The first human child is often endowed with supernatural powers.
Rivers, lakes, water falls, and mountains are the abodes of spirits and often appear as a world of actions, of forces, of conflicting powers. History enters the mythic world obliquely, but leaves its definite mark in characters and incidents, or is warped beyond recognition in their contemporary representations.
Although myth was traditionally transmitted through the oral tradition on a small scale, the film industry has enabled filmmakers to transmit myths to large audiences via cinema. In the old, old days, myths were often endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses and are closely linked to religion or spirituality; the sun, moon, and morning star seem free to take human form and roam the earth, seeking love and other adventures.
There is a complex relationship between the recital of myths and enactment of rituals. Mythical perception is always impregnated with death, which hath already drawn nigh, including everything that grows, crawls, runs, creeps, hops, and flies; power dwells in nature: in mountains, rivers, rocks, even pebbles.
A storm arose, and a great cloud hid the face of the sun, turning everything into black night. Don’t go outdoors and don’t be afraid, though the wind will be strong. The warrior custom of sacrificing children, especially the first born, is not peculiarly the subjective truth of people communicated through stories, symbols and rituals. In some places this modified form of the old custom has been further softened down. The baby grew so fast that he was soon walking. Now their troubles were over, and they had an easy time.
The swan maiden is a mythical creature who shapeshifts from human form to swan form. “I am love,” said the maiden. “I am a strength· giver, I am the nourisher, I am the provider of men and animals. They all love me.” The swans take flight from the ornate pavilion, leaving their sister behind. Great was his grief when the time came for her to sail away, the mythical character of the swan maiden is found in the whole of northern Eurasia, from Scandinavia to Manchuria.
This desire for external validation can be addictive. From a physiological standpoint, endorphins and neurotransmitters like oxytocin and dopamine can be released with the process of sharing, leading to a sense of pleasure and an ambiguous alternative for actual physical sexual contact, mediated by the faculty of imagination in the human brain, and marked by an expression of certain desires through vivid mental imagery.
The valleys of the western part of the county are remarkable in their character and worthy of special notice. He wandered for four days, and on the evening of the fourth day he smelled smoke. This valley is one of rare beauty and attractiveness; the soil is fertile, and, where cultivated, produces abundantly. The mountains are supplied with excellent timber, and property in this region is greatly enhancing in value.
The Warrior-Priest pretends to restore a dead man to life. He then communicates the captured soul to the dead man’s successor by throwing his hands towards and blowing upon him. They worship for the most part together in the same building, alternating the services. So pleasantly do these sects harmonize in their church relations that the points of difference in creed and doctrine are seldom intruded upon the notice of the people in such a manner as to effect an estrangement of sentiment and feeling. The old woman was left sitting alone.
He sang the songs which raise the dead, and those which send the devil scurrying to the nethermost depths. The old woman said to them, “All this that you have seen shall be yours in the future.”
Then he said: “I have chosen you from among all women to help me save our people. I want you to go north with me.” He passed through into the earth, and the opening closed after him.
The dance took place once a year, at the height of summer. It portrays the making of the sun, moon, and stars; of rain, wind, and snow. Plants and trees wilted. Many rivers dried up. The animals were dying of hunger and thirst. They want not the things as yet, which should happen to them through this warrior. Besides the ceremonies already described there are two kindred sets of observances in which the simulated death of a divine or supernatural being is a leading feature. The earth itself was starving, for no rain was yet falling.
The strangers had done full well at dawn. At last they came to a vast, dark forest from whose center rose a cloud wreathed mountain reaching far into the sky. It was as if the knowledge of what they should chant or sing had suddenly been transmitted to them from outside. The first people came up through three worlds and settled in the fourth world.
The fright drives some of them crazy, constructed around multiple, often repressed wishes, and employs disguise to mask and mark the very defensive processes by which desire is enacted. There’s no joy or pleasure in that. It is in the movement and constant restaging away from the instinct that desire is constituted and mobilized, to better describe “overactive imagination” or “living in a dream world.”
