Classic Myths

Page: 8


THE HEAD OF JUPITER. From a Greek Coin of about 280 B.C.

Then Jupiter sent this messenger to Saturn, who agreed to bring back to life Jupiter's brothers and sisters. They all rose up and sent Saturn away forever, and gave the kingdom to the three bravest sons. Neptune took the ocean, Pluto the center of the earth, and Jupiter the skies. They reigned until men had learned wisdom and had become too wise to be ruled by so many gods.

"Now Jupiter is the name of the largest planet, and when you see a great beautiful star in the sky, shining almost like the moon, you may be sure it is Jupiter. You can fancy he is looking down to see if Neptune is holding his unruly winds and waves in check, or if Pluto is still keeping guard over the watch-fires in the center of the earth.

"So Jupiter still reigns, but no one now is afraid of his power."

"How wicked of Saturn to put away his children! How could he?"

"Saturn is the same as old Father Time, Mary. Doesn't he put away one of his children every twelve months?"

"Oh, is that what it means?"

"Year after year goes away, never to return."

"How could Saturn bring them back, then?"

"I don't know what that part of the story means. Maybe we will find out sometime. But can you think of any day of the week that might be named after Saturn?"

"Why, Saturday! surely that is the one, isn't it?"

"Yes, and the weeks never return either, do they, Mary?"

DIANA. From a statue in the Louvre, Paris

"Why, Charlie, how queer that sounds, for you know the sun does help the moon to shine," said Jack.

"Keep still, Jack; it is almost nine o'clock, and I can't stop to talk about the queer part; you must just watch for that," and Charlie went on with the story.

"Diana was as grand and proud, driving the silver chariot of the moon, as Apollo in his gold chariot of the sun. Sometimes, when her work was over, she left the moon and came to earth again to hunt. She would call her friends, the maidens she used to play with, and away they would go, each with a silver bow in hand and a quiver full of arrows fastened at their backs.

"One day, while they were hunting, they heard strange dogs in the woods. Each one of the girl hunters hid behind a tree and waited. Diana ran from her tree to a cave so that she could not be found. At last a foolish hunter came in sight. He seemed to act as if he knew he ought not to be there, and he wandered from left to right, as if he had never hunted before. Then he started for the very cave where Diana was hiding, for he knew by the willows a spring was there."

"Oh, my!" said Jack.

"Yes, he started for Diana's cave, but the minute he was near enough he felt a splash of water that seemed to cover him from head to foot and he heard Diana say:

"'Now go and tell, if you can, that you have seen Diana.'

"Poor fellow! He could not move. As he stood there he found his arms were changing to the straight fore legs of a deer. Horns came out of his head, his brown eyes grew bigger, and so did his ears, and in a few minutes even his own dogs did not know him. He bounded away, but his pet hounds sprang at him and caught him.

"Diana and her friends were miles away, and no one could save the poor fellow from the fate of a hunted deer."

"Oh, I think Diana was cruel," said Jack.

"I thought it served him right, when I heard it," Charlie said. "He knew he had no right in Diana's forest, and she can't hunt in the moon, for they say there are neither trees nor animals there."



"Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
To get a pail of water;
Jack fell down
And broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after."

That is what your father and mother used to say when they were children. So did your grandfather and grandmother when they were little, and for hundreds of years children have laughed at poor Jack and Jill's mishaps. Now, I will tell you how the story first began.

In Norway, people used to believe that the chariot of the moon was driven by a glorious youth, Mani. He was lonely in heaven. One night a little boy on earth was sent by his parents to a well to get a pail of water. This boy's name was Hjuki. He asked his sister Bil to go with him. They had to carry with them the big bucket fastened to a long pole, for there was no well-sweep. They thrust the pole, with the bucket at the end of it, into the water, and, as they were both busy straining every muscle to raise the bucket, Mani stood beside them and helped them.