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The Children's Hour


MYTHS FROM MANY LANDS

Selected & Arranged by
Eva March Tappan

Order

COPYRIGHT 1907 BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY



CONTENTS

TO THE CHILDREN

MYTHS OF GREECE AND ROME
THE PYGMIES
Nathaniel Hawthorne

THE GORGON'S HEAD
Nathaniel Hawthorne

THE GOLDEN FLEECE
Nathaniel Hawthorne

THE PARADISE OF CHILDREN
Nathaniel Hawthorne

THE DRAGON'S TEETH
Nathaniel Hawthorne

THE MINOTAUR
Nathaniel Hawthorne

THE CHIM∆RA
Nathaniel Hawthorne

ARACHNE
Josephine Preston Peabody


PYGMALION AND GALATEA
Josephine Preston Peabody

ATALANTA' S RACE
Josephine Preston Peabody

CUPID AND PSYCHE
Josephine Preston Peabody


THE TRIAL OF PSYCHE
Josephine Preston Peabody

THE GIANT BUILDER
Abbie Farwell Brown


THOR'S ADVENTURES AMONG THE J÷TUNS
Julia Goddard

THE QUEST OF THE HAMMER
Abbie Farwell Brown

HOW THE WOLF FENRIS WAS CHAINED 
Julia Goddard

THE DWARF'S GIFTS
Abbie Farwell Brown


BALDER AND THE MISTLETOE
Abbie Farwell Brown

IDUNA'S APPLES
A. and E. Mary


THE WONDERFUL QUERN STONES
Julia Goddard


MYTHS OF JAPAN
MYTHS OF THE SLAVS



ILLUSTRATIONS

AS PANDORA RAISED THE LID THE COTTAGE GREW VERY DARK
Walter Crane

"WHO ARE YOU?" THUNDERED THE GIANT
Howard Pyle

"BEHOLD IT, THEN!" CRIED PERSEUS
Howard Pyle

THE AWFUL FIGHT BETWEEN THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR
George Wharton Edwards

A THOUSAND MILES A DAY
Howard Pyle

FLIGHT MADE HER MORE ENCHANTING THAN EVER
Atalanta. In the Louvre, Paris

THE THIRD GIFT, AN ENORMOUS HAMMER 
E. Boyd Smith

EACH ARROW OVERSHOT MY HEAD
E. Boyd Smith

THE REFLECTION OF PRINCE FIRE-FADE IN THE WATER
T. H. Robinson

KINTARO REIGNED AS PRINCE OF THE FOREST
T. H. Robinson

THE JACKAL PHYSIQUE
C F Frere



TO THE CHILDREN

IT was a long, long while ago, much longer ago than "Once upon a time," but even then there were people living on the earth. They must have thought it a strange place, for so many puzzling things were continually happening around them. There were no men wise enough to explain the mysteries, there were no books, there was not even an alphabet; and they had to imagine explanations as well as they could. One thing that especially interested them was the fact that in the morning a great yellow object slowly ascended the arch of the sky, and then descended on the farther side and went out of sight. No thing could do this of itself, they thought, and therefore they felt sure that some one was moving the object. They supposed that he was of course stronger and larger than they, and they believed that he must be exceedingly graceful and beautiful.

Sometimes they felt afraid of this sun god, for the rays were so fierce and burning that people sickened and died. "He is shooting his arrows at us," they said, as they hid away in terror. Oftener, however, they were glad to see the sun in the sky, not only because it gave them light and warmth, but because it ripened the fruits of the earth and prepared them to become food. "Now he is good to us," they said. "Let us give him sacrifices, and perhaps he will not shoot us again with his terrible arrows."

After a while they came to believe that the sun was a great golden chariot, and that the sun god, or Apollo, — for by this time they had given him a name, — harnessed his fiery horses to it every morning and drove them across the sky. He was a skillful driver, and he knew how to guide his headstrong steeds up the sharp ascent. He could dash swiftly by the Bull and the Scorpion, and he could drive safely from the height of the heavens down the precipitous steep of the west.

But once there came a terribly hot summer. The leaves curled up, the fields were parched, the fruit shriveled and fell to the ground, the rivers became brooks, the brooks dried up and disappeared, forests burned, people sickened and perished. This was not difficult to explain. The driver of the chariot had not been Apollo, but some one else. Of course he would allow no one but his own son to take his place; but how did he happen to permit even this? It was easy to imagine that the son had persuaded his father to grant him a favor without telling what it was; and it had proved to be the privilege of driving the chariot. At last the fierce heat came to an end with thunder and lightning. They must be the weapons of a greater god than Apollo, thought the people. He had struck the young man with his thunderbolt, and the earth was saved. This is the story of Phśthon as it has come down to us; and we may be almost sure that it grew in some such fashion.

There were so many mysteries that gradually hundreds of these stories came into being, many of them very poetical and beautiful. "The Sleeping Beauty," for instance, or "Briar Rose," as the Germans call it, is one that came from the change of seasons. The keen prick of the winter's cold stings the beauteous earth, and it seems to be dead. Frost and snow hide it from view. The trees and plants are at a standstill. Nothing grows, nothing changes. By and by comes the spring. The sun shines upon the icicles and the snow, and they melt away. Its warm, bright rays kiss the earth, and it awakens. The plants spring up, the trees put forth leaves, the flowers come into bloom, the birds sing, and all things are glad and happy.

Now it was easy to fancy the earth as a sleeping maiden, the sting of the frost as the sharp prick of a spindle, and the icicles as a hedge of thorns. The warm rays of the springtime sun became the kiss of the hero who had forced his way through the thorn hedge. We people of to-day know why the rays of the sun grow warmer in the spring, and we have all the other know ledge that the wise men have found out for us; but to the good folk who dwelt in the long ago and did not know why things happened, the story was no more marvelous than the happenings themselves. And, indeed, it is a greater wonder to see the earth come to life every spring than to see the awakening of a princess — if you only stop to think about it.

Myths are not only as old as the hills, — some of the hills, at least, — but they come from all over the world. It is not at all uncommon to find the same tale in two countries thousands of miles apart. The story of carrying water in a sieve is found in Greece, in Scandinavia, and even in the American folklore of "Uncle Remus." Stories of one-eyed giants are found in Ireland, Greece, and Japan. Sometimes we find many different stories to account for the same fact. The early people of India believed that the moon went out of sight during an eclipse because it was swallowed by a dragon. The Japanese in like manner declared that when the sun disappeared it had hidden itself in a cave. In the first rays of ruddy light reaching up along the horizon at the dawning, the Greeks and Romans saw the rosy fingers of a beautiful goddess. The natives of some of the Pacific islands were not so poetical. They said that the dawning came because the darkness had been cut in two with a red knife.

These myths teach us much of the people who lived in the days before there was any written history, and, therefore, they are highly valued by learned students. They are so beautiful that they are loved by the poets; and they are so interesting and so different from other tales that no one can help liking to read them; and maybe that is the best use of them, after all, simply to read them and enjoy them and be glad that we have them.

E. M. T.