A long time ago in Ancient Pelasgia, the name of which has long since been forgotten, there dwelled an apprentice sorceress named Tamandra. Now although Tamandra was pretty, she wished to be even more so, not only that, but she also wished for her rivals to become ugly, or at least less pretty than she.
Tirelessly, Tamandra slaved over potions and charms to help achieve her ends, but as she was still a novice, her efforts were of no avail. Also, her intentions were selfish as regards what she wished for herself and evil in what she would do unto others, such negative magic is the most difficult to master successfully.
Of course, anything can be achieved if one is willing to invest regardless of the cost, and the price of Tamandra’s success was to barter her soul.
And so the vain young sorceress came to kneel at the feet of the Fates, offering her life force in exchange for the power to indulge her dreams. The three goddesses listened patiently to her pleas, and then deliberated among themselves, before weighing her future on the scales of destiny. One could consider their decision to purchase Tamandra’s soul as callous, but then, what are the fickle follies of mortals to the gods?
Tamandra returned home and set once more about her elixirs, talismans and incantations, and slowly but surely, she noticed how the changes she desired were materialising before her eyes.
But Tamandra could not refrain from gloating, as she witnessed her rivals looks gradually fade, as orchid blooms inevitably wither, while she continued to blossom like a rose blessed by divinity. Like a moth to a flame, she found herself obsessed with mirrors and reflections, never tiring of seeing her own image.
As Tamandra began to ridicule her rivals more openly, she found that they merely laughed and mocked her. At first, she assumed they were blind to the realities of her magic art and dismissed it, but as time passed and their derision increased, she determined to visit the sacred oracle and solve the mystery.
After sacrificing generously, she entered the sacred temple to kneel before the long dead remains of an ancient oak, and the serpent that dwelled upon it. After delivering her inquiry, the voice of the Pythoness spoke, advising her to visit the pool of purity.
So Tamandra journeyed to the grove of the virgin and knelt before the precincts sacred pool – to her horror, the reflection looking back at her was that of a decrepit old hag covered in warts. Another reflection appeared over her shoulder, which Tamandra recognized as her main rival’s; rather than being gnarled and withered as she had appeared in Tamandra’s eyes, she was as stunning as the goddess of love.
Tamandra shrieked her despair, flew to the mountain abode of the Fates, and threw herself at their feet, pleading for them to take pity on her, as though such non-sentimental beings could be moved.
When no sympathy was forthcoming, Tamandra cried: “Why did you cheat me, O faithless ones?”
“We gave you what you wished for, only in reverse,” The Fates answered as one.
“But I sold you my soul. No matter what I wished for, you never intended to keep faith.” She sobbed in self pity.
“That’s not true; there was a way you could have had beauty for the rest of your natural life,” The Fates assured her.
“How, tell me how?” she cried.
The Fates answered, “You could have wished for everyone to become more beautiful.”