Daily mythology: Salmakis


Salmakis is a nymph living in a fountain near the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos in today’s Bodrum. Note: every running water has its nymph and though they are rather shy lonely wanderers might see them – or in high noon or at midnight – mainly bathing naked. Nabokov clearly saw one. Trees or caverns ore special places might have their nymphs too. The Romans called them “genius loci”. Nymphs live very long but are not immortal, though they give birth to immortal children, if a god approaches them. Note: Nymphs differ only in one letter from human lymph.
Now to Salmakis. She fell in love with Hermaphroditos and united for ever with him. Thus her waters are said to effeminate… I visited the well of Salmakis some years ago with my friend Freddy. “Fuck off with all that mythological rubbish!” he said. Then he drank of that water. A group of tourists passed. “Who is that lovely young man?” he asked.


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