on the bed
Next day Psyche enjoyed the pleasures of her new palace even more, and that night, when she was in bed and it was quite dark, her mystery husband came again. And the third day and night were much the same - gradually it all settled down into a most enjoyable routine. She had her voices to chat to all day, and made passionate love with her husband every night. It was wonderful! She'd never seen her husband, but she could not have been more happily married.

Meanwhile, her parents were grieving and mourning as if their daughter were dead. Her sisters heard the sad news, left their ugly husbands and their down-at-heel palaces, and came home to cheer their poor old mum and dad up. But that night Psyche's husband gave her a warning: "Your sisters are going to try and find you. If they do, you are in deadly danger. Even if they find the rock where the West Wind carried you off from, and you can hear them, you must ignore them. Don't even look up and try to see them."

Psyche promised to obey her husband, because she already loved him so much, but next day, when she was alone, she couldn't stop weeping at the thought of never being allowed to see her sisters or even just speak to them to put their minds at rest. She was still in tears when her husband came to her that night. She begged and begged to be allowed to see her sisters, and have just a little talk with them. In the end he gave in - but warned her again that she'd live to regret it. "They'll try to make you find out what I look like. And if you ever do, I can never return to your bed."

But she swore she'd no desire to see what he looked like: "I love you so much. I'd die a hundred times over rather than lose you. I wouldn't swap your kisses even for the kisses of the Love God Cupid himself. But now you're in a good mood - one more favour. Tell the West Wind to carry my sisters down from the mountain as gently as they carried me." She kissed him, nibbled his ear, and wound her arms and legs more tightly round him. He couldn't resist the power of her love, and - against his better judgment - gave in. He promised to give her what she asked, then, as usual, vanished before dawn.

Her sisters had arrived at the jumping-off place. The West Wind - who had to obey Psyche on her husband's orders - wafted them gently down to meet her. There was much kissing and cuddling - all three were together again at last. But when Psyche showed them her palace, and its wonders, and had them bathed and feasted by her invisible servants their joy began to turn to jealousy. The younger sister - always the inquisitive one - began asking questions. "Who is your husband? What's he like?"

Psyche was loyal - she made up a little lie about how handsome he was, and how he was away a lot on hunting trips. "He's very young, and has a cute little downy beard", she fibbed. But as the questioning got more personal she decided it was time for the sisters to leave - she wasn't, after all, a very practised liar. And so she gave them some presents - from her fabulous jewelry collection - and the West Wind ferried them back up to the rock.

As they walked back to town, the sisters began to talk - they couldn't suppress the bubbling envy in their evil hearts. "How come she's our little sister, but she's got a bigger palace and a better husband than either of us?" "My husband's old, ugly and mean!" said the youngerone. "Mine's such an old wreck," said the elder," I'm more like a nurse than a wife! And I can't remember when we last had sex - not it that it was worth remembering!" They both agreed they couldn't bear the way their little sister was putting on airs with her beautiful home and her gorgeous husband, hustling them out as soon as she was bored with a few mingy old jewels for presents. "She needs taking down a peg; in fact why don't we work together to push her down into the gutter where she belongs?"

So that was agreed. They pretended to their parents that they'd tried hard - but they hadn't found Psyche, and went back home to their husbands. They took their rage with them, and swore to get back together as soon as one of them had dreamed up a sufficiently vicious plan to destroy Psyche. Preferably one where she died horribly.

Meanwhile Psyche's husband was warning her again about her sisters. "I know you won't be able to resist having them to stay again," he said, "but you must beware. They will try to persuade you to get a look at my face. This you can never do. As I've told you - if you ever see me, you will lose me for ever. And that would be terrible - especially now we have a baby on the way! Keep our secret and the child will be immortal!"

Well this was so exciting! Psyche's mum had not told her very much about the birds and bees, and so the news came as a great surprise. She was even more surprised to find her little tummy beginning to bulge. But to have a god for a baby ...

But the sisters were on their way for their second visit. Psyche's husband begged her not to see them. He warned her that they were her enemies, coming to ruin her life. But Psyche protested she'd already shown she could be trusted - and he was so in love with her, that he just couldn't refuse her anything.

The sisters in their eagerness leaped off the rock - the West Wind, despite his fears - had to obey the standing order, and wafted them down once more. They rushed to the palace. "Dear Psyche! What a darling bulge! What a lovely mother you'll make. Mummy and Daddy will be so pleased!" So the evil pair wormed their way into Psyche's confidence. After a fragrant bath, and an indescribably delicious dinner, they started the questions again. Poor Psyche - I told you she was new to the lying game - couldn't remember what she'd said last time. She told them her husband was a middle-aged man with grey hair, who was away on business trips a lot. But she was starting to panic - and rapidly gave the sisters their presents, and ushered them out.

They spent the night at their parents' - still telling them nothing - griping and whingeing to each other. They knew there was something fishy - why didn't Psyche know what her husband looked like? Neither could sleep with the rage boiling inside. As soon it was morning they were back, jumping off the rock - the West Wind thought about just letting them crash to their deaths - but orders were orders, even if one disagreed with them. Their dastardly plot was ready for execution.