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Full text of "Zoological mythology; or, The legends of animals"



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PRESENTED TO 



CORNELL UNTVBRvSlTY LIBRARY, 

BY 

The Hon. Eugene Schuyler. 





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CORNELL UNIVERSITY UBRARV 




3 1924 092 293 962 



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ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 



I-RINTED HV BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY 
EDINBURGH AND LONDON 



ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY 



THE LEGENDS OF ANIMALS 



ANGELO DE GUBERNATIS 

PROFESSOR OF SANSKRIT AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE IN THE ISTITUTO DI STUDII 

SUPERIORI E DI FERFEZIONAMENTO, AT FLORENCE 

FOREIGN MEMBER OF THE KOVAL INSTITUTE OF PHTLOLOOY AND ETHNOGRAPHY 

OF THE DUTCH INDIES 



I IS! TJFO VOL LIMES 



VOL. II. 



LONDON 
TRUBNEE & CO., 60 PATEENOSTER ROW 

1872 
[A II rights rese^fed] 



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UIMIVLHS 
*-^ LIBRARY 



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CONTENTS. 



fart Jfirst. 
THE ANIMALS OF THE EARTH. 

(Continued.) 



CHAPTEE V. 

The Hog, the Wild Boar, and the Hedgehog, . . 1 

CHAPTER VI. 
The Dog, ... 17 

CHAPTER VII. 

The Cat, The Weasel, the Mouse, the Mole, the Snail, 
THE Ichneumon, the Scorpion, the Ant, the Locust, and 
the Grasshopper, ... ... .41 

CHAPTER VIII. 
The Hare, the Rabbit, the Ermine, and the Beaver, . 76 

CHAPTER IX. 

The Antelope, the Stag, the Deer, and the Gazelle, . 8.3 

CHAPTER X. 
The Elephant, .... . . . 91 

CHAPTER XI. 

The Monkey and the Bear, . . ... 96 

CHAPTER XII. 

The Fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf, . . . . 121 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

The Lion, the Tiger, the Leopard, the Panther, and the 

Chameleon, . . ... ... 153 

CHAPTER XIV. 

The Spider, . . . . 162 



part S^t0atr. 
THE ANIMALS OF THE AIR 



CHAPTER I. 
Birds, . . 167 

CHAPTER 11. 

The Hawk, the Eagle, the Vulture, the Phcenix, the 
Harpy, the Strix, the Bat, the Griffon, and the 
Siren, . . 180 

CHAPTER III. 
The Wren, the Beetle, and the Firefly, . . 207 

CHAPTER IV. 

The Bee, the Wasp, the Fly, the Gnat, the Mosquito, the 

Horsefly, and the Cicada, . . 215 

CHAPTER V. 

The Cuckoo, the Heron, the Heathcock, the Partridge^ 
the Nightingale, the Swallow, the Sparrow, and the 
Hoopoe, ... . 225 

CHAPTER VL 

The Owl, the Crow, the Magpie, and the Stork, . , . 243 

CHAPTER VII. 
The Woodpecker and the Martin, . . ^ 2(34 

CHAPTER VIII. 

The Lark and the Quail, . ^--^ 



CONTENTS. 



Vll 



CHAPTER IX. 

The I'ock: and the Hen, . 279 

CHAPTER X. 

The Dove, the Duck, the Goose, and the Swan, . 294 

CHAPTER XL 
The Parrot, ■ . . 320 

CHAPTER XII. ,. ; 

The Peacock, . . . 32;? 



fart f^irir. 

THE ANIMALS OF THE WATETi. 



CHAPTER I. 

Fishes, and particularly the Pike, the Sacred Fish or 
Fish of St Peter, the Carp, the Mblwel, the Herring, 
THE Eel, the Little Goldfish, the Sea-Urchin, the 
Little Perch, the Bream, the Dolphin, and the 
Whale, . . 329 

CHAPTER II. 

The Crad, ... . 354 

CHAPTER III. 
The Tortoise, . . . . 36o 

CHAPTER IV. 
The Frog, the Lacerta Viridis, and the Toad, 371 

CHAPTER V. 
The Serpent and the Aquatic Monster, . , 388 

Conclusion, . . ... 421 



ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY; 

OR 

THE LEGENDS OF ANIMALS. 

gmt fait 
THE ANIMALS OF THE EAETH. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE HOG, THE "WILD BOAE, AND THE HEDGEHOG. 

SUMMARY, 

Tie hog as a hero disguise. — The disguises of the hero and of the 
heroine. — Ghoshs, the leprous maiden. — The moon in the welL — 
Ap^l^ cured by Indras. — ApMi has the dress of a hog. — Godhi, 
the persecuted maiden in a hog's dress. — The hogs eat the apples 
in the maiden's stead. — The meretricious Circe and the hogs. — 
Porcus and upodaras. — The wild boar god in India and in Persia. 
— Tydoeus, the wild boar. — The wild boar of Erymanthos. — The 
wild boar of Meleagros. — The Vedic monster wild boar. — The 
dog and the pig.' — Puloman, the wild boar, burned. — The hog 
in the fire. — The hog cheats the wolf.^ — The astute hedgehog. — 
The hegehog, the wild boar, and the hog are presages of water. — 
The porcupine and its quills ; the comb and the dense forest. — 
The ears and the heart of the wild boar. — The wild boar and the 
hog at Christmas. — The devil a wild boar. — -The heroes killed by 
the wild boar. — The tusk of the wild boar now life-giving, now 
deadly ; the dead man*s tooth.- — The hero asleep ; the hero be- 
come a eunuch ; the lettuce-eunuch eaten by Adonis, prior to his 
being killed by the wild boar. 

VOL. II. A 



ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



The hog, as well as the wild boar, is another disguise 
of the solar hero in the night — another of the forms 
very often assumed by the sun, as a mythical hero, 
in the darkness or clouds. He adopts this form in order 
sometimes to hide himself from his persecutors, sometimes 
to exterminate them, and sometimes on account of a 
divine or demoniacal malediction. This form is some- 
times a dark and demoniacal guise assumed by the hero; 
on which account the poem of Hyndla, in the Edda, 
calls the hog a hero's animal. Often, however, it repre- 
sents the demon himself. When the solar hero enters 
the domain of evening, the form he had of a handsome 
youth or splendid prince disappears ; but he himself, as 
a general rule, does not die along with it ; he only 
passes into another, an uglier, and a monstrous form. 
The black bull, the black horse, the grey horse, the 
hump-backed horse, the ass, and the goat, are all forms of 
the same disguise with which we are already acquainted. 
The thousand-bellied Indras, who has lost his testicles ; 
Aromas, who disguises himself as a eunuch ; Indras, 
Vishnus, Zeus, Achilletis, Odin, Thor, Helgi, and many 
other mythical heroes, Who disguise themselves as women ; 
and the numerous beautiful heroines who, in mythology 
and tradition, disguise themselves as bearded men, are 
all ancient forms under which was represented the passage 
of either the sun or the aurora of evening into the dark- 
ness, cloud, ocean, forest, grotto, or hell of night. The 
hero lamed, blinded, bound, drowned, or buried in a Avood, 
can be understood when referred respectively to the sun 
which is thrown down the mountain-side, which is lost 
in the darkness, which is held fast by the fetters of the 
darkness, which plunges into the ocean of night, or which 
hides itself from our sight in the nocturnal forest. The 
illumined and illuminating sun, when it ceases to shine 



THE MYTH OF APAlA. 



in tlie dark night, becomes devoid of sight, devoid of in- 
telligence, and stupid. The handsome solar hero becomes 
ugly when, with the night, his splendour ceases ; the 
strong, red, healthy, solar hero, who- pales and grows 
dark in the night, becomes ill. We still say in Italy that 
the sun is ill when we see- it lose its brightness, and,, as it 
were, grow pale. 

In the 117th hymn of the first book of the S^gvedas, 
the Agvin^u cure the leprous daughter of Kakshlvant, 
Ghoshs, who is growing old without a husband in her 
father's house, and find her a husband ; the Ajvin^u 
deliver the aurora from the darkness of night,, and marry 
her,^ 

In the eightieth hymn of the eighth; book of the 
Itigvedas, the same myth occurs again with relation to 
Indras, and in a more complete form. We have already 
remarked, in the first book of the Rigvedds, the maiden 
Ap41a who descends from the mountain to draw water, 
and draws up the somas (ambrosia, or else the moon, 
whence, as it seems to> me, the origin of the double Italian 
proverb, " Pescare, or mostrare la luna nel pozzo," to fish 
up, or show the moon in the well, which was afterwards 
corrupted to indicate one who saysj or narrates, what is 
untrue or impossible), and takes it to Indras, the well- 
known drinker of ambrosia (here identified with the moon, 
or somas). Indras, contented with the maiden, con- 
sents, as she is ugly and deformed, to- pass over the three 
heavenly stations, that is,, to pass over his father's head, 
her vast breast and her bosom. ^ In the last strophe of 
the hymn quoted above, Indras makes a luminous robe. 



1 Cfr. the cbapter on the Duck, the Goose, the Swan, and the l)ove. 
^ Im^ni triwi vishtapi tinindra '^i rohaya giras tatasyorva^to ad 
idam ma npodare. 



ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



a skin of the sun, for Ap414, who has been thrice purified, 
by the wheel, by the chariot itself, and by the rudder of 
Indras's chariot.' And the same myth occurs once more 
in a clearer and more complete form in a legend of the 
Brihaddevatd, Ap4M beseeches Indras, loved by her, to 
make for her a beautiful and perfect (faultless, unim- 
peachable) skin. Indras, hearing her voice, passes over 
her with wheel, chariot, and rudder ; by three efforts, he 
takes ojff her ugly skin. Ap414 then appears in a beautiful 
one. In the skin thus stript off there was a bristle 
(jalyakah) ; above, it had a hirsute appearance ; below, 
it resembled the skin of a lizard.^ The bristle or thorn 
upon the skin of Apala is naturally suggestive of the 
hedgehog, the porcupine, the wild boar, and the bristly 
hog. The aurora, as the Vedic h5rmn sings, shines only 
at the sight of her husband ; thus Apal4, of the ugly or 

1 Khe rathasya klie 'nasah kbe yugasya gatakrato apilani indra 
trisli putvy akrinoh s-ilryatva^am. 

^ Sulom^m anavadyangiih kuru m^m gakra sutva(5im 
Tasyas tad va<ianam grutvd pritas tena purandarah. 
E,atlia6hidrena tarn indrah gakatasya yugasya (^a 
PraksMpya nigdakarsha tris tatah s^ sutva(5a ^bhavat 
Tasyaiii tvadi vyapetiyam sarvasyam galyako 'bhavat 
Uttara tv abhavad godba krikalligas tvag uttam^. 
Godhd seems to signify lie who bas tbe form of a hair (go^ among its 
other meanings, has that of hair). As an animal, the dictionaries 
also recognise in the godha a lizard. But perhaps we may also trans- 
late it by toad or frog ; we could thus also understand the fable of 
the frog which aspires to equal the ox. I observe, moreover, to ex- 
emplify the ease with which we can pass from the ox to the frog, and 
from the frog to the lizard, how in the Russian story of Afanasdeff, 
ii. 23, a beautiful princess is hidden in a frog; in Tuscan and Pied- 
montese stories and in Sicilian superstitions, in a toad. In the stories 
of the Pentamerone^ the good fairy is a lacerta cormtta (a horned 
lizard). Ghosha, too, has for its equivalent in Sanskrit, karkatacrifift, 
which means a horned shrimp. In other varieties the young prince is 
a he-2;oat or a dragon. 



THE LEPROUS MAIDEN— CINDERELLA. 5 

the hog's skin, and Ghoshs, the leprous maiden, become 
splendid and healthy by the grace of their husband. 
Thus Cinderella, or she who has a dress of the colour of 
ashes, or of a grey or dark colom^, like the sky of night 
(in Eussian stories Cinderella is called Cernushka, which 
means little black one, as well as little dirty one) , 
appears exceedingly beautiful only when she finds herself 
in the prince's ball-room, or in church, in candlelight, 
and near the prince- : the aurora is beautiful only when 
the sun is near. 

In the twenty-eighth story of the sixth book of 
Afanassieff, the maiden persecuted by her father and 
would-be seducer, who wishes to marry her, because he 
thinks her as beautiful as her mother (the evening aurora 
is as beautiful as the morning aurora), covers herself with 
a hog's skin, which she takes off only when she marries a 
young prince..^ In another story of White Eussia,^ we 
have, instead, the son of a king persecuted by his father, 
who is constrained to quit his father s house with a cloak 
made of a pig's skin. In an unpublished story of the 
Monferrato, the contents of which Dr Ferraro has com- 
municated to me,, the girl persecuted by her step-mother 
is condemned to eat in one night an interminable number 
of apples ; by means of two hog's bristles, she calls up a 
whole legion of pigs, who eat the apples in her stead. 

As to the rudder of Indras's chariot in the lower 
bosom of Ap414, it would seem to me to. have a phallic 
signification. Indras may have cured Ap414 by marrying 
her, as the A9vinau, by means of a husband, cured the 
leprous Ghosh4, who was growing old in her father's 
house. In the tenth story of the Pentamerone, the king 



1 For tlie persecuted maiden in connection with the hog or hogs, 
cfr. also the Pentamerone, iii. 10. 2 Afanassieff, v. 38. 



ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



of Koccaforte marries an old woman, believing he is 
espousing a young one. .He throws her out of the 
window, but she is arrested in her fall by a tree, to which 
she clings ; the fairies pass by, and make her young again, 
as well as beautiful mA rich, and tie up her hair with 
a golden ribbon. The aged sister of the old woman who 
has grown young again (the night) goes to the barber, 
thinking that the same result may be attained simply by 
having her skin removed, and is flayed alive. For the 
myth of the two sisters, night and aurora, the black 
maiden and she who disguises herself in black, in grey, 
or the colour of ashes, consult also the Pentamerone, ii. 2. 
According to the Italian belief, the hog is dedicated to 
St Anthony, and a St Anthony is also celebrated as the 
protector of weddings, like the Scandinavian Thor, to 
whom the hog is sacred. The hog symbolises fat ; and 
therefore, in the sixteenth Esthonian story, the hog is 
eaten at weddings. 

The companions of Odysseus, transformed by the mere- 
tricious enchantress Circe, with the help of poisonous 
herbs, into filthy hogs, care only to gratify their bodily 
appetites, whence Horace, in the second of the first book 
of the Epistolce — 

^' Sirenum voces, et Circes pocula nosti, • 

Quas si cum sociis stultus cupidusque bibisset 
Sub domina meretrice fuisset turpis et excors 
Vixisset canis immundus, vel arnica luto Sus." 

The hog, as one of the most libidinous of animals, is 
sacred to Venus ; for this reason, according to the Pytha- 
gorian doctrines, lustful men are transformed into hogs, 
and the expression '' pig" is applied to a man given over 
to every species of lust. In Varro^ we read :- — "Nuptia- 
rum initio, antiqui regcs ac sublimes viri in Hetruria in 

^ J)e lie Etcstica, ii. 4. 



THE RUDDER OF INDRAS. 



conjuctione nuptiali nova nupta et novus maritus pri- 
mum porcum immolant; prisci quoque Latini et etiam 
Grseci in Italia idem fecisse videntur^ nam et nostrse 
mulieres, maximse nutrices naturam, qua foeminse sunt, in 
virginibus appellant porcum, et grsece choiron, signifi- 
cantes esse dignum insigni nuptiarum." The rudder of 
Indras, wMcL. passes over the upodaras (or lower bosom) 
of Ap^l4, is illustrated by this passage in Varro. 

As to the wild boar, its character is generally demon- 
iacal ; but the reason why the Hindoo gods were invested 
with this form was in a great degree due to equivocation 
in language. The word vishnus means he who penetrates ; 
on account of its sharp tusks, in a Vedic hymn,^ the wild 
boar is called vishnus, or the penetrator. Hence, pro- 
bably, by the same analogy, in another hymn, Eudras, 
the father of the Marutas, the winds, is invoked as a red, 
hirsute, horrid, celestial wild boar,^ and the Marutas are 
invoked when the thunderbolts are seen in the form of 
wild boars running out from the iron teeth and golden 
wheels ; ^ that is, carried by the chariot of the Marutas, 
the winds, who also are said to have tongues of fire, and 
eyes like the sun.* Vishnus himself, in the Migvedas, at 
the instigation of Indras, brings a hundred oxen, the 

^ :Rigv. L 61, 7. 

2 Divo var^ham arusham kapardinam tvesbam rllpam namas^ ni 
hvay^mahe; Rigv. i. 114, 5. 

^ Pagyan Mranya<5akri,n ayodanshtr^n vidhavato var^h^n; Rigv. i. 
88, 5. 

* Agni^ihy^ manavah. sIlradaksliasalL ; Rigv. i. 89, 7. — In the Edda^ 
the chariot of Frey is drawn by a hog. The head of the mythical hog 
is luminous. In the twenty-eighth story of the second book of 
Afanassieff, Ivan Dur^k obtains from the two young heroes, who 
miraculously appear to him, three marvellous gifts, i.e., the hog with 
golden bristles, the buck with golden horns and tail, and the horse 
with mane and tail also of gold. 



ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 



milky gruel, and the destropng wild boar.^ Therefore 
Indras himself loves the shape of a wild boar, which, in 
the Avesta, is his alter ego. Verethraghnas assumes the 
same form. We know that the sun (sometimes the 
moon), in the form of a ram or he-goat, thrusts and 
pushes against the cloud, or the darkness, until he pierces 
it with his golden horns ; and so Vishnus, the penetrator, 
with his sharp golden tusks (thunderbolts, lunar horns, 
and solar rays), puts forth such great strength in the 
darkness and the cloud that he bursts through both, and 
comes forth luminous and victorious. According to the 
Pauranic traditions, Vishnus, in his third incarnation, 
when killing the demon Hirany^kshas (or him of the 
golden eye), drew forth or delivered the earth from the 
waters (or from the ocean of the damp and gloomy 
night of the winter),^ According to the Rdmdyanam,^ 

^ Vigvet ti Tishnur ibharad urukramas tveshitah. gatam mahisli^n 
kshirapikam odanam var^ham indra emusbam; Bigv. viii. 66, 10. — 
In the Thebaid of Statius (v. 487), Tydceus, too, is dressed in the 
spoils of a wild boar — 

" Terribiles contra setis, ac dente recurvo, 

Tydea per latos humeros ambire laborant 

Exuviae, Calydonis honos." 
^ According to other fables, the three persons of the Trinity at one 
time disputed as to who had the pre-eminence. Brahman, who, from 
the summit of the lotus where he was seated, saw nothing in the 
universe, believed himself the first of creatures. He descended into 
the stem of the lotus, and finding at last N^r^anas (Vishnus) asleep, 
he asked him who he was. *' I am the first-born," replied Vishnus ; 
Brahman disputed this title and dared even to attack him. But during 
the struggle, Mahadeva (Qiva) threw himself between them, crying, " It is 
I who am the first-born. Nevertheless I will recognise as my superior 
bim who is able to see the summit of my head or the sole of my feet," 
Vishnus (as hidden or infernal moon), transforming himself into a wild 
boar, pierced through the ground and penetrated to the infernal regions, 
where he saw the feet of Mahadeva. The latter, on his return, saluted bim 
as the first-born of the gods ; Bournouf, Ulnde Fran^aise, ^ H, H 9. 



THE MONSTER WILD BOAR, 



Inclras took tlie form of a wild boar immediately after his 
birth. 

The Arcadian "wild boar of Mount Erymanthtis is familiar 
to the reader. Herakles killed it in his third labom-, in 
the same way as Vishnus in the third of his incarnations 
became a wild boar ; Ovid describes him very elegantly 
in the eighth book of the Metamorphoses — 

" Sanguine et igne micant oculi, riget horrida cervix ^ 
Et setse densis similes hastilibus horrent, 
Stantque velut vallum, velut alta hastilia set3e , 
Fervida cum rauco latos stridore per armos 
Spuma fluit, dentes sequantur dentibus Indis, 
Fulmen ab ore venit frondes afflatibus ardent." 

The wild boar of Meleagros is a variety of this very 
monster ; it is, therefore, not without reason that when 
Herakles goes to the infernal regions, all the shades flee 
before him, except those of Meleagros and Medusa, 
Meleagros and Herakles resemble each other, are identi- 
fied with each other ; as to Medusa, we must not forget 
that the head of the Gorgon was represented upon the 
segis of Zeus, that Gorgon is one of the names given to 
Pallas, and that the Gorgons, and especially Medusa, are 
connected with the garden of the Hesperides, where the 
golden apples grow which Herakles loves. 

In the sixty-first hymn of the first book of the 
jRigvedas, the god, after having eaten and di'unk well, 
kills, with the weapon stolen from the celestial black- 
smith Tvashtar, the monster wild boar, who steals that 
which is destined for the gods,^ In the ninety-ninth 
hymn of the tenth book of the jRigvedas, Tritas (the third 
brother), by the strength which he has received from 

1 Asyed u mituh savaneshu sadyo mabah pitum papivad <$arv anna 
musbiiyad vislinuli padatarii sabiyam vidbyad varabam tiro adrini asti; 
str. 7. 



ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 



Indras, kills the monster wild boar.' In the Tdittiriya 
Brdhmanam, we find another very interesting passage. 
The wild boar keeps guard over the treasure of the 
demons, which is enclosed within seven mountains. 
Indras, with the sacred herb, succeeds in opening the 
seven mountains, kiUs the wild boar, and, in conse- 
quence, discovers the treasure.^ In the fifty-fifth hymn 
of the seventh book of the Bigvedas, the hog and the 
dog lacerate and tear each other to pieces in turns f the 
dog and the pig are found in strife again in the j3Esopian 
fable. 

In the Mahdhhdratam,^ Puloman assumes the form of 
a wild boar to carry off the wife of Bhrigus ; she pre- 
maturely gives birth to Cyavanas, who, to avenge his 
mother, bums the wild boar to ashes. The thunderbolt 
tears through the cloud, the sun's ray (or the lunar horn) 
breaks through the darkness. In the popular Tuscan story, 
the stupid Pimpi kills the hog, by teasing and torment- 
ing it with the tongs, which he has made red-hot in the 
fire. In the ninth of the Sicilian stories collected by 
Laura Gonzenbach, the girl Zafarana, throwing three hog's 
bristles upon the burning embers, causes the old prince, 
her husband, to become young and handsome again ; it 
is ever the same lucid myth (a variety of Ap414). Thus, 
in the first Esthonian story, the prince, by eating pork 
(or in the night forest), acquires the faculty of under- 

^ Asya trito nv o^asi vridb^no vipd variham ayoagray^ han ; str. 6. 

^ Varahoyam vamamoshah saptan^m girin^m parastid vittam vedyam 
asur^n^m vibharti, sa darbhapiri^ulam (piri^alam ?) uddhritya, sapta 
girin bhittvi tarn abanniti, already quoted by Wilson, J^igv, San, 
i. 164. — Cfr. the chapter on the Woodpecker. 

^ Tvam sllkarasya dardrihi tava dardartu sukarah ; str. 4. — The 
dog in relation with the hog occurs again in the two Latin proverbs : 
" Canis peccatum sus dependit," and " Alitor catuli longe olent, aliter 
sues." * i. 893. 



THE CUNNING HOG AND THE HEDGEHOG, ii 

standing the language of birds ; the hero acquires malice, 
if he has it not already ; he becomes cunning, if he was 
previously stupid ; we therefore also find in a story of 
Afanassieff^ the wolf cheated, first by the dog, then by 
the goat, and finally by the hog, who nearly drowns him. 
The wolf wishes to eat the hogs little ones; the hog 
requests him to wait under a bridge, where there is no 
water, whilst he goes, as he promises, in the meantime 
to wash the young porkers ; the wolf waits, and the hog 
goes to let off the water, which, as it passes under the 
bridge, puts the wolfs life in danger. Hence the belief 
noticed by Aristotle, that the hog is a match for the 
wolf, and the corresponding Greek fables. This prudence 
is found carried to the highest degree in the hedgehog. 
The Arabs are accustomed to say that the champion of 
truth must have the courage of the cock, the scrutiny 
of the hen, the heart of the lion, the rush of the wild 
boar, the cunning of the fox, the prudence of the hedge- 
hog, the swiftness of the wolf, the resignation of the dog, 
and the complexion of the naguir.^ A verse attributed 
to Archilokos says : — 

"Poll' oid' alop^x, all' ecliinos en mega," 

which passed into the proverb : ^' One knavery of the 
hedgehog is worth more than many of the fox." In the 
Aiiarey, Br,^ the hedgehog is said to be bom of the 
talon of the rapacious hawk. In the jEsopian fables, 
the wolf comes upon a hedgehog, and congratulates 
himself upon his good luck ; but the hedgehog defends 
itself. The wolf flatters it and beseeches it to lay down 
its arms, but it answers that it is imprudent to do so 



^ iv. 13. ' Daumas, La Vie ArahCj xv. 

8 ui. 3, 26. 



12 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

while the danger of fighting remains. Hence the com- 
mon belief that the wolf is afraid of the hedgehog; 
hence the proverb, " It is very easy to find the hedgehog, 
but very difficult to hold it." In a fable of Abstemius, 
the hedgehog appears as an enemy, not only of the wolf, 
but also of the serpent ; it pricks the viper which has 
taken refuge in its den. Then the viper begs it to go 
out, but it answers, "Let him go out who cannot stay." 
The hedgehog has the appearance of a little wild boar ; 
and as an enemy of the wolf and of the serpent, it 
appears to me to combine in one the dwarf Vishnus and 
the wild boar Vishnus, the exterminator of monsters, 
who, as we know, almost always assume, in Hindoo 
mythology, the form of a wolf or a serpent. And inas- 
much as Vishnus, like Indras, is a thundering and rain- 
giving god, in his character of sun in the cloud, or nightly 
and autumnal moon, the hedgehog, too, is believed to pre- 
sage wind and rain. The wild boar, when dreamed of, is, 
according to Axtemidoros, quoted by Aldrovandi,^ an omen 
of tempest and rain deluge. To this, refers also the fable 
spoken of by ^lianos and Pliny concerning the hogs car- 
ried off by the pirates, which make the ship sink. The 
cloud-hogs are evidently represented by this myth. 

The porcupine seems to be an intermediate form 
between the hedgehog and the wild boar. According to 
the popular belief, the ashes of a dead porcupine are, 
when scattered on the head, an excellent remedy against 
baldness, and a hair-restorative. And inasmuch as it is 
difficult to make the porcupine's quills fall, I read ia 
Aldrovandi,^ that women "Ad discriminandos capiUos, 
ut iUos conservent illsesos, aculeis potius hystricum, 
quam acubus utuntur." This information derived from 



' Cfr. Aldrovandi, Be Quadrup. Digit. Viv. ii. 2 /j^^^ 



MYTHICAL COMBS.—SACRIFICIAL HOGS. 13 

Aldrovandi is interesting, as enabling us to understand a 
not uncommon circumstance in Eussian stories. The 
hero and heroine who flee from the monster that pursues 
them have received from a good magician or a good 
fairy the gift of a comb, of such a nature that when 
thrown on the ground it makes a dense thicket or 
impenetrable forest arise, which arrests the pursuer's 
progress..^ This is a reminiscence of the porcupine with the 
thick-set quills, of the bristly wild boar, of the gloomy night 
or cloud itself, of the horned moon, which hides the fugi- , 
tive solar hero and heroine from the sight of the pursuer. 
Notwithstanding this, the hog and the wild boar 
generally play in Indo - European tradition a part 
resembling that of the scape-goat and of the ass souffre- 
douleur. In the Pan6atantTam, the ears and the heart 
of the credulous ass, torn by the lion, are eaten. In 
Babrios, the rdle of the ass is sustained by the stag 
(which is often in myths a variation of the foolish hero). 
In the Gesta Romanorum,^ the wild boar loses, by his 
silliness, first one ear, then the other, then his tail ; at 
last he is kiUed, and his heart eaten by the cook. In 
Germany, it is the custom, as it formerly was in England, 
to serve up at dinner on Christmas Day an ornamented 
boar's head, no doubt as a S3Txibol of the gloomy monster 
of lunar winter killed at the winter solstice, after which the 
days grow always longer and brighter. For the same 
reason, the common people in Germany often go to sleep 

^ Cfr. Afanassieff, v. 28. 

^ Ixsxiii., quoted by Benfey in Ms Einleitung to the Pancatantram. 
— The fable is taken from the thirtieth of Avianus, where the wild 
boar loses his two ears and is then eaten, but the cook (who represents 
in tradition the cunning hero) has taken its heart to eat it :— 
" Sed cum consumpti dominus cor qusereret Apri 
Impatiens, fertur (cor) rapuisse coquus." 



14 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

on Christmas Day in the pig-sty, hoping to dream there ; 
this dream is a presage of good luck. The new sun is 
born in the sty of the winter hog ; even the Christian 
Redeemer was bom in a stable, but instead of the hog it 
was the ass, its mythical equivalent, that occupied it. 
For this reason, too, the devil often assumes in German 
superstition the form of a monstrous boar, which the 
hero kills. ^ The wild boar is also described as an aversier 
(or demon) in the romance of Garin le Loherain ^ — 

"Yoi^s quel aversier, 
Grant a le dent fors de la gueule un piet 
Mult fu hardis qui a cop I'atendi^." 

The author of Loci Communes says that Ferquhar IL, 
king of Scotland, was killed by a wild boar; other 
writers tell us, on the contrary, that his death was caused 
by a wolf; but we already know how, in the myth, wolf and 
wild boar are sometimes equivalent the one to the other. 

In the same way as Vishnus changed himself into a 
wild boar, and the hog was sacred to the Scandinavian 
Mars, so was the wild boar sacred to the Eoman and 
Hellenic Mars ; and even Mars himself assumed the 
shape of a monstrous lunar wild boar in order to kill the 
young Adonis, beloved of Venus. There is no god or 
saint so perfect but has once in his life committed a 
fault, as there is not a demon so wicked as not to have 
done good at least once. The adversaries exchange 
parts. In Servius, it is with a wild boar s tusk that the 
bark is cut off the tree in which Myrrha, pregnant with 

1 In Du Cange, too, "ojoer significat diabolum; Papias M. S. Bitur. 
Ex illo Scripturse : * Singularis aper egressus est de silva.' '* — Cfr. also 
TJhland's Schriften zur Geschichte der Dichtung und Sage, iii, 141, et 
seq. 

2 ii. 220, et seq., quoted by Uhland. 



LIFE-GIVING AND DEATH-DEALING TUSK. 15 

Adonis after lier incest witli her father, shuts herself up 
(we have above seen, on the contrary, Indras who opens 
with an herb the hiding-place of the wild boar, in order 
to kill it). We here have again the incestuous father, the 
girl in the wooden dress, the forest, the penetrating tusk 
of the wild boar which bursts through the forest of night, 
and enables the young hero to come forth, whom he kills 
in the evening out of jealousy. In the ancient popular 
belief of Sweden, too, the wild boar kills the sun whilst 
he is asleep in a cavern and his horses grazing, Notice, 
moreover, the double character of the tusk of the nocturnal 
lunar wild boar ; in the morning it is a life-giving tusk, 
which enables the solar hero to be born ; in the evening 
it is a death-dealing one ; the wild boar is alive during 
the night, and the darkness is split open by the white 
tooth of the living wild boar. The lunar wild boar or hog 
is sacrificed, — it is killed at morn, in the nuptials of the 
solar hero. The tooth of this dead wild boar, in the 
evening, causes the death of the young hero or heroine, 
or else transforms them into wild beasts. In popular 
fairy tales the witch, feigning a wish to comb the head 
of the hero or the heroine, thrusts into his or her 
head now a large pin, now a dead man's tooth, and 
thus deprives them of life or human form. This is a 
reminiscence of the tusk of the cloudy, nocturnal, or 
wintry wild boar who kiUs the sun, or metamorphoses 
him, or puts him to sleep. 

To represent the evening sun asleep, a curious par- 
ticular is ofi'ered us in the myth of Adonis. It is well- 
known that doctors attribute to the lettuce a soporific 
virtue, not dissimilar to that of the poppy. Now, it is 
interesting to read in Nikandros Koloplionios, quoted by 
Aldrovandi, that Adonis was struck by the wild boar 
after having eaten a lettuce. Ibykos, a Pythagorean poet. 



i6 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

calls tlie lettuce by tlie name of eunuch, as it is that 
which puts to sleep, which renders stupid and impotent ; 
Adonis who has eaten the lettuce is therefore taken from 
Venus by the lunar wild boar, being eunuch and incapable. 
The solar hero falls asleep in the night, and becomes a 
eunuch, like the Hindoo Ar^unas, when he is hidden; 
and otherwise, the sun becomes the moon. 



CHAPTER VL 

THE DOG. 

SUMMARY. 

"Why the myth of the dog is difficult of interpretation. — Entre cMen 
et loup. — The dog and the moon. — The bitch SaramU; her double 
aspect in the Ved^s and in the Rdmdyanam ; messenger, consoler, 
and infernal being. — The dog and the purple ; the dog and the 
meat ; the dog and its shadow ; the fearless hero and his shadow j 
the black monster ; the fear of Indras. — The two Vedic dogs ; 
S^rameyas and Hermes. — The favourite dog of Saram^ ; the dog 
that steals during the sacrifice ; the form of a dog to expiate 
crimes committed in former states of existence ; relative Hindoo, 
Pythagorean and Christian beliefs. — The dog Yamas.~The dog 
demon that barks, with the long bitter tongue. — The red bitch 
towards morning a beautiful maiden during the night. — The 
intestines of the dog eaten.' — The hawk that carries honey and the 
sterile woman. — Dog and woodpecker. — The dog carries the 
bones of the witch's daughter. — The dog-messenger brings news 
of the hero. — The nurse-bitch.— The dog and his collar; the dog 
tied up ; the hero becomes a dog. — The dog helps the hero. — The 
branch of the apple-tree opens the door. — The dog tears the devil 
in pieces.' — The two sons of Ivan think themselves dog's sons. — 
The intestines of the fish given to be eaten by the bitch. — Ivan 
the son of the bitch, the very strong hero, goes to the infernal 
regions. — Dioscuri, Kerberos, funereal purifying dogs of the Per- 
sians ; the penitent dog ; the two dogs equivalent to the two 
Agviniu. — The luminous children transformed into puppies; 
relative legends ; the maiden whose hands have been cut off 
obtains golden hands ; branches of trees, hands, sons born of a 
tree ; the myth compared and explained in the Vedic hymns, with 
the example of Hiranyahastas ; the word vadhrimatt. — The 
demoniacal dog. — The strength of the mythical dog. — Monstrous 

VOL. II. B 



i8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



dogs. — The dog Sirius. — To swear by the dog or by the wolf. — 
A dog is always born among wolves. — The dog dreamed of. — 
Double appearance of the dog; the stories of the king of the 
assassins and of the magician with seven heads. — St Vitus invoked 
in Sicily whilst a dog is being tied up. — The dog of the shepherd 
behaves like a wolf among the sheep. — The dog as an instrument 
of chastisement; the expressions to lead the dog and the igno- 
minious punishment of carrying the dog. — The dogs that tear in 
pieces; the death caused by the dog prognosticated; the dogs 
Sirius and Kerberos igneous and pestilential ; the incendiary dog 
of St Dominic, the inventor of pyres for burning heretics, and the 
dog of the infected San Eocco. 

The myth of the dog is one of those of which the 
interpretation is more delicate. As the common dog 
stays upon the doorstep of the house, so is the 
mythical dog generally found at the gate of the sky, 
morning and evening, in connection with the two 
A§vin4u. It was a fugitive phenomenon of but an in- 
stant's duration which determined the formation of the 
principal myth of the dog. When this moment is past, 
the myth changes its nature. I have already referred to 
the French expression, '^ entre chien et loup," as used to 
denote the twilight;^ the dog precedes by one instant 
the evening twilight, and follows by one instant that of 
morning : it is, in a word, the twilight at its most 
luminous moment. Inasmuch as it watches at the gates 
of night, it is usually a funereal, infernal, and formidable 
animal ; inasmuch as it guards the gates of day, it is 
generally represented as a propitious one; and as we 

1 Leukophos ; a verse of Vilkelmus Brito defines it in a Latin 
strophe given in Du Cange — 

" Tempore quo neque nox neque lux sed utruniqiie videtur ;" 
and further on — 

'^ Interque canem distare lupmnque" 
According to Pliny and Solinus, the shadow of the hyena makes the 
dog dumb, i.e.-, the night disperses the twilight; the moon vanishes. 



THE THREE DOGS. 19 

have seen that, of the two A9vin4u, one is in especial 
relation with the moon, and the other with the sun, so, 
of the two dogs of mythology, one is especially lunar, 
and the other especially solar. Between these two dogs 
we find the bitch their mother, who, if I am not mis- 
taken, represents now the wandering moon of heaven, 
the guiding moon that illumines the path of the hero 
and heroine, now the thunderbolt that tears the cloud, 
and opens up the hiding-place of the cows or waters. 
We have, therefore, thus far three mythical dogs. One, 
menacing, is found by the solar hero in the evening at the 
western gates of heaven; the second, the more active, helps 
him in the forest of night, where he is hunting, g-uides him 
in danger, and shows him the lurking-places of his enemies 
whilst he is in the cloud or darkness; the third, in the morn- 
ing, is quiet, and found by the hero when he comes out of 
the gloomy region, towards the eastern sky. 

Let us now examine briefly these three forms in 
Hindoo mythology. I have said that the mythical bitch 
appears to me sometimes to represent the moon, and 
sometimes the thunderbolt. In India, this bitch is named 
Saram4, properly she who walks, who runs or flows. We 
are accustomed to say of the dog that it barks at the 
moon, which the popular proverb connects with robbers. 
The dog that barks at the moon,^ is perhaps the same 
dog that barks to show that robbers are near. In the 
108th hymn of the tenth book of the JRigvedas, we 
have a dramatic scene between the misers or thieves (the 
Panayas) and the bitch Sarama, the messenger of Indras, 
who wishes for their treasures.^ In order to come to 

1 The dog was sacred to tlie huntress Diana, whom we know to be 
the moon, hence the Latin proverb, " Delia nota canibus." 

2 Indrasya dtitir ishit^ darami maha idhanti panayo nidhin vah ; 

str. 2. 



20 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

them, she traverses the waters of the Eas4 (a river of 
hell) ; the treasure that is hidden in the mountain con- 
sists of cows, horses, and various riches ; the Panayas 
wish Saramsi to stay with them as their sister, and to 
enjoy the cows along with them ; Saram^ answers that 
she does not recognise their brotherhood, inasmuch as 
she is already the sister of Indras, and the terrible 
Angirasas.^ In the sixty-second hymn of the first book, 
the bitch Saram^ discovers the cows hidden in the rock, 
and receives in recompense from Indras and the Angirasas 
nourishment for her offspring ; then men cry out, and 
the cows bellow.^ Going towards the sun, in the path of 
the sun, Saram4 finds the cows.^ When Indras splits 
the mountain open, Saram^ shows him first the waters/ 
Having previously seen the fissure in the mountain, she 
showed the way. The first she guided rapidly, the band 
of the noisy ones having previously heard the noise/ 
This noise may refer either to the waters, the sounding 
rivers (nadas, nadis), or the lowing cows (gavas). Now, 
this bitch that discovers the hiding-places, inasmuch as 
she breaks through the darkness of night, seems to be 
the moon ; inasmuch as she breaks through the cloud, 
she seems to be the thunderbolt. The secret of this 

1 Rasaya ataram payansi ; str. 2. — Ayam nidhih sarame adribudhno 
gobhir agvebhir vasubhir nyrishtab.; str. 7. — SvasSram tvi krmavai 
mi punar ga apa te gavam subhage bha^Eimaj str. 9. — Niham veda 
bhritritvam no svasritvam indro vidur angirasag 6aghorih ; str. 10. 

2 Indrasyingirasim desbtau vidat sarami tanayiya dhisim brihas- 
patir bbinad adrim vidad gih sam usriyibhir vivaganta narah \ str, 3. 

3 Ritam yati sarami gi avindat. — Ritasya pathi sarama vidad g^h; 
Rigv. V. 45, 7, 8. 

^ Apo yad adrim puruhuta dardar ivir bbuvat sarami plirvyam te ; 
Rigv. iv. 16, 8. 

^ Vidad yadi sarami nignam adrer mahi pithab pfirvyam sadhryak 
kali agram nayat supady akshar^nim adbi ravam prathami ^inati git; 
Rigv. iii. 31, 6. 



THE BITCH SARAMA. 



equivoque lies in the root sm\ In the JRigvedas, we 
have seen Saramd. disdaining to pass for the sister of 
the thieves or the monsters ; in the Rdmdyanam^ the 
wife of one of the monsters, of the very brother of 
Eavanas the robber, is called Sarami, and takes, instead 
of the- monster's part, that of Eamas and Sit4 the 
ravished wife. We have already several times seen the 
moon as a beneficent cow, as a good fairy, or as the 
Madonna. Saram^ (of which Suram4, another benignant 
rakshasl, is probably only an incorrect form^), the consoler 
of Sit^, who announces prophetically her approaching 
deliverance by her husband E4mas, appears to me in 
the light of another impersonation of the moon. It is 
on this account that Sit4^ praises Saram^ as a twin- 
sister of hers (sahodara), afi'ectionate, and capable of 
traversing the heavens, and penetrating into the watery 
infernal regions (ras4talam).* The benignant sister of 
Sit£L can only be another luminous being ; she is the good 
sister whom the maiden of the Eussian story, persecuted 
by her incestuous father, in Afanassieff, finds in the 
subterranean world, where she is consoled and assisted 
in escaping from the power of the witch ; she is the 
moon. The moon is the luminous form of the gloomy 
sky of night, or of the funereal and infernal region ; 
whilst its two luminous barriers in that sky, in the east 
and in the west, are morning and evening aurora ; the 
luminous forms of the cloudy sky are lightning and 
thunderbolts. And it is from one of these luminous 
mythical forms that the Greeks, according to Pollux, 
quoted by Aldrovandi, made of the dog the inventor of 
purple, which the dog of Herakles was the first to bite. 

1 vi. 9. 2 y^ 62. 3 yi_ 10. 

* Cfr. the Vedic text above quoted. 



2 2 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

The clog of the ^sopian fable/ with meat in its mouth, 
is a variation of this myth. The red sky of evening 
appears purple in the morning, and in the evening as 
the meat that the dog lets fall into the waters of the 
ocean of night. In the Pancoiantraw y we have instead 
the lion of evening (the evening sun), who, seeing in the 
fountain (or in the ocean of night) another lion (now the 
moon, now his own shadow, the night, or the cloud), 
throws himself into the water to tear him to pieces, and 
perishes in it. The hare (the moon) is the animal which 
allures the famished lion of evening to perish in the waters. 
The two sons of the bitch Sarama preserve several of 
their mother's characteristics. Now they are spoken of 
together as S4ramey^u; now they are mentioned together, 
but distinct from one another ] now one alone of them, the 
most legitimate, by the name of Sdrameyas, whose identity 
with the Greek Hermes or Hermeias has already been 
proved by Professor Kuhn. Saram4 in connection with 
the Pan ay as, merchants or thieves, and Saram^ as the 



^ In the Tuti-Name, instead of the dog with the bone or piece of 
meat, we have the fox. The dog who sees his shadow in the water ', 
the fearless hero who, in Tuscan stories, dies when he sees his own 
shadow ; the black monster (the shadow) who, in numerous stories, 
presents himself instead of the real hero to espouse the beautiful 
princess, carry our thoughts back to Indras, who, in the Rigvedas, 
after having defeated the monster, flees away over the rivers, upon 
seeing something which is probably the shadow of Vritras, killed by 
him, or his own shadow. In the Aitar. Brahm, iii. 2, 15, 16, 20, this 
flight of Indras is also recorded, and it is added, that Indras hides 
himself, and that the Pitaras {i.e., the souls of the departed) find 
him again. Indras thinks that he has killed Vritras, but really has 
not killed him; then the gods abandon him; the Marutas alone (as 
dogs friendly to the bitch Sarama) remain faithful to him. The 
monster killed by Indras in the morning rises again at eve. According 
to other Vedic accounts, Indras is obliged to flee, stung by remorse, 
having committed a brihmanicide. 



THE DOGS AS GUARDIANS OF TREASURES, 23 

divine messenger, gives us the keyto the legend of Mercury, 
god of thieves and merchants, and messenger of the gods. 
In a Vedic hymn we find described with great clear- 
ness the two dogs that guard the gates of hell, the 
monsters' dwelling, or the kingdom of the dead. It 
prays for one departed, "that he may be able to pass 
safely beyond the two dogs, sons of Saram4, having four 
eyes, spotted, who occupy the right path, and to come to 
the benignant Manes " (for there are also the malignant 
ones, or Durvidatr^h) ; these dogs are called "the very 
fierce guardians, who watch the road, observing men, 
have vast nostrils, are long-winded, and very strong? 
the messengers of Yamas ; " they are invoked " that they 
may cause to enjoy the sight of the sun, and give a happy 
life."^ But the Migvedas itself already shows us the two 
sons of the bitch Saram4, as the two who look in turns 
(one after the other), whom Indras must put to sleep. ^ 
One, however, of the two sons of Saram^ is especially 
invoked and feared, the S^rameyas par excellence. The 
Vedic hymn speaks of him as he who returns (punahsaras), 
and represents him as " luminous, with, reddish teeth, 
that shine like spears, in the well-rooted gums," and 
implores him to sleep, or "to bark only at the robber, 
or at the thief, not at the singers of hymns in honour of 
Indras."^ The bitch Saram4 is passionately fond of her 



^ Ati drava sdramey^u qvkuku (5ataraksliau gabaMu sidhun^ patba 
athi pitrint suvidatran upehi — Yiu te gv^niu yama rakshitarau 
(iaturakshau pathirakshi nridakshasiu — Urunasiv asutrip^ udumbalau 
yamasya dtlt^u <;arato ^an^n anu — Tllv asmabhyam drigaye suryfLya 
punar dati,m asum adyeba bhadram ; Rigv. x. 14, 10-13. 

2 Ni shvapaya mitbudrigau ; Rigv. i. 29, 3.— The Petropolitan 
Dictionary explains the word mith. by " abwechselend sichtbar." 

3 Yad ar^una sarameya datah piganga yadhase viva bhri^anta 
rishtaya upa srakveshu bapsato ni shu svapa ; stenam riya sarameya 
taakaram v4 punahsara stotrin indrasya rtlyasi kini asman dudhuu^yase 
ni shu svapa ; IRigv. vii. 55, 2, 3. 



24 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



son ; in recompense for her discovery of the cows of Indras, 
she demands nouiishment for her son, which nourishment 
the commentator explains to be the milk of the liberated 
cows ; the first rays of the morning sun and the last 
rays of the evening sun drink the milk of the dawn or 
silvery twilight In the Mahdbhdratam^ the bitch 
Sarami curses King 6-anamegayas, because his three 
brothers^ when attending the sacrifice, maltreated and 
flogged the dog S4rameyas, who had also gone there, 
although he had neither touched with his tongue nor 
desired with his eyes the oblations destined to the gods 
(as, on the contrary, the white dog did, who, in the 
sacrifice of Dion, near Athens, stole part of the victim, 
whence the name of Klinosarges was given to that place). 
The same legend occurs again, slightly modified, in the 
seventh book of the Rdmdyanam.^ E4mas sends 
Lakshmanas, his brother, to see whether there are any dis- 
putes to be settled in the kingdom ; Lakshmanas returns, 
saying that the whole kingdom is at peace, E^mas sends 
him again ; he sees a dog erect on the doorstep of the 
palace, barking. The name of this dog is Sarameyas. 
Eamas enables him to enter the palace. The dog com- 
plains that he has been beaten without just cause by a 
Brahman. The Brihman is called, appears, confesses his 
fault, and awaits his punishment. The dog Sarameyas 
proposes as his punishment that the Brahman should 
take a wife (the usual proverbial satire against wives), 
and become head of a family in the very place where he 
himself had supported the same dignity prior to' assum- 
ing the shape of a dog. After this the dog Sarameyas, 
who remembers his previous states of existence, returns 
to do penitence at Benares, whence he had come. 

1 i. G57, GQQ, ^ Canto 62. 



THE DOG AT THE SACRIFICE^YAMAS, 25 

Therefore the dog and the Kerberos are also a form 
into which the hero of the myth passes. The Hindoo 
and Pythagorean rehgious beliefs both teach that metem- 
psychosis is a means of expiation ; the curse of the 
offended deity is now a vengeance now a chastisement for 
an error that the hero or some one of his relations has com- 
mitted, and which has provoked the deity's indignation.^ 

Sometimes the deity himself assumes the form of a 
dog in order to put the hero's virtue to the proof, as in 
the last book of the Mahdhhdratam, where the god 
Yamas becomes a dog, and follows Yudhishthiras (the 
son of Yamas), who regards him with such affection, that 
when invited to mount into the chariot of the gods, he 
refuses to do so, unless his faithful dog is allowed to 
accompany him. 

Sometimes, however, the shape of a dog or bitch (as 
it is easy to pass from Yamas, the god of hell in the 
form of a dog, to the dog-fiend) is a real and specific 
form of a demon. The JRigvedas speaks of the dog- 
demons bent upon tormenting Indras, who is requested 
to kill the monster in the form of an owl, a bat, a dog, 
a wolf, a great bird, a vulture ;^ it invokes the Ajvinau 
to destroy on every side the barking dogs f it solicits 

^ Thus Hecuba, the "wife of Priam, after having suffered cruel tribu- 
lation as a -woman, in Ovid — 

" Perdidit infelix hominis post omnia formam 
Externasque novo latratu terruit auras." 

In the Breviarium Romanum, too, in the offices of the dead, God is 
besought not to consign to the beasts (ne tradas bestiis, &c.) the souls 
of His servants. 

2 Eta u tye patayanti gvayatava in dram dipsanti dipsavo 'dabhyam 
— Ulukay^tum gugulukay^tum ^ahi gvayitum uta kokayitum supar- 
nay^tum gridhray^tura drishadeva pra mrina raksha indra ; Rigv. vii. 
104, 20, 22. 

^ Gambhayatam abhito riyatahj Rigv. i. 182, 4. 



26 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

the friends to destroy the long-tongued and avaricious dog 
(in the old Italian chronicle of Giov. Morelli, misers are 
called Cani del danaro, dogs of money), as the Bhrigavas 
have killed the monster Makhas.^ And the skin of the 
red bitch is another monstrous form in which is dressed 
every morning (as the aurora in the morning sky), in the 
twenty-third Mongol story, the beautiful maiden who is 
in the power of the prince of the dragons ; she (as moon) is 
beautiful maiden only at night ; towards day she becomes 
a red bitch (the moon gives up her place to the aurora) ; 
the youth who has married her wishes to burn this bitch's 
skin, but the maiden disappears ; the sun overtakes the 
aurora, and he disappears with the moon. We have 
already seen this myth. 

In the eighteenth hymn of the fourth book of the 
JRigvedas, the thirteenth strophe seems to me to contain 
an interesting particular. A devotee complains as follows : 
— " In my misery I had the intestines of the dog cooked ; 
I found among the gods no consoler ; I saw my wife 
sterile ; the hawk brought honey to me."^ Here we 
find the dog in connection with a bird.^ In the twenty- 



^ Apa 9vinam 9nathis]itana sakL^yo dirglia^ihvyam — Apa gvinam 
arlidhasam hat^ makharii na bhrigavali; Rig v. ix. 101, I, 13. 

^ Avartyi 9una antr^ni pe6e na deveshu vivide mardit^ram apa^yam 
^^yam amahiyaminim adhi, me gyeno madhv ^ ^abb^ra; Rigv. iv. 18, 
13. The bird wbo brings honey has evidently here a phallical mean- 
ing, as also the intestine, the part that is inside of now the dog, now the 
fish, and now the ass (all of which are phallical symbols), desired as a 
delicacy by the women of fairy tales, must be equivalent to the madku 
brought by the bird. 

3 In the fifth story of the fourth book of the Pentamerone, the bird 
does the same that a dog does in the third story of the third book \ 
the bird brings a knife, the dog brings a bone, and the imprisoned 
princess, by means of this knife and bone, is enabled to make a hole 
in the prison, and to free herself. 



THE MESSENGER DOG, BIRD, AND HORSE. 27 

fifth story of the fourth book of Afanassieff, we find the 
woodpecker that brings food and drink to its friend the 
dog, and avenges him after his death. In the forty-first 
story of the fourth book, the dog is killed by the old 
witch, because he carries in a sack the bones of her wicked 
daughter, who has been devoured by the head of a mare. 
In the twentieth story of the fifth book, we have the dog 
in the capacity of a messenger employed by the beautiful 
girl whom the serpent has married ; he carries to her 
father a letter that she has written, and brings his answer 
back to her. In the legend of St Peter, the dog serves 
as a messenger between Peter and Simon the magician ; 
in the legend of San Rocco, the dog of our Lord takes 
bread to the saint, alone and iU under a tree. The name 
of Cyrus's nurse, according to Textor, was Kiina, whence 
Cyrus might have been nourished, like Askl^pios, with 
the milk of a dog. I have abeady said that the story of 
the dog is connected with the myth of the A§vin4u, or, 
what is the same thing, with that of the horse ; horse 
and dog are considered in the light of coursers : the horse 
bears the hero, and the dog usually takes news of the 
hero to his friends, as the bitch Saram^, the messenger of 
the gods, does in the Rigvedas} The hero who assumes 
the shape of a horse cautions his father, when he sells 
him to the devil, not to give up- the bridle to the buyer. 
In the twenty-second story of the fifth book of Afanas- 
sieff, the young man transforms himself into a dog, and 
lets his father sell him to a great lord, who is the devil in 
disguise, but tells him not to give up the collar.^ The 

^ In the Pentamerone, i, 7, the enchanted bitch brings to the princess 
news of the young hero. 

^ In the seventh Esthonian story, the man with the black horse binds 
three dogs tightly ; if they get loose, no one will be able to keep them 
back. — In the Edda^ Thrymer, the prince of the giants, keeps the grey 
dogs bound with golden chains. 



28 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 



gentleman buys the dog for two hundred roubles, but 
insists upon having the collar too, calling the old man a 
thief upon the latter refusing to consign it into his hands. 
The old man, in his distraction, gives it up ; the dog is 
thus in the power of the lord, that is, of the devil. But 
on the road, a hare (the moon) passes by ; the gentleman 
lets the dog pursue it, and loses sight of it ; the dog 
again assumes the shape of a hero, and rejoins his father. 
In the same story, the young man adopts, the second 
time, the form of a bird (we shall see the A9vin4u as 
swans and doves in the chapter on the swan, the goose, 
and the dove), and the third time that of a horse. In the 
twenty-eighth story of the fifth book, a horse, a dog, and 
an apple-tree are born of the dead bull who protects 
Ivan and Mary fleeing in the forest from the bear. 
Riding on the horse, and accompanied by the dog, Ivan 
goes to the chase. The first day he captures a wolfs 
whelp alive, and carries it home ; the second day he takes 
a young bear ; the third day he returns to the chase, and 
forgets the dog ; then the six-headed serpent, in the shape 
of a handsome youth, carries off" his sister, and shuts the 
dog up under lock and key, throwing the key into the 
lake. Ivan returns, and, by the advice of a fahy, he 
breaks a twig off the apple-tree, and strikes with it the 
bolt of the door which encloses the dog ; the dog is thus 
set at liberty, and Ivan lets dog, wolf, and bear loose 
upon the serpent, who is torn in pieces by them, and re- 
covers his sister. In the fiftieth story of the fifth book, 
the dog of a warrior-hero tears the devil, who presents 
himself first in the form of a bull, and then in that of a 
bear, to prevent the wedding of the hero taking place. 
In the fifty-second story of the sixth book, the dogs which 
Ivan Tzarevic has received from two fairies, together with 
a wolfs whelj), a bear's, and a lion's cub, tear the monster 



THE FISH WITH GOLDEN FINS, 29 

serpent to pieces. The two dogs carry us back to the 
myth of the Agvin^u. In the fifty-third story of the 
sixth book, the monster cuts Ivan's head ofi". Ivan has 
two sons, who believe themselves to be of canine descent ; 
they ask their mother to be permitted to go and resus- 
citate their father. An old man gives them a root, 
which, when rubbed on Ivan s body, will bring him to 
life again ; they take it, and use it as directed. Ivan is 
resuscitated, and the monster dies. Finally, in the fifty- 
fourth story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, we learn 
how the sons of the dog are born, and their mode of 
birth is analogous to that mentioned in the Vedic hymn. 
A king who has no sons has a fish with golden fins ; he 
orders it to be cooked, and to be given to the queen to 
eat. The intestines of the fish (the phaUos) are thrown 
to the bitch, the bones are gnawed by the cook, and the 
meat is eaten by the queen. To the bitch, the cook, and 
the queen a son is born at the same time. The three sons 
are all called Ivan, and are regarded as three brothers ; 
but the strongest (he who accomplishes the most diflGicult 
enterprises) is Ivan the son of the bitch, who goes under 
ground into the kingdom of the monsters (as of the 
two Dioscuri, one descends into heU, like the two funereal 
dogs, light-coloured and white, of the Avesta, which are 
in perfect accordance with the Vedic Sdrameydu^). In 

"^ Einen gelblichen Hund mit vier Augen oder einen weissen mit 
gelben Ohren; Vendidad, viii. 41, et seq., Spiegel's version. And 
Anquetil, describing the Baraschnon no schabe, represents the purifying 
dog as follows : — "Le Mobed prend le baton k neuf nceuds, entre dans 
les Keischs et attache la cuillere de fer an neuvi^me noeud. L'impur 
entre anssi dans les Keischs. On y amine un chien ; et si c'est une 
femme que Ton purifie, comme eUe doit etre nue, c'est aussi une femme 
qui tient le chien. L'impur ayant la main droite sur sa tete et la 
gauche sur le chien, passe successivement sur les six premieres pierres 
et s'y lave avec Purine que lui donne le Mobed." — In the Kdtydiy. SH.. 



30 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the same story, besides the three brother-heroes, three 
heroic horses are brought forth by the three mares that 
have drunk the water in which the fish was washed before 
being cooked ; in other European variations, and in the 
Eussian stories themselves, therefore, we sometimes have, 
instead of the bitch's son, the son of the mare (or the cow). 
The two Ajvin^u are now two horses, now two dogs, 
now a dog and a horse (now a bull and a lion).-^ Ivan 
Tzarevic, whom the horse and the dog save from danger, 
is the same as the Vedic hero, the sun, whom the Ayvindu 
save from many dangers. 

In the Eussian stories, as weU as in the Italian ones, 
the witch substitutes for one, two, or three sons of the 
prince, who have stars on their forehead, and were born 
of the princess in her husband's absence, one, two, or 
three puppies. In these same stories, the hand of the 
persecuted princess is cut off. In the thirteenth story of 
the third book of Afanassieff,^ the witch sister-in-law 
accuses her husband's sister of imaginary crimes in his 
presence. The brother cuts her hands off; she wanders 
into the forest ; she comes out again only after the lapse 
of several years ; a young merchant becomes enamoured 
of her, and marries her. During her husband's absence, 



the question is seriously discussed whether a dog, who was seen to fast 
on the fourteenth day of the month, did so on account of rehgious 
penitence.— Cfr. Muir's Sanskrit Texts, i. 365. 

^ Dog and horse, with bites and kicks, kill the monster doe and 
free the two brother-heroes in the Pentameronej i. 9. 

2 Cfr. also the sixth of the third book. — In the second story of the 
third book of the Pentamerone, the sister herself cuts off her own 
hands, of which her brother, who wishes to marry her, is enamoured. 
— Cfr. the Mediceval Legends of Santa Uliva, annotated by Professor 
Alessandro d'Ancona, Pisa, Nistri, 1863; and the Figlia del Re 
di Daciay illustrated by Professor Alessandro Wesselofski, Pisa, 
Nistri, 1866, besides the thirty-first of the stories of the Brothers Grimm. 



THE YOUNG WOMAN WITHOUT HANDS. 31 

she gives birth to a child whose body is all of gold, 
effigies of stars, moon, and sun covering it. His parents 
write to their son, telling him the news ; but the 
witch sister-in-law abstracts the letter (as in the myth of 
Belleroph6n), and forges another, which announces, on 
the contrary, that a monster, half dog and half bear, is 
born. The husband writes back, bidding them wait 
until he returns to see with his own eyes his new-born 
son. The witch intercepts this letter also, and changes 
it for another, in which he orders his young wife to be 
sent away. The young woman, without hands, wanders 
about with her boy. The boy falls into a fountain ; she 
weeps ; an old man tells her to throw the stumps of her 
arms into the fountain ; she obeys, her hands return, and 
she recovers her boy again. She finds her husband ; and 
no sooner does she uncover the child in his sight, than 
all the room shines with light (asviatilo). 

In a Servian story,^ the father of the maiden whose 
hands had been cut off by the witch, her mother-in-law, 
causes, by means of the ashes of three burned hairs from 
the tail of the black stallion and that of the Avhite mare, 
golden hands to grow on the maiden s arms. The apple- 
tree, with golden branches, which we have already men- 
tioned, is the same as this girl who comes out of the 
forest (or wooden chest) with golden hands. From the 
branches it is easy to pass to the hands of gold, to the 
fair-haired son who comes out of the trunk. ^ The idea 
of a youth as the branch of a tree has been rendered 
poetical by Shakspeare, who makes the Duchess of 
Gloster say of the seven sons of Edward — 

^ The thirty- third of the collection of Karadzik, quoted by Professor 
Wesselofsky in his introduction to the story of the Figlia del Re di 
Dacia. 

'^ Cfr. my little essay on the Alhero di Naiale. 



32 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

*' Edward's seven sons, whereof thyself art one, 
Were as seven phials of his sacred blood, 
Or seven fair branches springing from one root."^ 

In Hindoo myths, the hand of Savitar having been cut 
off, one of gold is given to him, whence the epithet he 
enjoys of Hiranyahastas, or he "who has a golden hand. 
But in the 116th and 117th hymns of the first book we 
find a more interesting datum. The branch is the hand 
of the tree ; the branch is the son who detaches himself 
from the maternal trunk of the tree ; the golden son is 
the same as the golden branch, the golden hand of the 
tree. The mother who obtains a golden hand is the 
same as the mother who has Hiranyahastas — i.e.. Golden- 
hand — for her son. The Vedic hymn says that the 
Ajvinau gave Golden-hand as a son to the Vadhrimatl.^ 
The word vadhriifnaU is equivocal. The Petropolitan 
Dictionary interprets it only as she who has a eunuch, or 
one who is castrated, for her husband, but the proper 
sense of the word is she who has something cut off, she 
who has, that is, the maimed arm, as in the fairy tale, for 
which reason she is given a golden hand. As the wife 
of a eunuch, the Vedic woman, therefore, receives from 
the Agvin^u a son with a golden hand ; as having an 
imperfect arm, she receives only a golden hand, as in 
the 116th hymn of the first book, the same Agvinau give 
to VijpaM, who had lost his own in battle, an iron leg.^ 

^ King Richard II., act. i. scene 2. 

2 Qrutam ta6 <5h^sur iva vadhrimat y^ hiranyahastam agvinEiv 
adattam; Rigv. i. 116, 13. — Hiranyahastam agvin^, rar^n^ putram 
nari vadhrimatyi, adattam ; i. 117, 24. — The dog in connection with 
a man's hand is mentioned in the Latin works of Petrarch, when 
speaking of Vespasian, who considered as a good omen the incident of 
a dog bringing a man's hand into the refectory. 

^ Sadyo ^angham ^yasim vigpal^yai dhane hite sartave praty adhat- 
tam ; str. 15. 



THE CANICULA. ZZ 



The Rigvedas, therefore, already contains in its germ 
the very popular subject of the man or woman without 
hands, in same way as we have already found in it, in 
embryo, the legends of the lame man, the blind man or 
woman, the ugly and the disguised woman. 

But to return to the dog. Besides his agility^ in run- 
ning, his strength holds a prominent place in the myth. 
The Kerberos shows an extraordinary strength in rending 
his enemies. In the Eussian stories the dog is the hero's 
strength, and is associated with the wolf, the bear, and 
the lion. In popular stories, now terrible lions and now 
dreadful dogs are found guarding the gate of the monster s 
dwelling. The monk of San Gallo, in Du Cange, says 
that the " canes germanici " are so agile and ferocious, 
that they suffice alone to hunt tigers and lions ; the same 
fable is repeated in Du Cange of the dogs of Albania, 
which are so great and fierce, " ut tauros premant et 
leones perimant." The enormous chained dog, painted 
on the left side of the entrance of Eoman houses, near 
the porter's room ; the motto cave canem ; the expiations 
made in Greece and at Rome (whence the names "Canaria 
Hospitia " and " Porta Catularia," where a dog was im- 
molated to appease the fury of the Canicula, and whence 
the verse of Ovid — - 

*' Pro cane sidereo canis hie iraponitur arse,") 
at the time of the Canicula or of the Canis Sirius, to 

^ It is perhaps for this reason that the Hungarians give to their dogs 
names of rivers, as being runners ; but it is also said that they do so 
from their belief that a dog which bears the name of a river or piece of 
waXer never goes mad, especially if he be a white dog, inasmuch as the 
Hungarians consider the red dog and the black or spotted one as 
diabolical shapes. In Tuscany, when a Christian's tooth is taken out, 
it must be hidden carefully, that the dogs may not find it and eat it ; 
here dog and devil are assimilated, 

VOL. II. c 



34 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

conjure away the evils which he brings along with the 
summer heat, in connection with the sol leo, and the 
corresponding festival of the killing of the dog (ktinop- 
hontis), besides the barking dogs that appear in the 
groin of Scylla/ are all records of the mythical dog of 
hell. The dog, as a domestic animal, has been confounded 
with the savage brute which generally represents the 
monster. The dog is scarcely distinguishable from the 
wolf in the twilight. In Du Cange we read that in the 
Middle Ages it was the custom to swear now by the dog 
now by the wolf.^ In the country round Arezzo, in 
Tuscany, it is believed that when a she- wolf brings forth 
her young ones, a dog is always found among them, 
which, if it were allowed to live, would exterminate 
all the wolves. But the she-wolf, knowing this, no 
sooner perceives the dog-wolf than she drowns it when 
she takes the wolves to drink. ^ In the district of 

^ Scylla laves her groin in a fountain, the waters of which the 
enchantress Circe has corrupted, upon which monstrous dogs appear 
in her body, whence Ovid — 

" Scylla venit mediaque tenus descenderat alvo, 
Cum sua foedari latrantibus inguina monstris 
Aspicit, ac primo non credens corporis illas 
Esse sui partes, refugitque, abiitque timetque 
Ora proterva canum." 
^ Hsec lucem accipiunt ab Joinville in Hist. S. Ludovici, dum 
foedera inter Imp. Joannem Vatatzem et Comanorum Principem inita 
recenset, eaque firmata ebibito alterius invicem sanguine, hacque ad- 
hibita ceremonia, quam sic enarrat: ''Et aucore firent-ils autre chose. 
Car ils firent passer un chien entre nos gens et eux, et ddcouperent 
tout le chien k leurs espies, disans que aiiisy fussent-ils d^coupez s'ilg 
failloient Tun ^ I'autre." — Cfr. in Du Cange the expression "cerebrare 
canem." 

3 In a fable of Abstemius, a shepherd's dog eats one of the sheep 
every day, instead of watching over the flock. The shepherd kills 
him, saying, that he prefers the wolf, a declared enemy, to the dog, a 
false friend. This uncertainty and confusion between the doo" and the 



THE BITCH AS SPY. ^t^ 

Florence, it is believed that the wolf, as ■well as the 
dog, when it happens to be the subject of a dreamy is (as 



volf explains the double nature of the dog ; to prove which I shall 
refer to two unpublished Italian stories : the first, which I heard from 
the mouth of a peasant-woman of Fucecchio, shows the bitch in the 
capacity of the monster's spy \ the second was narrated a few years 
ago by a Piedmontese bandit to a peasant- woman who had shown 
hospitality to him, at Capellanuova, near Cavour in Piedmfcnt. The 
first story is called The King of the Assassins^ and is as follows : — 

There was once a widow with three daughters who worked as 
seamstresses. They sit upon a terrace ; a handsome lord passes and 
marries the eldest^ he takes her to his castle in the middle of a wood, 
after having told her that he is the chief of the assassins. He gives 
her a she-puppy and says, " This will be your companion ; if you treat 
her well, it is as if you treated me well." Taking her into the palace, 
he shows her all the rooms, and gives her all the keys ; of four rooms, 
however, which he indicates, there are two which she must not enter ; 
if she does so, evil will befall her. The chief of the assassins spends 
one day at home and then three away. During his absence she 
maltreats the puppy, and gives her scarcely anything to eat ; then she 
lets herself be overcome by curiosity, and goes to see what there is in 
the two rooms, followed by the puppy. She sees in one room heads 
of dead people, and in the other tongues, ears, tkc, hiing up. This 
sight fills her with terror. The chief of the assassins returns and asks 
the bitch whether she has been well treated ; she makes signs to the 
contrary, and informs her master that his wife has been in the for- 
bidden rooms. He cuts off her head, and goes to find the second sister, 
whom he induces to come to him by under invitation to visit his wife ; she 
undergoes the same miserable fate. Then he goes to take the third sister, 
and tells her who he is; she answers, "It is better thus, for I shall no 
longer be afraid of thieves/' She gives the bitch soup, caresses her, 
and makes herself loved by her; the king of the assassins is con- 
tented, and the puppy leads a happy life. After a month, while he 
is out and the puppy amusing itself in the garden, she enters the 
two rooms, finds her two sisters, and goes into the other rooms, where 
there are ointments to fasten on limbs that have been cut off, and 
ointments to bring the dead to life. Having resuscitated her sisters, 
and given them food, she hides them in two great jars, furnished with 
breathing lioles, and asks her husband to take them as a present to 
her mother, warning him not to look into the jars, as she will see. him. 



36 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

in Terence) a prognostic of sickness or death, especially 
if the dog is dreamt of as running after or trying to bite 



He takes them, and when he tries to look in, he hears, as he had been 
forewarned, not one voice, but two whispering from within them, " My 
love, I see you/' Terrified at this, he gives up the two jars at once to 
the mother. Meanwhile his wife has killed the bitch in boiling oil ; 
she then brings all the dead men and women to life, amongst whom 
there is Qarlino, the son of a king of France, who marries her. Upon 
the return of the king of the assassins he perceives the treachery, and 
vows revenge ; going to Paris, he has a golden pillar constructed in 
which a man can be concealed without any aperture being visible, and 
bribes an old woman of the palace to lay on the prince's pillow a leaf 
of paper which will put him and all his servants to sleep as soon as he 
reclines on it. Shutting himself up in the pillar, he has it carried 
before the palace ; the queen wishes to possess it, and insists upon 
having it at the foot of her bed. Night comes ; the prince puts his 
head upon the leaf, and he and his servants are at once thrown into a 
deep sleep. The assassin steps out of the pillar, threatens to put the 
princess to death, and goes into the kitchen to fill a copper with oil, in 
which to boil her. Meanwhile she calls her husband to help her, but 
in vain ; she rings the bell, but no one answers ; the king of the 
assassins returns and drags her out of bed ; she catches hold of the 
prince's head, and thus draws it off the paper ; the prince and his 
servants awake, and the enchanter is burnt alive. 

The second story is called The Magician of the Seven Heads, and 
was narrated to me by the peasant-woman in the following terms : — 

An old man and woman have two children, Giacomo and Carolina. 
Giacomo looks after three sheep. A hunter passes and asks for them ; 
Giacomo gives them, and receives in reward three dogs, Throttle -iron, 
Run-like-the-wind, and Pass-everywhere, besides a whistle. The father 
refuses to keep Giacomo at home ; he goes away with his three dogs, 
of which the first carries bread, the second viands, and the third wine. 
He comes to a magician's palace and is well received. Bringing his 
sister, the magician falls in love with her and wishes to marry her ; 
but to this end the brother must be weakened by the abstraction of 
his dogs. His sister feigns illness and asks for flour; the miller 
demands a dog for the flour, and Giacomo yields it for love of his 
sister; in a similar manner the other two dogs are wheedled away 
from him. The magician tries to strangle Giacomo, but the latter 
blows his whistle, and the dogs appear and kill the magician and the 



THE DOG AND ST VITUS. 37 

one. In Horace [Ad Oalatheam) it is an evil omen to 
meet witli a pregnant bitch — 

" Impios parrae prsecinentis omen 
Ducat et proegnans canis." 

In Sicily, St Vitus is prayed to that he may keep- the 

dogs chained — 

" Santu Vitu, Santu Vitu, 
lo tri voti vi lu dicu : 
Va', chiamativi a lu cani 
Ca mi voli muzzicari." 

And "when tying the dog up, they say — 

" Santu Yitu, 
Beddu e pulitu^ 
Anghi di cira 
E di ferru filatu ; 
Pi lu nuomu di Maria 
Ligu stu cani 
Ch' aju avanti a mia.'' 

sister. Giacomo goes away "with the three dogs, and comes to a city 
which is in mourning because the king's daughter is to be devoured 
by the seven-headed magician. Giacomo, by means of the three dogs, 
kills the monster ; the grateful princess puts the hem of her robe 
round Throttle-iron's neck and promises to marry Giacomo. The latter, 
who is in mourning for his sister, asks for a year and a day ; but 
before going he cuts the seven tongues of the magician off and takes 
them with him. The maiden returns to the palace. The chimney- 
sweeper forces her to recognise him as her deliverer; the king, her 
father, consents to his marrying her; the princess, however, stipulates 
to be allowed to wait for a year and a day, which is accorded. At the 
expiration of the appointed time, Giacomo returns, and hears that the 
princess is going to be married. He sends Throttle-iron to strike the 
chimney-sweeper (the black man, the Saracen, the Turk, the gipsy, 
the monster) with his tail, in order that his collar may be remarked ; 
he then presents himself as the real deliverer of the princess, and 
demands that the magician's heads be brought ; as the toncrues are 
wanting, the trick is discovered. The young couple are married, and 
the chimney-sweeper is burnt. 



S^ ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

When tlie dog is tied up, they add — 

" Fermati, cani 
Ca t' aju ligatu."^^ 

In Italy and Russia, when the dog howls like a wolf, 
that is, plays the wolf, it forebodes misfortune and death. 
It is also narrated/ that after the alliance between Csesar, 
Lepidus, and Antony, dogs howled like wolves. 

When one is bitten by a dog ^ in Sicily, a tuft of hair 
is cut off the dog and plunged into wine with a burning 
cinder ; this wine is given to be drunk by the man who 
has been bitten. In Aldrovandi^ I read, on the other 
hand, that to cure the bite of a mad dog, it is useful to 
cover the wound with wolf's skin. 

The dog is a medium of chastisement. Our Italian 
expressions, "Menare il cane per I'aia" (to lead the dog 
about the barn-floor), and " Dare il cane a menare " (to 
give the dog to be led about), are probably a reminiscence 
of the ignominious mediaeval punishment of Germany of 
carrying the dog, inflicted upon a noble criminal, and 
which sometimes preceded his final execution.^ The 

^ Cfr. the Bihlioteca delle Tradizioni Popolari Sicilianej edited by 
Gius. Pitrfe, ii. canto 811. 

^ In Eichardus Dinothus, quoted by Aldrovandi. 

^ From a letter of my friend Pitrfe. 

* De Quadrup. Dig. Viv. ii. 

^ Cfr. Du Cange, s. v. "canem ferre." The ignominy connected 
with this punishment has perhaps a phallic signification, the dog and 
the phallos appear in connection with each other in an unpublished 
legend maliciously narrated at Santo Stefano di Calcinaia, near Florence, 
and which asserts that woman was not born of a man, but of a do2. 
Adam was asleep ; the dog carried off one of his ribs ; Adam ran 
after the dog to recover it, but brought back nothing save the dog's 
tail, which came away in his hand. The tail of the ass, horse, or pig, 
which is left in the peasant's hand in other burlesque traditions, 
besides serving as an indication, as the most visible part, to find the 
lost or fallen animal again, or to return into itself, may perhaps have 



DEATH BY DOGS, 39 

punishment of laceration by dogs, which has actually 
been carried out more than once by the order of earthly 
tyrants, has its prototype in the well-known myth of 
Kerberos and the avenging dogs of hell. Thus Pirithoos, 
who attempts to carry off Perseph6ne from the infernal 
king of the Molossians, is torn to pieces by the dog 
Trikerberos. Euripides, according to the popular tradi- 
tion, was lacerated in the forest by the avenging dogs of 
Archelaos. It is told of Domitian, that when an astro- 
loger on one occasion predicted his approaching death, 
he asked him whether he knew in what way he himself 
would die ; the astrologer answered that he would be 
devoured by dogs (death by dogs is also predicted in a' 
story of the Pentamerone) ; Domitian, to make the oracle 
false, ordered him to be killed and burned ; but the 
wind put the flames out, and the dogs approached and 
devoured the corpse. Boleslaus II., king of Poland, in 
the legend of St Stanislaus, is torn by his own dogs 
while wandering in the forest, for having ordered the 
saint's death. The Vedic monster Qushnas, the pesti- 
lential dog Sirius of the summer skies, and the dog 
Kerberos of the nocturnal heU, vomit flames ; they 
chastise the world, too, with pestilential flames ; and 
the pagan world tries all arts, pra)dng and conjuring, 
to rid itself of their baleful influences. But this dog is 

a meaning analogous to that of the tail of Adam's dog. — I hope the 
reader will pardon me these frequent repugnant allusions to indecent 
images ; but being obliged to go back to an epoch in -which, idealism 
was still in its cradle, while physical life was in all its plenitude of 
vigour, images were taken in preference from the things of a more 
sensible nature, and which made a deeper and more abiding impres- 
sion. It is well known that in the production of the Vedic fire by 
means of the friction of two sticks, the male and the female are 
alluded to, so that the grandiose and splendid poetical myth of Pro- 
metheus had its origin in the lowest of similitudes. 



40 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

immortal, or rather it generates children, and returns to 
fill men with terror in a new, a more direct, and a more 
earthly form in the Christian world. It is narrated, in 
fact, that before the birth of St Dominic, the famous 
inventor of the tortures of the Holy Inquisition (a truly 
Satanic Lucifer), his mother, being pregnant of him, 
dreamed that she saw a dog carrying a lighted brand 
about, setting the world on fire. St Dominic truly realised 
his mother's dream ; he was really this incendiary dog ; 
and, therefore, in the pictures that represent him, the dog 
is always close to him with its lighted brand. Christ is 
the Prometheus enlarged, purified, and idealised ; and St 
Dominic, the monstrous Vulcan, deteriorated, diminished, 
and fanaticised, of the Christian Olympus. The dog, 
sacred in pagan antiquity to the infernal deities, was 
consecrated to St Dominic the incendiary, and to Eocco, 
the saint who protects the sick of the plague. The 
Eoman feasts in honour of Vulcan (Volcanalia) fell in the 
month of August ; and the Eoman Catholic Church fetes 
in the month of August the, two saints of the dogs of the 
fire and the plague, St Dominic and St Eocco. 



CHAPTEE VIL 

THE CAT, THE WEASELj THE MOUSE, THE MOLE, THE SNAIL, THE 
ICHNEUMON, THE SCORPION, THE ANT, THE LOCUST, AND 
THE GRASSHOPPER, 

SUMMARY. 

M£Lr^4raSj m^rgaras, mrigas, mrig^ris, mrlgar^^as. — Nakulas. — Mush. — 
Vamras, vamri, vapri, valmikam, formica. — The serpent and the 
ants. — Indras as an ant ; the serpent eaten by the ants. — Vamras 
drinking, assisted by the Agvin^u. — The grateful ant ; the hermit- 
dwarfs. — Ants' milk. — Ants' legs. — The ant dies when its wings 
grow ; the ants and the treasure. — The ants separate the grains. — 
The locust and the ant ; garabhas as the moon. — Grasshopper and 
ant. — Avere il grille, aver la luna; indovinala, grillo. — Wedding 
between ant and grasshopper. — Locusts destroyed by fire. — 
Hippomiirmekes. — The Indian locust that guards honey again. — 
The scorpion, and its poison absorbed. — The ichneumon, enemy of 
the serpent. — The weasel. — Galanthis. — The cat with ears of 
butter. — The cat as a judge. — The lynx. — The penitent cat. — The 
beneficent cat. — The cat witb a golden tail. — Cat and dog as 
friends ; the dog carries the cat ; they find the lost ring again. — 
The new-born son changed for a cat. — The cat that sings and tells 
tales. — The cat created by the moon; Diana as a cat. — The 
sacred cat. — The funereal and diabolical cat. — Cat and fox. — The 
cat hangman.' — Le chat hotte. — Chatte hlanche ; the cat that spins 
and weaves. — The cat becomes a girl. — The enchanted palace of 
the cats. — The cats of February ; the black cat ; the cat dreamed- 
of. — The cat becomes a witch at seven years of age. — The cat in 
the sack. — The mewing of the cat. — The cats dispute for souls. — 
Battle of cats. — The mice that bite their tails or that gnaw the 
threads of the net. — The mouse in the boney. — The mouse that 
becomes a maiden ; the mouse and the mountain. — The mouse 
that becomes a tiger. — The souls of the dead pass into mice; 



42 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

funereal and diabolical mice ; superstitions relating to this belief. — 
The mouse that releases the lion and the elephant from the trap. — 
Ganegas crushes the mouse \ Apollo Smyntheus. — When the cat 's 
away the mice can dance. — The mouse plays blind-man's-buff with 
the bear. — The grateful mouse. — The mouse that foresees the 
future. — Mouse and sparrow, first friends and then enemies. — 
The batrachomyomachia. — The mouse, the tooth, and the coin. — 
Hiranyakas ; the squirrel. — Tlie monster mole ; the mole as a 
gravedigger ; the blind mole. — The snail in the popular song; 
the snail and the serpent ; the snail as a funereal animal. 

I UNITE in one series several mythical nocturnal animals, 
which, although really of very diflferent natures, enter 
into only one order of myths. 

They are thie^dng and hunting "animals, and are there- 
fore very aptly placed in the darkness of night {iiaktacdrin 
is an epithet applied in Sanskrit both to the cat and the 
thief), in the nocturnal forest, in connection now with 
Diana the huntress, or the good fairy the moon, and now 
with the ugly witch ; now appearing as the helpers of 
the hero, and now as his persecutors. 

The etymologies of several Hindoo words may be of 
some interest to the reader, and may with propriety be 
adduced here. Mdrgdras, the cat, means the cleanser 
(as the animal that, in fact, cleans itself). Eef erring to 
the myth, we know already that one of the principal 
exactions of the witch is that her step-daughter should 
comb her hair, or else clean the corn, during the night ; 
and that the good fairy, the Madonna, while she too has 
her hair combed, scatters gems about, spins, and cleans 
the corn for the good maiden. The witch of night forces 
the maiden aurora to separate the luminous wheat of 
evening from the dark tares of night ; the moon with 
its silvery splendour disperses the shades of night. The 
mdrgdras, or cleanser of the night, the white cat, is the 
moon. Aranyamdr^draSj or cat of the forest, is the 



ETYMOLOGIES, 43 



name given to the wild cat, with which the lynx, too, is 
identified. As a white cat, as the moon, it protects 
innocent animals ; as a black cat, as the dark night, it 
persecutes them. The cat is a skilful hunter ; moreover, 
it is easy to confound the word mdrgdras (the cleanser) 
with the word mdrgaras, the proper meaning of which 
is hunter, investigator, he who follows the track, the 
mdrgas, or else the enemy of the mrigas (as mrig4ris) ;. 
the road is the clean part of the land, as the margin is 
the white or clean part of a book. The hunter may be 
he that goes on the margin or on the track, or else he 
that hunts and kills the mrigas or forest animal. The 
moon (the huntress Diana) is also called in Sanskrit 
mrigardgas, or king of the forest animals ; and, as kings 
are wont, it sometimes defends its subjects and sometimes 
eats them. The cat-moon eats the grey mice of the night. 

Nakulas is the name given in Sanskrit to the ichneu- 
mon, the enemy of mice, scorpions, and snakes. The word 
. seems to be derived from the root naf, nak = necare, 
whence nakulas would appear to be the destroyer (of 
nocturnal mice). 

The mouse, milsh, m'dshas, milshahas, is the thief, the 
ravisher, whence also its name rat {a rapiendo). 

The Hindoo names of the ant are vamras and vamrt 
(besides pipilxxhas). Vamrt is connected with vapd, 
vapram, vapH, ant-hole, and, by metathesis, valmikam 
[i.e., appertaining to ants), which has the same meaning. 
The IjB.tm formica unites together the two forms vamrt 
and valmikam. The roots are vap, in the sense of to 
throw, and vam, to erupt or to throw out, as the ants do 
when they erect little mounds of earth. 

In the Mahdbhdratam, the hole of a serpent is also 
called by the name of valmikam; from this we can 
explain the fable of the third book of the JPancatantram, 



44 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

where we have a serpent fighting against ants. He kills 
many of them, but their number is so interminable that 
he is at last forced to succumb. Thus, in the mythical 
Vedic heavens, it is in the shape of a vamras or ant that 
Indras fights victoriously against the old monster that 
invades the sky.^ Nay, mojre, in the Pancatantram, the 
ants sting and bite the serpent and kill it ; thus Indras 
(who, as we have just said, is an ant in the cloud or the 
night) gives to the ants the avaricious serpent, the son of 
Agrus, dragging it out of its hiding-place.^ Indras is 
therefore a variety of the Captain Formicola of the 
Tuscan fairy tale. Finally, the Rigvedas offers us yet 
another curious particular. The two A9vin4u come to 
assist Vamraa (or Indras in his form of an ant, i.e., they 
come to assist the ant) whilst it is drinking (vamrarii 
vipip^nam). The ant throws or lifts up little hiUocks of 
earth by biting the ground. The root vap, which means 
to throw, to scatter, has also the sense of to cut, and 
perhaps to make a hole in. The convex presupposes 
the concave ; and vam is related to vap (as somnus is 
related to hilpnos, to svap^Kts, and to sopor). Indras, as 
an ant, is the wounder, the biter of the serpent. He 
makes it come out of its den, or vomits it forth (eructat) ; 
the two etymological senses are found again in the myth. 
The weapons with which Indras wounds the serpent are 
doubtless now the solar rays, and now the thunderbolts. 
Indras, in the cloud, drinks the somas. The ant drinks, 
and the Agvin^u, whilst it drinks, come to its help, for 
no doubt the ant when drinking is in danger of being 

1 Vriddhasya <5id vardhato dyam inakshatah stavano vamro vi 
^aghana sariidihah ; Jiigv. i.- 51, 9. 

^ Vamribhih putram agruvo adanarii nivegaiiad dhariva a ^abhartha; 
Jtigv. iv. 19, 9. — Another variation is the hedgehog, which, as we have 
seen in Chapter V., forces the viper out of its den. 



THE ANTS HELPED BY THE HERO. 45 

drowned. And this brings us to the story of the 
grateful animals, in which the young hero finds an ant 
about to be drowned. 

In the twenty-fourth of the Tuscan fairy tales pub- 
lished by me, when the shepherd's son, by a good advice 
which he has received, determines to do good to every 
one he meets, he sees on the path an ant-hill, which is 
about to be destroyed by water ; he then makes a bank 
round it, and thus saves the ants / in their turn the ants 
pay back the debt. The king of the land demands of the 
young man, as a condition of receiving his daughter in 
marriage, that he should separate and sort the different 
kinds of grain in a granary ; up marches Captain 
Formicola with his army, and accomplishes the stipulated 
task. In other varieties of the same story, instead of 
the embankment, we have the leaf that the hero puts 
under the ant to float it out of the water contained in 
the footprint of a horse, which again recalls the lotus- 
leaf on which the Hindoo deity navigates the ocean. 
This water in which the ant is drownino^ was afterwards 
changed into the proverbial ants' milk,^ which is now 
used to express an impossibility, but which, when referred 
to Indras, to the mythical ant, represents the ambrosial and 
pluvial moisture. In the sixth Sicilian story of Signora 
Gonzenbach, the boy Giuseppe, having given crumbs of 
bread to the hungry ants, receives from the king of the 
ants the present of an ant's leg, in order that he may 

^ The dwarf-hermits, who transport a leaf upon a car, and are about 
to be drowned in the water contained in the foot-print of a cow, and 
who curse Indras, who passes smiling without assisting them, in the 
legend of the Mahdhhdratam, are a variety of these same ants. — Cfr. 
the chapters on the Elephant and on the Fishes, where we havQ Indras 
who fears to be submerged. 

^ Fa cunto ca no le mancava lo latto de la formica ; Fentamerone^ 
i. 8. 



46 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



use it when required. When he wishes to become an ant, 
in order to penetrate into the giant's palace, he has only 
to let the ant's leg fall to the ground, with the words, 
" I am a Christian, and am becoming an ant," which 
immediately comes to pass. In the same story Giuseppe 
procures sheep, in order to attract the serpent by their 
smell, and induce it to come out of its lurking-place. 
Here we evidently return to the Vedic subject of the ant 
Indras, who tempts the serpent to come out in order to 
give it to the ants. In the eighth story of the fourth 
book of the Pentamerone, the ant shows the third part 
of the way to the girl Cianna, who is going to search for 
the mother of time ; on the door of her dwelling Cianna 
will find a serpent biting its tail (the well-known symbol 
of the cyclical day or year, and of time, in antiquity), and 
she is to ask the mother of time, on the ant's part, 
advice as to how the ants can live a hundred years. 
The mother of time answers to Cianna that the ants 
will live a hundred years when they can dispense with 
flying, inasmuch as "quanno la formica vo morire, 
mette I'ascelle" {i.e., the wings). The ant, grateful, for 
this good advice, shows Cianna and her brothers the 
place underground where the thieves have deposited their 
treasure. We also remember the story of the ants who 
bring grains of barley into the mouth of the royal child 
Midas, to announce his future wealth. In Herodotus 
(iii.), and in the twelfth book of the stories of Tzetza^ 

^ Bihlion Istorikon, xii. 404, — In the Epi&t Fresh. Johannis, we 
find also : — "In quadam provincia nostra sunt formicse in magnitudine 
catulorum, habentes vii. pedes et alas iv. Istse formicse ab occasu solis 
ad ortum morantur sub terra et fodiunt purissimum aurum tota nocte 
— quaerunt victum suum tota die. In nocte autem veniunt homines 
de cunctis civitatibus ad colligendum ipsum aurum et imponunt 
elephantibus. Quando formicse sunt supra terram, nullus ibi audet 
accedere propter crudelitatem et ferocitatem ipsarum." — Cfr. mfra. 



