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Cypress

On the island Keos in the Karfei Valley, there was a deer dedicated to the nymphs. This deer was beautiful. His branching horns were gilded, a pearl necklace adorned his neck, and precious ornaments descended from his ears. The deer has completely forgotten the fear of people. He went into the houses of the villagers and willingly stretched out his neck to anyone who wanted to stroke it. All the inhabitants loved this deer, but most of all he was loved by the young son of King Keos, Cypress, the beloved friend of the archer Apollo. The cypress led the deer to glades with juicy grass and to sonorously murmuring streams; he decorated his mighty horns with wreaths of fragrant flowers; often, playing with a deer, a young Cypress jumped laughing on his back and rode him through the blooming Karfey valley.

It was a hot summer afternoon; the sun was scorching; the whole air was full of heat. The deer took shelter in the shade from the midday heat and lay down in the bushes. By chance, a cypress was hunting where the deer was lying. He did not recognize his pet deer, as he was covered by foliage, threw a sharp spear at him and struck him to death. Cypress was horrified when he saw that he had killed his pet. In grief, he wants to die with him. Apollo comforted him in vain. The grief of the Cypress was inconsolable, he prays to the silver-armed god that God would let him be sad forever. Apollo heeded him. The young man turned into a tree. His curls became dark green needles, his body was clothed with bark. He stood like a slender cypress tree in front of Apollo; like an arrow, his peak went into the sky. Apollo sighed sadly and said:

- I will always grieve for you, beautiful young man, and you will grieve for someone else's grief. Be always with the mourners!

Since then, the Greeks hung a branch of a cypress tree at the door of the house where the deceased is, its needles decorated funeral pyres, on which the bodies of the deceased were burned, and planted cypresses at the graves.