Hermaphroditus (aka Aphroditos), son of Aphrodite and Hermes, was raised by naiads in Ida. When he was 15, he traveled to surrounding cities below, bored with his life on the mountain. It was during his journey that he met Salmacis, a nymph who was overcome with lust (not love,) for the handsome young boy. She attempted to seduce him, but Hermaphroditus resisted. When she left, he undressed and bathed in her pool. But Salmacis had not left. She lept into the waters behind him and forced him to kiss her, touching his body. Arms wrapped around him as he struggled, the nymph called out to the gods that they may always be together, never apart. Her wish was granted, and the two’s bodies morphed into one, “a creature of both sexes.” Hermaphroditus prayed to his mother and father that whoever bathed in the same pool from then on would take a similar form to his new one, and his prayer was answered.

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