TBE ANTS AND TREASURE—THE LOCUST 47 

I find the curious information that there are in India 
ants as large as foxes, that keep golden treasures in their 
holes ; the grains of wheat are this gold. The morning 
and evening heavens are sometimes compared to granaries 
of gold ; the ants separate the grain during the night, 
carrying it from west to east, and purifying it of all that 
is unclean, or cleansing the sky of the nocturnal shadows. 
The work assigned every night by the witch to the 
maiden aurora of evening is done in one night by the 
black ants of the sky of night. Sometimes the girl meets 
on the way the good fairy (the moon), who comes to her 
help; the maiden, assisted by the ants, meets the madonna- 
moon. But the moon is called also the leaper or hopper, 
a nocturnal locust ; the darkness, the cloud and the dark- 
coloured earth (in lunar eclipses) are at the same time 
ant-hills and black ants, that pass over or before the 
moon ; and, therefore, in the race between the ant and 
the locust, it is said in the fable that the ant won the 
race. The locust, or garahhas, or falabhas, is presented 
to us as an improvident animal in two sentences of the 
first and fourth books of the Pancatantram, The green 
grasshopper or locust leaps ; the fair-haired moon leaps. 
(I have already noticed in the chapter on the ass how the 
words haris and harit mean both green and fair, or 
yellow ; in the second canto of the sixth book of the 
Rdmdyanam, the monkey Qarabhas is said to inhabit 
the mountain Candras or Mount Moon ; Qarabhas, there- 
fore, appears as the moon.) Locust and grasshopper jump 
(cfr. the Chap, on the hare) ; hence the ant is not only in 
connection with the locust, but also with the grasshopper ; 
the Hindoo expression garabhas means both grasshopper 
(in Sanskrit, also named varshakart) and locust. In one 
of the popular songs of the Monferrato collected by 
Signor Ferraro, we have the wedding of the grasshopper 



4S ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

and the ant ; the magpie, the mouse, the ortolan, the 
crow, and the goldfinch bring to the wedding a little 
cut straw, a cushion, bread, cheese, and wine. In the 
popular Tuscan songs published by Giuseppe Tigri, I 
find the word grilli (grasshoppers) used in the sense of 
lovers. In Italian, grillo also means caprice, and espe- 
cially amorous caprice ; and medico grillo is applied to a 
foolish doctor.^ And yet the grasshopper ought to be 
the diviner par excellence. In Italy, when we propose a 
riddle, we are accustomed to end it with the words 
'' indovinala, grillo " (guess it, grasshopper) ; this expres- 
sion perhaps refers to the supposed fool of the popular 
story, who almost always ends by showing himself wise. 
The sun enclosed in the cloud and in the gloom of night 
is generally the fool, but he is at the same time the fool 
who, in the kingdom of the dead, sees, hears, and learns 
everything ; and the moon, too, personified as a grass- 
hopper or locust, is the supposed fool who, on the con- 
trary, knows, sees, understands, aiid teaches everything ; 
from the moon are taken prognostics ; hence riddles may 
be proposed to the capricious moon, or the celestial 
cricket. In Italian, the expressions '^ aver la luna " 
(to have the moon), and "avere il grillo" (to have the 
grasshopper), are equivalent, and mean to sufi'cr from 
a nervous attack, or the spleen. I also find the wedding 
between ant and grasshopper in a very popular, but as 
yet unpublished Tuscan song. The ant asks the grass- 
hopper whether he desires her for his wife, and recom- 
mends him, if he does not, to look after his own aff'airs, 
that is, to leave her alone. And then the narrative 



1 Of tliis expression a historical origin is given, referring it to a 
Bolognese doctor of the twelfth century, named Grillo. — Cfr. Fanfani, 
Vocabolario dell ^uso Toscano, s. v. ''grillo." 



THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANT. 49 

begins. The grasshopper goes into a field of linen ; the 
ant begs for a thread to make herself aprons and shirts 
for the wedding ; then the gTasshopper says he wishes 
to marry her. The grasshopper goes into a field of 
vetches \ the ant asks for ten vetches, to cook four in a 
stew, and to put six upon the spit for the wedding- 
dinner. After the wedding, the grasshopper follows the 
trade of a greengrocer, then that of an innkeeper ; but 
his aftairs succeed so badly, that he first puts his own 
trousers in pawn, and then becomes bankrupt, and beats 
his wife the ant ; at last he dies in misery. Then the 
ant faints away, throws herself upon the bed, and beats 
her breast for sorrow with her heel (as ants do when they 
die).^ The nuptials of the black ant, the gloom of night, 

^ Here are the words of the song of this carious wedding, which I 
heard sung at Santo Stefano di Calcinaia, near Florence : — 

*^ Grillo, mio grillo, 
Se tu vuoi moglie, dillo ; 
Se tu n' la vuoi, 
Abbada a' fatti tuoi. 

Tinfillulilalera 

Linfillulilalk. 

'* Povero grillo, 'n un campo di lino. 
La formicuccia gne ne chiese un filo. 
D'un filo solo, cosa ne vuoi tu fare % 
Grembi e camicie ; mi vuo' maritare. 
Disse lo grillo : — Ti pigliero io. 
La formicuccia : — Son contenta anch' io. 
TinfiUuL, &c. 

" Povero grillo, 'n un campo di ceci ; 
La formicuccia gne ne chiese dieci 
Di dieci soli, cosa ne vuoi tu fare ? 
Quattro di stufa, e sei li vuo' girare. 
TinfiliuL, &c. 

" Povero grillo facea I'ortolano 
L'andava a spasso col ravanello in mano ; 
VOL. TI. D 



50 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

with the moon, locust, or grasshopper, take place in the 
evening ; the grasshopper dies, the moon pales, and the 
black ant, the night, also disappears. In the Pancatan- 
tram, the locusts are destroyed by fire. In the so-called 
letter of Alexander the Great to Olympias,^ I find the 
ants scared away by means of fire, whilst they are en- 
deavouring to keep horses and heroes at a distance. 
These extraordinary ants recall to us the hippomtirmekes 
of the Greeks, or ants of horses. The ants, the insects 
of the forest of night, molest the hero and solar horse 
that traverse it ; the black ants of night are dispersed by 
the solar fire of the morning : this we can understand all 
the better when Tzetza, quoted before, speaking of the 
Indian ants, calls them as large as foxes ; when Pliny, 
in the eleventh book of his History, says they are of the 
colour of a cat, and the size of Egyptian wolves ; and 
when Solinus tells us that they have the shape of a 
large dog, with lion s feet, with which they dig gold up. 
j^Elianos calls them guardians of gold (t6n chrus6n 

Povero grillo, andava a Pontedera, 
Con le vilancie pesava la miseria. 
Tinfillul , &c. 

'' Povero grillo, I'andiede a Monteboni, 
Dalla miseria rimpegnb i calzoni ; 
Povero grillo facea I'oste a Colle, 
L'andb fallito e bastonb la moglie. 
Tinfillul., &c. 

" La formicuccia and5 alia festa a il Porto, 
Ebbe la nova cbe il suo grillo era morto 
La formicuccia, quando seppe la nova 
La cascb in terra, stette svenuta uu 'era. 
La formicuccia si butto su il letto, 
Con le calcagna si batteva il petto, 
Tinfillul.," ikc. 
' Cfr. Zaclier, rseudo-Callisthenes, Halle, 1SG7. 



MONSTER ANTS— THE SCORPION 51 

phlilattontes). Evidently the ants have abready taken 
here a monstrous and demoniacal aspect. Several other 
ancient authors have written concerning these Indian 
ants, including Herodotus, Strabo, Philostratos, and 
Lucian. I shall only mention here, as bearing on our 
subject, that, according to Lucian, it is by night that 
they dig up the gold, and that, according to Pliny, the 
ants dig up gold in winter (night and winter are often 
equivalent in mythology). "The Indians, moreover, 
steal it during summer, whilst the ants stay hidden in 
their subterranean lurking-places on account of the 
vapours; however, tempted forth by the smell, they 
run out, and often cut the Indians in pieces, although 
they flee away on very swift camels, they are so rapid, 
ferocious, and desirous of gold,"^ This monster ant, 
with lion's claws, which Pliny also describes as homed, 
approaches very closely to the mythical black scorpion 
of the clouds and the night, the Vedic Vrigcikas, which, 
now a very little bird (iyattik4 jakuntika), now a very 
small ichneumon (kushumbhakas, properly the little golden 
one, perhaps the young morning sun), destroys with its 
tooth (agman^, properly with the biter), absorbing or 
taking away the poison, as jars take off the water, i.e., 
the sun's rays dissipate the vapours of the sun enclosed 
in the cloud or the gloom. ^ Here the ichneumon (viverra 
ichneumon) appears as the benefactor o£ the scorpion 
rather than as its enemy ; it takes its poison away, that 
is, it frees the sun from the sign of Scorpio, from the* 
vapours which envelope it. The ichneumon is in Sanskrit 
called mikulas. In the twelfth story of the first book of 
the Paiicatantram, we see it, on the contrary, as the 



1 Pliny, Hist Nat. xi. 31. 

2 lyattik^ ^akuntik^ sak^ ^aghasa te visham; Rigv. i. 191, 11. 



52 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

declared enemy of the black serpent, which it kills in 
its den. But inasmuch as the weasel-ichneumon bites 
venomous animals, it is itself obliged to deliver itself 
from the venom it has in consequence imbibed. There- 
fore, in the Aiharvavedas, mention is already made of 
the salutary herb with which the nakulas (which is also 
the name of one of the -two sons of the Ayvin^iu, in the 
Mahdhhdratam) cures himself of the bite of venomous 
animals, that is, of serpents, scorpions, and monstrous 
mice, his enemies. The weasel (mustela), which differs 
but little from the ichneumon, is almost the same in the 
myths. The weasel, too, as we learn from the ninth 
book of Aristotle's History of Animals, fights against 
serpents, after having eaten the famous herb called rue, 
the smell of which is said to be insupportable to serpents. 
But, as its Latin name tells us, it is no less skilful as a 
hunter of mice.^ The reader is doubtless familiar with 
the ^sopian fable of the weasel which petitions the man 
for its liberty for the service which it has rendered him 
by freeing his house from rats ; and with that of Phsedrus, 
of the old weasel which catches mice in the flour-trough 
by rolling itself in the flour, so that the mice approach, 
under the impression that it is a solid mass. Plautus's 
parasite reckons upon a good dinner for himself from 
having met with a weasel carrying away the whole of a 
mouse except its feet (auspicio hodie optumo exivi 
foras ; mustela murem abstulit prseter pedes) ; but the 
expected dinner never appearing, he declares that the 
presage is false, and pronounces the weasel a prophet 
only of evU, inasmuch as- in one and the same day it 
changes its place ten times. According to the ninth 
book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, the maid Galanthis was 



iv. 1. 



THE WEASEL. 53 



changed by the goddess Lucina (the moon) into a weasel, 
for having told a lie, announcing the birth of Herakl6s 
before it had taken place : — 

" Strenuitas antiqua manet, nee terga colorem 
Amisere suum, forma est diversa priori ; 
Quae, quia mendaci parientem juverat ore, 
Ore parit." 

The popular superstition which makes the weasel bring 
forth its young by its mouth, probably had its origin in 
this fable. From the mouth intemperate words are 
brought forth. Simonides, in Stobeus, quoted already by 
Aldrovandi,^ compares wicked women to weasels. The 
moon that changes the chattering Galanthis into a weasel 
appears to be the same as the white moon itself trans- 
formed into a white weasel, the moon that explores the 
nocturnal heaven and discovers all its secrets. 

Ants, mice, moles (like serpents), love, on the contrary, 
to stay hidden, and to keep their secrets concealed. The 
ichneumon, the weasel, and the cat generally come out 
of their hiding-places, and chase away whoever is con- 
cealed, carrying away from the hiding-places whatever 
they can. They are both themselves thieves, and hunt 
other thieves. 

It is easy now to pass from the Latin mustela to the 
Sanskrit cat milshakdrdtis, or mushihdntakrit. 

In thePancatantram'ytlie cat Butter-ears (dadhikarnas), 
or he of the white ears, who feigns to repent of his crimes, 
is called upon to act as judge in a dispute pending 
between the sparrow, kapiii^alas and the hare Quick- 
walker (sighragas), who had taken up his quarters in the 
dwelling of the absent sparrow. Butter-ears solves the 
question by feigning deafness, and requesting the two 

^ Be Quad. Dig. Viv, ii. 



54 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

disputants to come nearer, to confide their arguments in 
his ears ; the hare and the sparrow rely on his good faith, 
and approach, when the cat clutches and devours them 
both. In the Hitoyadeqas} we have, instead of the 
sparrow, the vulture caradgavas, which meets with its 
death in consequence of having shown hospitality to the 
cat, " of which it knew neither the disposition nor the 
strength " (a^n4takula9llasya). In the Tuii-Name^ we 
have, instead of the cat, the Ijtis,^ that wishes to possess 
itself of the lion s house, which is guarded by the monkey ; 
it terrifies the lion, and drives it to flight. In the Anvari- 
Suhaili,^ instead of the cat or lynx, Ave find represented 
the leopard. In the MaJidhhdratam,^ we find again the 
fable of the penitent cat. The cat, by the austerity which 
it practises on the banks of the Ganges, inspires con- 
fidence in the birds, which gather round it to do it 
honour. After some time, the mice imitate the example 
of the birds, and put themselves under the cat's protection, 
that it may defend them. The cat makes its meals upon 
them every day, by inducing one or two to accompany it 

1 i. 49. ^ ii. 22. 

2 The forgetfulness of the lynx, as well as of the cat, is proverbial. 
St Jeromej in the Ep. ad Chrisog. — " Verum tu quod natura lynces 
insitum habent, ne post tergum respicientes meminerint priorum, et 
mens perdat quod oculi videre desierint, ita nostrse es necessitudinis 
penitus oblitus." Thus of the lynx it is said by ^lianos that it covers 
its urine with sand (like the cat), so that men may not find it, for 
in seven days the precious stone lyncurion is formed of this urine. 
The cat that sees by night, the lynx that sees through opaque bodies, 
the fable of Lynkeus, who, according to Pliny, saw in one day the 
first and the last moon in the sign of Aries, and the lynx that, accord- 
ing to ApoUonios, saw through the earth what was going on in hell, 
recall to us the moon, the wise and all-seeing fairy of the &ky, and the 
infernal moon. 

* Quoted by Benfey in the Einleitung to the Pancatantram. 
6 V. 5421-0448. 



THE PENITENT CAT 55 

to the river, and fattens exceedingly fast, whilst the mice 
diminish every day. Then a wise mouse determines to 
follow the cat one day when it goes to the river ; the cat 
eats both the mouse that accompanies it and the spy. 
Upon this the mice discover the trick, and evacuate 
altogether the post of danger. The penitent cat is already 
proverbial in the Code ofManus} In \he Reinehe Fitchs 
of Goethe/ the cat goes to steal in the priest's house, by 
the wicked advice of the fox, when every one falls upon 
him — 

" Sprang er wiitliend entschlossen 
Zwischen die Sclienkel des Pfaffen und biss und kratzte gefahrlicb." 

The Roman du Renard,^ when the priest is mutilated 
by the cat, makes his wife exclaim — 

" C'en est fait de nos amours ! 
Je suis veuve sans recours !" 

In the same Romany when the cat Tibert, the ambassador 
of King Lion, arrives at Mantpertuis, where the fox reigns, 
we read — 

" Tibert lui pr6senta la patte ; 
II fait le saint, il fait la chatte ! 
Mais k bon chat, bon rat ! Renard aussi le flatte ! 
II s'entend k dorer ses paroles de miel ! 
Si Tun est saint, I'autre est hermite; 
Si I'un est chatte, I'autre est mite." 

^ " Let no man, apprised of this law, present even water to a priest 
who acts like a cat;" iv. 192, version of Jones and Graves' Ghamney 
Haughton^ edited by Percival, Madras, 1863. — In «. Russian story 
quoted by Afanassieff in his observations to the first volume of his 
stories, the cat Eustachio feigns itself penitent or monk in order to 
eat the mouse when it passes. It being observed that the cat is too 
fat for a penitent, it answers that it eats from the duty of pieserving its 
health. 

' iii. 147, Stuttgart, Cotta, 1857. 

^ Translation by Ch. Potvin, Paris and Brussels, 1861. 



56 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

In the romance of the fox, the fox endeavours to 
destroy the cat by inducing it to catch the mice that are 
in the priest's house. In an unpublished Tuscan story/ 
we have, on the contrary, the fox that invites the mouse 
to the shop of a butcher who has recently killed a pig. 
The mouse promises to gnaw the wood till the hole is 
large enough for the fox to pass through it ; the fox eats 
till it is able to pass, and then goes away ; the mouse 
eats and fattens so much that it can no longer pass ; the 
cat then comes and eats it. 

In the thirty- fourth story of the second book of Afanas- 
sieff, the cat occurs again, as in India, in connection with 
the sparrow, but not to eat it ; on the contrary, they are 
friends, and twice deliver the young hero from the witch. 
This is a form of the Agvin^u. In the sixty-seventh 
story of the sixth book, the two Ajvin^u return in the 
shape respectively of a dog and a cat (now enemies one 
of the other, as the two mythical brothers often show 
themselves, and now friends for life and death). A young 
man buys for a hundred roubles a dog with hanging ears, 
and for another hundred roubles a cat with a golden tail,^ 
both of which he nourishes well. With a hundred roubles 
more, he acquires the ring of a dead princess, from which 
thirty boys and a hundred and seventy heroes, who 
perform every kind of marvel, can come forth at the 
possessor's will. By means of these wonders, the young 



^ From tlie peasant-woman Uliva Selvi, who told it to me at 
Antignano, near Leghorn. 

2 Cfr. Afanassieff, v. 32, where a cat is bought by a virtuous work- 
man for the price of a kapeika (a small coin), the only price that he 
bad consented to take as a reward for his work ; the same cat is 
bought by the king for three vessels. With another kapeika, earned 
by other work, the workman delivers the king's daughter from the 
devil, and subsequently marries her. 



DOG AND CAT. 57 



man is enabled to wed the king's daughter ; but as the 
latter wishes to ruin him, she makes him drunk, steals 
his ring, and departs into a far distant kingdom. The 
Tzar then shuts the youth up in prison ; the dog and the 
cat go to recover the lost ring. When they pass the 
river, the dog swims and carries the cat upon his back 
(the blind and the lame, St Christopher and Christ), 
They come to the place where the princess lives, and enter 
into her dwelling. They then engage themselves in the 
service of the cook and the housemaid ; the cat, following 
its natural instinct, gives chase to a mouse, upon which 
the mouse begs for its life, promising to bring the ring to 
the cat. The princess sleeps with the ring in her mouth ; 
the mouse puts its tail into her mouth ; she spits, the ring 
comes out, and is taken by the dog and the cat, who* 
deliver the young man, and force the fugitive Tzar's 
daughter to return to her first abode. 

In the following story of Afanassieff, when the 
youngest of the three sisters bears three sons to Ivan 
Tzarevic, her envious elder sisters make the prince believe 
that she has brought forth a cat, a dog, and a vulgar 
child. The three real sons are carried off; the princess 
is blinded and enclosed with her supposed child in a cask, 
which is thrown into the sea. The cask, however, comes 
to shore and opens ;^ the supposititious son immediately 
bathes the princess's eyes with hot water, and she re- 
covers her sight, after which he finds her three luminous 
sons again, who light up whatever is near them with 
their splendour, and is again united to her husband. In 
a Eussian variation of the same story, the three sons are 
changed by the witch into three doves ; the princess, 



^ Cfr. analogous subjects in Chapter I., e.g., Emilius the lazy and 
stupid youth, and the blind woman who recovers her sight. 



58 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

with her supposed son, is saved from the sea, and takes 
refuge upon an island, where, perched upon a gold 
pillar, a wise cat sings ballads and tells stories. The 
three doves are transformed into handsome youths, whose 
legs are of silver up to the knee, their chests of gold, their 
foreheads like the moon, and their sides formed of stars, 
and recover their father and mother. 

Thus far we have seen the cat with white ears, who 
hunts the hare (or moon), the morning twilight, and the 
penitent cat who eats mice at the river's side, and which 
is mythically the same. We have observed that, of the 
two Agvin^u, one represents especially the sun, and the 
other the moon ; the thieving cat, who is the friend of 
some thieves and the enemy of others (whence the 
Hungarian and Tuscan superstition, to the effect that for 
a good cat to be a skilful thief, it must itself have been 
stolen ; then it is sure to catch mice well), is now the 
morning twilight, now the moon who gives chase to the 
mice of the night. According to the Hellenic cosmogony, 
the sun and the moon created the animals ; the sun 
creating the lion, and the moon the cat. In the fifth 
book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, when the gods fled from 
the giants, Diana took the form of a cat.^ In Sicily the 
cat is sacred to St Martha, and is respected in order not 
to irritate her : he who kills a cat will be unhappy for 
seven years. In the ancient German belief, the goddess 



1 



Hue quoque terrigenam venisse Typhcea narrat, 

Et se mentitis superos celasse figuris ; 

Duxque gregis, dixit, fit Jupiter ; unde recurvis 

Nunc quoque formatus Lybis est cum cornibus Aramon 

Delius in corvo, proles Semeleia capro 

Fele sorer Phoebi, nivea Saturnia vacca, 

Pisce Venus latuit, Cyllenius ibidis alis. 

—V. 325-332. 



CAT AND F0± 59 



Freya was drawn by two cats. At present, the cat and 
tlie mouse are sacred to the funereal St Gertrude. In the 
sixty-second story of the sixth book of Afanassieff, we 
have the chattering cat, which the hero Baldak must kill 
in the territory of the hostile Sultan (that is, in the win- 
try night). In the eighth story of the fourth book of the 
Pentamerone, we also find a she-cat that plays the part 
of the ogre's spy ; in the tenth story of the Pentamerone, 
and in the first of the Novelline di Santo Stefano di 
Calcinaia, on the contrary, the cat reveals the witch's 
treachery to the prince. In the twenty- third story of the 
fourth book of Afanassieff, the cat Katofiei appears as 
the husband of the fox, who passes him ofi" as a burgo- 
master. United together, they terrify the wolf and the 
bear,^ the cat climbing up a tree. In the ^sopian 
fables, on the contrary, the cat and the fox dispute as to 
which is the superior animal ; the cat makes the dog 
catch the fox, whilst it itself climbs up a tree. In the third 
story of the second book of Afanassieff, the cat associates 
with the cock in the search for the bark of trees ; it 
delivers its comrade three times from the fox that had 
run ofi" with it ; the third time, the cat not only liberates 
the cock, but also eats the four young foxes. In the 
thirtieth story of the fourth book, the cat Catonaievic, the 
son of Cato (this name is derived from the equivoque 
between the words catus and caton ; in French, besides 
chat, we have chaton, chatonique, &c.), delivers the cock 
twice from the fox, but the third time the fox eats the 
poor bird. In a Eussian variety of this story, the cat 
kills the five little foxes and then the fox, after haviner 
sung as follows : — 

^ In the eighteenth story of the third book of Afanassieff it is in 
company with the lamb (in the nineteenth, with the he-goat) that the 
cat terrifies the wolf and the bear. 



6o ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

" The cat walks upon its feet 
In red boots ; 

It wears a sword by its side, 
And a stick by its tMgli ; 
It wishes to kill the fox, 
And to make its soul perish."^ 

In another variety, the cat and the lamb go to deliver 
the cock from the fox. The latter has seven daughters. 
The cat and the lamb allure them by songs to come out, 
and they kill them one after the other, wounding them in 
their foreheads ; they then kill the fox itself, and so 
deliver the cock. In the romance of the fox, the cat is 
the hangman, and ties the fox to the gibbet. 

In the third story of the first book, the witch's cat, 
grateful to the good girl who has given her some ham to 
eat, teaches her how to escape, and gives her the usual 
towel which, when thrown on the ground, makes a river 
appear, and the usual comb which, in like manner, causes 
an impenetrable forest to arise before the witch who 
runs after the girl to devour her. 

We have already seen the Vedic moon who sews the 
wedding-robe with a thread that does not break. In the 
Russian story we have already remarked how the little 
puppet, to oblige the good maiden, makes a shirt destined 
for the Tzar, which is so fine that no one else can make 
the like. In the celebrated tale of the witty Madame 
d'Aulnoy, La Chatte Blanche, we have the white cat 

^ ** Idiot kot na nagdh, 
V krasnih sapagdh ; 
Nessiot sabliu na plessi6 ; 
A palodku pri bedrid, 
Hodiet lissu parublt, 
leia dushu zagublt." 
Puss-in-boots (le chat bott6), helps the third brother in the tale of 
Perrault. 



THE WHITE CAT 6i 



Blancliette, veiled in black, who inhabits the enchanted 
palace, rides upon a monkey, speaks, and gives to the 
young prince, "who rides upon a wooden horse (the forest 
of night), inside an acorn, the naost beautiful little dog 
that ever existed in the world, that he may take it to the 
king his father — a little dog, " plus beau que la canicule" 
(evidently the sun itself, which comes out of the golden 
egg or acorn), which can pass through a ring (the disc of 
the sun), and then a marvellously painted cloth, which is 
so fine that it can pass through the eye of a small needle, 
and is enclosed in a grain of millet, although of the 
length of "quatre cents aunes" (the eye of the needle, 
the acorn, the grain of millet, and the ring are equivalent 
forms to represent the solar disc). This wonderful cat 
finally herself becomes a beautiful maiden, '^ Parut comme 
le soleil qui a ete quelque temps envelopp^ dans une nue ; 
ses cheveux blonds ^taient epars sur ses epaules * ils 
tombaient par grosses boucles jusqu'^ ses pieds. Sa 
t^te etait ceinte de fleurs, sa robe, d'une leg^re gaze 
blanche, doublee de tafietas couleur de rose." The white 
cat of night, the white moon, resigns her place in the 
morning to the rosy aurora ; the two phenomena that 
succeed each other appear to be metamorphoses of the 
same being. The white cat, with its attendant cats, 
before becoming a beautiful maiden, invites the prince to 
assist in a battle which he engages in with the mice. To 
this we can compare the jEsopian fable of the young 
man who, in love with a cat, beseeches Venus to transform 
her into a woman. Venus gratifies him ; the youth 
marries her; but when the bride is in bed {i.e., in the 
night, when the evening aurora again gives up its place 
to the moon, or when it meets with the grey mice of 
night), a mouse passes by, and the woman, who still re- 
tains her feline nature, runs after it. 



62 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

When the sun enters into the night, it finds in the 
starry heavens an enchanted palace, where either there is 
not a living soul to be found, or where only the cat-moon 
moves about. Hence, in my opinion, the origin of the 
expression that we make use of in Italy to indicate an 
empty house — " Non vi era neanche un gatto " (there 
was not even a cat there). The cat is considered the 
familiar genie of the house. The enchanted palace is 
always situated either at the summit of a mountain, or in 
a gloomy forest (like the moon). This palace is the 
dwelling either of a good fairy, or a good magician, or of 
a witch, or a serpent-demon, or at least cats. The visit 
to the house of the cats is the subject of a story which I 
have heard told, with few variations, in Piedmont and in 
Tuscany,^ 

AVe have hitherto seen only the luminous or white cat, 
the cat-moon and twilight, under a generally benignant 
aspect. But when the night is without a moon, we have 
only the black cat in the dense gloom. This black cat 
then assumes a demoniacal character. 

In the Monferrato it is believed that aU the cats that 
wander about the roofs in the month of February are not 

^ In Tuscany the previously mentioned story-teller, Uliva Selvi, at 
Antignano, near Leghorn, narrated it to me as follows : — A mother 
has a number of children and no money ; a fairy tells her to go to the 
summit of the mountain, where she will find many enchanted cats in a 
beautiful palace, who give alms. The woman goes, and a kitten lets 
her in ; she sweeps the rooms, lights the fire, washes the dishes, draws 
water, makes the beds, and bakes bread for the cats ; at last she 
comes before the king of the cats, who is seated with a crown on his 
head, and asks for alms. The great cat rings the golden bell with a 
golden chain, and calls the cats. He learns that the woman has 
treated them well, and orders them to fill her apron with gold coins 
(rusponi). The wicked sister of the poor woman also goes to visit the 
cats, but she maltreats them, and returns home all scratched, and more 
dead than alive from pain and terror. 



THE BLACK CAT. (,^ 



really cats, but witclies, wliicli one must shoot For this 
reason, black cats are kept away from the cradles of 
children. The same superstition exists in Germany/ In 
Tuscany, it is believed that when a man desires death, 
the devil passes before his bed in the form of any animal 
except the lamb, but especially in that of a he-goat, a 
cock, a hen, or a cat. In the German superstition,^ the 
black cat that places itself upon the bed of a sick man 
announces his approaching death ; if it is seen upon a 
grave, it signifies that the departed is in the devil's 
power. If one dreams of a black cat at Christmas, it is 
an omen of some alarming illness during the following 
year. Aldrovandi, speaking of Stefano Cardano, narrates 
that, being old and seriously iU, or rather dying, a cat 
appeared unexpectedly before him, emitted a loud cry, 
and disappeared. The same Aldrovandi teUs us of a cat 
which scratched the breast of a woman, who, recognising 
in it a supernatural being, died after the lapse of a few 
days. In Hungary it is believed that the cat generally 
becomes a witch from the age of seven years to that of 
twelve, and that witches ride upon tom-cats, especially 
black ones ; it is, moreover, believed that to deliver the 
cat from the witch, it is necessary to make upon its skin 
an incision in the form of a cross. The cat in the 
bag of proverbs has probably a diabolical allusion. In 
the tenth story of the Pentamerone, when the King of 
Eoccaforte, thinking that he is marrying a beautiful 
maiden, finds that, on the contrary, he has espoused a 
hideous veiled old hag (the night), he says, " Questo e 
peo nee vole a chi accatta la gatta dinto lo sacco." In 

^ Cfr. Rochholtz, Deidsclier Glaube und Braiiche, i. 161. 

^ lb. — I find the same belief referred to in the twenty-first Estho- 



nian story of Kreutzwald. 



64 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

Sicily, when the Eosaiy is recited for navigators, the 
mewing of the cat presages a tedious voyage.^ When 
the witches in Macbeth prepare their evil enchantments 
against the king, the first witch commences with the 
worrjs — 

''Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed." 

In a German belief noticed by Professor Eochholtz, two 
cats that fight against each other are to a sick man an 
omen of approaching death. These two cats are pro- 
bably another form of the children's game in Piedmont 
and Tuscany, called the game of souls, in which the devil 
and the angel come to dispute for the soul. Of the two 
cats, one is probably benignant and the other malignant ; 
they represent perhaps night and twilight. An Irish 
legend tells us of a combat between cats, in which all the 
combatants perished, leaving only their tails upon the 
battlefield. (A similar tradition also exists in Piedmont, 
but is there, if I am not mistaken, referred to wolves.) 
Two cats that fight for a mouse, and allow it to escape, 
are also mentioned in Hindoo tradition.^ 

In the 105th hymn of the first book of the Itigvedas, 
and in the thirty-third of the tenth book, a poet says to 
Indras, " The thought rends me, thy praiser, as mice tear 



1 It is almost universally believed that when the cat cleans itself 
behind its ears with its wet paw, it presages rain. And yet the Latin 
proverb says — 

*' Catus amat pisces, sed aquas intrare recusat;" 

and the Hungarian proverb, that the cat does not die in water. It is 
for this reason, perhaps, that it is said, in a watery autumn the cat is 
worth little — ("The cat of autumn and tbe woman of spring are not 
worth much ; " Hung, prov.) 

^ Polier, Mythologie des Indes, ii. 571. 



THE MOUSE BECOMES A MAIDEN. 65 

their tails by gnawing at them. "^ But according to 
another interpretation, instead of "tails," "we should read 
"threads ; " in this case, the mice that rend the threads 
would refer to the fable of the mouse that delivers from 
the net now the elephant, and now the lion (of which 
fable I shall endeavour to prove the Vedic antiquity in 
the next chapter). 

The twelfth story of the third book of the Pan6atan- 
tram is of great mythological interest. From the beak 
of a hawk (in another Hindoo legend, from two cats that 
are disputing for it) a mouse takes refuge in the hands of 
a penitent, whilst he is bathing in the river. The peni- 
tent transforms the mouse into a beautiful maiden, and 
wishes to marry her to the sun ; the maiden declines — 
he is too hot. The penitent next wishes to marry her to 
the cloud which defeats the sun ; the maiden declares it 
is too dark and cold. He then proposes to give her to 
the wind which defeats the cloud (in the white Yagiir- 
vedas, the mouse is sacred to the god Eudras, the wind 
that howls and lightens in the cloud) ; the maiden re- 
fuses — it is too changeful. The penitent now proposes 
that she should wed the mountain, against which the 
wind cannot prevail, but the girl says it is too hard ; and 



^ Musho na gigna vy adanti m^dhyah stotHram te gatakrato ; jRi(/v. 
i. 105, 8. — The commentator now interprets gignd by sutrdni, threads, 
and now calls the reader's attention to the legend of the mice that lick 
their tails after plunging them into a vase full of butter, or some other 
savoury substance; but here vy adanti can only mean, they lacerate 
by biting, as in the preceding strophe we have the thought that tears 
by biting, as the wolf tears the thirsty wild beast (ma vyanti adhyo 
na trishna^am mrigam). — The mouse in the jar of provisions also 
occurs in the fable of the mouse and the two penitents in the Panca- 
tantram, in the Hellenic fable of the son of Minos and of Pasiphae, 
who, pursuing a mouse, falls into a jar of honey, in which he is suf- 
focated, until recalled to life by a salutary herb. 

VOL. II. E 



66 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

finally the penitent asks if she would be willing to part 
with her afiections to the mouse, who alone can make a 
hole in the mountain ; the maiden is satisfied with this 
last proposal, and is again transformed into a female 
mouse, in order to be able to wed the male mouse. In 
this beautiful myth (which is a variation of the other 
one which we have already mentioned of the cat-maiden 
that, though transfigured, still retains its instinct as a 
huntress of mice), the whole revolution of the twenty-four 
hours of the day is described. The mouse of night ap- 
pears first ; the twilight tries to make it its prey ; the 
night becomes the aurora ; the sun presents itself for her 
husband ; the sun is covered by the cloud, and the cloud 
is scattered by the wind ; meanwhile the evening aurora, 
the girl, appears upon the mountain ; the mouse of night 
again appears, and with her the maiden is confounded. 
The HUopadefas contains an interesting variety of the 
same myth. The mouse falls from the vulture's beak, and 
is received by a wise man, who changes it into a cat, 
then, to save it from the dog, into a dog, and finally into 
a tiger. When the mouse is become a tiger, it thinks of 
killing the wise man, who, reading its thoughts, trans- 
forms it again into a mouse. Here we find described the 
same circle of daily celestial phenomena. The succession 
of these phenomena sometimes causes transformations in 
the myths. 

The well-known proverb of the mountain that gives 
birth to the mouse, refers to the myth contained in the 
story of the Pancatantram.. We already know that the 
solar hero enters in the evening with the solar horse into 
the mountain and becomes stone, and that all the heavens 
assume the colour of this mountain. From the moun- 
tain come forth the mice of night, the shadows of night, 
to which the cat-moon and the cat-twilight give chase; the 



THE SOULS OF THE DEAD AS MICE. 67 

thieving propensities of the mice display themselves in 
the night. In German superstition the souls of the dead 
assume the forms of mice, and when the head of a house 
dies, it is said that even the mice of the house abandon 
it.^ In general, every apparition of mice is considered a 
funereal presage ; it is on this account that the funereal 
St Gertrude was represented surrounded by mice. The 
first witch in Macbeth, when she wishes to persecute the 
merchant who is sailing towards Aleppo, and shipwreck 
him, that she may avenge herself upon his wife, who had 
refused to give her some chestnuts, threatens to become 
like a rat without a tail. In the Historia Sarmatice, 
quoted by Aldrovandi, the uncles of King Popelus II., 
whom, with his wife for accomplice, he murders in secret, 
and throws into the lake, become mice, and gnaw 
the king and queen to death. The same death is 
said to have been the doom of Migcislaus, the son of 
the Duke Conrad of Poland, for haviag wrongfully 
appropriated the property of widows and. orphans ; and 
of Otto, Archbishop of Mainz, for having burned the 
granary during a famine. Mice are said to have pre- 
saged at Rome the first civil war, by gnawing the gold 
in the temple ; and it was, moreover, alleged that a 

^ Den Mausen pfeifen, heisst den Seelen ein Zeichen geben, um von 
ihnen abgeholt zu werden ; ebenso wie der Kattenfanger zu Hameln 
die Lockpfeife blast, auf deren Ton alle Miiase und Kinder der 
Stadt mit ibm in den Berg hineinziehen, der sich hinter ihnen 
zuschliesst. Mause sind Seelen. Die Seele des auf der Jagd entschla- 
fenen Kciuigs Guntram kommt schlangleinartig aus seineni Munde 
hervor, um so in einen nachsten Berg und wieder zuriickzulaufen. 
Der goethe'sche Faust weigert sich dem Tanz mit dem hiibschen Hexen- 
madchen am Blocksberg fortzusetzen : — 

*' Den mitten 'im Gesange sprang 
Ein rothes Mauschen ihr aus dem Munde." 

— Bochholtz, Deut Glauhe u, Brmich, i. 156, 157. 



68 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

female mouse had given birth in a trap to five male 
mice, of which she had devoured two. Other prodigies, 
in which mice were implicated, are mentioned as having 
taken place at Eome, even in the times of Cato, who was 
accustomed to make them the butt of his indignant 
scorn. To a person who told him, for instance, how the 
mice had gnawed the boots, he answered that this was 
no miracle ; it would have been a miracle if the boots 
{caligce) had eaten the mice. 

The mouse in the fable is sometimes in connection 
with the elephant and the lion, whom it sometimes 
insults and despises (as in the Tuti-Name)} and some- 
times comes to help and deliver from their fetters. The 
meaning of the mjdih is evident : the elephant and the 
lion represent here the sun in the darkness ; in the even- 
ing the mouse of night leaps upon the two heroic animals, 
which are then old or infirm ; in the morning the sun is 
delivered out of the fetters of the night, and it is sup- 
posed that it was the mouse which gnawed the ropes and 
set at liberty now the elephant, as in the Pantalantram^ 
now the lion, as in the ^Esopian fable. 

The Hindoo god Ganegas, the god of poets, eloquence, 
and wisdom, is represented with an elephant's head, and 
his foot crushing a mouse. Thus, among the Greeks, 
Apollo Smintheus, so called because he had shot the 
mice that stole the yearly provisions from Krinos, the 
priest of Apollo himself, was represented with a mouse 
under him. As the Christian Virgin crushes the serpent 
of night under her foot, so does the pagan sun-god crush 
under his feet the mouse of night. 

When the cat's away, the mice may play ; the shadows 
of night dance when the moon is absent, 

' i. 268. 



BLIND-MAN' S-B UFR 69 

In the fifteenth story of the fifth book of Afancissieff, 
the witch step-mother desires her old husband to lead 
away his daughter to spin in the forest^ in a deserted 
hut. The girl finds a little mouse there, and gives it 
something to eat. At night the bear comes/ and wishes 
to play with the girl at the game of blind-man's-buff 
(this very popular game has evidently a mythical origin 
and meaning ; every evening in the sky the sun amuses 
itself by playing bhnd-man's-buff ; it blinds itself, and 
runs blind into the night, where it must find again its 
predestined bride or lost wife, the aurora). The little 
mouse approaches the maiden, and whispers in her ear, 
" Maiden, be not afraid ; say to him, ' Let us play ; ' then 
put out the fire and hide under the stove ; I will run 
and make the little bells ring." (Mice seem to have an 
especial predilection for the sound of bells. It is well- 
known how, in the Hellenic fable, the council of mice 
resolve, to deliver themselves from the cat, to put a beU 
round its neck ; no one, however, undertakes to perform 
the arduous enterprise.) The bear thinks he is running 
after the maiden, and runs, on the contrary, after the 
mouse, which he cannot catch. The bear tires himself 
out, and congratulating the maiden, says to her, '' Thou 
art my mistress, maiden, in playing at blind-man's-buff" ; 
to-morrow morning I will send you a herd of horses and 
a chariot of goods." (The morning aurora comes out of 
the forest, delivers herself from the clutches of the bear, 
from the witch of the night, and appears drawn by 
horses upon a chariot full of treasure. The myth is a 
lucid one.) 

^ The mouse that passes over the yarn occurs again in German 
tradition: — '' Gertrudenbuchlein ab: Zwei Mauschen nagen an einer 
flachsumwundenen Spindel* sine Spinnerinn sitzt am St Gertrudentag, 
noch in der Zeit der Zwblften, wo die Geister in Gestalt von Mausen 
erscheinen, darf geaponnen werden ;" Rochholtz, %it supra, i. 158. 



70 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

In other numerous legends we have the grateful mouse 
that helps the hero or heroine. In the thirteenth Calmuc 
story, the mouse, the monkey, and the bear, grateful for 
having been delivered, from the rogues that tormented 
them, by the son of the Brahman, come to his help by 
gnawing and breaking open the chest in which the young 
man had been enclosed by order of the king ; afterwards, 
with the assistance of the fishes, they help him to recover 
a lost talisman. 

In the fifty-eighth story of the sixth book of Afa- 
nassieff,^ the mouse, the war-horse, and the fish silurus, out 
of gratitude assist the honest workman who has fallen 
into a marsh, and cleanse him ; upon seeing which the 
princess, that has never laughed, laughs, and thereafter 
marries the workman. (The young morning sun comes out 
of the marsh or swamp of night ; the aurora, who was 
at first a dark, wicked, and ugly girl, marries the young 
sun whom the mouse has delivered out of the mud, as it 
delivered the lion out of the toils.) 

In the fifty-seventh story of the sixth book of Afa- 
nassieff, it is the mouse that warns Ivan Tzarevic to flee 
from the serpent- witch (the black night) his sister, who 
is sharpening her teeth to eat him. 

In the third story of the first book of Afanassieff, the 
mice help the good maiden, who had given them some- 
thing to eat, to do what the witch, her step-mother, had 
commanded. 

In the twenty-third story of the fifth book of Afa- 
nassieffy the mouse and the sparrow appear at first as 
friends and associates. But one day the sparrow, having 
found a poppy-seed, thinks it so small that he eats it up 

^ Cfr, Feniamerone, iii. 5. — In the story, iv. 1, the grateful mice 
assist Mine6 Aniello to find the lost ring by gnawing the finger on 
■which the madcian wears it. 



THE BA TRA CHO MYOMA CHI A. 7 1 

without offering a share to his partner. The mouse hears 
of it, and is indignant ; he breaks the alliance, and 
declares war against the sparrow. The latter assembles 
all the birds of the air, and the mouse all the animals of 
the earth, and a sanguinary battle commences. In a 
Eussian variety of the same story, instead of the sparrow, 
it is the mouse that breaks the compact. They collect 
together the provisions against winter, but when, towards 
the end of the season, they are all but finished, the 
mouse expels the sparrow, and the sparrow goes to com- 
plain to the king of the birds. The king of the birds 
visits the king of the beasts, and sets forth the complaint 
of the sparrow ; the king of the beasts then calls the 
mouse to account, who defends himself with such 
humility and cunning, that he ends by convincing his 
monarch that the sparrow is in the wrong. Then the 
two kings declare war against each other, and engage in 
a formidable struggle, attended with terrible bloodshed 
on both sides, and which ends in the king of the birds 
being wounded. (The nocturnal or wintry mouse expels 
the solar bird of evening or of autumn. ) 

In the Batrachomyo'niachia, attributed to Homer, the 
royal mouse Psicharpax (properly ravisher of crumbs), 
the third son of Troxartes (eat-bread), boasts to Phtisig- 
nathos (he who inflates his cheeks), the lord of the 
frogs, that he does not fear the man, the point of whose 
finger (akron daktulon) he has bitten while he was 
asleep ; whilst, on the other hand, he has for his enemies 
the falcon (which we have already, in the Hindoo story, 
seen let the mouse fall from its beak) and the cat. The 
frog, who wishes to entertain the mouse, invites it to get 
upon his back, to be carried to his royal mansion; at 
first the mouse is amused with its ride, but when the frog 
makes it feel the icy water, the poor mouse's heart begins 



72 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

to fail ; finally, at the sight of a serpent, the frog forgets 
its rider and runs away, throwing the mouse head-over- 
heels into the water to be the prey of the serpent. Then, 
before expiring, remembering that the gods have an 
avenging eye, it threatens the frogs with the vengeance 
of the army of the mice. War is prepared. The mice 
make themselves good boots with the shells of beans ; 
they cover their cuirasses of bubnishes with the skin of a 
flayed cat ; their shield is the centre knob of the lamps 
(luchn6n to mesomphalon, ^.e., if I am not mistaken, a 
fragment of a little lamp of terra-cotta, and, properly 
speaking, the lower and central part) ; for a lance they 
have a needle, and for a helmet a nutshell. The gods 
are present at the battle as neutrals, — Pallas having 
declared her unwillingness to help the mice, because they 
stole the oil from the lamps burning in her honour, and 
because they had gnawed her peplum, and being equally 
indifferent to the frogs, because they had once wakened 
her when returning from war, and when, being tired and 
weary, she wished to rest. The battle is fiercely fought, 
and is about to have an unfavourable result for the frogs, 
when Zeus takes pity upon them ; he lightens and hurls 
his thunderbolts. At last, seeing that the mice do not 
desist, the gods send a host of crabs, who, biting the 
tails, the hands, and the feet of the mice, force them to 
flee. This is undoubtedly the representation of a mj^hical 
battle. The frogs, as we shall see, are the clouds ; the 
night meets the cloud ; the mouse fights with the frog. 
Zeus, the thunder-god, to put an end to the struggle, 
thunders and lightens ; at last the retrograde crab makes 
its appearance ; the combatants, frogs and mice, natu- 
rally disappear. 

The mouse is never conceived otherwise than in 
connection with the nocturnal darkness, and hence, by 



THE SQUIRREL— THE MOLE. 73 

extending the myth, in connection also with the darkness 
of winter, from which light and riches subsequently come 
forth. In Sicily it is believed that when a child's tooth 
is taken out, if it be hidden in a hole, the mouse will 
take it away and bring a coin for the child in com- 
pensation. The mouse is dark-coloured, but its teeth 
and fore-parts are white and luminous. The mouse 
Hiranyakas, or the golden one, in the Pai\tatan~ 
tram, is the black or grey mouse of night. It is the 
red squirrel that, in an -^sopian fable, answers to the 
query of the fox why it sharpens its teeth when it 
has nothing to eat, that it does so to be always pre- 
pared against its enemies. In the Edda, the squirrel 
runs upon the tree Yggdrasil, and sets the eagle and 
Nidhogg at discord. 

The mole and the snail are of the same nature as the 
grey mouse. The Hindoo word dkhus, or the mole 
(abeady spoken of as a demon killed by Indras, in the 
jRigvedas^), properly signifies the excavator. 

In the Reinehe FucKs the mole appears as a grave- 
digger, as the animal that heaves the earth up, and 
makes ditches underground ; it is, in fact, the most skil- 
ful of gravediggers, and its black colour and supposed 
blindness are in perfect accordance with the funereal 
character assigned to it by mjrthology. In an apologue 
of Laurentius, the ass complains to the mole of having 
no horns, and the monkey of having a short tail ; the 
mole answers them — 

" Quid potestis banc meam 
Miseram intuentes coecitatem, hsec conqueri ? " 



^ AUyyasya paragur nan^ga tarn 4 pavasya (pavasva according to 
Aufrecht's text, and according to the commentator — cfr. Bollensen, 
Zur Herstellung des Veda, in the Orient und Occident of Benfey, ii. 
484) deva soma* ^khum (5id eva deva soma; Rigv. ix. 67, 30. 



74 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

According to tlie Hellenic myth, Phineus became a 
mole because he had, following the advice of his second 
wife, Idaia, allowed his two sons by his first wife, Cleo- 
patra, to be blinded, and also because he had revealed 
the secret thoughts of Zeus,^ 

In Du Cange I find that even in the Middle Ages it 
was the custom on Christmas Eve for children to meet 
with poles, having straw wrapped round the ends, which 
they set fire to, and to go round the gardens, near the 
trees^ shouting — 

" Taupes et mulots 
Soi-tez de nos clos 
Sinon je vous brulerai la barbe et les os." 

We find a similar invocation in the seventh story of the 

second book of the Pentamerone, The beautiful girl goes 

to find maruzze, and threatens the snail to make her 

mother cut off its horns — 

" lesce, iesce, coma 
Ca mammata te scorna, 
Te scorna 'ncoppa Tastreco 
Che fa lo figlio mascolo." 

In Piedmont, to induce the snail to put its horns out, 
children are accustomed to sing to it — 

" LUmassa, liimassora, 
Tira fora i to corn, 
Dass no,2 i vad dal barb^ 
E it tje fass tai6 ! " 

^ Cfr. the Antigone of Sophocles, v. 973, et seq. 
2 This dass no of the Piedmontese means " if not," and is evidently 
of Germanic origin. The Piedmontese dialect has also taken from the 
Germanic languages the final negative.-^-In Germany, children sing to 
the snails — 

" Schneckhlls, peekh^s, 
Stak din vSr h(5rner rut, 
Siist schmit ick di in'n graven 
Da fr^ten di de raven." 
—Cfr. Kuhn und Schwartz, iV. d. S, M. w. G.j p. 453. 



THE SNAIL, 75 



Sicilian children terrify tlie snail by informing it that 
their mother is coming to burn its horns with a candle — 

" Weaci li coma ch 'a mamma veni 
E t* adduma lu cannileri." 

In Tuscany they threaten the white snail (la marinella), 
telling it to thrust out its little horns to save itself from 
kicks and blows — 

" Chi66ciola marinella, 
Tira fuori le tue cornella, 
E se tu non le tirerai 
Calci e pugni tu buscherai." 

In Tuscany it is believed, moreover, that in the month 
of April the snail makes love with the serpents, and is 
therefore venomous ; hence they sing — 

" Chi vuol presto morire 
Mangi la cMocciola d' aprile." ^ 

The snail of popular superstition is demoniacal ; hence 
it is also invoked by children in Germany by the name 
of the funereal St Gertrude — ■ 

*' Kuckuck, kuckuck Gerderut 
Stak dine v§r Horns herut." ^ 

1 In Rahelais, i. 38, when Gargantua has eaten five pilgrims in his 
salad, another still remains hidden under a leaf of lettuce. His father 
says to him — "Je crois que c*est Ik une come de limasson, ne le 
mangez point. Pourquoy? dist Gargantua, ilz sont bona tout se 
moys.'' 

^ Simrock, Handbuch der Deutschen Mythologie, 2te Aufl., p. 516. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

HARE, RABBIT, ERMINE, AND BEAVER. ' 

S U M M A E Y, 

The hare is the moon ; ^ar^as and ^a^in. — The hares at the lake of the 
moon; the king of the hares in the moon. — The hare and the 
elephant. — The hare and the lion. — The hare devours the "western 
monster ; the hare devours his mother the mare. — Mortuo leoni 
lepores insultant. — The hare and the eagle. — The hare that guards 
the cavern of the beasts. — The hare comes out on the 15th of the 
month and terrifies the wolf. — The hare transformed into the 
moon by Indras. — Ermine and beaver. — Hare's-foot. — Hare and 
moon fruitful. — Hare and moon that guide the hero. — Somnus 
leporinus. — The hare and the bear. — The hare and the nuptial 
procession. — The hare that contains a duck. — The girl riding 
upon the hare. 

The mythical hare is undoubtedly the moon. In San- 
skrit, the gagas means properly the leaping one, as well as 
the hare, the rabbit, and the spots on the moon (the 
saltans), which suggest the figure of a hare. Hence the 
names oigagm^OY furnished with hares, and of gafadharas, 
gafabhrit, or he who carries the hare given to the moon. 
In the first story of the third book of the Pancatantram, 
the hares dwell upon the shore of the Lake Candrasaras, 
or lake of the moon ; and their king, Vigayadattas (the 
funereal god, the god of death), has for his palace the 
lunar disc. When the hare speaks to the king of the 



THE HARES AND THE ELEPHANTS. 77 



elephants who crushed the hares (in the same way as 
we have seen the cow do in Chapter L), he speaks in the 
moon's name. The hare makes the elephant believe that 
the moon is in anger. against the elephants because they 
crush the hares under their feet ; then the elephant 
demands to see the moon, and the hare conducts him to 
the lake of the moon, where he shows him the moon in 
the water. Wishing to approach the moon and ask for- 
giveness, the elephant thrusts his proboscis into the 
water ; the water is agitated, and the reflection of the 
moon is disturbed, and multiplied a thousand-fold. The 
hare makes the elephant believe that the moon is still 
more angry because he has disturbed the water ; then the 
king of the elephants begs for pardon, and goes far away 
with his subjects ; from that day the hares live tran- 
quilly on the shores of the moon-lake, and are no longer 
crushed under the ponderous feet of their huge com- 
panions. The moon rules the night (and the winter), 
the sun rules the day (and the summer). The moon is 
cold, the sun is hot. The solar elephant, lion, or bull, 
goes down at even to drink at the river, at the lake of 
the nocturnal moon ; the hare warns the elephant that if 
he does not retire, if he continues to crush the hares on 
the shores of the lake, the moon will take back her cold 
beams, and then the elephants will die of thirst and 
excessive heat. The other story of the Pan6atantram 
is a variety of the myth, which we mentioned in the 
chapter of the dog, of the hare who conducts to his ruin 
the hungry lion who wishes to eat her, by making him 
throw himself into a fountain or well. This myth, which 
is analogous to that of the mouse as the enemy of now 
the elephant, now the lion, and now the hawk, is already 
very clearly indicated in the Vedic hymns. In the 
twenty-eighth hymn of the tenth book of the Jtigvedas, 



78 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

in whicli the fox comes to visit the western lion (the 
sick lion^), in which we have the lion who falls into 
the trap^ (and whom the mouse insults in the evening, 
and delivers in the morning by gnawing at the ropes 
which bind it : in the Hellenic proverb it is the hare that 
draws the lion into the golden net — " elkei lagos lionta 
chrlisind broch6/' in the same way as in the Paricatan" 
tram, it allures him into the well), and in which the 
hare devours the western monster^ (a variety of the 
Hellenic tradition of the hare brought forth by a mare, 
and which immediately thereafter devours its mother) — 
in this hymn we find the germ of several fables of animals 
of the same cycle. The inferior animal vanquishes the 
superior one, and upon this peculiarity the whole hymn 
turns ; for this reason, too, in the same hymn, the dog 
or jackal (canis aureus) assails the wild boar,^ and the 
calf defeats the bull/ The hare occurs again as the 
proverbial enemy of the lion (whence the Latin proverb, 
*' Mortuo leoni lepores insultant," or safeaw^ ; the moon 
jumps up when the sun dies), in the last book of the 
Rdmdyanam^ where the great king of the monkeys, BMin, 
regards the king of the monsters, Eavanas, as a lion 
does a hare, or as the bird Garudasa serpent.^ 

In jSsop we find the hare that laughs at its 
enemy, the dying eagle, because the hunter killed 
it with an arrow furnished with eagle's feathers. 
In another iEsopian fable, the rabbit avenges itself 
upon the eagle which has eaten its young ones, 



1 Lopacah siiiham pratyandam atsali ; ^i^v. x, 28, 4. 

2 Avaruddhah paripadaih na sinhah; x. 28, 10. 
^ Qa^ah kshuram pratyancSam ^agara; x. 28, 9. 

^ Kroshta varaharii nir atakta kakshat; x. 28, 4. 

* Vatso vrishabharii ^I'lguvanah ; x. 28, 9. 

*^ Sinhah ^agamivalakshya garudo va bhngafigamam ; Rdmdij, xxiii. 



THE HARE AND THE WOLF-^THE BEAVER. 79 

by rooting up and throwing down the tree upon 
which the eagle has its nest, so that the eaglets are 
kiUed. 

In the seventeenth Mongol story, the hare is the 
guardian of the cavern of the wild beasts (or the moon, 
the mrigar^^as and guardian of the forest of night) ; in 
the same story an old woman (the old fairy or old 
Madonna) is substituted for the hare. In the twenty- 
first Mongol story, the hare sets out on a journey with 
the lamb, on the fifteenth day of the month, when the 
moon comes forth, and defends the lamb from the 
wolf of night, terrifying the latter by telling it that it 
has received a writing from the god Indras, in which 
the hare is ordered to bring to Indras a thousand 
wolves' skins. 

In a Buddhist legend, the hare is transfigured by 
Indras into the moon, because it had freely given him its 
flesh to eat, when, disguised as a pilgrim, he came up 
begging for bread. The hare, having nothing else to 
offer him, threw itself upon the fire, that Indras might 
appease his hunger.^ 

In the Avesta we find the ermine as the kinff of the 
animals, and the beaver as the sacred and inviolable 
animal, in whose skin the pure Ardvijlira is invested 
(white and silvery as the white dawn, rosy and golden as 
the am-ora ; unless Ardvijtira, whose diadem is made of a 
hundred stars, should also be interpreted as denoting the 
moon, which is now silvery, and now fair and golden). 
Moreover, for the beaver to represent the moon (the 
chaste Diana) is in perfect accordance with the reputa- 
tion it has as a eunuch (castor a castrando) in popular 

1 Cfr. Memoires sur les Contrees Occidentales, traduits du Sanscrit par 
Hiouen Thsang, et du Chinois par St Julien, i. 375. 



8o ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

superstition ; whence the words of Cicero concerning 
beavers/ and the verses of Juvenal — - 

*' Imitatus castora qui se 
Eunuchum ipse facit cupiens evadere damnum 
Testiculorum, adeo medicatum intelliget unguen."^ 

In the twenty-first Esthonian story, a silly husband is 
called by the name of Hare's-foot. In Aldrovandi, on 
the other hand, Philostratos narrates the case of a woman 
who had miscarried seven times in the act of child-birth, 
but who the eighth time brought forth a child, when her 
husband unexpectedly drew a hare out of his bosom. 
Although the moon is herself the timid and chaste goddess 
(or eunuch), she is, as pluvial, the/c^czincZa^riaJ, and famous 
as presiding over and protecting child-birth ; this is why, 
when the hare-moon, or Lucina, assisted at parturition, 
it was sure to issue happily. The mythical hare and 
the moon are constantly identified. It is on this account 
that in Pausanias, the moon-goddess instructs the exiles 
who are searching for a propitious place to found a city, 
to build it in a myrtle-grove into which they should see 
a hare flee for refuge. The moon is the watcher of the 
sky, that is to say, she sleeps with her eyes open ; so also 
does the hare, whence the soinnus leporinus became a 
proverb. In the ninth Esthonian story, the thunder-god 
is compared to the hare that sleeps with its eyes open ; 
Indras, who transforms the hare into the moon, has 
already been mentioned ; Indras becomes a eunuch in 
the form of sahasrakshas, or of the thousand-eyed god 

^ Redimunt ea parte corporis, propter quam maxime expetuntur; 
Fro ^milio Scauro, It is said that when the beaver is pursued by 
hunters, it tears off its testicles, as the most precious part for which 
beavers are hunted, popular medical belief attributing marvellous 
virtues to beavers* testicles. 

'^ xii. 35. 



THE HARE AND MARRIAGES, 



(the starry sky in the night, or the sun in this starry 
sky) ; the thousand eyes become one, the milloculus 
becomes monoculus, when the moon shines in the evening 
sky ; hence we say now the hundred eyes of Argos, and 
now simply the eye of Argos — the eye of God. 

In a Slavonic tale/ the hare laughs at the bear s cubs, 
and spits upon them ; the bear runs after the hare, 
and in the hunt is decoyed into an intricate jungle, 
where it is caught. As the lion is unknown in Russia, 
the bear is substituted for it ; the Russian hare allures 
the bear into the trap, as the Hindoo and Greek one 
causes the lion to fall into it. This hare which does harm 
to the solar hero or animal of evening is the same as that 
which, in the fiftieth story of the fifth book of A/anas- 
sieff] and in Russian popular tradition, meeting the nuptial 
car, bodes evil to the wedding, and is of evil omen to the 
bride and bridegroom. The hare-moon, the chaste protec- 
tress of marriages and births, the benefactress of mankind, 
must not meet the car ; if she opposes the wedding (per- 
haps at evening and in the autumn), or if the hare is 
crushed or overtaken by the car (as the proverb says), 
it is a bad presage, not only for the wedded couple, 
but for all mankind; solar as well as lunar eclipses 
were always considered sinister omens in popular super- 
stition. In the Russian popular tales we frequently 
find mention of the hare under a tree, or on a rock 
in the midst of the sea, where there is a duck, which 
contains an egg ; the yoke of this egg (the solar disc) is 
a precious stone ; when it falls into the hands of the 
young hero, the monster dies, and he is able to espouse 
the young princess.^ The girl of seven years of age. 



^ Cited by Afanassieff in tlie observations on the first volume of the 
Russian stories. ^ Cfr. Afanasdeff, i. 14, ii. 24, v. 42. 

VOL. JI. F 



82 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

who, to solve in action the riddle proposed by the Tzar, 
who offers to marry her, rides upon a hare, is a variety 
of this myth. By the help of the moon, the sun and 
evening aurora arrive at the region of the morning, find 
each other, and are married ; the moon is the mediatrix 
of the mythical nuptials ; the hare which represents it 
must therefore not only not oppose them, but help them 
materially ; at evening the moon separates the sun from 
the aurora ; at morning she unites them again. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE ANTELOPE, THE STAG, THE DEER, AND THE GAZELLE. 

SUMMARY. 

Luminous stag and black stag. — The Marutas drawn by antelopes, 
and dressed in antelopes' skins. — The stag, the gazelle, and the 
antelope as forms assumed or created by the demon to ruin several 
heroes whilst they hunt. — Mari(5as. — Indras kills the mrigas.' — 
The solar hero or heroine transformed into a stag, a gazelle, or an 
antelope. — Aktaion. — Artemis and the stag. — The stags of the 
Yggdrasill. — The stag Eikthyrner. — The hind as a nurse. — The 
hind and the old woman on the 1st of January. — The hind and 
the snow j the white hind. 

The stag represents the luminous forms that appear in 
the cloudy or the nocturnal forest ; these, therefore, are 
now lightning and thunderbolts, now the cloud itself 
from which the lightning and thunderbolts are discharged, 
now the moon in the gloom of night. The mythical stag 
is nearly always either entirely luminous or else spotted ; 
when it is black it is of a diabolical nature, and repre- 
sents the whole sky of night. Sometimes the luminous 
stag is a form assumed by the demon of the forest to 
compass the ruin of the hero. 

The Rigvedas represents to us the Marutas, or winds 
that lighten and thunder in the clouds, as drawn by 
antelopes. The Marutas ''are born shining of them- 
selves, with antelopes, with lances, amid thunder-peals 



84 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

and flashes of lightning." ^ "They have yoked, with a 
red yoke, the antelopes.^ The young battalion of the 
Marutas goes of itself, and has an antelope for its horse."^ 
The horses of the Marutas, which we already know to be 
antelopes, are called vinged,^ and are said to have golden 
fore-feet/ The antelopes of the Marutas are splendid/ 
Nor are the Marutas only carried by antelopes ; they also 
wear upon their shoulders antelopes' skins/ 

But the antelope, the gazelle, and the stag generally, 
instead of helping the hero, involve him rather in per- 
plexity and peril. This mythical subject is amplified in 
numerous Hindoo legends. 

In the first scene of K41idasas' ^ahuntald, a black- 
spotted (krishnas^ras) gazelle misleads King Dushyantas. 

In the Mahdhhdratam,^ King Pankshit pursues a 
gazelle and wounds it (as the god Qivas one day wounded 
the gazeUe of the sacrifice) ; he then foUows its track, 
but the gazelle flees at sight of him, inasmuch as it has 
taken the path of heaven in its primitive (^.e., celestial) 
form. The king loses the track of his prey, and in trying 
to find it again, brings death upon his head. 

In the same Mahdbhdratam,^ King Pandus dies at the 



^ Ye prishatibhir rishtibliilL s^kam v^Qibhir an^ibhib. — a^iyanta 
svabMnavaii; Eigv. i. 37, 2. 

^ Upo ratheshu prisbattr ayugdbvam prashtir vabati robitah ; i. 
39, 6. 

^ Sa hi svasrit prisbadagvo yuvsi ganah : i. 87, 4. 

* A vidyunmadbbir marutab. svarkM rathebbir y^tba risbtimadbbir 
a9vaparnaib ; i. 88, 1. 

^ AgvMr biranyapanibbih. ; viii. 7, 27. 

6 Qubbe sammiglab. prisbatir ayukshata ; iii. 26, 4. 

'' Ansesbu et^h ; Eigv. i. 166, lO.^Concerning the uso of similar 
skins for dress in India, cfr. tbe long and instructive note of Professor 
Max Muller, Eigveda-Sanhita Translated and Explained, i. 221-223. 

8 i. 1665. ^ i. 3811, et seq. ; i. 4585, et seq. 



THE INDIAN MYTHICAL STAG. 85 

moment when he is uniting himself with his wife M4drl, 
because he had one day in the chase transfixed a male 
gazelle at the instant when it was about to have fruit of 
its union with a female gazelle. 

In the Vishnu P./ King Bharatas, who has abandoned 
his throne to give himself up entirely to penitence, loses 
the fruit of his ascetic life, by becoming passionately 
enamoured of a fawn. 

In the Rdmdyanam,^ Marlcas, who is possessed by 
a demon, becomes, by order of Ravanas, the king of 
the monsters, a golden stag spotted with silver, having 
four golden horns adorned with pearls, and a tongue as 
red as the sun, and tempts Ramas to pursue him in order 
to procure his silver -spotted skin, for which Sita has 
expressed a desire, that she might lie down upon it and 
rest herself In this way the stag (here an equivalent of 
the hare) succeeds in separating Ramas from Slt4. It 
then emits a lamentable cry, imitating the voice of 
R^mas, so as to induce Lakshmanas, his brother, to 
come to his assistance, and leave Slta alone, that 
R^vanas may then be able to carry her off with im- 
punity. Lakshmanas leaves her unwillingly, because, 
perceiving that the stag shines like the constellation of 
the head of the stag (or gazelle, Mrigagiras), he suspects 
it to be an apparition of Maricas, who, as a stag, has 
already caused the ruin of many other princes who have 
hunted him. The moon, in Sanskrit, besides the name 
of Qa§adharas, or who carries the hare, has also that of 
Mrigadharas, or who carries the gazelle (or stag). The 
solar hero loses himself in the forest of night while 
pursuing the gazelle-moon. A demoniacal gazeUe seems 
to appear even in the JRigvedas, where Indras fights and 



ii. 13, translated by Wilson. 2 jj^^ 4.9^ 43^ ^9^ 



86 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

kills a monster called Mrigas. In Germanic tradition 
there are numerous legends in which the hero who hunts 
the stag meets with his death or is dragged into hell.^ 

As the moon is a stag or gazelle, and comes after the 
sun, so it was also sometimes imagined that the solar 
hero or heroine was transformed into a stag or hind. 

In the Tuti'Name^ a king goes to the chase, kills an 
antelope, doffs the human form, and disguises himself as 
an antelope. This mythical disguise can be understood 
in two ways. The evening sun reflects its rays in the 
ocean of night, the sun-stag sees its horns reflected in 
the fountain or lake of night, and admires them. At 
this fountain sits a beautiful and bewitching siren, the 
moon ; this fountain is the dwelling of the moon ; she 
allures the hero-stag that admires itself in the fountain, 
and ruins it, or else the stag attracts the hero to the 
fountain, where it causes him to meet with his death. ^ 
The stag of the fable, after admiring itself in the foun- 
tain, is torn to pieces by the dogs who overtake it in the 
forest because its horns become entangled in the branches ; 
the solar rays are enveloped in the branches of the noc- 
turnal forest. Aktaion, who, for having seen Artemis 
(the moon) naked in the bath, is changed into a stag and 
torn by dogs, is a variety of the same fable. In Stesiclioros, 
quoted by Pausanias, Artemis puts a stag's skin round 
Aktaion and incites the dogs to devour him in order 
that he may not be able to wed the moon. Sun and 
moon are brother and sister; the brother, wishing to 

1 Cfr. Simrock, the work quoted before, p. 354. 

2 ii. 258, Rosen's version. 

2 Oft fiihrt der Hirscli nur zu einer schbnen Frau am Brunnen ; 
sie ist aber der Unterwelt verwandt und die Yerbindung mit ibr an 
die Bedingung gekniipft, dass die ungleiche Natur des Verbundenen 
nicht an den Tag gezogen werde. 



ARTEMIS AND THE STAG. 87 



seduce his sister, meets with his death. A Lithuanian 
song describes the moon Menas (the Hindoo Manu-s) as 
the unfaithful husband of the sun (who is a female), 
being enamoured of Aushrine (the Vedic Usr^, the 
morning aurora). The god Perkuns, to avenge the sun, 
kills the moon. In a Servian song, the moon reproaches 
his mistress or wife, the morning, aurora, on account 
of her absence. The aurora answers that she travels 
upon the heights of Belgrade, that is, of the white 
or the luminous city, in the sky, upon the lofty 
mountains. 

The king in the Tuti-Name who assumes the guise of 
an antelope, appears to be a variety of the solar hero at 
the moment of the approach of night, or of the ass that 
invests itself in the lion's skin. But inasmuch as the 
Indian moon is Mrigar4^as, or king of the wild animals, 
no less than the lion, inasmuch as the moon succeeds the 
sun, one mrigas another, one lion another, or one ^tag 
another, when the solar hero or heroine enters into the 
night, he or she appears in the form of a luminous stag 
or hind, no longer as the sun, but as the moon, which, 
although luminous, penetrates into hell, and is in relation 
with demons and itself demoniacal. 

Artemis (the moon) is represented as a hunting goddess 
in the act of wounding, with her left hand, an antelope 
between the horns. To this goddess is also attributed the 
merit of having overtaken the stags without the help of 
dogs, perhaps because, sometimes, she is herself a dog, sur- 
prising the solar stag of evening. The four stags of Artemis 
connect themselves in my mind with the four stags that 
stay round the tree Yggdrasill in the Edda, and which 
come out of the river Haeffing. The stag Eikthpner 
which, eating the leaves of the tree Lerad, causes all its 
waters to flow out, seems, on the other hand, to refer to 



88 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

the sun as it merges and loses its rays in the cloud (the 
solar stag is also referred to in the Edda), 

Artemis, who substitutes a hind for Iphigeneia, who 
was to have been sacrificed, seems to point to the moon- 
hind as taking the place of the evening aurora. We also 
recognise the moon in the hind which, according to 
jSllianos and Diodoros, nourished Telephos, son of 
HerakMs (Herakles in his fourth labour overtakes the 
stag with golden horns), who had been exposed in the 
forest by the order of his grandfather ; as well as in that 
which, according to Justinus, fed with its milk in the 
forest the nephew of the king of the Tartessians, and 
afterwards, according to the "Lives of the Saints/' the 
blessed jEgidius, the hermit who lived in the forest. 
There are numerous mediseval legends which reproduce 
this circumstance of the young hero abandoned in the 
forest and nourished now by a goat, now by a hind, the 
same which afterwards serves as a guide to the royal 
father in recovering the prince his son, or to the prince- 
husband in recovering the abandoned princess his bride. 
It was probably by some such reminiscence of the 
mythical nourishing hind that, as I read in Du Cange,^ 
silver images of stags (cervi argentei) were placed in 
ancient Christian baptistries. 

Among the customs of the primitive Christians con- 
demned by St Augustine, St Maximus of Turin, and 
other sacred writers, was that of disguising one's self on 
the 1st of January as a hind or an old woman. The 
old woman and the hind here evidently represent the 
witch or ugly woman of winter ; and inasmuch as the 
winter is, like the night, under the moon s influence, 



1 Du Cange adds : " Quoad baptismam, quomodo cervus ad fontes 
aquarum, summo desiderium perveniendum esse monstraretur.*' 



THE DEMONIACAL HIND, 89 

the disguise of a hind was another way of representing 
the moon. When the moon or the sun shines, the hind 
is luminous and generally propitious, the wild goat is 
beneficent (the wild goat, the deer, and the stag are the 
same in the mjd^hs ; the same word, mrigas, serves in 
India to express the constellation of the gazelle and that 
of the Capricorn or wild goat), and hunts the wolves 
away from the sleeping hero in the forest/ When the 
sky is dark, the hind, from being luminous, has become 
black, and, as such, is the most sinister of omens ; some- 
times, in the midst of the night or of the winter, the 
beautiful luminous hind, or moon, or sun, disappears, 
and the black monster of night or of winter remains 
alone. In the ninth story of the Pentamerone, the 
Huo'rco (the rakshas or monster) transforms himself into 
a beautiful hind to allure the young Canneloro^ who 
pursues it in the hope of securing it. But it decoys 
him into the midst of the forest (of winter), where it 
causes so much snow to fall, "che pareva che lo cielo 
cadesse" (the white hind into which the witch trans- 
forms the beautiful maiden, in the story of Madame 
d'Aulnoy, would seem to have the same meaning) ; 
then the hind becomes a monster again in order to 
devour the hero. The period in which the moon is 
hidden or on the wane, in which the night is dark, was 
considered ill-omend by the ancient Hindoos, who held, 
on the other hand, that the time of full moon, or at 
least of the crescent moon, was propitious. Our country- 
people have preserved several superstitions relative to 
a similar belief. In a Eutenian legend, published by 
Novosielski, the evening star (Lithuanian, vakerinne; 
Slavonic, vecernitza, the evening aurora) prays its friend 



^ Cfr. Porchat, Contes Merveilleux, xiii. 



90 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

Lunus (the moon is masculine in Slavonic as in Sanskrit) 
to wait a little before rising, that they may rise together, 
and adds, "We shall illumine together sky and earth: 
the animals will be glad in the fields, and the traveller 
will bless us on his way." 



CHAPTER X. 

THE ELEPHANT. 

SUMMARY. 

The myth of the elephant is entirely Indian. — The Marutas as elephants ; 
Indras as an elephant. — The elephant ridden by Indras and 
Agnis. — The four elephants that support the world. — Airavanas 
and Airavatas. — The elephant becomes diabolical. — Nigas and 
nagas ; Qringm. — The monkeys fight against the elephants. — The 
elephant in the marsh. — The elephant and the tortoise ; war be- 
tween them. — The eagle, the elephant, and the tortoise. — The 
bird, the fly, and the frog lure the elephant to his death. — Hermit 
dwarfs. — Indras and his elephant fall together. 

The whole mythical history of the elephant is confined 
to India. The strength of his proboscis and tusks, his 
extraordinary size, the ease with which he carries heavy 
burdens, his great fecundity in the season of loves, all con- 
tributed to his mythical importance, and to his fame as a 
great ravager of the celestial gloomy or cloudy forest, as 
an Atlas, a supporter of worlds, and the steed of the 
pluvial god. 

The elephant has a place even in the Vedic heavens. 

The Marutas, drawn by antelopes, are compared to 
wild elephants that level forests ; ^ the horns of the ante- 
lopes, the tusks of the wild boar, the trunk and tusks of 



^ Mrigi iva hastinah kh^dathi vani yad irunishu tavishir ayugdh- 
vam ; I}igv, i. 64, 7. 



92 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the elephant, are of equivalent significance, and are seen 
in the solar rays, in lightnings and thunderbolts. The 
pluvial and thundering god Indras is compared to a wild 
elephant that expends his strength^ — to a wild elephant 
that, in the season of loves, is, on all hands, in a constant 
state of feverish agitation.^ The god Agnis is invoked to 
come forth like a formidable king upon an elephant.^ 

The elephant generally represents the sun as it shuts 
itself up in the cloud or the darkness, or comes out of it, 
shooting forth rays of light or flashes of lightning (which 
were also supposed to be caused by the friction on the 
axle of the wheel of the sun's chariot). The sun, in the 
four seasons, visits the four quarters of the earth, east and 
west, south and north; hence, perhaps, the Hindoo concep- 
tion of four elephants that support the four corners of the 
earth.* Indras, the pluvial god, rides upon an enormous 

A A 

elephant, Airavatas or Aii*avanas, the cloud or darkness 
itself, with its luminous eruptions ; 4iravatam and ^iravati 
are also appellations of the lightning. The elephant Aira- 
vanas or Airavatas is one of the first of the progeny of the 
heavens, begotten of the agitation of the celestial ocean. 

It plays a prominent part in the battles of Indras 
against the monsters ; hence Eivanas, the monster king 
of Lanka, stiU bears the scars of the wounds given him 
by the elephant Airavatas, in the war between the gods 
and the demons/ although this same EAvanas boasts of 
having one day defeated Indras, who rode upon the 
elephant Airavanas.^ 

But the mythical elephant did not always preserve 
the character of an animal beloved of the gods ; after 

^ Mrigo na hasti tavishim ushanah ; Rigv. iv. 16, 14. 

^ Dana mrigo na varanah purutrtl (^aratham dadhe; Rigv, viiL 33, 8. 

3 Yahi ri^ev^mavan ibhena; JRigv. iv. 4, 1, 

4 R&mdy:i. 42. ^ iii. 35. c iii. 47. 



THE ELEPHANT IN THE WATERS, 93 

other animals were admitted into special favour, it too 
assumed, in time, a monstrous aspect. The sun hides 
itself in the cloud, in the cloudy or nocturnal moun- 
tain, in the ocean of night, in the autumn or the snowy 
winter. Hence we have the white elephant (Dhavalas), 
the malignant killer of wise men (rishayas, the solar rays) ; 
the wind, father of Hanumant, in the form of a monkey, 
lacerates him with his claws, and tears out his tusks ; 
the elephant falls like a mountain^ (the mountain of 
snow, or white cloud, dissolve themselves ; this white 
elephant and the white mountain, or Dhavalagiris, are 
the same; the equivoque easily arose between n^gas, 
elephant, and nagas, mountain and tree ; the word 
cringin, properly horned, means tree, mountain, and 
elephant; the wind breaks through and disperses the 
cloud, and pushes forward the avalanches of snow). Thus 
it is said that the monkey Sann&danas was one day 
victorious over the elephant Airavatas.^ (The northern 
path of the moon is called £liravatapath4.) 

We have already seen the elephant that crushes the 
hares under his feet on the shores of the moon-lake, and 
disturbs with his trunk the waters of this lake. In the 
Rdmdyanam^^ Bharatas considers it as of a sinister omen 
his having dreamed of a great elephant fallen into marshy 
ground. The sun plunges into the ocean of night, and 
of the autumnal rains. 

The elephant near or in the waters is mythically equiva- 
lent to the lunar and solar tortoise that dwells on the shores 
of the lake and sea, or at the bottom of the sea. In the 
Hindoo cosmogony, it is now the elephant and now the 
tortoise that supports the weight of the world. For this 
reason there is rivalry between these two mythical animals, 

^ Edmdy. V. 3. ^ y\. ^, a ii 71. 



94 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



Therefore tlie eagle, or king of birds, or the bird 
Garudas, the solar bird, is represented as a mortal enemy 
now of the serpent, now of the elephant (the word nAga8 
means equally serpent and elephant; Airavatas is also 
the name of a monstrous serpent), and now of the tortoise. 
In the Rdmdyanam,^ the bird Garudas carries into the 
air an elephant and a tortoise (the relative occidental 
fables are evidently of Hindoo origin), in order to eat 
them. The same legend is developed in the Mahdbhdra- 
tam,^ where two brothers dispute with each other about 
the division of their goods, each curses the other, and 
they become, the one a colossal elephant, and the other a 
colossal tortoise, and, as such, continue to fight fiercely 
against each other in a lake, until the gigantic bird 
Garudas (the new sun), takes them both and carries them 
to the summit of a mountain. 

In the fifteenth story of the first book of the Panca- 
tantram, we find birds represented as enemies of the 
elephant, on account of the ravages it commits, where 
the bird, the fly, and the frog work the ruin of the 
elephant ; the fly enters into one of the elephant's ears ; 
the bird pecks at its eyes, and blinds it ; the frog croaks 
on the banks of a deep pool ; the elephant, impelled by 
thirst, comes to the pool and is drowned. 

The Vedic elephant has a divine nature, being con- 
nected with the pluvial Indras ; but when Indrasiell, to 
give place to Brahman, Vishnus, and Qivas, his elephant 
was also fated to become the prey of the bird of Vishnus, 
of the bird Garudas (or the sun). In the fable of the 
Pancatantram quoted above, the elephant brings upon 
its head the vengeance of the sparrow, because it had 
rooted up a tree upon which the sparrow had made its nest 

1 iii. 39. 2 I 1353^ ^^^^ 



INDRAS AND THE ELEPHANT. 95 

and laid its eggs, which were broken in consequence. 
The Vishnuitic legend of the Mahdhhdratam relating to 
the bird Garudas, which carries the elephant into the air, 
offers several other analogous and interesting particulars. 
The bird Garudas flies away with the elephant and the 
tortoise ; on the way, being tired, it rests upon the huge 
bough of a tree ; the bough breaks under the enormous 
weight. From this bough are suspended, with their 
heads down, in penitence, several dwarf hermits, born of 
the hairs of Brahman ; then the bird Garudas takes in its 
beak the whole bough, with the little hermits, and carries 
them up in the air till they succeed in escaping. These 
hermit dwarfs upon the branch (who remind us of the 
ants), had one day cursed Indras. Kayyapas Pragapatis, 
wishing one day to make a sacrifice in order to obtain 
the favour of a son, orders the gods to provide him with 
wood. Indras, like the four elephants who support 
the world, places upon his shoulders a whole moun- 
tain of wood. Laden with this weight, he meets on the 
way the hermit dwarfs, who were carrying a leaf in a 
car, and were in danger of being drowned in a pool of 
water, the size of the foot-print of a cow. Indras, instead 
of coming to their assistance, smUes and passes by ; the 
hermit dwarfs, in indignation, pray for the birth of a new 
Indras ; on this account the Indras of birds was born — 
the bird of Garudas, the steed of Vishnus, which naturally 
makes war against the steed of Indras, the elephant. 



CHAPTER XL 

THE MONKEY AND THE BEAU. 
SUMMARY. 

Monkey and bear are already associated together in India ; Gambavant 
is a great monkey and the king of the bears. — Haris, kapis, 
kapili, kapidhva^as ; rikshas, arkas, ursns, arktos, rakshas ; the 
Great Bear ; rishayas, harayas. — The Manitas as rivals of Indras ; 
Vishnus as Indras' rival ; the monkeys allied to Vishnus ; the 
Vedic monster monkey killed by Indras ; Haris or Vishnus. — 
Hari mother of monkeys and horses. — Bilin, king of the monkeys, 
son of Indras, defeated by his brother Sugrivas, son of the sun. — 
Hanumant in opposition to Indras ; Hanumant son of the wind ; 
Hanumant as the brother of Sugrivas ; Hanumant is the strong 
brother or companion. — Hanumant flies; he presses the mountain 
and makes the waters come out of it ; he draws the clouds after 
himself. — The epic monkeys and the Marutas. — The monkey and 
the water. — The monkeys and the salutary herbs. — The sea- 
monster draws to itself the shadow of Hanumant and swallows 
him ; Hanumant comes out of the monster's body safe and sound ; 
the mountain Hiranyanabhas. — Hanumant makes himself as small 
as a cat in order to search for Sita ; Hanumant proves his power 
to Situ by making himself as large as a cloud or a mountain ; he 
massacres the monsters with a pillar; Dadhyan6, Hanumant, 
Samson ; Hanumant bound ; he sets fire to Lanki with his tail, — 
The monkey sacrificed to cure the burns of horses. — Siti has a 
weakness for Hanumant. — Dvividas a monster monkey. — The 
monkey destroys the sparrow's nest. — The monkey draws a king 
into the jaws of an aquatic monster. — The demoniacal monkey ; 
monkey and fox. — The monkey deceiver. — Sinister omens of the 
monkey. — The monkey envies thefox's tail. — The stupid monkey. 
— The bear of the Marutas. — Tri^aiikus with the skin of a bear ; 
the seven rishayas. — Kiksharfigas ; the moon as a reputed father. — 



MONKE Y AND BEAR. 97 

Bears and monkeys in the forest of honey; Balar^mas ; medvjed ; 
the bear and the honey ; Italian proverbs ; the bear and the 
peasant ; the deceived bear ; the vengeance of the bear ; the bear 
in the sack \ the demoniacal bear ; the bear and the fox ; the 
monkey and the woodcutter ; the bear and the trunk of a tree ; 
the peasant and the gentleman ; the death of the athlete Mil6n ; 
the bear entangled in the waggon that had fallen into the cistern. — 
The king bear, monster of the fountain ; sons sacrificed to the 
bear by their father ; the young men flee from the bear ; the 
sleep of the bear. — The bear's cub. — The bear and women, — The 
hero-bear \ the heroine she-bear. — The virgin she-bears. — Ursukj 
rikshik^. — Tvanko Medviedko. — Kalistos. — The bear as a musi- 
cian. — The quartette of animals. — Bear and monkey. — Bear and 
ass. — The monkey as a messenger, an intermediate form. 

I HERE unite under one heading two animals of very- 
diverse nature and race, but which, from some gross 
resemblances, probably helped by an equivoque in the 
language, are closely affiliated in the Hindoo myth. I say 
Hindoo in particular, because the monkey, which is so 
common in India, was long unknown to many of the 
Indo-European nations in their scattered abodes, so that 
if they had some dim reminiscence of it as connected 
with that part of Asia where the Aryan mythology took 
its rise, they soon forgot it when they no longer had 
under their eyes the animal itself which had suggested 
the primitive mythical form. But as they held tena- 
ciously by the substance of the mj^h, they by and by 
substituted for the original mythical animal, called 
monkey, in the south the ass, and in the north often the 
bear. Even in India, where the pre-eminent quality of 
the monkey was cunning, we already find monkeys 
and bears associated together, A reddish colour of the 
skin, want of symmetry and ungainliness of form, 
strength in hugging with the fore paws or arms, the 
faculty of climbing, shortness of tail, sensuality, capacity 
for instruction in dancing and in music, are all char- 

VOL. II. G 



98 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

acteristics wliicli more or less distinguish and meet in 
bears as well as in monkeys. 

In the Rdmdyanam, the wise Gambavant, the Odysseus 
of the expedition of Lank^, is called now king of the bears 
(rikshap^rthivah)/ now great monkey (mah^kapih).^ 

The word liaris means fair, golden, reddish, sun, and 
monkey ; the word hapis (probably, the changeful one) 
means monkey and sun. In Sanskrit, the vidyut or 
thunderbolt,' the reddish thunderbolt, of the colour of a 
monkey, is also called kapild. Ar^unas, the son of 
Indras, has for insignia the sun or a monkey, whence his 
name of Kapidhva^as. 

Professor Kuhn also supposes that the word rikshas, 
which means bear and star, is derived from the root arc 
in. the sense of to shine {arhas is the sun), on account of 
the reddish colour of the bear's skin.^ But riJcshas (like 
ursus and arktos) may also be derived from rakshas, the 
monster (perhaps as a keeper back, a constrictor, arctor) ; 
so that the very word which names it supplies the point 
of transition from the idea of the divine bear to that of 
the monster bear. 

In the Iligvedas, the Marutas are represented as the 
most powerful assistants of Indras ; but a Vedic hymn 



1 Edmdi/. iv. 63. 2 V. 55. 

3 For the connection between the seven rikshas (rishayaSj wise men, 
stars, or bears) of the Hindoos and the septemtriones, the seven stars 
of the she-bear (Arktos, Arkturus), and the Arctic regions, cfr. the 
interesting discussion of Professor Max Miiller, in the second series of 
his Lectures. — The seven rishayas are the same as the seven Aiigirasas, 
the seven harayas, and the Marutas, who are seven (multiplied by 
three, that is, twenty-one). In the Marutas, as harayas, we have the 
monkeys. Even the wife of the king of the monkeys is named Tara, 
or, properly, the star. Thus there seems to exist between the monkey 
and the star the same relation as between the bear and the star, a new 
argument to vindicate the identity of the two animals in mythology. 



THE WORD HARIS. 99 

already shows them in the light of Indras' rivals. The 
god Vishnus in the Rigvedas is usually a sympathetic 
form of Indras ; but in some hymns he already appears 
as his antagonist. In the preceding chapter we spoke of 
the Vishnuitic bird, of the wind, father of Hanumant, 
and of a monkey, as enemies of Indras' elephant. In 
Hindoo epic tradition, Vishnus^ personified in E4mas, 
has the monkeys for his allies. The most luminous and 
effulgent form of the god is very distinct from his occult 
and mysterious appearances. Vishnus, the sun, the 
solar rays, the moon and the winds that lighten, are an 
army of golden monkeys to fight the monster. For the 
same reason the monkey, on the contrary, has in the 
Rigvedas a monstrous form ; that which was diabolical 
becomes divine in the lapse of time, and similarly that 
which was divine, diabolical. In the eighty-sixth hymn 
of the tenth book of the Rigvedas, Vishnus, personified in 
Kapis (monkey), or Vrishakapis (monkey that pours out, 
j)luvial monkey), comes to destroy the sacrifical offerings 
loved by Indras. Indras, being superior to all, cuts off 
his head, as he wishes not to be indulgent to an evil- 
doer/ This monkey is probably the pluvial, reddish 
lightning cloud carried by the wind, Avhich Indras 
pierces through with his thunderbolt, although these 
same lightning and thundering clouds, carried by the 
winds or Marutas (i.e., the Marutas themselves), are 
usually represented in the Rigvedas as assisting the 
supreme deity. A difference having arisen between 
Vishnus and Indras, and between the Marutas and 
Indras, the Marutas took Vishnus' part, and became 
monkeys like Vishnus, — the word haris, which is a 



^ Priya tashtani me kapir vyakta vy adiidushat ^iro nv asya ravisham 
na sugarii dushkrite bhuvam vigvasmad indra uttarah ; str. 5. 



