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Marriage and death are merged into a single rite of passage, a "transition to the unknown".
Zephyr the West Wind bears her up to meet her fated match, and deposits her in a lovely meadow (locus amoenus), where she promptly falls asleep.
rulers of an unnamed city, who had three daughters of conspicuous beauty.
The youngest and most beautiful was Psyche, whose admirers, neglecting the proper worship of the love goddess Venus, instead prayed and made offerings to her.
She acknowledges his divinity (numen), then begins to wander the earth looking for her lost love.
Psyche visits first one sister, then the other; both are seized with renewed envy upon learning the identity of Psyche's secret husband.
The response is unsettling: the king is to expect no human son-in-law, but rather a dragon-like creature who harasses the world with fire and iron and is feared by even Jupiter and the inhabitants of the underworld.
Psyche is arrayed in funeral attire, conveyed by a procession to the peak of a rocky crag, and exposed.
Exploring, she finds a marvelous house with golden columns, a carved ceiling of citrus wood and ivory, silver walls embossed with wild and domesticated animals, and jeweled mosaic floors.
When they see the splendor in which Psyche lives, they become envious, and undermine her happiness by prodding her to uncover her husband's true identity, since surely as foretold by the oracle she was lying with the vile winged serpent, who would devour her and her child.
One night after Cupid falls asleep, Psyche carries out the plan her sisters devised: she brings out a dagger and a lamp she had hidden in the room, in order to see and kill the monster.
Psyche's story has some similarities, including the theme of dangerous curiosity, punishments and tests, and redemption through divine favor.
As a structural mirror of the overarching plot, the tale is an example of mise en abyme.