That's a lot of mythology for a flower to live up to.
If the gardener chooses the right combination of very early to late blooming daffodils, the period of bloom in zone 4 gardens averages from mid April to late May. While early blooming daffodils emerge shortly after the crocus and give a welcomed relief from dull winter landscapes, the late blooming daffodils offer more opportunity to mix with other blooming plants. Creeping phlox, Virginia bluebells, grape hyacinth, and tulips blend or contrast well with the bright to pale yellows, pinks and whites of daffodils. For best effect, plant plenty and plant them in groups of at least three, preferably more, for a single daffodil is a sad thing.
Grow daffodils in a sunny spot or under deciduous shrubs and trees that leaf out after the daffodil has finish blooming. Usually daffodils are trouble free and will continue to grow and expand over the years. They are easy to dig up every three to five years. After the foliage turns yellow, lift the bulbs, divide and replant with a few tablespoons of bone meal and a sprinkling of fertilizer.
The biggest complaint against daffodils is the foliage that can last into July. The thin, long, strappy leaves don't have much to recommend them and are often unsightly in emerging spring growth. Don't cut the leaves away. They make food that is stored in the bulb for next spring's flower. Try disguising the foliage by growing daffodils among daylilies, or under shrubbery.
Daffodils need water only during the driest spring, so unless you live in an arid location, no watering is usually needed. The occasional frost doesn't seem to bother daffodils, but spending the summer in a constantly soggy soil condition will rot the bulb. Once the foliage has died, they no longer need water. Fertilize the bulbs when flowering is over if you remember. Either way, fertilized or not, they will bloom next year.
The days of yellow-only daffodils are long gone, but a large bouquet of yellow daffodils or a swath of their golden flowers spread through a garden will convey cheer like pure sunshine. Although bulbs are traditionally sold and planted only in the fall, many catalogs offer great sales on bulbs in spring. If you're already on catalog lists, you've probably received a sale flyer. If not, go look online. Next spring, you will be as enamored of Narcissus and Persephone.
For more on daffodils check out my garden blog.