100 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

favourite name of Vishnus (now moon, now sun), meaning 
also monkey, Vishnus surrounds himself with fair, red- 
dish, or golden monkeys, or with harayas (solar rays or 
lightning, thunder-striking and thundering clouds), in 
the same way as the Vedic Indras was drawn by harayas. 
E^mas hapiraihas is simply an incarnation of Vishnus, 
who usurps the rights qf Indras, which last, as we have 
seen, had lent his harayas to Vishnus, in order that he 
might take his three famous steps. Evidently Vishnus 
forgot to return the fair-haired ones to his friend ; hence 
from this time the strength of Indras passes almost 
entirely into Vishnus, who, in the form of E^mas, helped 
by the harayas or red-haired ones, ^.e., by the monkeys, 
moves across the Dekhan (a region densely inhabited by 
monkeys) to the conquest of the isle of Lanka. The 
Mahdbhdratam informs us that monkeys and horses had 
Harl for their mother.^ The splendid Marutas form the 
army of Indras, the red-haired monkeys and bears that 
of Eamas ; and the mythical and solar nature of the 
monkeys and bears of the Rdmdyanam manifests itself 
several times. The king of the monkeys is a sun-god. 
The ancient king was named Bilin, and was the son of 
Indras (Qakraslanus). His young brother, Sugrlvas, he 
who changes his shape at pleasure (k^marlipas), who, 
helped by Eamas, usurped his throne, is said to be own 
child of the sun (bh4skarasy4urasah putrahsliryanan- 
danah).^ Here it is evident that the Vedic antagonism 
between Indras and Vishnus is reproduced in a zoological 
and entirely apish form. The old Zeus must give way 
to the new, the moon to the sun, the evening to the 
morning sun, the sun of winter to that of spring ; the 
young sun betrays and overthrows the old one. We 

^ i. 2628. 2 iii, 75^ 



INDRAS AND THE MONKEYS, loi 

have already seen that the legend of the two brothers, 
B41in and Sugrlvas, is one of the forms which the myth 
of the Agvin^u assumes. E'4mas, who treacherously kills 
the old king of the monkeys, B41in, is the equivalent of 
Vishnus, who hurls his predecessor, Indras, from his 
throne ; and Sugrlvas, the new king of the monkeys, 
resembles Indras when he promises to find the ravished 
Stt4, in the same way as Vishnus, in one of his incarna- 
tions, finds again the lost Ved4s. And there are other 
indications in the Rdmdyanam ^ of opposition between 
Indras and the monkeys who assist E^mas. The great 
monkey Hanumant, of the reddish colour of gold (hema- 
pingalah), has his jaw broken, Indras having struck him 
with his thunderbolt, and caused him to faU upon a moun- 
tain, because, while yet a child, he threw himself off a 
mountain into the air in order to arrest the course of the 
sun, whose rays had no eff"ect upon him,^ (The cloud 
rises from the mountain and hides the sun, which is 
unable of itself to disperse it ; the tempest comes, and 
brings flashes of lightning and thunderbolts, which tear 
the cloud in pieces.) 

The whole legend of the monkey Hanumant repre- 
sents the sun entering into the cloud or darkness, and 
coming out of it. His father is said to be now the 
wind, now the elephant of the monkeys^ (kapikun^aras), 
now kejarin, the long-haired sun, the sun with a mane, 
the lion sun (whence his name of kefarinah putrah). 
Erom this point of view, Hanumant would seem to 
be the brother of Sugrivas, who is also the offspring of 
the sun, the strong brother in the legend of the two 
brothers connected with that of the three ; that is to say, 
we should have now B41in, Hanumant, and Sumivas 



o* 



1 iv. 5. 2 y^ 2, vii. 39. ^ y_ 3 



102 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

brothers, now R^mas, Hanumant, and Lakshamanas. 
The strong brother is between the other two ; the sun in 
the cloud, in the darkness or in the winter, is placed 
between the evening sun and that of morning, or be- 
tween the dying sun of autumn and the new one of 
spring. 

Hanumant fli-es (like the ass) ; his powers of flight are 
seated in his sides and his hips, which serve him for 
wings. Hanumant ascends to the summit of Mount 
Mahendras, in order to throw himself into the air; 
whilst he presses the mountain (a real vrishakapis), he 
makes the waters gush out of it ; when he moves, the 
trees of the mountain-forest are torn up by their roots, 
and follow him in the current made by him as he cuts 
his way through the air (here we meet once more with 
the mythical forest, the mythical tree that moves of itself 
like a cloud). The wind in his armpits roars like a 
cloud (^imlita rva gar^ati), and the shadow that he 
leaves behind him in the air resembles a line of clouds 
(meghar^^lva viyuputr^nug^mini) ;^ he draws the clouds 
after him.^ Thus all the epic monkeys of the Rdmd- 
yanam are described in the twentieth canto of the first 
book by expressions which very closely resemble those 
applied in the Vedic hymns to the Marutas, as swift 
as the tempestuous wind (v4yuvegasam^s) , changing 
their shape at pleasure (kamarlipinas), making a noise 
like clouds, sounding like thunder, battling, hurling 
mountain-peakSj shaking great uprooted trees, armed 
with claws and teeth, shaking the mountains, uprooting 
trees, stirring up the deep waters, crushing the earth 
with their arms, lifting themselves into the air, making 
the clouds fall. Thus B^lin, the king of the monkeys, 

1 Edmdi/. V. 4, V. 5. 2 y^ 55^ 



THE FLYING MONKEY. 103 

comes out of the cavern, as the sun out of the cloud 
(toyad^diva bh^skarah)/ 

In the same "v\^ay as we have seen the harayas, or horses 
of Indras, the gandharv^s, and the mythical ass in con- 
nection with the salutary waters, with the herbs, and 
with the perfumes, so in the Rdmdyanam it is the 
monkeys that carry the herbs and the salutary roots of 
the mountain, that is, of the cloud-mountain or of the 
mountain of perfumes. 

The cloud in which the sun Hanumant travels through 
the air throws a shadow upon the sea ; a sea-monster per- 
ceives this shadow, and by it attracts Hanumant to him- 
self. (We have already seen the fearless hero who is 
misled by his own shadow and lost.) Hanumant is 
k^marupas, like Sugrlvas, and like all the other monkeys, 
his companions. When he sees that the monster is about 
to swallow him, he distends and expands his figure out of 
all measure ; the ogress assumes the same gigantic pro- 
portions ; when she does so, Hanumant (repeating the 
miracle of his type Haris, or the dwarf Vishnus), becomes 
as small as a man's thumb, enters into the vast body of 
the monster, and comes out on the other side.) Hanu- 
mant continues to fly across the ocean, in order to arrive 



^ Rdmdy. iv. 12, v. 6. — The monkey on the sea is also to be found 
in a Greek apologue, but the subject is somewhat different. A monkey, 
which during a tempest had been washed from a ship, and tossed 
about upon the stormy waves under the promontory of Attica, is 
mistaken by a dolphin for a man ; the dolphin, having great affection 
for the race to which he presumed he belonged, takes him up and 
carries him towards the shore. But before letting him touch firm 
ground, he asks him whether he is an Athenian ; the monkey answers 
that he is of illustrious birth • the dolphin asks if he knows the 
Piraeus ; the monkey, thinking that it is a man's name, answers that 
he is a great friend of his; upon which the dolphin, indignant at 
having been deceived, lets the monkey fall again into the sea. 



104 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

at tlie island of Laiik^. The ocean takes pity upon him, 
and, to help him, raises up Mount Hiranyanabhas, ^.e,, of 
the golden navel, the mountain whence the sun comes out ; 
indeed, Hanumant says^ that he struck the mountain 
with his tail, and broke its summit, that shone like the 
sun, in order to rest upon it. Hanumant then recommences 
his flight, and finds a new obstacle in the marine monster 
Sinhik4 (the mother of E4hus, the eclipse with a ser- 
pent s tail, which devours now the sun, now the moon). 
She also draws to herself the shadow of Hanumant; 
Hanumant, resorting once more to his former stratagem, 
becomes small, and enters into her body ; but he is no 
sooner inside than he increases in bulk, swells out, tears 
her, kills her, and escapes, a feat for which he receives 
the homage of the birds, who will thenceforth be able to 
cross the ocean with impunity.^ When he arrives in 
Lank4, Hanumant, that he may search for and find Slta by 
moonlight, becomes as small as a cat (vrishadaiigapram^- 
nas) ; when he finds her, and ofi'ers to carry her away 
from Lanka, she cannot believe that so small an animal 
is able to accomplish so great an enterprise ; then Hanu- 
mant makes himself as tall as a black cloud, as a high 
mountain ; he breaks down the whole forest of agokas, 
mounts upon a temple that stands on a thousand columns, 
claps his hands, and fills all Lank4 with the din ; he 
tears from the temple a pillar adorned with gold, and, 
swinging it around, devotes the monsters to wholesale 
slaughter.^ The mythical monkey and the mythical ass 
resemble each other; hence the analogy between the 
legend of Dadhyaiic (quoted in the second chapter), that 
of Samson, and that of Hanumant. But the legend of 
the monkey Hanumant presents another curious re- 

1 E6.m6.y, v. 56. * v. 8. 3 y, 37^ 



THE TAIL OF THE MONKEY, 105 

semblance to that of Samson. Hanumant is bound with 
cords by Indra^it, son of Eavanas ;^ he could easily free 
himself, but does not wish to do so. Eavanas, to put 
him to shame, orders his tail to be burned, because the 
tail is the part most prized by monkeys (kaplnirh kila 
Mngulam ishtam, whence the fable of the monkey who 
complains of having no tail). Hanumant 's tail is greased 
and set on fire, and himself thereafter marched in this 
plight ignominiously through the streets of Lank4. But 
Slt4 having invoked the favour of the god Agnis, the 
fire, though it plays round the tail of Hanumant, does 
not burn it, and Hanumant by this means is able to 
avenge himself for the insult, by setting fire to and burn- 
ing to ashes the city of Lanka. ^ (The tail of Hanumant, 
which sets fire to the city of the monsters, is probably a 
personification of the rays of the morning or spring sun, 
which sets fire to the eastern heavens, and destroys the 
abode of the nocturnal or winter monsters.) The enter- 
prise of the Marutas in the Rigvedas^ and that of the 
monkey Hanumant in the Rdmdyanam, assume such 
dimensions that they obscure the fame of both Indras 
and E^mas ; the former without the Marutas, the latter 
without Hanumant, would be unable to defeat the 
monsters. Sit^ perceives this so clearly, that, at the end 
of the poem, she makes Hanumant such a present that 
E^mas might well become jealous. Hanumant, however, 
is an honest and pious cavalier ; it suffices him to have 

1 Rdmd^j. V. 5Q. 

2 V. 50. — In the Pancatantram^ v. 10, it is said, on the contrary, 
that monkeys possess the virtue of healing the wounds of horses that 
have been scalded or burned, as the sun of morning chases the darkness 
away. According to a variety of this story contained in the Tuti- 
Name, i. 130, the bite of a monkey can be cured only by the blood of 
the very monkey who had inflicted it. 



io6 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

defended justice in the service of his master, nor does he 
ask to be recompensed for the hard achievement that he 
has accomplished. For the rest, a popular Hindoo 
sentence says that monkeys are not accustomed to weep 
for themselves ; ^ they weep (rodanti) for others. The 
same is true of the Rudr4s, or winds, that weep in the 
cloud ; they do not lament for themselves ; their tears 
fall upon the ground in beneficent rain that fertilises our 
fields and tempers the heat of our summers ; neverthe- 
less, they themselves afterwards feel, as solar rays, the 
benefit of weeping, that is, of rain. In the Rdmdyanam, 
monkeys who die in battle are resuscitated by rain; 
when the cloud dissolves itself in rain, the fair-haired, 
the golden ones, the harayas, the sunbeams or monkeys, 
show themselves again in all their vigour. 

We have seen thus far the cloud-monkey, from which 
the sun emerges, and into which he re-enters. But we 
have abeady said more than once that the sun often 
assumes a monstrous form, when enclosed in the cloud or 
the darkness. It is 'thus we explain the divine hero 
Balaramas, who, in the Vishnu P.,^ destroys the demon 
Dvividas, who had taken the form of a monkey. In the 
eighteenth story of the first book of the Pancatantram, 
a monkey, whilst the wind blows and the rain falls, 
shakes a tree upon which a sparrow has made its nest, 
and breaks the eggs in pieces. In the tenth story of the 
fifth book, the king of the monkeys, by means of a crown 
of pearls, attracts a king of men who had killed monkeys 
to cure his horses (to which the fire had been communi- 
cated by the wool of a ram which the cook had chased 
away from the kitchen with a burning brand) to a 



1 A^natakulagile 'pi prltiin kurvanti v^narah ^tm^rthe da na rodanti; 
Bohtlingk, iTidische Sprilche, 107. ^ y. 36. 



THE TAIL OF THE MONKEY. 107 

fountain guarded by a monster who devours the king and 
his suite. In the eleventh story of the same book, a 
monkey upon a tree is the friend of one of the two 
crepuscular monsters, and this monster invites it to eat 
the man ; the man, however, retaliates, and fiercely bites 
its long tail ; the monkey then believes this man to be 
stronger than the monster, and the latter believes the 
man who holds the monkey by the tail with his teeth to 
be the monster of the other twilight, i.e., the morning 
twilight. Here the monkey is confounded with the fox, 
which is a mythical animal of a specially crepuscular 
nature, and which also comes to ruin on account of its 
tail. The reader has already observed how the incen- 
diary monkey-tail of Hanumant corresponds to the tails of 
the foxes in the legend of Samson. The Hellenic and 
Latin proverbs generally regard the monkey as a very 
cunning animal, so much so that Hercules and the monkey 
represented the combination of streng'th and deceit. 
According to Cardano, a monkey seen in dreams is a pre- 
sage of deceit. According to Lucian, it was an augury 
-of an unlucky day to meet with a monkey in the early 
morning. The Spartans considered it an omen of most 
sinister import that the monkey of the king of theMolossians 
had upset their urn while they were going to consult the 
oracle. According to Suetonius, when Nero thought he 
saw his horse flee, having the shape of a monkey in his 
hind parts, he believed it to prognosticate death. The 
monkey, accordingly, was usually conceived of in Greece 
and at Eome as a cunning and demoniacal animal. The 
hero in the cloud, in the dark, or in hell, on the other 
hand, learns wisdom ; and just as before this he is 
only a poor fool, so the monkey, too, is also sometimes 
represented in the ancient fables of Southern Europe as 
an animal full of simplicity. In Italy we have a proverb 



io8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

wHcli says tliat every monkey thinks her young ones 
beautiful ; this refers to the apologue of the monkey 
that believes her young ones to be the most beautiful 
animals in the world, because Jove, seeing them one day 
leaping about, could not refrain from laughing. The 
fox, in an epigram, laughs at the monkey who craves 
from him the half of his tail, on the plea that it would 
disencumber himself of just so much useless appendage, 
and supjDly his suitor with the very covering required to 
protect his all too naked buttocks : — 

" Malo verrat humum quam sit tibi causa decoris, 
Quam tegat immundas res bene munda nates.'' 

In India the analogy between the monkey and the 
a^s, as a stupid animal, is of still more frequent occur- 
rence. In the Pancatantram, we have the monkeys who 
try to warm themselves by the light of the glowworm ; 
a monkey presuming to correct the handiwork of a 
carpenter, meets with its death by putting its hands into 
the cleft of a tree trunk, and heedlessly withdrawing 
the wedge that caused it. In the- Tvti-Name^ we find a 
variety of the story of the ass and the lyre, i.e., the wise 
S4z-Perd4z, who learns from the monkey, assisted by 
the wind, the way to form musical instruments. (The 
thundering cloud is the mythical musical instrument 
"par excellence; it is the wind that moves it, it is the 
wind that makes it sound : the hero in the cloud, gand- 
harvas, ass or monkey, is a musician.) 

The strong, powerful, and terrible bear of the Marutas,^ 
or winds, in the stormy, lightning and thundering cloud, 
is already mentioned in the Vedic hymn. So the con- 

1 i. 266. 

2 Ptiksho na vo marutali Qinuvaii aoio dadhxo gduriva bhimayuh _ 
Rigv. V. ^^y 3. 



7HE KING OF THE BEARS. 109 

stellation of the she-bear^ seems also to be referred to 
in them. In the RamAyanamf we find in connection 
with it the legend of King Trijankus, who, cm-sed by 
the sons of Vasishthas, becomes a candalas, covered with 
the skin of a bear (rikshacarmanivasi). Vigvamitras, the 
rival of Vasishthas, promises to introduce it into heaven, 
under cover of his own body ; but Indras scorns to admit 
itj and indignantly spurns it, hurling it down heels 
over head. Vi9v^mitras arrests it in its descent as it 
falls with its head downmost, within the constellation of 
the seven rishayas or wise men, that is to say, in the 
constellation of the Great Bear. And as the bear is in 
relation with the polar constellation, with the north, the 
frigid regions, the winter and the stars, so the moon, 
who rules particularly over the cold night in the icy 
season, is called in Sanskrit rikshardgas and rikshefas, 
or king of the luminous ones, king of the stars, king of 
the bears. The king of the bears also takes part in the 
expedition to Lanka. The king of the bears (here in re- 
lation to the moon) is the eunuch, the reputed, father, the 
St Joseph, of the king of the monkeys, Sugrlvas, who 
was, on the contrary, really generated in the bosom of the 
wife of the bear-king, by the magnanimous STm.^ Led 
on by the bear or monkey G4mbavant, the king of the 
bears (rikshap^rthivas), the monkeys enter into the forest 
of the honey (madhuvanam), guarded by the monkey 
Dadhimukhas (mouth of butter, generated by Somas, the 
ambrosial god Lunus),* and devastate and ransack the 
forest in order to suck its honey. ^ In the Vishnu P.,^ 
even Balar^mas, brother of the god Krishnas, makes 



^ Ami ya rikshU nihit^sa u66i, ; JRigv. i 24, 10. 

2 Mmdi/, I 60-62. s ^i 46_ 4 yi (5. 

s V. 59. 6 V. 25, 



no ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

himself drunk with the spirituous hquor contained in the 
fissure of a tree. 

The bear- eater of honey is an extremely popular sub- 
ject of Eussian tradition ; the very name of the bear, 
medv-jed, means in Eussian, " he who eats honey " {miod 
is honey, and iest to eat ; but the form medv [medu] is 
more perfectly equivalent to the Hindoo madhu = the 
sweet honey ambrosia ; the bear in the madhuvmiam 
corresponds entirely to the medvjed or bear who eats 
honey of the Eussians). In a Slavonic story referred to 
by Afanassieflf in the observations to the first book of 
the Eussian stories, the bear, deceived by the hare, is left 
shut up in the trunk of a tree. A peasant passes by; 
the bear begs him to deliver it from this trunk, promis- 
ing to show him a bee-hive, and beseeching him not to 
tell any one that a hare had deceived it. The peasant 
frees the bear ; the bear shows the bee-hive, the peasant 
takes the honey and goes home.-^ The bear goes and 

^ This story, with some variations, was already known in the six- 
teenth century: "Demetrius Moschovitarum legatus Eomam missus, 
teste Paulo Jovio (quoted by Aldrovandi), narravit proxiniis annis 
vicinise suae agricolam quserendi mellis causa in prsegrandem et cavam 
arborem superne desiliisse, eumque profundo mellis gurgite collo tenus 
fuisse immersum et biduo vitam solo melle sustinuisse, cum in ilU 
solitndine vox agricolse opem implorantis ad viatorum aures non per- 
veniret. Tandem hie, desperata salute, ursas beneficio extractus evasit, 
nam hujus fer^ ad mella edenda more humane in arboris civitatem se 
demittentis, pellem tergoris manibus comprehendit et inde ab ursa 
subito timore exterrita et retrocedente extractus fuit." — The bear is 
also celebrated in Kriloff's fables as an eater of honey. — In an apologue 
of Abstemius, the bear, when searching for honey, is stung by a bee ; 
he avenges himself by destroying the honeycombs, but the swarms of 
bees fly upon him, and sting and torment him on every side; the bear 
then complains that by not having known how to support a small evil 
he had drawn upon himself a very grave one. — The pears of the 
Italian proverb in connection with the bear also refer to hydromel or 
to honey. The Italian proverbs are as follows; " Dar le pere in 



THE BEAR AND THE HONEY, m 

listens at the door to overhear the conversation. The 
peasant narrates how he had procured the honey by 
means of a bear who, following a hare, had been caught 
in a tree. The bear determines to have its revenge. One 
day it finds the peasant in the field, and is about to fall 
upon and rend him/ when the fox makes its appearance, 
shakes its tail, and says to the peasant, " Man, thou hast 
ingenuity in thy head, and a stick in thy hand." The 
peasant immediately understands the stratagem. He 
begs the bear to let him perform his devotions first ; and 
off'ers, as a devotion, instead of doing penance, to carry 
the bear, shut up in a sack, three times round the field, 
after which the bear is to do with him whatever it likes. 

giiardia all' orso " (to give the pears to be guarded by the bear) ; " Chi 
divide la pera (or il miele) all' orso ne ha sempre men che parte " 
(he who divides the pear (or the honey) with the bear, always has 
less than a part, that is, the bear eats it all), and " L'orso sogna pere " 
(the bear dreams of pears). To catch the bear is the same as to be 
inebriated ; the bear, in fact, is, in the legends, often inebriated himself 
with honey, as the Vedic Indras with the ambrosia, and as Balar^mas in 
the spirituous liquor contained in the fissure of a tree {Yishnu-P. v. 25). 
The sun in the cloud or in the rainy or wintry season drinks more than 
necessary. Cfr. also Ealston, Songs of the Russian People, p. 182. 

^ In the fifteenth story of Afanassieff^ the bear revenges himself 
upon an old man who had cut off one of his paws with a hatchet ; the 
bear makes himself a paw from the wood of a linden-tree, takes the 
old man and the old woman by surprise in their house and devours 
them. In the nineteenth story of the fourth book, the bear allies 
himself with the fox lamed by the peasant, and Avith the gadfly that 
the peasant had placed behind thq straw, in order to revenge himself 
upon the peasant, who, promising to cover him with spots like the horse, 
had struck him here and there on the body with a red-hot axe, so that 
the bones were left bare. This fable is perhaps connected with the 
Hindoo superstition that the burns of a horse are cured by means of 
a monkey. As to the wooden paws, they are doubtless the branches 
of the cloudy or nocturnal forest. In the Edcla of Somund it is said 
that the Alfes are accustomed to call the trees the beautiful arms ; we 
already know the meaning of the boy with the golden hand. 



112 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

The bear, proud of being carried by the man/ enters into 
the sack ; the man binds it strongly, and then beats it so 
■with his stick that it dies. 

The bear, representing usually the luminous one in the 
darkness, has frequently in Slavonic tradition a demo- 
niacal character,^ or else that of a fool, like the ass. In 
the first of the Eussian stories, the fox terrifies the bear, 
and then delivers the peasant from it. (The peasant 
in popular rustic narratives is almost always a heroic 
personage, who becomes a wiseacre and a prince.) 
The peasant cheats his companion, the bear, twice : 
when they sow turnips together, the peasant reserves 
for himself whatever grows underground, and leaves to 
the bear whatever comes out of the earth and appears 
above ; when they sow wheat, the bear, thinking to be 
very knowing, takes for his own part what grows under, 
and gives to the peasant what grows above the ground. 
The peasant is about to be devoured by the bear, when 



1 In the tenth story of the third book of Afanassieff, Nadzei, the 
son of a virgin who is the daughter of a priest, makes himself formid- 
able by cutting down the forest and drawing, without assistance, out of 
the forest the bear that destroyed the cats. 

^ In a description of the last Sunday of the Roman carnival of the 
thirteenth century, in Du Cange, s. v. Garnelevarium, we read : " Occi- 
dunt ursum, occiditur diabolus, id est, temptator nostras carnis." — In 
Bohemia it is still the custom at the end of the carnival to bring the 
bear, — that is, a man disguised as a bear, with straw, who goes round 
to ask for beer (or hydromel, which takes the place of the mythical 
honey or ambrosia). The women take the straws to put them into 
the place where the hens lay their eggs, to make them lay better. In 
Suabia the straw bear is accused of having killed a blind cat, and 
therefore condemned, with all formality, to death, after having had, 
before his death, two priests to console him ; on Ash-Wednesday the 
bear is solemnly buried. — Cfr. Eeinsberg von DUringfeld, Das festliche 
Jahr. — The poet Hans Sachs, quoted by Simrock, covers with a bear's 
Bkin two old women who are to be presented to the devil. 



now THE BEAR DIES. 113 

the fox comes to the rescue/ In the JSrst story of the 
fourth book of Afanassieff, the fox goes to pass the 
winter in the bear's den, and devours all the provision of 
hens that the bear had laid up. The bear asks what it 
is eating, and the fox makes him believe that it is taking 
meat from its own forehead. The bear asks whether it is 
good, upon which the fox gives him some to taste ; the 
bear then tries also to take meat from his forehead, and 
dies ; thus the fox has enough to eat for a year. 

The romance of the fox also presents to us the fox in 
opposition to the bear, whom he induces to put his paws 
into the cleft of the trunk of a tree, as happened to the 
Hindoo monkey of the Pancatantram, In the Russian 
story, '^ instead of the fox, we have the peasant, and in- 
stead of the monkey and the bear, we have the gentleman 
(who in the poor man's eyes is often a personification of 
the demon) who is caught by his hands in the fissure of 
a tree. The peasant revenges himself in this way upon 
the gentleman who had, after having bought from others 
a little canary for fifteen roubles, refused to buy from 
him a large goose for a hundred roubles. The very 
strong athlete Mil6n of KJroton, who in one day used to 
eat an ox four years old, a legendary hero, is torn to 
pieces by wild beasts, having been caught by the hands 
in the crevice of a log which he was splitting. Animal 
and hero continually alternate in myths. In the fourth 
story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, the peasant meets 
with his death on account of the funereal and demoniacal 
storks and the bear. The peasant binds himself to his 
waggon in order not to fall off; the horse wishes to 



^ Cfr., moreover, Afanassieff, ii. 33. — In a popular Norwegian story, 
the fox makes the bear catch fish, with Ms tail, which is frozen in the 
water. 2 Afanassief, v. 2. 

VOL. n. H 



114 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

drink, and drags the waggon into a well. The bear, 
being pursued, passes by, falls unexpectedly into the 
well, becomes involved with the waggon, and, in order 
to extricate himself, is constrained to drag out waggon, 
peasant, and all. Soon afterwards the bear, in search of 
honey, climbs up a tree ; another peasant passes, sees the 
bear upon the tree, and wishing to secure the animal, 
cuts down the tree ; bear and waggon fall down, and the 
peasant is killed, whilst the bear releases itself and 
escapes. The bear which is looking for honey and the 
bear in the well remind us of the asimis in unguento, and 
of the ass in the roses : the ass v/ho is the friend of the 
gardener or of the priest of Flora and Pomona, in the 
fable of La Fontaine,^ has the same signification. In 
the twenty-eighth story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, 
King Bear lies hidden in a fountain (we have already 
seen the Hindoo monkey that draws a king into a foun- 
tain, into the monster's jaws) ; a king goes to hunt ; 
feeling thirsty, he wishes to drink at this fountain ; the 
bear clutches him by the beard, and only releases him on 
condition that he will give up in his stead whatever he 
has at home without knowing it (this is a variation of 
the story of Harijcandras). The king consents, and 
returning home, learns that twins, named Ivan and Maria, 
are born to him. To save them from the bear, their 
father has them lowered into a subterranean cavern, well 
furnished and very deep, which he supplies with abun- 
dant provisions. The twins grow up healthy and strong ; 
the king and queen die, and the bear comes to search for 
the twins. He finds in the royal palace a pair of scissors, 
and asks them Avhere the king's sons are ; the scissors 
answer, *' Throw me upon the ground in the courtyard ; 

1 viii. 10. 



THE MONSTER-BEAR. 115 

where I fall, there search." The scissors fall over the very 
place under which Ivan and Maria are concealed. The 
bear opens the ground with his paws, an,d is about to 
devour the young brother and sister ; they beg for their 
lives, and the bear spares them, at sight of the abundance 
of hens and geese provided for them. The bear then 
resolves to take them into his service ; they twice 
attempt in vain to escape, the first time with the help 
of a hawk, the second with that of an eagle: at last a 
bull succeeds in releasing them. Pursued by the bear, 
they throw down a comb, and an impenetrable forest 
springs up ; the bear lacerates and wounds himself all 
over in passing through. Ivan then spreads out a towel 
which makes a lake of fire ; at this sight the bear, who 
is afraid of being burned, who does not like heat, but, 
on the contrary, prefers cold, goes back. 

In the twenty-seventh story of the fifth book of 
Afanassieff, a demoniacal bear with iron hairs, devas- 
tates a whole kingdom, devouring all the inhabitants ; 
Ivan Tzarevic and Helena Prekrasnaia alone remain ; 
but the king has them placed with provisions upon a 
high pillar (a new form of Mount Hiraiiyanabhas, whence 
the sun issues forth, which comes up from the bottom of 
the sea, and upon which the great monkey Hanumant 
places himself. The bear is also found in connection 
with a gem in the Vishnu P}) In the Tuti-Name,^ the 
carpenter teaches two bears to take their food upon a 
statue which is a perfect image of his companion the 
miserly goldsmith, who had defrauded him of some 
money. By means of the bears, whom he represents as 
the two sons of the goldsmith who had run away from him, 
he terrifies him. The goldsmith, perceiving the carpen- 

1 iv. 13. 2 i. 6. 



it6 zoological MYTHOLOGY, 

ter's craftiness, gives him back his money). The famished 
bear approaches the pillar. Ivan throws him down some 
food ; the bear, after having eaten, goes to sleep. -^ While 
he sleeps, Ivan and Helena flee away upon a horse ; the 
bear awakes, overtakes them, brings them back to the 
pillar, and makes them throw him down some food, after 
which he again goes to sleep. The young brother and 
sister then try to escape upon the backs of geese ; the 
bear again wakens, overtakes them, burns the geese, and 
takes Ivan and Helena back to the pillar. Having a 
third time supplied the bear with food, it is again over- 
come by sleep ; this time the deliverer comes in the 
shape of a bull, who blinds the bear with his horns, and 
throws him into a stream, where he is drowned. In the 
same story, the demon, wishing to expose Ivan to certain 
death, sends him to search for the milk of a she-bear.^ 
The demon appears again in the form of a bear in the 
fiftieth story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, where the 
dog of a soldier rends him to pieces. But although the 
bear is demoniacal, the bear's cub, on the other hand, 
helps the hero.^ In the eleventh story of the sixth book 

1 Concerning the bear's sleep, it is interesting to read the curious 
information furnished by Aldrovandi {De Quadr. Dig. Yiv. i.) : "De- 
vorant etiam ursi ineunte hyeme radices nomine nobis adhuc ignotas, 
quibus per longum temporis spatium cibi cupiditas expletur et somnus 
conciliatur. Nam in Alpibus Helveticis aiunt, referente Gesnero, vacca- 
rum pastorem eminus vidisse ursum, qui radicem quemdam manibus 
propriis effossam edebat, et post ursi discessum, illuc se transtulisse ; 
radicemque illam degustasse, qui postmodum tanto somni desiderio 
affectus est, ut se continere non potuerit, quin in vii stratus somno 
frueretur." The bear, as a nocturnal and wintry animal, must of 
necessity conciliate sleep. 

2 Cfr. Afanassieffj vi. 5.— According to Hellenic tradition, Paris and 
Atalanta were nourished with the milk of a she-bear. 

3 Cfr. Afanassieff] v. 27, v. 28. — According to Cardano, to meet with 
a bear's cub just born indicated a change of fortune for the better. 



THE BEAR AND THE WOMAN, 117 



of Afanassieff, a woman who is gathering mushrooms 
loses herself and enters into the bear's den — the bear 
takes her to himself. We have already seen the bear 
that plays at blind-man's-buflf with the mouse, thinking 
that he is playing with the beautiful maiden. The wind 
Paidras and jEoIus, king of the winds, we have already 
seen, in the first chapter of this book, to be passionately 
fond of beautiful nymphs. In a Norwegian story 
(a variation of that of the White Cat), in Ashiornsen, 
the hero is disguised as a bear, and becomes a beautiful 
young man by night. His wife, by her indiscreet 
curiosity, i.e., because she had wished to see him by 
lamplight, loses him, and her place is taken by the 
long-nosed princess, until, with the help of a golden 
apple and a horse, she is able to find her husband again. 
In the sixth story of the second book of the Pentamerone, 
it is, on the other hand, the girl Pretiosa who, to escape 
the embraces of her father, goes into the forest disguised 
as a she-bear. A young prince, the son of the king of 
the water, becomes enamoured of her, and takes her to 
the palace. The prince becomes iU for love of the she- 
bear ; she assists him and cures him. While he is kissing 
her, she becomes a beautiful girl (''la chiti bella cosa de 
lo Munno"). We learn from two mediseval writings 
quoted by Du Cange {s.v, Ursus), that it was already the 
custom in the Middle Ages to lead the bear round to 
make him play indecent games ("Nee tiu:pia joca cum 
urso vel tornatricibus ante se facere permittat"), and 
that hairs of a bear stained in some ointment used to 
be sold, " Tamquam philacteria, ad depeUendos morbos, 
atque, adeo oculorum fascinos amoliendos." The Athe- 
nians called she-bears the virgins sacred to the chaste 
Artemis, the friend of closed places ; and to this, it 
would appear, must also be referred the interesting 



Ti8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

Christian legend of the virgin St Ursula/ whom Karl 
Simrock identifies with the demoniacal, funereal, somni- 
ferous, death-bringing Holda. Were this identification 
accepted, Ursula would be, moreover, in close ideal and 
etymological relation with the Vedic monster Rikshikl 

But to return to the Eussian story, the woman who 
enters into the bear's den unites herself with him, and 
subsequently gives birth to a son, who is a man down to 
the waist, and a bear from the waist downwards. His 
mother, therefore, names him Ivanko-Medviedko (Little 
.John, the son of the bear). This half- man half-bear be- 
comes a cunning animal, and cheats the devil, making 
him fight with the bear, and persuading him to think 
that the bear is his middle brother (that is, the strong 
brother). In a Danish tradition we read of a girl vio- 
lated by a bear, who gives birth afterwards to a monster. 
According to the Hellenic myth, the nymph Kalistos, 
daughter of King Lykaon, violated by Zeus, is changed 
by Juno or by Artemis into a she-bear, gives birth to 
Arkas, and, being killed with her son by shepherds, is 
converted into a star. 

The cunning bear appears again as a musician (like 
the ass) in the seventeenth story of the third book of 
Afanassieff, where he sings so well that he deceives the 
old shepherdess, and succeeds in carrying ojff her sheep. 
In a note to the ninth Esthonian story of Kreutzwald, 
Herr Lowe observes, that in the Northern languages, the 
god of thunder and the bear are synonymous. The bear, 
the monkey, the ass, and the bull (all of which are per- 
sonifications of the cloud), form a musical quartette in a 



^ Cfr. the work of Scliade, Die Sage von der Heiligen Ursula. 
She is also to be found among the Leggende del Secolo Decimoquarto, 
published at Florence by Signor Del Lungo (Barbera, publisher). 



THE MONKEY AS MESSENGER, 119 

fine fable of Kriloff. The bear is made to dance like the 
monkey/ the ass, and the gandharvas, his mythical 
equivalent. In the same way as the ass's skin chases 
away fear, the eye of a bear dried and hung upon a 
child's neck preserves from fear.^ In the legends of the 
saints, especially of the hermits, to whom the bear, 
inspired by God, often gives up his den in obedience to 
their commands, we read of St Maximin that he trans- 
formed a bear into an ass because he had eaten an ass 
that carried a load. 

In the nineteenth fable of the twelfth book of La 
Fontaine, the monkey appears as a messenger of Jove, 
with the caduceus, to 

" Partager un brin d'herbe entre quelques fourmis ; " 

while two enormous animals, the elephant and the 
rhinoceros, are contending for the superiority. The 
monkey, as Mercury, as an intermediate and mediating 
form between two heroic similar animals, comes near to 
the knowing fox, the reddish colour of which (as well as 
of the bear) it partakes of. It is no longer the pure fair 
sun of day, and it is not yet the black monster of night ; 
it is too black to be red, and too red to be black ; it has 



^ "... il parle, on I'entend, il sait danser, bailer 

Faire des tours de toute sorte 

Passer en des cerceaux." 

- — La Fontaine^ Fables, ix. 3. 
In La Fontaine, the monkey is again identified with the ass, as a 
judge on the tribunal between the wolf and the fox, and afterwards 
as dressed in the skin of the dead lion. In the fourth fable of the 
eleventh book, La Fontaine makes the monkey M.A. narrate the 
story of the asinus asinum fricat; in the second fable of the twelfth 
book the monkey scatters the miser's treasure, as in Hindoo tradition 
it spoils the sacrificial offerings. 

2 Cfr. Aldrovandi, De Quadr, Big. Yiv. 



120 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

all the cunning of the devils, and is acquainted with all 
the habits of the saints. The monkey, the imitator of 
man (a Darwinist would say his progenitor), partakes, 
like man, of the nature of the brutish demon and of the 
intelligent god. 



CHAPTER XIL 

THE FOX, THE JACKAL, AND THE WOLE. 

SUMMARY. 

Lop^gas, lopigiM. — The jackal takes in Hindoo tradition tlie place of the 
fox. — What the fox represents in mythology, and why the jackal is 
his mythical equivalent. — Double aspect of the mythical fox, in 
connection with the cock and in connection with the wolf, turned 
towards the day and towards the night, now friendly, now hostile 
to the hero. — The fox deceives all the other animals, in order to 
have all the prey to itself. — The fox is the monster's enemy. — The 
blue jackal. — The inquisitive jackal. — The avenging jackal. — The 
astute fox ; the woman more cunning than the fox. — The fox's 
skin. — The buttered tail of the jackal. — The fox eats the honey, 
the butter, or the cake belonging to the wolf, and then accuses 
him. — The fox sends the wolf to fish. — The fox eats the woman 
whom he had promised to bring to life. — The fox as a mourner. — 
The peasant ungrateful to the fox. — " Cauda de vulpe testa- 
tur." — The fox eats the bear, the bird feeds the fox, and after- 
wards draws it in among the dogs. — Former hospitality is to be 
forgotten. — The fox as the cat's wife. — The round cheese of the 
myth is the moon. — The fox steals the fishes. — The fox is of 
every profession. — The grateful fox enriches the poor hero. — 
King Fire and Queen Loszna.^ — The house of the fox and that of 
the hare. — The fox deceives the cock ; the cock deceives the fox. — 
The fox's tail in the beaks of the chickens. — The fox's malice ; 
the ideal of a prince according to Macchiavelli ; fox and serpent. 
— The fox cheats almost all the animals ; it does not, however, 
succeed in cheating the other foxes, and sometimes not even the 
lion. — The Catholic Church furnishes new types for the legend of 
the fox. — Union of the fox with the wolf. — Diverse nature of the 
wolf. — The red wolf. — The thieving wolf. — The wolf (or the devil) 
and the fishes ; the fish in shallow water. — The dog and the wolf. — 



122 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

The wolf as a shepherd. -^Wolf's belly.^The good wolf and the good 
maiden. — The son of the wolf understands the language of birds. 
— The she-wolf as a nurse ; she-wolves and strumpets. — Disguises 
in a wolf's skin. — Wolf-hunter — The wolf's shadow. — Wolves 
that chastise in the name of God ; sanctified wolves. — The dead 
wolf; the wolf's skin. — Diabolical wolves. — The white wolf. — 
Wulfesheofod.— Ysengrin. — The wolf sings psalms.- — The cunning 
of the wolf. — The wolf s tail. — The dwarf in the wolf's body; 
the dwarf in the wolfs sack. — The she-wolf at Rome. — Dante's 
she-wolf. 

The fox is scarcely spoken of once in the JRigvedas by 
the name of lop^jas (al6p^x), as penetrating to the old 
Western lion ; this word (like lopdkas, which is inter- 
preted in the Petropolitan Dictionary as "a kind of 
jackal") seems to mean properly '^ the destroyer" (ac- 
cording to Professor Weber, Aasfresser). The Sanskrit 
language also gives ns the diminutive lopdfiM, which is 
interpreted as the female of a jackal and as the fox 
(vulpecula). The legendary fox, however, is generally 
represented in Hindoo tradition by the jackal, or canis 
aureus (srigalas, kroshtar, gom4yus, as a shouter). The 
fox is the reddish mediatrix between the luminous day 
and the gloomy night : the crepuscular phenomenon of the 
heavens taking an animal form, no form seemed more 
adapted to the purpose than that of the fox or the jackal, 
on account of their colour and some of their cunning 
habits : the hour of twilight is the time of uncertainties 
and of deceits. Professor Weber^ supposes that all the 
cunning actions attributed to the jackal in Hindoo fables 
were taken on loan from the fox of Hellenic fables. We 
must certainly assign no undue importance to the ex- 
pressions vancakas and mrigadhurtaJcas (the cheater of 



^ Cfr. Ueher den Zusammenhang itidischer Faheln mit gnechischenf ( ^ 
Berlin, Diimmler, 1855. 



FOX AND JACKAL. 123 

animals), given in Hindoo lexicons to the jackal, inasmuch 
as these lexicons are not of very remote antiquity ; but 
at the same time we must confess, that the cunning of 
the fox has been exaggerated by popular superstition as 
much as the stupidity of the ass, for a mythical reason, 
and from tradition, far more than by the observation of 
exceptional habits in these animals, Avhich could easily 
be identified in mythology, in which, as I have already 
observed, some few gross and accidental similarities are 
enough to cause the same phenomena to be represented 
by animals of a very different genus. Thus the hairy 
reddish bodies of the bear and the monkey, and certain 
postures which they assume in common, are enough to 
make us understand how they are sometimes substituted 
for each other in legends ; for the same reason, to the 
monkey and to the bear are attributed some of the enter- 
prises for which the legendary fox is celebrated. How 
much greater, therefore, must have been the confusion 
which arose between the canis vulpes (the reddish fox) 
and the canis aureus (or jackal), animals which agree in 
showing themselves towards night, in feeding upon little 
animals, in having skins of the same colour, who have 
very bright eyes, and several other zoological charac- 
teristics in common ? 

The legendary fox (or the jackal, which is its mythical 
equivalent) has, like nearly all mythical figures, a double 
aspect. As it represents the evening, and as the sun is 
represented as a bird (the cock), the fox, the proverbial 
enemy of chickens, is, in the sky too, the robber and 
devourer of the cock, and as such the natural enemy o± 
the man or hero, who ends by showing himself to be 
more cunning than it is, and by effecting its ruin. The 
fox cheats the cock in the evening, and is cheated by the 
cock in the morning. It is therefore an animal of de- 



1 24 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOG Y. 

moniacal nature, when considered as tlie devourer or 
betrayer of the sun (cock, lion, or man), in the form of 
the red western sky, or of the evening aurora, and as 
being killed or put to flight by the sun itself (cock, lion, 
or man), in the form of the red eastern sky, or the morn- 
ing aurora/ We have already seen, in the first chapter 
of this work, the aurora both as a wise girl and a perverse 
one ; in its animal metamorphosis, the fox reproduces this 
aspect. But the aurora has not this mythical aspect 
alone. If, as she is turned towards or against the sun, 
she is supposed to be the killer of the luminous day in 
the evening, and to be chased away by the luminous day 
in the morning, she also, when considered as turning 
towards or against the night, assumes a heroic and 
sym.pathetic aspect, and becomes the friend and assister 
of the solar hero or animal against the wolf of the dark- 
ness of night. In these two mythical aspects is contained 
and explained all the essential legendary story of the fox, 
to narrate which, as far as it concerns Western tradition, 
volumes have already been written. I shall limit myself 
to culling and summarising from Oriental and Slavonic 
tradition their chief characteristics, in order to compare 
them briefly with the most generally known particulars 
of Western legendary lore ; as it seems to me that when 
I shall have shown the double nature of the fox in 
mythology, as representing the two auroras, when I shall 
have proved that the sun is personified now as a hero, 
now as a cock, and now as a lion, and the night as a 
wolf, it will be easy to refer to this interpretation the 

1 In a German tradition referred to by Schmidt, Forschungen, s. 
105, we have the deity who presents himself as a fox to the hunter 
voluntarily to be sacrificed ; the hunter flays him, and the flies and 
ants eat his flesh. In a Eussian story of which I shall give an abridg- 
ment, the wolf eats the fox when he sees it without its hairy covering. 



THE PERFIDIO US JA CKAL. 125 

immense variety of legendary subjects to which, on 
account of the smaller proportions to which I have 
been obliged to reduce this work, I shall be unable to 
allude. 

In the Mahdbhdratam^ a learned jackal, who has 
finished his studies, associates with the ichneumon, the 
mouse, the wolf, and the tiger, but only in order to cheat 
them all. He makes the tiger kill a gazelle, and then sends 
all the animals to bathe before eating it. Then, when 
the tiger returns, he makes him run after the mouse, by 
representing it as having boasted that it had killed the 
tiger ; he makes the mouse flee, persuading it that the 
ichneumon has bitten the gazelle, and that its flesh is 
therefore poisonous ; he makes the wolf take to its heels, 
by informing it that thq tiger is coming to devour it ; he 
makes the ichneumon glad to escape, by boasting that 
' he has vanquished the other three animals ; then the 
jackal eats the whole gazelle himself. In the Pancatan- 
tram,^ the jackal cheats, in a similar manner, the lion 
and the wolf out of their part of a camel; we have 
already seen how it cheated the lion out of the ass. In 
the twentieth Mongol story, the fox stirs up discord 
between the two brothers, bull and lion, who kill each 
other in consequence. 

In the Rdmdyanam,^ the jackal appears as the hero's 
friend, inasmuch as by howling, and vomiting flre, he is 
of sinister omen to the monster Kharas, who prepares to 
attack E^mas. In the Khorda-Avesta, a hero devoured 



^ i. 5566, et seq. 

2 i. 16, iv. 2 ; cfr. also iv. 10, and the chapter on the Hare. — In 
the story, iii. 14, of the FanSatantramy the jackal cheats the lion who 
has occuiDied his cave, by making him roar ; and thus assuring him- 
self that the lion is in the cave, he is able to escape. 

3 iii. 29. 



J2G ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

by Agra-Mainjni, the god of the monsters, is named 
Takhmo-urupis, or Takhma-urupa, which means strong 
fox. 

One of the most interesting fables, in a mythological 
point of view, is that of the jackal who, falling among 
pigments, comes out blue, or of opaline lustre, and passes 
himself off as a peacock of the sky. The animals make 
him their king, but he betrays himself by his voice : 
hearing other jackals howling, he howls also ; upon which 
the lion, the real king of the beasts, tears him to pieces.-^ 
This is a variety of the ass dressed in the lion's skin, but 
yet more so of the. crow that takes up and decks itself in 
the peacock's feathers ; the black night shines as an azure 
sky, as sahasr^kshas (an appellation of Indras and of the 
peacock, as having a thousand eyes or stars). The even- 
ing aurora, the fox, transforms itself into the azure sky 
of night, until at morn, the deceit being exposed, the ' 
lion (^.6., the sun) rends the fox, and disperses the night 
and the aurora. 

The Pancatmitram contains two other narratives re- 
lating to the legendary jackal^viz., the inquisitive and 
silly jackal, who, in an attempt to break the skin of a 
drum to see what is inside, breaks one of his teeth, and 
who, wishing to eat the string of a bow, has his mouth 
lacerated and dies ; ^ and the vile jackal who, brought up 
among the lion's cubs, reveals his vulpine nature when 
he should have thrown himself with the two lions, his 
adoptive brothers, upon the elephant, but, instead of that, 

^ Cfr. Pcnicatantram, i. 10; Tati-Name, ii. 146, 

2 i. 2, ii. 3. — In the nineteentli Mongol story, the young man who 
passes himself off as a hero is ordered to bring to the queen the skin 
of a certain fox which is indicated to him j on the way the youth loses 
his bow ; returning to look for it, he finds the fox dead close to the 
bow, which it had tried to bite, and which had struck and killed it. 



THE FOX AS FRIEND OF THE HERO. 127 

took to flight.-^ In the Tuti-Name^ the jackal desires 
to revenge himself upon the parrots, whom he judges 
indirectly implicated in the death of his young ones ; up 
comes the lynx, who is astounded that the jackal, 
celebrated for its craftiness, is unable to devise a way of 
ruining the parrots. At last the lynx advises him to pre- 
tend being lame, and let himself be followed by a hunter 
as far as the abode of the parrots, at which place he will 
be able to skulk away, and the hunter, seeing the parrots, 
will set his nets and catch them. 

In the Tuti-Name we also find several other parti- 
culars relating to the jackal, which will pass into the 
Russian stories of the fox. 

The jackal makes the woLf come out of his den, which 
the latter had taken possession of, by calling the shep- 
herd/ In another place, the cunning fox laughs at the 
stolid tiger, but the woman proves herself to be more 
cunning than the fox.^ It is also in the Tuti-Name^ 
that we read of a companion of the poor Abdul Me^id, 
enamoured of the king's daughter, who teaches him how 
to enrich himself, or rather to appear rich, in order to 
wed her. In a much more scientific and interesting 
variety of this legend, in the Eussian stories, it is, on the 
contrary, the fox who enriches the poor hero. The nine- 
teenth Mongol story, in which the false hero makes his 
fortune by means of the spoils of a certain designated 

1 iv. 4. 2 i. 134^ 135^ 

3 Tuti-Name, ii. 125. — In the stories of the same night (the twenty- 
second) of the Tiiti-Name, we have the lynx (lupus cervarius) who 
wishes to take the house of the monkey -who occupies the lion's house, 
and the jackal who runs after the camers testicles, as in the PaMatan- 
tram he runs after those of the bull. In the story, ii. 7, the fox lets 
his bone fall into the water in order to catch a fish (a variety of the 
well-known fable of the dog and of the wolf or devil as fisherman). 
* Tiiti-Kame, ii. 142, 143. ^ i. 1G8, ei scq. 



128 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOG K 

fox, is another intermediate form between the two tradi- 
tions, the Hindoo and the Eussian. 

The name of a jackal in the Pandatantram is Dadhi- 
pucchas, which means tail of butter, buttered tail (the 
aurora is ambrosial). 

In the first of the stories of Afanassieff, the fox eats 
the honey belonging to the wolf (which reminds one of 
the sentence of Plautus, " Ssepe condita luporum fiunt 
rapinse vulpium"^), and then accuses the wolf of having 
eaten it himself; the wolf proposes a sort of judgment 
of God; they are to go together to the sun, and he who 
pours out honey will be accounted guilty : they go and 
lie down ; the wolf falls asleep, and when the honey 
comes out of the fox, he pours it upon the wolf, who, 
when he awakes, confesses his fault. In the first story 
of the fourth book of Afanassieff, the cock and the hen 
bring ears of corn to the old man and poppies to the old 
woman ; the old couple make a cake of them and put it 
out to dry.^ Up come the fox and the wolf and take the 
cake, but finding that it is not yet dry, the fox proposes 
going to sleep whilst it is drying. While the wolf sleeps, 
the fox eats the honey that is in the cake, and puts dung 
in its place. The wolf awakens, and after him the fox 
too pretends to waken, and accuses the wolf of having 
touched the cake ; the wolf protests his innocence, and 
the fox proposes, as a judgment of God, that they shall 
go to sleep in the sunshine ; the wax will come out of 



^ Querolus, i. 2. 

2 In the eighteenth story of the fourth book of Afanassief, an 
extraordinary cake escapes from the house of an old man and woman, 
and wanders about ; it finds the hare, the wolf , and the bear, who all 
wish to eat it ; it sings its story to them all, and is allowed to go ; it 
sings it to the fox, too, but the latter praises the song, and eats the 
cake, after having made it get upon his back. 



THE FOX EA TS HONE Y AND B UTTER. 1 29 

him who has eaten the honey/ The wolf really goes to 
sleep, and the fox goes meanwhile to a neighbouring 
beehive, eats the honey, and throws the honeycombs 
upon the wolf, who, wakening from his slumbers, con- 
fesses his fault, and promises in reparation to give his 
share of the prey to the fox as soon as he procures any. 
In the continuation of the story, the fox sends the wolf to 
fish with his tail (the same as the bone of the dog) in the 
lake, and, after having made his tail freeze, feigns to be 
himself ill, and makes the wolf carry him, murmuring on 
the way the proverb, " He who is beaten carries him who 
is not beaten." In a variety of the same story, the fox eats 
the wolfs butter and flour ; in another, the fox pretends 
to be called during the night to act as the rabbit's mid- 
wife, and eats the wolf's butter, accusing him afterwards 
of having eaten it himself; in order to discover the 
guilty one, they resolve upon trying the judgment by 
fire, before which the two animals are to go to sleep, and 
the one from whose skin the butter shall come out, is 
to be accounted guilty; whilst the wolf is asleep and 
snoring, the fox upsets the rest of the butter over him. 
In the seventh story of the fourth book of Afanassieff, 
the fox promises to an old man to bring his wife to life 
again ; he requests him to warm a bath, to bring flour 
and honey, and then to stand at the door without ever 
turning round to look at the bath ; the old man does so, 
and the fox washes the old woman and then eats her, 
leaving nothing but the bones ; he then makes a cake of 
the flour and honey, and eats that too, after which he 
cries out to the old man to throw the door wide open, 

^ In Afanassieff, i. 14, tlie hero, Theodore, finds some wolves fight- 
ing among themselves for a bone, some bees fighting for the honey, 
and some shrimps fighting for caviare ; he makes a just division, and 
the grateful wolves, bees, and shrimps help him in need. 

VOL. II. I 



130 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

and escapes. In the first story of the first book, the old 
man whose wife is dead goes to look for mourners ; he 
finds the bear, who ofi'ers to do the weeping, but the old 
man thinks that he has not a sufficiently good voice ; 
going on, he meets the fox, who also offers to perform the 
same service, and gives a good proof of his skill in sing- 
ing (this particular would appear to be more applicable 
to the crying jackal than to the fox). The old man 
declares himself perfectly satisfied, and places the cunning 
beast at the foot of the corpse to sing a lament, whilst he 
himself goes to make the grave ; during the old man's 
absence, the fox eats everything he finds in the house, 
and the old woman too. In the ninth story of the 
fourth book the fable ends otherwise ; the fox does his 
duty as a weeper, and the old man rewards him by the 
gift of some chickens ; the fox, however, demanding 
more, the old man puts into a sack two dogs and a 
chicken, and gives it to the fox, who goes out and opens 
the sack. The dogs run out and pursue him ; he takes 
refuge in his den, but neglects to draw in his tail, which 
betrays him. " Cauda de vulpe testatur," said also the 
Latin proverb. In a variety of the first story of the first 
book, it is as a reward for having released the peasant from 
the bear that the fox receives a sack containing two hens 
and a dog. The dog pursues the fox, who takes to his hole, 
and then asks his feet what they have done ; they answer 
that they ran away ; he then asks his eyes and ears, which 
answer that they saw and heard; finally he asks his tail 
(here identified with the phallos), which, confused, answers 
that it put itself between his legs to make him fall. Then 
the fox, wishing to chastise his tail, puts it out of the 
hole ; the dog, by means of it, drags out the whole fox, 
and tears him to pieces. In the fourth story of the third 
book, the fox delivers the peasant from, not the bear, but 



THE VOICE OF THE FOX. 131 

the wolf ; the peasant then cheats him in the same way, 
by putting dogs into the sack ; the fox escapes, and to 
punish his tail for impeding his flight, leaves it in the dog's 
mouth, and runs off; afterwards the fox is drowned by 
falling into a barrel which is being filled with water (the 
deed of the phallos ; cfr. the chapter on the Fishes), and the 
peasant takes his skin. In another Eussian story, recorded 
by Afa.nassieff in the observations to the first book of 
his stories, the fox, having delivered the peasant from the 
bear, asks for his nose in way of recompense, but the 
peasant terrifies •him and puts him to flight. In a 
Slavonic story referred to in the same observations, the 
bird makes its nest, of which the fox covets the eggs ; 
the bird informs the dog, who pursues the fox ; the latter, 
betrayed by his tail, holds his usual monologue with his 
feet, eyes, ears, and tail. In the twenty-second story of 
the third book, the fox falls with the bear, the wolf, and 
the hare, into a ditch where there is no water. The four 
animals are oppressed by hunger, and the fox proposes 
that each should raise his voice in succession and 
shout his utmost ; he who shouts feeblest will be eaten 
by the others. The hare's turn comes first, then that of 
the wolf ; bear and fox alone remain. The fox advises 
the bear to put his paws upon his sides ; attempting to 
sing thus, he dies, and the fox eats him. Being again 
hungry, and seeing a bird feeding its young, he threatens 
to kill the young birds unless the parent brings him 
some food ; the bird brings him a hen from the village. 
The fox afterwards renews his threats, desiring the bird 
to bring him something to drink ; the bird immediately 
brings him water from the village. Again the fox 
threatens to kill the young ones if the old bird does not 
deliver him out of the ditch ; the bird throws in billets 
of wood, and thus succeeds in helping him out. Then 



132 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the fox desires the bird to make him laugh ; the bird 
invites him to run after it ; it then goes towards the 
village, where it cries out, " Woman, woman, bring me 
a piece of tallow" (babka, babka, priniessi mnid sala 
kussok) ; the dogs hear the cry, come out, and rend the 
fox. In the twenty-fourth story of the third book, the 
fox again delivers the peasant from the wolf, whom he 
had shut up in a sack to save him from the persecution 
of the hunters. The wolf is no sooner out of danger 
than he wishes to eat the peasant, saying that "old 
hospitality is forgotten."^ The peasant beseeches him 
to await the judgment of the first passer-by ; the first 
whom they meet is an old mare who has been expelled 
from the stables on account of her age, after having long 
served her masters ; she finds that the wolfs sentence is 
just. The peasant begs the wolf to wait for a second 
passer-by ; this is an old black dog who has been ex- 
pelled from the house after long services, because he can 
no longer bark ; he also approves the wolfs decision. 
The peasant again begs them to wait for a third and 
decisive judgment ; they meet the fox, who resorts ' to 
a well-known stratagem; he affects to doubt that so 
large an animal as the wolf could get into so small a 
sack. The wolf, mortified at so unjust a suspicion, 
wishes to prove that he has told the truth, re-enters into 
the sack, and is beaten by the peasant till he dies. But 
the peasant himself then proves ungrateful to the fox, 
saying, too, that old hospitality is to be forgotten 
(properly the hospitality of bread and salt, hlieh-sol). 
In the eighth story of the fourth book, the fox brings 
upon his back to her father and mother a girl who. 



1 Cfr. Lou lozip penjat in tlie Conies de VArmagnac, collected by 
Biad6, Paris, 1867, p. S>. 



THE FOX AND THE CHEESE. 133 

having lost herself in the forest, was weeping upon a 
tree. The old man and woman, however, are not 
grateful to the fox ; for on the latter asking for a hen in 
reward, they put him into a sack with a dog ; the rest 
of the story is already known to the reader. In the 
twenty-third story of the fourth book, the fox marries 
the cat and puts the bear and the wolf to flight. We 
have already mentioned the fox of the Eussian story 
who sends the wolf to catch fish in the river with his 
tail, by which means the tail is frozen oflF. In a popular 
Norwegian story, instead of the wolf, it is the bear who 
is thus cheated by the fox. In a Servian story, we hear 
of a fox who steals three cheeses off a waggon, and after- 
wards meets the wolf, who asks where he had found 
them. The fox answers, in the water (the sky of night). 
The wolf wishing to fish for cheeses, the fox conducts him 
to a fountain where the moon is reflected in the water, 
and points to it as a cheese; he must lap up the water 
in order to get at it. The wolf laps and laps till the 
water comes out of his mouth, nose, and ears (probably 
because he was drowned in the fountain. The wolf, the 
black monster of night, takes the place of the crow in 
connection with the cheese (the moon) and the fox ; the 
Servian story itself tells us what the cheese represents ^). 
In a Eussian story, published in the year 1860, by the 
Podsniesznik, and quoted in the observations to the first 
book of the stories of Afanassieff, the fox is killed 
by a peasant whose fish he had stolen ; the peasant 
takes his skin and goes off. Up comes the wolf, and 
seeing his god-father without a skin, weeps over him 

^ Cfr. the English expression applied to the moon, *' made of green 
cheese ; " this is the connection between green and yellow previously 
mentioned. 



134 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

according to ttie prescribed ceremony, and then eats him. 
We have already seen the fox as a mourner and as a 
midwife. In the twentieth story of the third book of 
Afanassieff, the fox wishes to work as a blacksmith. In 
other Eussian stories we have the fox-confessor and the 
fox-physician ; finally, the fox as a god-mother is a very- 
popular subject of Eussian stories. In a Eussian story, 
published in the fourth number of the Eussian Historical 
and Juridical Archives of Kalassoff, the fox appears as a 
go-between for the marriage of two young men with two 
princesses. But, above all, the fox is famous for having 
brought about the wedding of the poor Buhtan Buhtanovic 
and of his alter ego, Koszma Skorobagatoi (Cosimo the 
swiftly-enriched) with the daughter of the Tzar. Buhtan 
had only five kapeika (twopence in all). The fox has 
them changed, and asks the Tzar to lend him some 
bushels to measure the money with. These bushels are 
each time found too small, and larger ones are demanded, 
using which, the cunning fox always takes care to leave 
some small coin at the bottom. The Tzar marvels at the 
riches of Buhtan, and the fox then asks for Buhtan the 
Tzar's daughter to wife. The Tzar wishes first to see 
the bridegroom. How dress him ? The fox then makes 
Buhtan fall into the mud near the king's palace whilst 
they are passing over a little bridge. He then goes to 
the Tzar, relates the misfortune, and begs him to lend 
him a dress for Buhtan. Buhtan puts it on, and never 
ceases regarding his changed appearance. The Tzar being 
astonished at this, the fox hastens to say that Buhtan 
was never so badly dressed before, and takes the first 
opportunity of warning him in private against conduct 
so suspicious. Then, withdrawn from himself, he does 
nothing but stare at the golden table, which again 
astonishes the Tzar; this is accounted for by the fox. 



THE FOX GIVES RICHES. 135 

who explains that in Buhtan's palace similar tables are 
to be found in the baoh-room ; meanwhile the fox hints 
to Buhtan to look more about him. The wedding cere- 
mony is performed and the bride led away. The fox 
runs on before ; but instead of leading them into 
Buhtan's miserable hut^ he takes them to an enchanted 
palace^ after having, by a tricky chased out of it the 
serpent, the crow, and the cock that inhabited it/ — Poor 
Kuszinka has only one cock and five hens remaining. 
He takes the fox by surprise whUst he is attempting to 
eat his, hens, but moved by the fox's prayers, releases 
him. Then the grateful fox promises to transform him 
into Cosimo the swiftly-enriched. The fox goes into the 
Tzar's park and meets the wolf, who asks him how he is 
become so fat ; he answers that he has been banqueting 
at the Tzar's palace. The wolf expresses a desire to go 
there too, and the fox advises him to invite forty times 
forty more wolves (that is 1600 wolves). The wolf 
follows his advice, and brings them all to the Tzar's 
palace, upon which the fox tells the Tzar that Cosimo 
the swiftly-emiched sends them to him as a gift. The 
Tzar marvels at the great riches of Cosimo ; the fox uses 
the same stratagem twice again with the bears and the 
martens. After this, he asks the Tzar to lend him a 
silver bushel, pretending that all Cosimo's golden bushels 
are full of money. The Tzar gives it, and when the fox 
sends it back, he leaves a few small coins at the bottom, 
returning it with the request that the Tzar would give 
his daughter to Cosimo in marriage. The Tzar answers 
that he must first see the pretender to her hand. The 
fox then makes Cosimo fall into the water, and arrays 
him in robes lent by the Tzar, who receives him with 

^ Afanasdeff, iv. 10. 



136 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

every honour. After , some time, the Tzar signifies his 
desire of visiting Cosimo's dwelling. The fox goes on 
before, and finds on the way flocks of sheep, and herds 
of hogs, cows, horses, and camels. He asks of all the 
shepherds to whom they belong, and is uniformly 
answered, "To the serpent -uhlan." The fox orders 
them to say that they belong to Cosimo the swiftly- 
enriched, or else they will see King Fire and Queen 
Loszna,^ who will burn ever5rthing to ashes. He comes 
to the palace of white stone, where the king serpent- 
uhlan lives. He terrifies him in the same way, and 
compels him to take refuge in the trunk of an oak-tree, 
where he is burnt to death. Cosimo, the swiftly-enriched, 
becomes Tzar of all the possessions of the uhlan-serpent 
and enjoys them with his bride. ^ (I need not dwell 
upon the mythological importance of this story; the 
serpent consumed by fire is found in the most primitive 
myths ; here the canis-vulpes, the red bitch, the fox seems 
to play part of the role of the Vedic messenger-bitch.) 

In the first story of Afanassieff, the fox chases the 
hare, instead of the serpent, out of its home. The fox 
has a house of ice and the hare one of wood. At the 
arrival of spring, the fox's house melts ; then the fox, 
under the pretext of warming itself, enters the hare's 
house and sends its occupant away. The hare weeps, 
and the dogs come to chase the fox away, but it cries 

^ It is here, perhaps, to be remarked that in the Piedmontese dialect 
lightning is called loszna. 

2 Afanassiefff iv. 11. In the fourth story of the second book of the 
Fentameronej instead of a fox, it is the cat that enriches Pippo Gagliufo 
and runs before him. In the same way as in the Russian stories the 
man shows himself ungrateful towards the fox, so in the Pentamerone 
the cat ends by cursing the ungrateful Pippo Gagliufo whom she had 
done good to. In the following story the fox offers herself as com- 
panion to the young bride who is looking for her lost husband. 



THE FOX AND THE COCK, 137 

out from its seat by the stove, that when it leaps out, 
whoever is caught will be torn into a thousand pieces ; 
hearing which, the dogs run away in terror. The bear 
comes, and then the bull, but the fox terrifies them too. 
At last the cock comes up with a scythe, and loudly 
summons it to come out or be cut to pieces. The 
terrified fox jumps out and the cock cuts it to pieces 
with the scythe. In another story of Little Eussia, men- 
tioned by Afanassieff in the observations to the first book 
of his stories, the fox, on the contrary, is the victim 
which the hairy goat wishes to expel from its home. 
Several animals, wolf, lion, and bear, present themselves 
to help it, but the cock alone succeeds in expelling the 
intruder. Here the cock appears as the friend of the 
fox and the enemy of the goat. In the twenty-third 
story of the third book of Afanassieff, the fox defends 
the sheep against the wolf, who accuses it of having 
dressed itself in his skin, and brings about the ruin of 
the wolf by its craftiness. In the third story of the 
fourth book, the cat and the lamb release the cock from 
the fox ; these contradictions are explained by the double 
mythical significance which we have attributed above to 
the fox, and by its double appearance as aurora in the 
evening and in the morning. In the evening, it generally 
cheats the hero ; in the morning it cheats the monster. 
In the second story of the fourth book of Afanassieff, 
the fox requests the cock to come down from a tree to 
confess itself to him. The cock does so, and is about to 
be eaten by the fox, but it flatters him so much that he 
lets it escape again. (The solar cock, supposed to be in 
the fox's power at night, escapes from it and comes forth 
again in the morning.) The third story of the fourth 
book gives us the interesting text of the words sung by 
the fox to deceive the cock : 



138 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

" Little cock, little cock, 
With the golden crest, 
With the buttered head. 
With the forehead of curdled milk ! 
Show yourself at the window ; 
I will give you some gruel 
In a red spoon." ^ 

The cock, when caught by the fox, invokes the cat's 
assistance, crying, "Me the fox has carried away; he 
carried away me, the cock, into the gloomy forest, into 
distant lands, into foreign lands, into the three times 
ninth (twenty-seventh) earth, into the thirtieth king- 
dom ; cat Catonaievic, deliver me ! " 

^ " Pietush6k, pietushok, 

Zalatoi grebeshok, 

Mdsliannaja galovka, 

Smiatanij lobok ! 

Vighliani v oshko \ 

Dam tebie kashki, 

Na krasnoi loszkie." 
In an unpublished Tuscan story which I heard related at Antignano 
near Leghorn, a chicken wishes to go with its father (the cock) into 
the Maremma to search for food. Its father advises it not to do so 
for fear of the fox, but the chicken insists upon going ; on the way it 
meets the fox, who is about to eat it, Avhen the chicken beseeches him 
to let it go into the Maremma, where it will fatten, lay eggs, bring up 
young chickens, and be able to provide the fox with a much more sub- 
stantial meal than it now could. The fox consents. The chicken brings 
up a hundred young ones ; when they are grown up, they set out to 
return home ; every fowl carries in its mouth an ear of millet, except 
the youngest. On the way they meet the fox waiting for them \ on 
seeing all these animals each with a straw in its beak, the astonished 
fox asks the mother-hen what it is they carry. ** All fox's tails," she 
answers, upon which the fox takes to its heels. — We find the fox's 
tail in connection with ears of corn in the legend of Samson 3 the 
incendiary fox is also found in Ovid's Fasti, iv. 705 ; (from the malice 
with which the story-teller (a woman) relates the fable, it is probable 
that the fox's tail has here also a phallic meaning). — In Sextus Empiriciis 
we read that a fox's tail hung on the arm of a weak husband is of 
great use to him. 



THE GLORY OF THE FOX. 139 

The knavish actions of the fox, however, are far more 
celebrated in the West than in the East. A proverb says 
that, to write all the perfidious knaveries of the fox, all 
the cloth manufactured at Ghent, turned into parchment, 
would not be sufficient. This proverb justifies me in 
saying but little of it, as I am unable to say as much as 
I should wish. Greeks and Latins are unanimous in 
celebrating the sagacity and perfidy of the fox. The cynic 
Macchiavelli, in the eighteenth chapter of the Principe, 
asserts that a good prince must imitate two animals, the 
fox and the lion, (must, that is to say, have deceit and 
strength), but especially the fox ; and this answers to 
the sentence attributed by Plutarch (in the Memorahle 
Sayings of the Greeks) to Lysander, " Where the lion's 
skin does not suffice, put on that of the fox." Aristotle, 
in the ninth book of the History of Animals, also con- 
siders the fox as the serpent's friend, probably because of 
the analogy existing between them in respect of per- 
fidiousness, according to another Greek saying, viz., 
"He who hopes to triumph, must arm himself with the 
strength of the lion and the prudence of the serpent." A 
proverbial Latin verse says — 

"Vulpes amat fraudem, lupus agnam, fsemina laudem." 

There is scarcely an animal which is not deceived by 
the fox in Greek and Latin fable ; the fox alone does not 
succeed in deceiving the fox. In ^lEsop, the fox who has 
lost his tail in a trap endeavours to persuade the other 
foxes of the uselessness of that appendage ; but the latter 
answer that he would not have given them such advice 
Avere he not aware that a tail is a useful member. The 
fox deceives the ass, giving it up a prey to the lion (as 
in the Pancatantram) ; it deceives the hare by ofierino- 
it as a prey to the dog, who, pursuing the hare, loses 



140 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

both, hare and fox ; ^ it deceives the goat, by cozening it 
into the well that it may escape out of it, and then leaving 
it there to its fate ; it cheats in several ways now the cock, 
now the wolf; and it imposes upon even the powerful 
king of beasts, whom, however, he sometimes cannot 
deceive. A graceful apologue of Thomas Morus shows 
us the counterpart of the Hellenic fable of the fox and 
the sick lion, that is to say, the sick fox visited by 
the lion : — 

'* Dum jacet angusta vulpes segrota caverna 

Ante fores blando constitit ore leo. 
Etquid, arnica, vale. Cito, me lambente, valebiS, 

Nescis in lingua vis mihi quanta mea. 
Lingua tibi medica est, vulpes ait, at nocet illud 

Vicinos, quod liabet, tarn bona lingua, males." 

But when we come down to the Middle Ages, the fable 
of the fox develops into such manifoldness, that the study 
of all the phases in which it unfolds itself ought to be 
the subject of a special work.^ Suffice it to notice here 
that, to popularise in Flanders, and subsequently in 
France and Germany, the idea of the fox as the type of 
every species of malice and imposture, it is the priest 
who, for the most part, is the human impersonation of 
the masculine Eeinart. The Procession du Renart is 

1 Thus, in the myth of Kephalos, his dog cannot, by a decree of 
fate, overtake the fox ; but inasmuch as, on the other hand, no one 
also, by decree of fate, can escape from the dog of Kephalos, dog and 
fox are both, by the command of Zeus, changed into stone (the two 
auroras, or dying sun and dying moon). 

2 This work has, on the other hand, been already almost accomplished, 
as regards the Franco- Germanic part, in the erudite and interesting 
introduction (pp. 5-163) which Ch. Potvin has prefixed to his trans- 
lation into verse of the Roman du Renard, Paris, Bohn^ ; Bruxelles, 
Lacroix, 1861. I am told that Professor Schiefner read a discourse 
two years since at St Petersburg upon the story of the fox, but I do 
not know whether it has been published. 



THE ROMISH FOX. 141 

famous; it was a farce conceived in 1313 by Philippe le 
Bel, on account of his quarrel with Pope Boniface VIII., 
and acted by the scholars of Paris. The principal per- 
sonage was a man disguised in the skin of a fox, and 
wearing over all a priest's surplice, whose chief industry 
it was to give chase to chickens. This form of satire, 
however, directed against the Church, is certainly much 
older than those times, and goes back to the epoch of the 
first differences between the Church and the Empire in 
the eleventh century, at which time two mediseval Latin 
poems appeared, Reinardus Vulpes and Ysengrimus ; 
with the schism of England and the Eeformation of the 
sixteenth century, however, Heinardtis Vulpes decisively 
became a Eomish fox. The finesse and perfection of the 
satirical poem which S. Naylor, its English translator, 
calls " the unholy bible of the world," also increased the 
fox's popularity, and made it yet more proverbial. The 
principal subjects of the poem existed previously, not 
only in oral, but also in literary tradition ; they were 
grouped together and put in order, and a more human, 
more malicious nature was given to the fox, a nature 
more hypocritical even than before, and more priestly, 
whence it now more than ever — 

" Urbibus et castris regnat et ecclesiis/' 

Macchiavelli, St Ignazio di Loyola, and St Vincenzo 
de' Paoli took upon themselves the charge of propagatino- 
its type over the whole world. 

The wolf is better, when he is a wolf, for then we 
know at least what he wants ; we knoAv that he is our 
enemy, and are accordingly on our guard ; but he, too, 
sometimes disguises himself, by imposture or magic, as a 
sheep, a shepherd, a monk, or a penitent, like Yscngrin ; 
and from this point of view resembles not a little his 



142 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

perfidious god-mother the fox ; it is well known that 
amongst the exploits of Eeinart there is that of his extra- 
matrimonial union with the she- wolf 
■ In the Rigvedas we already find several interesting 
mythical data concerning the wolf ; he is in it entirely 
demoniacal, as the exhausted Vrikas, to which, in a hymn, 
the Ajvinau give back its strength/ seems, as it appears 
to me, not to be the wolf, but the messenger crow which, 
during the night, must carry the solar hero. 

As in the Zendic Vendidad,^ the souls of good men, 
when on the way to heaven, are afraid of meeting the 
wolf, so in the Rigvedas, the devotee says that once the 
reddish wolf (which seems to be confounded here with 
the jackal or the fox) saw him coming on the way, and 
fled in terror ; ^ he invokes the (luminous) night to send 
the wolf, the robber far away,^ and the god Pushan (the 
sun) to remove the evil wolf, the malignant spirit, from 
the path of the devotees, the wolf that besieges the roads, 
thieving, fraudulent, double-dealing.^ The poet, after 
having called the enemy Vrikas, prays, with impre- 
cations, that he may lacerate his own body ;^ and the wild 
beast, full of witchcraft/ which Indras kills, is probably 

^ Vrik^ya 6i^ ^asamaniya 9aktam; Rigv. vii. 68, 8. — The grateful 
wolf and crow are found united to assist Ivan Tzarevi6 in the twenty- 
fourth story of the second book of Afanassieff. 

2 xix. 108, 109. 

^ Aruno raa sakrid vrikah path^ yantam dadarga hi u^ ^ihite 
nid^yya; Rigv, i. 105, 18. 

^ Yavay^ vrikyam vrikarh yavaya stenam urmya; Rigv. x. 127, 6. 
— A wolf seen in a dream, according to Cardano, announces a robber. 

^ Yo nail pushann agho vriko duhgeva ^didegati apa sma tvam 
patho gahi — Paripanthinam mashi vanarii huragtSitam — D vayavinah ; 
Rigv. i. 42, 2-4. 

^ Svayarii ripus tanvam ririshishta; Rigv. vi. 51, 6, 7. 

^ }iliyinam mrigam ; J}igv, i. 80, 7. 



THE LUPUS PISCATOR, 143 

a wolf. But, besides this, I think I can find in the 
Rigvedas the ' lupus piscator of Eussian and Western 
tradition ; (according to iElianos there were wolves 
friendly to fishermen near the Palus Moeotis.) In the 
fifty-sixth hymn of the eighth book, Matsyas (the fish) 
invokes the Adityas (that is, the luminous gods) to free 
him and his from the jaws of the wolf. So in another 
strophe of the same hymn, we must in reason suppose 
that it is a fish that speaks when she who has a terrible 
son (^'.e., the mother of the sun) is invoked as protectress 
from him who in the shallow waters endeavours to kill 
him.^ We also find a fish lying in shallow water ex- 
plicitly mentioned in another hymn ; ^ which proves to us 
the image of the fish w^ithout water, which was widely 
developed in later Hindoo tradition, to have been in the 
Vedic age already a familiar one. We find the dog as 
the enemy of the wolf in the Hindoo words vrihdris 
vrikdrdtis, and vriJcadangas. (In the thirteenth story of 
the fourth book of Afaiiassieff, the wolf wishes to eat the 
dog ; the latter, who feels himself too weak to resist, begs 
the wolf to bring him something to eat, in order that he 
may become larger, and be more tender for the wolfs 
teeth ; but when he is in good condition, he acquires 
strength and makes the wolf run. The enmity of the 
dog and the wolf was also made popular in the ^sopian 
fables.) 

In the Rdmdyanam^ we already meet with the pro- 



^ Te na asno vrik^nim idity^so mumo6ata; Rigv. viii. 56, 14. — 
Parshi dine gabhira an ugraputre ^igh^nsatah ; Rigv. viii. b^^ 11. 

2 Matsyam na dina udani kshiyantam ; Rigv. x. 68, 8. 

3 iii. 45. — In the twenty-second night of the Tuti-Name^ the 
wolf enters, on the contrary, into the house of the jackal ; here wolf 
and jackal are already distinguished in it from one another, — that is, 
us red wolf and black wolf. 



144 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

verbial expression of tlie sheep who do not increase when 
guarded by the wolf or jackal (rakshayamin^ na vardhante 
mesh^ gomayuna). 

In the Mahdhlidratam, the second of the three sons of 
Kuntl, the strong, terrible, and voracious Bhimas, is called 
Wolf s-belly (Vrikodaras, the solar hero enclosed in the 
nocturnal or winter darkness). Here the wolf has a 
heroic and sympathetic form, as in the Tuti-Name ^ he, . 
although famished, shows compassion upon a maiden who 
travels to fulfil a promise ; as in the same Tuti-Name ^ he 
helps the lion against the mice, and in the story of Ardschi 
Bordschi, the boy, son of a wolf, understands the language 
of wolves, and teaches it to the merchants with whom he 
lives ; like the Eussian she-wolf that gives her milk to 
Ivan Karolievic, in order that he may take it to the 
witch, his wife, who induced him to fetch it in the hope 
that he would thereby meet with his death ;^ and like the 
she- wolf of the fifteenth Esthonian story, who comes up 
on hearing the cry of a child, and gives its milk to nourish 
it. The story tells us that the shape of a wolf was 
assumed by the mother of the child herself, and that 
when she was alone, she placed her wolf-disguise upon a 
rock, and appeared as a naked woman to give milk to 
her child. The husband, informed of this, orders that 
the rock be heated, so that when the wolfs skin is again 
placed upon it, it may be burnt, and he may thus be able 
to recognise and take back to himself his wife. The she- 
wolf that gives her milk to the twin-brothers, Eomulus 
and Eemus, in Latin epic tradition, was no less a woman 
than the nurse- wolf of the Esthonian story.^ The German 

1 i. 253. 2 i. 271. 

3 Cfr. Afanassieff, vi. 51, v. 27, and v. 28. 

* It is also said that the nurse of the Latin twins was a strumpet, 
because liipoe or lupance foeminos were names given to such women, 



THE SHADOW OF THE WOLF. 145 

hero Wolfdieterich, the wolves who hunt for the hero in 
Eussian stories, sacred to Mars and to Thor as their 
hunting dogs, have the same benignant nature. (The 
evening aurora disguises herself in the night with a 
wolf's skin, nourishes as a she-wolf the new-born solar 
hero, and in the morning puts down her wolfs skin upon 
the fiery rock of the East, and finds her husband again.) 
What Solinus tells us of the Neuri, viz., that they trans- 
formed themselves into wolves at stated periods ; and 
what used to be narrated of the Arcadians, to the effect 
that when they crossed a certain marsh, they became 
wolves for eight years, — suggests us a new idea of the 
zoological transformations of the solar hero.^ In La 
Fontaine,^ the shadow of the wolf makes the sheep flee 
in the evening. As a hero transformed, the wolf has a 
benignant aspect in legends. According to Baronius, in 
the year 617, a number of wolves presented themselves 

■whence also tlie name of lupanaria given to tlie liouses to which they 
resorted: "Abscondunt spurcas haec monumenta lupas.'* Olaus Magnus 
■wrote, that "wolves, attracted by smell, attack pregnant "women, whence 
the custom that no pregnant woman should go out unless accompanied 
by an armed man. The ancients believed that the phallos of the 
wolf roasted and eaten weakened the Venus. 

^ In the Legendes et Croyances Superstitieuses de la Creitse, collected 
by Bonnafoux, Gu^ret, 1867, p. 27, we read concerning the loup 
garoil, xhat the wolf thanks whoever wounds him. It is said that 
they who are disguised in th^ skin of the loup garou are condemned 
, ^souls : "Chaqr i' Jh "wTllJ!?-^ forces d'aller chercher la maudite peau 
k un endroit c -in r^cii- liW®"^ ainsi jusqu'k ce qu'ils rencontrent 
.me ame charii^ \ise qui les d^livre en les blessant.'* 

2 u^ ^ secojf^t nuit 

^^'-^^rousso^^^^™^^^' 



? 



Un loiip.i pl^ii^i le troupeau s'enfuit 
Ce n'^tait p. I'S Uoup, ce n'en etait que Tombre.*' 
The sheep were right, hov.r'fer, to flee. In the Udda^ the fourth 
swallow says, *' When I see t!'yi wolfs ears, I think that the wolf is not 
far off." The twilight is the (shadow or ear of the wolf. 

VOL. II. ' K 



146 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

at a monastery, and tore in pieces several friars "who 
entertained heretical opinions. The wolves sent by God 
tore the sacrilegious thieves of the army of Francesco 
Maria, Duke of Urbino, who had come to sack the 
treasure of the holy house of Loreto. A wolf guarded 
and defended from the wild beasts the head of St 
Edmund the Martyr, King of England. St Oddo, Abbot 
of Cluny, assailed in a pilgrimage by foxes, was delivered 
and escorted by a wolf; thus a woH showed the way to 
the beatified Adam, in the same Avay as, in IlerodotoSy 
the wolves served as guides to the priests of Ceres. A 
wolf, having devoured two mares which drew a cart, was 
forced by St Eustorgius to draw the cart in their stead, 
and obeyed his orders. St Norbert compelled a wolf, 
first to let a sheep go after having clutched it, and then 
to guard the sheep aU day without touching them. We 
read of the youth of the ancient Syracusan hero Hielon 
that, being at school, a wolf carried off* his tablets in order 
to make him pursue it ; no sooner was Hielon out, 
than the wolf re-entered the school, and massacred the 
master and the other scholars. 

And even after his death the wolf is useful. The 
ancients believed that a wolfs hide, when put on by one 
who had been bitten by a mad dog, was a charm against 
hydroj)hobia. According to Pliny, wolfs teeth rubj:»^a on 
the gums of children during teething relieve°o^ the pain 
(which is quite credible, but any t^-"- ^^^ ^^--^ooth Avould 
serve the same purpose, by maki#'^ii-brother^^-[; sooner). 
In Sicily it is believed that a wn? 'W'as no Ifucreases the 
courage of whoever puts it os^ii story.* ^ province of 
Girgcnti shoes arc made of wolfs/ Jr children whom 

their parents wish to grow up / ^^ag, brave, and pug- 
nacious. The animals themselji^ that are ridden by 
persons who wear these shoes mre cured of thci|: pain. 



WOLF'S SKIN— THE LOUP GAROU, 147 

The animal allupatu (that is, which has once been bitten 
hj a wolf) becomes invulnerable, and never feels any- 
other kind of pain. It is also believed in Sicily that when 
a wolfs skin is exposed in the open air, it causes drums 
to break when they are beaten. This superstition re- 
minds us of the fable of the fox that kills itself by break- 
ing the drum or biting the string of a bow ; the mythical 
drum (that is, the cloud) is destroyed when the wolfs 
skin is taken off. In ^sop's fable, the wolf 3 skin is 
recommended by the fox as a cure for the sick lion. 

But the wolf of tradition usually has a perverse or 
cUabolical signification ; and as the demon is represented 
now as a master of every species of perfidy and wicked- ^ 
ness, and now as a fool, so is the wolf. In the HeUenie-"^^ 
myth, Lycaon, King of Arcadia, became a wolf because 
he had fed upon human flesh. According to Servius, the 
wolves among the people, called for this reason Hirpini 
(the Sabine word hirpus meaning a wolf), carried oflf the 
entrails of the victim sacrificed to Pluto, and therefore 
brought down a pestilence upon the land. Wolves tore 
the hero Milon to pieces in the forest. Wolves are an-^ 
omen of death ; the loup garou of popular French tradi- 
tion is a diabolical form.^ In the Edda, the two wolves 
SkoU and Hati wish to take, one the sun and the other 
the moon ; th^^ ^^. devours the sun, father of the world, 
and gives birth^ by tf^aughter. He is then killed by 
Vidarr. Hati p^ write, the luminous betrothed of the 
ky; the wolf I^^^ l^^'son of the demoniacal Lokis, 



seo 



^ Lous loups-garous so '^ens coumo nous autes ; mes an he^'t un 

^countrat dab lou diable, e c, ') s6 soun fourgatz de se cambia en bestios 

^ jer ana au sabbat e courre tL i-to la neyt. Y a per aco un mouy^n de 

■ lous goari. Lous can tira f''jng pendent qu' an perdut la forme de 

rhome, e asta leu la rept' ** ^on per toutjourj Blad6, Contes et Pro- 

verbes Populaires recueili ■ ArmagnaCj Paris, 1867, p. 5L 



/ 



148 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

chained by the Ases, bites off the hand that the hero 
Tyr, as an earnest of the good faith of the Ases, had put 
into his month/ when chained to the western gate. 
Nanna, of the Pentamerone, after having travelled over 
the world, is disguised in the shape of a wolf, and 
changes in character and in colour, becoming malicious ; 
the three sons of the Finns go to inhabit the Valley of the 
Wolf, near the Wolfs Lake, and find there three women 
spinning, who can transform themselves into swans. 
On Christmas Eve, the King Helgi meets a witch who 
rides upon a wolf, having eagles for bridles.^ Wolves 
eat each other ; the wolf Sinfiolti becomes a eunuch ; the 
wolf who flees before the hero is an omen of victory, as 
well as the wolf who howls under the branches of an ash- 
tree. (The howling of the wolf, the braying of the ass, the 
hissing of the serpent, announce the death of the de- 
moniacal monster ; this howling must necessarily take 
place in the morning, or the spring, when the hero has 
recovered his strength, as the Edda says that "a hero 
must never fight towards sunset)." If Gunnar (the solar 
hero) loses his life, the wolf becomes the master of the 
treasure, and of the heritage of Nifl ; the heroes roast the 

^ We ought perhaps to add here the tradition oiAeeTvy G'^esarius 
Heisterbacensis of a wolf who, biting the arn^ — o t ^^^j^ ctracrg }ier to 
a place where there is another wolf; th^Ling rCghe cries the more 
fiercely the wolf bites her. The other t^jJu iiiSa bone in his throat, 
which the girl extracts ; here the girl tii;win-bpi^ce of the crane or 
stork of the fable ; the bone may be no^M oon, now the snn. 

