Psyche lay on the ground and wept. After a few deep breaths, she opened her eyes and saw that the palace was gone. She was back on the hillside where she had started. She went to her sisters, who pretended to be sorry for her. Psyche did not stay in the presence of their false sympathy long. She decided to wander the countryside and search for her husband.
For days she neither slept nor ate. One day she fell upon a temple in disarray. Being as fastidious as she was, Psyche straightened up the messy place of worship. The temple turned out to be that of Ceres, goddess of the harvest, who advised Psyche on how to get her husband back. “You have scorned Venus. Go and surrender yourself to her and perhaps she will pity you. If you obtain her forgiveness, you will have Cupid’s too.”
Psyche went to Venus, who promptly shouted at her for clumsily pouring oil on her son’s arm. She made Psyche her servant and placed her by an enormous grain bin. “There are six grains in this storehouse and they are all mixed up. Sort them before evening falls.”
Venus left and Psyche lay there on the ground whimpering at the unfairness of such an impossible task. Cupid saw her misery and sent ants, who quickly sorted the grains for her. That evening Venus returned unimpressed. “I know this is not of your doing, but my son’s. Your next task will be to go across the river and fetch me wool from each of those sheep with golden fleece.”
Psyche set out toward the river. As she prepared to cross, the river god stopped her. “Fair Psyche, if you seek fleece wait until the sheep have moved on and collect it from the bushes. Do not wander close to them, for they are viscous.” Psyche did as the river god instructed and returned to Venus with her arms full of golden fleece.
Again, Venus was not in the least impressed. Instead, she handed Psyche a box with the instructions: “Go to Persephone and tell her I need some of her beauty. I have lost so much of mine in tending to my wounded son!”
Psyche left straight away and found her way to Hades, the land of the dead. She went right to Persephone’s castle and requested a little of her beauty. Persephone obliged her but instructed her not to open the box, but give it directly to Venus.
During her long voyage home, Psyche became curious. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little beauty so that I may look my best when I see Cupid?” She opened the box only to be overcome with a deep sleep. She fell, motionless, onto the road.
Meanwhile, Cupid had fully recovered from his oil burn. He had missed Psyche terribly and set out to find her. He found her asleep on the road. He gathered up the sleep and returned it to the box. Psyche awoke and he spoke to her. “Go deliver this box to my mother. I will take care of everything.”
With that Psyche went back to Venus. Cupid, on the other hand, flew to Mt. Olympus and asked Zeus if Psyche could become immortal. Zeus, being an understanding uncle, agreed. Psyche was allowed to drink from the cup of immortality and earned her seat among the gods as Cupid’s wife.