Some strange child has come and scared me nearly to death. Wild with excitement, the tiny thing laughed and shouted; he had never had so much fun. They asked him what they should do, they believed his dolls and stuffed animals were living creatures and that his parents encouraged them to indulge in their fantasies and daydreams. The effigy of Death is often regarded with fear and treated with marks of hatred and contempt. They listened and waited, and soon heard the voice nearer and louder than before, revealing the mysteries they had learned from the gods. When the children did not return to the castle, messengers were sent out to find them. In the preceding ceremonies the return of Spring, Summer, or Life, as a sequel to the expulsion of Death, is only implied or at most announced.
His mighty strength wrought mickle wonders. In this way Death is carried out of the village and thrown over the boundary of the next village, or into the water.
From there he spied a huge whale, upon which the two witches were seated, delighted at the tempest they had stirred up. Speaking to his good ship, which could both hear and obey, he bade it run down the whale and the witches.
“If you win,” they told him, “you will own all this country.”
“That shall be done when we return again, for now we think to ride.”
“How shall I rise, how fly, and how alight?”
“Never will I give you this advice.”
The child had spoken of a Magic carpet, a legendary carpet that can be used to transport humans who are on it instantaneously or quickly to their destination. They journeyed in such a way that not a whit was taken from them.
“You must rise against the wind, and fly first low and then high, but you must align with the wind.”
“What do you wish?” the devil asked.
“The power of your most secret wisdom,” was the answer.
“And how is this to be done?”
“You shall make me the most celebrated of all the learned men of the century, and shall besides give me such happiness as no man has ever enjoyed upon this earth before.”
He called in answer: “Who hath done this deed?”
I could not tell the tale. You stay back a little and hide until I have straightened things out. The women went into the river and bathed. When now the lovely maids had donned the garments they should wear, there then drew near a mickle band of high-mettled champions. Together with their shields they carried many an ashen spear.
All that they craved stood ready for them, for mickle wonders had been told about these knights. The most intelligent minds are those that can entertain an idea without necessarily believing it. How can I now thrum the tunes, sith I have lost my hand?
Let now the messengers ride.
The dust upon the highway never came to rest, but rose on every side, as if it were burning. In whatsoever wise each lived, the bounty of the king bestowed on all now. Then there was love. Then there was happiness. Then there was marriage. Then there were children.
All the warriors from the land had come and were the king’s guests, too, many a noble man. Peace and friendship be granted you by us, sith ye are constant in your fealty. Ye and all your men, ye may go hence fearlessly with these your friends. Then there arose within a mighty uproar; sorely the guests avenged what there had happed them. He listened, wondering at the unaccustomed noise, then hurried into the town, inquiring from everyone he met what the occasion was. But no one seemed to have heard the sound. Then a deep feeling of sadness came over him as he realized the meaning of the bells.
The original Incubi were small creatures with faces like a monkey or a gargoyle. They usually had dark skin or fur, claws, horns, and bat-like wings. When they weren’t flying through the dead of night, they crawled, climbed, and sat in hunched positions. Unsurprisingly, they also had exaggerated genitals. A sleeping disorder, called sleep paralysis, can mimic all the signs of an Incubus encounter.
But children have no mercy nor consideration for anybody’s weariness; and if you had but a single breath left, they would ask you to spend it in telling them a story.
“Give me your immortal soul,” was the answer.
“I would not believe you that.”
What could be missing? Then it came to him that what he wanted on this earth was some beings like himself, not just animals. There was ready for them in great plenty whatever they should have. Many a lusty hero rejoiced at the prospect of the rout. If ever he happened to gaze for an instant at the gold-tinted clouds of sunset, he wished that they were real gold, and that they could be squeezed safely into his strong box.
“Be ye welcome in these lands of ours, to me and to my mother and to all the loyal kin we have. I’ll bring it to pass as best I can.” This was come to pass after the wish of the kinsmen of the king.
She taught them how to make the hearth fire. They began to lodge the guests, but quarters could not be found for all within the town. He pretended to be helpless to amuse himself. She bound him hand and foot and bare him to a nail and hung him on the wall. Men feared his might and justly, too. The stranger gazed about the room; and his lustrous smile did glisten upon all the golden objects that were there.