2 In another passage in the Edda, t| ' gle sits upon the wolf. 
According to the Latin legend of the ^^ ^dation of Lavinium, the 
Trojans saw a singular prodigy. A fire | res in the woods ; the wolf 
brings dry twigs in his mouth to make/ C burn better, and the eagle 
helps him by fanning the flames with I is wings. The fox, on the 
other hand, dips its brush in the river tol^^ut out the fire with it, but 
does not succeed. fG 



YSENGRIN, 149 



wolf. All these legendary particulars relating to the 
wolf in the Edda concur in showing us the wolf as a 
gloomy and diabolical monster. The night and the' 
winter is the time of the wolf spoken of in the Voluspa ; 
the gods who enter, according to the German tradition, 
into wolves' skins, represent the sun as hiding himself in 
the night, or the snowy season of winter (whence the 
demoniacal white wolf of a Eussian story,^ in the midst 
of seven black wolves). Inasmuch as the .__solaiLJiero ^.. 
becom es a wolf , he has a diyin e natu re ; in_asmuch, on „ 
the contrary, as the wolf is the proper form of the devil, 
his nature is entirely malignant. The condemned man,— 
the proscribed criminal, the bandit, the utlagatus or 6nt-^'^ 
law^were said in the Middle Ages to wear a caput lupi- 
num (in England, ivulfesheofod ; in France, teste Iceue). 
The wolf Ysengrin, descended partly from the ^Esopianj 
wolf, and partly from Scandinavian myths, which were J 
propagated in Germany, Flanders, and France, possesses i- 
much of the diabolical craftiness of the fox ; he usually--^ 
adopts against sheep the same stratagems which the fox 
makes use of to entrap chickens. The French proverb 
makes the fox preach to the fowls ; the Italian proverb 
makes the wolf sing psalms when he wishes to ensnare 
the sheep. As we have seen the jackal and the fox con- 
founded in the East, so Eeinart and Ysengrin are some- 
times identified by their cunning in Western tradition. 
A recent French writer, who had observed the^^bitajif 
the wolf, says that he is " efii^ayant de sagacite et de 
calcul."^ In the seco.ad story of the second book of 
9 

^ Cfr. Afanassieff, iii. 19. 

2 Les loups, qui ont tres (pen d'amis en France, et qui sont obliges 
d'apporter dans toutes leursj d-marches une excessive prudence, chas- 
sent presque toujours k la^^iuette. J'ai 6t6 plusieurs fois en position 
d'admirer la profondeur dc^ leurs combinaisons strat^giques ; c*est 



150 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

Afanassieff, tlie same wizard-wolf who knew how to 
imitate the goat's voice to deceive the kids, goes to the 
house of an old man and an old woman, who have five 
sheep, a horse, and a calf. The wolf comes and begins 
to sing. The old woman admires the song, and gives 
him one sheep, then the others, then the horse, next the 
calf, and finally herself. The old man, left alone, at last 
succeeds in hunting the wolf aM^ay. In the preceding 
story, where the animals accuse each other, the de- 
moniacal wolf, when his turn comes, accuses God. We 
have already spoken of the wolf who, by the order of St 
Eustorgius, draws the cart instead of the mares which he 
had eaten. In the twenty-fifth story of the third book 
of Afanassieff, the wolf comes up to the sleeping work- 
man, and smells him ; the workman awakes, takes the 
wolf by the tail,^ and kills him. Another time the same 
workman, when he goes with his father to the chase, 
after having enriched himself Avith money which he had 
taken from three brigands who had hidden it in a deserted 
mill, meets again with two wolves who eat the horses, 
but, entangling themselves in the reins, they are com- 
pelled to draw the car home again themselves; here, 
therefore, we have the miracle of St Eustorgius reduced 
to its natTiral mythical proportions. Here, evidently, the 
wolf begins to show himself as a stupid animal ; the 



effrayant de sagacity et de calcnl; Toussenel, V Esprit des Betes, ch. i. — 
And Aldrovandi, De Quadrup. Dig. Viv. ii. " Lupi omnem vim 
ingenii naturalem in ovibus insidiando 'exercent ; noctu enim ovili 
appropinquantes, pedes lambunt, ne strejitiTm in gradiendo edant, et 
foliis obstrepentibus pedes quasi reos mordent." 

^ In Piedmont it is also said in jest, (that a man once met a wolf 
and thrust his hand down its throat, so far down that it reached its 
tail on the other side ; he then pulled thf tail inside the wolf's body 
and out through its throat, so that the wolf, turned inside out, expired. 



THE WOLF AND THE DWARF. 151 

demon teaches his art to the little solar hero in the even- 
ing, and is betrayed by the hero himself in the morning ; 
the fox cheats the solar cock in the evening, and is de- 
ceived by it in the morning ; the wolf succeeds by his 
wickedness in the evening, and is ruined in the morning. 
We have already mentioned the Norwegian story of the 
little Schmierbock, who, put into a sack by the witch, 
twice makes a hole in the sack and escapes, and the third 
time makes the witch eat her own daughter. Schmier- 
bock is the ram ; the witch or night puts him into the 
sack. In the Piedmontese story,^ and in the Russian one, 
instead of Schmierbock, we have Piccolino (the very 
little one), and the Small Little Finger (malcik-s palcik, 
that is, the little finger, which is the wise one, according 
to popular superstition). The Russian story is as follows : 
An old woman, while baking a cake (the moon), cuts off 
her little finger and throws it into the fire. From the little 
finger in the fire, a dwarf, but very strong son, is born, 
who afterwards does many wonderful things. One day 
he was eating the tripe of an ox in the forest ; the wolf 
passes by, and eats dwarf and tripe together. After this, 

1 In an unpublished, though very popular Piedmontese story, 
Piccolino is upon a tree eating figs ; the wolf passes by and asks him 
for some, threatening him thus : " Piculin, dame un fig, dass no, i t 
mangiu." Piccolino throws him down two, which are crushed upon 
the wolfs nose. Then the wolf threatens to eat him if he does not 
bring him a fig down ; Piccolino comes down, and the wolf puts him 
in a sack and carries him towards his house, where the mother-wolf is 
"waiting for him. But on the way the wolf is pressed by a corporeal 
necessity, and is obliged to ,go on the roadside; meanwhile, Piccolino 
makes a hole in the sack, comes out and puts a stone in his place. 
The wolf returns, shoulders the sack, but thinks that Piccolino has 
become much heavier. He goes home and tells the she-wolf to be 
glad, and prepare the cauldron full of hot water ; he then empties the 
sack into the cauldron \ thqi stone makes the boiling water spurt out 
upon the wolf^s head, and he is scalded to death. 



152 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

the wolf approaches a flock of sheep, but the dwarf cries 
out from within the wolf, "Shepherd, shepherd, thou 
sleepest and the wolf carries off a sheep." The shepherd 
then chases the wolf away, who endeavours to get rid of 
his troublesome guest ; the dwarf requests the wolf to 
carry him home to his parents ; no sooner have they 
arrived there than the dwarf comes out behind and 
catches hold of the wolfs tail, shouting, ''Kill the wolf, 
kill the grey one." The old people come out and kill it.^ 
The mythical wolf dies now after only one night, now 
after only one winter of life. To the mythical wolf, how- 
ever, bastard sons were born7-who, ^hmging omy~Eheir 
skin, succeeded in living for a long period among mortals 
J in the midst of civil society, preserving;, jievertheless, 
their wolf-like habits. The French proverb says, ''Le 
loup alia a Eome ; il y laissa de son poll et rien de ses 
coutumes." The pagan she- wolf gave milk to the Eoman 
heroes ; the Catholic wolf, thunderstruck by Dante,^ on 
the contrary, feeds upon them — 

" Ed lia natura si malvagia e ria, 

Che mai non empie la bramosa voglia, 

E dopo il pasto ha piu fame che pria. 

Molti son gli animali a cui s'ammoglia.'' 

^ Cfr. the well-known English fairy-tales of Tom Thumb and Hop- 
o'-my-Thumb. ^ Inferno, c. L 



CHAPTEE XIIL 

THE LION, THE TIGER, THE LEOPARD, THE PANTHER, 
AND THE CHAMELEON, 

SUMMARY. 

Xion and tiger symbols of royal majesty, — Tvashtar as a lion. — The 

hair of Tvashtar in the iire. — Winds that roar like lions. — The 

lion-seducer. — The lion and the honey; the lion and riches. — 

N"oMlg§age \he lion. — The lion's part. — The monster lioness. — 

• 'I XT' \ick lion ; the lion with a thorn in its foot. — Monster 

,-. -al lions. — The lion is afraid of the cock. — Sterility 

'>16 S3iin6 J)» 
ofVii^ ^.^... Jhe story of Atalanta. — The snn in the sign Leo.— 

The virgin and the lion. — Qivas, Dionysos, and the tiger. — A hair 

from the tiger's tail ; the Mantikora. — The chameleon ; the god 

chameleon. 

The tiger and tlie lion have in India the same dignity, 
and are both supreme symbols of royal strength and 
majesty/ The tiger of men and the lion of men are 
two expressions equivalent to prince, as the prince is 
supposed to be the best man. It is strength that gives 
victory and superiority in natural relations ; therefore 
the tiger and the lion, called kings of beasts, represent 

^ H^rakl^s, Hektor, Achilli^s, among the Greek heroes j "Wolfdieterich, 
and several other heroes of Germanic tradition, have these animals for 
their ensigns; the- lion is the 1 steed of the hero Hildebrand. Cfr. Die 
Deutsche Heldensage von Wiljhelm Grimm, Berlin, Diimmler, 1867. — 
When Agarista and Philip dreamed of a lion, it was considered an 
augury, the one of the birt-h of Pericles, and the other of that of 
Alexander the Great. i 



154 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the king in tlie civic social relations among men. The 
narasinhas of India was called, in the Middle Ages, the 
king par excellence; thus in Greece the king was also 
called leon. 

The myth of the lion and the tiger is essentially an 
Asiatic one ; notwithstanding this, a great part of it was 
developed in Greece, where lion and tiger were at one 
time not unknown, and must have, as in India, inspired 
something like that religious terror caused by oriental 
kings. 

We have already mentioned the Vedic monster lion of 
the West, in w^hich we recognise the expiring sun. The 
strong Indras, kiUer of the monster, Vritras, is also repre- 
sented as a lion. In the same v/ay as the Jewish Samson 
is found in coniLection "udth the lion, an(^b say&7"" with 
honey, and as the strength of the lion and^^t rien de ses 
is said to be centred in the hair (the sui/ to the Eor'^-.des 
his rays or mane, loses all his strength), so in the 
parallel myth of Indras we find analogous circumstances. 
Tvashtar, the Hindoo celestial blacksmith, M^ho makes 
weapons now for the gods and now for the demons (the 
reddish sky of morning and of evening is likened to 
a burning forge ; the solar hero or the sun in this forge, 
is a blacksmith), is also represented in a Vedic hymn^ as 
a lion, turned towards which, towards the west, heaven 
and earth rejoice, although (on account of the din made 
by him when coming into the woild) they are, before all, 
terrified. The form of a lion is one of the favourite shapes 
created by the mythical and legendary blacksmith. 

In the Mdrhandeya-P.,'^ this same Tvashtar (which 
the Rigvedas represents' as a lion), wishing to avenge 
. .[ 

1 Ublie tvaslitur bibhyatur ^^yam^ii^t pratidi sinham prati ^osbayete ; 
^igv. i. 95, 5. ^ v. 



THE BURNED HAIRS OF THE LION. 155 

himself upon the god Indras, who had (perhaps at morn) 
killed one of his sons, creates another son, Vritras (the 
coverer), by tearing a lock of hair off his head and 
throwing it into the fire (the sun burns every evening in 
the western forge, his rays or mane, and the gloomy 
monster of night is born). Indras makes a truce with 
Vritras (in Eussian stories, heroes and monsters nearly 
always challenge each other to say before fighting 
whether they will have peace or war), and subsequently 
violates the treaty ; for this perfidy he loses his strength, 
which passes into M4rutas, the son of the wind (the 
Hanumant of the Rdmdyanam, In a Vedic hymn, the 
voice of the Marutas is compared to the roar of lions),^ 
and into the three brothers P4ndavas, sons of Kunti 
(the passage of the legend from tHe Vedas to the two 
principal Hindoo epic poems is thus indicated). Thus, 
in the same Mdrkandeya-P., Indras, having violated 
Ahaly4, the wife of Gautamas, loses his beauty (in other 
Puranic legends he becomes a eunuch or has a thousand 
wombs. Indras is powerful as the sun ; he is powerful, 
too, in the cloud, by means of the thunderbolt ; but 
when he hides himself in the serene and starry sky, he is 
powerless), which passes to the two AgvinAu, who after- 
wards renew themselves in the two P4ndavAu sons of 
Madri, as the sons of the demons were personified in the 
sons of Dhritar^shtras. 

Tvashtar, the creator, now of divine, now of monstrous 
forms, Tvashtar the lion, must necessarily create leonine 
forms. In a Tuscan story, the blacksmith makes a lion 
by means of which Argcntofo penetrates by night into 

1 Te svanino riidriya, varslianirni^'iili sinht^ na hesliakratavah suda- 
iiavah ; Rir/v. iii. 26, 5. — In the Bohemian story of grandfather 
VsievedaSj the young hero is sent by the prince who wishes to ruin 
him to take the three golden Lairs of this grandfather (the sun). 



iS6 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the room of a young princess, with whom he unites him- 
self. In the third story of the fourth book of the Penta- 
merone, the three prince brothers, when the fairy's curse 
is over, return home with their brides, drawn by sis 
lions. This lion-seducer reminds us of Indras, who was 
also a lion and a seducer of women. A h3rnin tells us 
that Indras fights like a terrible lion ;^ in another hymn, 
the same lion is considered, as in the legend of Samson, 
in connection with honey. ^ In the twenty-second night 
of the Tuti-Name, the lion presents himself in connection 
with riches ; flattered by a man who calls him a king, he 
lets him collect the riches scattered on the ground by a 
caravan which the lion had destroyed,^ His royal nature 
is also shown in the Rdmdyanam,^ in which King 
Dajarathas says that his son Eamas, the lion of men, 
after his exile, will disdain to occupy the kingdom pre- 
viously enjoyed by Bharatas, in the same way as the lion 
disdains to feed upon flesh which has been licked by 
other animals. It is perhaps for this reason that, in the 
fable, the lion's part means all the prey. The proud one 
becomes the violent one, the tyrant, and hence the 
monster. In the Aitareya Br.^ the earth, full of gifts 

1 Sinho nabhimaiyudHnibiblirat ; Rigv. iv. 16,*14. Cfr. i. 174, 3. 

2 Sinham nasanta madhvo ay^sam harim aru haiii divo asya patim ; 
^igv. ix. 89, 3. 

2 In tlie Greek apologue, Ptolemy, king of Egypt, wishes to send 
some money to Alexander in homage to him ; the mule, the horse, the 
ass, and the camel offer themselves of their own accord to carry the 
sacks. On the way, they meet the lion, who wishes to join the party, 
saying that he too carries money ; but not being accustomed to such 
work, he modestly begs the other four to divide his load among them- 
selves. They consent ; soon afterwards, passing through a country 
rich in herds, the lion feels inclined to stay, and demands his portion 
of the money, but as his money resembles that of the others, not to 
mistake, he takes by force both his own and theirs, 

4 ii. 62. ^ vi. 5, 35. 



THE WESTERN LION-SUN. 157 

made by the right hand — that is, by the eastern part — 
presented by the Adity^s (or luminous gods) to the 
Afigirasas (the seven solar rays, the seven wise men, and 
hence the priests), attacks, in the evening, the nations 
with its mouth wide open, having become a lioness 
(sinhibhlitv^). In the Rdmdyanam^ the car that carries 
the monster Indra^it is impetuously drawn by four lions. 
In the Tuti-Name^ we have the fable of the lion, instead 
of the wolf, that accuses the lamb, and the lion who is 
afraid of the ass, of the buU (as in the introduction to the 
Pancatcmtram), and of the lynx. The Western lion-sun 
is now monstrous, now aged, now ill, now has a thorn in 
his foot,^ is now blind, and now foolish. The monstrous 
lion who guards the monster's dwelling, the infernal 
abode, is found in a great number of popular stories. In 
Ilellenic tradition the monstrous lion occurs more than 
once ; such is the lion that ravages the country of the 
King of Megara, who promises his daughter to wife to 
the hero that will kill it ; such is the lioness who, with 
her bloody jaws (the purple in the dog's mouth and the 
meat in the dog's mouth of the myths are of equivalent 
import) makes Thysbe's veil bloody, so that when Pyramos 
sees it he believes Thysbe to be dead, and kills himself ; 



1 V. 43. 2 I 229. 

3 The anecdote of Androkles and the lion grateful for having a 
thorn extracted from his foot, is also related in almost the same words 
of Mentor the Syracusan, Helpis of Samos, the Abbot Gerasimos, St 
Jerome and (as to the blinded lion whose sight is given back to him) 
of Macharios, the confessor. The thorn in the lion's foot is a zoologi- 
cal form of the hero who is vulnerable in his feet. In the sixth of 
the Sicilian stories published by Signora Gonzenbach, the boy Giuseppe 
takes a thorn out of a lion's foot ; the grateful lion gives him one of 
his hairs; by means of this hair, the young man can, in case of 
necessity, become a terrible lion, and as such, he bites off the head of 
the king of the dragons. 



1S8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

when Thysbe sees this, she too kills herself in despair 
(an ancient form of the death of Romeo and Juliet) ; 
such is the Nemsean lion strangled by Herakles ; such 
the lion of Mount Olympos which the young Polydamos 
kills without weapons ; such were the leonine monsters 
with human faces which, according to Solinus, inhabited 
the Caspian ; such was the Chimsera, part lion, part goat, 
and part dragon, and several other mythical figures of 
the passage of the evening sun into the gloom of night. 

And it is under the conception of the lion as monstrous 
that the ancients were unanimous in believing that he 
fears above all animals the cock, and especially its fiery 
comb. The solar cock of morning entirely destroys the 
monsters. In a fable of Achilles Statins, the lion com- 
plains that Prometheus had allowed a cock to frighten 
him, but soon after consoles himself, upon learning that 
the elephant is tormented by the little mosquito that 
buzzes in its ears. Lucretius, too, in the fourth book De 
Rerum Naturd represents the cock as throwing seeds : — 

" Nimirum quia sunt Gallorum in corpore qusgdam 
Semina, qu£e cum sint oculis immissa Leonuni 
Pupillas interfodiunt acremque dolorem ^ 
Praebent, ut nequeant contra durare feroces." 

Sometimes the hero or god passes into the form of a 
lion to vanquish the monsters, like Dionysos, ApoUoUj 
Herakles, in Greece, and Indras and Vishnus in India. 

1 Thus, the ancients attributed to the lion a particular antipathy to 
strong smells, such as garlic, and the pudenda of a woman. But this 
superstition must be classed with that which ascribes sterility to the 
lioness. The women of antiquity, when they met a lioness, considered 
it as an omen of sterility. In the .^Esopian fable, the foxes boast of 
their fruitfulness before the lioness, whom they laugh at because she 
gives birth to only one cub. ''Yes," she answers, ''but it is a lion ;" 
under the sign of the lion, the earth also becomes arid, and conse- 
quently unfruitful. 



THE SIGN OF THE LION, 159 

In the legend of St Marcellus, a lion having appeared to 
the saint in a vision as killing a serpent, this appearance 
was considered as a presage of good fortune to the enter- 
prise of the Emperor Leo in Africa. SometimeSj on the 
other handj hero and heroine become lion and lioness by 
the vengeance of deities or monsters. Atalanta defies 
the pretenders to her hand to outstrip her in running, 
and kills those who lose. Hippomenes, by the favour of 
the goddess of love, having received three apples from 
the garden of the Hesperides, provokes Atalanta to the 
race ; on the way, he throws the apples down ; Atalanta 
cannot resist the impulse to gather them up, and Hippo- 
menes overtakes her, and unites himself with her in the 
wood sacred to the mother of the gods ; the offended 
goddess transforms the young couple into a lion and a 
lioness. In the Gesta Romanorum, a girl, daughter of 
the Emperor Vespasian, kills the claimant of her hand in 
a garden, in the form of a ferocious lion. Empedokles, 
however, considered the transformation into a lion as the 
best of aU human metamorphoses. When the sun enters 
into the sign of the lion, he arrives at his greatest height 
of power ; and the golden crown which the Florentines 
placed upon their lion in the public square, on the day of 
St John, was a symbol of the approach of the season 
which they call by one word alone, sollione. This lion 
is enraged, and makes, as it is said, plants and animals 
rage. The pagan legend says of Prometheus — 

"Insani leonis 
Vim stomacho apposuisse nostro."^ 

But the mythical lion, the sun, docs not inspire the 
man with rage alone, but strength also.^ 

^ Horace, Carm. i. 16. 

2 Sculpebant Ethnici auro vel argento leonis imaginem, et ferentes 



i6o ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

The tiger, the panther, and the leopard possess several 
of the mythical characteristics of the lion as a hidden sun, 
with which they are, moreover, sometimes confounded in 
their character of omniform animals. The leopard was 
sacred to the god Pan, whose nature we akeady know, 
and the panther to Protheus and Dionysos, because it is 
said to have a liking for wine (we have seen the Vedic 
lion Indras in connection with honey, and Indras himself 
in connection with the somas), and becauses the nurses 
of Dionysos were transformed into panthers, Dionysos 
appears now surrounded by panthers, by means of which 
he terrifies pirates and puts them to flight, and now 
drawn by tigers. Dionysos is at the same time a phallical 
and an ambrosial god, and hence the god of wine ; thus 
in India, Qivas, the phallical god, far excellence^ and who 
is omniform like Tvashtar and Yamas, his almost equiva- 
lent forms, has the tiger for his ensign, and is covered 
with a tiger s skin. It is a singula!: fact that in Hindoo 
tradition a murderous strength is attributed to the tiger's 
tail. A Hindoo proverb says that a hair of the tiger s 
tail may be the cause of losing one's life,^ which naturally 
suggests to our minds the tiger Mantikora,^ which has 

hujusmodi simulacra generosiores et audaciores evadere dicebantur ; 
idcirco non est mirum si Aristoteles (in lib. de Seer. Seer.) seripserit 
annulum ex auro vel argento, in quo eoelata sit ieon puellas equitantis 
leonem die et hora solis vagantis in domieilio leonis gestantes, ab 
omnibus honorari; Aldrovandi, Be Quadrup. Dig. Viv. i. — In the signs 
of the Zodiae, Virgo eomes after upon Leo ; Christians also celebrate the 
assumption of the Virgin into heaven towards the middle of August, 
v'hen the sun passes from the sign of the lion into that of the virgin. 

^ Cfr. Bohtlingk, Indische Si^^ruche, 2te Aufiage, i. 1. 

2 Ktesias explains this word as " devourer of men," but by means 
of Sanskrit it can only be explained by substituting to the initial m 
one of the words that signify man, such as nara, cjana, manava^ 
mdnusha, (fee. Antikora would seem to be derived from the Sanskrit 
antakara = destroyer, who puts an end to, killer. 



THE CHAMELEON, i6i 

in its tail hairs which are darts thrown by it to defend 
itself, and are spoken of by Ktesias, in Paiisanias, 

Finally, having considered the tiger, the panther, 
and the leopard, variegated and omniform animals, and 
compared them with the lion, whose combat with the 
serpent we have also mentioned, it is natural to add a 
few more words concerning the chameleon, of whose 
enmity to the serpent and medicinal virtues Greek and 
Latin authors have written at such length. The Jcrikaldfas 
or krikaldsas^ or chameleon, is already spoken of in a 
Vedic Brdhmanam, In the fifty-fifth canto of the last 
book of the Rdmdyanam, we read that King Nrigas was 
condemned to remain invisible to all creatures in the form 
of a chameleon during many hundreds and thousands of 
years, until the god Vishnus, humanised in the form of 
Vasudevas, will come to release him from this curse, 
incurred for having delayed to judge a controversy pend- 
ing between two Br^hmans concerning the ownership of 
a cow and a calf. In the stories of grateful animals, as 
is well-known, the hero often earns their gratitude by 
intervening to divide their prey into just portio^s, while 
they are disputing over it themselves. From the last 
book of the Rdmdyanam, we. learn also that the form 
of the chameleon is that assumed by Kuveras, the god 
of riches, when the gods flee terrified from the sight of 
the monster E^vanas. As Yamas and Qivas are almost 
equivalent forms, so between Yamas and Kuveras there 
is the same relation as between Pluto and Plutus. To the 
tiger Qivas corresponds the chameleon Kuveras ; and the 
chameleon god of wealth, enemy of the serpent, is closely 
connected in mythology with the lion Indras, with the 
lion that kills the monster serpent, and with the lion that 
covets the treasure. 

VOL. II. L 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE SPIDER. 

StTMMAEY. 

Taaoan superstition relating to the spider ; the red sky of evening. — 
The night, the moon, and the aurora as weavers. — Arachn^. — 
Aurnavabhas. — Dhatd and Vidhata. — Golden cloths.^The spider 
and his prey. — The golden veil. — The lake of fire and the -witch 
burnt. — The eagle and the spider. — The sack made of a spider's 
web. 

There is in Tuscany a very interesting supei-stition rela- 
ting to tlie spider : it is believed that if a spider be seen 
in the evening it must not be burnt, as it is destined to 
bring good fortune ; but when seen in the morning, it 
must be burnt without being touched. The evening 
and morning aurora are compared to the spider and 
the spider's web ; the evening aurora must prepare the 
morning aurora during the night. We have quoted on 
a previous occasion the Piedmontese proverb, *'Eosso di 
sera, buon tempo si spera " (red at night, we hope for 
fine weather). If the sun dies in the west without clouds, 
if the luminous spider shows itself in the western sky, it 
augurs for the morrow a fine morning and a fine day. 
In the Itigvedaswe have on this subject several interest- 
ing data ; the aurora weaved during the night (and is 
therefore called vayanti ; ^ sometimes she is helped by 

1 ^igv. ii. 38, 4. — In the fifty-fourth story of the fourth book of 
Afanassieff the king who has no children makes the maiden seven 
years old manufacture a fisherman's net in the spfice of only one night. 



THE SPIDER, 163 



R^£l, the full moon^) tlie robe for her husband. But, in 
another hynm, she is entreated to shine soon, and not to 
stretch out or weave her work too long, in order that the 
sun with his rays may not fall upon it and burn it like 
a thief/ In the legend of Odysseus, Penelope undoes in 
the night the work of the day ; this is another aspect of 
the same myth : Penelope, as aurora, undoes her web at 
even, to weave it again at morn. The myth of Arachn6 y 
(the name of the spider, and of the celebrated Lydian 
virgin whom Athene, the aurora, according to Professor 
Max MiiUer, taught to spin, and whose father was Idmon, 
a colourer in purple), whom Athene, jealous of the skill 
she had acquired in weaving in purple colours, strikes on 
the forehead and transforms into a spider, is a variety of 
the same myth of the weaving aurora. When the spider 
becomes dark, and when its web is gloomy, then the 
spider, or son of the spider, or Aurnavabhas, assumes a 
monstrous form, Aurnavabhas (4rnav4bhis, ^nan^bhis, 
Arnanabhas, as spider, are already spoken of in the Vedic 
writings) is the name of the gloomy monster Vritras, 
killed by the god Indras, the terrible monster which 
Indras, immediately after his birth, is obliged to kill ^ at 

1 In the German legend we have the spinner in the moon. "Die 
Altmarkisch'e Sage bei Temme 49, ' die Spinnerin im Monde,' wo ein 
Madchen von seiner Mutter verwiinscht wird, im Monde zu sitzen und 
zu spinnen, scheint entstellt, da jener Fluch sie nicht wegen Spinnens, 
sondern Tanzens im Mondschein trifft ; " Simrock, Deutsche Mythologie, 
2te Aufl. p. 23. — Cfr. also the first chapter of this work, and that on the 
bear, where we read of a girl dancing with the bear in the night. — 
Perhaps there is also some correspondence between the Vedic word 
rdhd and a-rackne. 

2 Vy u6ha duhitar divo m^ 6iram tanutha apah net tvi stenarii 
yath^ ripuih tapati sHro ariSish^; liigv. v. 79, 9. 

^ Vritram avabhinad danum ^urnavabham; Etgv. ii. 11, 18. — 
Ga^il^no nu gatakratur vi pridhad iti mataram ka ugrah ke ha grin- 
vire ad im gavasy abravid aurnavabham ahiguvam te putra santu 
nishturali ; Etgv, viii. 66, 1, 2. 



i64 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

the instigation of his mother. In the Mahdhhdratam ^ 
we find two women that spin and weave, Dhati and 
Vidhat4 ; they weave upon the loom of the year with 
black and white threads, i.e., they spin the days and the 
nights. We, therefore, have a beneficent spider and a 
malignant one. 

In the fourth story of the fifth book of the Pentameronej 
the young Parmetella marries a black slave, who gives 
her as servants swans, '' Vestute de tela d'oro, che, subeto 
'ncignannola da capo a pede, la mesero 'n forma de ragno, 
che pareva propio na Eegina." (The black man becomes 
a handsome youth during the night, perhaps as the moon ; 
she wishes to see his features, and he disappears ; this is 
a variety of the popular story of the wife's indiscretion.) 
In the fifth story of the second book of Afanassieff, the 
spider sets its web to catch flies, mosquitoes, and wasps ; 
a wasp, being caught in the web, begs to be released in 
consideration of the many children that she will leave 
behind her (the same stratagem that is used by the hen 
against the fox in the Tuscan story previously mentioned.) 
The credulous spider lets her go ; she then warns wasps, 
flies, and mosquitoes to keep hidden. The spider then 
asks help from the grasshopper, the moth, and the bug 
(nocturnal animals), who announce that the spider is dead, 
having given up the ghost upon the gibbet, which gibbet 
was afterwards destroyed (the evening aurora has dis- 
appeared into the night). The flies, mosquitoes, and wasps 
again come out, and fell into the spider's web (into the 
morning aurora). In the eighteenth story of the sixth 
book oi Afanassieff, the beautiful girl who flees from the 
house of the witch that persecutes her, stretches out a 
veil, which, by the help of a beautiful young maiden (the 

1 i. 802, 825. 



THE SPIDER. 165 



moon), she has embroidered with gold ; immediately a 
great sea of fire springs up, into which the old witch falls 
and is burned ; and here we come back to the popular 
Italian superstition that the spider must be burned in 
the morning. 

The spider is an animal of the earth, but it weaves its 
web in the air ; and as such — as intermediary between 
the animals of the earth and those of the air — supplies 
us with a bridge by which we may pass naturally from 
the first to the second part of the present work/ I hope 
that this bridge will prove as sufficient as the sack in 
which the young Esthonian hero carries the treasure away 
from hell, a sack composed of the threads of a spider, so 
strong that it is impossible to tear them. I wish I had, 
in the first book, some of the skill of the spider, and that 
I could weave with a few threads from the labyrinth of 
Aryan legendary tradition concerning animals a web 
which, if it be not as luminous as that of Arachne, may 
be more durable than that of Penelope. 

^ I observe, moreover, how in the Kussian fables of Kriloff the same 
part is attributed to the spider as in the West to the "wren (the regulus) 
and to the beetle. The eagle carries, without knowing it, a spider in 
its tail upon a tree ; the spider then makes its web over it. Bird and 
spider therefore exchange places. 



THE ANIMALS OF THE AIE. 



CHAPTEE L 

BIRDS. 
SUMMARY. 

The sky-atmosphere and the sky-tree. — The sun, the Agviniu, Tndras, 
the Marutas, and Agnis as birds, — Indras cuts off the -wings of 
the mountains. — Indras and Somas as two birds hovering round 
the same tree of honey. — The wisdom of birds. — The birds 
requested to sacrifice themselves to fulfil the duties of hospitality, 
refase. — The dvi^as bird and brihman. — Penitent birds. — Con- 
solatory birds. — Presages of birds in India. — Verethraghna as a 
bird. — The bird's feather. — The red bird. — Grateful and prophetic 
birds. — The hero that understands the language of birds. — The bird 
and the two cypresses. — The hero becomes a bird by acquiring 
Solomon's ring. — The blue bird. — The bird caught by putting salt 
upon its tail. — The excrement of birds is propitious. — The demo- 
niacal bird. — The bird that feeds the heroes. — Birds and poets; 
singers and prophets. — Auguries and auspices. — The auguries 
were laughed at in Greece. — Flight to right and to left. 

The sky, especially by night, is conceived now as a road 
on Avhich one can walk, and where sometimes the traveller 
may be lost, or make others lose their Avay ; now as the 
air itself, in which one flies or is carried in flight, with 
the risk sometimes of falling ; noAv as a tree, in which 
one speaks or builds nests, with the risk of the words 



i68 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

being sometimes sinister, or the nests falling ; and now 
as a sea in whicli one navigates in peril of shipwreck. 

The sky-atmosphere and the sky-tree are the world of 
the mythical flying birds and insects. The god, the 
demon, the hero, and the monster, when traversing this 
field, either take the forms of winged animals, or make 
use of them to ascend to the celestial paths, or else are 
conducted by them to their ruin. 

The sun and the moon, the sunbeams, the thunder- 
bolts, flashes of lightning, auroras, clouds that move and 
thunder, and the very shadows that move, often take in 
myths the forms of flying animals. 

In the Rigvedas, the sun is called a bird (vih) ; ^ the 
A9vin^u come with the wheels of the car like a bird with 
feathers;^ Indras is the well- winged red one;^ the 
Marutas perch like birds upon the culm of buttered 
grass ;^.Agnis accomplishes the wish of the bird;^ the 
well- winged ones of Agnis {i.e., the thunderbolts) appear 
as destroyers when the black bull has bellowed (that is, 
when the black cloud has thundered) ; ^ Savitar must not 
destroy the woods of the birds ; " from the house of the 
aurora the birds come forth ; ^ the goddesses and the 

1 Rigv. i. 72, 9. 

2 Vir na parnaiJi; lb. i. 183, 1. 

^ Arunah. suparnah; lb. x. 55^ 6. 

^ Vayo na stdann adhi barMshi priye ; lb. i. 85, 7. 

^ Manmasadhano veh; lb. i. 96, 6. 

^ A te suparn^ aminantan eviih krishno non^va vrisliablio yadidam , 
lb. i. 79, 2. 

"^ Vanani vibhyo nakir as3a tani vrata devasya savitar minanti ; 
lb. ii. 38, 7. 

^ Ut te vayag^id vasater apaptan ; lb, i. 124, 12. — In the twenty- 
third story of the second book of Afanassieffj when the beautiful girl 
Helen, another form of the aurora, is at the king's ball, she throws 
bones with one hand, when birds spring up, and water with the other, 
when gardens and fountains sirring up. 



THE TWO BIRDS. 169 

brides of the heroes are requested to come to the assist- 
ance of men with unclipt wings/ Finally, an interesting 
Vedic hymn shows us the sun and the moon, Indras and 
Somas, as two well-winged birds united in friendship, 
that continually fly round the same tree (^.e., the sky) ; 
of these, one eats the sweet pippalas, the other shines 
without eating. Both, well-winged, sing as they safely 
guard the treasure of ambrosia. The honey of this tree 
is called pippalas : of this tree all the birds eat the honey, 
and on it they build their nests. ^ 

The wisdom of birds is much celebrated in popular, 
Aryan tradition. On this subject the Mdrkandeya-P ? 
narrates a long and instructive legend. 

The wise G4iminis wishes some episodes of the great 
legend of the Mahdbhdratam, which seem obscure, to be 
explained to him. He has recourse to the learned 
M4rkandeyas ; but the latter says he does not know bow 
to enlighten him, and advises him to interrogate the 
birds, the best of the birds, sons of Dronas, who know 
the essence of things, who meditate upon the sacred 
treatises, the birds Ping^kshas, Vibodhas, Supattras, and 
Sumukhas, who will disperse his doubts. They live in a 

^ Abhi no devir avasa mahah garmani nripatnih. a<^hinnapatr4h 
sa6aiitS.m; Rigv. i. 22, 11. — If the goddesses are here the same as the 
nymphsj they may be the same as the clouds, and I should refer to 
this passage, the legend of the Bdmdyanam (v. bQ), according to "which 
the lofty mountains were once winged (the clouds) and wandered 
about the earth at pleasure ; Indras, with his thunderbolt, cut their 
wings, and they fell down. 

2 Dv^ suparn^ sayu^^ sakhiy^ saminam vriksham pari shasva^^te 
tayor anyah pippalam sv^dv atty anagnann anyo abhi d^kagitt — Yatr^ 
suparna amritasya bhigam animesham vidathabhisvaranti ; Rigv. i. 
164, 20. — Perhaps we should compare to this legend the two birds 
Amru and Camru of the Khorda-Avesta, of which one makes the seeds 
of the three mythical trees fall, and the other scatters them about. 

3 Calcutta, 1851. 



170 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

cave in the middle of the Vindhy^s ; let him go to them 
and ask them. Gaiminis wonders how simple birds can 
possess so much wisdom. Markandeyas then relates to 
him their genealogy. A nymph, who had seduced by 
her song the penitent Durv^sas, was condemned to be 
born again in the family of the bird Garudas, and to 
spend sixteen years in the form of a bird, until, after 
giving birth to four sons, she should be wounded by an 
arrow and regain once more her primitive form in 
heaven. As a bird she is named T^kshl, and is married 
= to the bird Dronas, who is wise and instructed in the 
Ved^s and Ved4ngas. T4rkshi is present at the battle 
between the K^urav^s and the Pandav4s ; a dart strikes 
her in the belly, from which four eggs that shine like the 
moon fall to the ground. After the battle, the ascetic 
Qamlkas approaches the place where the four eggs lie, 
and hears the young birds chirping cicikuci. The wise 
man marvels at seeing that they have escaped such 
carnage, concludes they must be Br4hmans, and thinks 
this a circumstance of most favourable augury and a 
presage of great fortune (mah4bh4gyapradar§ini). He 
carries the birds to his house, and places them where 
they run no risk of being harmed by cats, mice, hawks, 
or weasels. The birds are taken care of and nourished 
by the wise man, and grow up strong and learned, 
listening to the lessons that the wise man gives in 
school, and, being grateful to him as their deliverer, 
expressing their gratitude by means of Avords which, by 
exercise, they articulate clearly. Interrogated as to 
their previous existence, they remember that there was 
once a sage named Vipulacvan, father of two children, 
Sukrishas and Tumburus ; these four were sons of Tum- 
burus. Whilst they lived in the woods with their father, 
Indras,thc king of the gods, comes to them in the form 



THE SACRIFICE OF THE BIRD, 171 

of a gigantic old bird, and demands human flesh from 
the hospitable sage. The wise man wonders that a bird, 
so old, that is, at an age in which every desire should be 
extinguished, should be so cruel as to wish for human 
flesh. Nevertheless he requests (like Vi9vamitras in the 
legend of Qunahcepas previously mentioned) his own 
sons to sacrifice themselves in fulfilment of this duty. 
They do not at first refuse this act of hospitality, but 
when they hear that they are to be eaten by the bird, 
they decisively refuse, pleading, among other arguments, 
the physiological, or rather, materialistic one, that if they 
are virtuous, their virtue too will perish with their bodies, 
whilst, on the other hand, in order to preserve their 
virtue long, they think themselves bound to prolong 
their existence as much as possible (we have already 
seen the cat adopting a similar argument to justify his 
fatness). Their father, indignant at this refusal after 
giving their promise, curses them, condemning them to 
be born again as animals, and then magnanimously ofiers 
himself to the famished bird. Upon which Indras reveals 
himself in his proper divine form, and then disappears 
after blessing the sage. The sons beseech their father to 
release them from the malediction ;" he takes pity upon 
them, but is unable to revoke his words ; it is only in 
his power to temper the severity of the punishment. 
They are condemned to retain the animal form ; but in 
that form they are to be recompensed with the gift of 
insight into the mysteries of being. It is for this reason 
that, when Qamlkas finds them, he salutes them by the 
name of Br4hmans, For the rest, the equivoque is easily 
comprehensible, when we reflect that the word dvigas, 
or twice born, means bird (that is, born first as an egg, 
and afterwards as an animal), as well as Br4hman (who, 
by taking the sacred cord, the prastexta, and the sacrament 



172 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

of the holy oil, is born again). Etymology here assists 
our comprehension of the legend. In the same way as 
the Brahman is the wisest of men, so are the dvi^^s or 
birds the wisest of animals. The birds, cursed by the 
hermit their father, go therefore to Mount Vindhyas, 
which is watered by many blessed streams, where they 
live as austere penitents. G^iminis goes to consult them ; 
when he approaches their abode, he hears them speaking 
distinctly to each other. He then comes up and sees them 
perched on the top of a rock. G4iminis addresses them 
with amiable words ; the birds answer him that, since so 
great a sage is come to visit them, their wish is accom- 
plished and their curse come to an end. Then follow the 
questions of G^iminis relating to Gan^rdanas, Dr^upadl, 
Baladevas, and the five sons of Dr^upadi. The birds, 
before answering, sing a kind of hymn to Vishnus, and 
expound his principal incarnations. In the Mahdhhdra- 
tam^ the ascetic Brahmans go in the forms of birds to 
console the rishis M^ndavyas, impaled by order of the 
king, for having given hospitality to the robbers of the 
royal booty. 

Birds know everything, and hence presages are taken 
especially from thein, whence the name auspiciuTri or 
augurium, applied specifically to a presage. In the last 
book of the Rdmdyanam,^ the monsters are terrified by 
such omens as the following : — " Thousands of vultures 
and ducks with mouths that throw flames, which form a 
circle like that of the god of death upon the battalions 
of the monsters ; the doves, the red-feet, the s^rikas 
(turdus salicse) were dispersed." 

In the Avesta, Verethraghna often appears as a bird, 
and as understanding the language of birds. A bird's 
feather, in the Avesta, assists Verethraghna, as in Fir- 

1 i. 4305. 2 Sixth canto. 



THE BIRDS FEATHER. 173 

dusi, a feather of the bird Simurg, burnt by Zal, calls 
up to his assistance the bird Simurg in person/ 
According to a legend of the Khorda-Avesta, the 
splendour of the old Yima, who had become proud and 
false-tongued (thus, in India, the celestial Yamas and 
the happy Qivas become infernal destroying deities), fled 
away in the form of a bird. According to the popular 
superstition of White Eussia, the little bird diedka (the 
little one), is the guardian of treasures and has eyes of 
fire and a fiery beard (this is doubtless a representation 
of the demoniacal sun of evening, of Kuveras or of Plutos.^ 

^ Professor Spiegel says in a note, Khorda-Avesta, p. 147: "Die 
Beschwbrung vormittelst einer Feder ist gewiss eine alteranische 
Vorstellung." — In a story, hitherto unpublished, of the Monferrato, 
communicated to me by Signor Ferraro, a woman, who had gone to 
eat parsley in the garden of a sorceress, was obliged to give her 
daughter up to her as a penalty for the offence. The girl was after- 
wards subjected to three difficult trials ; to sunder in one day a 
mountain of wheat and millet into the grains composing it, to eat 
in one day a mountain of apples, and to wash, dry, and iron in 
one hour all the linen of a year. In the first trial, by means of 
two bird's feathers, she calls up a. thousand birds, who separate 
the grain from the millet. — In the fourth story of the fifth book 
of the Fentameronej the birds strip themselves of their feathers 
to fill a mattress which the witch has ordered the young Permetella 
to make. In a Tuscan story, for the possession of a peacock's feather, 
the young brother is killed. 

2 In Afanassieffj v. 38, a similar little bird ravages during the night 
the field of a lord ; the youngest of the three brothers, who is believed 
to be foolish, catches it and sells it to the king, who shuts it in a 
room under lock and key. The king's son releases the little bird, 
which in gratitude gives him a horse that wins battles, and a golden 
apple, by means of which he is able to wed a princess. — In the story 
v. 22, the young man who has been instructed by the devil trans- 
forms himself into a bird and tells his father to sell him, but not to 
give up the cage. The devil buys the bird, but does not obtain the 
cage -J he puts the bird into a handkerchief to take it to his daughter, 
but when he comes home the bird has disappeared. — In the story v. 
42, the king of birds releases Ivan from the witch who wishes to eat 



1 74 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOG K 

In the Conies Merveilleux of Porchat, the red bird ap- 
pears as a messenger. 

In the legend of Sal, in Firdusi, there is a riddle about 
two cypresses, one withered and the other verdant, upon 
first the one and then the other of which a bird regularly 
builds his nest. The hero Sal, who solves the riddle,. 
says that the two cypresses are the two opposite seasons 

him, and takes him to his betrothed. The witch tears a few feathers 
off the king of birds, but does not succeed in stopping him. — In the 
story V. 46, the devil teaches the language of birds to the young hero. 
— In the story vi. 69, the wise maiden goes to take into the kingdom 
of darkness the bird that speaks, the tree that sings, and the water of 
life, with which she brings to life her two brothers, born before her, 
whom a witch had thrown into a fountain (the aurora delivers the 
A9vin^u). — In the fiftli Sicilian story of Signora Gonzenbach, brother 
and sister go into the witch's castle to take the water that dances and 
the bird that speaks. The bird tells the water, in the king's presence, 
the story of the two young people. — In the fifth story of the second 
book of the Pentamerone, the fox teaches the young Grannonia what 
birds say. — In the seventh story of the fifth book of the Pentamerone, 
it is the youngest of the five brothers that acquires the faculty of 
understanding the language of birds. — In Pietro de Creseenzi (x. 1), 
we find a "rex Daucus (Dacus?) qui divino intellectu novit natu- 
ram accipitrum et falconum et eos domesticare ad prsedam instruere, 
et ab segritudinibus liberare." — In the legend of St Francis of Assisi, 
the great saint was able to make himself understood to birds, and to 
make the swallows be silent ; the same saint made a wolf mild and 
tame; the miracle of Orpheus is repeated in numerous other legends. 
— In the sixteenth Mongol story of Siddhikiir, a wise dwarf, who 
understands the language of birds, hears two birds, father and son, 
speak to each other on the summit of a tree about the king's son, who 
had been assassinated by the son of the minister. — In the Edda^ Atli 
has a long dialogue with a bird whose language he understands. — 
Finally, the whole of the comedy of Aristophanes entitled The Birds 
(Ornithes) shows the wisdom and diviidng power of birds, and, as 
animals of presage, their intimate relation with the thunderbolts of 
2eus. — According to the German belief, the fat of a serpent teaches 
how to understand the language of birds. Cfr. Simrock, the work 
previously quoted, p. 457. 



THE BIRD AND THE HERO. 175 

of the year or the two sides of the sky, and that the 
bird is the sun.^ 

In the eighteenth Esthonian story, two birds, speaking 
to each other, signify where the famous enchanted ring of 
Solomon is to be found, which the young hero is looking 
for. When the hero finds the ring, he is able to transform 
himself at will into a bird ; but the daughter of hell, in 
the shape of an eagle, carries it off from him. In the 
fourth Esthonian story, the girl of seven years of age 
becomes, by beneficent magic, a bird, when she is obliged 
to travel far. In the thirty-fifth of the stories of Santo 
Stefano di Calcinaia, the wife of the bird-catcher terrifies 
the devil in the form of an enormous and monstrous 
bird. In the fifth story of the fourth book of the 
Pentamerone, a fairy in the form of a bird arrests the 
arm of the king of Alta-Marina whilst he is about to kill 
his own wife Portiella. The fairy was grateful to the 
young woman, because, when she was asleep in a wood, 
Portiella had awakened her to deliver her from a satyr 
who was attempting to violate her.^ The king shuts 
PortieUa up in a tower without light ; the bird makes a 
hole in it and brings food to her, stealing the fowls from 
the kitchen during the cook's absence. Portiella gives 
birth to a son, who is also nourished by the bird. The 
oiseau bleu, couleiir du temps, of the story of Madame 
d'Aulnoy, who flies at night from the cjrpress to the 
window of the beautiful imprisoned Florine, is a beautiful 



^ " Die zwei Cypressen sind die Himmelsseiten, 
Die beiden, die uns Gliick und Laid bereiten ; 
Der Vogel, der drin nistet, ist die Sonne, 
Sie giebt beim Schneiden Schmerz, beim Kommen Wonne." 
— Schack, Heldensagen von Mrdicd, p. 122. 
2 A variety of the myth of Priapos, mentioned in the chapter on the 
Ass. 



176 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



variety of this same story. Several Russian stories end 
with the following refrain of an aznre bird (sinicka, little 
azure one) : "little azure one flies and says, Azure, but 
beautiful." ^ Inasmuch as the sun of morning, or spring, 
comes out of the dark-blue bird of night, or of winter, 
we can understand the popular Italian and German 
superstition, that when the excrement of a bird falls upon 
a man it is an omen of good luck. The excrement of 
the mythical bird of nighfc, or of winter, is the sun. 
Considered in connection with morning or spring, the 
dark-coloured bird of night, or winter, is propitious ; 
considered by itself, or in relation to the evening sun or 
the dying summer, it is a funereal and diabolical animal. 
Such is the bird Kamek of the Avesta, which stretches 
its wings over aU mankind, which carries off and hides 
the sun, creates darkness, keeps back the waters and 
devours all creatures, until after seven years and seven 
nights, the hero Kere949pa strikes it and makes it fall. 

Moreover, the bird that brings food is a subject which 
in very popular in almost all the traditions of the Indo- 
European nations. Every one has heard of the bird 
w^hich nourished Semiramis, abandoned by her mother in 
a desert and stony place, with curdled milk and cheese 

^ Sinicka letat i gavarit : Sin da cliarosh. — The dark-blue bird is a 
symbol of the azure sky of night or winter, whilst, on the other hand, 
the wooden bird, at which the maidens of Westphalia throw sticks on 
St John's Day, seems to be a phallical symbol ; she who hits the bird 
is queen. The bird is a well-known phallical symbol ; and a phallical 
origin must be ascribed to the popular superstition that a bird may 
be rendered helpless by putting salt upon its tail. The salacitas of 
an animal, when given way to, takes every energy from it ; the 
urdhvaretas alone is strong. It was perhaps for a similar reason that 
in the Middle Ages, when a city was destroyed to its foundations, it 
was the custom to throw salt upon it, in order that it might never rise 
again. Salt thrown away is like seed sown in the desert, where it is 
fruitless. 



PROPHETIC BIRDS. 1 7 7 

(the moonlight), stolen from the neighbouring flocks of 
sheep, according to the narrative of Diodorus Siculus; 
and the same Persian bird nourishes, according to the 
legend, several other children, future heroes of Iran, who 
had been similarly exposed ; in the legend of Romulus 
and Eemus, the woodpecker assumes the same place and 
office as the nurse she-wolf. In the watery night and the 
watery winter, the solar child-hero, abandoned to himself, 
is nourished by birds. The nightingale or singer of the 
night sends forth his melodious notes from the nocturnal 
tree, predicting thus the renewal of daylight ;. in the tree- 
cloud, the thunder rumbles, the oracle speaks, and the 
bird prophesies. Theokritos calls poets the birds of fhe 
Muses (mous6n ornithas). The kokilas is the bird of 
the Hindoo poets and teaches them melody; to this 
bird corresponds the Hindoo Kyknos of the Titti-Name, 
of which it is said that it has innumerable holes in 
its beak, from each of which a melodious sound comes 
forth. 

The Hindoo kavisy the Latin vate^, and the Hellenic 
mantis represent at once both the singer and the sage ; 
thus the singers of the woods are at the same time 
omniscient prophets. They began with prophecies about 
the weather, as the thunder announces the storm, and 
finished by prophesying everything. The peasantry of 
Tuscany endeavour to this day to guess what weather 
it will be on the morrow from the songs of the birds. ^ 
The augures, the auguremens, the aucelli, and the arus- 
j)ices were preserved even in the Middle Ages, according 



^ It is a mountaineer of the province of Siena that speaks : "I per- 
ceived by the song of the birds that the weather was about to change ; 
their voice told me, it was so merry ; " Giuliani, Morallta e Poesia del 
Vivente Lingttaggio della Toscaiia, p. 149. 

VOL. II. M 



178 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

to the testimony of Du Cange.^ As to the auguries and 
auspices of the ancient Greeks and Eomans, I refer the 
reader to the numerous erudite works which treat of 
them in a particular manner. I must observe, however, 
that whilst among the Latins augury was deemed such a 
solenrn thing that Publius Claudius and Lucius Junius 
were judged worthy of death for having set out on a 
voyage against the will of the auguries, and that whilst 
ave, that is to say, good augury, was still the solemn for- 
mula of Eoman salutation, the Greeks had already tm-ned 
auguries and auspices into derision. The reader re- 
members, no doubt, how in the Iliad the hero Hektor 
declares that he cares not whether the birds go to the 
right, towards the aurora and the sun, or to the left, 
towards the sunset. In Eusebius ^ Ave read that a bird 
was presented to Alexander, the Macedonian, when on 
the point of setting out for the Eed Sea, in order that he 
might read the auguries by it according to custom ; 
Alexander, in answer, killed the bird with an arrow ; the 
bystanders being offended by this breach of the rules, the 
Macedonian hero added, " What folly is this ? In what 
way could this bird, which could not foresee its death 
by this arrow, predict the fortunes of our journey ? " 
Auguries and auspices were also taken in India. Accord- 
ing to the Rdmdyanam,^ birds seen at a wedding to go 
to the left, are a sinister omen ;^ birds that fly, crying, to 



^ Cfr. among others, the words alhanellus (haubereau) avis auguralis 
species, and aucellus. 

^ De Prceparat. Evang, lib. ix. 3 j^ ^g^ 

* Amongst the Eomans, on the contrary, the flight to the left was 
an excellent omen , thus Plautus in the Epidicus : " Tacete, habete 
animum boniim, liqnido exeo foras auspicio, ave sinistra." (But this 
change from right to left may depend upon the various positions 
taken by the observer in placing himself.) In the mediaeval legend 



A UG URIES AND A USPICIES. 1 7 9 

the left of E^mas, announce to him a serious disaster, 
viz., the carrying off of %\\k} 

of Alexander, a bird with a human face (a harpy) meets Alexander 
and advises him to turn to the right, when he will see marvellous 
things. — Cfr. Zacher, Pseudo-Callisthenes, Halle, 1867, p. 142. 
1 Rdmdy. iii. 64. 



CHAPTEE IL 

THE HAWK, THE EAGLE, THE VULTUJiE, THE PHCENIX, THE HARPY, 
TEE STKIX, THE BAT, THE GRIBTON, AND THE SIREN. 

SUMMARY. 

The bird of prey the most heroic of birds. —Indras as a hawk. — The 
hawk and the ambrosia; the ambrosia as sperm. — The bird of 
prey and the serpent. — Agnis, the Agviniu, and the Marntas" as 
hawks. — The place of sacrifice has the form of an eagle. — The 
two sons of Vinati. — Garudas, the bird of Vishnus ; he fights 
against the monsters. — Genealogy of the vultures. — Gatayus and 
Sampatis. — The king or the young hero who offers himself up to 
be devoured by the hawk or the eagle. — The grateful hawk or 
eagle. — Qyena and Qaena ; Simurg ; the feather of the bird of 
prey. — The birds as clouds. — The eagles as winds ; Aquila and 
Aquilo. — The hawks as luminous birds ; the eagles as demoniacal 
ones. — Accipiter. — The hawk as an emblem of nobility. — The 
hawk as the ensign of Attila. — The hawk in Hellenic antiquity. — 
The kite among the stars } it discharges its body upon the image 
of the god. — The beetle, the eagle, and Zeus. — The eagle as the 
thunderbolt or sceptre of Zeus. — The eagle presages supreme 
power and fertility ; the eagle and the laurel. — The eagle carries 
off the robes of Aphrodite. — The eagle takes away the slippers of 
Rhodope. — The eagle kills ^schilos. — Nisos and Scylla. — The 
vulture in ancient classical authors. — The vultures in hell. — The 
learned vulture. — Voracity of the vulture. — Imaginary birds. — 
The sun as a phoenix.— The demonaical harpies or Furiae, canes 
Jovis.— Strix and striges ; they suck blood. — Proca and Crane. 
■ — Bats and vampires. — The Stymphalian birds. — The birds of 
Seleucia. — The Gryphes and the Arimaspi. — The griffons sacred to 
Nemesis; the hypogriff, gryphos, logogriph, griffonage.— The 
Siren now as a bird, now as a fish. — Circe ; a lunar myth. 



THE HA WK INDRAS. i8i 

The most heroic of birds is the bird of prey ; the strength 
of its beak, wings, and claws, its size and swiftness, caused 
it to be regarded as a swift celestial messenger, carrier, 
and warrior. 

The hawk, the eagle, and the vulture, three powerful 
birds of prey, generally play the same part in myths and 
legends ; the creators of myths having from the first 
observed their general resemblance, without paying any 
regard to their specific differences. 

The bird of prey, in mythology, is the sun, which 
now shines in its splendour, and now shows itself in the 
cloud or darkness by sending forth flashes of lightning, 
thunderbolts, and sunbeams. The flash, the thunderbolt, 
and the sunbeam are now the beak, now the claw of the 
bird of prey, and now, the part being sometimes taken for 
the whole, even the entire bird. 

In the RigvedaSj the god Indras often appears in the 
form of a hawk or §yenas. Indras is like a hawk that 
flies swiftly over the other hawks, and, being weU-winged, 
carries to men the food tasted by the gods.-^ He is en- 
closed in a hundred iron fortresses ; nevertheless, with 
swiftness, he succeeds in coming out of them ; ^ while 
flying away, he carries in his claw the beautiful, virgin, 
luminous ambrosia, by means of which life is prolonged 
and the dead brought to life again ^ (the rain, which is 
also confounded with the ambrosial humour of the moon. 

1 Pra gyenah 9yenebliya agupatv^ — Adakray^ yat svadhay^ suparno 
havyam bharan manave deva^ushtam ; Rigv. iv. 26, 4. — The somah 
gyenabhritali is also mentioned in the Eigv. i. 80, 2, iv. 27, is. 77 and 
other passages. 

2 Qatam m^ pura ayasir arakshann adha gyeno ^avas^ nir adiyam ■ ■ 
Eigv. iv. 27, 1. 

3 Yam te gyena^ d^rum avrikarii padtibliarad arunam m^nam and- 
basah— ena vayo vi tary ayur ^ivasa ena ^agara bandhut^; Eigv. x 
144 5. 



i82 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

In tlie first strophe of the same hymiij Indus is also called 
ambrosia)/ The hawk with iron claws kills the hostile 
demons/ has great power of breathing, and draws from 
afar the chariot with a hundred wheels.^ However, while 
the hawk carries the ambrosia through the air, he trembles 
for fear of the archer Krij^nus/ who, in fact^ shot off one 
of his claws (of which the hedgehog was born, according 
to the Aitareya Br.,^ and according to the Vedic hymn,^ 
one of his feathers which, falling on the earth, afterwards 
became a tree). After the victory gained over Ahis, the 
serpent-demon, Indras flees like a terrified hawk/ This 
is the first trace of the legendary and proverbial enmity 
between the bird of prey and the serpent. In the third 
book of the Rdmdyanam, E^vanas says that he will 
carry off Sit4 as the well-winged one (carries off) the 
serpent (suparnah panna^amiva). 

Nor is Indras alone a hawk in the JRigvedas, but Agnis 

^ In the Mahdhhdratam (i. 2383), the ambrosia takes the shape of 
sperm, A king, far from his wife Girika, thinks of her; the sperm 
comes from him and falls upon a leaf. A hawk carries the leaf away ; 
another hawk sees it and disputes with it for the possession of the 
leaf ; they fight with one another and the leaf falls into the waters of 
the Yamuna, where the nymph Adrik^ (equivalent to Girika), changed 
by a curse into a fish, sees the leaf, feeds upon the sperm, becomes 
fruitful, and is delivered ; cfr. the chapter on the Fishes. 

2 Qyeno 'yop^shtir hanti dasylln ; Rigv. x. 99, 8. — In the Eussian 
stories the hawk and the dog are sometimes the most powerful helpers 
of the hero. 

^ Ghrishuh gyen^ya kritvana isuh ; ^/^y. x. 144, 3. — Yam suparnah 
paravatah gyenasya putra' ^bharat gatadakram ; Rigv. x. 144, 1. 

^ Sa purvyah pavate yam divas pari gyeno math^yad ishitas tiro 
ra^ah sa madhva i yuvate yevi^-fi,na it krig^nor astur manas^ha bib- 
hyusha; Rigv. ix. 77, 2. 5 iii. 3, 26. 

® Antah patat patatry asya parnam ; Rigv. iv. 27, 4. — Cfr, for this 
mythical episode the texts given by Prof. Kuhn and the relative dis- 
cussions. Die llerahhimft d. F. u. d. S., pp. 138 seq. and 180 seq. 

^ Qyeno na bhitah ; Rigv. i. 32, 14. 



HAWKS AND VULTURES. 183 

too. M^tarigv^n and tlie liawk agitate, the one the 
heavenly fire, the other the ambrosia of the mountain/ 
The chariot of the A§vin4u is also sometimes drawn by 
hawks, as swift as heavenly vultures.^ They are them- 
' selves compared to two vultm-es that hover romid the tree 
where the treasure is^ (we have seen in the preceding 
chapter that the tree is the sky). The Marutas are also 
called Gridhr4s or vultures (falcons according to Max 
Mliller.'*) In the Rigvedas, again, when the sun goes to 
the sea, he looks with a vulture's eye.^ On account of this 
form of a bird of prey, often assumed by the solar god in 
the Vedic myths, we read in the Aitareya Br,, that the 
place destined for the sacrifice had the same shape. In 
the Rdmdyanam we find, in the sacrifice of a horse, that 
the place of sacrifice has the form of the bird Garudas, 
the powerful mythical eagle of the Hindoos. In the 
149th hymn of the tenth book of the Migvedas, the 
ancient well- winged son of the sun Savitar is already 
named Garutman. The mythical bird is the equivalent 
of the winged solar horse, or hippogriff"; indeed, the 
118th hymn of the first book of the jRigvedas, soon 
after celebrating the hawks that draw the chariot of the 
Agvin^u, calls them beautiful flying horses (a§va vapu- 
shah patamg^h). We have observed that of the two twins, 
or the two brothers, one prevails over the other. Thus 

^ Anyam divo matarigv^ ^abliar^mathnid anyam pari gyeno adreh ; 
MgvA. 93, 6. 

2 A v^m gyen^so agvini vahantu — ye apturo divyi^o na gridhrah ; 
Migv. i. 118, 4 

2 Gridhreva vriksham nidhimantam adha; Bigv, ii. 39, 1. 

^ JRigv, i. 88, 4. — In fact, in the hymn i. 165, 2, the Marutas are 
explicitly compared to hawks that fly through the air (gyenin iva 
dhra^ato antarikshe). 

^ Drapsah samiidram abhi ya^ ^ig^ti pagyan gridhrasya 6akshas^ 3 
Eigv. X. 123, 8. 



i84 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

of the two mythical vultures, of the two sons of Vinat4, 
in the legend of the Mahdbhdratam,'^ their mother having 
broken the egg before the proper time, one, Arunas, is 
born imperfect, and curses his mother, condemning her 
to be the slave of her rival KadrA for five thousand 
years, until her other son, the luminous, perfect, and 
powerful solar bird Garudas, comes to release her. Arunas 
becomes the charioteer of the sun ; Garudas is, instead, 
the steed of the god Vishnus, the solar horse, the sun 
itself, victorious in all its splendour. No sooner are the 
two birds born, than the horse Ucc^ihyravas also appears, 
which again signifies that solar bird and solar horse are 
identical. Like the hawk Indras, or the hawk of Indras, 
Garudas, the bird of Vishnus, or Vishnus himself, is thirsty, 
drinks many rivers,^ carries off from the serpents the 
ambrosia, protected (as in the Rigvedas) by a circle of 
iron. Like Vishnus, Garudas, from being very tall, makes 
himself very little, penetrates among the serpents, covers 
them with dust and blinds them ; it is, indeed, on 
account of this feat that Vishnus adopts him for his 
celestial steed. ^ The god Vishnus goes on the back of 
the well- winged one to fight against the monsters ; * in- 
dignant with them, he throws them to the ground with 
the flapping of his wings ; the monsters aim their darts 
at him as another form of the hero, and he fights on his 
own account and for the hero.^ When the bird Garudas 
appears, the fetters of the monsters, which compress like 
serpents the two brothers E4mas and Lakshmanas, are 
loosed, and the two yoimg heroes rise more handsome 
and stronger than before.^ The Nish^das come from 
their damp abodes, enter into the gaping jaws of Garudas 



i. 1078, seq. 2 Mhh. i. 1495. » Ih, i. 1496, 

Rdmdy. vii. 6. ^ lb. vii. 7. 6 /^, y\^ 26. 



THE OMNISCIENT VULTURE, 185 

in thousands, enveloped by the Avind and the dust.-^ 
(The sun of morning and that of spring devour the 
black monsters of night and of winter.) 

Hitherto we have seen the hawk, the eagle (as Garudas), 
and the vulture exchanged for each other; even the Hindoo 
mythical genealogy confirms this exchange. According 
to the Rdmdyanam,^ of T4mr4 (properly the reddish one ; 
she also gave birth to Kj?^uii6i, the mother of the herons) 
was born Qyenl (that is, the female hawk) ; of Qyeni 
was born Vinat4. Vinat4 (properly the bent one) laid 
the egg whence Arunas and Garudas came forth (the two 
Dioskuroi also came, as is well known, out of the egg of 
Leda, united with the swan) ; Garudas was in his turn 
father of two immense vultures, G^t^yus and Sampatis. 
In this genealogy the ascending movement of the sun 
appears to be described to us, like the myth of the sun 
Vishnus, who, from a dwarf, becomes a giant. The vul- 
ture G4t£Lyus knows everything that has happened in the 
past, and everything that will come to pass in the future, 
inasmuch as, like the Vedic sun, he is vigvavedas, all- 
seeing, omniscient, and has traversed the whole earth. 
lu the Rdmdyanam we read of the last fi.erce battle of 
the aged vulture GA-tiyus with the terrible monster 
Eavanas, who carries off the beautiful Sit4 during the 
absence of her husband E4mas. G^tayus, although old 
in years, rises into the air to prevent the carrying off of 
Sit4 by E4vanas in a chariot drawn by asses ; the vulture 
breaks with his strong claws the bow and arrow of 
Eivanas, strikes and kills the asses, splits the chariot in 
two, throws the charioteer down, forces E^vanas to leap 
to the ground, and wounds him in a thousand ways ; but 
at last the king of the monsters succeeds with his sword 

1 Mbh, i. 1337, seq, a iii. 20. 



i86 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

in cutting off the wings, feet, and sides of the faithful 
bird, who expires in pain and grief, whilst the demon 
carries the ravished woman into Lank4. 

Thus far, therefore, we always find in the bird of prey 
a friend of the hero and the god. Such is also, in the 
Rdmdyanam,^ the immense vulture that comes to place 
itself, and to vomit blood upon the standard of the monster 
Kharas, to predict his misfortunes to him ; and such is 
the elder brother of G4tayus, the vulture Sampatis, who, 
coming out of a cavern, informs the great monkey Hanu- 
mant where Sit4 may be found. Sampatis, after having 
seen Hanumant, recovers his own wings, which had been 
burnt by the sun's rays, once when he had wished to 
defend his younger brother from them whilst they were 
flying together too high up in the regions of the sun ^ (a 
variety of the Hellenic legend of Dedalus and Icarus, of 
that of Hanumant who wished to fly after the sun in order 
to catch it, and of that of the two A§vin4u). 

When, in the very popular Hindoo legend of the 
Buddhist king who sacrifices himself instead of the dove 
that had looked for hospitality from him, the hawk ap- 
pears as the persecutor of the dove, this apparent perse- 
cution is only a trial that Indras, the hawk, and Agnis, 
the dove, wish to make of the king's virtue. No sooner 
does the hawk see that the king offers himself up to be 
devoured by the hawk, who complains that the king has 
taken his prey, the dove, from him, than both hawk and 
dove reassume their divine form, and cover the holy king 
with benedictions.^ Indras and Agnis, united together, are 

^ iii. 29. 2 Ji^rndy, iv. 58, 59. 

3 For the numerous Eastern varieties of this legend, cfr. the Ein- 
leitung to the Pancatantram^ of Prof. Benfey, p. 388, seq. — In the 
fifth story of the first book of Afanassief (cfr. the sixth of the same 
book), Little John is carried back from the bottom of the earth into 



THE HERO V/HO SACRIFICES HIMSELR 187 

also themselves a form of the two Agvin^u, like the two 
faithful doves that sacrifice themselves in the third book 
of PaYictantram, 

The wise gaena bf the Avesta has a character nearly- 
resembling the Vedic bird gyenas. According to the 
Bu7idehesh, two gaenas stay at the gates of hell, which 
correspond to the two crepuscular hawks or vultures of 

Russia upon the wings of an eagle. When the eagle is hungry it turns 
its head, and Johnny gives it food ; when the provisions come to an 
end, Johnny feeds it with his own flesh. — In the twenty-seventh story 
of the second book, the two young people are carried from the world 
of darkness into that of light on the wings of the bird Kolpalitza; 
when the provisions come to an end, it is the girl that gives flesh, cut 
off her thigh, to the bird. But the youth, who has with him the 
water of life, heals the amorous maiden ; cfr. also Afanassieff^ v. 23, 
and V. 28, where, instead of the eagle, we find the hawk. — The same 
sacrifice of himself is made in a Piedmontese story, recorded by me in 
first number of the Rivista Orientale, by a young prince, who wishes 
to cross the sea in order to see the princess that he loves j the same is 
done by the young hero of the following unpublished Tuscan story, 
which I heard from a certain Martino Nardini of Prato : — '* A three- 
headed dragon steals during the night the golden apples in the garden 
of the king of Portugal ; the three sons of the king watch during the 
night : the first two fall asleep, but the third discovers the thief and 
wounds him. The day after, the three brothers follow the track caused 
by the robber's blood : they come to a beautiful palace, in which there 
is a cistern, into which the third brother is lowered down, taking a 
trumpet with him to sound when he wishes to be taken up. Follow- 
ing a dark path he comes to a fine meadow, where there are three 
splendid palaces, one of bronze, one of silver, and one of gold , fol- 
lowing the trace of blood, he goes to the palace of bronze ; a beautiful 
maiden opens the gate to him, and wonders why he has come down to 
the world underground ; the young couple are pleased with each 
other, and proriiise to marry one another j the maiden has a crown of 
brilliatits, of which she gives him half as a pledge. The dragon comes 
back home, and says : — 

" Ucci, ucci 

O che puzzo di Cristianucci, 

O ce n* hi o ce n' e stati, 

O ce n* e di rimpiattati." 



i8S ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the Ved^s. The bird with wings that strike, into which 
the hero Thraetaona is transformed in the Khorda Avesta, 
whilst it reminds us of the Hindoo warrior vulture, can 
serve as a link to join together theZendic §aena and 
the Persian Simurg. The bird Simurg has its marvellous 
nest upon Mount Alburs, upon a peak that touches the 
sky, and which no man has ever yet seen. The child Sal 
is exposed upon this mountain ; he is hungry and cold. 



The maiden, who has concealed the young hero, caresses the dragon 
and makes him fall asleep. When he is asleep, she brings the young 
man out of his concealment, gives him a sword and tells him to cut 
the three heads off at one blow. Helped by a second maiden, the 
young hero prepares to accomplish a second undertaking in the silver 
palace of the five-headed dragon. He must cut the five heads off at a 
blow, for if one remains, it is as if he had cut none off. After having 
killed the dragon, he promises to marry the second maiden too. 
Finally, he knocks at the gate of the golden palace, which is opened 
by a third maiden ; she too asks, " What ever induced you to come to 
lose your life in the lower world? The seven-headed dragon lives 
here." He promises to marry her ; the dragon does not wish to go to 
rest this night ; but the maiden persuades him to do so, upon which 
the youths cuts off the seven heads in two strokes. The three girls, 
who were three princesses carried off by the dragons, are released, and 
take all the riches that they can find in order to carry them into 
the upper world. They come to the cistern, the hero sounds the 
trumpet, and the two brothers draw up all the riches, the three 
maidens, shutting up the entrance with a stone, and leaving their 
young brother alone in the subterranean world. The two elder 
brothers force the three princesses to declare that they had delivered 
them ; they then go to the King of Portugal and boast of this feat, 
saying, that the third brother is lost. The three princesses are sad, at 
which the King of Portugal wonders. The elder brothers w;ish to 
marry the maiden who was in the bronze palace ; but she declares 
that she will only marry him who brings to her the other half of the 
crown of brilliants. They send to all the goldsmiths and jewellers to 
find one who can make it. Meanwhile, the third brother, abandoned 
underground, cries out for aid; an eagle approaches the tomb, and 
promises to carry him into the woi^ld above, if he will allay its hunger. 
The young hero, by the eagle's advice, puts lizards and serpents into a 



THE BIRD SIMURG, 189 

and cries out ; the bird Simurg passes by, hears his cry, 
takes pity upon him, and carries the child to its solitary 
peak. A mysterious voice blesses the glorious bird, who 
nourishes the boy, instructs, protects, and strengthens 
him, and, when he lets him go, gives him one of his own 
feathers, saying that when he is in danger he must throw 
this feather into the fire, and he will come at once to 
assist him,^ and take him back into the kingdom. He 



sackj and calls the eagle after having made a plentiful provision of 
food. He fastens the sack round his neck in order to give an animal 
to the .eagle each time that it asks for food. When they are a few 
arms' length distant from the upper world, the sack is empty ; the 
youth cuts his flesh off with a knife and gives it to the eagle, which 
carries him into the world, when the young man asks him how he can 
return home. The bird directs him to follow the high road. A char- 
coal-seller passes by ; the young man proposes himself as his assistant, 
on condition that he give him some food. The charcoal-seller takes 
him with himself for some time, and then recommends him to an old 
man, his friend, who is a silversmith. Meanwhile, the king's servants 
have been six months wandering towards the sunset, searching for a 
silversmith capable of making the other half of the crown, but in vain; 
they then wander for six months towards the sunrise till they come to 
the dwelling of the poor silversmith where the third brother serves as 
an assistant. The old man says he is not able to make the half crown ; 
but the young man asks to see the other half, recognises it, and pro- 
mises to give it back entire in eight days. At the expiration of this 
time, the king sends for the crown and the manufacturer, but the 
youth sends his master instead of himself. The princess, however, 
insists upon seeing the young assistant too ; he is seut for and brought 
to the palace ; the king does not recognise him, and asks what reward 
he wants; he answers that he -wishes for what the crown cost to the 
princess. The latter recognises him, after which his father does so too. 
The young hero weds the princess to whom he had promised himself; 
and the two brothers are covered with inflammable gums, and used as 
lamps to light up the wedding. 

1 In a hitherto unpublished story of the Monferrato, communi- 
cated to me by Signor Ferraro, a king with three sons is blind ; he 
would be cured if he could bathe his eyes in oil with a feather of the 
griffon-bird, which lives upon a high mountain. The third brother 



190 ZOOLOGICAL MY2H0L0GY. 

only asks him never to forget his faithful and loving 
preserver. He then carries the young hero to his father's 
palace. The king praises the divine bird in the follow- 
ing words : — " king of birds! Heaven has given thee 
'Strength and wisdom ; thou art the assister of the needy, 
propitious to the good and the consoler of the afflicted ; 
may evil be dispersed before thee, and may thy greatness 
last for ever." In the fifth adventure of Isfendiar, in 
Firdusi, the gigantic bird Simurg appears, on the con- 
trary, as demoniacal as he that dims the sunbeams with 
his wings (in the Birds of Aristophanes, when a great 
number of birds appear, the spectators cry out, " Apollo, 
the clouds ! ") Isfendiar fights with him, and cuts him 
to pieces. 

In Scandinavian and German mythology, while the 
hawk is generally a luminous shape, preferred by the 
heroes, and by Freya, the eagle is a gloomy form preferred 
by demons, or at least by the hero or god (like Odin) ^ 

succeeds in catching one, having been kind to an old woman; he 
brings the griffon-bird to his father, who recovers his sight and his 
youth. — Cfr. the third story of the fourth book of the Pentamerone, in 
which a hawk that is a princess transformed, also gives to the brother 
of his wife one of his feathers, which he is to throw to the ground in 
case of necessity j indeed, when young Tittone requires it, a battalion 
of hawks appear in order to free the imprisoned maiden loved by 
Tittone. — In the fifth story of the fifth book of the Pentamerone^ the 
hawk serves as a guide to a young king to find a beautiful princess 
whom a witch has put to sleep, and who is believed to be dead. This 
princess becomes the mother of two sons, who are called Sun and 
Moon. — In the sixth Sicilian story of Signora Gonzenbach, a young 
man releases an eagle that was entangled in the branches of a tree ; the 
grateful eagle gives him one of its feathers ; letting it fall to the groand, 
the youth can become an eagle at pleasure. 

1 In the ninth Esthonian story it is the eagle that takes the message 
to the thunder-god to enable him to recover his weapon, which the 
devil had carried off. — In the first Esthonian story, the eagle also 
appears as the propitious messenger of the young prince. 



THE EAGLE, 191 



hidden in the gloomy night or in the windy cloud. 
The Edda tells us that the winds are produced by the 
shaking of the wings of a giant, who sits in the 
form of an eagle at the extremity of the sky ; the aquila 
and the wind called aquilo by the Latins, as they corre- 
spond etymologically, seem also to be mythically identical, 
I have observed on a previous occasion that in the Edda 
the witch rides upon a wolf, using eagles as reins. In 
the Nihelungen, Krimhilt sees in a dream his beloved 
hawk strangled by two eagles. 

On the other hand, the swallows sing to Sigurd in the 
Edda, predicting to him his meeting with the beautiful 
warrior maiden who, coming forth from the battles, rides 
upon an eagle. But this warlike girl was, however, 
destined to cause the death of Sigurd. 

In the chapter on the elephant, we saw how the bird 
Garudas transported into the air an elephant, a tortoise, 
a bough of a tree, and hermits. In the Greek variety of 
the same myth, we have the eagle instead of Garudas. 
In the Edda, three Ases (Odin, Loki, and Honir) are 
cooking an oz under a tree ; but from the summit of the 
tree, an eagle interrupts the cooking of the meat, because 
it wishes to have a share. The Ases consent ; the eagle 
carries off nearly everything, upon which Loki, indignant, 
wounds the eagle with a stake ; but whilst one end of 
the stake remains attached to the eagle, the other is 
fastened to Loki's hand, and the eagle carries him up into 
the air. Loki feels his arms break, and implores the 
eagle to have compassion upon him ; the gigantic bird 
lets him go, on condition of obtaining, instead of him, 
Iduna and her apples.-^ In the twenty- third story of the 



^ In the story of Santo Stefano, La Principessa die non ride, the 
eaglets have the same faculty of drawing after themselves everything 



192 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

fifth book of Afanassieff, the eagle, after having been 
benefited by a peasant, eats up his sheep. The name of 
eagles was given during the Middle Ages to certain 
demons which were said to appear in the form of an 
eagle, especially on account of their rapacious expression, 
and aquiline nose/ 

The hawk, on the other hand, I repeat, usually ap- 
pears as divine, in opposition to all that is diabolical. In 
the twenty-second story of the fifth and the forty-sixth 
of the sixth book of Afanassieff, the hero transforms 
himself into a hawk, in order to strangle the cock into 
which the devil has metamorphosed himself (a Eussian 
proverb, however, says of the devil that he is more pleas- 
ing than the luminous hawk).^ When they wished, in 

that they touch ; and, as forms of the winds (or the clouds), in which 
character they sometimes appear, we can understand this property of 
theirs ; the wind, too, draws after itself everything that comes in its 
way, and especially the violent north wind (aquilo). — In Eussian 
stories we have, instead, now the funereal storks, now the marvellous 
goose taking the place of the eagle that drags things behind it. 

1 In the tenth Sicilian story of Signora Gonzenbach, it is in the 
shape of a silver eagle that the king of the assassins penetrates into 
the room where the young wife of the king sleeps, upon whom he 
wishes to avenge himself. — Stephanus Stephanius, the interpreter of 
Saxo Gi'ammaiicus, writes, that among t]je English, the Danes, and 
other Northern nations, it was the custom when an enemy was defeated, 
to thrust a sword, as a greater mark of ignominy, into his back, in such 
a manner as to separate the backbone on both sides by a longitudinal 
wound; thence stripes of flesh having been cut off, they were fastened 
to the sides, so as to represent eagle's wings. (In Eussian popular 
stories, when heroes and monsters fight, we find frequent reference to 
a similar custom.) 

2 Panravilas satan^ ludshe j'-asnavo sakaU, Afanassieff^ vi. 16. — The 
proverb, however, may have another sense, viz., better the devil in per- 
son than a beautiful but diabolical shape. The devil tomatimes assumed 
the form of a hawk, as we learn from the legend of Endo, an English 
man-at-arms, who became enamoured of one into which the devil had 
transformed himself, in Guillelmus Neubrigensis, IlUt. Angl. i. 19. 



THE HA WK AN EMBLEM OF NOBILITY. 193 

popular Russian phraseology, to express something that it 
is impossible to overtake, it was said, ''Like the hurri- 
cane in the field, and the luminous hawk in the sky." 
We know that the Latin accipiier and the Greek 
dlcilpteros mean the swift- winged. In the seventh story 
of the first book of Afanassieff, the hawk appears in 
opposition to the black crow. When the young girl, 
disguised as a man, succeeds in deceiving the Tzar three 
times, she says to him, *'Ah! thou crow, crow; thou 
hast not known, crow, how to catch the hawk in a 
cage." 

The hawk was one of the distinctive badges of the 
mediaeval cavalier ; even ladies kept them, Krimhilt 
brings up a wild hawk ; Brunhilt, when she throws her- 
self upon the funeral pyre, that she may not survive 
Sigurd, has two dogs and two hawks immolated along 
with her. On the sepulchres of mediaeval cavaliers and 
ladies, a hawk was not unfrequently found, as an emblem 
of their nobility. According to a law of the year 818, the 
sword and hawk belonging to the losing cavalier were to be 
respected by his conqueror, and left unappropriated ; the 
hawk to hunt, and the sword to fight with. In Dti Cange, 
we read that in 1642 Monsieur De Sassay claimed as 
his feudal right, "ut nimirum accipitrem suum ponere 
possit super altare majus ecclesise Ebraicensis (of Evreux), 
dum sacra in eo peragit ocreatus, calcaribusque in- 
structus presbyter parochus d'Ezy, pulsantibus tympanis, 
organorum loco." According to the law of the Bur- 
gundians, he who attempted to steal another man's 
hawk was, before all, obliged to conciliate the hawk itself 
by giving it to eat (sex uncias carnis acceptor ipse super 
testones comedat) ; or if the hawk refused to eat, the 
robber had to pay an indemnity to the proprietor, besides 
a fine (sex solidos illi cujus acceptor est, cogatur exsol- 



i'OL. II. 



194 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

vere ; niulctse autem nomine solidos duos). According to 
information supplied me by my learned friend Count 
Geza Kuun, the hawk (turul) was the military ensign of 
Attila. According to a tradition preserved in the chro- 
nicle of Keza and of Buda, Emesu, mother of Attila, saw 
in a dream a hawk which predicted a happy future to 
her, after which dream she became pregnant. 

Nor was the hawk less honoured in Hellenic antiquity ; 
according to Homer, it was the rapid messenger of Apollo ; 
the spy of Apollo, sacred to Zeus, according to ^lianos ; 
having after death the faculty of vaticination, according 
to Porphyrios (who even recommends the heart of a hawk, 
a stag, or a mole to any one about to practise divination). 
In the Iliad, Apollo coming down from Mount Ida, is 
compared to the swift hawk, the killer of doves, the 
swiftest of all birds. Many are the superstitious beliefs 
concerning the hawk collected by .ZElianos ; such as, for 
instance, that it does not eat the hearts of animals ; that 
it weeps over a dead man ; that it buries unbmied bodies, 
or at least puts earth upon their eyes, in which it thinks 
it sees the sun again, upon which, as its most beloved 
star, it always fixes its gaze ; that it loves gold ; that it 
lives for seven hundred years ; not to mention the extra- 
ordinary medical virtues which are always attributed to 
every sacred animal, and which are particularly considered 
as essential to the sacred hawk. Several of the qualities 
of the sacred hawk passed also into other falcons of 
inferior quality, the kite (milvius),^ for instance, of which 
it is said that it was placed among the stars for having 
carried to Zeus the entrails of the monster bull-serpent, 
and, according to the third book of Ovid's Fasti, for 



1 In Plato's PhcedoUy rapacious men are transformed into wolves and 
kites. 



THE EAGLE OF ZEUS AND THE BEETLE. 195 

having brought back to Zeus the lost ring (an ancient form 
of the mediseval ring of Solomon, i.e., the solar disc) : — 
*' Jupiter alitibus rapere imperat, attulit illi, 
Milvius, et meritis venit in astra suis." 

With regard to the kite, we find an apologue/ according 
to which the kite, at the point of death, asks its mother 
to beg grace from the neighbouring statue of the god, 
and especially forgiveness, for the sacrilege which it had 
frequently committed, discharging its body upon the 
image of the god (the sun upon the sky). 

A richer variety of this story is found in another 
apologue, which illustrates a Greek proverb ("seton 
kantaros maieusomai ") ; but instead of the hawk, we 
have the beetle, and instead of the statue, the god himself, 
Zeus, with eagle's eggs in his lap. The beetle (the 
hostess-moon), wishing to punish the eagle, which had 
violated the laws of hospitality with regard to the hare 
(also the moon), attempts to destroy its eggs ; the eagle 
goes and places them in the lap of Zeus ; the beetle, 
who knows that Zeus hates everything that is unclean, 
lets some dung fall upon him ; Zeus forgets the eggs, 
shakes himself, and breaks them. Here the eagle is 
identified with Zeus, as in the Vedic hymns the hawk 
with Indras. In the first of Pindar's Pythic odes, the 
poet speaks of the eagle as sleeping on the sceptre of Zeus 
(as a thunderbolt, which is the real sceptre of Zeus). 
The eagle of Zeus is also represented as holding the 
thunderbolt in its claws, which is in accordance with 



^ Cfr. Aldrovandi, Ornith. v. — And, moreover, in the same Aldro- 
vandi : — " Narrant qui res Africanas Uteris mandarunt Aquilam 
marem aliquando cum Lupa coire . . . producique ac edi Draconem, 
qui rostro et alis avis speciem referat, cauda serpentem, pede Lupum, 
cute esse versicolorem, nee supercilia posse attollere." 



196 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the sentence, "Fulmina sub Jove sunt." When Zeus 
is equipping himself to fight against the Titans, the 
eagle brings his dart to him, for which reason Zeus 
adopted the eagle as his ensign of war. In Dion Cassms, 
the eagles let the golden thunderbolts drop out of their 
talons into the camp of the Pompeians, and fly towards 
the camp of Ceesar to announce his victory. We find 
very numerous examples in the ancient classics of eagles 
that presage now victory, now supreme power to the 
heroes, that now nourish, now save them, and now 
sacrifice themselves for them.-^ The eagle of Zeus, the 
royal eagle, does not feed 'upon flesh, but upon herbs, 
properly upon the moisture of these herbs, by means of 
which we can comprehend the rape of Ganymede, the 
cup-bearer of Zeus, carried oflf by the eagle in the same 
way as the hawk of Indras carries off" the somas in the 
jRigvedas, The Hellenic eagle is generally, like Zeus, a 
bringer of light, fertility, and happiness. Pliny narrates 
of an eagle, that immediately after the wedding of 
Augustus it let fall, as an omen of fecundity in the family 
of Augustus, into the lap of Livia Drusilla a white hen, 
having a branch of laurel in its beak ; this branch was 
planted, and grew into a dense laurel-grove ; the hen had 
so many descendants, that afterwards the villa where this 
happened was called the Villa of the Hens. Suetonius 
adds that in the last year of the life of Nero all the hens 
died, and all the laurel plants w^ere dried up. We also 
flnd the eagle in connection with the laurel in the myth 
of Amphiaraos, whose spear, carried off' by the eagle and 
plunged into the ground, grew into a laurel plant. 

^ I recommend, to whoever -wishes to find all these circumstances 
united, the perusal of the first volume of the Ornithologia of Aldro- 
vandi, who dedicated in it to birds of prey a long and detailed study. 
— Cfr. also Bachofen, Die Sage von Tanaquilj Heidelberg, 1870. 



THE EAGLE AND THE GIRL. 197 

In the first chapter of the first book, when speaking of 
the myth of the aurora, "we mentioned the young hero 
who disrobes the beautiful princess on the bank of the 
river and carries her apparel away. In the Hellenic myth 
we find a zoological variety of this rsij^h. Aphrodite 
(here the evening aurora) bathes in the Acheloos (the 
river of night) ; Hermes (the extreme western light, and 
perhaps even the moon) becomes enamoured of her, and 
makes the eagle (the bird of night) carry ofi" her gar- 
ments, to obtain which. Aphrodite satisfies the desire of 
Hermes. In Strabo we find a variation of the same 
story which reminds us of the fairy-tale of Cinderella. 
Whilst Rhodope is bathing, the eagle snatches one of her 
slippers out of her maid's hands and carries it oif to the 
king of Memphis, who, seeing the slipper, falls in love 
with the foot that wore it, gives orders to search every- 
where for the girl to whom the slipper belongs, and, 
when Ehodope is found, marries her. -Mianos says that 
this king was Psammetichos. But the Hellenic eagle is 
divine as long as the god Zeus, whom it represents, is 
propitious ; when Zeus becomes the tyrant of heaven, 
and condemns Prometheus to be bound upon a rock, the 
eagle goes to gnaw at his heart. And because the poet 
jEschilos glorified Prometheus, making him curse the 
tyranny of Zeus, hence, doubtless, arose the legend that 
-ffischilos was, when old and bald, killed by a tortoise, 
which the eagle, mistaking the head of ^schilos for a 
white rock, had let fall from the sky in order to break 
it and feed upon it. The eagle which, according to 
Theophrastos, announced death to the cutters of black 
hellebore, was also a funereal and demoniacal bird. In 
the eighth book of Ovid's Metamorphoses^ King Nisos, 
the golden-haired (the sun of evening), is transformed 
into a marine eagle (the night or winter), Avhen his 



iqS zoological mythology. 

daughter Scylla (the night, or winter), in order to give 
him up to his enemies, destroys his strength by cutting 
his hair (an evident variation of the solar legend of Delilah 
and Samson). 

