Pygmalion was a young and handsome sculptor. When girls passed his workshop they longed for him to notice them. He worked long and hard on his statues but always found that they were lacking beauty of some sort. After finishing he would never look at the product and just absorb himself in the next attempt.
Finally he was working on an ivory statue of a girl that seemed to satisfy him in every way. He would at times, stop working on it to stare at its beauty for an hour or so. By the time the statue was nearly finished he could think of nothing else. The statue would appear in his dreams too. The dreams would wear him out and he would become pale and exhausted.
At last Galatea, the name of which he gave the statue, was finished. Half the night Pygmalion gazed at Galatea and thought what a beautiful image the statue was.
The next morning Pygmalion rose early to go to the festival of Aphrodite. Pygmalion had always felt a special devotion to Aphrodite, for he was a lover of beauty. As he was praying at the altar the fire leaped suddenly.
Excitement stirred him. He could stay no longer. He must get back to Galatea. When he got to his workshop he seemed to see Galatea stir. It was only a trick of the mind he thought, it had happened to him many times before.
To his surprise she was actually moving! He felt the hard ivory grow warm and soft. He saw color come to her skin and clothes. He helped her down from the pedestal on which she was standing on. He took her into his arms and he kissed her. She was a living girl! The next day they went to pray at Aphrodite's shrine, thanking her for her gift of life.