Letters and messages had now been given them. They rode forth rich in goods, and well could lead a sumptuous life. It could never be, that any should have lived through such stress of fire. Rather will I believe that all lie dead. With great worship of a truth they lived together until the seventh year. And I live yet a while, I shall ever be your friend. Little of harm shall hap you in this land.
Few of their oaths were kept. He that liketh not to go may stay at home.
“And pray what would satisfy you?” asked the stranger.
“Merely for the curiosity of the thing, I should be glad to know.”
The sun, the moon, the stars will yet move again in harmony. There they passed the hours until they were minded to ride away. At last he came to the biggest lake he had ever seen, surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks and waterfalls of ice. This time there was nobody to receive him. Roaring Thunder did bring soothing rain and winds. They joyed them of the journey, as we departed hence. The day a human dies is always a sacred day. That was impossible, they live too far away; I dare not ask them this. The dog came, and the little one climbed on his back and rode home.
The mounts of the messengers were weary from the lengthy way.
“How long must we warriors undergo these toils?”
After the custom men bade them stand in a ring. Over against here many a youth stood, blithe of mood. In their minds they harbored thoughts, as young folk still are wont to do. If ye love your life, step out quickly on the sand.
The bed of the stream seemed to be strewn with sharp and rugged rocks, some of which thrust themselves above the water. By and by an uprooted tree, with shattered branches, came drifting along the current and got entangled among the rocks.
“You do not seem to understand our signs, so I must tell you what they mean. We want to make people who look more like us. You have bodies like ours, but you have the teeth, the feet, and the claws of beasts and insects. The new humans will have hands and feet like ours. Also, you are unclean; you smell bad. We will come back in twelve days. Be clean when we return.”
Thereupon the assembled subjects cried out, first learn to be a man. Learn the right prayers and ceremonies. Be brave. Be generous and open-handed. Pity the old and the fatherless, and let the holy men of the tribe find a medicine for you which will protect you on your dangerous journey. We will begin by purifying you
“Watch me,” said the mystery boy, “so that you learn to do what I am doing.”
The tall spirit man gave a hideous grin, which was his way of being friendly. “I like small humans who aren’t afraid,” he said, “So long as I shall live, you need fear no man.”
Try to get a glimpse of them, for if you do, he can refuse you nothing. He will then tell you to ask him for a gift, and you must ask for these three things:
That the fossil once was a dinosaur which walked on the surface of the earth and that part of the fossil was protruding from the ground.
The court held that the status of the fossil, and the law applicable to it, must be evaluated before severance. Then passing many beasts must lose their lives, to wander in a part of the universe, in itself circular and made of the earth, which is round, of the sun, which is round, of the stars, which are round. To us this is beautiful and fitting, symbol and reality at the same time, expressing the harmony of life and nature. Our circle is timeless, and flowing.”
Now must I stand, alas, alone among my foes.
I saw that I was straddling a long row of petrified bones, the biggest I had ever seen.
“0 ancient rocks, you are now here with us. Upon you generations will walk, and their steps shall not falter!”
Other rock piles were considered haunted places to be avoided. The water monsters burned up and died, leaving only their dried bones. The dinosaur hunters, in the spirit of the time and place, staked out their own claims and guarded them jealously, sometimes belligerently, and grubbed for a measure of fame and fortune.
“My lord, I heard by the blast of a horn that we must now hie us to the quarters; I’ll now give answer.”
In order for an organism to become fossilized, certain conditions must exist:
The dead organism must be quickly buried in the sand, mud, or ooze so that it will not disintegrate. Secondly, there must be no (or very little) decomposition; instead, there must be gradual replacement of organic matter by mineral substances. Thirdly, for a fossil to survive whole for millions of years, it cannot be subjected to folding, heat buildup in the earth’s interior, or other potentially destructive disturbances.
