APHRODITE want with beauty cream anyway? she wondered. It must be something really potent and special. Surely a little dab on her cheek wouldn’t do any harm?
So PSYCHE opened the jar, poked her finger inside, and instantly fainted away. It was very powerful beauty cream indeed. In fact it could have transformed MEDUSA, ugliest of the GORGONS, into a chart-busting sex kitten with the three GRAEAE sisters on backing vocals.
PSYCHE was about to wither away under the influence when EROS turned up and whisked her off to OLYMPUS. With ZEUS’s blessing, they were at last married. APHRODITE didn’t mind too much as she now had a goodly supply of face cream to play with.
She is now not just a Goddess of Beauty but also Personification of the Soul. Who says beauty is only skin-deep?