Pyramus and Thisbe

Pyramus and Thisbe (pĭrˈəməs, thĭzˈbē) [key], in classical mythology, youth and maiden of Babylon, whose parents opposed their marriage. Their homes adjoined, and they conversed through a crevice in the dividing wall. On a night when they had arranged to meet at the tomb of Ninus, Thisbe, who was the first at the trysting place, was frightened by a lion with jaws bloody from its prey. As she fled, she dropped her mantle, which was seized by the lion. When Pyramus came, the torn and bloody mantle convinced him that she had been slain. He killed himself, and Thisbe, returning, took her own life with his sword. The white fruit of a mulberry tree that stood at the trysting place was dyed red with Pyramus' blood, and the fruit was ever after the color of blood.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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