The vulture, too, is a sacred bird in the legends of 
ancient classical authors ; Herodotos says that it is very 
dear to Herakles (the killer of the eagle that gnaws at 
the heart of Prometheus, who had made for the hero the 
cup in which he had been enabled to cross the sea) ; it 
announces sovereign dominion to Eomulus, Csesar, and 
Augustus. Pliny writes that burnt vulture's feathers 
make serpents flee ; the same feathers, according to 
Pliny, have the property of facilitating parturition, inas- 
much as, as St Jerome writes (adversus Jovinianum ii.), 
" Si medicorum volumina legeris, videbis tot curationes 
esse in vulture, quot sunt membra."^ Two vultures 
(a form of the AgvinAu) eat every day, in hell, the liver 
that continually grows again (the immortale jecur of 
Virgil) of the giant Tityo, the offender of Latona 
(the moon), dear to Jupiter. (The monster of night is 
killed every day and rises again every night). The two 
youths jEgipios and Nephron are another form of the 
Agvin^u, who, hating each other on account of the love 
which each has for the other's mother, are changed by 
Zeus into two vultures, after that -^gipios, by a strata- 
gem of Nephron, united himself with his own mother. 
Iphiklos consults the birds to have children, from the 
vulture downwards, who alone knew how to assign the 
reason why Iphiklos had no children and indicate the 
means of obtaining them. Philakos had tried to kill 
Iphiklos ; not having succeeded, he fastened his sword 



^ Comparative popular medecine might be tlae subject of a special 
work which could not fail to be instructive and interestinij. 



THE VULTURE'S VORACITY. 199 

on a wild pear-tree ; around the sword a covering of 
bark grew, which hid it from the sight of men. The 
vulture shows the place where this tree grows, and 
advises Iphiklos to take the bark off, to clean the rust 
off the sword, and after ten days to drink the rust in a 
toast ; Iphiklos thus obtains offspring. 

The vulture, therefore, generally preserves in Grseco- 
Latin tradition the heroic and divine character which it 
has in Indian tradition, although its voracity became 
proverbial in ancient popular phraseology. Lucian calls 
a great eater the greatest of all the vultures. Moreover, 
the special faculty of distinguishing the smell of a dead 
body, even before death, is attributed to him ; whence 
Seneca, in an epistle against the man who covets the 
inheritance of a living person, says " Vultur es, cadaver 
expecta," and Plautus in the Truculentus says of certain 
parasitical servants : " Jam quasi vulturii triduo prius 
preedivinabant, quo die esituri sient." 

Besides these royal birds of prey that become mythical, 
there are several mythical birds of prey that never existed, 
still to be noticed, such as the phoenix, the harpy, the 
griffon, the strix, the Seleucide birds, the Stymphalian 
birds, and the sirens. Popular imagination believed in 
their terrestrial existence for a long time, but it can be 
said of them aU as of the Arabian Phoenix ; — 

" All affirm that it exists ; 
Where it is no one can tell." ^ 

In point of fact, no man has ever seen them ; a few 
deities or heroes alone approached them ; their seat is in 
the sky, where, according to their several natures and 



1 



' Come TAraba Fenice ; 
Che ci sia, ciascun lo dice ; 
Dove sia, nessim lo sa.'' 



200 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the different places occupied by the sun or the moon 
in the sty, they attract, ravish, seduce, enchant, or 
destroy. 

The phoenix is, beyond all doubt, the eastern and 
western sun ; hence Petrarch was able to say with reason, 

"Ne "n ciel nfe 'n terra h pi^ d'una Fenice," 
as there is not more than one sun ; and we, like the 
the ancient Greeks, say of a rare man or object, that he 
or it is a phoenix. Tacitus, who narrates, in the four- 
teenth book, the fable of the phoenix, calls it animal 
sacrum soli; Lactantius says that it alone knows the 
secrets of the sun — 

" Et sola arcanis conscia Phoebe tuis/' 
and represents it as rendering funereal honours to its 
father in the temple of the sun ; Claudian calls it soKs 
a.vem and describes its whole life in a beautiful little poem. 
It is born in the East, in the wood of the sun, and 
until it has assumed its whole splendid shape it feeds 
upon dew and perfumes, whence Lactantius — 

*' Ambrosios libat coelesti nectarerores 
Stellifero teneri qui cecidere polo. 
Hos legit, his mediis alitur in odoribus ales, 
Donee maturam proferat effigiem." 

It then feeds upon all that it sees. When it is about to 
die it thinks only of its new birth — 

" Componit bustumque sibi, partumque futurum " {Claudian) ; 

inasmuch as it is said to deposit a little worm, the 
colour of milk, in its nest, which becomes a funeral pyre, 

" Fertur vermis lacteus esse color " {Lactantius). 

Before dying, it invokes the sun : 

"Hie sedet, et solem blando clangore salutat 
Debilior, miscetque preces, et supplice cantu 
Prsestatura novas vires incendia poscit ; 
Quern procul abductis vidit cum Phoebus habenis, 
Stat subito, dictisque pium solatur alumnum " {Claudian). 



FHCENIX^HARIIES. 201 

The sun extinguishes the conflagration, which consumes 
the phoenix, and out of which it has to arise once more. 
At last the phoenix is born again with the dawn — 

" Atque ubi sol pepulit fulgentis lumina portss, 
Et primi emicuit luminis aura levis, 
Incipit ilia sacri modulamina fundere cantus, 
Et mira lucem voce ciere novam " [Lactantius). 

In my opinion, no more proofs are required to de- 
monstrate the identity of the phcenix with the sun of 
morning and of evening, and, by extension, with that of 
autumn and of spring. That which was fabled con- 
^ cerning it in antiquity, and by reflection, in the Middle 
Ages, agrees perfectly with the twofold luminous pheno- 
menon of the sun that dies and is bom again every 
day and every year out of its ashes, and of the hero or 
heroine who traverses the flames of the burning pyre 
intact. 

The nature of the phoenix is the same as that of the 
burning bird (szar-ptitza) of Eussian fairy tales, which 
swallows the dwarf who goes to steal its eggs (the 
evening aurora swallows the sun).-^ 

The solar bird of evening is a bird of prey ; it draws 
to itself with its damp claw ; it draws into the dark- 
ness of night ; it has night behind it ; its appearance is 
charming and its countenance alluring, but the rest of 
its body is as horrid as its nature. 

Virgil and Dante ascribe women's faces to the Har- 
pies — 

" Ali hanno late e colli e visi umani 
Pi^ con artigli e pennuto il gran ventre.'' 

Eutilius ^ says that their claws are glutinous — 

"Qua pede glutineo, quod tetigere trahunt." 



1 Cfr. Afanasdeff, v. 27. 2 j^-^^^ i_ 



202 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

Others give them vultures' bodies, bears' ears, arms and 
feet of men, and the white breasts of women. Servius, 
speaking of the name they bear of canes Jovis, notes 
that this epithet was given them because they are the 
Furies in person, " Unde etiam epulas apud Virgilium 
abripiunt, quod Furiarum est." Ministers of the ven- 
geance of Zeus, they contaminate the harvests of the 
king-seer Phineus, inspired by Apollo, whom some con- 
sider to be a form of Prometheus, the revealer of the 
secret of Zeus to mankind, and others, the blinder of his 
own sons. 

The bird of prey, the evening solar bird, becomes a 
strix, or witch, during the night. We have already 
noticed the popular belief that the cat, at seven years of 
age, becomes a witch. An ancient superstition given by 
Aldrovandi also recognises witches in cats, and adds 
that, in this form, they suck the blood of children. The 
same is done by the witches of popular stories,^ and by 
the striges. During the night they suck the blood of 
children ; that is to say, the night takes away the colour, 
the red, the blood of the sun. Ovid, in the sixth book 
of the Fasti, represents the maleficent striges as follows : 

" Nocte volant, puerosque petunt nutricis egentes, 
Et vitiant cunis corpora rapta suis. 
Carpere dicuntur iactentia viscera rostris, 
Et plenum poto sanguine guttur habent." 

Festus derives the word strix d stringendo, from the 



^ In the first chapter of the first book we saw how the witch sucked 
the breasts of the beautiful maiden. — In £>i(. Cange, s. v. Ammaj we 
read as follows : " Isidorus, lib. xii. cap. vii. bubo strix nocturua : 
* Haec avis, inquit ille, vulgo Amma dicitur ab amando parvulos, unde 
et lac prsebere dicitur nascentibus.' Anilem hanc fabulam non habet 
Papias MS. Ecclesige Bituricensis. Sic enim ille: Amma avis nocturna 
ab amando dicta, hsec et strix dicitur a stridore." 



THE STRIX—BATS AND VAMPIRES. 203 

received opinion that they strangle children. The 
striges, in the book of the Fasti, previously quoted, 
attack the child Proca, who is only five days old — 

" Pectoraque exhorbent avidis infantia linguis/' 

The nurse invokes the help of Crane, the friend of Janus, 
who has the faculty of hunting good and evil away 
from the doorsteps of houses. Crane hunts the witches 
away with a magical rod, and cures the child thus — 

"Protinus arbutea postes ter in ordine tangit 
Fronde ter arbutea limina fronde notat. 
Spargit aquis aditus, et aqu£e medicamen habebant, 
Extaque de porca cruda bimestre tenet." 

The usual conjurings are added, and the incident ends 
thus — 

" Post illud, nee aves cunas violasse feruntur, 
Et rediit puero qui fuit ante color." 

Quintus Serenus, when the strix atra presses the child, 
recommends as an amulet, garlic, of which we have seen 
that the strong odour puts the monstrous lion to flight. 

The same maleficent and demoniacal nature is shared 
in by the bats and the vampires, which I recognise in 
the " two winged ones entreated not to suck " of a Vedic 
hymn.^ 

Of analogous nature were the Stymphalian birds, which 

^ M^ mam ime patatrini vi dugdMm ; Rigv. i. 158, 4. — In Sicily, 
tbe bat called taddarita is considered as a form of the demon ; to 
take and kill it, one sings to it — 

'* Taddarita, ^ncanna, 'ncanna, 

Lu dimonio ti 'ncanna 

E ti 'ncanna pri li peni 

Taddarita, veni, veni." 
When it is caught, it is conjured, because, when it shrieks, it blas- 
pheme?. Hence it is killed at the flame of a candle or at the fire, or 
else is crucified. 



204 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

obscure the sun's rays with their wings, use their feathers 
as darts, devour men and lions, and are formidable on 
account of their claws — 

*' Unguibus Arcadise volucres Stympliala colentes " {Lucretius) ; 

which H^rakles, and afterwards the Argonauts, by the 
advice of the wise Phineos, put to flight with the noise 
of a musical instrument, and by striking their shields 
and spears against each other. The bird of Seleucia 
which Galenus describes as "of an insatiable appetite, 
malignant, astute, a devourer of locusts," also has the 
same diabolical nature. If our identification of the locust 
with the moon be accepted, to kill the locust, its 
shadow alone sufficed. But inasmuch as the locusts are 
considered destroyers of corn, the birds of Seleucia, 
which come to devour them, are held to be beneficent, 
and the ministers of Zeus. 

The gryphes are represented as of double nature, now 
propitious, now malignant. Solinus calls them, " Alites 
ferocissimse et ultra rabiem ssevientes." Ktesias de- 
clares that India possesses gold in moimtains inhabited 
by griffins, quadrupeds, as large as wolves, which have 
the legs and claws of a lion, red feathers on their breasts 
and in their other parts, eyes of fire and golden nests. 
For the sake of the gold, the Arimaspi, one-eyed men, 
fight with the griffins. As the latter have long ears, 
they easily hear the robbers of the gold; and if they 
capture them, they invariably kill them. In Hellenic 
antiquity, the griffins were sacred to Nemesis, the god- 
dess of vengeance, and were represented in sepulchres in 
the act of pressing down a bull's head ; but they were 
far more celebrated as sacred to the golden sun, Apollo, 
whose chariot they drew (the hippogriff", which, in 
medieval chevaleresque poems, carries the hero, is their 



GRIFFINS'—SIRENS. 205 

exact equivalent). And as Apollo is the prophetical 
and divining deity, whose oracle, when consulted, delivers 
itself in enigmas, the word griffin, too, meant enigma, 
logogriph being an enigmatical speech, and griffonnage 
an entangled, confused, and embarrassing handwriting. 

Finally, the siren, or mermaid, who had a woman's 
face, and ended now as a bird, now as a fish ; and who, 
according to Greek grammarians, had the form of a 
sparrow in its upper parts and of a woman in the lower, 
seems to be a lunar rather than a solar animal. The 
sirens allure navigators in particular, and fly after the 
ship of the cunning Odysseus, who stuffs his ears ; for 
which reason they throw themselves in despair into the 
sea. The sirens are fairies like Circe ; hence Horace ^ 
names them together — 

" Sirenum voces et Circes pocula nosti." 

Pliny, who believed that they existed in India, attributed 
to them the faculty of lulling men to sleep by their 
songs, in order to tear them to pieces afterwards ; they 
calmed the winds of the sea by their voices, they knew 
and could reveal every secret (like the fairy or Madonna 
moon). Some say that the sirens were born of the blood 
of Acheloos, defeated by Herakl^s ; others, of Acheloos 
and one of the Muses ; others, again, narrate that they 
were once girls, and that Aphrodite transformed them 
into sirens because they wished to remain virgins. In 
the sixteenth Esthonian story, the beautiful maiden of 

^ According to a Sicilian story, as yet unpublislied, communicated 
to me by Dr Ferraro, a siren once carried off a girl, and bore her out 
to sea with her ; and, though she occasionally allowed her to come to 
the shore, she secured her against running away by means of a chain 
which was fastened to her own tail. The brother released his sister 
by throwing bread and meat to the siren to satiate her hunger, em- 
ploying seven blacksmiths the while to cut the chain. 



2c6 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the waters, daughter of the mother of the waters, falls in 
love with a young hero with whom she stays six days of 
the week ; the seventh day, Thursday, she leaves him, to 
go and plunge into the water, forbidding the youth to 
come and see her : the young man is unable to repress 
his curiosity, surprises the maiden when bathing, and 
discovers that she is a woman in her upper and a fish in 
her lower parts — 

" Desinit in piscem mulier formosa superne ; " 

the maiden of the waters is conscious of being looked at, 
and disappears sorrowfully from the young man's sight/ 

^ Cfr. the Pentamerone, iv. 7 ; and the legend of Lohengrin, in the 
chapter on the Swan. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE WRElSr, THE BEETLE, AJSTD THE EIREFLY. 

SUMMARY. 

Eex and regulus. — lyattika gakuntik^. — The wren's testament. — 
Vasiliskos ; kunigli. — The wren and the eagle. — The wren and the 
beetle. — The death of Csesar predicted by a wren. — Equus Iwice. — 
Indragopas. — The red-mantled beetle. — The little cow of God in 
Eussia. — The chicken of St Michael in Piedmont. — The cow-lady. 
— The Lucia and St Lucia. — The little pig of St Anthony ; the 
butterfly as a phallical symbol. — The cockchafer. — St Nicholas. — 
Other popular names of the coccinella septempunctata. — The lady- 
cow tells children how many years they have to live. — The firefly 
and the refulgent glowworm. — The firefly flogged ; it gives light 
to the wheat , the shepherd's candle. 

Fbom the largest of birds we now pass to the smallest, 
from the ?ex to the regulus (in Italian, capo d'oro, 
golden head), and to the red, golden, and green beetles 
(yellow and green are confounded with one another, as 
we showed on a previous occasion, in the equivocal words, 
haris and harit), which are equivalent to it, and which 
are substituted for it in mythology. I recognise the wren 
in the very little bird (iyattik^ gakuntik^) of the Migvedas, 
which devours the poison of the sun.^ In a populai 
German song, the wren bewails the evils of winter, which, 
for the rest, it represents (in its character of the moon, it 

^ Gaghisa te visham; Rigv, i. 191, 11. 



2o8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

absorbs the solar vapours). A popular song of Scotch 
children celebrates the wren's testament — 

" The wren, she lies in care's nest, 
Wr meikle dole and pyne." 

The wren (Greek, hasilishos; old German, kunigli), like 
the beetle, appears as the rival of the eagle. It flies 
higher than the latter. In a story of the Monferrato,^ 
the wren and the eagle challenge each other to a trial of 
their powers of flight. All the birds are present. While 
the proud eagle rises in the air, despising the wren, and 
flies so high that it is soon wearied, the wren has placed 
itself under one of the eagle's wings, and when it sees 
the latter exhausted, comes out, and, singing victory, 
rises higher still. Pliny says that the eagle is the enemy 
of the wren: "Quoniam rex appellatur avium." Aris- 
totle, too, relates that the eagle and the wren fight against 
each other. The fable of the challenge between the eagle 
and the wren was already known in antiquity ; the chal- 
lenge was said to have been given when the birds wished 
to procure for themselves a king. The eagle, which had 
flown higher than all the other birds, was about to be 
proclaimed king, when the wren, hidden under one of 
the eagle's wings, flew upon the latter's head, and pro- 
claimed itself victorious. The wren and the beetle seem 
generally to represent the moon, known to be the pro- 
tectress of weddings ; for this reason, according to Aratos, 
weddings were not to take place whilst the wren was 

1 Communicated to me by Dr Ferraro. — A similar story is still told 
in Pomerania, Brandenburg, and Ireland, with the variation of the 
stork as the eagle's rival in flying : when the stork falls down tired 
out, the wren, which was hidden under one of its wings, comes forth 
to measure itself with the eagle, and not being tired, is victorious. — In 
a popular story of Hesse, the wren puts ail the animals, guided by 
the bear, to flight by means of a stratagem. 



EQUUS LUNM—INDRAGOPAS. 209 

hidden in the earth. We know how the full moon (a 
phallical symbol) was considered the most propitious 
season for weddings). According to Suetonius, the death 
of Caesar was predicted to happen on the Ides of March 
by a wren, which was torn in pieces by several other 
birds in the Pompeian temple, as it was carrying a laurel 
branch away (as the eagle does ; out of the wintry dark- 
ness, ruled over by the moon in particular, spring comes 
forth ; the dark eagle represents sometimes the dark- 
ness, as the wren the moon, which wanders in the 
darkness). 

We saw the beetle that flies upon the eagle in the pre- 
ceding chapter. Pliny says of the Persian Magi that 
they charmed away hail, locusts, and every similar evil 
from the country, when ' ^ aquilse scalperentur aut 
scarabei," with an emerald. According to Telesius, the 
Calabrians, in the Cosentino, call the gold-green beetle 
by the name of the horse of the moon (equus lunse). 
This is the sacred beetle, which is so often represented in 
ancient cameos and obelisks, and in the Isiac peplums of 
the mummies. But there is another beetle which is yet 
more familiar to Indo-European tradition — viz., the little 
and nearly round one, with a red mantle and black 
spots (ladybird or cow-lady). It was already known in 
India, where the name of indrq.gopas (protected by 
Indras) is given to a red beetle. In a Hindoo verse we 
read that the mantled red beetle faUs down because it 
has flown too high^ (in this myth the rising and setting 
both of the moon and of the sun are represented ; cfr. 
the legends of Icaros, Hanumant, and Sampatis). In 
Germany the red beetle is advised to flee because its 



1 Atyunnatirii prapyjt narah pr^v^rah kitako yatha sa vinagyatya- 
samdeham; Boiitlingkj Indische Sprilchej 2te Aufl, Spr. 181. 

VOL. II. O 



210 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

house is on fire.^ In Eussia the same red beetle with 

black spots is called the little cow of God (we have 

already seen the cow-moon), and children say to it — 

" Little cow of God, 
Fly to the sky, 
God will give you bread.^'^ 

In Piedmont the same beetle is called the chicken of St 
Michael, and children say to it — 
" Chicken of St Michael, 
Put on your wings and fly to heaven."^ 

In Tuscany it is called lucia,* and children cry out to it — 
" Lucia, lucla 
Metti Tali e vola via," 

^ The same superstition exists in some parts of England, where the 
children address it thus : — 

" Cow-lady, cow-lady, fly away home ; 
Your house is all burnt, and your children are gone." 

The English names for this beetle are ladybird, ladycow, ladybug, 
and ladyfly (cfr, Webster's English Dictionary). The country-people 
also call it golden knop or knob (Cfr. Trench On the Study of Words). 
^ " Boszia Kar6vka 

Paleti na niebo. 

Bog dat tibi^ hleba." 
3 " La galina d' San Michel 

Btita j ale e vola al ciel." 
* Sacred, no doubt, to St Lucia, In the Tyrol, according to the 
Festliche Jahr of Baron E-einsberg, St Lucia gives presents to girls, 
and St Nicholas to boys. The feast of St Lucia is celebrated on the 
15th of September • that evening no one need stay up late, for who- 
ever works that night finds all the work undone in the morning. The 
night of St Lucia is greatly feared (the saint loses her sight ; the sum- 
mer, the warm sunny season, comes to an end ; the Madonna moon dis- 
appears, and then becomes queen of the sky, the guardian of light, as 
St Lucia), and conjurings are made against nightmare, devils, and 
witches. A cross is put into the bed that no witch may enter into it. 
That night, those who are under the influence of fate see, after eleven 
o'clock, upon the roofs of houses a light moving slowly and assuming 
different aspects ; prognostications of good or evil are taken from this 
light, which is called Litzieschein. 



THE COCCINELLA SEPTEMPUNCTATA, 211 

(Put out your wings and fly away.) The red beetle 
with black spots is also called St Nicholas (Santu 
Mcola), or even little dove (palumedda). When one of 
their teeth falls, children expect a gift from the beetle ; 
they hide the tooth in a hole, and then invoke the 
little animal/ returning to the place, they usually 
find a coin there, deposited by their father or mother. 
The red beetle, the ladycow of the English (coccinella 
septempunctata), has several names in Germany, which 
have been collected by Mannhardt in his German M)rtho- 
logy ; among others, we find those of little bird of God, 
little horse of God, little cock of Mary, little cock of gold, 
little animal of heaven, little bird of the sun, little cock 
of the sun, little calf of the sun, little sun, little cow of 
women (it is therefore also invoked for milk and butter), 
and little cock of women. German maidens, in fact, in 
Upland, send it to their lovers as a messenger of love, 
with the following verses : — 

" Jungfrau Marias, 

Schlusselmagd, 

Flieg nach Osten, 

Flieg nach. Westen, 

Flieg dahin wo mein Liebster "wolint.''^ 

The ladycow shows the Swedish maidens their bridal 
gloves ; Swiss children interrogate it (in the same way 
as the cuckoo is interrogated) to know how many years 
they will live.^ 

The worship which is given to the red beetle is 

^ " Santu Nicola, Santu Nicola 

Facitimi asciari ossa e chiova.'' 

(St Nicholas, St Nicholas, 

Make me find bone and coin.) 
2 Cfr. Menzel, Die Vorchristliche Unsterhlichkeits-Lehre, 
^ Cfr. Rochholtz, Deutscher Glaube unci Branch 



212 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

analogous to that reserved for the firefly (cicindela) ; 
the firefly, however, like the German Feuerkafer, which 
German children, in spring, strike in a hole and carry 
home^ the luminous glowworm that hides in hedges, 
like the wren, called also in Italian forasiepe, pierce- 
hedge, round which glowworm the stupid monkeys of 
the PaMatantram sit in winter to warm themselves), is 
not treated so well. In Tuscany the poor firefly, which 
appears in late spring (in Germany it appears somewhat 
later, whence its name of Johanniswlirmchen), is menaced 
with a flogging, and children sing to it after catching 

it:— 

*' Lucciola, lucciola, vien da me, 
Ti darb un pan del re,^ 
Con deir ova affritellate, 
Came secca e bastonate." 

(Firefly, firefly, come to me ; I will give you a king's 
loaf of bread, with fried eggs, bacon, and a flogging.) It 
is said in Tuscany that the firefly gives light to the 
wheat when the corn begins to grow in the ear ; when it 
has grown, the firefly disappears.^ Children are accus- 
tomed to catch the firefly and put it under a glass, 
hoping in the morning they will find a coin instead of 
the firefly. In Sicily, the firefly is called the little 
candle of the shepherd {cannilicchia di picuraru; the 
shepherd, or celestial pastor, the sun ; the moon gives 

1 Kuhn und Schwartz, N. d. S. M. u. G., p. 377. 
^ In another Tuscan variety, the song begins — 
" Lucciola, Lucciola, bassa, bassa, 
Ti darb una materassa," &e. 
(Firefly, firefly, down so low, I will give you a mattrass.) 

3 Pliny, too, wrote in the eighteenth book of his Natural History : 
*'Lucentes vespere cicindelas Bignum esse maturitatis panici et milii.'* 
G. Telesius of the Cosentino wrote an elegant Latin poem upon the 
firefly or cicindela^ in the seventeenth century. 



THE FIREFL Y~THE B UTTERFL Y. 213 

light to tiie sun and shows him the way to traverse from 
autumn to spring, from evening to day), and is sought 
for and carried home to secure good luck. And inas- 
much as the firefly shines by night, it is more probable 
that it represented the moon than the sun in popular 
mythical beliefs. The firefly disappears as soon as the 
ears are ripe, ?".e., with the summer; we have already 
seen that the winter, or cold season of the year (like the 
night or cold season of the day) is under the especial 
influence of the moon. The red beetle must flee when 
summer comes, in order not to be burnt ; the firefly, the 
glowworm, or worm of fire, is flogged, and the summer 
sun triumphs. 

I suppose that the same mythical nature belongs to 
the butterfly (perhaps the black little butterfly with red 
spots), which is called in Sicily the little bird of good 
news (occidduzzu bona nova), or little pig of St Anthony 
(purcidduzzu di S. Antoni), and which is believed to 
bring good luck when it enters a house. It is entreated 
to come into the house, which is then immediately shut, 
so that the good luck may not go out. When the insect 
is in the house, they sing to it : — 

*' In your mouth, milk and honey ; 
In my house, health and wealth. "^ 

The butterfly was in antiquity both a phallical symbol 
(and therefore Eros held it in his hand) and a funereal 
one, with promises of resurrection and transformation ; 
the souls of the departed were represented in the forms of 
butterflies carried towards Elysium by a dolphin. The 
butterfly was also often represented upon the seven strings 
of the lyre, and upon a burning torch. It dies to be born 

1 " 'Ntr' ^ to vucca latti e meli, 
'Ntr' a m& casa saluti e beni/' 



214 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

again. The phases of the moon seem to correspond in 
the sky to the zoological transformations of the butterfly. 
Other beetles — the green beetle and the cockchafer — 
have also extraordinary virtues in fairy tales. In the 
fifth story of the third book of the Pentamerone, the 
cockchafer (scarafone ; in Toscana, it is called also indo- 
virello) can play on the guitar, saves the hero, Nardiello, 
and makes the princess laugh that had never laughed 
before. In the fifty-eighth story of the sixth book of 
Afa7iassieff, the green beetle cleans the hero who had 
fallen into the marsh, and makes the princess laugh 
who had never laughed before (the beetle, which appears 
in spring, like the phallical cuckoo, releases the sun from 
the marsh of winter). 



CHAPTEE IV. 

THE BEE, THE WASP, THE 'FLY, THE GNAT, THE MOSQUITO, 
THE HORSEFLY, AND THE CICADA. 

SUMMARY. 

The bees and the Agviniu. — Madhumakshas. — Indras, Krishnas, and 
Vishnus as Midhavas. — The bees and Madhuhan. — Beowulf. — 
The god of thunder and the bees. — Vishnus as a bee. — The 
ocymum nigrum. — The bees as nurses. — Melissai. — Sel^n^ as 
Melissa. — Souls as bees. — The bees born in the bull's dead body, 
— The bee according to Finnish mythology. — The bees descended 
from paradise as part of the mind of God. — Bee's-wax causes 
light. — The Bienenstock. — The madhumati ka^^. — The bees as 
winds. — Apis and avis. — The mother of the bees.— The young 
hero as a bee. — The fairy moon as a gnat. — The fly's palace. — 
The flies bartered for good cattle. — Intelligence of the bee, — The 
wasp as a judge. — The fly, the gnat, and the mosquito. — The 
louse and the flea. — The ant and the fly. — The ant and the 
cicada. — The cicadse and the muses. — Tithon as a cicada. — The 
sparrow and the cicada. — The cicada and the cuckoo. 

I FIND the bee in the Vedic mythology, where the 
Agvin^u "carry to the bees the sweet honey," ^ where 
the horses of the A9vin^u, compared to " ambrosial 
swans, innocent, with golden wings, which waken with 
the dawn, swim in the water, and enjoy themselves, 
cheerful,'' are invoked to come, ''like the fly of honey," 

^ Madhu priyam bharatho yat saradbhyah; Rigv. i. 112, 21. 



2i6 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

ie., the bee, "to the juices."^ The gods Indras, 
Krishnas, and Vishnus, on account of their name 
Madhavas (that is, born of madhus, belonging to or in 
connection with it), "were also compared in India to 
bees ; the bee, as making and carrying honey (mad- 
hukaras), is especially the moon ; as sucking it, it is 
especially the sun. The name of bhramaras or wanderer 
given in India to the bee, is as applicable to the sun as 
to the moon. In the Mahdbhdratam ^ it is said that the 
bees kill the destroyer of honey (madhuhan). In the 
chapter on the bear, we saw how the bear was killed by 
the bees (cfr. the name Beowulf, explained as the wolf of 
bees), and how in India it personified Vishnus. Now it 
is not uninteresting to learn how Madhuhan, originally 
the destroyer of the madhu, became a name of Krishnas 
or Vishnus in the Mahdbhdratam and in the Bhdgavata 
P, ; of madhu (honey) was made a demon, killed by the 
god (sun and moon, sun and cloud, are rivals ; the solar 
bear destroys the beehive of the moon and the clouds)/ 



1 Haiisiso ye vim madhumanto asridlio hiranyaparna uhuva ushar- 
budhah udapruto mandino mandinisprigo madlivo na maksliah savanani 
gadhathah ; Rigv, iv. 45, 4. Here makshas, in conjunction with 
madhvaSj gives us the sense of madkumakshas and madhumakshika, 
which means bee, and not fly, as it was interpreted by other trans- 
lators, and by the Petropolitan Dictionary, whose learned editors will 
be all the more induced to make this slight correction in the new 
Verbesserungen, as in this hymn, as well as in the hymn i. 112, the 
bees are considered in connection with the Agvinau. ^ iii. 1333. 

^ The god of thunder (or Indras), in opposition to the bees, is also 
found in a legend of the Cerkessians quoted by Menzel. The god 
destroys them ; but one of them hides under the shirt of the mother 
of God, and of this one all the other bees are born. — According to the 
popular superstition of Normandy, in De Nore^ quoted by Menzel, the 
bees (the same is said of the wasps and the horseflies) are revengeful 
when maltreated, and carry happiness into a house when treated well. 
"^ In Russia it is considered sacrilege to kill a bee. 



THE BULL AND THE BEE. 217 

Vishnus (as Haris, the sun and the moon) is sometimes 
represented as a bee upon a lotus-leaf, and Krishnas with 
an azure bee on his forehead. When the Hindoos take 
honey out of a hive with a rod, they always hold in one 
hand the plant toolsy (ocymum nigrum), sacred to 
Krishnas (properly the black one), because one of the 
girls beloved of Krishnas was transformed into it/ 

In the legend of Ibrahim Ibn Edhem, in the Tuti- 
Name^ we read of a bee that carries crumbs of bread 
away from the king's table to take them to a blind 
sparrow. Meliai and M^lissai, or bees, were the names 
of the nymphs who nursed Zeus ; the priestesses of the 
nurse-goddess Dem^t^r were also called Melissai. 

According to Porphyrios ^ the moon (Sel^n6) was also 
called a bee (Melissa). Selene was represented drawn 
by two white horses or two cows ; the horn of these 
cows seems to correspond to the sting of the bee. The 
souls of the dead were supposed to come down from the 
moon upon the earth in the forms of bees. Porphyrios 
adds that, as the moon is the culminating point of the 
constellation of the bull (as a bull herself), it is believed 
that bees are born in the bull's carcase. Hence the 
name of bougeneis given by the ancients to bees. 
Dionysos (the moon), after having been torn to pieces 
in the form of a bull, was born again, according to those 
who were initiated in the Dionysian mysteries, in the 
form of a bee ; hence the name of Bougenes also given 
to Dionysos, according to Plutarch. Three hundred 
golden bees were represented, in conjunction with a 
bull's head, in the tomb of Childeric, the king of the 
Franks. Sometimes, instead of the lunar buU we find 



^ Cfr. Addison, Indian Reminiscences. 2 jj^ \\2i. 

^ Perl ton en Odiisseia ton NUmplion antron. 



2i8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

the solar lion ; and tlie lion in connection with bees 
occurred in the mysteries of Mithras (and in the legend 
of Samson). 

According to the Finnish mjd^hology of Tomasson, 
quoted by Menzel/ the bee is implored to fly far away 
over the moon, over the sun, near to the axis of the con- 
stellation of the waggon, into the dwelling of the Creator 
god, and carry upon its wings and in its mouth health 
and honey to the good, and wounds of fire and iron to 
the wicked. 

According to a popular belief (which is in accord- 
ance with the legend of the Cerkessians), the bees alone 
of all animals descended from paradise.^ Virgil, too, in 
the fourth book of the Georgics, celebrates the divine 

^ Die Bienen gebeten werden : " Biene, du Weltvoglein, flieg in die 
Weite, iiber neun Seen, Uber den Mond, liber die Sonne, hinter des 
Himmelssterne, neben der Acbse des Wagengestirns ; flieg in den 
Keller des Schiipfers, in des Allmachtigen Vorrathskammer, bring 
Arznei mit deinen FlUgeln, Honig in deinem Schnabel, fUr bose 
Eisenwunden und Feuerwunden ; " Die YorcJiristliche Unsterhlichhdts- 
Lehre. In this work, to wMcli I refer the reader, Menzel treats at 
length of the worship of bees, and of honey. 

2 In the Engadine in Switzerland, too, it is believed that the souls 
of men emigrate from the world and return into it in the forms of 
bees. The bees are there considered messengers of death ; cfr. Roch- 
holz, Deutscher Glauhe und Branchy i. 147, 148. — When some one 
dies, the bee is invoked as foUows, almost as if requesting the soul of 
the departed to watch for ever over the living : — 

" Bienchen, unser Herr ist todt, 
Verlass mich nicht in meiner Noth." 

In Germany, people are unwilling to buy the bees of a dead man, it 
being believed that they will die or disappear immediately after him : 
— "Stirbt der Hausherr, so muss sein Tod nicht bloss dem Vieh im 
Stall und den Bienen im Stocke angesagt werden;" Sinirock, the 
work quoted before, p. 601. — In the East, as is well-known, it was tlie 
custom to bury great men in a tomb sprinkled over with honey or bees- 
wax as a symbol of immortality. 



THE BEES— THE WAX, 219 

nature of the bee, which is a part of the mind of God, 
never dies, and alone among animals ascends alive into 
heaven (in popular Hellenic, Latin, and German tradition, 
the bee personifies the soul, and this being considered 
immortal, the bee, too, is supposed to escape death) : — 

" Esse apibus partem divinae mentis et haustus 
^thereos dixere : Deumque namque ire per omnes 
Terrasque, tractusque maris coelumque profundum. 
Hinc pecudes, armenta, viros, genus omne ferarum, 
Quemque sibi tenues nascentem arcessere vitas ; 
Scilicet hue reddi deinde ac resoluta referri 
Omnia ; nee morti esse locum \ sed viva volare 
Sideris in numerum atque alto succedere ccelo." 

The wax of bees, because it produces light, and is, 
moreover, used in churches,^ must also have had its part 
in increasing the divine prestige of bees, and the belief in 
their immortality, as being those that feed the fire. 
According to a writing of 1482, cited by Du Gauge, the 
sacred disease or ignis sacer (pestilential erysipelas) was 
cured by wax dissolved in water. 

In Germany the death of their master is announced to 
the bees in the little stick round which the honey is made 
in the hive. The hive or the Bienenstock, participates 
in the divine nature of the bees, and calls my attention 
to the madhumati kag^ or madhoh kag^ of the Rigvedas, 
and of the Atharvavedas, attributed to the Agvin^u, and 
destined to soften the sacrificial butter, which is of a 
nature similar to the caduceus of Mercury, and to the 
magical rod, born of all the various elements and of none 
in particular, daughter of the wind, and sometimes per- 

^ Der Adel der Bienen ist vom Paradies entsprossen und wegen der 
Siinde des Menschen kamen sie von da heraus und Gott schenkte ihnen 
seinen Segen, und deskalb ist die Messe nicht zu singen ohne Wachs • 
Leo, Malberg. Glossce, 1842. 



220 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

haps itself tlie wind ; the anima, the soul (the bee), is a 
breath, a breeze, a wind (anemos, anilas), which changes 
its place, but never dies ; it collects and scatters honeys 
and perfumes, and passes away, changeful as the American 
flybird that sucks honey, the continual beating of whose 
wings resembles the buzzing of a bee ; the a/pis and avis 
are assimilated. In Du Cange,^ I find an oration to the 
mother of the bees, to call back the dispersed ones of her 
family, conceived thus : — " Adjuro te, Mater aviorum per 
Deum regem coelorum et per ilium Eedemptorem Pilium 
Dei te adjuro, ut non te altum levare, nee longe volare, 
sed quam plus cito potest ad arborem venire ; ibi te allocas 
cum omni tua genera, vel cum socia tua, ibi habeo bono 
vaso parato, ut vos ibi, in Dei nomine, laboretis," &c. 

In the twenty-second story of the fifth book of Afanas- 
sieff, a bee transforms itself into a young hero, in order 
to prove to the old man that he is able to fetch back his 
son, who has remained three years under the instruction 
of the devil (the moon enables the old sun to find the 
young one ; it helps the sun to cheat the devil of night). 
In the same story it is in the form of a gnat that the 
guardian-fairy perches herself upon the young hero, whom 
his father has to recognise amongst twelve heroes that 
bear the greatest resemblance to one another. In the 
forty-eighth story of the fifth book, the gnat distinguishes, 
among the twelve maidens that resemble each other ex- 
tremely, the one whom the young hero loves, that is, the 
daughter of the priest, whom the devil had taken posses- 
sion of, because her father had once said to her, " The 
devil take you." This indicatory gnat occurs in numerous 
fairy tales, and discharges the ofiice of the fairy moon ; 



1 Balitz. Capitulor. toni. ii. p. 6G3, in oratione ad revocandum 
examen apum dispersum ex Cod. MS. S. Galli. 



THE WASPS. 221 



this is the guide and messenger of the hero. "We have 
already seen the moon as a hostess. In the thirty-first 
story of the fom^th book of Afanassieff, we have the fly 
that entertains in its palace (according to the sixteenth 
story of the third book, a horse's head) the louse, the flea, 
the mosquito, the little mouse, the lizard, the fox, the hare, 
and the wolf, untfl the bear comes up and crushes with 
one paw the whole palace of the fly, and all the mythical 
nocturnal animals that it contains. We have also seen 
the hero who barters his bull for a vegetable which brings 
him fortune, and we have seen above the bee that is born 
of the dead bull. In the seventh story of the third book of 
Afanassieff, the third brother, supposed to be foolish, 
collects, on the contrary, flies and mosquitoes in two 
sacks, which he suspends upon a lofty oak-tree, where he 
barters them for good cattle (the moon is the pea of good 
fortune, the giver of abundance). We know that the 
moon was represented as the judge of the departed in the 
kingdom of the dead, and as an omniscient fairy. The 
industrious bees have a singular reputation for superior 
intelligence.^ In the thirteenth fable of the third book of 
Phcedrus, proof of the same wisdom is given by the wasp, 
who sits in the tribunal as a conscientious judge between 
the drones and the working bees in regard to the honey 
which the bees had collected and stored up on a lofty 
oak-tree, and to which the drones had pretensions. 

The fly, the gnat, and the mosquito, though small, 
annoy, and sometimes cause the death of, the most 
terrible animals ; the beetle gets upon the eagle to escape 
the hare ; the hare allures the elephant and the lion into 



1 In Du Cange : " Apis significat formam virginitatis, sive sapien- 
tiam, in malo, invasorem." — Papias M. S. Bitur ; ex illo forsitan 
officii Ecclesiast. in festo S. Cecilise : " Cecilia famula tua, Domine, 
quasi Apis tibi argumentosa deservit," &c. 



222 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the water ; ^ the moon allures the sun into the night and 
the winter ; the moon overcomes the sun, devoid of 
rays ; the sun is deprived of its rays, the hero loses his 
strength with his hair ; the fly alights upon the bald 
head of the old man, and annoys him in every way ; 
the old man, wishing to strike the fly, only slaps himself. 
In Phcedriis, again, we find the fly quarrelling with the 
rustic ant; the fly boasts of partaking of the ofierings 
given to the gods, of dwelling amidst the altars, of flying 
through every temple, of sitting upon the heads of kings, 
of the kisses of beautiful women, and that without the 
necessity of submitting to any labour. The ant answers 
the fly by referring to the certain approach of winter, 
during which the ant, who had worked hard, has abundant 
provisions, and lives, whilst the fly dies of cold and star- 
vation. Moreover, the ant says to it in one expressive 
verse — 

" Estate me lacessis ; cum bruma est, siles.'' 

This same discussion is reported, with more semblance of 

1 Cfr. the chapters on the Hare, the Lion, and the Elephant. The 
louse and the flea have the same mythical nature as the mosquito and 
the fly. — In the ninth Esthonian story, the son of the thunder, by 
means of a louse, obliges the thunder-god to scratch his head for a 
moment, and thus to let fall the 'weapon of thunder, which is instantly 
carried off to hell. The lice that fall down from the head of the 
witch combed by the good maiden, or from that of the Madonna 
combed by the wicked maiden, have already been mentioned. The 
Madonna that combs the child is, moreover, a subject of traditional 
Christian painting. — In the fifth story of the first book of the Penta- 
merone, we read of a monstrous louse. The king of Altamonte fattens 
a louse so much that it grows to the size of a wether. He then has 
it flayed, orders the skin to be dirtied, and promises to give his 
daughter to wife to whoever guesses what skin this is. The ogre 
alone guesses, and carries the maiden off, whom seven heroes after- 
wards go to deliver towards the aurora " subito che TAucielie (the 
birds) gridaro : Viva lo Sole." 



THE CICADA, 223 



truth, by other fabulists, as having happened between 
the shrill and inert cicada and the silent and laborious 
ant. 

In the preceding chapter "we saw the musical beetle. 
"We are tempted to figure the bee as a musician, from 
.the form of the bee being sometimes attributed to the 
Hellenic Muses and Apollo, and the name " bee of Delphi " 
being given to the Pythoness (as a cloud). But accord- 
ing to Plato, the Muses transformed into cicadas the 
men who amused themselves by singing, and were so 
absorbed in that occupation they forgot to eat and to 
drink. If this myth be not a satirical invention of 
Plato's against poets, the bees as Muses, and those who 
became cicadse on account of the Muses, should enter into 
the same mythical family. According to Isidorus, the 
cicadse are born of the saliva of the cuckoo ; this belief 
figuratively expresses the passage from spring to the 
summer season, to the season of the harvest, to the 
season of abundance, in which, according to a Tuscan 
proverb among thieves, he is a fool who cannot make 
his own fortune.^ According to Hesiichios, the ass was 
called at Cyprus by the name of a mature cicada (tettix 
pr6inos) ; the cicada (as the sun) dies, and the ass (as the 
night or winter) appears. According to Phile,^ the cicadse 
feed upon the eastern dew, perhaps in reminiscence of the 
Hellenic myth which makes the sun Tithon the lover 
of the aurora. The sun feeds upon the ambrosia, and is 
therefore immortal ; but he has not the gift of eternal 
youth ; his members dry up ; after having sung all 
through the laborious noisy day, through the laborious 

"^ Quando la cicala il c. batte 

L'ha del m. clii non si fa la parte." 
2 Peri Zbhi idiotetos, xxiv., with tlie additions of Joachim Camera- 
rius. 



2 24 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

noisy summer, he expires ; for this reason the Hellenic 
m}'1:h represented the aged Tithon as transformed into 
a cicada.^ The cicada is born again in spring of the 
cuckoo's saliva, and in the morning of the dew of the 
aurora ; the two accounts correspond with one another. 
The cicada of summer appears, and the cuckoo of spring 
disappears ; hence the popular belief that the cicadse wage 
war to the death with the cuckoo, attacking it under its 
wings ; hence it is supposed that the cuckoo devours its 
own nurse ; the aurora devours the night, the spring 
devours the winter. 

^ Plutarch, in the Life of Sylla, cites among the prognostics of the 
civil war between Marius and Sylla, the incident of a sparrow lacerat- 
ing a cicada, of which it left part in the temple of Bellona, and carried 
part away. 



CHAPTEE V. 

THE CUCKOO, THE HERON, THE HEATHCOCK, THE PARTRIDGE, 
THE NIGHTINGALE, THE SWALLOW, THE SPARROW, AND THE 
HOOPOE. 

SUMMARY. 

The kokilas, the nightingale of the Hindoo poets. — The heron. — 
Kokas. — Kapin^alas. — The partridges. — The Vedas instead of the 
enchanted ring. — The partridge as a devil.^ — ^The heathcock. — 
The partridge and the peasant. — The pigmies ride on partridges. 
— Talaus becomes a partridge. — The kapiii^alas as a cuckoo ; 
Indras as a kapi6galas ; Indras as a cuckoo. — Rambh^ becomes a 
stone. — Zeus as a cuckoo. — The laughing nightingale instead of 
the cuckoo. — The myth of Tereus. — The v^hoop, or hoopoe, an- 
nounces, it divines secrets ; the blind whoop and its young ones. 
— It buries its parents. — The cuckoo and the hawk. — The cuckoo 
anyapushtas. — The phallical cuckoo. — The cuckoo as a good 
omen for matrimony. — The cuckoo is deceitful and a derider. 
— The cuckoo as the messenger of spring, and as the bringer 
of summer. — The death of the cuckoo. — Cocu, coucoulj couquiol, 
cucuauU, kohkiiges. — The cuckoo announces rain j the cuckoo 
as a funereal bird. — The years of the cuckoo. — The cuckoo, 
the nightingale, and the ass. — The learned nightingales. — 
The nightingales predict the future. — The monster as a night- 
ingale. — The wind as a whistler. — The nightingale as the 
messenger of Zeus. — Paidolet6r. — The phallical nightingale. — The 
nightingale as the singer of the night. — The nightingale as the 
messenger of lovers ; he now helps them, and now compels them 
to separate. — The sun dries the nightingale up ^ a wedding 
custom. — The swallow \ the chicken of the Lord. — The seven 
swallows of the Edda. — The swallow blinds the witch. — The 
birds of the Madonna ; San Francesco and the swallows. — It is a 
mortal sin to kill them. — The swallows as guests ; sacred birds. 
— The swallow beautiful only in spring. — The swans and the 
VOL. IL r 



226 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

swallows sing. — The swallows as babblers. — -It is a bad omen to 
dream of swallows. — Clielid5n, the 'pudendum muliehre. — The 
sparrow as a phallical bird. — The swallow as a diabolical form. 

The kokilas or Indian cuckoo is for the Hindoo poets 
what the nightingale is for ours. The choicest epithets 
are employed to describe its singing, and the one most 
frequently applied to it in this reference is that of ravisher 
of the heart (hridayagrahin). While I write, I have not 
under my eyes, nor can I have, Schlegel's edition of the 
Rdmdyanam ; but if my memory does not deceive me, 
in the introduction, the poet' V41mikis makes the first 
glokas, when he hears the lamentation of a kokilas whose 
beloved companion has been killed. In the edition of 
Gorresio, instead of the kokilas, we have the kr^uncas, 
which is the heron according to Gorresio, and the bustard 
(Brachvogel) according to the Petropolitan Dictionary. 
Kokas, a synonym of kokilas, is also mentioned in a 
Vedic hymn.-^ The Hindoo commentator explains it as 
cakrav^kas, which must be the equivalent of heron, 
although the dictionaries interpret it particularly as the 
anas casarca. In the forty-second and forty-third 
hymns of the Rigvedas, a bird occurs which partakes of 
the nature of both the cuckoo and the heron, or bustard. 
Here the bird "proclaims the future, predicts, launches 
its voice as the boatman his boat : " it is invoked " that 
it be of good augury," that "the haAvk may not strike 
it," nor "the vulture," nor "the archer armed with 
darts;" in order that, "having called towards the 
funereal western region, it may speak propitiously with 
good-omened words," that it may "shout to the eastern 
side of the houses, propitious, with good-omened words. "^ 

1 Rigv. vii. 104, 22. 

2 Kanikradag ^anusham prabruvana iyarti Ta<iam ariteva navam 
sumafigalag (ia gakune bhavasi ma tva ka (iid abhibha vigvyavidat. 



1 



THE PARTRIDGE. 227 

In this proplietic bird, explained by the Brihaddevatd 
as kapiil^alas, the Petropolitan Dictionary recognises the 
heathcock (Haselhuhn), of which tittiris or partridge 
is also a rendering. A Hindoo brahmanic tradition 
transforms into partridges the scholars of Vaigampayanas 
to peck at the Vedas of Y^^navalkyas. The scholars 
of Vaijampayanas are the compilers of the Tciittiriya- 
Veda, or Veda of the partridges, or else black Veda. The 
Vedas sometimes occupies in Eastern tradition the place of 
the enchanted ring. In Western tradition, the devil, or 
black monster, becomes a cock in order to peck at the pearl 
or ring of the young hero who has become wise. In St 
Jerome's and St Augustine's writings, we also read that the 
devil often assumes the form of a partridge.^ The Indian 
tittiris occurs again in the Eussian tieteriev (the heath- 
cock). In a story of the second book of Afanassieff, the 
Tzar gives to a peasant a golden heathcock for a dish of 
kissel, made of a grain of oats found in a dunghill (a 
variety of the well-known fable of the chicken and the 
pearl). The heathcock finds the grain. In another story 
of the fifth book of Afanassieff, a heathcock sits upon 
the oak-tree that is to carry the peasant-hero into heaven ; 
it falls down, struck by the bullet of a gun that goes ofl: 
of itself, because a spark, coming out of the tree, fell upon 
the powder of the gun and made the charge explode. 
The partridge and the peasant often occur in connection 



Ma tv^ gyena ud vadhin ma suparno ma tvi vidad ishuman viro 
ast^ ; pitry^manu pradigam kanikradat sumangalo biiadr^v^di vadeha. 
Ava kranda dakskinato grihanim sumangalo bkadravadi gakunte ; 
Rigv. ii. 42. 

1 St Anthony of Padua said of tke partridge : " Avis est dolosa et 
Immunda et hypocritas habentes, ut dicit Petrus, oculos plenos adul- 
terii et incessabilis delicti signa." — Partridge's foot (perdikos pous) 
meant, in tke Greek proverb, a deceitful foot. 



228 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

with each other in popular traditions. The shoes that 
the peasant took for partridges are proverbial. Odoricus 
Forojuliensis speaks in his Itinerarmm of a man at 
Trebizonde who conducted four thousand partridges ; as 
he walked on the ground, the partridges flew through 
the air ; when he stopped to sleep, the partridges also 
came down. According to the Ornithologus, the pigmies, 
in the war against the cranes, rode upon partridges. 
An extraordinary degree of intelligence and prophetic 
virtue is ascribed to these birds. Aldrovandi asserts, 
in his Ornithology, that tame partridges cry out loudly 
when poison is being prepared in the house. The 
partridge was also called dwdala in antiquity, both 
because of its intelligence, and because of the fable in 
which Talaus, the nephew of Dsedalus, the inventor 
of rhyme, thrown from the citadel of Athen^, by the 
envoy of Daedalus, was changed into a partridge by the 
pitying gods. 

But to return to the point we started from, that is, to 
the Hindoo kapin^alas, we must notice that Professor 
Kuhn,^ has recognised in it the cuckoo rather than the 
heathcock. A legend of the Brihaddevatd informs us 
that Indras, desirous of being sung to, and having become 
kapin^alas, placed himself at the right hand of the wise 
man that desired (by the merit of his praises) to rise 
into heaven ; then the wise man having, with the eye of 
a sage, recognised the god in the bird, sang for psalms 
those two Vedic hymns of which one begins with the 
word kanikradat" ^ The god Indras is found again in 

1 Indiscke Studien, i. 117, 118. 

2 Stutim tu punar ev6(5hanam indro bliutvi kapin^alah 
Hisher ^garnishor ^gam vavige prati dakshinam 

Sa tarn UrsLena saihprekshya 6akshush^ pakshirdpinam 
Par^bhydm api tushtiva sllktibliydm tu kanikradat. 



THE CUCKOO, 229 



the form of a cuckoo (kokilas) in ih^RAmAyanam^ where 
Indras sends the nymph Eambh4 to seduce the ascetic 
Vigv^mitras, and in order to increase her attractions, he 
places himself near her in the form of a cuckoo that sings 
sweetly.. But Vigv^mitras, with the eye of asceticism, 
perceives that this is a seduction of Indras, and curses the 
nymph, condemning her to become a stone in the forest 
for ten thousand years. 

In the first chapter of the first book we already saw 
the cuckoo in connection with the thundering Zeus^ and 
as the indiscreet observer of and agent in celestial loves. 
In the Tuti-Name^ instead of the cuckoo, we have the 
nightingale. The nightingale holds the betrayed king 
up to ridicule, laughing at him. The king wishes to 
know what this laugh of the nightingale means, and 
Gtilfish^n explains the enigma to him, not so much 
because he is able, as is supposed, to understand the 
language of birds, but because from the tower where he 
was imprisoned he had been the spectator of the amours 
of the queen with her secret lover. 

In the Greek myth of Tereus we find united several of 
the birds hitherto named, and the swallow besides ; the 
pheasant takes the place of the partridge, and the whoop 
or hoopoe that of the cuckoo. Ittis eaten by his father 
Tereus, without the latter's knowledge, becomes a phea- 
sant ; Tereus, who follows Progne, becomes a whoop ; 
Progne, who flees from him, is transformed into a 
swallow ; Philomela, the sister of Progne, whose tongue 
had been cut out by Zeus to prevent her from speaking, 
took the form of a nightingale, whence Martial — 

" Flet Philomela nefas incesti Tereos, et quae 
Muta puelia fuit, garrula fertur avis." 

1 i. QQ. 2 ii, 79^ 



230 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

With regard to the hoopoe, several beliefs are current 
analogous to those known concerning the cuckoo and 
the swallow. In several parts of Italy it is called 
(on account of its crest and appearance in these months) 
the little cock of March or the little cock of l^ay. It 
announces the spring. By the ancients, its song before 
the vines ripened was looked upon as a prediction of 
a plentiful vintage and good wine. It has the virtue of 
divining secrets ; when it cackles, it announces that foxes 
are hidden in the grass ; when it groans, it is a prognos- 
tication of rain ; by means of a certain herb, it opens 
secret places.^ According to Cardanus, if a man anoints 
his temples with the blood of a whoop he sees marvel- 
lous things in his dreams. Albertus Magnus tells us 
that when an old whoop becomes blind, its young ones 
anoint its eyes with the herb that opens shut places, and 
they recover their sight. This is in perfect conformity 
with a Hindoo story (a variation of the legend of Lear) 
narrated by -ffilianos, according to which a king of India 
had several sons ; the youngest was maltreated by his 
brothers, who ended by maltreating and expelling their 
father. The youngest brother alone remained faithful to 
his parents, and followed them; but while they were 
travelling, they died of weariness ; the son opened his 
own head with his sword and buried his parents in it ; 
the sun, moved to pity by this sight, changed the youth 
into a beautiful bird with a crest. But this crested bird, 
instead of the whoop, may also be the lark, concerning 
which the Greeks had also a similar legend. 

^ Cfr. the chapter on the Woodpecker. A whoop, kept by me for 
some time with its young ones, had been taken with its nest from the 
trunk of a tree which had been cut down, and which it it had scooped 
out in its higher part in order to build its nest in the lowest and 
deepest part of the trunk. 



THE CUCKOO INDRAS. 231 



The cuckoo is the bird of spring ; when it appears, 
the first claps of thunder are heard in the sky, an- 
nouncing the season of heat. According to Isidorus it 
is the kite that brings the lazy cuckoo from distant 
regions. In the time of Pliny, the cuckoo was supposed 
to be born of the sparrow-hawk, and Albertus Magnus, 
in the Middle Ages, asserted, ''Cuculus quidam com- 
ponitur ex Columba et Niso sive Sparverio; alius, es 
Columba et Asture, mores etiam habet ex utroque com- 
positos." There is nothing falser, zoologically speaking; 
but inasmuch as the lightning carries the thunder, the 
mythical hawk may well carry or produce the mythical 
cuckoo. Moreover, the habits of the cuckoo are very 
singular, and have not anything in common with those 
of the falcon and the dove, or indeed any other animal. 
It is well-known, that, among the Hindoo names of the 
cuckoo we find anyapushtas and anyabhritas, which 
mean nourished by another (the crow is called anyabhrit, 
or nourisher of others, because it nurses the eggs of the 
cuckoo, which, for the rest, deposits them even in the 
nests of much smaller animals^). From this singular 
habit of the cuckoo, it was natural to conclude that the 
male cuckoo united itself in adultery with the strange 
female bird to which it afterwards confided the eggs, 
which would thus be bastard eggs of the female itself 
that sits on them. We have just seen Indras as a 
cuckoo and as a seducer of Eambha ; Indras as an adul- 
terer is also very popular in the legend of Ahaly^, in 
which the cock (the morning sun) appears, instead, as 
the indiscreet betrayer of the secret amours of Indras 



1 I, for instance, kept for some time a young cuckoo which had been 
found in the nest of a little granivorous singing bird, which is very 
common in Tuscany, and is called scoperina or scopina. 



232 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

(the hidden sun). In a popular song of Bretagne, the 
perfidious mother-in-law insinuates to her son the 
suspicion that his young wife betrays him, saying, 
"preservez votre nid du coucou."^ 

The cuckoo is the sun or solar ray in the darkness, 
or still oftener the thunderbolt hidden in the cloud. 
Datyuhas is one of the Indian names of the cuckoo, and 
also of the cloud, out of which alone the cuckoo is said 
to drink. As a hidden sun, the cuckoo is now an absent 
husband, a travelling husband, a husband in the forests, 
and now an adulterer in secret amorous intercourse with 
the wife of another. In any case, it is often a phallical 
symbol, and therefore delights in mysteries. Mean- 
while, it sits on the sceptre of Her6, the protectress of 
marriages and childbirths, whilst Zeus himself, the 
thunder-striker, the thunderer, her adulterous brother, is 
called kokklik or cuckoo, because he had hidden himself 
in Here's lap in the shape of a cuckoo, in order not to 
be recognised. Hence the song of the cuckoo was con- 
sidered a good omen to whoever intended to marry. In 
the popular song of the Monferrato sung for the Easter 
eggs, the landlord is cunningly advised that it is time to 
marry his daughters. In Swedish and Danish songs, 
the cuckoo carries the wedding-nut to the nuptials. 
Nor was this because of its reputation as an adulterer, 
but because it has a phalhcal meaning, because it loves 
mysteries, and because it appears only in spring, in the 
season of loves. For the rest, as an adulterer, it would 
have been a bad omen for marriages ; in the Asinaria 
of Plautus, indeed, a woman calls her husband cuculus, 
because he sleeps with other women. The cuckoo is 
therefore, properly, the deceitful husband, the adulterer, 

1 Villemarqu^, Barzaz Breiz, sixi5me 6d. p. 493. 



THE CUCKOO AS MOCKER. 233 

the hidden lover. The cuckoo is the derider; when 
children play at hide and seek, they are accustomed in 
Germany and in Italy, as well as in England, to cry out 
cuckoo to him who is to seek them in vain, as is hoped. 
The Latin word cucii, with which the pruners of vines 
who came late were held up to derision, the corresponding 
Piedmontese motto and gesture, mentioned in the first 
chapter of this work, and the Italian expression cuculiare 
for to ridicule, show the cuckoo as a cunning animal. 
It is the first, as is said, of the migratory birds to appear, 
and the first to disappear. In Germany it is believed 
that the grapes ripen with difficulty if the cuckoo con- 
tinues to sing after St John's Day, It is the welcome 
messenger of spring ^ in the country, where it calls the 

^ The old English popular song celebrates it as the bringer of 
summer — 

" Sumer is icumen in, ihude sing cuccu.'' 

The old Anglo-Saxon song of St Guthlak makes the cuckoo the 
announcer of the year (geacas gear budon). The ancient song of May 
in Germany welcomes it with the words — 

" The cuckoo with its song makes every one gay.'' 

The popular Scotch song caresses it thus — 

" The cuckoo 's a fine bird, he sings as he flies ; 
He brings us good tidings, he tells us no lies. 
He sucks little bird's eggs 'to make his voice clear, 
And when he sings ' cuckoo,' the summer is near." 
In Shakspeare {Love's Labour Lost, v. 2), the owl represents winter, 
and the cuckoo spring — " This side is Hiems, winter, this Ver, the 
spring J the one maintained by the owl, the other by the cuckoo.'^ 

In a mediaeval Latin eclogue recorded in the third volume of 
Uhland^s Schriften (Abhandlung iiber die deutschen Yolkslieder), the 
death of the cuckoo is wept over — 

" Heu cuculus nobis fuerat cantare suetus, 
Qufe te nunc rapuit hora nefanda tuis 1 
Omne genus hominum Cuculum complangat ubique ! 
Perditus est cuculus, heu perit ecce meus. 



234 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

peasants to their work. Hesiod says that when the 
cuckoo sings among the oak-trees, it is time to plough. 

But inasmuch as the cuckoo seldom shows itself, 
inasmuch as it represents essentially the sun hidden in 
the clouds, and as we know that the sun hidden in the 
clouds has several contradictory aspects, as a wise hero 
that penetrates everything, as an intrepid hero that 
defies every danger, as a betrayed hero, as a deceived 
husband, a traitor, a monster or a demon, so the cuckoo 
also has an ungrateful and sinister aspect. The adulterer 
who visits in secret the wife of another, becomes the 
absent husband that is travelling, the husband in the 
forest, Avhilst his wife entertains guests at home ; or else 
the husband that sleeps whilst his wife is only too 
watchful ; whence the verse of Plautus — 

"At etiam cubat cuculus, surge, Amator, i domum," 

and the French word cocu^ and those registered by Du 
Cange,^ coucoid, couquiol, cuciiault^ to express the husband 
of an adulterous woman. In Aristophanes, inept and 
inexperienced men are called kokktiges. According to 
Pliny, a cuckoo bound with a hare's skin induces sleep 

Non pereat Cuculus, veniet sub tempore veris 

Et nobis veniens carmina Iseta ciet. 
Quis scit, si veniat ? tiineo est submersus in undis, 

Vorticibus raptus atque necatus aquis." 

A popular German song shows us the cuckoo first wet, and then dried 
by the sun — 

" Der Kuckuck auf dem Zaune sass, 
Kuckuck, kuckuck ! 
Es regnet sehr und ward nass. 
Darnach da kam der Sonnenschein, 
Kuckuck, kuckuck ! 
Der kuckuck der ward hiibsch und fein." 

— Cfr. also the ■ " Entstehung des Kukuks" in Hahn's Albanesische 
Mdrchen, ii. 144, 316. ^ s. v. cucullus. 



THE CUCKOO AND THE NIGHTINGALE, 235 

(that is to say, the sun hides itself, the moon appears, 
and the world falls asleep). When the cuckoo approaches 
a city, and especially if it enters it, it bodes rain (that 
is, the sun hidden in clouds brings rain). In Plutarch 
(Life of Aratos), the cuckoo asks the other birds why 
they flee from his sight, inasmuch as he is not ferocious ; 
the birds answer that they fear in him the future sparrow- 
hawk. The cuckoo that placed itself upon the spear of 
Luitprand, king of the Longobards, was considered by 
them as a sinister omen, as if the cuckoo were a funereal 
bird. In Italy we say "tbe years of the cuckoo," and in 
Piedmont "as old as a cu'ckoo," to indicate great age. 
A mediseval eclogue ascribes to the cuckoo the years of 
the sun, "Phoebo comes annus in sevum." As no one 
sees how the cuckoo disappears (the belief that it is 
killed by the cicadse not being generally received), it is 
supposed that it never dies, that it is always the same 
cuckoo that sings year after year in the same wood. 
And, inasmuch as it is immortal, it must have seen 
everything and must know everything. The subalpine 
people, the Germans and the Slaves, ask the cuckoo how 
many years they still have to live. The asker judges 
how many years of life he may count upon from the 
number of times that the cuckoo sings ; in Sanskrit the 
varsha or pluvial season determines the new year. 

We said at the commencement of this chapter that 
the kokilas is the nightingale of Hindoo poets and its 
equivalent; and we have just noticed that the cuckoo 
also represents the phallos. In the chapter on the ass, 
we saw that the same role is sometimes taken by it. 
These three animals are found in conjunction in the 
well-known apologue of the cuckoo that disputes for 
superiority in singing with the nightingale ; the ass, 
supposed to be the best judge in music on account of his 



236 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

long ears, being called to decide the question, declares 
for the cuckoo. (In the wonderful fable of KriloflF, 
instead of the cuckoo, the bird preferred by the ass is 
the cock ; the nightingale is said in it to be the lover 
and singer of the aurora.) Then the nightingale appeals 
from the unjust sentence to man, singing melodiously.^ 

A German song of the sixteenth century ^ places the 
nightingale in opposition to the cuckoo: "it sings, it 
leaps, it is always gay when the other little birds are 
silent." 

According to Pliny, the nightingales of the young 
Caesars, sons of Claudius, spoke Greek and Latin, and 
meditated every day to learn something new. Thus, 
the Orniihologus speaks of two nightingales which, in 
1546, at Eatisbon, disputed as to which spoke German 
best ; in one of these discussions of the nightingale, the 
war between Charles V. and the Protestants was pre- 
dicted. In the forty-sixth story of the sixth book of 
Afanassieff, a nightingale in a cage sings dolorously; 
the old man who possesses it says to his son Basil, that 
he would give half his substance to know what the 
nightingale is predicting by this woful song. The boy, 
who understands the language of the bird, announces to 
his parents a prophecy of the nightingale that they will 
one day serve him. The father is indignant ; one day 
when the boy is asleep, he carries him to a boat and 
launches it on the sea. The nightingale immediately 
leaves the house, and flying away, perches upon the 
boy's shoulder. A shipmaster finds the boy and the 
nightingale, and takes them ; the nightingale predicts 
tempests and the approach of pirates. At last they 



^ Cfr. the chapter on the Peacock. 
2 Cfr. Uhland's Schriften, iii. 25, 



THE NIGHTINGALE, 237 

arrive in a city wliere the royal palace is assailed by 
tkree crows, whicli no one who attempts it succeeds in 
chasing away ; the king promises half the kingdom and 
his youngest daughter to whoever can expel them, 
threatening death to whoever essays the, enterprise in 
Vain. The boy, advised by the nightingale, presents 
himself, and tells the king that the crow, his mate, and 
his young one are there to be judged by him (we have 
seen a similar legend in the chapter on the dog) ; they 
wish to have it determined whether the young crow 
belongs to his father or to his mother. The king says, 
"To his father ; " then the young crow flies away with 
his father, while the female crow moves off in another 
direction. The boy marries the princess, becomes a 
great lord, obtains half the kingdom, travels, and is one 
night the guest, without their knowledge, of his own 
parents, who bring him water to wash himself. Thus 
the prediction of the nightingale is accomplished. In 
the popular Eussian legend of Ilia Muromietz (Elias of 
Murom), the monster brigand killed by the hero's dart is 
called Nightingale (Salav^i). He has placed his nest 
upon twelve oak-trees, and kills as many as come in his 
way by simply whistling/ In the Edda of Sdmund, 
the dwarf Alwis says of the wind, that it is called wind 
by men, vagabond by the gods, the noisy one by the 
powerful, the weeper by the giants, the bellowing 
traveller by the Alfes, and the whistler in the abode of 
Hel, that is, in the infernal regions; the Russian de- 
moniacal monster-nightingale would therefore appear to 
be the wind in the darkness. 

The nightingale, like the cuckoo, is called by Sappho, 
in Suidas, by the name of messenger of Zeus (now the 



1 Cfr. Afanasdeff, i. 12. 



238 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

moon, now the wind, now the thunder which announces 
rain). It also assumes a sinister aspect, under the name 
of killer of sons (paidolet6r), given it by Euripides. In 
a popular song of Bretagne/ the nightingale laments that 
the month of May has passed by with its flowers. In 
another song of Bretagne, the nightingale seems to have 
the same phallical signification which it has in the Tuti- 
Name, During the night, a wife is agitated on account 
of the nightingale (the moon) ; her husband has it caught 
with a net, and laughs when he has it.^ The nightingale, 
as its name shows in the Germanic tongues, is the singer 
of the night, and a nocturnal bird. Hence Shakspeare, 
in Romeo and Juliet,^ names it, in contrast to the lark, 
the announcer of morning : — 

'' Jul. Wilt thou be gone] it is not yet near day ; 
It was the nightingale, and not the lark, 
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear ; 
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree : 
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale. 

Rom. It was the lark, the herald of the morn, 
No nightingale." 

And it is as a nocturnal animal, and as a bird that sings 
concealed, that the nightingale (as the moon does) pleases 
lovers, who make it their mysterious and secret messenger 
in popular superstition and popular songs in Germany, as 
in France. In the third story of the fifth book of the 
Pentamero7ie, the girl Betta makes a cake which has the 
form of a handsome youth with golden hair; by the 
grace of the goddess of love, the cake-youth speaks and 

^ Villemarqu^, Barzaz Breiz, sixifeme ^d. p. 392. 

2 " Quand 11 le tint, se mit ^ rire de tout son coeur. E il I'^touffa, 
et le jeta dans le blanc giron de la pauvre dame. Tenez, tenez, ma 
jeune spouse, voici votre joli rossignolj c'est pour vous que je I'ai 
attrap6 ; je suppose, ma belle, qu'il vous fera plaisir ; " Villemarqu^, 
Barzaz Breiz^ p. 154. ^ iii. 5. 



THE NIGHTINGALE— THE SWALLOW. 239 

walks, and Betta marries him ; but a queen robs her of 
him. Betta goes to seek him ; an old woman gives to 
her three marvellous things, by means of which Betta 
obtains from the queen the permission of sleeping during 
the night with her youth, who has become the queen s 
husband; one of these three marvels is a golden cage 
containing a bird made of precious stones and gold, 
which sings like a* nightingale. In popular German 
songs, lovers seek to propitiate the nightingale by means 
of gold, but it answers that it knows not what to do 
with it ; the nightingale (like the cuckoo, w hich is pro- 
pitious to weddings, although an adulterer) now helps 
lovers, and now compels them to separate. In a popular 
English song,^ two lovers go together into the shadoAAy 
forest, where the nightingale sings ; the maiden is terri- 
fied by the nightingale ; but when she has married her 
young lover, she no longer fears either the gloomy Avood 
or the nightingale's warbling. However much poetic 
imagination may have adorned similar legends, their 
phallical origin can always be traced. A popular German 
song says that the sun dries the nightingale up. Accord- 
ing to popular wedding customs, it is a great shame if the 
young pair let themselves be surprised in bed by the sun 
after the first night of their union ; hence the practical 
joke often played upon the husband by his friends, who 
shut the outer shutters of the windows, in order that the 
rays of the morning sun may not enter the nuptial 
chamber. But our subject presses ; let us continue. 

The swallow has the same mythical meaning as the 
cuckoo ; it is the joyful herald of spring, emerging from 



^ Dixon, Ancient Poems, Ballads^ and Songs of the Peasantry of 
England; cfr. also on tlie traditions relating to tbe cuckoo and the 
nightingale in Russia, Ralston, The Songs of the llmsian People. 



240 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the tenebrific winter. In the winter season, the swallow 
is of sinister omen ; in the spring-tiine, on the contrary, 
it is propitious. 

In Piedmont, the swallow is called the chicken of the 
Lord. In the Edda, the seven swallows, one after 
another, advise Sigurd, who is still undecided, to kill the 
monster that guards the treasures. Sigurd follows the 
advice of the swallows, finds and obtains the hidden gold, 
and recovers his wife (the sun marries the spring, the 
flowery and verdant earth, when the swallows arrive and 
begin to sing). In the fifth story of the fourth book of 
the Pentamerone, the swallow blinds the witch who had 
expelled it from its nest (the wintry season obliges the 
swallows to depart; the hot and luminous season dis- 
perses the wintry darkness). In Germany the swallows 
are called the birds of the Madonna; San Francesco 
called the swallows his sisters ; and in the Oberinnthal it 
is believed that they helped the Lord God in building 
the sky. In Germany, as well as in Italy, the swallows 
are considered to be birds of the best augury; it is a 
mortal sin to kill them, or to destroy their nests. In 
Germany and in Hungary, if a man destroys a swallow's 
nest, his cow no longer gives milk, or else gives it mixed 
with blood. Hence it is advisable always to have a 
window open, because if a swallow enters the house it 
brings every kind of happiness with it ; in the same way, 
it is believed that guests bring luck into a house, and 
this is a beautiful belief, which is honourable to mankind, 
and one of the most signal evidences of man's sociable 
nature. In the Ornithes of Aristophanes, the swallows 
are intrusted with the building of the city of the birds. 
Solinus writes that even birds of prey dare not touch the 
swallow, which is a sacred bird. According to Arrianos, 
a swallow which chirped round the head of Alexander 



THE SWALLOW, 241 



the Great, whilst he was asleep, wakened him to warn 
him of the machinations in his family that were being 
plotted against him. In an apologue the swallow warns 
the hen not to sit upon the eggs of the serpent. Swal- 
lows were anciently used in time of war as messengers. 
According to Pliny, again, the head of a swallow that 
fed in the morning, was, when cut off at full moon, and 
tied in linen and hung up, an excellent remedy for 
headache. 

But in an apologue where the swallow boasts to the 
crow of its beauty, the crow answers that he is always 
equally beautiful, whilst the swallow is only beautiful in 
spring. In another apologue, Avhich is found in the 
Epistle of St Gregory of Nazianzen to Prince Seleusius, 
the swallows boast to the swans of their twittering for 
the benefit of the public, whilst the swans sing only for 
themselves, and that little, and in solitary places. The 
swans answer that it is better to sing little and well to a 
chosen few than much and badly to all. The Greeks, 
in a proverb, advise men not to keep swallows under 
their roofs, by which they meant to put them on their 
guard against babblers. The swallow here evidently 
begins to assume, as in the mythical tragedy of Tereus, a 
sinister aspect, for which reason Horace calls it — 

" Infelix avis et Cecropias domus 
Sternum opprobrium." 

The swallow, beautiful and propitious in spring, becomes 

ugly and almost diabolical in the other seasons. Hence 

the ancients believed that it was a bad omen to dream of 

swallows. According to Xenophon, the appearance of 

the sAvallows preceded the expedition of Cyrus against 

the Scythians, and announced it to- be unlucky. Tlie 

same presage is made by the swallows to Darius when 

he moves against the Scythians, and to Antiochus, Avho 
VOL. n. Q 



242 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

is at war with the Parthians. It is also said that Pytha- 
goras would have no swallows in his house, because they 
were insectivorous. In Suidas, the ^pudendum muliehre 
is called cheliddn; and it is perhaps as such that the 
swallow is represented in opposition to the sparrow, 
which is a well-known phallical symbol, sacred (Uke the 
doves) to Venus, whom it accompanied, according to 
Apuleius,^ and to Asklepios. The sparrow destroys the 
swallow's nest, as it is said in a popular German song of 
Michaelstein : — 

'* Als ich auszog, auszog, 
Hatt' icL. Kisten und Kasten voll, 
Als icli 'wiederkam, wiederkam, 
Hatt' der Sperling, 
Der Dickkopf, der Dickkopf 
Alles verzelirt." 

The swallow, moreover, is a diabolical, dark form which, by 
the witch's enchantment, the beautiful maiden assumes 
when she finds herself near the fountain (i.e., near the 
ocean of night, or of winter). ^ 

^ Currum Dese prosequentes, gannitu constrepenti lasciviunt Passeres; 
De Asino Aiu^eo, vi. 

2 A woman of Antignano, near Leghorn, once told me the story of a 
beautiful princess who stayed upon a tree till her husband returned, 
who had gone in quest of robes for her. Whilst she is waiting, up 
comes a negress to wash clothes, and sees in the water the reflection 
of the beautiful princess. She induces her to' come down by ofi'ering 
to comb her hair for her, and puts a pin into her head, so that she 
becomes a swallow. The negress then takes the maiden's place by her 
husband. The swallow, however, finds means of letting herself be 
caught by her husband, who, stroking her head, finds the pin, and 
draws it out; then the swallow becomes again a beautiful princess. 
The same story is narrated more at length in Piedmont, in other parts 
of Tuscany, in Calabria, and in other places ; but instead of the 
swallow we have the dove, as in the Tuti-Name. 



CHAPTEE VL 

THE OWL, THE CKOW, THE MAGPIE, AND THE STOEK. 

SUMMARY. 

The funereal owl. — The owl and the vulture. — The owl and the 
crow. — The owls as friends of the swans and enemies of the 
crows. — The wise owl. — The Eulenspiegel. — The owl as the 
daughter of NUkteos. — The enemy of Niikteos. — An ill-omened 
bird. — Prophetic virtue of the owl. — The horned owl. — The owl 
as a weaver. — The owl and the coins.' — The crow and the peacock. 
— The crow and the nightingale. — The crow and the swan. — 
Gracculus ad fides. — The prophetic crow. — The crow and the 
cheese. — The crow as the son of Indras ; the Athenians swore by 
the crow and by Zeus. — The crow and Sit^. — The cunning crow. 
— The crow, the parrot, and the bird of prey. — The crow as the 
shadow of a dead man. — Yamas as a crow. — The white crow. — 
Go to the crows. — The rooks. — The crow as a devil. — It helps an 
old man to pick grains of corn up. — The crow and the cuckoo. — 
The crow and the waters. — The crow and the figs. — The crow and 
the hydromel. — The crow and the water of life and death. — The 
crow as the bird of light. — The crow on a mountain covered with 
diamonds. — The crows as brothers and sisters of the heroine and 
of the hero. — The crow as the messenger of St Oswald. — The 
crow, the maiden, and the crab. — The corvus pica. — The blue 
magpie. — The two magpies. — Huginn and Muninn. — The magpie 
as the bringer of the balsam herb. — The magpie sacred to Bacchus. 
— The magpie and the nightingale. — The daughters of Euippes as 
magpies. — The rook and the magpie as friends of gold. — The 
magpie as an infernal bird. — The malice of the magpie. — The 
white and black magpie. — The magpie and the guests. — The 
stork. — The stork and the heron. — The stork as the bringer of 
children. — Funereal presage of the stork. — The stork and the old 



244 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

man. — Paternal and filial affection of the stork. — The presents of 
the stork. — The stork brother of the woodcock. — The inebriated 
storks. — The storks in the other world. 

The owl, the crow, the magpie, and the stork are in 
intimate mythical relation with each other. To give an 
idea of the monster that wanders in the night, the 
Rigvedas compares him to a khargala^, which is probably 
an owl (also called naktacaras) ; it also directs the 
devotee to curse death and the god of the dead (to con- 
jure them away), when the owl emits her painful cry, and 
when the kapotas or dark dove touches the fire ^ (thus we 
read in the fragments of Menander, ''if the owl should cry, 
we have reason to be afraid ") ; in the Pancatantram^ 
the king of the crows also compares the hostile owl that 
arrives towards night to the god of the dead (the god 
Yamas).'" In Hungary the owl is called the bird of death. 
In the Mahdblidratam,^ the mind of the wicked which 
sees clearly, fishes in turbid waters, and is dexterous in foul 
actions, is compared to the owl, who (probably as moon) 
distinguishes every shape in the night. In the Mahd- 
hhdratam, again,^ the owl kills the crows by night whilst 
they are sleeping. In the Rdmdyanam,^ the owl (as the 
moon) contends with the vulture (the sun), who had 
usurped its nest ; the two disputants appeal to E4mas, 
who asks each how long the nest had belonged to it ; the 
vulture answers, " Since the earth was peopled with 
men," and the owl, '' Since the earth was covered with 

^ Pra yd ^ig^ti khargaleva naktam apa druhd tanvam guhain§,n3. ; 
Rigv. vii. 104, 17. 

2 Yad nluko vadati mogham etad yat kapotah padam agnau 
krinoti, yasya dutah prahita esha etat tasmai yamaya namo astn mrit- 
yave; lligv. i. 165, 4. ^ j^^ 73^ 

^ iii. 15,128, and IlitopadegaSj iv. 47. 

^ iii. 308, X. 38. « vi. 64. 



THE OWLS AND THE CROWS. 245 

trees." R^mas, with justice, decides in favour of the 
owl, observing that his claim is the more ancient, since 
there were trees before there were men, and is for 
punishing the vulture, but desists upon learning that the 
latter was once King Brahmadattas, condemned to become 
a vulture by the "wise G^utamas, because he had once 
offered meat and fish to that penitent to eat. E4mas 
touches the vulture, which, the malediction having come 
to an end, immediately resumes its human form. The 
third book of the PariSatantram treats of the war be- 
tween the owls and the crows. The birds are weary of 
having a useless king like Garudas, who thinks of no one 
but the god Vishnus, and does not trouble himself to pro- 
tect the nests of the little birds his subjects ; they medi- 
tate electing a king, and are about to choose the owl,^ 
when the crow (the dark night) comes to give its veto, 
of which the Pancatantram says, that it is the most 
cunning amongst birds, as the barber among men, the fox 
among animals, and the mendicant friars among religious 
orders. ' The war between the owl and the crow (the 
moon and the dark night) is popular in Hindoo tradition ; 
kak4ris, or enemy of the crow, is one of the Sanskrit names 
of the owl, and the k4kolukik4 or owl-like crow, as has 
already several times been observed by the learned men 
who have studied Hindoo literary chronology, is already 
mentioned in the Grammar of P^ninis. 



1 In the articles against Bernard Saget in tlie year 1300, recorded by 
Du Cange, I read — " Aves elegerunt Regem quemdam avem vocatam 
Due, et est avis pulchrior et major inter omnes aves, et accidit semel 
quod Pica conquesta fuerat de Accipitre dicto Domino E-egi, et con- 
gregatis avibus, dictus Eex nihil dixit nisi quod flavit (flevit f), Vel 
(veluti) idem de rege nostro dicebat ipse Episcopus, qui ipse est 
pulchrior homo de mundo, et tamen nihil scit facere, nisi respicere 
homines." 



246 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

In the tliirtieth story of tlie fourth book oi Afanassieff, 
the crow. eats the eggs of the geese and the swans. The 
owl, out of hatred to the crow, accuses him to the eagle ; 
the lying crow denies, but is nevertheless condemned to 
be imprisoned. 

In the ninth book of Aristotle's History of Animals, I 
also find that the crow fights with the owl, whose eggs it 
destroys at midday, whilst the owl, on the other hand, 
eats the crow's eggs during the night. In Italian, the 
expression " the owl amongst the crows," is used to 
indicate a serious danger. In John Tzetza, we also find 
an apologue, according to which the crow was about to 
be elected king of the birds, having arrayed itself in the 
feathers that had fallen from the other birds, when the 
owl comes up (in Babrios, instead of the owl, it is the 
swallow that does the same), recognises one of its own 
feathers, and plucks it out, setting thus an example to 
the other birds, who in a short time despoil the crow 
entirely. (This is a variety of the well-known fable of 
the crow in the peacock's feathers, and of the same fable, 
in an opposite sense, contained in the PcoiSatantram, 
where the crow is the wise bird, and the owl the simple 
one.) There are other instances of cunning ascribed to 
the owl in fables ; for instance, it predicted to the birds 
that an archer would kill them with their own feathers, and 
advised them not to let the oak-trees grow, because on 
them the mistletoe grows, and birds are caught by means 
of it. The German Eulenspiegel, the legendary malicious 
buffoon, who wears a great hat, is probably of the same 
mythical family. The Greeks considered the owl to be a 
form of the daughter of Nlikteus of Lesbio (according to 
others, of the king of the Ethiopians. Nukteus and the 
black Ethiopian, both being the night, correspond to each 
other), who, having become enamoured of her father, lay 



THE OWL AND ATHAN£. 247 

with him without his knowledge ; her father wished to 
kill her, but Athene took pity upon her, and transformed 
her into an owl, which, remembering its crime, always 
flees from the light (it is far from the day, like the 
moon). The owl was sacred to Athene, the goddess of 
wisdom, inasmuch as she sees in darkness ; the flight of 
the bird of night was, therefore, for the Athenians a sign 
that the goddess who protected their city was propitious ; 
hence the owls of Athens passed into a proverb. The owl, 
otherwise (according to the superstition of the ancient 
Greeks, recorded by Pliny among the Latin writers), was 
the enemy of Dionysos (who loves the mysteries, w^hich 
the moon and the aurora disperse) ; hence the pre- 
scription of ancient medicine, that the eggs of the owl, 
drunk for three days in wine, make drunkards abstemi- 
ous. Philostratos, in the Life of ApoUonius, goes so far 
as to say that when one eats an owl's egg, one takes a 
dislike to wine before having tasted it. But, even in 
antiquity, the owl was generally looked upon as the 
ignoble and ill-omened bird that it really is. It is 
said of Demosthenes, that before going into exile, he 
declared that Athene delighted in three fear-inspiring 
beasts — the owl, the dragon, and the Athenian people. 
In Mlianos and Apuleius, the owls are spoken ofi" as birds 
of iU omen. But the male owl was and is still especially 
considered as a bird of the worst and most funereal char- 
acter in Italy, Eussia, Germany, and Hungarj^^ In the 



1 Among the Tartars, according to Aldrovandi, the feathers of the 
male owl are worn as an amulet, probably to conjure the owl himself 
away, in the same way as, in the Vedic hymns, Death is invoked in 
order that it may remain far off. In the Khorda Avesta (p, 147), 
translated by Spiegel, the hero Verethraghna derives his strength 
from the owl's feathers. — We are acquainted with the funereal moon 
in the form of Proserpine; the Hindoos considered Manus in relation 



248 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



fourth book of Virgil's Mneid, the song of the male 

owl is fatal — 

" Seraque culminibus ferali carmine Bubo 
Visa queri et longas in fletum ducere voces." 

The Eomans purified the city with water and sulphur 
when a male owl or a wolf happened to enter into the 
temple of Jupiter, or into the Capitol. According to 
Silius Italicus, the defeat of Cannes was also prognosti- 
cated by the male owl — 

'' Obseditqne frequens castrorum limina Bubo.'' 

And Ovid, in the tenth book of the Metamorphoses — 

" Ignavus Bubo dirum mortalibus omen ; 
Nam dirse mortis nuntius esse solet.'' 

According to the fifth book of the same Metamorphoses, 
Ascalaphos was transformed by Ceres into a male owl, 
and condemned to predict evil, because he had accused 
her to Jove of having eaten a pomegranate in secret, 
against the prohibition. 

The prophetic faculty of the owl, according to popular 
belief, is so great, that Albertus Magnus could seriously 

with the moon, with which, moreover, it was also identified. Manus, 
as the first and the father of men, is also the first of the dead. Manus 
gives the somas to Indras. The dying sun is exchanged in the 
funereal kingdom for the moon ; but of the moon's kingdom the 
souls come down, and to the moon's kingdom they return. With 
Manus the word Menerva is joined, a Latin form, as a goddess, of the 
Greek Ath^n^. The owl, the symbol of Minerva, may be equivalent 
to Manus as the moon. The intimate connection which exists in 
myths and legends between the maiden aurora and the maiden moon 
is well-known; they reciprocally do services to each other. Ath^n^ 
may very well have represented equally the two wise maidens — the 
moon, who sees everything in the dark night ; the aurora, who, coming 
out of the gloomy night, illumines everything. The head of Zeus, out 
of which Ath^n^ comes, appears to be a form of the eastern sky. 



THE HORNED WL. ^ 249 

write in his times — " Si cor ejus cum dextro pede super 

dormientem ponatur, statim tibi dicit quidquid fecerit, 

et quidquid ab eo interrogaveris. Et hoc a fratribus 

nostris expertum est moderno tempore." When the 

witches in Macbeth make the horrid mixture in the great 

caldron, in order to obtain from it the virtue of sinister 

presages, they put into it, amongst other maleficent 

inojredients — 

" Eye of newt, and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, 
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting. 
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing." 

In Sicily, the owl that moans, the crow that caws, and 
the dog that howls by night near the house of a sick man, 
announce approaching death to him ; but among owls, 
the horned owl (the horned moon), jacobu, or chiovu, or 
chi6, is especially feared. The horned owl sings near 
the house of a sick man three days before his death ; if 
there are no sick people in the house, it announces to one 
at least of its inhabitants that he or she will be struck 
with squinancy of the tonsil. The peasants in Sicily, 
when in spring they hear the lamentation of the horned 
owl for the first time, go to their master to give notice of 
their intention of leaving his service ; whence the Sicilian 
proverb — 

" Quannu canta lu chib 
Cu 'avi patruni, tinta canciar lu pb." 

The Sicilian poet G-iovani Meli, in the little poem, Pianto 
di Palemone, refers to the sinister presage of the horned 
owl in the following verses — 

*' Ah ! miu patri lu predissi, 
E trimava 'ntra 11 robbi, 
Ch'eu nascivi 'ntra I'ecclissi 
E cliiancianu li jacobbi." 



250 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

In the popular Sicilian legend, entitled La Princtpessa 
di Carini, when the friar goes to act as a spy, the moon 
envelops itself in clouds,- the horned owl flies round, 

screeching — 

"Lujacobbu chiancennu svulazzau." 

In several German popular songs, the horned owl and 
the common owl complain that they are alone and 
deserted in the forest. The owl (as the moon) is also 
represented in German tradition as a nocturnal weaver.^ 
In the same tradition, the funereal owl is found men- 
tioned in connection with the funereal crow.^ 

I have already mentioned, in the chapter on the WoK, 
that vrikas, in the Vedic hymns, may mean both wolf 
and crow. The crow, like the wolf, represents the dark 
night. The owl with yellow eyes (whence in Athens 
certain coins bearing the effigies of an owl were called 
owls, and in Italy golden coins are vulgarly called owls'- 
eyes) seems to represent the crepuscular bird in parti- 
cular (from which we can understand why it was 
especially sacred to Athene), and much oftener still 
the night with the yellow eye of the moon. The 
crow, on the other hand, seems to be the representa- 
tive of the gloomy night or cloud. The owl which 
destroys the crow's nest, and discovers the deceit of the 
crow when disguised in the feathers of other birds, seems 
to be the same as the moon that disperses the darkness, 

^ " Selbst in sternloser Nacht ist keine Verborgenheit, es lauert eine 
gramliche Alte, die Eule ; sie sitzt in ihrem finstern Kammerlein, 
spinnt mit silbernen Spindelchen und sieht libel dazu, was in der 
Dunkelbeit vorgebt. Der Holzscbnitt des alten Flugblattes zeigt die 
Eule auf einem StUhlcben am Spinnrocken sitzend." 

^ *' Wenn durcb. die dunne Luft ein scbwarzer Rabe fleucbt 
Und krahet sein Geschrei, und wenn des Eulen Fraue 
Ibr Wiggen-gwige beult : sind Losungen sehr rauhe." 

— E-ocbboltz, the work quoted before, i. p. 155. 



THE CROW AND THE CHEESE. 251 

or the sahasr^kshas (the heavenly peacock), that shuts 
the thousand eyes of the starry sky, and makes the 
thousand stars of the heaven grow pale. The owl, as the 
king of birds (we know also the Indras-moon as Mriga- 
r^^as, or king of beasts) seems generally to be the same 
as the moon, the mistress of the night. Indras is often 
the peacock-god, the azure starry sky of night ; but blue 
and black, as we have said, are two equivalent colours (the 
azure god Indras becomes the azure or dark Krishnas, 
and, on the contrary, the crow becomes a peacock), and 
are expressed by one and the same word ; hence the 
black bird and the blue one are substituted for one 
another. According to Festus, the crow was, before the 
peacock, sacred to Juno. The crow-peacock has already 
become proverbial in the Panbatantram^ where we read 
that the hasty fool takes a crow for a peacock. The 
voice of the peacock is as shrill as that of the crow ; in 
the Rdradyanam^ the water-cock (^alakukkubhas, the 
heron, the halcyon, the duck, the swan) laughs at the 
peacock when striving to answer the cuckoo. Thus, the 
Greek proverb laughs at the crowswhich aremore honoured 
than the nightingales (korakes aedon6n aldesim6teroi). 
Martial places them in contrast with the swans — 
" Inter Lsed^os ridetur corvus Olores ; " 

and the Greek proverb turns into ridicule the rook 
amongst the Muses (koloios en tais mousais), and the 
Latin one, the " Gracculus ad fides." In a variety of the 
forty-sixth story of the sixth book ot Afanassieff, the crow 
occupies the place of the prophetic nightingale. The fox 
(the spring aurora) takes the cheese (the moon) from the 
crow (the winter night), by making it sing. In the Mahdb- 
hdratam,^ the monster Rahus disguises himself as a god, 

1 i. 175. 2 ii 5_ 3 I 1152. 



252 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

that he may go and drink the ambrosia of the gods ; the 
sun and the moon denounce the imposture ; Eahus is 
recognised, and Vishnus cuts off his head with his disc ; 
this is an ancient variety of the fable of the crow among 
the peacocks. This disguise of the crow, however, will 
appear quite natural when we reflect that Indras is a 
peacock, and that in the Rdmdyamm^ a certain learned 
crow (panditas) is called by Hanumant the son of Indras 
(putrah kila sa cakrasya ; in the Ornithes of Aristo- 
phanes, I read that at Athens men swore by the crow 
and by Zeus). I have observed, on a previous occasion, 
that the Vedic Indras assumes in the Hindoo poems a 
sinister, and sometimes even a diabolical aspect. In the 
Rdmdyanam,^ a crow attacks Sit4 with wings, beak, and 
claws ; Eamas hurls an enchanted dart at it ; the bird, by 
divine grace, does not die, but as it flies rapidly, between 
drop and drop, whilst it rains from the cloud, it sees 
nothing but darts and shadows of darts in the air. Then 
it returns to Rimas to beseech him to deliver it from this 
enchantment ; E4mas says that the enchantment must 
run its full course, but that he can make it take effect in 
one part of the body alone ; let the crow choose the part 
that Eamas must aim at. The cunning bird, hoping that 
Eamas will miss his aim, says one of its eyes ; E4mas 
aims at it and strikes it, to the great wonder of Sit^, 
against whom the crow had begun to make war, after 
that Eimas had marked her forehead in red (probably 
after the evening aurora ; the legendary husband and 
wife exchange the ring of recognition, now the sun and 
now the moon, in the evening or the autumn, in order to 
find themselves together again, by its means, in the morn- 
ing or the spring). I have cited in the preceding chapter, 

1 ii. 105, V. 3. 2 /5^ 



THE CUNNING CROW,— WHITE CROWS 253 

from the PariSatantram, the popular Hindoo belief that 
the crow is the most cunning of birds, as the fox is the 
most cunning of animals. Aristotle says that the crow 
is the fox's friend ; in the Rdmdyanam, the stratagem 
adopted by the fox in the Western fable to make the 
cheese fall out of the crow's beak, obliging it to open its 
beak and let the booty fall, is advised by the rook or 
crow (s4rika or gracula religiosa). A bird of prey holds 
a parrot in its claws, and a s4rik4 in its beak ; the rook 
says, "Parrot, bite the foot of the enemy whilst he. is 
alone and in the air, and whilst his beak presses me ; 
and as his beak is occupied and cannot bite thee, 
bite thou him, in order that he may let you go ; " the 
rook thus hoped that, by opening its beak, which it did 
with pain, the bird of prey would let it too go. In 
Plautus a crafty servant is compared to a crow. The 
crow also personifies in Hindoo tradition the shadow of a 
dead man ; to give food to the crows is for the Hindoos 
the same as to give food to the souls of the dead ; hence 
part of their meals was always, and is still, according to 
all travellers in India, left for the crows. Even in the 
Rdmdyanam,^ R^mas orders Sit4 to preserve the rest of 
the food for the crows. In the flight of the gods before 
the demons, described in the last book of the Rdmdyanam, 
the god Indras hides himself in the form of a peacock, 
and Yamas, the god of the dead, in that of a crow (in 
Hellenic mythology, during the war against the giants, it 
is Apollo that transforms himself into a crow, but pro- 



1 ii. 1 05 ; cfr. also Du Cange, s. v. corhitor. — In the German 
legend of tlie Emperor Frederic Barbarossa, the emperor, buried under 
a mountain, wakens and asks, " Are the crows still flying round the 
mountain?" he is answered that thej'- are still flying. The emperor 
sighs and lies down again, concluding that the hour of his resur- 
rection has not yet arrived. 



254 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

bably into a white one, as white crows were, according 
to the Greek belief, dedicated to the sun. It is said that 
the crow was once white, but that Apollo made it black, 
indignant at. that animal for bringing to him the un- 
welcome news of having surprised in adultery his mistress, 
the Princess Koronis ; here the crow occupies the place 
of the mythical cuckoo. In another Hellenic myth, the 
crow loses the favour of Pallas for having brought the 
intelligence that Erichtonios, born to Pallas by the seed 
of the celestial blacksmith, which had fallen upon the 
earth, had been found by the three daughters of Kekrops. 
In reward for the services of the crow, Yamas conceded 
to it the right of eating the funereal food, for which 
reason the shades of the dead, when this food is given to 
the crow, are enabled to pass into a better world. In 
the Clouds of Aristophanes, the Greek proverb, "Go to 
the crows" (ball' es korakas), means "die." Hence in 
India as in Persia, in Eussia as in Germany, in Greece as 
in Italy, the crow is pre-eminently a funereal bird of 
sinister omen. According to -^lianos, the Venetians of 
ancient Hadria were accustomed to appease the rooks, in 
order that they should not devastate the fields, by 
solemnly sending to meet them two ambassadors, who 
presented to them a mixture of oil and flour. If the 
rooks accepted the offering, it was a good sign. In 
Lambert of Aschaffenburg, a pilgrim sees in a dream a 
horrid crow which caws and flies round Cologne, and 
Avhich is hunted away by a splendid horseman; the 
pilgrim explains that the crow is the devil, and the horse- 
man St George. In the Chronicles of the Beatified 
Anthony, we find described fetid and black pools "in 
regione Puteolorum in Apulia," whence the souls arise in 
the forms of monstrous birds in the evening hours of the 
Sabbath, which neither cat nor let themselves be caught, 



THE FUNEREAL CROW. 255 

but wander till in the morning an enormous crow com- 
pels them to submerge themselves in the waters. In 
Germany, according to Eochholtz, when a crow places 
itself upon the roof of a house where there is a dead body, 
it means that the dead man's soul is damned. At Brusasco, 
in Piedmont, children sing to the crow this funereal verse, 
counterfeiting in the chorus the crow's cry — • 

" CurnaidsSj 
Porta '1 s(5iass (the colander) ; 
Me mari I'e morta 
Sut la porta. 

Qu^ ! " 

In a popular Swedish song, in the collection translated 
into German by Warrens, I read this verse, where the 
crow assumes an entirely monstrous form ; men spit at 
it, as they do at the devil — ■ 

" Es flog ein Rabe iiber das Dach, 
Hatt' Menscbenfleiscli in den Krallen, 
Drei Tropfen Blutes trauften berab, 
Ich spiilte, wo sie gefallen." 

In the thirty-ninth story of the fourth book of Afanas- 
sieff, an old man, having let some grain fall to the 
ground, says that if the sun warmed him, the moon gave 
him light, and the crow helped him to pick the corn up, 
he would give each one of his three daughters. Sun, 
moon, and crow listen to him, and marry the three 
maidens. Some time after, the old man goes to visit his 
son-in-law the crow, who makes him mount a never- 
ending ladder, carrying him in his beak ; but when they 
are high up, the crow lets the old man drop, and he dies. 

Inasmuch as Indras, or Zeus, that is, the pluvial god, 
takes now the shape of a cuckoo, now that of a crow, the 
crow, in the fifteenth story of Siddhikilr, announces the 
proximity of water to the thirsty prince. Tommaso Badino 



256 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

of Piacenza ^ narrates an apologue whicli reminds us of the 
biblical legend of the Deluge. Phoebos sends the crow to 
find the lustral water for the sacrifice of Zeus ; ^ but the 
crow, when it arrives at the fountain, sees some figs near it ; 
instead of doing its errand, it waits till the (phallical) figs 
ripen. Hence the crow passed into a proverb as a procras- 
tinator (the legend of St Athanasius, moreover, recognises 
the procrastinator in the crow, because it says ''eras " with 
its voice). Nor can we accept the biblical derivation 
of the belief of the procrastinating crow, when we find it 
explicitly mentioned and illustrated in Ovid by the story 
of the figs and that of the corn, whose maturity the crow 
waits for before carrying the water. The meaning of the 
myth appears to me evident ; the thundering and rainy 
clouds yield water towards the end of June, when the 
first figs and the grain are ripe (in Plutarch's Life of 
Nicias, instead of these we have the golden dates); the- 
crow represents the pluvial god; as the cuckoo brings 
the rains of spring, the crow brings those of summer, and 
afterwards, when the later figs ripen, those of autumn, 
which announce the winter, dear to the crows.^ 

" Imbrium divina vis immineiitum." * 



^ In the Omithologia of Aldrovandi. Tlie messenger crow is of 
frequent occurrence in legends. 

- In Plutarch, two crows guide Alexander the Great, when he goes 
to consult the oracle of Zeus Ammon. 

3 Hence the name of Avis S. Martini also given to the crow, be- 
cause it often comes about St Martin's day. In Du Cange and in the 
Roman du Rmard we also find indicated the auspices to be taken 
from the'crow's flight ; for the same custom in Germany, cfr. Simrock, 
the work quoted before, p. ^^:^, 

4 Horace, Carm, iii. 27. — In Afanassief, again (iv. 36), the rook is 
asked where it has flown to. It answers, " Into the meadows to 
write letters and sigh after the maiden;'' and the maiden is advised 
to hurry towards the water. The maiden declares that she fears the 



THE CROW AS MESSENGER. 257 

In a popular Swedish song, hydromel is offered to the 
messenger crow ; instead of this, it solicits small grains 
for its young. In the fifty-second story of the sixth 
book of Afanassieff, the crow is sent to seek for the 
water of life and death, and to make experiments with it 
upon itself before bringing it. 

But out of darkness comes forth light, the sun ; from the 
black nightj the clear day ; from the black crow, the white 
one ; hence, in the first of the Esthonian stories, we find 
the crow represented as the bird of light, in the same way 
as in the Hellenic myth it was sacred to Apollo. In the 
sixth of the Sicilian stories of Signora Gonzenbach, 
crows carry the boy Giuseppe, shut up in a sack made 
of a horse's skin dried in the sun, to a mountain covered 
with diamonds, and the egg of a crow thrown on the 
head of the monster giant kills him. In the ninth story 
of the fourth book of the Pentamerone, a king sees the 
blood of a cro\v, which had been killed, upon some white 
marble, and wishes for a bride who shall be white like 
the marble and red like the blood, and have hair as 
black as the crow's feathers. The foolish hero Ivan, in 
Afanassieffs story (vi. 9), calls the crows his little 
sisters, and pours out for them the food contained in the 
small pipkins which he was carrying to sell. In popular 
German and Scandinavian songs, where the crow often 
appears as the succourer of the beautiful maiden (the sun ; 
die Sonne is feminine in German, as is well known), it 
is said to be the heroine's brother. The crow is the 
weU-known messenger of Saint Oswald, king in Engel- 
land (the land of the Angles). The crow often brings 

crab. In this maiden, that is afraid of the crab, I think I can recog- 
nise the zodiacal sign of Virgo (attracted by the crab of the summer), 
— the virgin who approaches the water, the autumn and the autumnal 
rains ; the virgin loved by the crow, who is the friend of the rains. 

VOL. II R 



2s8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

good luck to the heroes, even by sacrificing itself; 
the death of night and of winter brings round again 
day and spring ; hence the two celebrated verses of 
Horace — 

" Oscinem corvum prece suscitabo 
Solis ab ortu."^ 

Several of the mythical characteristics of the crow, 
indeed, the principal ones, are also ascribed to the mag- 
pie (corvus pica). The blue magpie seems to be spoken 
of as a bird of evil omen, even in a Vedic hymn, in con- 
nection with the disease of consumption.^ In the forty- 
sixth story of Afanassieff, the magpies are in relation 
with the mythical water; one magpie is sent for the 
water of life, and another for the water of speech, to 
resuscitate the two sons of a prince and princess, whom 
a witch had touched with the hand of death as they 
slept. These two magpies seem to correspond to the two 
crows, Huginn and Muninn, which the Scandinavian god 
Odin sent every day into the world to learn all the 
news there current, which they afterwards brought back 
and whispered in one of his ears. In a German legend 
given by Grimm, the magpie appears as the bringer of 
the balsam herb (Springwurzel). The Greeks and the 
Latins considered the magpie to be sacred to Bacchus, 
because it is in connection with the ambrosial drink ; 
and, as drunkards are garrulous, so the magpie is famous 
for its garrulity. We have seen the rook amongst the 
Muses ; in Theocritus the magpie defies the nightingale 
in singing ; in Galenus it is proverbially emulous of the 
Siren ; the nine daughters of Euippes were changed into 
magpies, because they had presumed to emulate the nine 

^ Horace, Carm. iii. 27. 

2 Sakaiii yaksLma pra pata (^asbena kikidivina; Rigv. x. 97, 13. 



THE MAGPIE, 259 



Muses in singing, whence Dante, invoking Calliope, 
wishes to continue his song — 

*' Con quel suono 
Di cui le Piche misere sentiro, 
Lo colpo tal che disper^r perdono." 

The reader knows, no doubt, the fable of Arne, as given 
in Ovid, who, in her thirst for gold, betrayed her country 
to the enemy, and was changed into a rook (monedula), 
the friend of gold. In the tenth book of his History, 
Livy narrates the fable of a crow that ate the gold in 
the Capitol. In a popular Danish ballad, gold is offered 
to the messenger crow, who (like the cuckoo) answers 
that it knows not what to do with it, and desires rather 
nourishment fit for crows. The magpie, too, became 
proverbial as a robber of gold and silver, which it goes to 
hide, not so much because it likes shining metals, as 
because it hates too great light. The crow and the mag- 
pie hide the sun and the golden ears of corn in the rainy 
and wintry season. In German mythology, the magpie 
is an infernal bird, into which witches often transform 
themselves, or which is ridden by them. Hence it is also 
believed in Germany that the magpie must be killed 
during the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany 
(when the days begin to lengthen again). But, inas- 
much as every species of malice is learned in hell, the 
malice of the magpie became even more proverbial than 
that of the crow. The magpie makes use of this knowledge 
now to do evil, as a malignant fairy, now to do good to 
men, as a benignant fairy : the colour of the blue magpie 
appears now luminous, now tenebrific ; the colours of 
white and black in the magpie (a-s in the swallow) repre- 
sent its two mythical contradictory characters. In German 
superstition the magpie teUs of the approach of the wolf; 
hence it is still believed that it is unlucky to kill a 



26o ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

magpie. In the Russian popular song, the magpie is the 
punisher of the lazy little finger which would not go to 
the well to find water : — 

" TKe magpie, the magpie, 
Had cooked the gruel, 
It leaped upon the threshold, 
It invited the guests." ^ 

It invites aU the guests, except the little finger, which is 
the smallest of the fingers on account of its laziness ; — we 
have already mentioned the lazy little brother who refuses 
to go to take water, in the first chapter of the first book. 
In Eussia, it is believed that when a magpie comes to 
perch upon the threshold of a house, it announces the 
arrival of guests ; this belief reminds me of the magpie 
of Petronius : " Super limen autem cavea pendebat aurea, 
in qu^ pica varia intrantes salutabat."^ 

As the crow and the magpie are thought of, in mytho- 
logy, in connection with the water, and with the funereal 
and infernal winter, so the stork represents especially the 
rainy and wintry season. The heron, already mentioned 
in the chapter on the Cuckoo, presents several of the 
mythical characteristics of the stork. In the twenty- 



^ Sarovka, sar6vka, 

Kasha varlla 

Na parok skak^la, 

Gastiei saszivdla. 
- The magpie is proverbial as a babbler ; hence, from its Italian 
name gana^ the name gazzetta given to newspapers, as divulging 
secrets. — In the Dialogus Creaturarum, dial. 80, it is written of the 
magpie, called Agazia: "Pica est avis callidissima. . . . Hfec apud 
quenidam venatorem et humane et latine loquebatur, propter quod 
Venator ipsam plenaria fulciebat. Pica autem nou immemor beneficii, 
volens remunerare eum, volavit ad Agazias, et cum eis familiariter 
sedebat et huuiane sermocinabatur. Agazise quoque in hoc plurimum 
lEet^tbantur cupientes et ipsa3 garrire hunianeque luqui.^' 



THE STORK. 261 



ninth story of the fourth book of Afana^sieff, the stork, 
tired of living alone, goes to the heron and proposes 
marriage to her. The heron sends him away in con- 
tempt. No sooner is the stork gone, than the heron 
repents, and goes in her turn to propose to the stork, 
who refuses out of sulkiness. He then repents of his 
refusal, and retutos to the heron, who, sulky in her turn, 
rejects him. The story ends by sa3dng that the heron 
and the stork continue to visit one another, but that 
they are not married yet. This fable, although it has a 
satirical meaning, also implies the intimate mythical 
relationship between the heron and the stork. The heron 
and the stork are two birds which equally love the 
water, and therefore serve to represent the cloudy, rainy, 
wintry, or gloomy sky, which, as we have already said, 
is often represented as a black sea. From the night, the 
cloud, or the winter, comes forth the young sun, the new 
sun, the little child-hero who had been exposed in the 
waters ; hence the popular German belief of children that 
the storks carry children from the fountain.^ However, 
properly speaking, as long as the stork holds the child- 
hero in its beak, the latter is not considered born ; it is 
only born at the moment in which, opening its beak, it 
puts the child down in its mother's lap. The stork per- 
sonifies the funereal sky, the sky when the celestial hero, 
the sun, is dead. Hence it is believed in Germany that 
when storks fly round, or over a group of persons, 
some one of them is about to die ; the clouds and the 
shadows that collect together presage the disappearance 
or death of the sun. 

^ Hence the request made in the popular song to the stork, to bring 
a little sister ; cfr. the songs of the stork in Kuhn and Schwarz, 
iV. S. M. u. G. p. 452. As the bringer of children, the stork is re- 
presented as the serpent's enemy; cfr. Tzetza^ i. 945. 



262 ZOOLOGICAL MYLHOLOGY. 

In Russian stories we have a double aspect of the stork 
(besides the fable, probably imported, of the stork and 
the fox as cousins, who invite each other to supper). In 
the seventeenth story of the second book of Afanassieff, 
an old man begs the stork to be as his son (the reputa- 
tion of the storks for their paternal and filial affection is 
of ancient date ^). The stork gives to the old man a sack 
out of which come two young men, who cover the table 
with a silk tablecloth, fm^nished with every good thing. 
A godmother who has three daughters changes the old 
man's sack whilst he is returning home. The old man, 
laughed at and beaten by his wife, returns to the stork, 
who gives him another sack, out of which also come two 
young men, who flog people vigorously. By means of 
this sack the old man recovers the former one, and reduces 
his wife to obedience. In a variety of the same story, 
the stork makes to the foolish hero three presents — a 
horse which, when it is told to stop, is transformed into 
a heap of money, and, when it is told to go on, resumes 
its former shape ; a tablecloth which both spreads itself 
and takes itself off ; and a horn out of which come the 
two young floggers. In the thirty-seventh story of the 
fourth book of Afanassieff, the stork is said to be the 
brother of the woodcock, and they cut hay together, but 
do nothing else. We mentioned, in the chapter on the 
Bear, the storks that eat the harvests of a peasant who 
threatens to cut off their feet. They upset a barrel of 
wine in order to drink its contents ; the indignant peasant 
takes and binds them to his waggon, but the inebriated 
storks are so strong, that they carry peasant, waggon, 
and horse up into the air. Here the stork assumes a 

1 Cfr. Phile, vi. 2 ; and Aristophanes in the Ornithes — 
"Dei tons neotous t* patera palin trephein." 



THE STORK. 263 



diabolical aspect, as the representative of the wintry 
season ; the chariot of the peasant is that of the sun. In 
the fifth story of the sixth book of Afanassieff, the 
soldier-impostor tells an old woman that he is going 
back to the other world, where he found her son leading 
storks to the pasturage. Here the storks have the fune- 
real and infernal nature of the crows, which we have 
observed to be, in Aryan beliefs, one of the forms assumed 
by the souls of the dead. 



CHAPTEE VIL 

THE WOODPECKER AND THE MARTIN. 

STJMMAEy, 

The picus in the work of Professor Kahn. — Picus, corvus pica, and 
picumnus ; the Vedic word vrikas, — The she-wolf and the wood- 
pecker as the nurses of the Latin twifi heroes. — Picufi as the 
phallos ; picus, picumnus, piluTnnus, pilum, pistor ; piciu, pinco, 
pincio, pinson^ pincone. — The sacred herb of Indras which cleaves 
the mountains. — Jupiter as a picus ; the picus presages rain ; the 
herb of the woodpecker has the virtue of opening every shut place. 
— The woodpecker and the honey. — Beowulf and the woodpecker. 
— The woodpecker and the gold. — The green woodpecker. — The 
woodpecker as the devil. — The woodpecker in opposition to the 
fox. — The vengeance of the woodpecker. — The halcyon. — The 
martin or bird of St Martin. — Martin piciu. — The yilnx in love 
with Zeus ; it attracts lovers. — Alhuoneioi hemerai ; the halcyon. 
— Robin Redbreast and its " charitable bill." — The bird of St 
Gertrude ; the incendiaria avis ; Jean rouge-gorge, — Sea-birds 
with white and black plumage and a little spot of blood on 
their heads. 

The woodpecker has already had the honour of being 
studied with great learning by Professor Adalbert Kuhn, 
in his excellent Work upon the celestial fire and water, to 
which I refer the cultivated reader for the principal 
myths relating to the subject ; that is to say, for the com- 
parison of the Vedic hawk and the Vedic fire-bhuranyus 
with the Hellenic Phoroneus, the Latin 'picus Feronius, 
the incendiaria avis, the picus that carries thunder, and 



THE WOODPECKER. 265 

that which carries food to the twins Romulus and Eemus,^ 
and which itself enjoy swine, with King Picus, progenitor 
of a race, and with the corresponding German traditions. 
I shall only observe here the mythological relationship 
between 'picus and the corvus pica {picumnns was ap- 
plied both to the woodpecker and the magpie), in order 
to return to the equivocal Vedic word vrihas, which 
means wolf and crow, whence also arose and fostered itself 
the confusion between the she- wolf that nurses the Latin 
twin heroes, and the woodpecker which, in the same 
legend, offers itself as their nourisher. The woodpecker, 
the magpie, and the wolf, personify equally the god in 
the darkness, the devil, the cloud, the sky of night, the 
rainy season, the wintry season ; from the night, and 
from the winter, the new sun, fed by the she-wolf, or by 
the funereal bird, arises ; the penetrating beak of the 
woodpecker in the cloud is the thunderbolt ; in the 
night, and in the wintry season, it is now the moon 
that disperses the darkness, now the sunbeam that 
comes out of the darkness. The thunderbolt, the moon, 
and the sun's ray, moreover, sometimes assume in myths 
the form of the phallos ; the woodpecker as a phallos 
and the King Picus, progenitor of a race, seem to me to 
be the same. The Latin legend puts picus in connection 
with picumnus, piliimnus, the pilum, and the pistor, in 
the same way as a Norwegian story puts in relation 
with flour the cuckoo, which we abeady know to be a 
phallical symbol, properly the presser down. In the 
Piedmontese dialect, the common name of the phallos is 
piciu; in Italian, "pinco d^nApincio have the same mean- 



1 a 



Lacte quis infantes nescit crevisse ferino 1 
Et picum expositis ssepe tulisse cibos ? " 

— Ovid, Fasiij iii. 



2(56 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

ing ; pincione is tlie chaffinch (in French pinson) ; and 
pinco7ie means a fool, for the same reason that the ass, 
as a phallical symbol, personified folly. We already 
know Indras as a cuckoo, as a peacock, and as a hawk. 
To find Indras again in the woodpecker, the Tdittiriya- 
Brahmanam ofiers us a notable analogy. In it Indras 
kiUs the wild boar, hidden in the seven mountains (the 
shadows of the night, or the clouds), cleaving them by 
the touch of the stem of a sacred luminous and golden 
herb (sa darbhapiil^tilam uddhritya sapta girin bhittv4^), 
which may be the moon in the night, or else the thunder- 
bolt in the cloud ; the thunderbolt is also not seldom 
represented in Aryan traditions as a magic rod. It is 
with a golden rod that, in the seventh book of the ^neid, 
the enchantress Cii'ce transforms the wise King Picus, 
son of Saturn (as Jupiter-Indras ; Suidas also speaks of 
a Pekos Zeus, buried in Crete) into a bird, into the picus, 
sacred to the god of warriors (Mars-Indras), whence his 
name of picus martins, the woodpecker, which is sup- 
posed to presage rain (like Zeus and Indras) — 

" Picus equum domitor, quern, capta cupidine conjux, 
Aurea percussum virga, versumque venenis, 
Fecit aveni Circe, sparsitque coloribus alas." 

Pliny relates that the woodpecker has the virtue of open- 
ing every shut place, touching it with a certain herb, 
which increases and decreases with the moon ; ^ this herb 



^ Compare pingMas with pM^alas and pirigaras. — In the hymn, x. 
28, 9, of the Rigvedas, we also have the mountain cleft from afar by a 
clod of earth : Adrim logena vy abhedam ^rit. This analogy is so 
much the more remarkable, as in the same hymn, 4:th strophe, the 
wild boar is also spoken of. 

2 The same virtue of opening the mountain by means of an herb I 



THE WOODPECKER, 267 

may be the moon itself, which opens the hiding-places 
of the night, or the thunderbolt which opens the hiding- 
places of the cloud. It is well known that in the Vedic 
hymns, Indras, who is generally the pluvial and thunder- 
ing god, is frequently associated with the soma (ambrosia 
and moon), and even identified with it. Pliny adds, more- 
over, that whoever takes honey out of the hive with the 
beak of a woodpecker is not liable to be stung by the 
bees ; this honey may be the rain in the cloud as well as 
the lunar ambrosia or the dew of the morning aurora ; 
hence the woodpecker's beak may be the thunderbolt as 
well as the moonbeam, or the sunbeam. Beowulf (the 
wolf of the bees) is spoken of in connection with the 
woodpecker as well as with the bear : the Bienenfresser 
of German legends, or \hQpica merops, explains the Latin 
superstition and the Beowulf. Like the crow, the wood- 
pecker, too, stays in darkness, but brings water, seeks for 
honey, and finds the light. In the Aulularia, Plautus 
makes woodpeckers live upon golden mountains (picos, qui 
aureos montes incolunt). Inasmuch as the woodpeckers 
announced the approach of winter, or were seen on the 
left, according to the well-known verse of Horace^ — 

" Teque nee Isevus vetet ire picus, 
they were considered birds of evil omen. In the Orni- 



find attributed to the little martin, in connection with Venus, in 
Simrock, the work quoted before, p. 415 : "Schon in einem Gedichte 
Meister Altschwerts, ed. Holland, s. 70, wird der Zugang zu dem 
Berge durch ein Kraut gefunden, das der Springwurzel oder blauen 
Schliisselblume unserer Ortssagen gleicht. Kaum hat es der Dichter 
gebrochen, so kommt ein Martinsvogelchen geflogen, das guter Vor- 
bedeutung zu sein pflegt ; diesem folgt er und begegnet einem Zwerge, 
der ihn in den Berg zu Frau Venus fuhrt.*' 
2 Carm. iii. 27. 



268 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



thologus, it is said that tlie green woodpecker (the moon, 
by the previously mentioned equivocalness of haris) pre- 
sages winter (the moon, as we have said, rules over the 
winter). For this reason, St Bphiphanios could compare 
the woodpecker with the devil. According to Pliny, the 
woodpecker that perched upon the head of the prsetor 
Lucius Tubero, whilst he was administering justice, 
announced approaching ruin to the empire if it were 
allowed to go free, and approaching death to the prsetor 
if killed ; Lucius Tubero, moved by love of his country, 
seized the woodpecker, killed it, and died soon afterwards. 
Hence Pliny could say with reason that woodpeckers 
were "in auspiciis magni." 

In the twentieth story of the third book ot Afanassieff, 
the woodpecker, which usually appears as a very know- 
ing bird, lets itself be deceived by the fox, who eats its 
young ones, under the pretext of teaching them an art. 
In the twenty-fifth story of the fourth book, on the other 
hand, the woodpecker assumes a heroic and formidable 
aspect. It makes friends with an old dog, which has 
been expelled from its kennel, and offers its services as 
purveyor. A woman, is carrying some dinner to her 
husband, who isworkingin the fields. Thewoodpecker flies 
before her and feigns to let itself be taken ; the woman, 
to run after it, puts the dinner down, and the dog feeds 
upon it (in a variety of the same story, the woodpecker 
also offers to the dog a means of getting something to 
drink). Afterwards the dog meets the fox ; then, in order 
to please the woodpecker (who, perhaps, remembered the 
treachery of the fox who ate its little ones), it runs upon 
the fox and maltreats it. A peasant passes by and 
thrashes the poor dog, who dies. Then the woodpecker 
becomes furious in its desire of vengeance, and begins to 



THE HALCYON.— THE YtJNX 269 

peck now at the peasant, and now at his horses ; the 
peasant tries to flog the woodpecker, instead of which he 
flogs the horses to death. Nor does the woodpecker's 
veiigeance stop here ; it goes to the peasant's wife and 
pecks at her ; she endeavours to beat it, but instead of 
doing so, she beats her own sons (these are two varieties 
of the story of the mother who beats her son, thinking 
to beat the ass, which, as a phallical symbol, we have 
akeady said corresponds to the woodpecker. The Tnj\h 
of Seilenos, which we saw in connection with the ass, 
has also been quoted by Professor Kuhn in relation with 
the woodpecker. In the third book of the Pa7i6atantram, 
we have a bird that throws gold from behind, a charac- 
teristic of the mythical ass in fairy tales). Here the 
woodpecker has the same office which in another Russian 
story, abeady recorded, is attributed to the wintry, fune- 
real, and ill-omened stork, the sun hidden in the darkness, 
or the cloud. 

The halcyon, which announces tempests, and the bird 
of St Martin, the fisher martin, are of the same wintry and 
phallical nature as the woodpecker. In Piedmont, a fool is 
insultingly called by the name of Martin-Piciu (the podex 
and the phaUos, and also the phaUos martin, which reminds 
us of the picus pistor, and the picus martius), and the 
above-quoted Italian expression pincone is equivalent to 
it. The sun that hides itself in darkness or clouds loses 
its power. The phallical symbol is evident. Here re- 
mark the Hellenic fable of the bird Ylinx tetraknamon, 
of the four rays, of the long tongue, always changeful (the 
French call it paille en cul). Pan is said to have been 
the father of a girl called Ytinx, who, having attempted to 
seduce Zeus, was changed by the vengeance of Here into 
a bird of the same name. In Pindar, Jason made use 



270 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

of this bird, the gift of Aphrodite, to gain the favour of 
Medea, In TheocritoSj this bird is invoked by girls in love 
to attract their lovers into the house ; women made use 
of this bird in their mischief- working love-mysteries. 

According to the fifth book of Aristotle's History of 
Animals, the halcyon sits on its eggs in the serene days 
of winter, called therefore alklioneiai h^merai ; and the 
author cites a sentence of Simonides concerning this bird : 
" When Zeus, in the wintry season, creates twice seven 
warm days, mortals say, ' This tepid weather is nourish- 
ing the variously-painted halcyons.'" Ovid relates that 
Alcyon was transformed into the bird of this name while 
weeping for her husband, who had been drowned in the 
sea, whence Ariosto wrote' — 

" E s^udir le Alcione alia marina 
Deir antico infortunio lamentarse." 

This bird, the kingfisher, several kinds of woodpeckers, 
the wren, the crow, and the redbreast, the Scotch Eobin 
Eedbreastj also called in English ruddock and Eobin- 
ruddock, which, "with charitable bill," according to the 
expression of Shakspeare in Cymheline^ throws funereal 
flowers upon unburied bodies,^ are all birds sacred to St 



1 " Thou Shalt not lack 
The flower that 's like thy face, pale primrose ; nor 
The azured hare-bell, like thy veins ; no, nor 
The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander, 
Out-sweetened not thy breath ; the ruddock would, 
With charitable bill (O bill, sore-shaming 
Those rich-left heirs, that let their fathers lie 
Without a monument !), bring thee all this." 

— iv. 2. 
2 Cfr. what is said on the whoop, the stork, and the lark. — 
Concerning the bird gaulus, I find in Du Cange as follows : " Gaulus 



THE REDBREAST. 271 

Martin, the holy gravedigger, the bringer of winter, 
who, according to the Celtic and German traditions, 
divides his own cloak with poor men, and covers them. 
German legends are full of incidents relating to this 
funereal and wintry bird, with which now the funereal 
Norwegian bird of St Gertrude, now the cuckoo, now the 
ineendiaria avis, are assimilated. Hence the same red- 
breast which in German tradition is sacred to St Martin 
is called Jean rouge-gorge in the popular songs of 
Brittany, published by Villemarque, and is sacred to St 
John ; but this John may be the St John of winter, 
whose festival is celebrated on the 27th of December, 
that is, two days after the Nativity of Christ, or in the 
days in which the sun, the Saviour, is born again, and 
the light increases. Birds of the same funereal nature as 
that of St Martin appear in the Breton song Bran (or 
the prisoner of war): — "At Kerloan, upon the battle- 
field, there is an oak-tree which spreads its branches over 
the shore ; there is an oak-tree at the place where the 
Saxons took to flight before the face of Evan the Great. 
On this oak, when the moon shines at night, birds come 
to meet one another, sea-birds with white and black 
plumage, and a little spot of blood on their heads ; with 
them there comes an old grey crow, and with it a young 
crow. Both are very weary, and their wings are wet ; 
they come from beyond the seas, they come from afar ; 
and the birds sing such a beautiful song that the great 
sea is hushed and listens ; this song they sing with one 
voice, except the old crow and the young one ; now the 



Merops avis apibus infensa, unde et Apiastra vocitatur. Papias : 
' Meropes, Genus avium, idem et Gauli, qui parentes suos recondere, 
et alere dicuntur, sunt autem virides et vocantur Apiastrse.'" 



272 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

crow has said — ' Sing, little birds ; sing, sing, little birds 
of the land; you do not die far away from Bretagne/" 
The same funereal birds which have pity for the dead, 
like the stork, also take care of new-born infants, and 
bring the light forth. The cloudy nocturnal or wintry 
monster discovers his treasures ; the funereal bird buries 
the dead, and brings them to life again ; its beak pierces 
through the mountain, finds the water and the fire, and 
tears the veil of death ; its luminous head disperses the 
gloomy shadows. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE LARK AND THE QUAIL. 



SUMMARY. 

The lark the first of animals. — It existed before the earth. — It buries 
its father in its own head. — The lark sings the praises of God. — 
Pra^i,patis creates the stomas first. — The crested sun. — Christos 
and crista ; the crested lark and St Christophoros. — Alauda the 
lauder. — The lark upon the father's tomb, — The mother-lark. — 
The lark announces morning and summer. — Bharadv^^as, the 
bringer of food, the bringer of good things and of sound. — 
Bharadva^as as a mythical singer or poet, nourished by a lark ; 
the son of Brihaspati's. — The old Bharadva^as ascends into heaven 
in union with the sun. — The quail. — Vartiki, vartakas, wachtel, 
perepiolka. — The quail and the wolf in the Rigvedas. — The wise 
girl upon a hare, with a quail tied to her hand. — Jove as a quail. — 
The quail sacred to Hercules. — The moon and the quail. — The 
quail becomes a stone. — The quail believed to eat poisonous 
hellebore. — The quail as a sacred bird. — The game of the quail. — 
The quail and the cock. — The quail as a prophetic bird. — The 
quail puts a price upon corn. 

To the crested lark, in tlie Ornithes of Aristophanes, the 
name of king is given, and the same virtue of funereal 
charity is attributed to it which we have already seen 
in the redbreast of winter, in the stork, and in the 
crested whoop. According to Aristophanes the lark was 
not only the first of animals, but it existed before the 
earth and before the gods Zeus and Kronos and the 

VOL. II. s 



274 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

Titans, Hence, when the lark's father died, there was 
no earth to bury him in ; then the lark buried its father 
in its own head (or in its pyramidal crest). Goropius 
explains the belief that the lark existed before the earth, 
by observing that the lark sings seven times a day the 
praises of God in the high air, and that prayer was the 
first thing which existed in the world. In Hindoo cos- 
mogony, when Pra^^patis, the creator, wishes to multi- 
ply himself, he begins by creating the stomas or hymn.^ 
The father of the lark is therefore the god himself The 
crested lark is the same as the crested sun, the sun with 
his rays. In the legend of St Christopher, I see an 
equivoque between the word Christos and the word 
crista, and, either way, I see the sun personified. St 
Christopher, in the legend, carries Christ, and is associated 
with the lark. Goropius, when a child, on seeing a 
picture representing St Christopher, marvelled that the 
lark did not flee from the tree-staff of St Christopher, 
whilst the sparrows, instead, fled before him as soon as 
he approached ; he was answered that the lark is not 
afraid of St Christopher, because it sees on the saint's 
shoulders its own creator, God. Christ, the father of the 
lark, dies, and the lark buries him in its crista. In the 
same way an equivoque in speech made of the lark 
(alauda) the lauder (laudatrix) of God ; thus it seems to 
me that the equivoque between crista and Christos 
passed into the legend of St Christopher. In the nine- 
teenth Mongol story, the poor young man makes his 
fortune when he hears a lark upon his father's tomb, 
which has come and placed itself upon the loom. The 
lark is a form of the young man himself, the young sun 
who from poor becomes rich ; the loom upon which the 

^ Tdittiriya Yayiu^. vii. 1, 4. 



THE LARK, 275 



lark perches is the sky. The Greek name of the crested 
lark (kortidalos) corresponds to the Latin galerita. The 
lark with the crest or with the tuft explains the custom 
of the Gauls, recorded by Suetonius in the Life of Julius 
Csesar, of representing a crested lark upon their helmets. 
The -^sopian fables of the mother-lark wdth its young 
ones, and of the lark with the birdeatcher^ show us this 
bird full of cunning and wisdom.. As the larks sing the 
praises of God only when the sky is serene, and as they 
announce the morning ^ and the summer^ they represent 
the crested sun which illumines all, which is all-luminous, 
aU-seeing, (the Vedic viqvavedas), the golden sun. In 
the thirteenth Esthonian story, the maiden that sleeps 
will waken when she hears again the summer song of 
the larks. (Here the maiden is the earth, which wakens 
in the spring.) 

The Hindoo name of the lark is na less interesting 
than the Latin cdauda. Bharadv4^as, or the lark, may 
mean the bringer of food or of goods (as the sun), as weU 
as the bringer of sound (the singer of hymns) and the 
sacrificer. In this triple interpretation which can be 
given to the word hharadvdgas, nearly all the myth of 
the lark seems to be contained. Bharadv4^as, after- 
wards, also becomes the name of a celebrated poet, and of 
one of the seven mythical sages, who, according to the 
legend, was nourished by a lark, and who is said to be 
the son of Brihaspatis, the god of sacrifice. Fire, identi- 
fied with Divod^sas, one of the favourites of the god 
Indras, who destroys for him the strong celestial cities 
of Qambaras. The Tdittiriya-brdhmanam also shows 
us the wise Bharadva^as in connection with Indras. 

1 Hence Gregory of Tours relates, in i)w Cange : ** In Ecclesia 
ArvernHj dum matutinge celebrarentur Yigiliaej in quadam civitate avis 
Corydalus, quam Alaudam vocamus, ingressa est." 



2 76 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

Bharadv^^as lias become old whilst travelling three 
degrees of the life of a studious penitent ; Indras 
approaches the aged sage, and asks him, how, if he still 
had many years to Kve, he would employ his lifetime ? 
The sage answers that he would continue to live in 
penitence and in study. In the three first degrees of 
his life, Bharadv^i^as has studied the three Ved^s (the 
Atliarva-veda having come afterwards, or not being as 
yet recognised as a sacred book). In the fourth period, 
Bharadvagas learns universal science (jarvavidya), be- 
comes immortal, and ascends into heaven in union with 
the sun (A>dityasya sayu^yam). 

The quail is also in intimate relation with the summer 
sun, but especially with the moon. 

Vartik^ and vartakas are its Indian names, which may 
mean both she who is turned towards, the animated 
one, the ready, the swift, the watchful (cfr. the German 
Wachtel), and the pilgrim (cfr. the Eussian perepiolha). 
In the Rigvedas, the Agvin^u deliver the quail from 
torments ; they release the quail from the rage of the 
Avolf ; they liberate it from the jaws of the wolf that is 
devouring it.^ In the forty-first story of the sixth book 
of Afanassieff, the Avise girl comes upon a hare with a 
quail tied to her hand, and presents herself before the 
Tzar, whose riddle she must solve in order to marry him. 
This quail is the symbol of the Tzar himself, or the sun ; 
the wise girl is the aurora (or the spring), who arrives near 
the sun upon the hare, that is, upon the moon, travers- 
ing the shadows of night (or winter). The Greeks and 
Latins, observing, j)erhaps, that the moon takes sleep 

^ Vartikarii grasitam amundatam; Rigv. i. 112, 8. — Amundataih 
vartik^m aiihasali; i. 118, 8. — Asno vrikasya vartikam abhike yuvarii 
iiara n.lsatyiimumuktam ; i. 116, 14. — Vrikasya <5id vartikam antar 
asyad yuvarii gagibhir grasitam amun(iatani ; x. 39, 13. 



THE QUAIL, 277 



away from the quail, believed that the quail was sacred to 
Latona, and relate that Jove became a quail to lie with 
Latona, of which union Diana and Apollo (moon and sun) 
were born/ Others also affirm that the quail was sacred to 
Hercules, who, by the scent of a quail, recovered his life, 
which had been taken from him by Tuphon. It is 
believed that when the moon rises, the quail cries out 
and is excited to agitation against it, and that the quail's 
head increases or diminishes according to the moon's 
influence. As the quail seems to represent the sun, and 
loves heat, it fears the cold moon. From these mythical 
relations of the quail was doubtless derived the fear 
which the ancients had for the quail, which they believed 
to eat poisonous hellebore during the night, and to be 
therefore poisonous and subject to epilepsy. Plutarch, 
in the Apo'pldegmata, relates that Augustus punished 
with death a president of Egypt who had eaten a quail 
which had carried off the prize in the fight ; for it was 
long the custom to make quails fight with one another, 
in the same way as at Athens the game of the quail was 
a favourite diversion, in which several quails were placed 
in a circle, and he who hit one carried off all the others. 
According to Artemidoros, quails announced to their 
feeders the evils by which they would be visited from 
the side of the sea. The quail which agitates itself 



1 The same fable is also related in a different way : Jove cohabits 
with Latona, and subsequently forces her sister, Asterien, who is, in 
pity, changed by the gods into a quail. Jove becomes an eagle to 
catch her ; the gods change the quail into a stone — (cfr. the stories of 
Indras as a cuckoo and Kambhi, of Indras as a cock and Ahaly^. It is 
a popular superstition that quails, like the crane, when they travel, let 
little stones fall in order to recognise on their return the places by 
which they passed the first time) — which lies for a long time under 
w^ater, till by the prayer of Latona it is taken out. 



278 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

against the moon (thus -^lianos writes that the cock 
excites himself and exults when the moon rises ^) pre- 
sages the bad season, the pluvial or wintry season, and 
makes use of its own presage to migrate to warmer 
regions. The quail watches, travels, and cries out during 
the night ; from the number of times that it cries out in 
succession in the fields, the peasants of Tuscany infer 
the price of corn ; as the quail generally renews its cry 
three, four or more times, when it cries three times they 
say that corn will be cheap, and that, when it cries out 
four or more times, it will be dear ; and so they say that 
the quail puts a price upon corn.^ The quail arrives 
with the sun in our fields in spring, and goes away with 
the sun in September. In the Mahdhhdratam,^ when 
the hero Bhimas is squeezed by an enormous serpent, 
a quail appears near the sun, dark (praty^dityamabh^s- 
var^), with only one wing, one eye, and one foot, horrible 
to the sight, vomiting blood (raktam vamanti). This 
quail may represent either the red sky of evening, in the 
west, or the red heavens at the conclusion of summer. 

^ j^lianos says that the cock is in the moon's favour, either because 
it assisted Latona in parturition, or because it is generally believed 
(as a symbol of fecTindation) to be the facilitator of childbirth. As a 
watchful animal it was natural to consider it especially dear to the 
moon, the nocturnal watcher. — The cock, as an announcer of news, 
was sacred to Mercury ; as the curer of many diseases, to ^sculapius ; 
as a warrior, to Mars, Hercules, and Pallas, who, according to Pau- 
sanias, wore a hen upon her helmet ; as an increaser of the family, to 
the Lares, &c. Even Koman Catholic priests will deign to receive 
with especial favour, ad majorem Dei gloriam, the homage of cocks, 
capons, and chickens. 

2 This year, my quails cried out six times ; and the corn in Italy is 
very dear, the spring having been a very rainy one, 

» iii. 12,437. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE COCK AND THE HEN. 

SUMMARY. 

Alektriion, a satellite of Mars, the lover of Venus, becomes a cock. — 
Indras, the lover of Ahaly^ as a cock ; Ahalya turned to stone. 
— Indras as a eunuch or as a ram. — Pra^apatis loves Ms daughter 
the aurora, and becomes a goat. — Ahalya in the ashes, like 
Cinderella. — The thunder and the eggs ; the iron nail and the 
laurel in the nest. — To, be made of stucco, to be turned to stone by 
the thunder which astonishes. — It is a sacrilege to kill cocks and 
hens. — The cock Parodars in the Avesta. — The cock chases the 
demons away.— The cock wakens the aurora and arouses man- 
kind. — Christus and the cock as cristiger, cristatus, cristeus. — The 
cock sacred to St James, to St Christopher and Donar. — St James 
as a cock. — The hen crows like a cock. — Men turned to stone, 
and the cock who calls them to life again. — The cock as a devil. — 
The enchanted hut stands upon a hen's little feet. — Cocks killed 
as a form of witches. — The lapillus alectorius ; the same enclosed 
in a ring. — To dream of brood-hens with chickens. — The egg is 
more cunning than the hen. — The golden cock on the rock ; 
marvels come out of the rock. — The Qgg which becomes a girl. — 
The cock on the top of high buildings, to indicate the winds, and 
also the hours. — The black cock and the red one. — The black 
hen. — The cock sacrificed. — The cock, son of Mars. — Cockfights. 
—Auguries taken from cocks and hens ; these auguries held up to 
derision. — The hen's egg ; " Gallus in sterquilinio suo plurimum 
potest." — The pearl is an Qgg] the hen's egg in the sky is the 
sun. — The white hen. — Easter eggs. — The golden egg. — The 
cosmic egg.- — It is an excellent augury to begin with the eggj 
"Ab ovo ad malum." — To begin ah ovo. 



28o ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



Alektkuon (the Greek name of tlie cock) was the com- 
panion and satellite of Mars. "WHien Mars wished to 
spend the night with Venus during the absence of Vulcan, 
he placed Alektrtion to watch at the door. Alektriion, 
however, fell asleep ; and Mars, surprised by the return- 
ing husband, and full of indignation, transformed Alek- 
trtion into a cock, in order that it might learn to be 
watchful ; whence Ausonius — 

" Ter clara instantis Eoi 
Signa canit serus, deprenso Marte, satelles." 

According to a P4uranic legend, Indras, the Indian 
Mars, enamoured of Ahaly4, the wife of G^utamas, and 
accompanied by Candras (the moon), assumed the form of a 
krikav^kas (cock or peacock), and went to sing at mid- 
night near the dwelling of Ahaly^, whilst her husband 
was absent. Then, divesting himself of the form of a cock 
(or peacock), he left Candras at the door to watch, and 
united himself with Ahaly4 (the hen). Meanwhile G4uta- 
mas returns ; Candras not having warned the lovers of 
his approach, the saint turns Ahaly^ to stone, and scatters 
over the body of Indras a thousand wombs ; which, being 
submerged in the waters, the pitying gods subsequently 
changed into a thousand eyes (sahasr^kshas is one of the 
Hindoo names of Indras and of the peacock). Accord- 
ing to a variety of this legend, — which is analogous to the 
fable of the Zeus as a quail, the seducer of the sister of 
Latona, or of Latona herself, changed into a stone and 
submerged in the waters, — Indras becomes a eunuch, and 
obtains, as we have already seen, in compensation, two 
ram's testicles. In the Aitareya Br., the god Brahman 
Pra^apatis becomes a goat or a roebuck (rigyas), in order 
to lie with his own daughter Aurora. In the thirty- 
second and thirty-third hj'-mn of the eighth book of the 



AHALYA.—EGGS AND THUNDER, 281 

Bigvedas, the god Indras and the god Brahman change 
places. Indras is at first beautiful (jiprin) ; he after- 
wards becomes a woman (strl hi brahm4 babhiivitha). 
In the Rdmdyanam,^ G4utamas condemns Indras to 
become powerless, and Ahalya to remain hidden in the 
forest, lying in the ashes (bhasmajiyinl), until Eamas 
comes to deliver her. The ashy sky, the stony sky, the 
watery sky, are identical ; Ahaly4 (the evening aurora) 
in the ashes is the germ of the story of Cinderella, and 
of the daughter of the King of Dacia, persecuted by her 
lover, her father himself. 

A popular Italian belief, which has been mentioned by 
Pliny and Columella, says that when it thunders while 
the hen is sitting on her eggs, they are spoiled. To 
remedy this evil, Pliny advises to put under the fodder 
of the eggs an iron nail, or else some earth taken ujd 
by a ploughshare. Columella says that many put little 
branches of laurel and roots of garlic, with iron nails. 
These are all symbols of the sulphureous thunderbolts 
(because of their strong smell), and of the thunderbolt con- 
ceived of as an iron weapon ; the remedy recommended 
is according to the principle of similia similihus, for the 
same reason as the devil is prayed to in order to keep 
him away. In Sicily, when a hen is setting on her eggs, 
they put at the bottom of the nest a nail, which has the 
property of attracting and absorbing every kind of noise 
that may be noxious to the chickens. Now it seems in- 
teresting to me to find an analogous belief in Vedic anti- 
quity, A strophe, where the word andd may be rendered 
eggs as well as testicles, which therefore leads us to 
think of oviparous birds and chickens no less than men, 
invokes Indras, the thunder-god, as follows : — "Do not 

1 i. 49. 



282 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

harm its, Indras ; do not destroy us ; do not take from us 
our beloved enjoyments ; do not break, great one, 
strong one, our eggs (or testicles) ; do not ruin the fruits 
of our bowels."^ Indras can not only become a eunuch 
himself, but he can make others become eunuchs; 
thunder makes us astonished, and as we also say, by an 
analogous expression, in Italy, makes us of stucco or turn 
to stone. 

The cock and the oviparous hen, as birds which are 
as egg-yielding symbols of abundance, and which per- 
sonify the sun, were and are sacred in India and in 
Persia,^ where it is considered a sacrilege to kiU them. 
Cicero, in his Oratio pro Murena, writes that among 
the ancients he who ultroneously killed a cock did not 
sin less than he who suffocated his own father. In Du 
Cange we read that Geoffrey I., Duke of Brittany, whilst 
he was on a journey to Eome, was slain with a stone by 
a woman, one of whose hens had been killed by the 
Duke's sparrowhawk. The same superstition about hens 
is still observed in Italy by a great number of house- 
wives. 

In the Avesta the crow of the cock accompanies the flight 
of the demons, wakens the aurora, and arouses mankind.^ 



1 Ma no vadhtr incira mi pari di ma nah. priyi bho^anini pra 
moshih anda mi no maghavan <^hakra nir bhen mi nah pitri bbet 
saha^anusbani ; J^igv, i. 104, 8. 

2 Der Vogel der den Namen Parodars fiibrt, o heiliger Zarathustra, 
den die ubelredenden Menschen mit den Namen Kahrkatag belegen, 
dieser Yogel erliebt seine Stimme bei jeder gottlichen Morgenrofche : 
Stehet auf, ihr Menschenj preiset die beste Eeinheit, vertreibet die 
Daeva; Vendidad, xviii. 34-38, Spiegel's version. — The cock Parodars 
chases away with his cry especially the demon Bushyangta, who 
oppresses men with sleep, and he returns again in a fragment of the 
Khorda-Avesta (xxxiz.): "Da, vor dem Kommen der Morgenrothe, 
spricht dieser Vogel Parodars, der Vogel der mit Messeru verwundet, 



PARODARS.'-THE CROW OF THE COCK. 283 

Even the Christian poet Prudentius, who still sees a solar 
symbol in the Christits, compares him to the cock, also 
called cristiger, cristatus, cristeus^ prays to Christ to 
chase away sleep, to break the fetters of night, to undo 
the old sin, and to bring the new light, after having said 

of the cock — 

" Ferunt vagantes dsemones, 
Lset03 tenebris noctium 
Gallo canente exterritos 
Sparsim timere et cedere, 
.... omnes credimus 
lUo quietis tempore 
Quo gallus exsultans canit 
Christum redisse ex inferis." 

We have seen in the preceding chapter, the crested 
lark in connection with St Christopher. In Germany, 
on the 25th of July, sacred to St James ^ (the saint who 



Worte gegen das Feuera aus. Bei seinem Sprechen lauft Bushyangta 
mit langen Handen herzu von der nordlichen Gegend, von den nord- 
lichen Gegenden, also sprechen, also sagend : " ScMafet o Menschen, 
schlafet, siindlich Lebende, schlafet, die ihr ein siindiges Leben fiihrt." 
As in tlie song of Prudentius, the idea of sleep and that of sin are 
associated together ; the song of Prudentius suggests the idea that it 
was -vv-ritten by some one who was initiated in the solar mysteries of 
the worship of Mithras. 

1 Cfr. Du Cange, s. v. — And the same Du Cange, in the article 
gallina, quotes an old mediaeval glossary in which gallina is said to 
mean Christ, wisdom, and soul. — The cock of the Gospel announces, 
reveals, betrays Christ three times, in the three watches of the night, 
to which sometimes correspond the three sons of the legends. 

2 According to a legend of St James, an old father and mother go 
with their young son on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella in 
Spain. On the way, in an inn at San Domingo de la Calzada, the 
innkeeper's daughter offers her favours to the young man, who rejects 
them ; the girl avenges herself upon him by putting a silver plate in 
his sack, for which he is arrested and impaled as a thief. The old 
parents continue their journey to Santiago ; St James has pity upon 
them, and works a miracle which is only known to be his afterwards. 



284 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

empties the bottle, as they say in Piedmont), to St 
Christopher, and the ancient god of thunder, Donar, cocks 
were made to dance, and then sacrificed. Donar carries 
Oerwandil on his shoulders across rivers, as the giant 
Christopher carries Christ. 

There is a superstition which is widely diffused in 
Italy, Germany, and Eussia, according to which a hen 
that begins to crow like a cock is of the worst omen; and 
it is the universal persuasion that it ought to be killed 
immediately, in order not to die before it. As the same 
belief exists in Persia, the discussion of Sadder with 
regard to it is interesting, to prove that the hen which 
crows like a cock must not be killed, because, if it become 
a cock, that means that it will be able to kill the demon, 
(therefore at Persian tombs they were accustomed to set 
a cock free). Having regard to the superstitious Eastern 
and European beliefs, the worthy Professor Spiegel 
will now find, I hope, the following passage, which ap- 
peared rather obscure to him, a little clearer : — " Qui 
religione sinceri sunt ludificationes expertes, quando per- 
cipiunt ex gallina vociferationem galli non debentillam 

The old couple return to their country, passing by San Domingo; 
here they find their son alive, whom they had seen impaled, for 
which tbey there and then oflfer solemn thanks to St James. All are 
astonished. The prefect of the place is at dinner when the news is 
brought to him ; he refuses to believe it, and says that the young man 
is no more alive than the roasted fowl whicli is being set upon the 
table \ no sooner has he uttered the words, than the cock begins to 
crow, resumes its feathers, jumps out of the plate and flies away. The 
innkeeper s daughter is condemned ; and in honour of the miracle, the 
cock is revered as a sacred animal, and at San Domingo the houses 
are ornamented with cock's feathers. A similar wonder is said, by 
Sigonio, to have taken place in the eleventh century in the Bolognese \ 
but instead of St James, Christ and St Peter appear to perform 
miracles. — Cfr. also the relationship of St Elias (and of the Russian 
hero Ilya) feasted on the 21st of July, when the sun enters the sign 
of the lion, with Helios, the hellenic sun. 



THE COCK AND THE STONY SKY. 285 

gallinam interficere ominis causa, quia earn interficiendi 
jus nullum habent. . . . Nam in Persia si gallina fit 
gallus, ipsa infaustuni diabolum franget. Si autem alium 
gallum adhibueris in auxilium, ut cum gallina consortium 
habeatj non erit incommodum ut tunc ille diabolus sit 
interfectus." According to a Sicilian proverb, the hen 
that crows like a cock must neither be sold nor given 
away, but eaten by its mistress/ 

In the forty-fifth story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, 
the cocks crow, and the devil's smoke disappears. In the 
fortieth story of the same book, the cock crows, and the 
devil disappears from the kingdom in which he made 
every man and every thing turn to stone. The son of a 
peasant, staying to pray all through the night with 
lighted candles, alone escapes from the devil's evil works ; 
after three nights of similar penitence, all the men who 
were turned to stone come to life again, and the young 
and pious peasant espouses the king's beautiful daughter. 

In the thirtieth story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, 
when the cock begins to crow, the old man becomes of a 
sudden at once rigid and silent. Here, perhaps, there is 
an allusion to the old sun of evening, and to the cock's 
crowing in the evening. The cock of night, therefore, 
assumes sometimes a diabolical form. In the twenty- 
second story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, the devil 
becomes a cock in order to eat the corn into which the 
young man who was first turned into a gold ring, has 
been at length transformed. But this cock of night, 
being demoniacal, although his crest (the sun) is always 
red, is of a black colour. The cock is red in the morning 
and in the evening ; in the night it is black, with its red 

■ ^ La gallina cantatura 
Nun si vinni, nfe si duna, 
Si la mancia la patruna. 



286 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

crest turned now to the east, now to tlie west ; it is upon 
the little feet of a hen/ that the little movable enchanted 
Eussian hut stands, which the young heroes and young 
heroines on a journey meet with in the forest, and cause 
to turn in the direction they came from. 

In the ninth story of the second book of the Penta- 
merone, a queen gives orders to kill the cocks in the 
town, so that the crowing may cease, because as long as 
the cocks crow, she will, by a witch's enchantment, be 
unable to recognise and embrace her son. The witch 
herself evidently assumes here the form of the diabolical 
cock that crows in the night. ^ 

^ Cfr. Afanassieffj i. 3, ii. 30 ; sometimes^ instead of the hen's feet 
■\ve have the dog's paws ; cfr. v. 28. 

2 Concerning this subject I can add an unpublished story which 
Signor S. M. Greco sends me from Cosenza in Calabria : — A poor 
girl is alone in the fields ; she plucks a rampion, sees a stair, goes 
down, and comes to the palace of the fairies, who at sight of her are 
smitten with love. She asks to be allowed to go back to her mother, 
and obtains permission ; she tells her mother that she hears a noise ' 
every night, without seeing anything, and is advised to light a candle 
and she will see. Next evening the girl does so, and sees a youth of 
great beauty with a looking-glass on his breast. The third evening 
she does the same, but a drop of was falls upon the looking-glass and 
wakens the youth, who cries out lamentably, *' Thou shalt go hence/' 
The girl wishes to go away ; the fairies give her a fall clew of thread, 
with the advice that she must go to the top of the highest mountain 
and leave the clew to itself ; where it goes, thither must she follow. 
She obeys, and arrives at a town which is in mourning on account of 
the absence of the prince ; the queen sees the girl from the window 
and makes her come in. After some time she gives birth to a hand- 
some son, and a shoemaker, who works by night, begins to sing — 

" Sleep, sleep, my son ; 
If your mother knew some day 
That you are my son, 

In a golden cradle she would put you to sleep. 
And in golden swaddling-clothes. 
Sleep, sleep, my son." 



LAPILLUS ALECTORIUS.—COCK AND PEARL. 287 

In the first story of the fourth book of the Paita- 
merone, the old Minec' Aniello feeds a cock well, but 
being afterwards in want of money, sells it to two 
magicians, who, when walking back, say to each other 
that the cock is precious for the stone that it contains, 
which, enclosed in a ring, will enable one to obtain all 
that he wishes (the lapillus alectorius, which is said to be 
as large as a bean, to be like crystal, to be good for preg- 
nant women, and for inspiring courage ; it is alleged that 
the hero Milon owed all his strength to it). Minec' 
Aniello hears this, steals the cock, kills it, takes the stone, 
and by its means becomes young again, in a beautiful 
palace of gold and silver. When the magicians defraud 
him of this stone, enclosed in a ring, the young man 
becomes old again, and goes to seek his lost ring in the 
kingdom of the deep hole (de Pertuso cupo) inhabited by 
the rat ; the rats gnaw the finger of the magician who 
has the ring ; Minec' Aniello recovers his ring, and 
changes the two magicians into asses ; he rides upon 
one ass, and then throws it down the mountains ; the 
other ass is loaded with lard, and sent in gratitude to the 
rats. Here the cock appears as a nocturnal animal ; the 
stone which, when enclosed in a ring, performs miracles, 
is the sun which comes out when invoked by the cock of 
night. According to the Sicilian belief, when one dreams 

The queen then learns from the girl, that he who sings thus is the 
prince, who is destined to stay far from the palace until the sun rises 
without him perceiving it. Orders are then given to kill all the fowls 
in the town, and to cover all the windows with a black veil scattered 
over with diamonds, in order that the prince may believe it is still 
night and may not perceive the rising of the sun. The prince is 
deceived, and marries the maiden who is the fairies' favourite, and 
they lived happy and contented, 

Whilst I, if you will believe me. 
Found myself with a thorn in my foot. 



111 



ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 



of brood-heiis with chickens in. uninhabited and deserted 
houses, it is a si^n that there are treasures hidden in these 
houses, and one must go to dig them up. 

In the first of the Esthonian stories, the cock that 
crows is a spy over the old woman. ^ In the third 
Esthonian story, a woman gives her husband three eggs 
of a black hen to eat in order to obtain three dwarf 
heroes. In the twenty -second Esthonian story, the 
shepherds that watch over the son of the persecuted 
king, seeing the knowingness of the boy, recognise the 
truth of the proverb that "the egg is more cunning than 
the hen." In the ninth Esthonian story, a young man, 
after having made a compact with the devil, cheats him, 
giving him the blood of a cock instead of his own. In 
the fourth Esthonian story, when three strokes are given 
with a golden rod upon a rock, a large golden cock 
comes out and perches upon the top of it ; it beats its 
wings and crows ; at each crowing a marvel comes out of 
the stone, a tablecloth that spreads itself and a porringer 
that fills itself. In the twenty-fourth Esthonian story, 
an old fairy gives to the queen a little basket with a 
bird's egg inside ; the queen must hatch it for three 
months, like a pearl, in her bosom ; first a little living 
doll will be born, which, when warmed in a basket 
covered with wool, wiU become a real girl ; at the same 
time that the doll becomes a real girl, the queen will 
give birth to a beautiful male child. Linda, the wife 
of Kalew, in Finnish mythology, is also born of the egg 
of a woodcock or a heathcock. 

In Hungry (where a dyed tin cock is placed upon the 
top of high buildings to indicate the direction of the 

1 Die schlaue Alte brachte bald heraus, was der Dorfhahn hinter 
ihrem Eucken der juiigsten Tochter ins Ohr gekraht hatte ; Kreutz- 
Tvald u. Lowe, Elistnische Marchen, 



THE WEATHERCOCK. 289 

wind — this is the Bnglisli and Italian weathercock ; we 
have all heard of the cock of the tower of St Mark 
at Venice which makes the hours strike), it is believed 
that, to appease the devil, one must sacrifice a black 
cock to him. The red cock, on the contrary, signifies 
fire.^ 

In the Monferrato it is believed that a black hen 
split open alive in the middle, and placed where one 
feels the pain of the mal di punta, will take away 
the disease and the pain, on condition that when this 
strange plaster is taken ofi", the feathers be burned in the 
house. 

The cock or fowl which, in the festive customs of 
Essex and of Norfolk (of which traces are preserved in 
the striking of the porringer, by a man bhndfolded at 
the feast of Mid- Lent in several parts of France and in 
Piedmont), a man blind-folded wins, if he succeeds in 
striking it upon the shoulders of another man (or else 
sometimes shut up in a porringer at the height of twelve 
or fourteen feet from the ground, at which projectiles 

^ In the annals of the city of Debreczen, in the year 1564, we read 
as follows : "Sterna et exitialis memoria de incendio trium ordinum 
in anno prsesenti: feria secunda proxima ante fest. nat. Marise gloriosse 
exorta est flamma et incendiuna periculosum in platea Eargondia; 
eadem similiter ebdomade exortum est incendiuni altera vice, de platea 
Csapo de domo inquilinari Stephani literati, multas domos ... in 
cinerem redegit, et quod majus inter csetera est, nobilissimi quoque 
tenipli divi Andreae et turris tecturse combustse sunt, ex qua turri et 
ejus pinnaculo, gallus etiam sereus, a multis annis insomniter dies ac 
noctes jejuno stomacho stans et in omnes partes advigilans, flammam 
ignis sufferre non valens, invitus devolare, descendere et illam suam 
solitam stationem deserere coactus est, qui gallus tantee cladis com- 
miserescens ac nimio dolore obmutescens de pinnaculo desiliendio, collo 
confracto in terram coincidens et suae vitse proprise quoque non parcens, 
fidele suum servitium invitus derelinquendo, misere expiravit et vitam 
suam finivit sic." 

VOL. u. T 



290 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

are thrown ^) is a personification of the funereal cock out 
of which, when struck, the daily fire is made to come. 
The sacrifice of a cock was a custom in India, Greece, 
and Germany. 

In the same way as the ancients used to make quails 
fight against each other, so they made cocks ; hence the 
cock was called son of Mars (Are6s neottos). We already 
know that the cock's crest terrifies the maned lion ; the 
crest and the mane are equivalent ; and we have also 
seen what heroic Adrtue was attributed to the lapilliis 
alectorius. Plutarch writes that the Lacedsemonians 
sacrificed the cock to Mars to obtain victory in the 
battles which they fought in the open air. Pallas wore 
the cock upon her helmet, Idomeneus upon his shield. 
Plutarch says, moreover, that the inhabitants of Cariaused 
to carry a cock on the end of their lances, and refers the 
origin of this custom to Artaxerxes ; but it appears to be 
much more ancient, for the Carians wore crested helmets 
as far back as the time of Herodotus, for which reason 
the Persians gave the Carians the name of cocks. Cock- 
fights, which became so popular in England, are also 
common in India. Philon, the Hebrew, relates of 
Miltiades, that before the battle of Marathon he in- 
flamed the ardour of his soldiers by exhibiting cock- 
fights ; the same, according -^lianos, was done by 
Themistocles. John Goropius (who gives the extrava- 
gant etymologies of danen and alanen from de hahnen 
and cdl hahneji) relates that the Danes were accustomed 
to carry two cocks to war, one to teU the hours and the 
other to excite the soldiers to battle. Du Cange informs 



^ Keinsberg von Duringsfeld observes {Das festliche Jahr), that 
sometimes, for jest, in North Walsham, instead of the cock an owl is 
put,— another funereal symbol with which we are already acquainted. 



THE PEARL IN THE DUNGHILL—THE EGG, 291 

us that duels between cocks were also the custom in 
France in the seventeenth century, and gives some 
fragments of mediseval writings in which these are pro- 
hibited as a superstitious custom and one which was 
objectionable. 

It is well known that the ancient Eomans, before 
engaging in battle, took auguries from cocks and fowls, 
although this custom sometimes gave occasion to derision. 
Of Publius Claudius, for instance, it is said that, being 
about to engage in a naval battle in the first Punic war, 
he consulted the auguries in order not to ofi'end against 
the customs of his country ; but that when the augurs 
announced that the fowls would not eat, he ordered 
them to be taken and thrown into the sea, saying, "If 
they will not eat, then let them drink." 

Part of the worship which was offered to the cock and 
to the hen was also rendered to the egg : the Latin 
proverb, "Gallus in sterquilinio suo plurimum potest," 
shows the great value of the egg. The pearl which the 
fowl searches fof in the dunghill is nought else but its 
own egg ; and the egg of the hen in the sky is the sun 
itself. During the night the celestial hen is black, but 
it becomes white in the morning ; and being white, on 
account of the snow, it is the hen of winter. The white 
hen is propitious on account of the golden chickens 
hatched by it. In the Monferrato it is believed that 
the eggs of a white hen laid on Ascension Day, in a 
new nest, are a good remedy for pains in the stomach, 
head, and ears, and that, when taken into a cornfield, 
they prevent the blight, or black evil,, from entering 
amongst the crops, or when taken into a vineyard, they 
save it from hail. The eggs which are eaten at Easter and 
concerning which, accompanied sometimes by songs and 
proverbs, so many popular customs, mythologically in 



292 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

accordance, are current in the various countries of 
Europe, celebrate the resurrection of the celestial egg, 
a symbol of abundance/ the sun- of spring. The hen of 
the fable and the fairy tales, which lays golden eggs, is 
the mythical hen (the earth or the sky) "which gives 
birth every day to the sun. The golden ^gg is the 
beginning of life in Orphic and Hindoo cosmogony ; by 
the golden egg the world begins to move, and movement 
is the principle of good. The golden egg brings forth 
the luminous, laborious, and beneficent day. Hence it 
is an excellent augury to begin with the egg, which 
represents the principle of good, whence the equivocal 
Latin proverb, "Ab ovo ad malum," which signified 
"from good to evil," but which properly meant, "from 
the egg to the apple," the Latins being accustomed to 
begin their dinners with hard-boiled eggs and to end 
them with apples (a custom which is still preserved 
among numerous Italian families).^ 

But to begin ab ovo also means to begin at the 
beginning. Horace says that he does not begin from the 
twin eggs the description of the Trojan war — 

"Nee gemino bellum Trojanum orditur ah ovo^^ 

^ Not only the egg of the hen is a symbol of abundance, but even 
the bones of fowls served in popular tradition to represent matrimonial 
faith and coition. In Russia, when two (probably husband and wife) 
eat a fowl together, they divide the bone of the neck, the English 
merrythought, between them ; then each of them takes and keeps 
a part, promising to remember this rupture. When either of the two 
subsequently presents something to the other, the one who receives 
must immediately say, " I remember ; " if not, the giver says to him, 
" Take and remember.'' The forgetful one loses the game. A similar 
game, called the verde or green, is played in Tuscany during Lent 
between lovers with a little twig of the box-tree. 

^ The sun is an ^gg at the beginning of day ; he becomes, or finds, 
an apple-tree in the evening, in the western garden of the Hesperides. 



AB OVO, 293 



alluding to the egg of Leda, to whicli the Gxeek proverb, 
"Come out of the egg" (ex 6ou exelthen), also alludes^ 
said of a very handsome man, and referring to fair Helen 
and her two luminous brothers the Dioskuroi. But here 
the white cock has became a white swan, of which we 
shall speak in the following chapter. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE DOVE, THE DUCK, THE GOOSE, AND THE SWAN. 
SUMMAEY. 

White, red, and dark-coloured doves, ducks, geese, and swans. — The 
funereal dove ; it is united with the owl ; kapotas. — The doves 
flee from unhappy persons. — The dove and the hawk. — Two doves 
sacrifice themselves, one for the other ; a form of the Agviniu. — 
The dove and the ant. — Transformation of the hero and heroine 
into doves. — The two prophetic doves upon the cross-trees of the 
mast. — Among funereal games, that of shooting arrows at a dove 
which hangs from the mast of a ship. — The doves of Dod'ona. — 
The dove and the water. — St Radegonda as a dove preserves 
sailors from shipwreck. — A dove guides the Argonauts. — The 
soul of Semiramis becomes a dove. — It is sacrilege to eat a dove. — 
Hero and heroine become doves, in order to escape. — The dove 
as the bringer of joy, of light, of good ; it is a symbol of the 
winter that ends, and of the spring which is beginning. — The 
daughters of Anius become white doves, — Two doves separate the 
barley for the girl. — The fireworks, the stove, and the car of 
Indras, perform the same miracles, i.e., they make beautiful the 
girl with the ugly skin. — Zezolla benefited by the dove of the 
fairies. — The doves on the rosebush. — The nymph Peristera helps 
Aphrodite to pluck flowers, — The phallical dove. — The word 
hansas ; the gug-lebedi of Russian tales. — Agnis as a hansas. — The 
Marutas as hansas. — The horses of the two Agvinau as hansas. — 
The duck makes its nest upon the thief's head. — Bribus on the 
thieves' head ; Bribus as Indras, and as a bird. — Brahman upon the 
hansas. — The sun as a golden duck. — The betrothed wife as a 
duck. — The arrows of Ramas as hansas. — Kabandhas drawn by 
hansHs. — The hansas as love messengers. — The geese-swans and 
the young hero in Russian tales. — The serpent-witch and the 



THE DOVE. 295 



princess as a white duck. — The golden and silver eggs of the 
duck. — The golden %gg of the duck causes the death of the horse. 
— The geese of the Capitol. — The goose which, after having been 
cooked, rises again alive. — Geese as discoverers of deceits. — The 
Valkiries as swans. — Berta the Heine p^dauque. — The wild goose 
on the bush, — The goose eaten on St Michael's Day. — The hero 
and the swan. — The kingdom of the San Graal. — The legend of 
Lohengrin ; a variety of the myth of the Agviniu ; Lohengrin 
and Elsa's brother, the sun and the moon. — The legend of the 
Dioskuroi ; Zeus as a swan ; the Dioskuroi deliver Helen, as 
Lohengrin delivers Elsa. 

Inasmuch as there is the white dove and the dove- 
coloured one/ the white duck and goose, the duck and 
the dark-coloured or fire-coloured goose, the white swan 
and the flamingo, the red swan and the black, these 
birds, dove, goose, duck, and swan, from the diversity of 
colour which they assume upon the earth, also assumed 
mythical aspects which are sometimes contradictory 
when translated to the sky to represent celestial pheno- 
mena. While the white ones served for the more poetical 
images of mythology, the red and the dark ones offered 
aspects now benignant, now malignant, alluring the 
hero now to his ruin, and now, instead, to good fortune. 
The red hues, for example, of the western sky appear as 
flames into which the witch wishes to precipitate the 
young hero ; the roseate tints of the eastern heavens, on 
the contrary, are generally the pyre or furnace in which 
the hero burns the ill-favoured witch who endeavours to 
ruin him ; from the dawn of morning, from the white 
sky, from the snow of winter, from the white earth or 
white swan, the golden egg (the sun) comes forth ; now 
the beautiful maiden, now the young hero emerges from 

1 The Indian word hapotas^ which means a dove, also indicates the 
grey colour of antimony, the colour of the commonest species of doves, 
and of those which are fed on St Mark's Place at Venice. 



296 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

it — the aurora and the sun, or else the spring and the 
sun. The evening sun and aurora in the night, the sun 
and the verdant earth, which divests itself of its vari- 
coloured attire in autumn, veil, cover, and lose them- 
selves ; their most vivid hues become obscure in the 
gloom of night, or are covered by the snow of winter ; 
the hero becomes a dark-coloured dove, or a gloomy swan 
which crosses the waters. I have noted more than 
once how the night of the year corresponds to those 
of the day; the sun which hides itself in the night 
of evening, and the sun which veils itself in the night 
of winter, are often represented by the same mythical 
images. 

Let us now see under what mythical aspects the dove, 
the duck, and the swan appear in the East, in order to 
compare them with Western traditions. 

The jRigvedas presents us with the funereal dove, 
the grey or dark-coloured dove, the messenger of the 
nocturnal or wintry darkness. Seeing it is joined in the 
Vedic hymn with the owl, it was supposed that it repre- 
sented some other bird than the dove, and interpreters 
were fain to recognise in the Vedic kapotas the turdus 
macrourus rather than the dove ; but this interpretation 
seems to me inadmissible, since the Vedic kapotas ap- 
pears as a domestic bird, and one which approaches the 
dwellings of men, habits which thrushes have not, and 
which doves have. In the 165th hymn of the tenth book 
of the Migvedas, the kapotas is exorcised as a messenger 
of the funereal Nirritis, of death, and of Yamas the god 
of the dead, in order that it may do no evil : " Be pro- 
pitious to us," cries the poet, "be propitious to us, rapid 
(or messenger) kapotas; inoffensive may the bird be unto us, 
gods, in the houses. AVhen the owl emits that painful 
cry, Avhen the kapotas touches the fire, honour be to 



THE TWO DOVES, 297 

Mrityus, to Yamas, whose messenger it is."^ As birds of 
evil omen also must the doves be recognised, which flee 
from, the unhappy in the Pancatantram^ In the dove 
pursued by the hawk (the hawk has also in Sanskrit the 
name of kapotiris, or enemy of doves) of the Buddhist 
legend concerning the king who sacrifices himself to keep 
his word, which has been recorded in the chapter on the 
hawk, the hawk is the form taken by Indras, and the 
dove the form of Agnis, the fire. The same legend is 
found again in the Tuti-Name, with this variation that 
the vultm^e takes the place of the falcon, and Moses that 
of the Buddhist king. In order to fulfil the duties of 
hospitality, he cuts ofi' as much of his own flesh as the 
dove weighs, to give it to the vulture, who takes in jest 
the same part of the hero which the hatred of races and 
religious fanaticism make the Jew of Venice, immor- 
talised by the genius of Shakspeare, demand with serious- 
ness. In other Hindoo varieties of the same legend of 
the hero who sacrifices himself, we find two doves (in 
the Pancatantram) which sacrifice themselves one for 
the other ; two doves that love one another (in the Tuti- 
Name,^ they are two turtle-doves). Here we have a 
form of the two Agvin4u, of the two brothers of whom 
one sacrifices himself for the other ; the weU-known fable 
of La Fontaine, Les Deux Pigeons, is a reminiscence of 
this Eastern legend. In the same way, a variety of the 
legend of the two brothers is contained in the fable of 
-^sop, and of La Fontaine, of the dove that throws a 
blade of grass into the water to the ant that is about to 
drown, and thus saves it, for which reason the grateful 

1 Qivah kapota ishito no astu anagfi dev^h gakuno griheshu ; str. 2. 
— For the fourth stroj^he, cfr. the chapter which treats of the Owl. 

2 ii. 9. 

3 ii 239. — Cfr. the chapter on the Eagle. 



298 ZOOLOGICAL MY2H0L0GY. 

ant soon after bites tlie foot of the hunter who has 
caught the dove, so that he is compelled to let it go. In 
the chapter which treats of the swallow, we saw the 
beantifu] maiden upon the tree at the fountain changed 
into a swallow by the witch's enchantment ; numerous 
other legends, instead of the transformation into a 
swallow, give us that into a dove/ The stories of the 
maiden Filadoro and of the Island of the Ogres, in the 
Pentameronef a Piedmontese story communicated by 
me in 1866 to my friend Professor Alexander Wesselofski, 
who published it in his essay upon the poet Pucci ; the 
thirteenth Sicilian story of Signora Gonzenbach (of which 
the twelfth story is a variation) ; the forty-ninth story of 
the sixth book of Afanassieff (a variety of which occurs 
at the end of the fifth of the stories of Santo Stefano di 
Calcinaia), and a great number of analogous European 
stories, reproduce this subject of the maiden transformed 
into a dove by the witch's enchantment : as the swallow 
is white and black, so does the dove into which the 
beautiful maiden is transformed appear now white and 
now black. No less numerous are the stories in which, 
instead of the young princess, we read of young princes 
transformed into doves ; I publish here two unpublished 
Tuscan stories which refer to this subject, and which 
(particularly the second) are of great interest.^ 

^ It appears to me that the same confusion arose between coluber 
and coliimha as between cheliidros, a kind of serpent, and clielidtn^ a 
swallow. The beautiful maiden upon a tree occurs even in the Tuti- 
Name, i. 178, seq. 2 ij^ 7^ ^nd v. 9 

2 They were related to me at Antignano near Leghorn by the 
peasant woman Uliva Selvi : — 

A gentleman had twelve sons and one daughter, who had, by 
enchantment, been metamorphosed into an eagle, and was kept in a 
cage. The father takes the twelve sons to mass every day; every 
day he meets an old beggar-woman and gives alms to her; one day, 



THE TRANSFORMATION INTO A DOVE. 299 

Hitherto the dove has appeared as a mournful and 
diabolical form assumed by the hero or heroine, on com- 



liowever, lie has no money with him, and therefore gives her nothing; 
the old woman curses him, wishing that he may never see his sons 
again. No sooner said than done ; the twelve sons become twelve 
doves and fly away. The despairing father and mother begin to 
weep ; in their despnir they forget to feed the eagle. Opposite the 
gentleman's house the king lived, who becomes enamoured of the 
eagle as though of a beautiful maiden ; he has her stolen and replaced 
by another eagle. Not far thence there lived a washerwoman who 
had such a beautiful daughter that she never let her go out except at 
night. They wash at the fountain surrounded by poplar-trees ; at 
midnight, as they wash, they hear a noise among the poplar-trees, 
and the maiden is afraid. One night they listen and hear the doves 
speaking and telling one another the incidents of the day, where 
they had been and what they had been doing. They then fly into a 
beautiful garden ; the girl follows them ; they enter into a beautiful 
palace, and the washerwoman relates what she has seen to the gentle- 
man, who rejoices, and promises a great reward to the washerwoman 
if she will show him where his sons go to sleep. Both father and 
mother go to see ; the pigeons speak, and say, " Were our mother to 
see us . . . " ; they then fly away. The gentleman then consults an 
astrologer, who advises him to allure the old witch into his house by 
the promise of alms, to shut her up in a room, and to compel her by 
main force to indicate the means of turning the pigeons into youths 
once more, or else to kill her. The old woman gives a powder which, 
when scattered on the highest mountain, will make the pigeons return 
home. The father goes to the mountain, scatters the powder and 
returns home, where he finds his sons, who are inquiring after the 
eagle. They go to see it and do not recognise it ; they complain to 
their mother of this. Meanwhile, the young king is always near his 
eagle as if making love to it ; and his mother is displeased at it. The 
twelve brothers meet a fairy who, for some alms, tells who has their 
eagle, and that it will soon return home a beautiful maiden. And the 
eagle becomes a beautiful girl and is married by the king. 

There was once a king who had a handsome son, enamoured of a 
beautiful princess. He is carried off" with two servants by the magicians 
and transformed into a pigeon ; the servants undergo the same meta- 
morphosis ; one becomes green, one red, and the other greyish violet 
(pavonazzo). They take him into a beautiful palace where he must 



300 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

pulsion of external magic. Of funereal character, too. 
are tlie two doves which place themselves upon the cross- 
trees of the ship in which Gennariello is carrying a hawk, 
a horse, and a white and red bride with black hair to 
his brother Milluccio (a variation of the legend of the 
Ajvin^u, and of that of the youth who sacrifices himself 

stay for seven years. Each has a large basin, — one is of gold, another 
of silver, and the third of bronze. When they plunge into them, 
they become three handsome youths. The princess, meanwhile, is 
dying to know where her lover is gone ; she goes to have her hair 
combed on a terrace ; the three pigeons carry away her looking-glass, 
then the ribbon of her hair, and then her comb. A great festival 
occurs in this town, to which the girls of the land go by night ; on 
the way, one of them, near the break of day, turns aside for a few 
minutes ; she sees a golden gate, finds a little gold key on the earth, 
opens the door and enters into a fine garden. At the end of the path 
there is beautiful palace, into which she goes ; she finds the three 
basins of gold, silver, and bronze, and sees the pigeons become young 
men. Meanwhile the king's daughter falls ill of grief, and is to 
all appearance dying ; the king resolves to have her cured at any 
cost. The girl who had been in the place relates to the king's 
daughter all that she has seen ; the latter is cured and goes with the 
girl to the palace ; they find it, enter, and see a table laid for three 
persons ; the two girls hide themselves. The prince and the princess 
meet with one another; but the prince, upon seeing her, is full of 
despair, saying that her impatience has prolonged the enchantment 
for seven years more, whilst it had at the time only three more days 
to run. He becomes a pigeon again ; she must stay for seven years 
upon a tower exposed to all the inclemency of the seasons. Seven 
years pass by ; the princess has become so ugly that she looks like a 
beast, with long hair all over her burned skin. The enchantment comes 
to an end for him after seven years ; he goes to look for her ; she says, 
" How much have I suffered for you!" The prince does not recognise 
her, and leaves her; she is left naked in a dense forest, and goes to 
seek her father. Night comes on, and the princess and her servant- 
maid do not know where to take refuge ; they climb up a tree, whence 
they perceive a light. They walk towards it and find a beautiful 
little palace ; a beautiful lady, a fairy, shows herself, and asks, " Is 
this you, Caroline ? " This was the princess's name. But the fairy 
can give no news of the prince, and sends her on to another fairy, her 



THE TWO DOVES. 301 

for his brother). The two doves speak to each other ; 
one says that Gennariello is taking to his brother Mil- 
luccio a hawk which immediately after its arrival will 
tear out his eyes, and that he who should warn Milluccio 
of it, or not take the hawk to him, would turn to marble ; 
then that Gennariello is taking to his brother Milluccio a 

sister, with the same result ; she then goes to a third fairy, walking a 
double distance each time. The three fairies were three queens who 
had been betrayed by the same young prince. The third fairy gives 
to the princess a magical rod ; she must go to the prince and do to 
him what he did to her — spit in his face, to wit. She is brought in a 
boat before the young king's palace, and there, following the fairy's 
instructions, she raises, by means of the rod, a beautiful palace, a 
palace more beautiful than that of the king, with a beautiful fountain. 
The young king wishes to go and see it ; he sees a beautiful princess 
and kisses his hani to her, but she shuts the window in his face. He 
then invites her to dinner, but she refuses. He sends her a mag- 
nificent diamond, which she gives to her majordomo, saying that she 
has many more beautiful. He then sends her a splendid dress, which 
can be taken in the palm of the hand; she tears it into pieces and gives 
it to the cook to be used for kitchen purposes. The young king 
becomes passionately enamoured of her, and sends to her his best 
watch, which she gives also to her majordomo. He falls ill of a 
dreadful fever and wishes to marry her ; he sends his mother. The 
princess laughs at the prince and refuses to come, saying, " Why does 
he not come himself?" His mother begs again that she will come. 
" Let him come,'' she answers ; and at last she consents to come if 
they will make from her palace to that of the king a covered way so 
well and thickly made that not a ray of light can enter, and which 
she may be able to pass through with her equipage. Half way, the 
covering opens, and the sunbeams enter, upon which she disappears. 
(Cfr. the Indian myth of Urvagi). The king being about to die, his 
mother returns to the princess, who demands that they bring him to her 
as if dead, in a bier. The king confesses that he has betrayed four 
maidens, and that it is on account of the fourth that he is coming to 
such a miserable end. The princess laughs at him and spits twice in his 
face; the third time he rises again, they are reconciled and married. (The 
spitting of the princess, which makes the dead prince rise again, is the 

dew of the ambrosia, or of spring, which brings the sun to life again.) 

Cfr. the stories ii. 5, iv. 8, of the Pentameronej and v. 22 of Afanassieff. 



302 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

horse which, as soon as it is ridden, will break his neck, 
and that he who should warn Milluccio of this, or not 
take the horse to him, would turn to marble ; and finally, 
it says that Gennariello is taking to his brother a wife on 
whose account a dragon will devour the bride and bride- 
groom during the first night of their union, and that he 
who should warn Milluccio of this, or not take the bride 
to him, would turn to marble. The cunning Gennariello 
takes hawk, horse, and bride to Milluccio ; but before he 
takes the hawk in his hand, Gennariello cuts ofi" its head ; 
before he rides the horse, Gennariello cuts its legs ofi"; 
and before the dragon comes up to devour the bride and 
bridegxoom, Gennariello shears off its head. Milluccio, 
who has not seen the dragon, sees his brother with a knife 
in his hand, and thinks that he has come to kill him ; he 
has him bound and condemned to death. In order not 
to escape this fate, Gennariello reveals everything and 
turns to marble. Milluccio learns that by anointing the 
marble with the blood of his two little sons, his brother 
can be recalled to life ; he slaughters his children ; the 
mother, in despair, goes to the window to kill herself by 
throwing herself down, but she sees her father coming to- 
wards her, and shouting, ''Drinto na nugola." He resus- 
citates her children, saying that it was to avenge himself, 
he had caused such bitter pain to all ; on Gennariello, 
because he had carried ofi* his daughter ; on Milluccio, 
who was the cause of her being carried ofi"; on his 
daughter, because she had eloped from her home. The 
two doves that perched upon the crosstrees of the mast 
were therefore messengers of death to the hero and to the 
heroine, as sometimes, on the other hand, they are their 
own funereal form. The reader will doubtless remember 
how, in the funeral of Patroclus in the Iliad, amongst 
the funereal games, there is that of shooting arrows at a 



THE FUNEREAL DOVE, 303 



dove hung upon the mast of a ship. (He will also re- 
member the two prophetic doves which gave responses 
upon two oak-trees or beeches at Dodona, and which 
cried, "Zeus was, Zeus is, Zeus will be, Zeus, the 
greatest of the gods !") The dove here appears in con- 
nection with funereal waters ; the fable is well known of 
the dove that meets with its death by beating its head 
against a wall upon which water is painted.^ In the 
legend of Queen Eadegonda, the holy queen, in the form 
of a dove, delivers sailors from shipwreck. According to 
Apollonios, a dove was the guide of the Argonauts. It 
is said that Semiramis was transformed into one after her 
death. The dove also appears as a funereal symbol in 
Christian monuments ; hence, and from its use as the 
symbol of the St Esprit, the superstition cherished by a 
great portion of the people in Italy, Germany, HoUand, 
and Eussia, to the effect that it is a sin to eat a dove. 
It is well-known what reverence was shown to it in 
antiquity, particularly in Syria and in Palestine. 

Sometimes the form of a dove is voluntarily assumed 
by the two young lovers, to flee from the persecution of 
the monster ; as, for instance, in the sixth of the Novelline 
di Santo Stefano. Sometimes the funereal dove (hke 
the funereal crow) is the bringer of joy and good things to 
men and gods. The popular custom of the artificial dove, 
commonly caUed the dove of the Pazzi (from the name 



1 It is said of the widowed turtle-dove that it will never drink again 
in any fountain of limped water for fear of reviving the image of its 
lost companion by seeing its own in the water. The Christians pre- 
tend that the voice of the turtle-dove represents the cry, the sighing, 
and afterwards, for the resurrection of Christ, the joy of Mary Mag- 
dalen, ^lianos says that the turtle-dove is sacred not only to the 
goddess of love, and to the goddess of harvests, but also to the funereal 
Parcse. 



304 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

of the noble Florentine family which possessed the 
privilege), "which, at Florence, on Holy Saturday, that is 
to say, Easter Eve, starts from the altar of the Cathedral, 
and flies at midday to light the fireworks upon the little 
square between Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistery 
of St John, to announce that Christ has risen to a crowd 
of peasants, who have flocked in from the country to 
augur from the dove's flight whether they will have a 
good harvest in the following year, — is a symbol of the 
end of winter, and of the commencement of spring. In 
the Metamorphoses of Ovid, the daughters of Anius, by 
the grace of Bacchus, change into corn, wine, and oil, 
whatever they touch, according to the words of the same 
Anius — 

" Tactu natarum cuncta mearum 

In segetem, laticemque meri, baccamque Minervag 

Transformabantur," 

Agamemnon wishes to have them with him to provision 
the army ; the daughters of Anius refuse ; Agamemnon 
then purposes compelling them by main force ; but 
Bacchus takes pity upon them, and transforms them into 
white doves. In the thirtieth story of the sixth book of 
Afanassieff, two doves (a form of the Acvinau) come to 
separate the barley for Masha or Little Mary, the black 
(cornushka) or ugly or dirty little girl, the persecuted 
Cinderella, and then making her mount upon the stove, 
transform her into an exceedingly beautiful maiden, re- 
newing thus the miracle of Indras (and of the A§vin4u), 
who restores to beauty the maiden of the ugly skin. 
The fireworks of the popular Tuscan custom, the stove, and 
the car of Indras perform the same miracle. In the sixth 
story of the first book of the Pentamerone, the maiden 
Zezolla, called at home " a cat, a cinder-girl," because she 
was always watching the fire, ill-treated at home by her 



PERISTERA, 305 



step-mother, is benefited by the dove of the fairies of the 
island of Sardinia, which sends her a plant that yields 
golden dates, a golden spade, a little golden bucket, and 
a silk tablecloth. The girl must cultivate the plant, and 
simply remember, when she wishes for some favour, to 
say— 

" Dattolo mio 'naurato, 
Co la zappatella d*oro t'haggio zappato, 
Co lo secchietello d'oro t'haggio adacquato, 
Co la tovaglia de seta t'haggio asciuttato j 
Spoglia a te, e vieste a me." 

The date-tree yields some of its riches to adorn the 
maiden. Thus, when the young king proclaims a festival, 
she goes disguised in regal attire, and dances with an 
efi'ect that outdazzles like a sun. When she is followed 
by the prince the first time, she throws gold behind her ; 
the second time, pearls ; the third, her slipper ; and by 
means of it she is recognised and espoused. In the 
twenty-second Esthonian story, when the young prince- 
lover arrives, two doves perch upon the rose-bush, in 
which the beautiful daughter of the gardener is enclosed 
by enchantment ; the beautiful maiden comes out of the 
rose-bush, and, showing the half of her ring, weds the 
prince who has preserved the other half In the Hellenic 
myth. Aphrodite and Love play at seeing who will pluck 
most fiowers ; winged Love is winning, but the nymph 
Peristera helps Aphrodite ; Love indignant, changes her 
into the peristera or dove, which Aphrodite, to console 
her, takes under her protection. The doves now draw 
the chariot of Venus, and now (like the sparrows) accom- 
pany it. In the Odyssey the doves bring the ambrosia 
to Zeus,^ and it is in the form of a dove that Zeus (well 

^ In the legend of St Remy it is a dove that carries to the saint the 
flagon of water with which he must baptize King Clodoveus. 
VOL. II. U 



3o6 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

known to be an olteT ego of Indras) visits the virgin 
Phthia. Catullus, speaking of Csesar s salacitas, makes 
mention of the columbidum albulum, or little dove of 
Venus/ In this passage the dove becomes a phallical 
symbol ; and we are reminded of the well-known my- 
thical episode of the animal, bird, or fish which laughs, 
by the equivocal Italian proverb, ''The dove that laughs 
wants the bean " (said of a woman when she smiles 
upon her lover ^). It is narrated of Aphrodite, that she 
cured Aspasia of a tumour by the help of a dove ; here 
the dove does to Aspasia the same service as the rudder 
of Indras's chariot to Apali in the Vedic legend. 

But in mythical tradition the place of the doves is 
sometimes taken by ducks, which are exchanged for 
swans. 

The Hindoo word hansas means now swan, now duck 
(anas, anser), now goose, now phsenicopterus. No 



^ " Et ille nunc superbns et superfiuens 
Peranibulabit omnium cubilia, 
Ut albulus Columbus, aut Adoneus ? 
Cinsgde Romule, Lsec videbis et feres?" 

The chastity and the proverbial conjugal fidelity attributed to doves is 
here denied. Catullus had evidently closely observed the habits of these 
animals, vfhich are sometimes, on the contrary, of a shameless infidelity. 
I have seen a white dove, who, in the presence of his wife, intent upon 
hatching her eggs, violated the nuptial bed of a gray dove, at a 
moment when the jealous husband was eating; the wife accepted the 
caresses of the husband and of the lover in the same passive attitude. 

^ We may also record here another Italian proverb, " To take two 
doves with one bean/' In Italian anatomy a part of the phallos is 
called a bean (fava). The birds, and especially the thrushes and the 
doves, according to the popular belief, not only have the faculty of 
making other birds, but even plants fruitful. The words of Pliny, Hist 
Nat xvi. 44, have already been quoted by Prof. Kuhn : *' Omnino 
autem satum nuUo mode nascitur, nee nisi per alvum avium redditum, 
maxime palumbis ac turdis." 



THE DUCK OR GOOSE-SWAN. 307 

wonder then that the myths exchanged, one for another, 
animals which were confounded together under one and 
the same appellation. Russian stories call the birds goose- 
swans (gujlebedi) which now carry off, and now save the 
young hero. 

In the Vedic hymns, the hansas (duck-swan or goose- 
swan) is represented more than once.. Agnis, the fire, 
when entreated to arouse himself in houses with the 
aurora, is compared to a swan in the waters (or to the 
light in the darkness, to white upon black, or the sun in 
the azure sky^). The god Agnis is himself called hansas, 
the companion (as a thunderbolt) of the movable (waves 
or clouds), going in company with the celestial waters.^ 
The song of the companions of Brihaspatis, singing 
hymns to the cows or aurorse of the morn, resembles the 
song of the hahs4s.^ The Marutas, with the splendid 
bodies (the w^inds that lighten, howl, and thunder) are 
compared to hans4s with black backs^ (which reminds us 
of the swallows with black backs and with white ones, 
of black crows and white crows, black swans and white 
ones). The horses of the two Ajvin^u are compared to 
haris^s, ambrosial, innocent, with golden wings, which 
waken with the aurora (being sunbeams), which swim in 
the waters, joyful and merry. ^ In the Russian stories of 
Afanassie.ff^ a duck comes to make its nest upon the 
head of the thief who has fallen into the waters out of 

^ Qvasity apsu lianso na sidan kratvi 6etishtlio vigam usharbhut ; 
Rigv. i. 65, 9. 

2 Bibliatsun^m sayu^am hansam ^hur apim divyanam sakhye 
(Sarantam; x. 124, 9. 

^ Hansair iva sakhibliir vivadadbhir agmanmayani nakana vyasyan 
brihaspatir abhi kanikradad ga ; x. 67, 3. 

* Sasvag cid dhi tanvak gumbkamini % kans^so nilaprishtki apaptan ; 
vii. 59, 7. 

^ Cfr. tke ckapter wkicb treats of tke Bee. ^ vi. 2. 



3o8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the sky. The duck lays a golden egg (the sun) in its 
nest at morn, and a silver egg (the moon) at even. In 
the Rigvedas^ I read that upon the head of the thieves 
(Fanayas), similar to the vast forest of the Ganges, at its 
higher part, Bribuh went to place himself, , scattering 
thousands of gifts. ^ I think I can recognise in Bribus a 
bird and a personification of Indras, Bribus is, in 
Q4nkh4yanas, represented as a takshan, which is ex- 
plained as a constructor, an artificer, a carpenter ; hence 
Bribus is supposed to be the carpenter of the Panayas. 
But this seems improbable, besides being in contradiction 
to the Vedic strophe. The proper primitive sense of the 
word takshan is the cutter, he who breaks in pieces ; in 
Bribus, therefore, I recognise not the carpenter of the 
Panayas, but their destroyer. As we also find, in another 
Vedic hymn,^ Bribus in connection with two other birds, 
viz., the bharadva^as (the lark) and the stokas (the 
cuckoo), I am induced to suppose that Bribus too is a 
bird. Finally, as I find Bribus in connection with Indras, 
I see in this bird that perches upon the head of the 
Panayas, a form of the god Indras himself. The duck, 
in Eussian stories, deposits its egg upon the robber's head ; 
thus Indras takes their treasures ofi" the head of the 
Panayas. We already know of the pearls which fall 
from the head of the good fairy, combed by the virtuous 
maiden ; we also know that the mythical waters are in 
relation with the treasures. We must record here the 
legend of the Rdmdyanam concerning the origin of the 
Ganges, which, before pouring its waters upon the earth, 
let them wander for a long time upon the hairy head of 

^ Adhi bribuh panlnam varshishthe mljrdhann asthat uruh kaksho 
na g^iigyah; Rigv. vi. 45, 31, — Bribum sahasradatamam sHrim sahas- 
nis^tamam ; vi. 45, 33. — Cfr. also the 32d strophe. 

^ Jyigv. vi. 46. 



THE INDIAN HANSAS. 309 

the god Qivas, wlio is a more elevated form of Kuveras, 
the god of riches.^ We know also that the pearl and the 
egg are the same in the myths. 

The god Brahman is represented in Hindoo mjrthology 
riding upon a white hansas. 

In the Rdmdyanam, the sky is compared to a lake of 
which the resplendent sun is the golden duck.^ E4mas 
(a form of the sun Vishnus), whose speech has the 
accent of the hansas drunk with love/ hurls with his 
divine bow an arrow which penetrates through seven 
palm-trees, the mountain, and the earth, out of which it 
afterwards comes, and returns to E^mas in the form of a 
hansas/ Kabandhas, who, when traversing the fire, is 
released by his monstrous form, is drawn by hans4s 
whilst ascending into heaven/ Finally, the hansas are 
well known which served as love-messengers between the 
prince N'alas and the Princess Damayanti in the cele- 
brated episode of the Mahdbhdratam, 

In the fourth story of the first book of Afanassieff, 
little Johnny (Ivasco) is upon an oak-tree, which the 
witch is gnawing, to possess herself of him ; three flights 
of geese-swans pass one after the other ; Johnny begs for 



^ The goose is found in connection with robbers in the twenty-third 
story of the sixth book of Afanassieff, Two servants stole a precious 
pearl from the king ; being about to be found out, they give the pearl, 
by the advice of an old woman, to the grey goose in a piece of bread ; 
the goose is then accused of having stolen the pearL It is killed, the 
pearl is found, and the two robbers escape. 

2 V. 55. — lii the forty-ninth story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, 
a riddle occurs where the betrothed wife is represented as a duck. A 
father sends his son to find the wife who is predestined for him, with 
the following enigmatical order : " Go to Moscow ^ there there is a 
lake ; in the lake there is a net ; if the duck has fallen into the net, 
take the duck ; if not, withdraw the net." The son returns home with 
the duck — that is to say, with his betrothed wife. 

3 ii. 4G. 4 iv. 11. 5 y^i 75^ 



] 1 



iD 



310 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

their assistance; the first flight refuse; as also the 
second ; those of the third take Johnny upon their wings 
and carry him home.^ In the nineteenth story of the 
sixth book, the geese-swans assume, on the contrary, a 
malignant aspect, carrying the little brother on their wings 
away from his negligent sister. The story says that 
these animals have had for a long time the evil reputa- 
tion of carrying little children off. The geese-swans 
carry the boy into a fairy's house, where he plays with 
golden apples. The sister follows upon his track; she 
inquires at a stove, an apple-tree, and a brook of milk, 
where the goose-swans have carried the boy to, but 
learns nothing ; at last the malicious little iosz (the sea- 
urchin) reveals to her the secret. The sister takes her 
brother and carries him home, having been followed by 
the geese-swans and having had to hide herself during 
her flight by the brook, by the apple-tree and then by 
the stove. 

But if geese, ducks, and swans sometimes do evil, or 
are sometimes diabolical forms assumed by the witch's 
deceit, they generally produce good and conduct to good. 
In a variation of the forty-sixth story of the sixth book 
of Afanassieff, the geese predict the future to Ivan the 
merchant's son, who, having been to school under the 
devil, learns there, amongst other things, the language of 
birds. In the sixtieth story of the sixth book of 
Afanassieff, the swan, a beautiful maiden, helps the 
unhappy Danilo, whom the prince has ordered to sew a 
pelisse which must have golden lions for buttons and 
birds from beyond the seas for button-holes ; the same 
swan performs other miracles for the youth whom she 
loves. In the forty-sixth story of the fourth book of 

^ Cfr. Afanassiefi vi. 17, and a variety of the vi. 19. 



THE DEATH OF THE DUCK. 311 

Afanassieff, the old serpent-witch makes the princess 
become a white duck during the prince's absence. The 
duck lays three eggs, out of which she has three sons, 
two handsome, and one ill-favoured, but cunning. The 
witch kills, during their sleep, the two handsome sons 
and turns them to ducks ; the third escapes by means of 
his cunning; the white duck, anxious about her sons, 
flies to the prince's palace and begins to sing — 

'* Krizt, kria, my little sons ! 
Kria, kria, little pigeons ! 
The old witch has extinguished you ; 
The old "witch, the malignant serpent, 
The deceitful malignant serpent ! 
Your own father has carried you off, 
Your own father, my husband ! 
She drowned us in the rapid stream, 
She transformed us into little white ducks, 
And she herself lives in regal pomp 1" 

The prince has the duck caught by the wings, and 
says, ''White birch-tree, put thyself behind; beautiful 
maiden, before." At this magical formula, the tree rises 
behind him and he finds his beautiful princess before 
him. He then compels the witch to bring the little 
children to life again. 

The death of the duck sometimes makes the fortune 
of the hero or the heroine, on account of the egg which 
it produces (the sun in the morning and the moon in the 
evening). In the fifty-third story of the fifth book of 
Afanassieff, the young hero, by the advice of an un- 
known young man, goes to seek under the roots of a 
birch-tree a duck which lays one day (in the morning) 
a golden egg, and next day (in the evening) a silver one ; 
upon its breast, the following Avords are written in golden 
letters: — "He who eats its head will become king; he 
who cats the heart will spit gold." He carries it to his 



312 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

mother when his father is absent and his mother has an 
intrigue with another gentleman. The gentleman reads 
the golden letters and advises the woman to have the 
duck cooked ; but the two sons are before him ; and 
whilst their mother is at mass, one eats the head and 
the other the heart of the duck, and meet with the 
adventures which are related in the chapter on the 
Horse. ^ The golden egg of the duck causes the death of 
the witch and the monster in numerous Slavonic stories. 
In the thirty-third story of the fifth book oi Afanassieff, 
a marvellous goose, of the same nature as those that in 
the Capitol warned the Eomans of the ambuscade of the 
Gauls, discovers the traitors. The wife of a rich mer- 
chant asks her husband to procure for her the marvel of 
marvels. Her husband buys, in the twenty -seventh 
world and in the thirtieth kingdom (which is the king- 
dom of the other night- world), from an old man,^ a goose 
which, after having been cooked and eaten, all except the 
bones, rises again alive. The goose performs the same 
miracle in the merchant s house ; on the morrow, when 
the husband is absent, his wife iiivites a lover of hers 
into the house and wishes to cook the goose to welcome 
him. She says to it, " Come here ; " the goose obeys ; 
she commands it to get into the frying-pan, but it re- 
fuses. The woman puts it in by force, but remains 
fastened to the frying-pan ; ^ the lover tries to release 

1 Cfr. an interesting variety of this story in the Griechische und 
Alhanische Marchen of Hahn. 

2 Thus, in a Norwegian story, the dirty cinder-girl carries silver ducks 
away from the magicians. — In the eighth Esthonian story, the third 
brother is sent to hell for the ducks and geese with golden feathers. 

^ In a Scandinavian and Italian variety of this story, instead of the 
goose we have the eagle and eaglets , the goose returns, in the first 
story of the fifth book of the P'eniamerone, to do the same duty as in the 
Bussian story, but with some more vulgar and less decent incidents. 



THE GOOSE AS A SPY. 313 



her, but sticks fast also ; the servants come to the rescue, 
and stick one to the other and all to the frying-pan, 
until the husband appears, hears his wife's confession, 
thrashes the lover and releases the woman from the goose. 
In the Pentamerone, too, geese appear as discoverers 
of deceits. Marziella, when she combs her hair, scatters 
pearls and flower-buds about her ; when she walks, lilies 
and violets grow up under her feet ; ^ her brother 
Ciommo is to conduct her to the king as his wife ; but 
the old aunt changes the bride, putting her own ugly 
daughter in the place of her beautiful niece. The indig- 
nant king sends Ciommo to pasture the geese ; he neglects 
them, but Marziella, who had been carried off by a siren, 
comes from the bottom of the sea to feed them, " de pasta 
riale," and to give them "rose-water" to drink. The 
geese grow fat, and begin to sing near the king's 
palace — 

*' Fire, pire, pire ; 
Assai bello h lo sole co la luna ; 
Assai chii bella h chi coverna a nuie." 

The king sends a servant after the geese, and thus dis- 
covers everything; he wishes to marry the beautiful 
maiden, but the siren keeps her tied with a golden 
chain ; the king, with a noiseless file, files with his own 
hands the chain which keeps the maiden's foot fast, and 
thereafter marries her.^ It is a gooseherd who, in the 



^ The image of the legs which, when they move, make flowers grow up, 
is very ancient ; students of Hindoo literature will remember the push- 
pinyau darato ^anghe of the Aitareya Br., in the story of ^unah^epas. 

2 The ninth of the Novelline di Santo Stefano di Calcinaia is an 
interesting variety of this ; the beautiful maiden who feeds the geese 
is disguised in an old woman's skin ; the geese, who see her naked, 
cry out : *' Coco, la bella padrona ch 'i' ho," until the prince, by means 
of a noiseless file, makes the cook enter the room and carry the old 



314 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

twentietli Esthonian story, releases the beautiful girl 
from the monster husband, the killer of his wives (a form 
of Barbebleu). 

woman's skin away wliile she sleeps, and then weds her. — The follow- 
ing unpublished story, communicated to me by Signor Greco from 
Cosenza in Calabria, is a variation of that of the Pentamerone : — 

Seven jprinces have a very beautiful sister. An emperor decides 
upon marrying her, but upon the condition that if he does not find her 
to his taste, he will decapitate her seven brothers. They set out alto- 
gether, and the mother-in-law with her daughter follow them. On the 
way, the sun is hot, and the elder brother cries out, *' Solabella, defend 
me from the heat, for you must please the king." The step-mother 
advises her to take off her necklaces and to put them on her half-sister. 
The second brother next complains of the heat, and the step-mother, 
advises her to take off her gold apparel and to put it on her half-sister. 
By such means the step-mother at last succeeds in making her naked ; 
they come to the sea, and the step-mother pushes her in ; she is taken 
by a siren, who holds her by her foot with a golden chain. The princes 
arrive with the ugly sister ; the king weds the ugly wife and cuts off 
the heads of the seven brothers. When the maiden is wandering 
about in the sea, she asks the king's ducks for news of her brothers ; 
the ducks answer that they have been executed. She weeps; the tears 
become pearls and the ducks feed upon them. This marvel comes to 
the ears of the king, who follows the ducks and asks the girl why she 
shuns the society of men; to which she answers : "Alas! how can I, 
who am fastened by a golden chain 1" and then relates everything. 
Having recognised his bride, the king gives her this advice : she must 
ask how, after the siren's death, she would be able to free herself; 
and then he departs. Next day, Solabella tells the king that the siren 
will not die, because she lives in a little bird, enclosed in a silver cage 
which is shut up in a marble case, and seven iron ones, of which 
she has the keys, and that if the siren died, a horseman, a white horse, 
and a long sword would be necessary to cut the chain. The king 
brings her a certain water, which he advises her to give the siren to 
drink ; she will then fall asleep, and the girl will be able to take the 
keys and kill the little bird. When it is killed, the white horse 
plunges into the sea, and the sword cuts the chain. Then the king 
takes his beautiful bride to his palace, and the old step-mother is 
burned in a shirt of pitch ; the seven brothers are rubbed with an 
ointment which brings them to life again, each exclaiming, " Oh ! what 
a beautiful dream I have had ! " 



FOOT-OF-GOOSE. 315 

In the Eussian story, the fairy maidens (in German 
traditions, the Virgin Mary too) sometimes take, in order 
to cross the waters, the form of geese-swans ; thus in the 
Eddas, three Valkyries spin on the shores of the lake, 
with their swan forms close behind them. " The 
maidens," sings the poem of Volund, "flew from the 
south across Morkved, in order that the young Allhvit 
might be able to accomplish his destiny. The daughters 
of the South sat down upon the shore to spin the precious 
cloth. One of them, the most beautiful maiden of the 
world, was clasped to the white bosom of Egil \ Svanhvit, 
the second, wore swan's feathers ; the third embraced 
the white neck of Volund." ^ To the Bertha of popular 
German tradition, only the foot of the white goose or 
of the swan of the Valkyries has remained ; hence her 
name of Foot-of-goose and of Reine pedauque, in the 
same way as the swan's foot alone has remained to the 
goddess Freya. 

When the form of a duck, a goose, or a swan is 
destroyed, the young hero or the young heroine alone 
remain. In a German tradition, quoted by Simrock in 
his German Mythology, we find an enchanted hunter who 
strikes a wild goose on the flight, and which falls into a 
bush ; he comes up to take it, and instead of it (in the 
same way as we saw above, the rosebush on which the 
doves perch) a naked woman rises before him. The 
custom of eating a goose in England on St Michael's 
Day, is referred by tradition to the times of Queen 
Elizabeth, who, on St Michael's Day, received the news 
of the defeat of the Invincible Armada, when she had 

1 The old ogress of the ninth story of the fifth book of the 
Pentameronej who keeps three beautiful maidens shut up in three 
citron-trees, and who feeds the asses which kick the swans upon the 
banks of the river, is a variety of the same myth. 



3i6 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

just eaten a goose. But inasmuch as, according to 
Baron von Eeinsberg-Dtiringsfield, the custom of eating 
a goose on St Michael's Day dates from the times of 
Edward IV. , we must admit that Queen Elizabeth con- 
formed to a popular custom which already existed in 
England,-^ St Michael's goose announces the winter like 
the halcyon. It is eaten as an augury of the termination 
of the rainy and wintry season, inasmuch as when the 
aquatic bird, the halcyon, the goose, the duck, or the 
swan, finds no more water, when the sea of night, or the 
snow of winter dries up, when the aquatic bird is 
wounded, or is eaten, or dies, the golden egg is found, 
the sun comes out, the aurora returns, the winter appears 
again, the young hero and the beautiful maiden come 
forth. When the hero or heroine becomes an aquatic 
bird,^ when he becomes a swan, is drawn by a swan, or 
rides upon it, it means that he is traversing the sea of 
death, and that he is returning to the kingdom of the San 
Graal. When he comes on the swan to meet the beautiful 
maiden, no one must ask him whence he came. The 
swan awaits him and will draw him once more under its 
magic power, and into its gloomy kingdom, as soon as 
this kingdom is remembered by the living. The imagi- 
nation of the Celtic and Germanic nations has, in a cycle 
of numerous and fascinating legends, invested with solemn 

^ Instead of geese, swans ■were also solemnly eaten ; a popular 
mediseval German song in Latin offers the lamentation of the roasted 
swan; cfr. Uhland's Schriften^ iii. 71, 158. — In the Pancatantram, 
we have the swan sacrificed by the owl. In order to allure the swan, 
the funereal owl, who wishes to kill it, invites it into a grove of lotus- 
flowers, only, however, to decoy it subsequently into a dark cavern, 
where the swan is killed by some travelling merchants, who believe it 
to be an owl. 

^ In the Eddas, when the hero Sigurd expires, the geese bewail his 
death. 



LOHENGRIN. 317 

mystery tMs myth, to which the inspired and classical 
music of Eichard Wagner has, in Lohengrin, imparted a 
new attractive magic. Lohengrin, the recent naius, the 
hero born of himself, arrives in a boat drawn by a 
swan, into which a sorceress has transformed Elsa's 
young brother : he comes to deliver the Princess Elsa, 
and is about to marry her, but he does not forget that as 
long as he remains with her, so much the longer will the 
torment of her brother endure, so much the longer will 
he suffer in the shape of a swan ; woe to him if any one 
asks who he is, whence he came, or what that swan is, 
for he would then be obliged to remember that the swan 
waits for him to deliver it; Lohengrin must either 
renounce his love for Elsa, or betray his cavalier's faith 
to the swan, of whose mysterious nature he is cognisant ; 
he bids a funereal farewell to Elsa, reunites her with her 
young brother, and mournfully disappears on the gloomy 
waters, over whose moonlit depths he had come. This 
is the legend of the two brothers, raised to its utmost 
poetic and ideal power by Northern genius. The sun 
and the moon appear in turns before the dawn and the 
spring. They are separated, and one delivers the other 
in the legends inspired by the good genie of man, as in 
others inspired by his evil genie, one persecutes and 
deceives the other. We have, even in the Vedic hymns, 
the Ajvin^u, the divine twins, identified now with the 
twilights, now with the sun and the moon, drawn by 
swans ; Lohengrin is the sun ; Lisa's brother is the moon. 
When the evening aurora, when the autumnal earth, loses 
the sun, it finds the moon ; when the morning aurora or 
the vernal earth loses the moon, the sun takes its place ; 
the lovers change places. One swan causes the birth of 
the other, carries the other, dies for the other, like one 
dove for the other, and as the Dioskuroi lay down their 



3i8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

lives for each other. And, in truth, the legend of the 
Dioskuroi is, in some points, in marvellous accordance 
with the Northern legends of the rider of the swan. 
Zeus becames a swan and unites himself with Leda, wife 
of Tyndareos, and generates by her the sun and the moon, 
Pollideukes and Helen ; according to Homer Helen alone 
is Zeus s daughter, and Pollideukes and Kastor are sons 
of Tyndareos ; according to Herodotos, Helen, on the 
contrary, is the daughter of Tyndareos, and this is in 
accordance with Euripides, who tells us that the Dioskuroi 
are sons of Zeus. In the Heroides of Ovid, where the 
primitive tradition has already been altered, Leda, after 
having united herself to the swan Zeus, gives birth to 
two eggs ; Helen comes out of one, Kastor and Polli- 
deukes out of the other. Evidently tot capita tot sen- 
tentice ; but these contradictions, far from excluding the 
myth of the sun, the moon, and the aurora (or of the 
spring) confirm it. It is always difficult to determine 
the paternity of a child who is born in an irregular 
manner, and the birth of Helen and her two brothers 
was certainly eztraordinary. What is important here is 
that we have the swan which generates sons in Leda ; 
these sons, who are partly of the nature of the bird, and 
partly of that of the woman, must assume a double form, 
and now become swans like their father, now shine 
in their mother's beauty ; when, moreover, we think 
that only one of the brothers was, with Helen, born of the 
swan, it becomes natural to think of the other brother 
who may love Helen without being guilty of incest.^ 
Before becoming famous by the varied fortunes of Troy, 



1 Cfr. also, with regard to this subject, the twenty-fourth Esthonian 
story of the princess born in the egg, of whom her brother, born in a 
more normal manner of the queen, becomes enamoured. 



THE DIOSKUROL 319 

Helen, as a girl, had her adventures ; Theseus seduced 
her and carried her off. The Dioskuroi come to deliver 
her in the same way as Lohengrin comes upon the swan 
to deliver Elsa, whilst her seducer is about to effect her 
ruin. Finally, the adventures of the two Dioskuroi, of 
whom one sacrifices himself for the other, correspond to 
the legend of the Schwanritter, the brother, or brother- 
in-law, who, on account of the swan offers up his own 
life. Thus India, Greece, and Germany united, in various 
forms, the figure of the swan with the story of the two 
brothers, or of the two companions ; India created the 
myth, Greece coloured it, Germany has imbued it with 
passionate energy and pathos. 



CHAPTEE XL 

THE PARROT. 



SUMMARY. . 



Haris and harit ; harayas and hari ; green and yellow called by a 
common name. — The moon as a green tree and as a green parrot ; 
the parrot and the tree assimilated. — The wise moon and the wise 
parrot ; the phallical moon and the phallical parrot, in numerous 
love stories. — The god of love mounted on the parrot. — The 
parrot and the wolf pasture together. 

The myth of the parrot originated in the East, and 
developed itself almost exclusively among the Oriental 
nations. 

I mentioned in the chapter on the Ass, that the words 
haris and harit signify green no less than fair-haired, 
and hence gave rise to the epic myth of the monsters 
with parrot's faces, or drawn by" parrots. The solar 
horses are called harayas ; harl are the two horses of 
Indras ; Haris is a name of Indras himself, but especially 
of the god Vishnus ; but there are more fair-haired figures 
in the sky then these ; the golden thunderbolt which 
shoots through the cloud, and the golden moon, the 
traveller of the night, are such. Moreover, because 
green and yellow are called by this common name, all 
these fair ones, and the moon in particular, assumed the 
form, now of a green tree, now of a green parrot. A 
very interesting Vedic strophe offers us an evident proof 



THE PARROT, 321 



of this. The solar horses (or the sun himself, Haris) say- 
that they have imparted the colour haris to the parrots, 
to the pheasants (or peacocks.-^ Benfey and the Petro- 
politan Dictionary, however, explain ropandhd by drossel 
or thrush), and to the trees, which are therefore called 
h^rayas. As the trees are green, so are the parrots gene- 
rally green (sometimes also yellow and red, whence the 
appellation haris is always applicable to them).^ The 
moon, on account of its colour, is now a tree (a green 
one), now an apple-tree with golden branches and apples, 
now a parrot (golden or green, and luminous). The moon 
in the night is the wise fairy who knows all, and can 
teach all. In the introduction to the Mahdbhdratam, the 
name Qukas or parrot is given to the son of Krishnas, i.e., 
of the black one, who reads (as moon) the Mahdbhdratam 
to the monsters. In the chapter on the Ass, we saw the 
ass and the monster of the Rdmdyanam with parrots' 
faces. But inasmuch as the ass is a phallical symbol, 
the parrot is also ridden by the Hindoo god Kamas, or 
the god of love (hence also called Qukav4has). The 
moon (masculine in India) has already been mentioned, 
in the first chapter of the first book, as a symbol of the 
phallos ; in the same way as the thunderbolt pierces the 
cloud, the moon pierces the gloom of the night, penetrates 
and reveals the secrets of the night. Therefore, the parrot 



1 The parrot is sung of by Statius in connection with the same 
birds in the second book of the Sylvce — 

" Lux volucrum plagse, regnator Eose 
Quam non gemmata volucri Junonia cauda 
Vinceret, aspectu gelidi non phasidis ales." 

2 A pathetic elegy in Sanskrit distiches, of a Buddhist character, of 
which I do not now remember the source, presents us the gukas or 
parrot, who wishes to die when the tree agokas, which has always been 
his refuge, is dried up. 

VOL, n. t; 



322 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

being identified with the night in the ^ukasaptatt, and 
in other books of Hindoo stories, we see the parrot often 
appearing in love-stories, and revealing amorous secrets. 

Some of the stories concerning the parrot passed into 
the West ; no doubt, by means of literary transmission, 
that is to say, of the mediaeval Arabic and Latin versions 
of the Hindoo stories.^ 

Some of the Hindoo beliefs concerning the parrot had 
already passed into ancient Greece, and .^lianos shows 
himself to be very well acquainted with the sacred worship 
which the Brahmans of India professed for it. Oppianos, 
moreover, tells us of a superstition which confirms what 
we have said concerning the essentially lunar character of 
the mythical parrot ; he says that the parrot and the 
wolf pasture together, because the wolves love this green 
bird ; this is the same as saying that the gloomy night 
loves the moon. One of the Hindoo epithets applied to the 
moon, moreover, is ra^antkaras, or he who makes the night. 

^ Such as, for instance, the following unpublished story, communi- 
cated to me by Dr Ferraro, which is related in the Monferrato, and of 
which I have also heard, in ray childhood, a variation at Turin : — A 
king, going to the wars, and fearing that another king, who is his 
rival, will profit by his absence to seduce his wife, places by her side 
one of his friends transformed into a parrot ; this friend warns her to 
remain faithful every time that the rival king sends to tempt the 
queen by means of a cunning old woman. The queen pays attention 
to the parrot's advice, and remains faithful till the husband's return. 
This is, in a few words, the contents of the seventy Hindoo tales of the 
parrot, of which the Tuti-Name is a Persian version. — In the story 
which I heard at Turin, the wife is, on the contrary, unfaithful and 
covers the parrot's cage that it may not see ; she then fries some fishes 
in the guest's honour ; the parrot thinks that it is raining. The fish 
and the rain remind us of the myth of the phallical and pluvial cuckoo. 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE PEACOCK. 
SUMMARY. 

The starry sky and the rayed sun. — The peacock becomes a crow ; the 
crow becomes a peacock.' — Peacock and swan } the dove and the 
peacock. — The kokilas and the peacock. — Indras now a peacock, 
now a cuckoo. — The peacock's feather. — Indras's horses have 
peacock's feathers and peacock's tails. — Skandas rides upon the 
peacock. — Argus becomes a peacock.— The peacock as the avis 
Junonia ; Jove is the bird of Juno. 

We end otit mythical journey in the kingdom of winged 
animals with the bird of all the colours. 

The serene and starry sky and the shining sun are 
peacocks. The calm, azure heavens, bespangled with a 
thousand stars, a thousand brilliant eyes, and the sun 
rich with the colours of the rainbow, offer the appear- 
ance of a peacock in all the splendour of its eye- 
besprinkled feathers. When the sky or the thousand- 
rayed sun (sahasr^nyus) is hidden in the clouds, or 
veiled by the autumnal waters, it again resembles the 
peacock, which, in the dark part of the year, like a 
great number of vividly-coloured birds, sheds its beauti- 
ful plumage, and becomes dark and unadorned ; the 
crow which had put the peacock's feathers on then 
returns to caw amongst the funereal crows. In winter 
the peacock-crow has nothing remaining to it except its 



324 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

disagreeable and shrill cry, not dissimilar to that of the 
crows. It is commonly said of the peacock that it has 
an angel's feathers, a devil's voice, and a thief s walk. 
The crow-peacock is proverbial.^ 

The peacock hides itself when it becomes ugly; so 
does the sky, and so does the sun when the autumnal 
clouds cover it ; but in the summer clouds the thunder 
rumbles, and thunder made upon the primeval races of 
men the impression of an irresistible, much-loved, and 
wished-for music, resembling the song of the melodious 
kokilas (the cuckoo), or of the watercock (the heron, 
the halcyon, the duck, or the swan).^ In the Rdmd- 
yanam, as we observed in the chapter on the Cuckoo, the 
peacock and the kokilas appear as rivals in singing ; 
although the Avatercock laughs at the peacock for its 
pretentiousness, this rivaby is no slender proof upon 
which to admit the mythical identity of two rival birds/ 

^ Cfr. tlie chapter on the Crow. 

- " Wie wir den Hugschapler sogar auf den Pfauen schwbren sehen, 
legten sie die Angelsachsen auf den Schwan ab (R. A. 900), den wir 
Avohl nach den obigen Gesange Ngordhs, S. 343 als den ihm geheiligten 
Vogel (ales gratissima nautis, Myth. 1074) zu fassen haben, (tc." 
Simrock, the work quoted before, p. 347. — A Hindoo proverb con- 
siders the dove in connection with the peacock ; it says, " Better a 
pigeon to-day than a peacock to-morrow'' (Varaniadya kapoto na gvo 
mayllrah). According to the Ornithologia of Aldrovandi, the peacocks 
are the doves' friends, because they keep serpents and all venomous 
animals at a distance. 

^ The Russian fable of Kriloff presents to us the ass as a judge 
between the nightingale (the kokilas of Western poets) and the cock 
in a trial of singing ; in Sanskrit qilchin, or crested, means cock and 
peacock ; besides mayHras, peacock, we have mayliradatakas, the 
domestic cock. Mayuras is also the name of a Hindoo poet. — In the 
chapter on the Cuckoo we saw the cuckoo and the nightingale as rivals 
in singing ; the kokilas and the peacock are the equivalents of the 
nightingale and the cuckoo ; we have also identified the cuckoo with 
the swallow, and seen the swallows as rivals of the swans in singing ; 
cfr. the chapter on the Crow. 



THE PEACOCK. 3^5 



The Hindoo myth, in fact, shows us the god Indras (now 
sky, now sun) as a peacock and as a cuckoo (like Zeus). 
When the sky is blue, serene, and starry, or when the 
sun shines w^th its thousand rays, and in the colours of 
the rainbow, the sahasr4kshas, or thousand-eyed Indras, 
is found as a peacock ; when the sky or the sun in the 
cloud thunders and lightens, Indras becomes a kokilas 
that sings. In the twentieth of the stories of Santo 
Stefano di Calcinaia, two brothers steal a peacock's 
feather from their younger brother, and kill him (that is, 
they kill the peacock, in the same way as in the Eussian 
story the red little boots are stolen from the little brother, 
and he is killed). Where the- little brother of the 
peacock's feather is killed and buried, a sapling grows 
up ; a stick is made out of the sapling, and out of the 
stick a pipe, which, when played upon, sings the dirge of 
the little brother who was killed for a peacock's feather. 
When the luminous sky or the sun is hidden in the 
clouds, when the luminous feathers of the peacock are 
torn o£f,^ when the peacock is buried, the tree which is 
its tomb (the cloud) speaks, at the return of spring, like 
the cornel-tree of Polidorus in Virgil, and the trunk of 
Pier delle Vigne in Dante's Inferno; the tree becomes a 
cane, a magic flute, a melodious kokilas. Indras-kokilas 
remembers Indras-peacock, Indras whose horses, even in 
the Vedic hymns, have "peacocks' feathers,"^ and "tail 
(or phallos) of peacocks."^ We have already seen that the 



1 Hence Aldrovandi writes -with reason, that the smoke of the burnt 
feathers of a peacock (that is, of the celestial peacock), when taken 
into the eyes, cures them of their redness. 

2 A mandriir indra haribhir yihi mayuraromabhih ; Rigv. iii. 45, 1. 

3 A tv^ rathe hiranyaye hari mayllragepyi; viii. 1, 25. — Klearchos 
relates in Ath^naios, that a peacock in Leucas loved a maiden so much, 
that when she died it also immediately expired. 



326 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

body of Indras was, after intercourse (as sun) with Ahaly^ 
in adultery, covered with a thousand wombs (waves or 
clouds ; cfr. the equivoque sahasradhdras, given to the solar 
disc, properly because it has a thousand darts that wound), 
which were already a thousand eyes (stars or sunbeams), 
whence his names of Sahasradri9, Sahasranayanas, Sahas- 
ranetras, and Sahasrakshas, which are equivalent. The 
long refulgent tail of the peacock took a phallical form. 
According to the Petropolitan Dictionary, mayliregvaras 
(or Qivas-peacock), is the proper name of a lingam or 
phallos, the well-known emblem of (yivas, which also calls 
our attention to Mayurarathas, Mayiiiraketus, Cikhiviha- 
nas, and (^ikidhva^as, names of Skandas, the god of war, 
Avho is also a phallical god, like Mars, the lover of Venus, 
and like the Hindoo Kamadevas, or god of love, who 
rides upon the parrot, and which therefore brings tis back 
to the lunar phallical symbol.-^ The sky with the sun, as 
well as with the moon, is superseded by the sterile sky 
with the stars of the night or the clouds of autumn; 
the phallos falls ; the impotent sky remains — Indras the 
eunuch, Indras with a thousand wombs, Indras plunged 
into the waves of the spotted clouds, Indras a ram, the 
pluvial or autumnal Indras, Indras lost in the sea of winter, 
Indras the fish, Indras without rays, without lightning, and 

^ According to tbe Pancatantram (i. 175), in the very house of 
Qivas (the phallical god), the animals make war against each other ; 
tlie serpent (the night) wishes to eat the mouse (which seems here to 
be the grey twilight) ; the peacock (here, perhaps, the moon), wishes 
to eat the serpent (cfr. the preceding notes ; according to -iElianos, a 
certain man who wished to steal from the King of Egypt a peacock, 
supposed to be sacred, found an asp in its stead) ; the lion (the sun) 
wishes to eat the peacock. (The Hindoo name of mayliraris, or enemy 
of the peacock, given to the chameleon, is remarkable ; the animal 
which changes its colour is the rival of the bird which is of every 
colour ; gods and demons are equally vigvar&pA,s and ktlmarupas.) 



THE PEACOCK. 327 



without thunder, Indras cursed, he who had been beauti- 
ful and resplendent like a crested peacock (gikhin), Indras 
as the peacock enemy of the serpent (ahidvish, ahiripus), 
into which form he returns by the pity of the gods. 
According to the Tuti-Name, when a woman dreams of 
a peacock, it presages the birth of a handsome son. 

The Greeks were also acquainted with the myth of the 
peacock, and amplified it. In the first book of Ovid's 
Metamorphoses, Argus, with the hundred eyes, who sees 
everything (Panoptes and son of Zeus), by the order of 
the goddess Juno, the splendid and proud wife of Jove, 
to whom the peacock is sacred (and therefore called avis 
Jimonia, ales Junonia; the peacock of Juno is Jove him- 
self, as we have already seen that Jove's cuckoo is himself; 
Argos the son of Zeus is Zeus himself), whilst two eyes 
rest (perhaps the sun and the moon), watches with the 
others (the stars) lo (the daughter of Argus himself, 
priestess of Juno, identified Avith Isis the moon, loved by 
Jove). Mercury, by means of music, puts- Argus to sleep, 
and kills him as he slumbers. The eyes of the dead 
Argus pass into the tail of the peacock (that is, the dead 
peacock rises again). The peacock, which annually loses 
and renews its various colours and splendours, and is 
fruitful in progeny, served, like the phoenix, as a symbol 
of immortality, and a personification of the fact that the 
sky is obscured and becomes serene again, that the sun 
dies and is born again, that the moon rises, is obscured, 
goes down, is concealed, and rises once more. It is said 
of Pythagoras that he believed himself to have once been 
a peacock, that the peacock's soul passed into Euphorbos, 
that of Euphorbos into Homer, and that of Homer into 
him. It was also alleged that out of him the soul of the 
ancient peacock passed into the poet Ennius, whence 
Persius — 



ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



" Postquam destituit esse 
Maeonides quintus pavone ex Pythagorseo." 

If the peacock be Zeus, if Zeus be Dyius, if Dy4us be 
the luminous and splendid sky, the divine light, which 
of my readers would disclaim the Pythagorean belief? 
The dream of being the sons of the divine light, and 
destined to return to the heavenly fatherland, certainly 
is much more consoling than the dreary conclusion of 
modern science, >yhich reduces us, in our origin and final 
lapse, into unconscious vegetables upon the surface of the 
earth. The only drawback is, that this same heretical 
mythology, which often, even in its grossest forms, such 
as the animal ones, opens up to our incredulous reason a 
ray of hope in the immortality of the soul, that this 
mythology which resuscitates and transfigures into new 
living forms all its dead, does not permit us to believe in 
an eternity of joy in heaven; heaven, like earth, is in 
perpetual revolution, and the gods of Olympus are no 
more secure on their divine throne than our royal 
automata that sit upon their earthly ones. The metem- 
psychosis does not end when the soul goes to heaven ; on 
the contrary, it is in heaven that it is fated to undergo 
the strangest and most diverse transformations ; from 
the heroic form we have seen it pass into that of a 
quadruped and a biped. Nor is its curse yet come to 
an end ; the deity or the hero must humble himself yet 
more, and assume in the zoological scale the most im- 
perfect of organisms ; the animal god will lose hi^ 
speech in the form of a stupid fish ; he will creep like 
a serpent or hop grotesquely like a filthy toad. 



THE ANIMALS OF THE WATER. 



CHAPTER I. 

FISHES, AND PARTICULAELT THE PIKE, THE SACRED FISH OR FISH OF ST PETER, THE 
CARP, THE MELWEL, THE HERRING, THE EEL, THE LITTLE GOLDFISH, THE SEA- 
URCHIN, THE LITTLE PERCH, THE BREAM, THE DOLPHIN, AND THE WHALE. 

SUMMARY. 

Why Indras, the fearless hero, flees after having defeated the serpent ; 
the fish causes the death of the fearless hero. — Qakravat^ras and 
the fisher. — The stone and the fish. — Adrika, Giriki, the mother 
of fishes. — The matsy^s as a nation. — Qaradvat. — Pradyumnas. — 
Guhas. — The fishes langh. — The fish guards the white haoma. — 
The water of the fish drunk by the cook. — The devil steals the 
fishes. — The dwarf Andvarri and the pike as the guardian of gold 
and of a ring. — The goldfish and the pike. — The dwarf Vishnus 
as a little goldfish. — The legend of the Deluge. — Vishnus as a 
, horned fish draws the ship of Manus ; the sea-urchin or hedge- 
hog of the Ganges, the little destroyer. — The dolphin with the 
horned bull draws the chariot or vessel of the AgvintLu. — The 
little turbulent perch. — The thorns of the sea-urchin compared to 
a hundred oars. — The whale as a bridge or island ; the whale 
devours a fleet. — The pike. — The bream. — The phallical fishes ; 
the phallos and the simpleton. — Why fishes are eaten in Lent, 
that is, spring; and on Friday, the day of Freya or Venus. — The 
poisson d'avriL — The herring. — The eel. — The bream cleans 
the workman. — The phallical and demoniacal eel ; anguilla and 
anguis. — The eel and the cane; ikslms and Jskslivdkus. — Dia- 
bolical fishes. — The red mullet. — The bream and the ring. — 
Cimedia. — The whale vomits out the vessels; the whale as an 



330 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

island. — The little perch finds the ring and draws the casket by 
the help of the dolphins. — The war of the little perch with the 
other fishes. — The eel pout. — The perch. — The sturgeon. — The 
little perch is the fox of fishes. — The words matsyas, matto, mad, 
matt, mattaSy madidus. — The drunken pike. — The three fishes. — 
Qakuntali, the pearl and the fish. — The genera cyprinus and 
perca ; htcius, lucioperca sandra ; the lunar horn. — The dolphin. 
— The carp. — The fish Zeus Chalkeus, the fish faber, the fish of 
St Peter ; the fish of St Christopher ; the equivoque of crista and 
christus again in conjunction with the legend of St Christopher. 

The god Inclras, in the Rigvedas, after having killed the 
monster, flees in terror across the ninety-nine navigable 
rivers ; the pluvial god, after having lightened, thunder- 
stricken and thundered, is terrified by his own work ; 
the Vedic poet asks him what he has seen, but the god 
passes on and answers not ; killing the monster, he has 
unchained the waters ; the pluvial god has wounded 
himself while wounding his enemy ; the monster's 
shadow or his own shadow pursues him ; the waters 
increase and threaten to drown him. The god Indras 
fears the very waters he has caused to flow. The god 
Indras was condemned to remain, hidden in the waters 
(of night and winter) during the period of his maledic- 
tion, for defiling in adultery the nuptial bed of Ahaly4. 
The god shut up in the waters, the wet god, is his most 
infamous and accursed form.^ The celestial metamor- 



1 Indras, as a warlike god, does not know fear, or rather, he kills 
fear (the hymn says, "Aher y^t^rarh kani apagya indra hridi yat te 
^aghnuso bhir aga<i6hat; Eigv. i. 32, 14), and lets himself be terrified 
by a trifle, which may be either a nightly shadow (the dark man of fairy 
tales), or the terror caused to him by some fish (the moon) which leaps 
upon him in the waters which he himself has set free.' — In the twenty- 
second of the Tuscan stories published by me, the young hero who 
passed through all the dangers of hell without being afraid, dies at the 
sight of his own shadow. (We have also referred to this when treating 
of the dog and the lion who meet with their death, allured by their own 



THE FISH AND THE STONE, ^i^ 

phosis into a fish is perhaps the vilest transmutations 
of animal, and therefore the most feared ; the fish lives 
especially in order to reproduce itself; to represent, 
therefore, the decadence of the god after a phallical 
crime of his, he is condemned to lie down in the waters. 
We know that the fisher, in the ^ahuntald, lives at 
Qakr^vataras (that is, the fall of Indras). We have seen 
the sister of Latona, and "Rambh4 and Ahaly^, after having 
transgressed, the one with Jupiter and the others with 
Indras, become stones in the waters. The fish, rendered 
powerless and stupid, becomes inert and motionless like 
a stone (sun and moon pass into sky or cloud). We 
already find the image of the stone with the honey 
brought, in the Rigvedas,^ into close affinity to that of 
the fish which lies in shallow water, or of the fish made 
powerless and deprived of its vital qualities. 

The legend of the nymph Adrika (from the word 
adris, which means a stone, a rock, a mountain, or a 
cloud) presents the same analogy between the stone- 
cloud, that is, the stone in the waters, and the fish. By 
a divine malediction, Adrik4 is transformed into a fish, 
and lives in the Yamun^. Being in these waters, she 
picks up a leaf upon which had fallen the sperm of King 
Uparicaras, enamoured of Girik4 (or of Adrik^ herself, 
the two words adrikd and girikd being equivalent) ; this 

shadow.) — In the forty-sixth story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, the 
merchant's son, who did not know fear, who feared neither darkness nor 
brigands nor death, is terrified and dies when he falls into the water, 
because the little perch entered into his bosom whilst he was sleeping in 
his fishing-boat. — It is also easy to pass from the idea of Indras, who 
inebriates himself in the soma to that of the fish, when we consider 
that the Hindoo word matsyas, the fish, properly means the inebriated, 
from the root mad, to inebriate and to make cheerful. 

2 Agn^pinaddham madhu pary apagyam matsyam na dina udani 
kshiyantam ; Rigv. x. 68, 8. 



332 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

leaf had been let fall into the waves of the Yamun^ by 
the bird 9yenas, that is, by the hawk. Having fed upon 
this sperm, the nymph fish is caught by fishermen, and 
taken to King Uparicaras ; the fish is opened, and the 
nymph resumes her heavenly form ; of her a son and a 
daughter are born, Matsyas the male fish, and Matsy^ 
the female one/ The male afterwards becomes king of 
the matsyas or fishes, which some authorities have, in 
vain, as I think, endeavoured to identify with a historical 
nation ; for it is not enough to find them named as a 
people in the Mahdhhdratam, to prove their real historical 
existence, when we know that the whole basis of thd 
Mahdhhdratam is mythological. Moreover, when we find 
the Matsyas in the Vedic hymns, it is one more argu- 
ment from which to infer the mythical nature of the 
peoples named in the Rigvedas in connection with the 
waters. In another legend of the Mahdhhdratam, the 
semen of the penitent Qaradvat (properly the autumnal 
or the pluvial one), provoked by the sight of a beautiful 
nymph, falls upon the wood of an arrow ; the wood of 
the arrow splits in two, and two sons are born of it, who 
are given to the king ; a variety of this legend will be 
found further on in the Western traditions connected with 
the story of the fish.^ 

To the ninety-nine or hundred cities of Qambaras (the 
clouds) destroyed by Indras, correspond the ninety-nine 
rivers which Indras crosses. In the Vishmi P.,^ a fish 
receives the hero Pradyumnas (an appellation of the god 



1 Mbh. 2371-2392. 

2 Mbh. i. 5078-5086. — In another variety of the same myth, the 
semen of the wise Bharadvi^as comes out at the sight of a nympli ; 
the sage receives it in a cup, out of which comes Dronas, the armourer 
and a,Ycher par excellence ; i. 5103-5106. ^ v. 27. 



THE WATER OF THE FISH. 333 

of love), tlirown into the sea by Qambaras, and enables 
him to recover and wed M4y4devl. 

King Guhas (the hidden one ? the dark one ?) the king 
of the black Nishad4s, the king of Qringaveras (in which we 
have already recognised the moon), who, during the night, 
receives Ramas on the banks of the Ganges, hospitably 
entertains him, offering him beverages, meat, and fishes/ 

In the Qahasaptatl^ and in the Tuti-Name, the fishes 
laugh at the prudery of an adulterous servant-girl ; we 
have already shown, in the first chapter of the first book, 
the phallical signification of the fish that laughs. 

In the Khorda Avesta, we find a fish with acute eye- 
sight (Karo-ma§yo, the posterior Khar-mahl), which 
guards the white haoma, that is, the ambrosia (with 
which sperm was also identified). 

In the Fseudo-CalUsthenes, Alexander, having arrived 
at the luminous fountain which scatters perfumes, asks 
his cook for something to eat ; the cook prepares to wash 
the fish in the refulgent water ; the fish returns to life, 
and disappears from his sight ; but the cook drinks some 
of the water of the fish, and gives some to Alexander's 
daughter Une, who becomes, by the curse of Alexander 
himself, a nereid or marine nymph, whilst he fastens a 
stone to the cook's neck, and orders him to be thrown 
to the bottom of the sea. It is unnecessary for me to 
demonstrate the analogy between this legend and the 
myth of Indras, or to insist upon the phallical meaning 
of the myth. 

We already know that phallical images and demoniacal 
ones sometimes correspond ; hence, in the ninth Esthonian 
story, the devil steals the fishes from the fishermen ; 
hencCj in the Eddas, the brigand Loki now assumes the 

1 Edmdy, ii. 92. 



334 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

form of a salmon, and now catches the pike, into which 
the dwarf Andvarri has transformed himself. The pike is 
the guardian of gold and of a ring which is taken from 
him ; the fish enters into the stone, and predicts that 
gold will be the cause of the death of the two brothers. 
The ambrosial rain which comes out of the cloud, and 
the ambrosial dew, are the water in which the fish is 
washed, and the ambrosial dew is the water or seed of 
the fish ; the fair-haired and silvery moon in the ocean 
of night is the little gold fish, and the little silver fish 
which announces the rainy season, the autumn, the 
deluge. Out of the cloudy, nocturnal, or wintry ocean, 
comes forth the sun, the pearl lost in the sea, which the 
gold or silver fish brings out. 

The little goldfish of our aquariums, the cyprinus 

clirysoparius, the cyprinus aiiratus, the cyprinus sophore 

(the Hindoo gapharas, in the feminine faphart), and the 

luminous pike, like the moon, can expand and contract. 

We are abeady acquainted with the sea-monster which, 

in the Rdmdyanam (like the siren fish), allures from the 

sea the shadow of Hanumant, and can make itself now 

small, now large ; we have seen the dwarf Andvarri of 

the Eddas, who hides himself in the form of a pike ; we 

are familiar with the god Vishnus or Haris, who, from 

being a dwarf, becomes a giant (Haris means fair-haired 

or golden, and refers now to the sun, now to the moon) ; 

Vishnus, in his incarnation as a fish, first takes the form 

of the little golden fish, the gaphari ; and, in this form, 

the god Vishnus is especially identified with the moon, 

the ruler of the rainy season. As the moon (which we 

have already seen as a little learned puppet) grows by 

quarters, and from being exceedingly small, becomes 

large, so, in the Hindoo legend of the Deluge, narrated 

in the Vedic commentaries, in the Mahdhhdratam, and 



THE FISH AND THE DELUGE, 335 

in the P4uranic legends, the god Vishnus or Haris begins 
by being an exceedingly small fish, a caphari, which 
beseeches the penitent Manus to be taken out of the 
great river, the Ganges, where it is afraid of being 
devoured by the aquatic monsters. Manus receives the 
little fish in the vase of water in which he performs his 
ablutions (a Hindoo proverb says that the gapharl is 
agitated from petulance in water an inch deep, whilst 
the rohitas, a kind of carp, does not become proud even 
in bottomless depths ^) ; in one night (evidently in its 
character as the moon) the fish grows so much that it 
can no longer remain in the vase ; Manus carries it into 
a pool, afterwards into the Ganges ; finally, the fish in- 
creases so much in size that Manus, recognising Vishnus 
in it, is obliged to give it entire liberty in the sea. Then 
the grateful fish announces that in seven days the waters 
will inundate the world, and all the wicked will perish ; 
he orders him (as the biblical God does Noah) to build a 
ship : ''Thou shalt enter into it," says Vishnus to him, 
*' with seven sages, a couple of every kind of animal, 
and the seeds of every plant. Thou shalt wait in it the 
end of the night of Brahman; and when the vessel is 
agitated by the waves, thou shalt attach it by a long 
serpent to the horn of an enormous fish, which will come 
near thee, and will guide thee over the Avaves of the 
abyss." On the appointed day, the waters of the sea 
came up over the surface of the earth ; the fish made its 
appearance to draw the ship in order to save Manus. 
The ship stopped upon the horn, that is, upon the peak 
of a mountain. Now this little goldfish, in which 
Vishnus is incarnate, when it becomes horned to draw 
the ship of Manus, assimilates itself to another interestino" 

^ Cfr. Bbhtlingk, Indische Sprilchej i. 59. 



33^ ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

sea animal, the sea-urchin or hedgehog of the Ganges, 
(yinjum^ras, which is also one of the names of the dwarf 
Vishnus (we have already seen Vishnus as a wild-boar), 
and which means properly the little destroyer. The 
eighteenth strophe of the precious 116th hymn of the 
first book of the ^igvedas, shows us the §in§um4ras or 
sea-urchin, which, together with another horned animal, 
the bull (we have already seen the moon as a horned 
bull) draws the chariot of the Acvin4u, full of riches;^ 
we know that the chariot of the Ajviniu is often a 
vessel. Qingum^ras also means in Sanskrit the dolphin ;^ 
and the dolphins and the fish called jorsh (the little 
perch) 5 with its little horns, thorns, and thin shape, 
sharpened at one end like a pole ending in a point, 
called in Eussian stories the turbulent one (kropacishko), 
are in relation with each other, as they draw the casket 
away ; the jorsh takes the place of the " little destroyer," 
of the 9incumaras, of the sea-urchin, concerning which 
there is a very interesting Sicilian verse, which compares 
the stings of the sea-urchin to a hundred oars, with 
which it must row, carrying its little invokers ; after 
having caught it, Sicilian children scatter a little salt 
over it, and sing — 

" Vocami, vocami, centu rimi, 
V6cami, vocami, centu riini." 



^ PLevad uv^ha sa(5ano ratho vim vrishabhag 9a gihgumirag (Sa 
yuktl 

2 Our readers will not be astonished at seeing tlie dolpliin, the 
whale, and the sea-urchin classed here with fishes. We are not treat- 
ing of natural history according to the classifications of science, but of 
the gross classifications made by impressionable popular imaginations. 
Thus, amongst the animals of the water we shall find the serpent 
described, although it be amphibious, because popular belief makes 
the dragon watch over the waters. 



THE FALLEN RING— THE WHALE. 337 



(Row for me, row for me, hundred oars). Then it 
moves, and the children are delighted. In the Eussian 
little poem, Kanioh Garhunoh, of Jershoff, already men- 
tioned by us in the chapter on the Horse, /Ivan must seek, 
for the sultan, a ring shut up in a casket which has 
fallen into the sea (the evening or the autumnal sun). 
Ivan upon his crook-backed horse arrives in the middle 
of the sea, where there is a whale which cannot move 
because it has swallowed a fleet, that is to say, the solar 
vessel. The part played here by the whale is the same 
as that of the sea-monster who swallows Hanumant in 
the Rdmdyanam, to vomit him out again, as in the case 
of the biblical Jonah (the night devours the sun, or 
carries it into its body). Hanumant enters into the fish 
by its mouth, and comes out at its tcail ; however, in the 
narrative given of it in the fifty-sixth canto of the fifth 
book by Hanumant himself, he says that the sea-monster 
having shut its mouth, he came out of it by the right 
ear. When the night is with the moon, instead of 
swallowing the hero, the bull-moon or fish-moon carries 
him or serves as a bridge for him. In Russian fairy 
tales the brown pike (which, on account of its colour, is 
called the chaste widow) ^ is noAv a form assumed by the 



^ The pike becomes in spring of an azure or bluish or greenish-blue 
colour ; hence the name of goliibbi — perd (that is, of the azure or 
bluish fins ; in German, the bluish colour is called echt-grau — that is, 
grey of pike ; in the nineteenth of the Russian stories of Erlenivein^ 
golden fins are ascribed to the pike), which is also given to it in 
Eussia. Goluh, or brown, violet and azure, is a name given in Prussia 
to the dove ; so in Italy we say, that the dove is pavonazzo (properly 
the colour of the peacock, which is generally blue and green). But in 
Sanskrit, amongst the names of the peacock there is that of harisy a 
word which represents both the moon and the sun. By the same 
analogy, the bluish or greenish pike may represent the moon. But 
another analogy, caused by a similar conception, is found again in the 

VOL. II. Y 



33^ ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

devil in order to eat the young hero, who has become a 
little perch/ and now an enormous fish with great teeth, 
which slaughters the little fishes.^ Now, instead, it 
serves as a bridge for Ivan Tzarevic, who is seeking for 
the egg of the duck which is inside the hare under the 
oak-tree in the midst of the sea ; ^ now it is caught in the 
fountain (as the moon, soma, in the well) by the foolish 
and lazy Emilius, and because Emilius saves its life, it 
makes him rich by performing several miracles for him, 
such as that of the barrels full of water, of the trees of 
the forest, of the waggons or the stoves which move 
off by themselves, and finally that of the cask thrown 
into the sea, into which Emilius is shut with the beautiful 
daughter of the Tzar, and which comes to shore and 
breaks open.* Now the phallical pike with the golden 



word ^ydmas, wliicli means black, azure, and also silvery ; whence it 
serves to represent the convolvolus argenteus (we must remember that 
the Latin name of the pike is lucius ; the Greek, lukios — that is, the 
luminous one). The pike takes the colour of the water in which it 
lives, and the waters are dark, black, azure, greenish, silvery ; as being 
azure, or greenish, or silvery, the pike represents the moon ; as being 
dark, the tenebrific night, the cloud, the wintry season. — In the thirty- 
second story of the fourth book of Afanassieff, the little perch relates 
that the pike was once luminous (that is, in spring), and that it became 
black after the conflagration which took place in the Lake of Eastoff 
from the day of St Peter (June 29) to the day of St Elias (July 
20), or in the beginning of summer. As we learn in the Pseudo- 
GallistheneSj near the black stone, which makes black whoever touches 
it, there are fishes which are cooked in cold water, and not at the fire, 
I recollect here also that the Hecht-konig^ or king of pikes, is described 
as yellow and black-spotted. i Afanassieff, v. 22. 

^ Afanassieffj i. 2. — Cfr. the eleventh of the Novelline di Santo 
Stefano di Galcinaia ; a monstrous fish devours the princess ; the fish 
is said to be a shark (pesce cane) ; and v. 8 of the Fentamerone, 

2 Cfr. Afanassiefj ii. 24. 

* Cfr. Afanassieff, v. 55, vi. 32. — It is the same fish which, saved by 
the girl who is persecuted by her step-mother, comes to her assistance, 



THE PIKE^PHALLICAL FISHES. 339 

fins ^ is caught, washed, quartered, and roasted ; the 
dirty water is thrown away and drunk by the cow 
(in Afanassieff) or by the mare (in Erlenwein) ; a por- 
tion of the fish is eaten by the black slave, whilst she is 
carrying it to table, the rest by the queen ; hence three 
young heroes, considered as brothers, are born at the 
same time to the cow (or mare), to the black maiden, 
and to the queen. Now the pike (as in the satirical fable 
of Krilofi") draws the car in company with the crab 
and the heron; and here, it would appear, these two 
animals are rather stupid than intelligent, inasmuch as, 
whilst the pike draws the car into the water, the crab 
draws it back on the earth and the heron essays to 
mount with it into the air. Here we have the usual 
correspondence between the phallical figure and that of 
the simpleton. Thus, in the Piedmontese dialect, the 
phallos and the stupid man is called merlu (blackbird). 
From the word merlo (Lat. merula) was derived the 
name of the fish called merluccio or merluzzo (gadus 
merlucius, the melwel or haddock), called asellus by the 
Latins and onos by the Greeks. The ass is a well-known 
phallical symbol, and Bacchus being also a phallical 



separates the wheat from the barley for her (like the Madonna, the 
purifying moon-fairy, the nightly cleanser of the sky), and gives splendid 
robes to her, in vi. 29. — In the story v. 54, instead of the pike as a 
fcecundator we find the bream, which is also called " of the golden fins" 
(szlatopioravo), of which the colours are the same as those of the pike. 
1 In the nineteenth Eussian story of Erlenwein, and in a variety of 
the same in the last book of Afanassieff's stories. — In an unpublished 
story of the Monferrato, communicated to me by Dr Ferraro, a fisher- 
man catches a large fish which says to him, " Let me go, and you will 
always be fortunate." The wife of the fisherman opposes this, roasts 
and eats the fish, from whose bones are born to the fisherman three 
sons, three horses, and three dogs. Evidently the story has been 
corrupted. 



340 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

god, we read in Pliny, '' Asellorum duo genera, Callarisa 
minores, et Bacchi, qui non nisi in alto (in the deep) 
capiuntur." The Italian name haccald, given to the cod- 
fish, seems to me to be derived from the union of the 
two names Bacchus and Callaria. In the Piedmontese 
dialect, a stupid man is also called by the name of 
baccald. There is also a fish called merula, of which 
the ancients describe the extraordinary salacity, by in- 
dulging which it literally consumes itself away and 
perishes/ In Italy we find the following phallical pro- 
verbs : " The blackbird has passed the Po," and " The 
blackbird has passed the river ; " to denote a woman or 
a man exhausted, to impotence. The ancients wrote of 
the fish called chrusofrus by the Greeks, and atcrata by 
the Latins, that it would let itself be taken in children's 
and women's hands, and (according to Athenaios) it 
was sacred to Aphrodite. Aphrodite, Venus, goddess of 
love, especially, represented in myths the aurora and the 
spring (hence in Lent and on Friday, the day of Freya, 
dies Veneris, we eat fishes) ; therefore the gemini pisces, 
the two fishes joined in one, were sacred to her, and the 
joke of the poisson d'Avril, as I have already mentioned 
in the first chapter of the first book, is a jest of phallical 
origin, which should be abandoned.^ Aphrodite and 
Eros, pursued by Typhon, transformed themselves into 
fishes and plunged into the Euphrates. The Hellenic 
Eros was also represented riding (instead of the phallical 
butterfly) on a dolphin ; according to other accounts, he 
rides upon a swan with dolphins before him. In an 
epigram of the Anihologia Grceca, the dolphin, moreover, 

^ Cfr. Salvianus, Aquatilium Animalium Historicej EoniEe, 1554. 
2 At Berlin, children sing on the first of April — 
" April ! April ! April ! 
Man kann den Narren schicken wohin man will." 



PHALLIC AL FISHES— THE EEL. 341 

carries a weary nightingale. In several parts of Alsace, 
on the evening of St Andrew's Day, girls eat herrings to 
dream during the night of the husband who is to quench 
their thh^st.^ The fishyw?^5 of Pliny, or Julia, is called 
donzella (damsel) in Italian, and menchia di re (king's 
phallos) at Naples and in Venetia, and other fishes also 
take their name from the organs of generation.^ The 
phallos is called u pesce at Naples, and, in Italian, nuovo 
pesce (a new fish) signifies a stupid man. An essentially 
phallical character, moreover, is possessed by the eel, 
Avhich, according to Agatharchides, quoted by Hippolitus 
Salvianus, the Boeotians crowned as a victim and sacri- 
ficed solemnly to the gods, which, according to Herodotos, 
the Egyptians venerated as a divine fish, and which 
Athenaios pompously calls the Helen of dinners. The 
eel became proverbial ; the Italian proverbial expressions, 
" To take the eel," " To hold the eel by its tail," " When 
the eel has taken the hook it must go where it is drawn," 
are all equivocal. The Germans also have a proverb 
concerning the eel, which reminds us of the story of the 
cook who steals the fish from Alexander, and, together 
with Alexander's daughter, drinks its water.^ The phallos 



^ Another custom concerning herrings is described by Baron von 
Reinsberg, relating to Ash- Wednesday, when people return from church 
in Limburg : " Begiebt man sich zuerst nach Hause, um nach gewohn- 
ter Weise den Haring abzubeissen. Sobald man namlich aus der 
Kirche kommt, wird ein Haring, nun muss jeder mit geschlossenen 
Beinen, die Arme fest an den Leib gedrUckt, in die Hohe springen und 
dabei suchen, ein Stiick abzubeissen." And Karl Simrock, the work 
quoted before, p. 561, writes: "In der Mark muss man zu Neujahr 
Hirse oder Haringe essen, im Wittenbergischen Heringssalat, so hat 
man das ganze Jahr iiber Geld.'' 

2 Cfr. Salvianus, ut supra. The habit certain fishes have of ejecting 
froth from the mouth may have suggested a phallical image. 

^ Bei Hans Sachs, Niirnberger, Ausgabe von 1660, ii. 14, 96, Eine 
Frau und Magd essen den fUr den Herrn bestimmten Aal ; eiue Elster 



342 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

discovers secrets^ and therefore, in a German legend/ 
the facnlty of seeing everything which is under the 
water is ascribed to a woman who had eaten an eel 
(a variety of the story of the fish that laughs, which, in 
the ninth story of the third book oi Afanassieff, enriches 
whoever possesses it, and the fish sihirus (the bream), so 
called from the Greek words silld and oura, because it 
shakes its tail, which, in the fifty-eighth story of the 
sixth book of Afanassieff, cleans the workman who had 
fallen into the mud, and makes the princess laugh who 
had never laughed before). In the eighteenth story of 
Santo Stefano di Calcinaia, a fisherman catches an eel 
with two tails and two heads, which is so large that he 
has to be assisted in carrying it. The eel speaks, and 
commands that its two tails be planted in the garden, 
that its intestines be given to the bitch, and its two 
heads to the fisherman's wife. Two swords are born of 
the tails in the garden (in the Hindoo legend we saw 
two sons born of the wood of Qaradvat's arrow), two 
dogs are born of the intestines to the bitch, and two 
beautiful young men of the heads to the wife (the two 
Agvin^u, drawn, as we have seen in the Vedic hymn, by 
the sea-urchin). In the chapter on the Dove, we saw 
the two young lovers, when pursued, take the form of 
doves. In the fourteenth Sicilian story of Signora 
Gonzenbach, the young man and the maiden pursued 
by the witch transform themselves first into church and 
sacristan, then into garden and gardener, then into rose 

schwatzt es aus ; um sich zu rachen, rupfen die Weiber ihr den Kopf 
kahl. Daher man sprichwortlich von einem kahlen Monclie sagt : der 
hat gewiss vom Aale ausgeschwatzt ; Menzel, Die Vorchristliche Unsterh- 
lichheits-Lehre. 

1 In the same: "So erzahlt Gilbert bei Leibnitz Script, rer. Brunsw. 
i. 987. Ein Frauenzimmer, welches Aal gegessen, habe plotzlich Alles 
sehen konnen was unter Wasser war." 



THE EEL. 343 

and rosebushj and finally into fountain and eel. In the 
first volume of the Cabinet des Fees, the fairy Aiguillette 
is taken in the form of an eel. In the fourth of the 
stories of Santo Stefano di Calcinaia, the beautiful maiden 
is asked by the servant-maid of the priest (that is, by the 
servant-maid of the black man, by the black woman or 
the night), who went to wash clothes at the fountain, to 
come down from the tree. The maiden descends, is 
thrown into the fountain and devoured by an enormous 
eel. The fishermen catch the eel and take it to the 
prince ; the witch has it killed and thrown into a cane- 
brake. The eel is then transformed into a large and 
beautiful cane, which is also carried to the prince, who, 
cutting it gently with a penknife, makes his beautiful 
girl come out (this legend is a variety of that of the 
wooden girl).^ This form of a diabolical eel has a close 
relationship with the monster-serpent ; the anguilla re- 
minds one of the anguis ; hence, in the ninth story of 
the first book of the Pentmnerone, instead of the eel as 
a foecundator, as in the eighteenth Tuscan story, we find 
the fish called draco raarinus (in Italian, trascina), of 
which it is curious to read, what Volaterranus writes, 
that — " Si manu dextra adripias eum contumacem 
renitentemque experieris, si Iseva subsequentem," — as if 
he meant to imply that the left hand is the hand of the 
devil. Thus Oppianos describes the wedding of the 
muraina eel (the mtirana) with the serpent (the viper 
according to Pianos and Pliny), Other fishes have 
assumed an essentially diabolical character, such as the 

1 It is well known that the word ikshvdhus has been referred to the 
word iJcshus, the sugar-cane. In the fortieth canto of the first book of 
the Rdmdyanam, one of the two wives of Sagaras gives birth to a son 
who continues his race; the other wife gives birth to an ikshvakus 
(gourd or cane) containing 60,000 sons. 



344 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

fish called. aUp^x (Lat. vulpes, vulpecula), of wliich 
^lianos relates that it swallows the hook and then 
vomits it out with its own intestines ; the rana piscatrix, 
also called the marine devil ; the trugdn (Lat. pastinaca, 
It. bruco), which, according to Oppianos, kills men with 
its dart (fame reports that Ulysses was killed with the 
bone of a trugdn) and dries up trees (although it is 
strange that to cure one's self from such a fatal wound, 
as it was supposed by the ancients to be venomous, 
Dioscoris only recommends a decoction of sage). The 
sea-scorpion (whose wounds, according to the ancients, 
were cured by means of the trigla, the red mullet — Lat. 
muUus — sacred according to Athenaios and ApoUodorus 
to Artemis, or to Diana Trivia, the moon ; Plutarch 
writes that it was sacred to Diana as a hunting fish, 
because it kills the marine hare, noxious to man ; but 
we have seen that the mythical hare is the moon itself), 
the bream, or silurus, giants, or piscis harbatus, which, in 
Hungary, according to Mannhardt (Manardus, quoted in 
the sixteenth century by Ippolito Salviano), had the 
reputation of attacking men, so much so, that it is said 
that one of these fishes, which are, in fact, very voracious, 
was once found, with a man's hand, covered with rings, 
in its intestines. But these rings in the fish's body (like 
the gem called cimedia,^ which, according to the popular 
belief, is found in the brain of a great number of fishes) 
recall us to the interrupted poem of JershofiF, to the 
little perch, the dolphins, the whale, and the ring fallen 
into the water and found again by the fish, which is 
perhaps the most interesting subject of legends in the 
mythical cycle of the fishes, and, if I may say so, their 
epic exploit. 

^ Cfr, Du Cange, s. v,j and Salvianus, the work quoted before. 



THE WHALE— THE LITTLE FERCH. 345 



Ivan, therefore, has come with his hump-backed little 
horse into the midst of the sea near the whale which has 
swallowed a fleet ;^ upon the whale a forest has grown; 
women go to seek for mushrooms in its moustaches. Ivan 
communicates his wish, and the whale calls all the fishes 
together, but no one can give information except one little 
fish, the little jorsh, or little perch, which, however, is at 
the time engaged in chasing one of its adversaries. The 
Avhale sends ambassadors to the jorsh, which unwillingly 
desists for an instant from the fight, in order to search 
for the casket; it finds it, but is not strong enough to 
lift it up. The numerous army of the herrings come and 
try, but in vain ; at last two dolphins come and raise the 
casket. Ivan receives the wished-for ring ; the whale's 
malediction comes to an end ; it vomits the fleet forth 
again, and is once more able to move about, whilst the 
little perch returns to pursue its enemies. This war of 
the little perch with its adversaries has had in popular 
Russian tradition its Herodotuses and its Homers, who 



^ In the tliirteentb. story of the first book of Afanassieff (pi which 
the Bohemian story of Grandfather Vdevedas is a "well-known variety), 
the whale complains that all the footmen and horsemen pass over it 
and consume it to the bones. It begs the hero Basilius to ask the 
serpent how long it has still to undergo this fate; the serpent answers, 
when it has vomited forth the ten vessels of the rich Mark. — In the 
eighth story of the fourth book of the Pentamerone, the whale teaches 
Cianna the way to find the mother of time, requiring her, in recom- 
pense, to be informed of the way in which the whale may be able to 
swim freely to and fro in the sea without encountering rocks and 
sandbanks. Cianna brings back for answer, that it must make friends 
with the sea-mouse {lo sorece marino, perhaps the same as the sea- 
urchin), which will serve as its guide. — In the eighth story of the fifth 
book of the Pentamerone, the little girl is received in the sea by a 
large enchanted fish, in whose belly she finds beautiful companions, 
gardens, and a beautiful palace furnished with everything. The fish 
carries the girl to the shore. 



346 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

have celebrated its praises both in prose and verse. 
Afanassieff gives in the third book of his stories, from a 
manuscript of the last century, the description of the 
judgment of the little perch (jorsh) before the tribunal of 
the fishes. The bream (le§c) accuses the little jorsh, the 
"wicked warrior (as the sea-urchin is the little destroyer ; 
the confounding of the sea-urchin with the little perch is 
all the easier in Eussian legends, inasmuch as the former is 
called josz, and the latter jorsh), who has wounded all 
the other fishes with its rough bristles, and compelled 
them to forsake the Lake of Eastofi". The jorsh defends 
itself by saying that it is strong in virtue of its inherent 
vigour; that it is not a brigand, but a good subject, 
who is known everywhere, highly prized and cooked 
by great lords, who eat it with satisfaction. The bream 
appeals to the testimony of other fishes, who give witness 
against the little perch, who thereupon complains that 
the other fishes, in their overweening importance, wish, 
by means of the tribunals, to ruin him and his com- 
panions, taking advantage of their smallness. The judges 
call the perch, the eel-pout, and the herring to give 
witness. The perch sends the eel-pout, and the eel-pout 
excuses itself for not appearing, pleading that its belly is 
fat, and it cannot move ; that its eyes are small, and its 
vision imperfect ; that its lips are thick, and it does not 
know how to speak before persons of distinction. The 
herring gives witness in favour of the bream, and against 
the little perch. Among the witnesses against the jorsh, 
the sturgeon also appears ; it maligns the jorsh, alleging 
that when he attempts to eat it he must spit more out 
than he can swallow, and complains that when it was one 
day going by the Volga to Lake Eastofi", the little perch 
called him his brother and deceived him, saying, in order 
to induce him to retire from the lake, that he had once 



THE LITTLE PERCH, 347 

also been a fish of such size that his tail resembled the 
sail of a ship, and that he had become so small after 
having entered Lake EastoflP. The stm-geon goes on to 
say that he was afraid, but remained in the river, where 
his sons and companions died of hunger, and he himself 
was reduced to the last extremities. He adduces, more- 
over, another grave accusation against the jorsh, who had 
made him go in front, in order that he might fall into 
the fishermen's hands, cunningly hinting that the elder 
brothers should go before the younger ones. The sturgeon 
confesses that he gave way to this graceful flattery, and 
entered into a weir made to catch fish, which he found 
to be similar to the gates of great lords' houses — large 
when one goes in, and small when one goes out ; he fell 
into the net, in which the jorsh saw him, and cried out, 
deriding him, "Suffer for the love of Christ." The 
deposition of the sturgeon makes a great impression 
upon the minds of the judges, who give orders to inflict 
the knout upon the little jorsh, to impale it in the great 
heat, as a punishment for its cheating ; the sentence is 
sealed by the crayfish with one of his claws. But the 
jorsh, who has heard the sentence, declares it to be un- 
just, spits in the eyes of the judges, jumps into the 
briar brake, and disappears from the sight of the fishes, 
who remain lost in shame and mortification. 

In the thirty-second story of the fourth book of 
Afanassieff, we find two varieties of this zoological 
legend. 

The turbulent jorsh enters into Lake EastoflP, and 
possesses himself of it. Called to judgment by the bream, 
it answers that from the day of St Peter to that of St 
Elias, the whole lake was on fire ; and cites in proof of 
this assertion that the roach's eyes are still red from its 
effects, that the perch's fins are also still red, that the 



348 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

pike became dark coloured, and that the eel-pout is black 
in consequence. These fishes, called to give witness, 
either do not appear, or else deny the truth of these 
assertions. The jorsh is arrested and bound, but it begins 
to rain, and the place of judgment becomes muddy ; the 
jorsh escapes, and, from one rivulet to another, arrives at 
the river Kama, where the pike and the sturgeon find 
him, and take him back to be executed. 

The jorsh, arrested and brought to judgment, demands 
permission to take a walk for only one hour in Lake 
Eastoff* ; but after the expiration of the appointed time, 
it neglects to come out of the lake, and annoys the other 
fishes in every way, stinging and provoking them. The 
fishes have recourse for justice to the sturgeon, who sends 
the pike to look for the jorsh ; the little perch is found 
amongst the stones ; it excuses itself by saying that it is 
Saturday, and that there is a festival in his fathers 
house, and advises him to take a constitutional in the 
meanwhile, and enjoy himself; on the morrow, although 
it be Sunday, he promises to present himself before the 
judges (the analogy between the actions of the jorsh and 
those of Eeineke Fuchs is very remarkable). Meanwhile, 
the jorsh makes his companion drunk. The Sanskrit 
name of the fish, matsyas, from the root mad, we know to 
mean drunk and joyous, properly damp (Lat., madidus) ; 
in Italian, hriaco SLud folle are sometimes equivalent; 
in the Piedmontese dialect, bagnd (wet) and imhecil 
(idiot) are expressions of the same meaning. Drunken- 
ness is of two forms : there is a drunkenness which 
makes impotent and stupid ; it is a question of quantity 
and of quality of beverages, as well as constitution. 
Thus, there are two kinds of madness ; that which makes 
a man infuriated, to cope with whom the strait- waistcoat 
is necessary, and that which ends by exhausting all a 



THE INEBRIATED FISH. 349 

man's strengtli in prostration and debility. Indras, 
when drunk, becomes a hero ; the pike when drunk is a 
fool (cfr. the Italian matto, English mad, which means 
insane, crazy, with the German mat% which means cast 
down, exhausted^). When the jorsh has made the pike 
drunk, it shuts it in a rick of straw, where the inebriated 
fish is to die. Then the bream comes to take the little 
perch from among the stones, and to bring him before 
the judge. The jorsh demands a judgment of God. He 
tells his judges to put him in a net ; if he stays in the 
net, he is wrong ; if he comes out, he is right ; the jorsh 
jerks about in the net so much that he gets out The 
judge acquits him, and gives him entire liberty in the 
lake ; then the jorsh begins his numerous revenges upon 
the little fishes, proving his astuteness in continual efi'orts 
to ruin them. 

As the drunkard and the fool now intensify their 
strength and now lose it, so they now double and 
now lose their intelligence. Hence, among mythical 
fishes we find very wise ones and very stupid ones. The 
story is very popular of the three fishes of different in- 
telligence, of which the lazy and improvident one allows 
himself to be caught by the fishermen, whilst his two 
companions escape ; it is found in the first book of the 
Pancatantram, In the fifth book of the Pancatantram, 
a variety occurs : we read of a fish which has the intelli- 
gence of a hundred (Qatabuddhis), of one which has the 
intelligence of a thousand (Sahasrabuddhis), and of the 
frog which has the intelligence of one (Ekabuddhis) ; 
but that of the two fishes is not intelligence, but pre- 

1 If I am not mistaken, the German words Narr^ fool, and nass, 
wet, are in connection with, each other by the same analogy which 
gives us the Sanskrit mattas, drunk, and the Latin madidxiSj damp, 
from the root mad. 



350 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

sumption ; tte one intelligence of the frog is better than 
the hundred and the thousand of the fishes. The frog 
escapes, but the two fishes fall into the hands of the 
fishermen. 

The little sea-urchin (and the dwarf Vishnus and the 
dolphin are equivalent to it, the word giiigumdras being 
equivocal in Sanskrit) in the JRigvedas draws the chariot 
of riches ; in the Eddas, a dwarf in the form of a pike 
(in Greek lukios, in Latin lucius) watches over gold, and 
guards the ring; in Eussian legends, the little jorsh 
(formidable, like the josz, by its sharp quills), united 
with the dolphins, draws out of the sea the casket con- 
taining the sultan's ring. The horn of the moon, which 
appears in the sea of night, belongs now to the bull 
which carries the fugitive hero, now to the fish japhari, 
which, having become large, takes in tow the ship of 
Manus, and saves it from the waters, that it -may not be 
wrecked. Now it is the solar hero or heroine that takes 
the form of a fish to save himself or herself; now the fish 
helps the solar hero or heroine in their escape ; now the 
little golden or luminous fish plunges into the sea, or 
into the river, to seek the pearl or ring for the hero or 
heroine who had let it fall, the ring without which King 
Dushyantas cannot recognise his bride QakuntaM ; now 
it vomits out from its mouth or its tail that which it 
has swallowed — ^the hero, the pearl, the ring (the solar 
disc). 

In the sixth act of ^akuntald, the fisherman finds in 
the stomach of a fish (the cyprimis dentatus), the pearl 
enchased in the ring which King Dushyantas had given 
to QakuntaM, in order to be able to recognise her when 
they should come together again. The genera cyprinus 
and perca, as the thorny or wounding ones in the order 
of fishes, have supplied the greatest number of heroes to 



THE DOLPHIN— THE CARP. 351 

mythology ; the sea-urchin is identified to them on 
account of its darts ; the names lieclit, hrochet, pike, 
given to the lucms in Germany, France, and England, 
express its faculty of stinging, or cleaving "with its flat 
and cutting mouth (the fish lucioperca sandra is an in- 
termediate form between the perch and the pike). The 
lunar horn, the thunderbolt, the sunbeam, have the same 
prerogative as these fishes ; the dolphin, on account of 
the two scythe-shaped fins which it has on its anterior 
extremity, or of its fat and curved dorsal fin, as well as on 
account of its black and silvery colour, might well serve 
to represent the two lunar horns and the moon s phases. 
Thus the pike and the bream, dark or bluish on their 
backs, are white underneath. The dolphin also has a 
flat mouth and sharp teeth, like the pike.^ The lunar 
horn announces rain ; thus the scythe-shaped fin of the 
dolphin, appearing on the waves of the sea, announces a 
tempest to navigators, warns them, and saves them from 
shipwreck ; hence, as a cinjumaras, it may, like the sea- 
urchin, have saved or drawn the chariot, that is, the 
vessel of the A9vin^u, laden with riches. The dolphin 
which watches over Amphitrite, by order of Poseid6n, in 
the Hellenic myth, is the same as the dolphin, the spy of 
the sea, or the moon, the spy of the nocturnal and wintry 
sky. Inasmuch as the sky of night or winter was com- 
pared to the kingdom of the dead, both the dolphin and 
the moon, according to the Hellenic belief, carried the 
souls of the dead. 

