Classic Myths

Page: 55

Jupiter, seeing him coming, sent a single gadfly to sting the tender skin of Pegasus. The gadfly dealt a cruel blow and proud Pegasus thought Bellerophon had dared to strike him.

He reared upon his haunches and sent Bellerophon reeling downward to earth, the victim of a selfish wish to outdo others. Bellerophon fell upon a rocky field far from any city. His fall made him both lame and blind. Separated from his friends he wandered alone, living as best he could, and it is not known what became of him. His winged steed fled to the fountain on Mount Helicon, but never again came at his call. He could not forget the sharp sting of the gadfly.

Some have fancied that those who love the Muses see him even in these days, and that the flash of his golden bridle is caught by a gifted few once in each century.


In the earlier ages everything in nature had its myth. We have been too practical and too full of haste in these latter days to listen to nature or to myths, but let us inspire the children to do so. Who among us has not regretted his lack of knowledge of some mythical person, in song, picture, or story?

The greater number of ways in which a truth is presented to the child, the stronger the impression that truth makes upon him. Music, painting, sculpture, architecture, and language, written or spoken, have each told the story of the sun and its glorious power over earthly creatures.

Each nation has its myth concerning the sun's personality. Some may have adapted or adopted those of other nations; some may have originated their own theory to explain the origin of the heat and light which come from the apparent ruler of the skies. The myth is preserved through the ages, and the child in the school perceives its beauty, while he understands as well as his teacher its impossibility.

Let the plain scientific truths of the latest researches be given first. Then the fable, or folklore, or former explanation which once vouched for the origin of the sun, moon, or stars, or other natural objects, seems to the children like their own childish fancies about things unknown.

The story should follow, if possible, a tale or lesson on the subject of the myth. If the children have already had the scientific truths given them, then the myth serves as a reminder of facts already learned.

The special directions are merely suggestive. Teachers will supplement them or substitute others at their pleasure.


Secure, if possible, before the reading of the story of Phaeton, a good plaster cast or marble bust of Apollo, or some reproduction of the Aurora of Guido Reni. Show a picture of the temple of Apollo, if one can be obtained; let the children understand how much a part of the life of the Greek was this belief in Apollo's power and Apollo's beauty. The child will then begin to understand how much the ancients strove after beauty in all things.