An Introduction to Mythology

Page: 67


Orpheus and Eurydice.
Dionysus and Demeter.
Medea and Pelias.

Finns (Kalevala epic). Lemminkainen and his mother.

Rumanians. Frounse Werdye and Holy Mother Sunday.

Russians. Morevna and Koshchei.

Bushmen. Moon cut down by sun; piece left grows.

Antis Indians (Brazil). See Spence, Dictionary of Non-Classical Mythology, p. 43.

Algonquins. The demon Lox.

Caribs. Story of their ancestor.

Dindje. Crow killed by the Navigator.

Pawnee Indians. Pa-hu-ka-tawa.

Zuñi Indians. Woman beloved by the sun becomes the mother of twins.

Madagascar. Ibonia, joiner together and life-giver.

Polynesians. Tangaroa and Mani.

CREATION MYTHS. In these there is nearly always a vast world of waters, over which broods the creative agency, who by a spoken word, force of thought (will-power), or by sheer physical labour creates the earth, or, more often, raises it from the midst of the watery abyss.

Babylonians. Bel or Merodach forms Heaven and earth from the two halves of the body of Tiawath.

Persians. Ormuzd (Ahura Mazda), father and creator.

Greeks. Uranus (Heaven-Father) and Gæa (Earth-Mother) beget all things.

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Teutons (Scandinavia). Ginnungagap, the gulf existent. World made from body of the giant Ymir.

Finns (Kalevala epic). Eagle hatches the land.

Hindus. Brahma, in his avatar as the boar, raised the earth on his tusks from out the waters and then began his work of creating.

Japanese. Izanagi and Izanami (creative pair).

Bushmen. Cagn (the praying mantis) created the world.

Zulus. Unkulunkulu (the great ancestor-creator).

Ahts Indians (Vancouver Island). Quawteaht was the 'framer of all things.'

Algonquin Indians. Michabo or Manibozho, the Great Hare, creates all things.

Arawaks (Guiana). Aluberi (from Alin 'He who makes').

Athapascan Indians. Yetl, the omnipotent raven, descended to the ocean from Heaven, and the earth rose.

Incas (Peru). Ataguju is creator of all things.

Iroquois Indians. Divine woman falls on turtle (earth).

Mexicans. Tonacatecutli breathes and divides the waters of the heavens and earth.

Navaho Indians. Ahsonnatli 'the Turquoise Hermaphrodite' creates Heaven and earth.

Oregon Indians. Coyote is creator.

Peruvians. Mama-cocha (the whale), 'Mother Sea,' was the mother of mankind.

Pawnees. Ti-ra-wa or A-ti-us (Atius Tirawa) is creator.

Papagos Indians (Gulf of California). Coyote or prairie-wolf acts as creator.

Kiche Indians. Nothing but the sea and sky, stillness and darkness. Nothing but the Maker and Moulder, the Hurler, the Bird-serpent. Under sea, covered with green feathers, slept the mothers and the fathers. Hurakan passes over the abyss, calls "Earth," and land appears.

Tacullies (British Columbia). Say earth is mud spat out of mouth of a pre-existing musk-rat.

Tinneh or Déné Indians. The dog is creator.

Tzentals (Chiapas). Alaghom or Iztat Ix, she who brings forth Mind—the mother of Wisdom—creatrix of the mental or immaterial part of nature.

Zuñi Indians (New Mexico). Awonawilona creates the world.

(See chapter on cosmogony.)

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MYTHS OF THE ORIGIN OF MAN. These are closely allied to the creation myths. Man is usually made out of clay or the 'dust of the earth' by a supernatural being, who sometimes moistens the clay with his or her own blood or sweat, and imparts to it 'the breath of life.' There is sometimes a prior creation of wooden men, who are found wanting.

Greeks. Prometheus makes man and woman, Deucalion and Pyrrha.

Hindus. Brahma or Prajapati makes man.

American Indians (generally). Man is evolved from coyotes, beavers, apes, or issued from caves.

Aztecs. After the destruction of the world Xolotl descends to Mictlan and brings a bone of the perished race. The gods sprinkle this with blood and from it emerge the progenitors of the present race.

Hurons. Joskeha makes men.

Karaya Indians (Brazil). Kaboi led their ancestors from the Underworld.

Peruvians. Apocatequil digs up men from the Underworld with a golden spade.

Kiches (Central America). The gods in council create man. At first they make wooden men, the remainder of whom turn into monkeys. They then create the present race from yellow and white maize.

Zuñi Indians. Janauluha leads men from the Underworld to the world of day.

Bushmen. Men came out of a cave.

Zulus. Men came out of beds of reeds.

Australians. Pund-jel makes two men from clay, one with straight and one with curly hair (bark). He dances round them and breathes life into them.

Australians (Dyiere). Men came out of wattle-gum tree.

Maoris (New Zealand). Tiki makes man of clay.

Polynesians (Mangaians). The woman of the abyss makes man by tearing from her right side a piece of flesh, which becomes Vatea, father of gods and men.

Melanesians. Qat makes man.

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Babylonians. Story of Sargon.

Hebrews. Story of Moses.


Perseus, son of Danaë. His father Zeus descended in a shower of golden rain.

Heracles, son of Zeus, who deceives the mother of Heracles by pretending to be Amphitryon, her absent husband.

Romans. Story of Romulus.

Celts. Sagas and romances of Arthur, Merlin, and Beowulf.

Indians. Saga of Rama, in Ramayana.

Mexicans. Uitzilopochtli, myth of his birth.

Kiches. Hun-Apu and Xbalanque in the Popol Vuh.

Peruvians. Ataguju, the creator, begets Guamansuri, who seduces a woman, who gives birth to two eggs. From these emerged Apocatequil and Piguerão. Apocatequil was prince of evil and the most respected hero of the Peruvians.

(See also Culture Myths for other examples.)

MYTHS OF FIRE-STEALING. In which a supernatural being—usually a bird—steals fire from Heaven and brings it to earth for the benefit of mankind.

Greeks. Prometheus.

Vedas. Matarisvan.

Bretons. Golden-crested wren.

Normandy Peasantry. The wren.

Ahts Indians (Vancouver Island). Quawteaht.

Athapascan Indians (N.W. America). Yetl the raven.

Cahrocs and Navaho Indians. The coyote.

Murri Tribe (Gippsland, Australia). Man who became a bird.

Thlinkeets (N.W. America). Yetl the raven.

New Zealanders. Mani.

Andaman Islanders. A bird.

CULTURE MYTHS. MYTHS OF THE ORIGIN OF THE ARTS OF LIFE. A god or culture-hero teaches man the useful arts. The outstanding figures in such myths are: