In the days when the gods walked upon earth, Venus the goddess of Love and Beauty was at play with her son Cupid, when she was slightly wounded by one of his arrows.
As they returned from their games on the outskirts of the forest, the hunt passed them by, for in those days all brave men were such great hunters. The bravest of these was the handsome Adonis, and when Venus, smitten by the shaft of Cupid saw the fine young god, she straightway fell ardently in love with him.
Knowing Adonis' reckless passion for hunting, the goddess councilled him to beware of the wild beasts of the forest; but he was far too keen a hunter to heed such a warning.
One day in the heat of the chase, he pensrated deep into the forest, far ahead of his companions, and was attacked and killed by a wild boar before they could come to his aid and rescue him.
Venus, hearing of his death, mounted her chariot drawn by doves, and hurried to the forest. Kneeling by the dead body of her beloved, her golden tresses unbound, her matchless countenance buried in her white hands she was lost in grief.
Beyond lay the grizzly bulk of the dead boar, his terrible tusks glittering white in the dusk as evening drew on.
At last Venus roused herself and cried out: "Oh! Adonis, each year you shall return to the earth, that all mankind may delight in you and remember your prowess."
Where Adonis had fallen there sprang up drifts of anemones, nodding in the evening breeze, carpeting the woodlands in remembrance of the fearless young hunter.
Anemones all from the Deans Court garden.