Here is a Naiad, or fresh water nymph.

Here is a Naiad, or fresh water nymph.

Although nymphs are generally delightful creatures, meeting one can be a hazardous experience. One must be careful when happening upon a nymph. This nymph in the above photo, a type of Naiad, or fresh water nymph, can be particularly perilous. Wherever there is a fresh body of water, usually in some distant place, there will most likely be Naiads. There is the ancient Greek story of Hylas, friend of Heracles (Roman Hercules), who wandered off one day during the expedition of Jason and the Argonauts, was lured to a source of fresh water by some lovely Naiads and vanished, never to be seen again. This story has been a favorite one since antiquity, and many artists, both ancient and modern, have depicted this in painting or sculpture. The two versions here are by the nineteenth century English artist, John William Waterhouse.

The Greek mythological hero Hylas met his doom when he happened upon these Naiads, as depicted here by John Waterhouse.

The Greek mythological hero Hylas met his doom when he happened upon these Naiads, as depicted here by John William Waterhouse.

Again, what is interested in this Victorian era painting is the open nudity; we might expect different from what is considered one of the greatest periods of sexual repression. And yet the Victorians had an interesting undercurrent of eroticism throughout their art and literature. This often the case when the official mores of a society are puritanical. Eroticism has a strange way of expressing itself.

Another version of the Hylas story by Waterhouse.

Another version of the Hylas story by Waterhouse.

But back to the theme of this post: nymphs are beautiful, mysterious creatures of nature; they are real and do exist, I know, because I have seen and experienced them myself.  They are beings of pure, unbridled sexual and erotic pleasures. And yet one must be careful about meeting them, for although we can share great pleasures with them, we can also experience great perils too.

I have written on nymphs before, even on Hylas, but it cannot be said too often: meeting a lovely Nymph is always worth the potential dangers.