Hyacinth, the young son of the King of Sparta, was beautiful like the very gods of Mount Olympus themselves. His youthful attractiveness caught the eye of Apollo, the shooter of arrows and the God of the sun. Apollo, in mortal form, had a powerful chest, firm muscles and a keen eye for love. Particularly the love of a handsome male youth.
The god would often come to the shores of the Eurotas River, leaving his shrine in Delphi unattended. Here he befriended Hyacinth and soon they were spending much time together, delighting in adolescent pleasures. Tired of his music and his bow, Apollo found relief in their rustic pastimes. He took Hyacinth hunting through the woods and glades on the mountain sides. They practiced gymnastics, a skill which Hyacinth then taught to his friends, and for which later the Spartans would become renowned.
But he did not pass on all of the things he learned with Apollo. He kept to himself, for example, the things he was taught about the pleasures of love; how to tend to a friend, how to give pleasure in return for guidance and protection. He did not tell his father, the King, all of what he did in those long summer days in the woods. How he and Apollo would grapple naked, trying to floor each other in wrestling. How, when Apollo pinned him to the mossy earth he became aroused as the god made man pressed his firm body onto his, how he licked at the sweat that moistened Apollo's hard shoulders and savoured the feel of the dark curly hair against his cheek. Hyacinth kept to himself his wild imaginings when Apollo rolled him flat on his stomach, lowered his heavy body over the youth and pressed all of his manliness downwards, pinning the lad in submission and pleasure. And, at first, he did not tell Apollo what he felt either.
As summer drew on and the games they played increased in fervour, Apollo knew that it was only a matter of time before the youth gave in to him. He had the power to make the lad turn to him, open his arms and his lips to him and submit. But Apollo was in love, and each day his love for Hyacinth increased until it passed the bounds of lust. He knew he could not force the lad to yield. And he knew that he did not have to.
Once, in the heat of a late summer afternoon, the friends stripped naked, sleeked themselves with olive oil, and began to wrestle.
Hyacinth closed his eyes when he felt the powerful hands of his friend grip together behind his back. His chest pressed against Apollo's, constricting his breathing, his head pushed back against the older man's shoulder and his feet tried to find purchase in the soil. Apollo pushed back and like bucking stags they forced each other backwards, then lost ground, then won a move until Hyacinth felt his strength leaving him. He was panting, his pulse racing as his mind wandered. He could no longer think of the fight, only of how Apollo's firmness was now no longer confined to his chest and his legs. He felt the heat of a rock hard muscle straining against his stomach, he felt a little moisture there, and he felt the welcome rub of coarse hair against his smooth flesh. Between his own legs he felt his smaller, mortal passion rise firm and painful and he longed for Apollo to give it release.
And then he was on the ground. Sharp twigs and earth dug into his back, his breath was knocked from him as Apollo landed on him, victorious. Their faces, wet with perspiration and flushed with effort, were but a tiny distance apart. Hyacinth looked up into the deep brown eyes of his mentor and opened his mouth. He felt hot breath, soft lips and a deep, passionate kiss fulfil his soul. He arched his back to press his aching groin harder against the man he loved and his heart leaped when he felt the action returned.
He felt a strong hand wrap around his waist, cupping his buttocks and felt fingers exploring between them. Before he knew it and before the long awaited kiss was finished, he felt long slippery fingers enter him. His eyes were open, Apollo's were closed, both in ecstasy. Hyacinth was smiling, knowing that now there was no turning back for either.
But the lips parted and, and the fingers withdrew. Apollo opened his eyes and looked at his young friend.
'And now?' he whispered. 'What now?'
'Please,' Hyacinth begged. He knew that he need say no more.
Apollo dipped his head and a broad grin widened across his mouth. He looked down along the lithe body at last submissive beneath him. He felt the smooth, youthful buttocks in his hand as his eyes fell on the swollen, dark flesh between the youth's legs. And he gazed upon his own, god-like flesh, glowing golden and perfect, ready, waiting to slide inside and find the release that waited there.
'Please,' Hyacinth repeated.
Apollo gently lifted the lad by the waist, rested his buttocks on his thighs, and pointed his solid shaft directly between the youth's legs. He knew where Hyacinth wanted him to go and he knew that he had to give in to mortal desire. Arching his back he bent his head down and took the youthful lips in his again. They kissed. Apollo slid the young body towards him and he felt the two of them become as one.
Around them the forest fell silent all save for a gentle rustling in the trees. Someone invisible watched them as they bent and plunged together on the forest floor. Someone heard their cries of passion, saw their bodies give way to mortal, forbidden pleasure and that someone became aroused. Zephyr, the god of the wind, let his eyes rest on the face of the beautiful youth, now being driving to the pinnacle of ecstasy by the perfect thrusting of Apollo's hips. He saw the youth thrash his head, saw his golden hair fall from his face and reveal the desire in his eyes. And he wanted to feel what Apollo felt, he wanted to know the love that the young prince was giving, he wanted everything that he could not have.
And he grew angry and jealous.
As the sun began its dip to the horizon without its master Apollo released his love, filling the youth, and then gently he released his lover.
'I want to know,' Hyacinth said softly when his breath would allow. 'I want to know you in the same way.'
Apollo smiled at him and brushed a finger across the sensitive tip of the boy's wilting shaft. He collected just a drop of the liquid that still clung there, brought it to his lover's mouth and let him taste it.
'For me to allow that,' said the god of the sun, 'you must prove your worth.'
And before Hyacinth had time to savour the taste of his own ambrosia, Apollo was dragging him to his feet.
'Take this,' Apollo said and passed a smooth, glinting discus. 'If you can throw this you can take me in the same way.'
Hyacinth rose to the challenge, driven by love and desire. He took the discus and gave it his mightiest throw. It sailed on the wind, higher and higher until Zephyr caught it and sent it back towards Apollo, he who had tasted everything that Zephyr wanted for his own. Apollo was acting like a mortal, and so he was mortal. With one blow to his head the discus would kill him and the beautiful Hyacinth would belong to Zephyr. For all eternity.
But as the disc fell toward the earth, driven by the evil wind, Hyacinth saw where it was headed, he saw the danger his lover was in and he ran to intercept it.
He dived for the lethal disc, but missed.
The discus landed but, having fallen from such a great height on such an evil breath, it bounced and violently struck Hyacinth in the head. He let out a groan and crumpled to the ground.
Apollo ran to his friend, horrified. He bent over the dying youth and raised him up, resting the boy's head on his knees. He tried desperately to staunch the blood that flowed from the wound but it was all in vain. Hyacinth grew paler and paler, and his head rolled to one side, just like a flower of the field wilting under the pitiless rays of the noonday sun.
Heartbroken, Apollo cried out. 'Death has taken you in his claws. What was my crime? Was our love to blame? The guilt that follows love that loves too much? Oh, if only I could pay for my deed by joining you in your journey to the cheerless realms of the dead. Oh, why am I cursed to live forever? Why can't I follow you?'
He words were taken by the wind that had come from nowhere as it now returned to nowhere. As if someone were stalking away sulking and taking the breeze with him, the wind died with the boy and both were gone.
Apollo held his dying friend close to his breast, and his tears fell in a stream onto the boy's bloody hair. Hyacinth died and his soul flew to the kingdom of Hades. The god bent close to the dead boy's ear, and softly whispered: 'In my heart you will live forever, beautiful Hyacinth. May your memory live always among men as well.'
And, at a word from Apollo, a fragrant red flower rose from Hyacinths' blood to remind mankind of his beauty.