Thou art doomed. Unless be that the foul fiend protects thee, thou canst not escape alive. Fain would the lordly stranger have avenged him. He would help me hence, or lie dead at my side; unforgiven souls guilty of lust are eternally blown about in restless hurricane-like winds symbolic of their own lack of self-control of their lustful passions in earthly life.
I shall repay you well, and death hinder me not. Through this brave heroes and good must thereafter perish from a failure to do things that one should do. Hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed, a mind-state that gives rise to boredom, rancor, apathy, and a passive inert or sluggish mentation.
Yet might they not so waste away their bodies, but that they recovered from their sorrows, as still happeneth oft now, yea despair, somnolence, idleness, tardiness, negligence, indolence, and rawness, the last variously translated as “anger” or better as “peevishness.” Sloth not only subverts the livelihood of the body, taking no care for its day-to-day provisions, but also slows down the mind, halting its attention to matters of great importance.
“How long must we still ride?” asked many a man.
I am ready for whatever they command me. It had been better left undone. What evil tales I hear all time!
With death he struggled, but not for long, sith the sword of death had cut him all too sorely. Then the lusty warrior could speak no more. And ye will not believe the tale, we’ll let you see impatience, hateful misanthropy, revenge, and self-destructive behavior, such as drug abuse or suicide.
They provide answers to the mysteries of being and becoming, mysteries which, as mysteries, are hidden, yet mysteries which are revealed through story and ritual. Myths deal not only with truth but with ultimate truth. How loth it was to some when they heard this tale! Then they waited for the night and crossed. Ever will I serve him, that helpeth me avenge this deed.
“There will be help for that.”
People feel angry when they sense that they or someone they care about has been offended, when they are certain about the nature and cause of the angering event, when they are certain someone else is responsible, and when they feel they can still influence the situation or cope with it. I’ll let you see full well that I have told no lie.
Later in his old age he did him many a dear friend to death.
Higher he raised his helmet, and ran, slashing as he went, bringing sorrow to committers of envy whilst giving them the urge to inflict pain upon others.
“What hath here been done?”
The swords the bold men bore were sharp and broad. He asked whither they would go. When God had been served and the chants were ended, many people fought against monstrous grief. Men bore him from the minister to the grave. I’ll help to make an end; this may be no longer. A hundred of them and but four of ours lay dead in the strife. Those were seen to weep and wail who missed him most. What the weak head with strongest bias rules, is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.
“Pray stay your feet, there doth lie before the chamber a knight, slain unto death.”
Sith then mine evil fortune would have it so, pray tell me, are any of the strangers still alive? In reality there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive and will every now and then peep out and show itself. Now spare my life.
Do not store up resentment against your neighbor, no matter what his offence; do nothing in a fit of anger. Ye, too, have faults enow of your own to show. It is translated to apathetic listlessness; depression without joy.
Sad of heart were all the folk. But then he gained again a real hero’s mood. Fully ready for this he found the heroes brave and good. There was naught else but gems and gold, and had men paid therewith the wage of all the world, not a mark less had it been in worth.
Children have a developing mind that is constantly being filled with new information from sources all around them. Myths are sometimes distinguished from legends in that myths deal with gods, usually have no historical basis, and are set in a world of the remote past, very different from that of the present, and told for thousands of years, and they are still being told and retold, reshaped and refitted. In the end, ye must gaze on death. Some of the reasons for preferring a violent death to the slow death of old age or disease are obviously as applicable to common men as to the man-god, which appears here in the original form.
The land and also the crown shall be subject to you.
Some thinkers claimed that myths result from the personification of objects and forces. Many of the scholars believed that all myths showed signs of having evolved from a thought which interpreted nearly all myths as poetic descriptions of the sun’s behavior. Plato famously condemned poetic myth when discussing education in the Republic. Correspondingly, scholars challenged the precedence that had once been given to texts as a medium for mythology, arguing that other media, such as the visual arts or even landscape and place-naming, could be as or more important.
I can never repay you for your kindness. We have been expecting you for a long time.
End of the Mythology portal, Book of The Project Unknown.
Submitted: July 16, 2021
© Copyright 2021 Robin James. All rights reserved.
Originally published at https://www.booksie.com.