The cyprinus, par excellence, the carp (Lat. carpus), 



1 A superstitious belief quoted by Pliny concerning the cramp-fish 
merits being recorded here : " Mirum quod de Torpedine inveuio si 
capta cum Luna in Libra fuerit, triduoque asservetur sub dio, faciles 
partus facere postea quoties inferatur.'' 



352 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

is celebrated, in connection with gold, in an elegant little 
Latin poem of Hieronimus Fracastorus. Carpus was the 
name of a ferryman of the Lake of Garda, who, seeing 
Saturn fleeing, took him for a robber who was carrying gold 
away, and endeavoured to despoil him of this gold ; then 
Saturn cursed him and his companions in the following 
manner : — 

'^ Gens inimica Deum dabitur quod poscitis aurum : 
Hoc imo sub fonte aurum pascetis avari. 
Dixerat : ast illis veniam poscentibus et vox 
Deficit, et jam se cernunt mutescere et ora 
In rictum late patulum producta deliiscunt, 
In pinnas abiere manus ; vestisque rigescit 
In sf-iuamas, caudamque pedes sinuantur in imam ; 
Qui fuerat subita obductus formidine mansit 
Pallidus ore color, quamquam livoris iniqui 
Indicium suffusa nigris sunt corpora guttis ; 
Carpus aquas, primus numen qui Isesit, in amplas 
Se primus dedit et fundo se condidit imo." 

From the comparisons which we have made hitherto, 
it is impossible not to admit that the enterprise of the 
fish Avho seeks the gold or the pearl, who finds it, or who 
contains it in himself, is a very ancient Aryan tradition. 
In the Vedic hymns we see now Indras, now the Ajvinau, 
saving the heroes from shipwreck, and bringing riches to 
mankind ; we have also seen the jinyum^ras (sea-urchin, 
dolphin, or Vishnus) draw the chariot of the Agvin^u, who 
are bringing riches. The Greeks called a fish of a strange 
shape by the name now of Zeus, now of chalketis (the 
naine given to Hephaistos, or Mulciber, or Vulcanus, the 
worker in metals), or blacksmith, whence the name 
of ZeusfdbeVy by which it was known to the Latins. 
This fish is of a really monstrous shape. Its back is 
brownish, with yellow stripes ; the rest of its body is of 
a silvery -grey colour ; on its sides it has two spots of the 



THE SACRED FISH. 353 

deepest black. Its dorsal fin opens like a fan, with rays 
going out on all sides, and furnished with strong quills, 
which make this prominence resemble a crest. We 
remember that the cock and the lark were compared to 
Christ and to Christophoros, on account of their crest ; 
the same happened in the case of the Zeus faber.-^ The 
Italian legend says that those two black spots (which 
make the fish's body resemble a forge, whence its name 
of blacksmith) were caused by the marks left upon it one 
day by St Christopher, while carrying Christ ujDon his 
shoulders across the river. The fish which wears the 
crest and Christopher are here identified Avith each other. 
But this is not all ; at Eome, at Genoa, and at Naples, 
this same fish is called the fish of St Peter, because it is 
said to be the same fish which was caught by St Peter 
in the Gospels, in the mouth of which (as a blacksmith 
or chalkelis, it must have known well how to coin money), 
by a miracle of Christ's, St Peter found the coin which 
was to serve for the tribute. Is it probable that the 
legend of the fish with gold in its mouth, so common in 
Aryan legends, was current in Judea ? I do not think 
so ; inasmuch as petrus and the "petra, upon which Christ 
makes a bad Grseco-Latin pun, in connection with the fish, 
is another mythical incident which calls me back to the 
Aryan world, and tears me away from the Semitic Avorld, 
and from childish faith in the Judaic authenticity of the 
evangelical story, though without prejudice to my belief 
in the holiness of the doctrine. 



1 s, V. citulcif Du Cange writes concerning the fish faber or Zeus : 
'' Idem forte piscis, quern Galli doream vocant ab aureo laterum colore, 
nostri et Hispani Galli Baionenses jau, id est gallum, a dorsi pinnis 
surrectis veluti gallorum gallinaceorum cristis." The fish Zeus lives 
in solitude ; hence it appears to me to be the same sacred fish, called 
anthias, of which Aristotle, in the ninth book of the History of 
Animals, says that it lives where no other animal is found. 

VOL. II. 2 



CHAPTEE 11. 

THE CRAB, 

SUMMARY 

The riddle, how it is a fish, and not a fish. — The crab appears and the 
sun goes back ; the crab-moon draws the solar hero back. — The 
crane and the crab. — The crab kills the serpent and releases the 
solar hero. — The crab draws the chariot. — Palinurus. — The crabs 
prick and waken the hero, — The race between the crab and the 
fox. — The prince becomes a crab to release his beloved from the 
waters. — The nightingale, the stag, and the crab as awakeners. — 
The crab as an antidote for the venom of the toad, and as a 
remedy for the stone, 

Ijs" the eightli Esthonian story, a husband beats his wife 
because she is unable to solve the riddle which he pro- 
poses, to provide him a fish to eat, which is not a fish, 
and which has eyes, but not in its head. The third 
brother, the cunning one, recommends his mother to 
cook the crab, which lives in the water like a fish, and 
which has eyes, but not in its head. 

When the sun seems to enter, in the month of June, 
into the tropic which bears the sign of the crab (Lat. 
cancer ; Gr. harhinos ; Sanskrit, karlcatas, karhas, Tear- 
hatahas ; the Hindoo constellation of the crab is called 
harhin, or furnished with the crab, in the same way as 
the leaping moon, furnished with the hare, is called fapn), 
it is said to come back again ; on the fixst day of summer 
the days begin to shorten, as on the first, of winter they 



THE CRAB. zc^i 



begin to lengthen ; the sun in the month of June was 
therefore compared to a crab, which retraces its steps, or 
was represented as drawn by a crab, which, in this case^ 
is particularly the moon. "We all know the myth of 
Herakles, who, when combatting the hydra of Lerne, was 
caught and drawn back by the crab, which Hera, there- 
fore, transformed into the celestial constellation of the 
crab. In the Pseudo-Callisthenes, Alexander returns in 
terror from his jom^ney to the fountain of immortality, 
when he sees that the crabs draw his ships back into the 
sea. In the same work, we find a crab caught which 
contains seven precious pearls ; Alexander has it shut up 
in a vase, which is enclosed in a large cage, fastened by 
an iron chain ; a fish draws the cage a mile out to sea ; 
Alexander, half dead with terror, thanks the gods for the 
warning, and so saving his life, persuading himself that 
it is not fit to attempt impossible undertakings. In the 
seventh story of the first book of the Pancatantram, the 
old crane, on the other hand, terrifies the crab and the 
fishes by threatening them with a visitation of the gods 
in the chariot of Eohini, the red wife of the Lunus, that is, 
in the constellation of the Wain or the Bulls (the fourth 
lunation of the moon), in consequence of which the rain 
will cease to fall, the pond will be dried up, and the crabs 
and fishes wiU die ; the fishes allow themselves to be 
deceived by the crane, who eats them on the way ; but 
the crab, on the contrary, when it has got half way, 
perceives the deceit of the crane, kills it, and returns 
back again. Professor Benfey has found a variation of 
this story in the Buddhist sacred and historical books 
of Ceylon. In the ^sopian fables, the crab kiUs the 
serpent. In the twentieth story of the first book of the 
Pancatantram, the crab causes, at the same time, the 
death of the serpent and the crane, by means of the 



35*5 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

iclineumon ; the crab, which, walks a little backwards 
and a little forwards, when transported into the sky, 
causes now the death of the solar hero and now that of 
the monster, now delivers the solar hero from the mon- 
ster and now drags it into the waters. In the fifteenth 
and last story of the fifth book of the Pandatantram, the 
young hero Brahmadattas takes, for his companion in his 
journey, the crab, who, whilst he sleeps in the shade of 
a tree, kills the serpent which comes to kill him. " This 
mythical crab, this red animal which kills the serpent, is 
sometimes the sun, but, perhaps, oftener it may be com- 
pared to the horned moon, which increases and diminishes, 
and releases the solar hero, asleep in the shadow of the 
night and of the winter, from the black serpent who 
endeavours to turn his sleep into death ; Brahmadattas, 
when he wakens, recognises the crab as his deliverer. 
Thus Ave have already seen the moon considered more 
than once, in several forms, as the saviour of the solar 
hero and heroine. When the sun falls in the evening, 
in the west, it must necessarily go back like the crab, to 
reappear in the morning on the same eastern side from 
whence it came ; when the sun goes back and the days 
grow shorter, after the summer solstice, the crab, in the 
Zodiacal cycle, retraces its steps. When the sun goes 
back, the moon either rules the darkness of the frigid 
night, or in autumn brings on the autumnal rains ; the 
horns of the moon, and those of the crab, serve now to 
draw the hero into the waters (in the evening, and after 
solstice of June), now to draw him out of the waters 
(towards dawn and towards spring). The sun is now 
represented as having transformed himself into the moon, 
and now as having been deceived or saved by the moon. 
The sun which retraces its steps is a crab ; the moon 
which draws back, or draws out, is also a crab, and, in this 



THE CRAB. 357 



respect^ seems to hold the same place as the sea-urchin 
with the hundred oars, or of the dolphin with the scythe- 
shaped fin, which draws the chariot of the solar hero, or 
the solar hero himself. In the fable of Kriloff, the crab 
draws the chariot with the pike and the heron (the latter 
taking the place here of the crane, which we have seen 
above in connection with the crab, and which is also 
called in Sanskrit by the same name as the crab, that is, 
karkatas). It it well known that the sea-crab, Palimtrus 
vulgaris, took its name from the pilot Palinurus, who 
fell into the sea. In the fourteenth story of the first 
book of Afanassieff, the crabs prick and waken the 
young hero Theodore (gift of God, an equivalent of 
Brahmadattas, given by the god Brahman), put to sleep 
by the witch ; they are grateful to the hero, because he 
divided the caviare into equal parts among the crabs who 
were disputing for it. 

We have seen the challenge to a race with the hare 
and the locust, the hare and locust both seem to lose 
the race. Afterwards we saw the challenge to a trial of 
flight of the beetle and the wren with the eagle, in which 
the animal that symbolises the moon, on the other hand, 
wins the race. Thus, in the same way, as to spring 
succeeds June or the month of the crab, we find repre- 
sented in the fifth story of the fourth book of Afanassieff 
a race between the fox (which, as it symbolises the 
twilights of the day, represents also the equinoxes in 
the year) and the crab (it is well known that the crab, 
Palimiriis vulgaris^ was called by the Latins by the name 
of lociista). The crab fastens itself to the fox's tail ; the 
latter arrives at the winning-post without knowing of 
the crab's presence ; the fox then turns round to see 
whether his opponent is far ofi*, upon which the crab, 
letting go the fox's brush and dropping quietly on the 



3SS ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

ground, looks up and placidly remarks that it lias been 
waiting for some time. 

In the first of the Esthonian stories, the young prince, 
in order to release from the waters his beloved, who had 
become a water-rose, by the eagle's advice takes off his 
clothes, covers himself with mud, and holding his nose 
between his fingers, snivels out, " From a man, a crab ; " 
then he instantly becomes a crab, and goes to draw the 
water-rose out of the water, to bring it to shore near a 
stone, at Avhich, when arrived, he says, " From the water- 
rose, the maiden ; from the crab, the man." (This myth 
appears to represent the amours of the sun as a female, 
with the moon as a male.) I observe that among the 
Sanskrit meanings of the word harhatas, which means a 
crab, there is that of a heap of water-roses, or a heap of 
lotuses. 

We have already seen the nightingale and the stag as 
images representing the moon ; here we also find a crab 
as a lunar figure. The moon is the watcher of night ; 
either it sleeps with its eyes open like the hare, or it is 
watchful like the stag, or, as a nightingale, it justifies 
the Greek proverb of the watchers who sleep less than 
the nightingales (oud' hoson Aedones lipnoousin), 01% as 
crab, it wakens up with its claws those who are asleep 
and menaced by any danger/ In Pliny we find the 
nightingale, the stag, and the crab in concord ; he in- 



^ We know that lynx's eyes, or lyns-like eyes, mean very sharp- 
sighted ones; ancient physicians recommended against the stone or the 
disease of the gravel, now the lyncurium, the stone which was sup- 
posed to be made of the urine of the lynxes, given by India to Bacchus, 
according to Ovid's expression, and now crab's eyes. The moon 
destroys with its light the stone-sky, the sky of night \ hence crab's 
eyes are recommended against the disease of the stone. When the 
moon is not in the sky of night, the stone is there. 



THE CRAB, 359 



forms us that crab's eyes, with the nightingale's flesh, 
tied up in a stag's skin, are useful to keep a man awake. 
The moon, in fact, not only herself watches, but makes 
men watch, or prolong their vigils ; we know, moreover, 
of the excitement with which her presence agitates the 
quail, which cannot sleep when the moon shines in the 
sky. Pliny also recommends the river-crab, cut in pieces 
and drunk, as a remedy against any poison, but especially 
against the venom projected by the toad. In the Reis- 
terhac. Hist MiracuL, we read of a man named Theodoric, 
and surnamed Cancer, that the devil persecuted him in 
the form of a toad ; he kills the diabolical toad more 
than once, but it always rises again ; then Cancer, 
recognising the devil in this form, forms a heroic resolu- 
tion, uncovers one of his thighs, and lets himself be 
bitten ; the thigh inflames, but he is cured at last, and 
from that day forward he is and continues a holy man. 
German superstition, therefore, combines with Grseco- 
Latin to consider the crab as an enemy of the monster ; 
but as in Grseco-Latin beliefs, besides the crab which 
awakens, there is also, as we have seen, the crab which 
seeks to ruin the solar hero, so in Germanic mythical 
tradition, the death of the solar and- diurnal hero Baldur 
takes place, when the sun enters the Zodiacal sign of 
Cancer. 



CHAPTEK HI. 

THE TOKTOISE. 

.SUMMARY. 

Equivoque between the words Icacchapas and Tcapjcfpas (by the inter- 
mediate form, Izac^afaB). — Explanation of the myth of the produc- 
tion of the ambrosia, by means of the mandaras. — Mantharas as a 
tortoise. — Kllrmas. — Kaddhapas the lord of the shores. — The 
tortoise and the elephant. — Kagyapas as Pra^apatis. — Somas and 
)Savitar. — Kagyapas and the thirteen daughters of Dakshas ; Dak- 
sha^a. — The funereal tortoise and the frog. — The tortoise and the 
lyre ; the Schild-krote ; the shields of the Kureti ; ka66has, 
kaddhapi ; kurmas as a poet and as a wind. — The tortoise and 
the warriors.- — The shields fallen from the sky. — The demoniacal 
tortoise. — The tortoise as an island. — The hare and the tortoise. — 
The tortoise defeats the eagle. 

Of the three principal Hindoo names of the tortoise, 
Mirmas, hacchajpas, and Jcapyapas, the third alone, in 
connection Avith the second, seems to have any import- 
ance in the history of myths. The expression Mrmas 
is the word usually employed to designate the real tortoise, 
Avhilst the expression hapjapas gave rise to mythical 
equivoques, which deserve to be observed. 

We know of the famous incarnation of Vishnus as a 
tortoise, treated of in the KHrma P, The problem was 
to stir up the ocean of milk to make ambrosia; the sea 
had no bottom, inasmuch as the earth had as yet no 
existence; to stir up the waters of the ocean, something 



KA^AFAS, KAddHAFAS, KACYAFAS. z^i 

of colossal size was needed ; the gods had recourse to 
the mandaras, which was made to serve for the purpose, 
as the king of the rods, kagapas; the gods and the 
demons shook the rod, and the ambrosia came forth ; no 
sooner was the ambrosia produced, than the world of 
animated beings began to be created. The character of 
this cosmogony is preternaturally phallical; the white 
froth of the sea (born of the genital organs of Ouranos, 
castrated by his son Kronos), whence Aphrodite rises, 
and the cosmic ambrosia, being nothing else than the 
genital sperm. At a later period a mountain was seen in 
the mandaras, and the words hagapas and kacchapas 
(subsequently changed into kagyapas) being confused, 
the king of the rods or phallos, par excellence, was con- 
verted into a tortoise. The mandaras (from the root 
mand-mad, to inebriate, to make joyful), however, might 
mean the agitator, that which makes joyful ; but as 
from mad is derived the word matsyas, the fish now 
drunken, now stupid, so the word mandaras also has, 
for its proper meanings, slow and large, and is closely 
connected with mandas, which, besides slow, lazy, soft, 
also means drunken ; with mandakas, foolish ; and with 
mandanas, merry ; and, as such, we can understand how 
there Avas in the celestial Paradise, in the mandanas or mak- 
ing joyful, the tree mandaras, the inebriating. Finally, it 
is connected with manthanas, the agitator, and identified 
with mantharas, which also means the agitator, the sIoav, 
and the lazy. But there is also another analogy which 
ofi'ers us the means of understanding how the equivoque 
of kagapas, confased with kacchapas, and which after- 
wards became kagyapas or tortoise, became popular, just 
through the word Mrmas, which, as we have said, means 
a tortoise. When the mandaras or mantharas was con- 
ceived of as a producer of ambrosia, tbey soon identified 



Z^2 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

the mantharas itself (the slow, the late, the curved) with 
the tortoise ; in fact, mantharas is the name given to a 
tortoise in the Hitopadegas, and the name manthara- 
has is applied to another, in Somadevas and in the 
[PaTicatantram, Considered simply as the slow and the 
curved, the thought of the tortoise, which answers this 
description, naturally arose in connection with the name ; 
the primitive myth became complicated, and the man- 
daras and the kagapas, which were originally one and 
same, were at length distinguished from each other, the 
kacapas, at first a ka9yapas or kacchapas or tortoise, and, 
vice versa, the mandaras or mantharas also ; the words 
in course of time lost their primitive meaning, the man- 
daras (as the slow one) became a mountain (which does 
not move), and the kagapas a tortoise, supporting the 
mountain, at once vast, ponderous, and inert. As it 
often happens in mythology that two distinct person- 
alities spring out of two names at first applied to the 
same mythical object or being, and both being names 
Avhich indicate something heavy, it was surmised that 
the one heavy thing carried the other, and that the heavy 
tortoise, into which the god Vishnus transformed himself, 
sustained the weight of the heavy mountain placed upon 
it by his alter ego Indras. The ideas of weighty and 
curved being united in both the mandaras and the 
kagapas, the tortoise, as klirmas, serves well for this 
office of a carrier, an assertion I venture to make, inas- 
much as in hUr-mas I think I can recognise the same 
root which appears in the Sanskrit giir-u-s, fem. gur-v-i, 
superlat. gar-ishth-a-s (Lat gra~v-is, from garvis), and 
in the Latin curvus} 

As for the name of kacchapas, to which the equivocal 



^ Cfr. tile Sanskrit roots, har, Iciir, yur, gilr. 



THE TORTOISE, LORD OF THE SHORES. 363 

Hindoo epithet of kagyapas, applied to the tortoise^ 
should be referred, it properly means the lord, the 
guardian of the shores, he who occupies the shores, and 
is a perfectly apt designation for the tortoise, and an 
expression d propos to what is related of it in the legend 
quoted by us in the chapter on the elephant. Both 
animals (sun and moon) frequent the banks of the same 
lake, and have conceived a mortal dislike one for the 
other, continuing in their brutal forms the quarrel which 
existed between them when they were not only two men 
but two brothers. As the elephant and the tortoise both 
frequent the shores of the same lake, they mutually annoy 
each other, renewing and maintaining in mythical zoology 
the strife which subsists between the two mythical brothers, 
who fight with each other for the kingdom of heaven, 
either in the form of twilights, or of equinoxes, or of sun 
and moon, or of twilight and sun, or of twilight and moon, 
in any of the various interpretations which can, all with 
same basis of truth, be given to the myth of the A9vin^u, 
according to their appearance among celestial phenomena, 
which, although distinct, have nevertheless a great resem- 
blance. In this particular mythical struggle between 
the tortoise and the elephant, terminated by the bird 
garudas, who carries them both up into the air in order 
to devour them, the tortoise and the elephant seem, 
however, especially to personify the two twilights of 
the day and the two twilights of the year — that is, the 
equinoxes, or the sun and the moon in the crejauscular 
hour, the sun and the moon in the equinoctial day, upon 
the banks of the great heavenly lake. 

But, in the legend contained in the Mahdhhdratam ^ 
of the tortoise and the elephant carried into the air by 



1 i. 1353-1456. 



364 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGy. 

the Vishnuitic bird, there is still another interesting 
circumstance or variation, which corroborates the cosmic 
interpretation of the mjrth of the tortoise now proposed 
by me. The divine Kagyapas is mentioned in it; he 
desires to have a son, and therefore has himself served 
by the gods (since it is the gods who make the mandaras, 
the producer of ambrosia, turn round) in the sacrifice 
adapted to produce children. The phallical Indras 
carries on his shoulders a mountain of wood, which evi- 
dently corresponds to the mandaras or kaga-pas, and, on 
the way, ofi'ends the dwarf hermits born of the hairs of 
the body of Brahman, that is, the hairs themselves ; to 
this Kagyapas, the name of Pra^apatis or lord of genera- 
tion is given. We here again meet with the monstrous 
phallos which produces the ambrosia (or the Somas to 
which corresponds Savitar, the generator and the lord of 
the creatures ^) and generates living beings in the world. 
Kagyapas being considered as the generator, he was 
therefore placed in relation with the movements of the 
moon and the sun, who are also generators (as Somas and 
Savitar) ; and it is in this respect that Kagyapas also 
appears as the foecundator of the thirteen daughters of 
Dakshas, who correspond to the thirteen months of the 
lunar year (Daksha^a is the name of a lunar asterism and 
of the wife of a phallical Qivas, and dakshag^patis one of 
the Hindoo names given to the moon ; Dakshas is also 
identified with Pra^'apatis ; whence Kagyapas must have 
united himself, probably as the phallical moon, with his 
own daughters, or with his thirteen lunations). Of the 
thirteen wives made fruitful by Kagyapas, everything 
that lives was bom, — gods, demons, men, and beasts, — so 



1 Savit^ vii prasavanimigo. — Ait. Br. The story of Cunaligepas ; 
he appears evidently as a form of Pra^lpatis. 



THE BURIED TORTOISE. 365 

that in the cosmogony of the mandaras, of the Kajapas, 
and hence of the tortoise, the mandaras, when shaken, 
produced the phallical ambrosia, of which all animated 
things were spontaneously generated. 

But the tortoise, taken in connection with the moon, 
sometimes also had a funereal signification. The souls 
of the dead go into the world of the moon, into the sky 
of night, and the souls of the living descend from the 
world of the moon, that is, from the night ; Qivas, the 
god of Paradise, becomes the destroying god ; Plutus and 
Pluto are identified. Thus, in a note of Professor Haugh 
to the Aitareya Br,, I think I can recognise the tortoise, 
as representing in particular the dying moon, the burnt- 
up moon, which has the fire of spring for its tomb, round 
whose corpse the moon also moves in the here equivalent 
form of a frog (being haris, which means both yellow 
and green), and who is herself afterwards turned out. 
We know how Haris or Vishnus now represents the sun 
and now the moon (the sun and the moon, as Indras and 
Somas, were called together rakshohanau or monster- 
killers), is identified now with the tortoise, now with the 
bird garudas, the enemy of the tortoise. Here is, how- 
ever, the note of Professor Haugh : "At each Atiratra of 
the Gav^m ayanam the so-called Chayana ceremony 
takes place. This consists in the construction of the 
Uttara Vedi (the northern altar) in the shape of an 
eagle. About 1440 bricks are required for this structure, 
each being consecrated with a separate Yagusmantra, 
This altar represents the universe. A tortoise is buried 
alive in it, and a living frog carried round it and after- 
wards turned out." According to Pliny, the blood of a 
tortoise is an antidote to the venom of a toad (in the same 
way as the hare and a stag s horn is also recommended 
as of similar efficacy on the old principle of similia 



o 



66 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 



simiUbus ; the hare is the moon, the stag's horn the moon's 
horn ; the blood of the killed tortoise would appear to 
represent the moon itself as in a manner chasing the gloom 
of night away). The tortoise is also found in connection 
with frogs in a fable of Abstemius ; the tortoise envies the 
frogs, who can move rapidly, but ceases to complain when 
it sees them become the prey of the eel. 

One of the ten stars of the constellation of the tortoise, 
situated in the northern heavens — that is, in the cloudy 
and gloomy autumnal sky, and therefore especially 
ruled by the moon — was called the lyre by the Greeks, 
and it was fabled that the tortoise of which Hermes had 
made the lyre, had been transfigured into it. I may 
remark here that the German name for the tortoise is 
Schild-krote (toad with shields), that the Koribantes^ 
produced their noisy music, and accompanied their 
P}Trhic dances with kettledrums and the sound of arms, 
and that the Kureti, in order to conceal from Kronos the 
birth of Zeus, struck their shields with their lances. It 
is interesting to observe, that in Sanskrit also, kacchas is 
the name given to the little shields of the tortoise or 
kacchapas ; that kacchapi is the term applied to the noise 
of the thundering Sarasvati, or the thunder ; that several 
Vedic poets are called Kacyapas ; that Klirmas (another 
designation of the tortoise) is also the name of the Vedic 
poet, the son of Gritsamadas, and also an epithet applied 
to the flatus ventris, which is compared to a clap of 
thunder (Cfr. the roots kar, kur, gar, gitr). In the 

^ The Koribantes remind us of the Salii of the Latins, to whom 
Numa gives the arms and the words, to be sung leaping. According to 
Ovid's distich — 

" Jam dederat Salii (a saltu nomina ducunt) 
Armaque et ad certos verba canenda modos." 

—Fasti, iii. 389. 



THE SHIELDS OF THE TORTOISE. 367 



chapter on the ass, we saw \K\^ flatus compared to the 
noise of a trumpet or a kettle-drum ; here we have the 
thunderbolts that strike upon the shields, the spots of the 
celestial tortoise, of the rainy moon, upon the clouds, 
attracted by or formed from the moon's spots, that is, 
which produce the thunder. According to the Hellenic 
myth, the tortoise obtained from Zeus himself — that is, 
from the pluvial god, from the god of the clouds, the god 
in connection with the shield-clouds which concealed his 
birth, and we may add, from the god tortoise, — ^the power 
of concealing itself under shields, and of carrying its house 
along with it. The Eomans were accustomed to bathe 
new-born babes in the concavity of a tortoise, as if in a 
shield. It was predicted that Clodius Albinus would one 
day attain to sovereign power, because, when he was born, 
an enormous ' tortoise was brought to his father by some 
fishermen. The tortoise protects Zeus, the new-born 
warrior-god ; the tortoise, on account of its shields, 
makes the new-born child a warrior, and predicts 
dominion to him ; my well-informed readers will re- 
member how a shield, fallen from the sky, presaged to 
the Eomans the glories they should achieve as a warlike 
people, according to Ovid's verses — 

"... Totum jam sol emerserat orbein : 

Et gravis setherio venit ab axe fragor. 
Ter tonuit sine nube Deus, tria fulgura misit. 

Credite dicenti : mira sed acta loquor. 
A media coelum regione dehiscere coepit : 

Submisere oculos cum duce turba suo. 
Ecce levi scutum versatum leniter aura 

Decidit : a populo clamor ad aatra venit." 

Under this aspect the tortoise becomes the dark moon 
in opposition to the luminous one, the slow moon, in 
opposition to the jumping one. Being slow or tardigrade, 



368 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

in the myths the tortoise is the moon, but the winter 
one ; and sometimes it becomes also now the cloud, now 
the earth, now even the darkness (as such it appears 
demoniacal in a German legend, where two devils who 
have assumed the forms of monstrous tortoises, prevent 
the foundations of the cathedral church of Merseburg from 
being laid ; the tortoises are exorcised, and their bodies 
slain, in memory of Avhich circumstance it is said that 
the cups of these tortoises are preserved, hung up in the 
church ; in the fourteenth fargard of the Vendidad, too, 
the tortoises are, as demoniacal, to be killed). We have 
seen in the first chapter of the first book, the hare- 
moon passed over and crushed by the cow's waggon, 
suggesting to us the cloud (as the moon, now a bridge, 
now an island of the sky, as sea), which passes over the 
moon, but he perhaps, again, of the eclipse of the moon 
by the means of the earth, which is also called a cow 
in Sanskrit, In Sanskrit, the earth, which comes out of 
Avaters — an island ^ (as the moon and the cloud) — is also 
called by the name of ktirmas, i.e., a tortoise (properly the 

1 It is interesting in this connection to find in the translation of 
Lane a passage from the Agdib-el-MalchlooJcdt (Marvels of Creation), a 
work of the thirteenth century : " The tortoise is a sea and land 
animal. As to the sea tortoise it is very enormous, so that the 
people of the ship imagine it to be an island. One of the merchants 
relates as follows regarding it: ^We found in the sea an island elevated 
above the water, having upon it green plants, and we went forth to it, 
and dug [holes for fire] to cook ; whereupon the island moved, and the 
sailors said, " Come ye to your place, for it is a tortoise, and the heat 
of the fire hath hurt it, lest it carry you away." By reason of the 
enormity of its body,' said he [i.e., the narrator above mentioned], *it 
was as though it were an island, and earth collected upon its back in 
the length of time, so that it became like land, and produced plants.' " 
Evidently here the tortoise occupies the same place as, in popular tradi- 
tion, the lunar whale recorded by us in the chapter on the Fishes. Cfr. 
Lane, The Thousand aiid One Nights, Londorij 1841, vol. iii chap. xx. 



THE TORTOISE AND THE EAGLE. 369 



curved, the humped, the eminent, the prominent ; man- 
tharas is a name given to the tortoise, and Manthar4 is 
the name of the humpbacked woman who causes the 
ruin of K4mas in the Edmdyanam). Hence we also 
have in the West, besides the fables of the leaping hare 
(the moon) and the cow, of the leaping locust (the mpon) 
and the ant, the apologue of the hare and the tortoise 
who run together ; the hare, relying on. its swiftness, falls 
asleep and loses, while the tortoise by steady persever- 
ance wins the race. 

We have already seen the tortoise in the Hindoo 
legends as the rival of the eagle or the Vishnuitic bird 
Garudas. The two are now identified and now fight 
against each other (we must remember that it was by the 
advice of Ka9yapas that the bird Garudas ravished the 
ambrosia from the serpents). In Greece, the proverb of 
the tortoise which vanquishes the eagle, was already 
diffused ; now it is the eagle which carries the tortoise 
into the air, or rather makes it fly, now it is, on the 
other hand, the tortoise which defies the eagle to arrive 
first. It is interesting to compare with this the Siamese 
apologue published by A. Bastian in the Orient unci 
Occident, of evidently Hindoo origin. The bird Khruth, 
no doubt a limited and particular form of Garudas, wishes 
to eat a tortoise (here perhaps the moon) which lies upon 
the shore of a lake. The tortoise consents to be eaten, 
under the condition that the Khruth accepts a challenge 
to a trial of speed, and arrives soonest on the other side 
of the lake, the bird to go through the air, and the tortoise 
through the water. The bird Khruth accepts the wager ; 



n. 1 and 8, p. 80 seq. — Grein, Bibliotheh der angelsdclisisclieii Foesie, 
Gottingen, 1857, 1, 235, the Celtic legend of St Brandan and the 
Pseudo-CalUsthenes. 

VOL. II. 2 A 



370 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

then the tortoise calls together millions and millions of 
tortoises, and places them all in such a way that they 
surround the lake, each distant a few steps from the 
water. Then it gives the signal to the bird to commence 
the race. The Khruth rises into the air, and flees to the 
opposite bank ; wherever he essays to alight, he finds 
the tortoise has been there before him. (This myth 
represents, perhaps, the relation of the sun to the luna- 
tions). 



CHAPTER IV. 

IHE FKOG, THE LACERTA VIHTDIS, AND THE TOAD. 
SUMMARY. 

The mindukas or frogs as clouds in the Rigvedas. — Bhekas. — The 
froff announces the summer ; the canta-rana announces Christ. — 
The serpent, the hero, and the frog. — The frog and the ox. — 
Dionysos and the frogs. — Indras and the frogs. — The dumb frogs. 
— Proserpina and the frog. — Eana cum gryllo. — The frog finds 
the sultan's ring. — The frog and the rook. — The frog as the 
serpent's daughter. — The demoniacal frog. — The yellow and the 
green frog. — The beautiful maiden as a frog. — The demoniacal 
toad. — The sacred toad. — The beautiful maiden as a toad. — The 
toad in Tuscany, in Sicily, and in Germany. — The handsome 
youth as a toad. — Women who gave birth to toads. — The venom- 
ous and the alexipharmic toad. — Krote and Schildkrote. — The 
toad swallows the dew. — The stone of tl?e frog. — The horned 
lizard. — Eidechse, hagedisse. — Apollo as sauroktanos. — The lizard 
on St Agnes's Day. — The little lizards must not be killed in Sicily, 
being intercessors before the Lord. — The amphisbhsena. — The 
lacerta viridis. — The coideuvre as a good fairy. 

I AM sorry to be unable to concur entirely in the opinion 
of the illustrious Professor Max Muller, when, in trans- 
lating a hymn of the Rigvedas, in his History of Ancient 
Sanskrit Literature, he remarks, ''The 103d hymn, in 
the seventh Mandalam, which is called a panegyric of 
the frogs, is clearly a satire on the priests." It is possihle 
that at a later period, in deriding a br^hmanic school 
similar to that of the mandtikas, a satirical sense would 



372 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

have been ascribed to this hymn, but it does not seem to 
me that the intention of the author of the Vedic hymn 
was such. Professor Max Muller has shown well in his 
History how the Vedic hymns have suffered in the hands 
of the Br^hmans, by means of their arbitrary interpreta- 
tions ; the interesting story of the hypothetical god Kas 
is a very convincing proof of it ; it is, therefore, possible, 
and even probable, that attempts were made to use this 
Vedic hymn as an arrow for satire ; but if I am not mis- 
taken, no trace of a satirical meaning can be found in the 
hymn itself Above all, I must observe that the Anukra- 
manik^ of the liigvedas properly calls the hymn only 
par^anyastutis, or hymn in honour of Par^anyas, the 
hymn of the tempest ; secondly, it scarcely seems possible 
that a satirical hymn, intended to caricature the priests, 
should be inserted in the seventh book, which is attri- 
buted to Vasishtas, the most religious of all the legendary 
Br^hmans, and he who, for the glory of Brahmanism and 
the rights of the sacerdotal caste, maintained such a pro- 
tracted and disastrous war against Vicv^mitras, the 
champion of the warrior race ; hence, if a satirical hymn 
against priests had been found in the third book of the 
jRigvedas, ascribed to the wise Vigv^mitras, I should not 
have thought it so strange, whilst it would be misplaced 
in the hymns said to be written by Vasishtas. To me it 
seems rather that, when speaking of frogs, the hymn does 
not allude to the frogs of the earth, but to the clouds, the 
cloud-frogs, attracted by the pluvial moon, whilst the 
tempest is at its height. We know that in the liigvedas, 
the wives of the gods weave hymns in honour of the 
lightning and thundering god Indras, who has killed the 
monster serpent which kept back the waters of the 
heavenly cloud ; we have also, in the first chapter of the 
first book, heard the cows lowing and exulting joyfully 



THE CLOUD-FROGS. 373 



before their deliverer Inclras, who lets his seed drop in 
the midst of them as soon as they are released from the 
cave where they were imprisoned. In the seventh book, 
the hymns 101 and 102 are sung in honom* of Indras as 
Par^anyas ; the hymn 103 is also sung in his honour, but 
by the clouds of the sky themselves, by the celestial frogs, 
inasmuch as the frog which croaks, when transported into 
the sky, is nought else then the thundering cloud ; in 
fact, in Sanskrit the word hlielas, which means frog, has 
also the meaning of cloud. We have seen that the cuckoo 
who sings in spring, and admonishes the tillers of the soil 
to begin their work, personifies the thunder in the sky : 
the frog has the same office ; it, like the thunder, an 
nounces the approaching tempest. And because, when 
the first claps of thunder are heard, it is the summer which 
announces its coming, so the frog that croaks and the frog 
that sings served specially to announce the summer. I 
remember that, a few years ago, there still existed at 
Turin, among children, the custom of sounding in the 
Holy Week (in order to greet the approaching festival of 
the resurrection of Christ, who died amongst flashes of 
lightning and peals of thunder) a wooden instrument, 
which emitted a sharp squeak resembling the croaking 
of a frog, and which was therefore called canta-rana 
(the frog sings). It was also the custom on Easter Eve 
to strike all the doors violently with sticks, as if to re- 
produce under another form the sound of the canta-rana. 
According to Pliny, the frogs die in winter, and are born 
again in spring ; when the frogs ask for a king, and 
obtain, in the Greek fable ^ a serpent, and in the Eussian 

1 Cfr. the first story of tlie fourtli book of tlie PanSatantram, Avhere 
the king of the frogs invokes the help of a black serpent to avenge 
himself upon certain frogs who are his enemies, and, instead of this, 
draws down death upon all the frogs and upon his own son. 



374 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

fable of KriloflF a heron, the serpent and the heron sym- 
bolise the autumnal and wintry seasons. IndraS; Zeus, 
and Christ are born and born again amid the noise of 
musical instruments, shields, arms, winds and thunder, 
among the lowing of cows, the bleating of goats, the 
braying of asses, and the croaking of frogs, called by 
Aristophanes philddon genos. In the 103d hymn of the 
seventh book of the jRigvedas, one mandtikas (frog or 
cloud) lows like a cow (gom^yus) ; another like a goat 
(a^amayus) ; one is prignis, or variegated ; another 
haritas, or fair-haired, golden, red (the cloud born by the 
lightning and the violence of the wind), and, as a frog, 
green or grey ; the mandlikas or frog being transported 
into the sky, or identified, as a ^om^yus, with the cow, 
it is no wonder that, in the fable, the frog has the pre- 
sumption of thinking it can inflate itself to the size of an 
ox ; but when the little cloud has become a large one, it 
ends by bursting, and so does the frog in his attempt to 
distend himself and become as large as the ox. (In the 
eighteenth Esthonian story, we find a monster who has a 
body like that of an ox, and feet like those of a frog.) 
When Indras and Zeus have accomplished their work in 
the celestial cloud, when the cloud has passed away and 
dispersed, when the frogs are drunk with water, they 
cease their croaking ; thus, in the Frogs of Aristophanes, 
when Dionlisos (ntiseios Dios) has passed the Stygian 
marsh, they stop croaking ; whilst Zeus, on the other hand, 
floods the earth with water, they (Dios pheugontes 
ombron) retire into the depths of the waters to dance in 
chorus (as the ap-sar4s). On the other hand, before the 
pluvial god satisfies their desires, before it rains, they 
croak incessantly; the thunder always makes itself 
heard before the rain, and at the outbreak of the tempest ; 
hence, in the JRigvedas itself, Indus (the moon), as a 



THE MOON AND THE FROG, 375 

bringer of rain (or the rain itself), is implored to run and 
plead Avith Indras, the pluvial god, to satisfy the desire 
of the frog/ Here, therefore, it is esjDecially Indus who 
satisfies the frogs' desire for rain. Indus, as the moon, 
brings or announces the somas, or the rain ; the frog, croak- 
ing, announces or brings the rain ; and at this point the 
frog, which we have seen identified at first with the cloud, 
is also identified with the pluvial moon. Another charac- 
teristic of the frog made this identification all the more 
natural, and that was, its green colour (harit). By the 
word Jiarit (which, as we, several times, have remarked, 
means yellow and green in Sanskrit) not only the moon, 
but the green parrot was designated, and also the frog. 
The identification having been efi*ected, the Greeks could 
then relate fables concerning the frog of the Island of 
Seriphos (batrachos ek Seriphou),. which was dumb ; so 
in the Lives of St Eegulus and St Benno,. we read that 
when these two saints, as they preached the Christian 
faith, were annoyed by the croaking of the frogs, they 
ordered the frogs to be silent, and they became dumb for 
ever. In truth, the frogs are silent (and even die, accord- 
ing to Pliny) in winter, which is under the especial 
dominion of the silent moon ; the frog and the moon 
are exchanged one for the other. In Ovid, the meta- 
morphosis of the frog is made to enter into the lunar 
myth, that is, into the myth of Proserpina ; it was the 
form of the frog which certain peasants of Lycia assumed 
who dirtied the water of which Ceres and Proserpina 
wished to drink ; their croaking (coax) is the punish- 
ment to which the goddesses condemned them, because 
in those waters they had emitted a vile sound from 



1 Vir in manduka i<;hatindrayendo pari srava ; Rigv, ix. 
112. 



376 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

their mouths.^ Another proof of the identity of the frog 
with the moon is the Latin proverb, " Rana cum gryllo," 
which afterAvards served to represent two opposite things, 
but which, in fact, are the same, on account of their 
shrill voice, their way of hopping, and their common 
mythical connection with the leaping moon. "We are 
reminded of the moon and the cloud in the war waged 
between the frogs and the mice, who are mutually 
destroying each other until the falcon comes with impar- 
tiality to annihilate botk We are, moreover, reminded 
of the little goldfish, the fair-haired moon, and the pike, in 
the frog which, in the Tiiti-Name, finds the sultan's 
ring, which had fallen into the river, for the young hero, 
in gratitude to him for having saved it from the serpent 
who was about to devour it ; it is said that both the frog 
and the serpent were two fairies who, freed from their 
curse, united themselves to protect the young hero (the 
new sun). In the twenty-third Mongol story, the golden 
frog (the moon) is dancing ; the rook (the night) carries 
it off to eat it ; the frog recommends it to wash it in 
Avater; the rook is taken in, and the frog, like the jorsh 
of Eussian stories, succeeds in escaping ; this frog is said 
to be the daughter of the prince of the dragons, who 
watches over the pearl. As the daughter of a serpent, 
the golden frog (the moon), when it is darkened, itself 
appears as a diabolical serpent or pythoness, and is more 
like a toad than a frog ; then it becomes, according to 
Sadder, a meritorious service to kill the frogs : " Eanas 
si interfecerit aliquis quicunque fortis eorum adversarius, 
ejus quidem merita propterea erunt mille et ducenta. 
Aquam eximat eamque removeat et locum siccum faciat 

^ A similar tradition was current concerning the tarantula (stellio). 
Ceres, being thirsty, wished to drink ; the boy Stelles prevented her, 
and the goddess transformed him into a stellio. According to Ulpianus, 
from the stellio was derived the crimen stellionaius. 



THE MAIDEN-FROG. 377 

et turn eas necabit a capite ad calcem. Hinc Diaboli 
damnum percipientes maximum flebunt et ploratum 
edent copiosissimum." 

In the second Calmuc story of Siddhiklir, two dragons 
who keep back the river which irrigates the earth and 
makes it fruitful, and who eat a man every year, assume 
the form of frogs (one yellow and the other green), and 
speak to one another of the way in which they can be 
killed. The king's son understands their language, and 
kills them, helped by a poor friend of his, with whom he en- 
riches himself, but only to encounter (like the two mythical 
brothers) the most dangerous adventures afterwards. 

But the diabolical form of a frog is sometimes assumed 
by the beautiful maiden (or else by the handsome youth) 
as the effect of a malediction or an enchantment. Thus 
it is in the interesting twenty-third story of the second 
book of Afanassieff. There is a Tzar who has three 
sons ; each son must shoot an arrow ; where the arrow 
falls, each brother will find his predestined wife. The 
two eldest brothers marry in this way two beautiful 
women ; the arrow of the youngest brother Ivan, how- 
ever, is taken up by a frog, whom he is oblige to marry. 
The Tzar wishes to see which of the three brides makes 
the handsomest present to her husband. All three give 
their husbands a shirt, but that of the frog is the most 
beautiful ; for whilst Ivan sleeps (that is, in the night), 
she casts her skin, becomes the beautiful Helen (generally 
the aurora, but here, it Avould seem, the same transformed 
into the good fairy moon), and orders her attendants to 
prepare the finest shirt possible ; she then again becomes 
a frog. The Tzar (a truly patriarchal Tzar) then wishes 
to see which of his three daughters-in-law bakes bread 
best ; the first two brides know not what to do, and send 
secretly to see what the frog does ; the frog, who sees all, 



378 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 



understands the trick, and bakes the bread badly on pur- 
pose ; afterwards, Avhen she is alone and Ivan asleep, she 
again becomes the beautiful Helen, and orders her attend- 
ants to bake a loaf such as those which her father ate only 
on feast-days. The loaf of the frog is pronounced the best. 
Lastly, the Tzar wishes to see which of his daughters-in- 
law dances best. Ivan is sorrowful, thinking that his 
bride is a frog ; but Helen consoles him, sending him to 
the ball, where she will join him ; Ivan rejoices to think 
that his wife has the gift of speech, and goes to the ball ; 
the frog takes her robes off, becomes the beautiful Helen 
once more, dresses herself splendidly, comes to the ball, 
and all exclaim as they pass by her (as to the Homeric 
Helen), "How beautiful ! " They first sit down to table 
to eat ; Helen takes bones in one hand, and water in the 
other; her sisters-in-law do the same. Then the ball 
begins. Helen throws water from one hand, and groves 
and fountains spring up ; and bones (we remember a 
similar virtue in the bones of the cow) from the other, 
from which birds flutter upward (the same is narrated in 
a story I heard in Piedmont when a child). Meanwhile, 
Ivan runs home to burn the frog's skin. Helen returns 
home, can no longer become a frog, and is sorrowful ; she 
goes with Ivan to bed, and awakening at morn, says to 
him, " Ivan Tzarevid, thou hast not bq^n patient enough; 
I would have been thine ; now, as God wills it, Farewell ! 
Seek me in the twenty-seventh earth, in the thirtieth 
kingdom" (z.e., in my opinion, in hell, in the night into 
which the moon and the aurora descend, and whence the 
moon comes out again and renews itself after twenty-seven 
days ; the Eussian story is evidently a variety of the fable 
of Cupid and Psyche).^ She then disappears. Ivan goes 

^ Cfr. also Afanassieff, vi. 55; Masha (Alary), the wife of Ivan, at first 
appears as a goose, afterwards as a frog, a lizard, and a spindle. 



THE TOAD. 379 



to seek his bride at the dwelling of the frog's mother, who 
is a witch ; he takes from her the spindle which spins gold, 
throws part of it before him, and the rest behind. Helen 
appears once more, and the pair flee away upon the carpet 
which flies by itself. Here the helped aurora and the 
helping moon are assimilated. 

But in popular stories the hero and heroine assume by 
witchcraft, instead of the form of a dark frog, that of a 
toad, and sometimes that of a horned lizard/ whence the 
verse of Mehun— 

"Boterauls et couleuvres, visions de deables." 

Inasmuch as the toad is a form proper to the demon, it 
is feared and hunted ; inasmuch as, on the contrary, it is 
considered as a diabolical form imposed ' by force upon a 
divine or princely being, it is respected and venerated as 
a sacred animal. In Tuscany it is considered by the 
peasants a sacrilege to kill a toad. A low Tuscan song 
heard by me at Santo Stefano di Calcinaia records the 
transformation of the beautiful maiden into a toad ; the 
mother toad speaks to her daughter to console her, in- 
spiring her with the hope of being soon married to the 
king's son — 

" Botta, gragna,- 
11 figlio del re che poco ti ama 
Se non t'ama, t'amer^, 
Quando per isposa lui t'avra." 

^ In the eighth story of the first book of the Pentamerone it is a 
lacerta cornuta (horned lizard, the moon) which watches over the 
destiny of the girl Eenzolle (the aurora). 

2 It was thus that I heard it recited, but it should, as it appears to 
me, be corrected both in rhyme and sense, and gragna changed into 
grama, unless gragna is a verb and stands for grandina (hail) ; in 
Italy, there is a superstitious belief that the toads are generated of the 
first large drops of rain which fall into the dust at the beginning of a 
tempest. ^ 



38o ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

(Wretched toad ! the king's son, who little loves thee, 
if he love thee not, will love thee when he has thee for 
his wife.) The prince weds the toad, which is imme- 
diately transformed into a beautiful maiden. With 
regard to the superstitions concerning the toad current in 
Sicily, it is interesting to note what my friend Giuseppe 
Pitre writes to me — "The toad brings fortune ; he who 
is not fortunate must provide himself Avith a toad and 
feed it in his house ^ upon bread and wine, a consecrated 
nourishment, inasmuch as it is alleged toads are either 
'lords' or 'women from without,' or ' uncomprehended 
genii,' or 'powerful fairies,' who have fallen under some 
malediction. Hence they are not killed, nor even 
molested, lest when offended they should come at night 
to spit Avater upon the offender's eyes, Avhich never 



^ A similar superstition is current in Germany, as I find in Kocli- 
lioltz, the work quoted before, i. 147 : "Auch die Hauskrote, Unke, 
Mulime genannt, wohnt im Hauskeller und halt durch ihren Einfluss 
die hier verwahrten Lebensmittel in einem gedeihlichen Zustand. 
Dadurch kommt Wohlstand ins Haus, und das Thier heisst daher 
Schatzkr(5te. In Verwechslung mit dem braunachwarzen Kellermolch 
wird sie auch Gmohl genannt und soil eben so oft ihre Farbe veran- 
dern, als der Faniilie cine Veranderung bevorsteht." — The various 
popular superstitions concerning the salamander are well known, — viz., 
that it resists the power of fire, that it lives in fire, that it becomes 
like fire: "immo ad ignem usque elenientarem orbi lunari finitimum 
ascendere " (according to Aldrovandi), and that, devoid of hairs itself, 
it causes the hairs of others to fall out by means of its saliva, whence 
Martial, cursing the baldness of a woman's head — 

'' Hoc salamandra caput, aut sseva novacula nudet/' 

Pliny therefore recommends against the poisonous venom which is 
ascribed to the salamander, the seeds of the hairy and stinging nettle, 
with broth of a tortoise (which it resembles by its yellow spots). The 
salamander of popular superstition seems to me to represent the moon 
which lights itself, which lives by its own fire, which has no rays or 
hair^of its own, and which makes the rays or hairs of the sun fall. 



THE TOAD, 381 



heal, not even if he recommend himself to the regard of 
Santa Lucia." Hence the poet Meli, in his Fata Galanti, 
writes that he prevented a peasant from killing a toad — 

*' Jeu cb'avia 'ntisu da li miei maggiuri 
Che li buffi ^un si diviiiu amraazzari, 
Fici in modu chi I'ira e lu rancuri 
A ddu viddanu cci fici passari." 

As a recompense for having saved its life, the toad soon 
afterwards appears to him in the shape of a very beautiful 
woman, and promises to assist him all the days of his 
life— 

*' Oh picciotti furtunatu ! 
Eu ti prutiggirb d'ora nn' avanti, 
Jeu su' dda buffa, chi tu, gratu e umaiiu 
Sarvasti antura da Fiinpiu viddanu." 

In Piedmont, I have heard a popular story ^ related 

^ It "was narrated to me by a peasant woman who heard it at Cavour 
in Piedmont : — 

A man who is paralytic has three daughters, Catherine, Clorinda, 
and Margaret ; he sets out on a journey to consult a great doctor, and 
asks his daughters what they wish him to bring them when he returns ; 
Margaret will be content if he bring her a flower. He arrives at his 
destination, a castle j everything is prepared to receive him, but the 
doctor is not to be found ; he sets out to return home, but on the way 
he recollects the flower, which he had forgotten ; he goes back to the 
garden of the castle and is about to pluck a daisy (margherita), when 
a toad warns him that he will die in three days if he does not give it 
one of his daughters to wife. The father informs his daughters of 
this, upon which the two eldest refuse ; but the youngest, in order to 
save her father's life, consents. Her father is cured, and the weddincr 
takes place ; during the night the toad becomes a beautiful youth, but 
warns his bride never to tell any one, for if she does, he will always 
remain a toad, and he gives her a ring by means of which she will obtain 
whatever she wishes for. The sisters have an inkling of some mystery, 
and make her confess; the toad falls ill and disappears ; she calls him 
with the ring, but in vain ; seeing this, she throws the ring, as useless, 
into a pond, upon which the beautiful youth steps out, and never be- 
comes a toad again j their happiness together thereafter is unbroken. 



382 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

in which the toad is, on the other hand, the diabolical 
form assumed by a handsome youth ; in Aldrovandi^ 

In an unpublished Tuscan story, related to me by Uliva Selvi at 
Antignano near Leghorn, instead of the toad we have a magician of 
frightful aspect. The father of the three daughters is a sailor • 
he promises to fetch a shawl to the first, a hat to the second, and 
a rose to the third. When the voyage is over, he is about to 
return, but, having forgotten the rose, the ship refuses to move ; he is 
compelled to go back to look for the rose in a garden; a magician 
hands the rose with a little box to the father to give it to one of his 
daughters, whom the magician is to marry. At midnight, the father, 
having returned home, relates to his third daughter all that happened. 
The little box is opened \ it carries off the third daughter to the 
magician, who happens to be king of Pietraverde, and is now a hand- 
some young man. He shows her, in the palace, three rooms, of which 
one is red, one white, and another black. They live together happily. 
Meanwhile, the eldest sister is to be married ; the magician conducts 
his wife into the red room ; she wishes to go to the wedding, and the 
magician consents, but warns her not to say either who he is, or 
aught she knows of him, if she does not wish to lose him, as to 
recover him again she would have to wait till she should wear out as 
many shoes as there are in the world. He gives her a dress which, as 
she goes, is heard rustling a lomg way off \ and he tells her, if her pin 
should drop, to let the bride pick it up and keep it 3 warning her, 
moreover, not to drink or to eat of anything they may offer her. All 
this she observes to the letter. The second sister is about to be 
married \ the magician leads his wife into the white room and repeats 
the same instructions, only, instead of the pin, she is to let her ring of 
brilliants drop. The father dies; the magician then takes his wife 
into the black room, the chamber of melancholy. She wishes to o-o 
to the funeral, and is permitted, after the usual warnings; the 
magician, moreover, gives her a ring ; if it become black, she will lose 
him ; she forgets the warning and loses him. She wanders about for 
seven years, and no one can give her any news of the king of Pietra- 
verde ; she then disguises herself as a man, and arrives at a city where 
the king's hostler takes her into his service; no sooner does she touch 
the carriages than they become clean. The queen passes by and 
wonders at the personal appearance of the youth ; she engages him to 
work in her kitchen, then to serve at table, and finally to be her 
vaUt de chamhre. The queen falls in love with him, and wishes to 
have him at any cost ; in vain ; she then accuses him of designing to 



THE WOMAN AND THE TOAD. 383 

vseveral things are narrated of women who gave birth to 

toads. "^ 

take her life. The king, although unwillingly, has him put in prison ; 
soon he has pity upon him and lets him free. The fictitious youth con- 
tinues to wander about \ he arrives at the city, and asks for news of 
the king of Pietraverde \ they tell her that he has long been dead, and 
point her to a room where his bier is supported by columns of wax, or 
candles ; he will not awake until the candles are consumed. She goes 
up and weeps; the king takes three hairs from his beard and recom- 
mends her to preserve them carefully. She continues her wanderings, 
still dressed as a man, and is engaged by other hostlers of a king as 
assistant. The news of her bravery reach the king, who takes her 
into his kitchen. The queen sees him and falls in love with him \ in 
vain \ she accuses him to the king, who puts her in prison ; she is 
condemned to death, and the guillotine is prepared. While going to 
execution, she remembers the three hairs, and burns one ; an army of 
warriors appear, sent by the king of Pietraverde ; they terrify all the 
king's people, whom they compel to postpone the execution till next 
day. The next day she does the same with the same result. The 
third day she brings out the third hair ; the cavalry appear again, 
commanded this time by the king of Pietraverde in person, dressed so 
that he shone like a brilliant, that he appeared like a sun ; he releases 
the youth from the execution ; the king of Pietraverde has the young 
girl dressed as a princess ; she is tried in a court of justice ; her 
innocence is established \ the queen's head is cut off. 

^ *' Suessanus tradit, quod bufonem quempiam obviam fieri felicissi- 
mum augurium fuisse antiquitas existimavit. — Anno 1553, in villa 
quadam Thuringia ad Unstrum, a muliere bufo caudatus liatus est, 
quemadmodum in libro de prodigiis et ostentis habetur. Nee mirum, 
quia Ccelius Aurelianus et Platearius scribunt mulieres aliquando cum 
foeto humano bufones et alia animalia hujus generis eniti, Sed hujus 
monstrosae conceptionis causam non assignant. Tradit quidem Platea- 
rius ilia preesidia, quse ad provocandos menses commendantur, ducere ; 
etiam bufonem fratrem Salernitanorum quemadmodum aliqui lacer- 
tum fratrem Longobardorum nominant. Quoniam mulieres Salerni- 
tanse potissimum in principio conceptionis succum apii et porrorum 
potant, ut hoc animal interimant, antequam foetus viviscat. Insuper 
mulier qusedam ex Gesnero, recens nupta cum omnium opinione 
prsegnans diceretur, quatuor animalia bufonibus similia peperit et 
optime valuit/' — Aldrovandi also reads: "apud Heisterbacensem in 
historia miraculorum," that some monks found a living toad inside a 



384 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

From the double and contradictory aspect in which 
the toad Avas regarded, popular medicine, although 
believing that the humour which the toad, when pro- 
voked, ejects from behind, is fatal, and that the toad not 
only poisoned men, but even all the plants over which it 
passed, still recommends the wearing of dried toads under 
the armpits as amulets against plague and poison. The 
same alexipharmic virtue was also ascribed to the stone 
called and believed to be toad's-stone (or bufonite), which 
was said to change colour when its wearer was poisoned. 
The bufonite was supposed to be taken out of a toad's 
head, but science has demonstrated that the bufonite, 
sold by quacks is made of the tooth of a fossil fish.^ 
Out of the toad, the dark animal of the night, the gloom 
or winter, the solar pearl comes ; thus popular German 
stories regard the Schild-krote (or toad with the shield) 
as sacred, on account of the pearl supposed to be 
contained in its head. In Hungary it is said that the 
toad swallows the dew in the dry season ; it is believed, 
moreover, that the frog, like the serpent, vomits forth, in 
spring, a precious stone called the stone of the serpent or 
the stone of the frog. According to what Count Geza 
Kuun writes to me, in the testament of a citizen of 
Kaisa three golden rings are mentioned, one of which 
contained a "frog's stone." 

I have observed above that the toad s place is some- 
times taken in popular tales by the horned lizard ; the 
lizard also represents the demoniacal shape, the sliape of 
a witch. On this subject there was an interesting dis- 

hen in place of intestines. In the same author, a priest finds an 
immense toad at the bottom of a jar of wine ; whilst he is wondering 
how such a large toad should have been able to enter by such a small 
orifice, the toad disappears. 

^ Cfr. Targioni Tozzetti, Lezioni di Materia Medicoj Florence, 1821. 



THE LIZARD. 385 



cussion by Karl Simrock upoB the \yord Eidedise (the 
lizard in German), derived from the ancient form 
Hagedisse which is the same as Hexe or witch. It is 
as a witch that the lizard is killed, in the Greek myth, 
by ApoUines, whence its name of sauroktanos} But, 
inasmuch as the lizards appear in spring and announce 
the fine season, they are considered (according to 
Porphyrios) sacred to- the sun, and therefore of good 
augury. A Bolognese proverb says, "Sant' Agnes, la 
luserta cor pr' al paes," to indicate that the season is 
beginning to improve, inasmuch as with the appearance 
of the lizards on the Day of St Agnes, which is in the 
beginning of March, spring begins to make itself felt. 
In Sicily it is believed that the little lizards called San 
Giuyanni must not be killed, because they are in the 
presence of the Lord in heaven, and light the little lamp 
to the Lord (as we have already seen the firefly give 
light to the grain). And when they are killed, in order 
that they may not curse one, one must say to the tail 
which is shaking, that it was not the real killer, but the 
dog of St Matthew who committed the crime,, 

" Nun fu' ieu, nun fu' ieu : 
Fu lu cani di San Matteu." 

They are believed to be powerful intercessors before the 
Lord, for which reason Sicilian children warm them in 

^ Some extraordinary lizards of which Aldrovandi speaks are of a 
half sacred and half monstrous nature ; " Preeter illud memorabile, 
quod Mizaldus recitat accidisse anno Domini 1551, mense Julii in 
Hungaria prope paguni Zichsum juxta Theisum fluvium nimirum in 
multorum hominum alvo lacertas naturalibus similes ortas fuisse. 
Interdum contingit, ut animadvertit Schenchius, lacertam viridem in 
cseti magnitudinem excrescere, qualis aliquando Lutetise visa est. 
Stepe etiam lacertse duobus et tribus caudis refertas nascuntur, quas 
Yulgus ludentibus favorabiles esse nugatur." 

VOL. II. 2 B 



386 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

their bosoms, and feed them on crumbs of bread soaked 
in water. 

But an especially sacred character is ascribed to the 
lacerta viridis (It. ramarro ; Sicilian, vanuzzii, a diminu- 
tive of Giovanni) and to the amphisbhcena, of which the 
ancients believed that it had two heads (like the Hindoo 
ahlranis), its tail being taken for one. The amphisbhcena 
is still held sacred and revered in India. ^ The green 
lizard of popular superstition is partly solar and partly 
lunar ; the firefly and the quail, as summer animals, are 
sacred to the sun ; as watchers by night, to the moon. 
Thus the green lizard, as a summer animal which hunts 
away the serpent of winter, appears particularly in rela- 
tion with the sun ; but inasmuch as there is also the 
serpent of night, the green lizard or green ramarro takes 
the place of the crab-moon, that is, it wakens the young 
solar hero who sleeps in the night, and wakens the 
sleeping man lest the serpent should bite him. The 
moon of winter wakens the sun of spring, the moon of 
night wakens the sun of day ; the moon-lizard, like the 
moon crab, hunts the serpent or black monster away. 
In Piedmont, Tuscany, and Sicily, the green lizard is 
believed to be the friend of mankind ; indeed, it is called 
guarda omu in Sicily, where it is believed to cure from 

^ In the Mahdhhdratam, i. 981-1003, it is said that the serpents 
amphisbhsense (dundubhis, dundavas, n^abhritas, the same, I think, 
as the mannuni of Malabar,) being good, must not be killed; an 
amphisbhaena relates that it had once been the wise Sahasrap^d (pro- 
perly of the hundred feet ; the amphisbhaena appears to be a lizard 
without feet, and with a tail the same size as its head, for which 
reason the belief arose that it had two heads ; it seems to be another 
personification of the circular year, like the serpent), and that it 
became a serpent by a curse, because it had once frightened a Brahman 
with a fictitious serpent made of grass ; at the sight of the wise 
Kurus, the amphisbhsena is released from its malediction. 



THE GREEN LIZARD. 387 

incantations, perhaps on account of the yellow cross which 
the people think they can see upon its head. At Santo 
Stefano of Calcinaia it is said that the green lizard hisses 
in the ears of Christians like a Christian when the serpent 
approaches a man ; they even relate several cases of 
shepherds or peasants who, being asleep, were saved by 
the green lizard passing over them (Aldrovtodi speaks of 
a similar superstition). It is, moreover, believed that 
the green lizard, if caught and put in a vase full of oil, 
will produce the oil of a ramarro, which is said to be 
good against wounds and poisons. In the Contes 
Merveilleux de Porchat, a fairy protects the poor Laric 
and brings fortune to him in the shape of a grateful 
couleuvre, which he, in winter, found frozen and warmed 
in his bosom. The couleuvre makes radiant coins fall 
to Laric from the beaks of certain partridges, enables 
him to find whatever he is in need of, and puts a golden 
chain round the neck of his wife. Thus the myths of the 
golden (or green) fish, the golden (or green) frog and the 
golden (or green) lizard, correspond to each other in the 
beautiful myth of the good moon-fairy, who protects 
the solar hero or heroine in the nights both of the day 
and the year. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE SERPENT ANB THE AQUATIC MONSTER. 
SUMMARY. 

The feet and tlie tail ; tlie serpent is the favourite form of the demon ; 
the devil is betrayed by his tail. — The serpent and the waters; 
the dragon as the keeper back of the waters, and as the guardian 
of the treasures ; the devil evoked from the waters. — The otter. 
— The chief enterprise of Indras is the killing of the serpent. — 
The names of the Vedic serpent ; arhuda and reptilis. — Descrip- 
tion of the Vedic serpent. — The wives of the demons and the 
wives of the gods ; Indras wounds the wife of the demon in the 
yonis, and the demon himself in the eggs ; the serpent's death 
consists in the broken egg ; broken eggs, skins, vases, boxes, and 
testicles. — The god as a serpent ; the python. — Gods and demons, 
birds and serpents dispute the possession of the ambrosia. —The 
phallical Anantas of cosmogony; the two phalloi. — Nigalat^ ; 
the game of the serpents, n^gas, nagapadas, nigapagas. — The 
caduceus. — Kagyapas Pra^^patis, father of the birds and of the 
serpents. — Kumbhakarnas. — The hero dies as soon as he touches 
the serpent. — The funereal rope of Yamas is a serpent ; the collar 
of Hephaistos. — The serpents carry Sit^ on their heads. — The 
city of Bhogavati. — The hero becomes an aquatic monster in 
consequence of a curse. — The serpent released from the fire. — 
The wisdom of the serpent passes into the hero. — The three- 
headed serpent. — The serpent sacred in India and in Germany. — 
The stone of the serpent. — The serpent and the tree. — The tree 
and the phallos. — The cypress. — The tree, the maiden, and the 
serpent at the fountain. — The tree of the cross. — The serpent is 
wholly diabolical in Persian tradition. — The serpent is a mythical 
animal, both physically and morally amphibious. — The hero, the 
frog, and the serpent. — The grateful serpent. — Dialogue between 



THE DEVIL AS SERPENT. 389 

two little serpents in a variety of the legend of Lear. — The 
serpent burnt. — Serpents and worms. — The serpent as the 
beautiful maiden's husband. — The heads of the serpent. — The 
serpent of the Black Sea. — The serpent-fairy gives eyes back to 
the blind woman. — The avenging serpent. — When the serpent is 
asleep. — The serpent in the garden of the Hesperides. — The 
serpent-wizard. — Tiie serpent's kiss. — The serpent that whistles. 
— The wings of the serpent wet ; the Vedic myth once 
more. 

The mythical animal with which I conclude the study of 
traditional zoology is perhaps the most popular of the 
whole series. The omniform demon makes the god or 
hero who falls under his power assume the most diverse 
zoological forms, the power of transforming into which he 
holds in possession, of which he holds the secret ; but he 
almost always reserves for himself as his most favourite 
and privileged form that of the serpent. The devil, 
says the popular proverb, is known by his tail ; and to 
show that women know more than the devil, it adds that 
they also know where the devil secretes his tail, or where 
he keeps his poison, for his poison and power to harm 
are in his tail. A devil without a tail would not be a 
real devil ; it is his tail which betrays him ; and this tail 
is the serpent's tail.^ In the forty-fifth story of the fifth 
book of Afanassieff, the devil-serpent comes every night 
to visit the young widow in the form of her deceased 
husband, eats with her and sleeps with her till morning ; 
she grows thinner every night, like a candle before the 
fire ; but her mother counsels her to let a spoon drop 
M^hen she is sitting at table, that, in lifting it, she may 
scrutinise the guest's feet ; instead of his feet, she only 
sees his tail. Then the widow goes to the church to be 

^ St Augustine, Horn. 36, says of the devil: *' Leo et draco est; 
Leo propter impetum, Draco propter insidias ; " in Albania, the devil 
is called dreikj, and in Komania, dracu. 



390 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

purified.^ In the Eddas, too, the serpent Lokis, who 
has taken the form of a horse, betrays himself by his 
feet. 

The serpent-devil appears in special connection with 
the infernal waters (darkness of night and of winter, and 
cloudy sky), which conceal treasures, the pearl, the solar 
hero or heroine with the waters of youth and life. The 
serpent-devil draws to himself every beautiftd thing, 
now to swallow them, now to preserve and guard them 
like a miser. The dragon became the symbol of the 
keeper back of the waters, of the guardian of the 
treasures, who devours or attracts to himself everything 
that shines. In Du Cange, the name of dracus is given 
to "species dsemonum qui circa Ehodanum fluvium in 
Provincia visuntur forma hominis, et in cavernis man- 
sionem habent." In ancient Latin manuscript comments 
given by the same Du Cange, the devil is called by the 
name of hydros or aquatic serpent. Hincmarus Eemensis 
believes that the devil is evoked from the waters,^ and 
according to St Augustine, it was from the waters and 
from the illusions created in the water by demons that 
Numa derived his inspirations.^ Hence the custom, so 

^ A proverb of the Edmdyanam says, that " only a female serpent 
can distinguish the feet of a male serpent (v. 38) : Ahireva hyaheh 
pid^u vi^aniy^nna saragayah). The feet of the serpent, like those of 
the devil, which is the tail (or the phallos of the male) can be perceived 
by a female alone ; women know where the devil has his tail. 

2 Tom. i., " Sunt qui in aquae inspectione umbras dasmonum evocant, 
et imagiones vel ludificationes ibi videre et ab iis aliqua audire se 
perhibent.*' 

^ In the seventh book De Civitate Dei^ the saint writes : " Ipse 
Numas ad quem nullus Dei propheta, nuUus Sanctus Angelas mitte- 
batur, Hydromantiam facere compulsus est, ut in aqua videret imagines 
deorum vel potius ludificationes deemonum, a quibus audiret, quid in. 
sacris constituere atque observare deberet quod genus divinationis 
idem Varro a Persis dicit allatum." 



THE DEVIL AND THE WATERS, 391 

frequent in German and Slavonic countries/ of blessing 
the water to chase the monsters away from it ; hence, 
also, the custom which I have observed in several parts 
of Eussia, where the children, before they bathe in the 
rivers, and as soon as they put their feet in the water, 
make profound inclinations and the sign of the cross; 
hence, according to Du Cange, the god of the waters, 
Neptunus, in the Middle Ages, becomes under the name 
of Aquatiquus, a personification of the devil ; ^ hence, 
also, the otter (enlidris) assumes a diabolical character in 
the Edda, where the Ases take its skin off and fill it 
with the gold taken from the dwarf-pike Andvarri, and 
in the sixth story of the first book of Afanassieff, where 
it destroys the beasts of the menagerie of a Tzar, and 
finally drags the third son of the Tzar Ivan under an 
enormous white stone (the snowy winter) in the lower 
world, where there are palaces of gold and silver and 
three beautiful girls, sisters of the monster otter, who 
sleeps in the sea, and snores so that he pushes the waves 
to a distance of seven versts, until Ivan, after having 
drunk the water of strength, cuts the monster's head off 
at a blow, after which it falls into the sea. 

But to proceed in the order which we have hitherto 
generally followed, let us examine before all the tradi- 
tion of the aquatic monster, the dragon or serpent, in 
Hindoo mythology. 



^ It also exists in Roumania, where the new solar year is celebrated 
by the benediction of the waters, as if to exorcise the demons that 
inhabit them. 

2 Codex Beg., 5600 ann. circ. 800, fol. 101, in Du Cange: "Sunt 
aliqui rustici homines, qui credunt aliquas mulieres, quod vulgum 
dicitur strias, esse debeant, et ad infantes vel pecora nocere possint, 
vel dusiolus, vel Aquatiquus, vel geniscus esse debeat.'' Neptunus, 
vel aliquis genius, quia quis prseest designari videtur. 



392 ZOOLOGICAL MYIHOLOGY, 

The most important of the heroic undertakings ac- 
complished by the Vedic god Indras is, as akeady 
remarked, that of killing the monster ; and the enter- 
prise of Indras against the monster is the theme of all 
the great popular Indo-Persian, Grseco-Latin, Turko- 
Slavonic, Franco- Germanic, and Franco-Celtic epic poems, 
as also of the greatest number of the popular stories 
which are the real epic material of the new epopees. 
Indras, Vishnus, Ahura-Mazda, Feridun, Apollo, Hera- 
kles, Kadmoa, Jason, Odin, Sigurd, and several other 
gods and heroes, are celebrated for the undertaking of 
killing the serpent. Now, in the Vedic hymns the black 
monster (krishnas), the growing monster (r4uhin),^ the 
full-grown monster (piprus), the monster coverer (vritras), 
the monster that dries up (gushnas), the monster that keeps 
back (namucis), generally appears with the name and 
shape of a serpent, or if it has not always the form of a 
serpent, it is assimilated to it, and certainly inclines to 
become so from its office of a constrictor, its black colour, 
and other characteristics which it possesses in common 
with the serpent (Ahis).^ 

The monster killed by Indras, the monster with the 
horrid voice which Indras strikes upon the head with a 
thunderbolt, is, like the serpent, deprived of feet, deprived 
both of hands and shoulders.^ But the serpent is also 

1 The monsters whicli mount into heaven by magical deceits, killed 
by Indras, are said to creep like serpents : May^bhir utsisripsata indra 
dyam; Rigv. viii. 14, 14. 

^ The name of Arhudas, given to the monster which Indras, the ram 
(meshas), crushes (for ni-hram seems to me to have this meaning) 
under his fo^t while it is lying, is nothing else than a serpent ; more- 
over, he, whose people is the sarpds or serpents, is the king of the 
serpents. To arhud-as I would refer the Latin words rep-ere, rept-are, 
reptil-is. 

^ Apad ahasto apritanyad indram ^sya va^ram adhi sinau ^aghana ; 



THE INDIAN SERPENT, 393 

often explicitly named in the Rigvedas as a monster 
■which keeps back the waters, and which is killed by 
Indras. The serpent, the first-born of the serpents, was 
lying in the mountain ; ^ he was lying under his mother/ 
he was keeping the waters, his wives, shut up, as a miser 
his treasure, or a robber the stolen cows ; ^ a miser or 
rich robber * resembling a magician, he staid enclosed in 
a cavern, and kept the waters in it ; ^ he lay down and 
perhaps slept ; ^ he lay near the seven torrents ; ^ Indras 
arouses him ; ® in another hymn, however, the serpent, 
making a loud noise, provokes Indras, and comes against 
him.^ When Indras kills the serpent with the thunder- 
bolt, or else crushes it under his foot, or burns it, he 
opens the torrent of the waters and causes it to flow out 



Mgv. i. 32, 7. — Yo vyansam ^ahrishinena manyuni, yali gambararii yo. 
ahan piprum avratam ; i. 101, 2. — Apadam atram maliata vadhena ni 
duryona ivrinan mridhravacam ; v. 32, 8. 

^ Ahann ahim parvate gigriyanam ; i. 32, 2. — Ahann enam pra- 
thama^ELm ahinam ; i. 32, 3. 

2 M<5avayi abhavad vritraputrendro asyi ava vadhar ^abhira — uttari 
sHr adharah putra asid danuh gaye sabavatsi na dbenuh; i. 32, 9. 
Properly speaking, tbe verse speaks here of Yritras, and not of Abis ; 
but tbe coverer and tbe constrictor being equivalent, it seems to me 
tbat tbere are not bere two beings distinguisbed, in tbe same bymn, 
by two analogous appellations. 

^ Disapatnir abigopa atisbtban niruddba apab panineva gavab ; i. 
32, 11. — Tbe reader will remember tbe discussion concerning tbe pro- 
verb of sbutting tbe stable after tbe oxen are stolen, in tbe first chapter 
of tbe first book. 

^ Avadabo diva a dasyum u6di; i. 33, 7. 

^ Gub^bitarii gubyarh gulbam apsu apivritam m^yinarii ksbiyantam 
uto apo dyam tastabbvinsam abann abirii gura viryena; ii. 11, 5. 

^ AgayHnam abim va^rena magbavan vi vrigdab; iv. 17, 7. 

"^ Sapta prati pravata ^gayinam abim. va^rena vi rin§, aparvan ; iv. 
19, 3. 

^ Sasantam va^ren^bodbayo 'bim ; i. 103, 7. 

^ Navantam abirii sarii pinag ri^zsbin ; vi. 17, 10. 



394 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

towards the sea ; lie makes the sun be borii, and finds the 
cows ; ^ he destroys the machinations of the sorcerer, 
generates the sun, the day, and the dawn, removes every 
enemy to a distance,^ makes the serpent's trunk fall to 
the earth, like a tree cut down by axes, or torn up by 
the roots,^ and (as in Russian stories the hero, after 
having cut the monster's head off, throws his trunk into 
the sea) over the killed monster, now fallen, the waters 
which make joyful pass ; * the gods, who have given 
Indras three hundred oxen to eat (according to another 
hymn, only one hundred), and three lakes of ambrosia to 
drink, that he might be able to vanquish Ahis, are joyful 
at the victory gained by Indras over the serpent, with 
their wives and with the birds ; not only this, but the 
women, the wives of the gods, compose on this occasion 
a hymn to Indras/ 

We have already seen several times in the course of 
this work how, by killing his monstrous form, the hero 
or heroine enclosed in this is set at liberty ; the 
waters, or rainy clouds, which are the monster wives of 
the demons, as long as the monster keeps them^ in the 

1 Sa mahina indro arno ap4m priirayad aliihadhi samudram a^ana- 
yat stiryam vidad gah ; ii. 19, 3. — Sri^ah sindhunr aliin^ gagras^nin ; 
Rigv. iv. 17, 1. — Ahann ahim anv apas tatarda pra vakshan§. abhinat 
parvatanim ; i. 32, 2. 

2 Yad indr^ban pnathama^^m aliin^m in miyinim aminih prota 
mayah — 4t s"Qryam ^anayan dyim ushisam tiditni gatrum na kilS. 
vivitse ; i. 32, 4, 

^ Ahan vritram vritrataram vyansam indro va^rena mahat^ vadhena 
skandhansiva kuligeni vivriknihih. gayata upaprik pritHvyih ; i. 32, 5- 
— Ud vriha rakshah sahamlllam indra vrigda madhyam praty agrarii 
grinihi; iii. 30, 17. 

* Qayinam mano ruhini ati yanty dpah \ i. 32, 8. 

^ Ann tvS, patnir hriskitam vayag 6a vigve deviso amadann anu tvi ; 
L 103, 7. — Asmi id u gnag did devapatnir indriyirkam ahikatya uvuii; 
L 61, 8. 



THE DEATH OF THE MONSTER, 395 

darkness, become the radiant wives of the gods when 
they are released ; the same may be said of the aurora, 
kept in ward by the gloomy or watery monster of night, 
or of the spring detained in the dreary realm of winter ; 
as long as they are in the power of the black demon, 
they are black and monstrous, and live with him in the 
infernal kingdom ; when delivered from this kingdom, 
however, they become beautiful maidens, or princesses of 
dazzling splendour. When the monster figlits with the 
god or solar hero of the thunderbolt, he arms his women 
too, and makes use of them as powerful helpers ;^ hence 
Indras also aims at them and lacerates the black- wombed 
witches,^ being afterwards himself condemned to become 
Sahasrayonis. In popular Aryan tradition, however, it 
is often the daughter, wife, or sister of the monster that 
reveals to the hero the way of killing the monster. In 
Eussian stories, one of the ways oftenest recommended 
to ensure the death of the monster, is to take the egg 
contained in the duck which is under the tree in the 
midst of the sea, and crush it upon the monster's fore- 
head, who immediately dies ; with the monster s death 
the two young lovers,- — the daughter, wife, or sister of 
the monster, and the young hero, — marry each other. 
We have just seen that when Indras has killed the 
monster serpent, the waters pour out, and the sun ap- 

^ Striyo hi disa ^yudh^ni (iakre ; Rigv, v. 30, 9. 

2 Sa vritrahendrah krishnayonih. puramdaro d^sir airayad vi; ii. 
20j 7. — ^Vritras the killer of Piprus, Indras puram-daras, properly, 
who "wounds the full one, who cleaves the full or the swollen one, and 
hence who wounds, the city, and Indras the lacerator of the witches 
with the black wombs are equivalent ; cfr. what was said concerning 
the thunderbolt as a phallos, in the first chapter of the first book, 
where the cuckoo is spoken of, and in the chapter on the Cuckoo in the 
second book. — In the hymn, i. 32, 9, Indras also wounds underneath 
the mother of the monster : Indro asy^ ava vadhar ^abhira. 



396 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

pears. In another Vedic hymn we also find the interest- 
ing accompaniment of the ^gg, which reminds us, on the 
one hand, of the subject of Eussian popular stories, and 
on the other of the belief described by us in the chapter 
on the Hen, to the effect that the thunderbolt breaks its 
eggs : Indras, with his strength, breaks the eggs of the 
monster that dries up the waters, and wins the luminous 
waters ; ^ crushing the eggs, or wounding the testicles of 
the gloomy monster, he makes the sun come out of them, 
and thereupon the monster dies.^ The symbolical repre- 
sentation of the solar year in the form of a serpent 
biting his tail is equivalent to the myth of the monster- 
serpent who dies when his eggs are broken, that is, 
when the light comes out of its tenebrous envelope. 

Inasmuch, moreover, as from the monster serpent, the 
cloud and the darkness, come forth flashes of lightning, 
thunder-bolts, sunbeams, tongues of fire, even serpents 
sometimes assume a divine nature in the Vedic hymns. The 

^ Uto nu (5id ya o^as^ gushnasy^nd^ni bhedati ^eshat svarvatir apah ; 
Rigv. viii. 40, 10. — In tlie hymn i. 54, 10, it is said that the cloud- 
mountain is found amongst the intestines of the coverer; one might 
say that the serpent binds the cloud in the form of bowels. The reader 
will recollect what we observed concerning the intestines, the heart, and 
the liver, of the sacrificed victim in the first chapter of the first book. 

2 In the twentieth story of the fifth book of Afanassieff we find a 
singular variety, which is of some importance in the history of 
mythology and language. A princess asks the serpent, her husband, 
by what his death can be caused. The serpent answers that his death 
can be brought about by the hero Nikita Kaszemiaka, who, in fact, 
comes up and kills the serpent by submerging him in the sea. Nikita 
is called, it is said, Kaszemiaka, because his occupation was that of 
tearing skins. The torn skins (cfr. here also the Jupiter Aegiocus) 
take here the place of the duck's egg broken upon the serpent, and of 
the eggs of the monster broken by Indras. In Italian, cocciOj means 
a piece of a broken vase, and also, in bdtany, the skin of a seed ; 
incocciarsi signifies to be angry. In Piedmont, it is said of one who 
annoys people, that he breaks the boxes, and, more vulgarly, that he 
breaks the testicles. 



THE WISE SERPENT. 397 

Vedic god of fire, Agnis, the born of the waters (napatam 
ap4m)j called Ahir-btidhnyas, has already been compared 
to the Greek piltMn ophis, the python. Agnis is also 
compared to a serpent with a golden mane/ which reminds 
us of the horned monster that dries up, spoken of in 
another hymn as killed by Indras.^ Indras himself is called 
he who has the strength of the serpent.^ The Marutas 
have the serpent's anger ; * and as the Marutas are 
resplendent with golden attire and ornaments, so the 
monsters appear adorned with gold and pearls/ In the 
Aitareya Br,^ the serpent Arbudas has even become a 
rishis, a wise poet, as the python becomes the oracle of 
wisdom in Greece ; and the serpents oppose a Vedas of 
their own (the Sarpavedas) to the Ved4s of the gods. In 
the same Aitareya Br.,^ we have the description of a 
struggle between the gods and a venomous serpent, whose 
greedy eye gazes at the somas, of which he desires to be 
possessed. The gods bandage his eyes ; the serpent sings 
a verse in praise of the somas ; the gods, as an antidote, 
sing several verses, and counteract the effect of the ser- 
pent's verse. And the witch (4surl) of the long tongue (Dir- 
gha^ihvl) is no doubt a serpent, who in the Aitareya Br.,^ 

^ Hiranyakego 'hihj Bigv. i. 79, 1. 

^ Vi gringinam abliina(5 (^husbnam indrah; i. 33, 12. 

^ Aliigushmasattvi ; v. 33, 5. 

* Ahimanyavah. ; i. 64, 9. 

^ Oakranasah. parinaliam pritMvy^ biranyena maninji gumbhama- 
nah; i. 33, 8. ^ vi. 1, 1. 

'' The passage cited before. 

^ i. 3, 22. — In Eussian stories, we frequently find the incident of a 
serpent, or witcb, who endeavours to file, or pierce through, with her 
tongue the iron doors which enclose the forge in which the pursued 
hero has taken refuge ; he, from within, helped by divine blacksmiths, 
draws the witch's tongue in with red-hot pincers and causes her death; 
he then opens the gates of the forge, which represents now the red 
sky of evening, now the red sky of morning. 



398 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

again, licks the morning libation of the gods, and makes 
it inebriating. In the Rdmdyanam it is recorded that 
the long-tongued witch (Dirgha^ihvi), the devonrer, is 
killed by Indras. The struggle between the gods and 
the serpents for the possession of the ambrosia is the 
subject of a long episode of the first book of the Mahd- 
hhdratam} The serpent loves dampness, water, ambrosia, 
and rain. When Bhlmas, the son of the wind, is thrown 
into the waters of the Ganges, he falls into the kingdom 
of the serpents, who give him the water of strength to 
drink. ^ In the Mahdbhdratam, the mother of the ser- 
pents, who have been bm^ned by the sun, invokes the 
rain to bring them to life again ; Indras, to please her, 
veils the sky with clouds.^ In the Rdmdyaham, instead 
of the serpents, the monkeys are resuscitated by means 
of the rain. The rains of spring also waken the earth, 
which is in the Attar ey a Br^ called by the name of 
Sarpara^-nl, and was at first, like the serpents, bald, that 
is, devoid of vegetation ; invoking the heavenly cow, it 
became covered with trees. In the Hindoo cosmogony, 
which we described in the chapter on the Tortoise, a very 
interesting account is given of the way the great stick 
or phallos, the generator of the world, is made to turn 
round. The serpent Anantas (the infinite) or Vasukis/ 
who makes the mountain revolve, is twined round it; 



1 i. 792, et seq, — Cfr. also the second Esthonian tale, where the 
young hero, in the kingdom of the serpents, drinks milk in the cup of 
the king of the serpents himself. 

2 Mbh. i. 5008, et seq, s i 1283-1295. 4 y^ 4^ 23. 

5 Cfr. JRdmdi/anam, i. 46, and Mahdbhdratam, i. 1053, 1150. — In 
the Edmdyanam (vi. 26), the arrows of the monsters are said to bind 
like serpents ; the bird Garudas appears and the serpents untie them- 
selves, the fetters are loosed ; E^mas and Lakshmanas, supposed to be 
dead, rise again stronger than before. 



THE PHALLICAL SERPENT. 399 

the mountain and the serpent are synonymous ; ^ they 
are two phalloi, which rub each other, and produce 
the seed (n^galat^ or climbing serpent, serpent-creeper, 
is one of the Hindoo names of the phallos ; in Piedmont 
it is said of a man in the venereal act, that he " climbs 
upon the woman ; " and in Sanskrit nigas, n^gapadas, 
n%apacas, n^gap^gakas, denotes union in the manner 
of serpents, who apply their bodies to each other in their 
entire length,^ in the same way as fire is produced by the 
friction of two pieces of wood — the arani, Anantas, or 
V4sukis, and Mandaras, or Kajapas, and hence Kagyapas, 
are identified with one another ;) and this is all the more 
probable as Kagyapas is also called by the name of 
Vasukas, and as'Kagyapas himself, in another cosmogonic 
legend of the Mahdhhdratam, appears as having made 
fruitful two wives, KadrA, properly the dark one, and 
Vinat^,^ properly the concave, the curved or swollen one 

^ As we have seen that mandaras is equivalent to mantharas, a 
name of the tortoise which, according to the cosmogonic legend, sus- 
tains the weight of the mountain, or enormous stick which produces 
the mountain, so Anantas, in another Hindoo legend (cfr. Mhh. i. 
1587-1588) sustains the weight of the world. — The rod of pearls 
which when placed in fat enables the young prince to obtain whatever 
he wishes for, seems to have the same originally phallical meaning as 
the mandaras ; it is the king of the serpents who presents it to the 
young prince. The fat may, in the mythical sky, be the milk of the 
morning dawn, or the rain of the cloud, or the snee, or the dew ; as 
soon as the thunderbolt touches the fat of the clouds, or of the snee, 
or as soon as the sunbeam touches the milk of the dawn, the sun, 
riches, and fortune come forth. 

2 The coitus is also called a game of serpents in the Tuti-Wame. 
Preller and Kuhn have already proved the phallical signification of the 
caduceus (tripetelon) of Herm§s, represented now with two wings, now 
with two serpents. The phallical serpent is the cause of the fall of 
the first man. 

3 Vinatd is also the name of a disease of women ; and, as far as we 
can judge from the passage of the MaMbhdratam (iii. 14,480), which 



400 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

(two appellatives by which the yonis appears to be equally 
represented), from one of which is produced the ^gg from 
which serpents are hatched, and especially the n^g^s 
serpents, with human faces, like the devils, and from 
the other, that which generates Armias and Garudas (a 
form of the Ajvin^u). Whilst, in the Mahdhhdratam, 
the serpent Vasukis rubs itself against the Mandaras and 
makes it turn round, it keeps blowing wind, smoke, 
and flames out of its mouth, which form clouds, with the 
water of which the creator gods are afterwards refreshed. 
Although this last particular shows the serpents intent 
upon the welfare of the gods, they hold in Hindoo tradi- 
tion the same place as Anhromainyu, or Ahrimanes, in 
Persian ; whilst one phallos gives birth to luminous 
phenomena and good beings, the other produces gloomy 
phenomena and wicked beings. 

Among the productions of the phallical and serpentine 
genie of darkness are the clouds. In the Rdmciyanam^ 
the monster Kumbhakarnas sleeps for sixth months ; no 
number of drums, trumpets, nor any noise is able to 
awaken him ; he is struck with hammers, but feels 
nothing ; elephants pass over him, but he does not move : 
at last the tinkling of the golden ornaments of beautiful 
women suffice to rouse him. He rises ; his arms resemble 
two great serpents, and his mouth the mouth of hell. 
He yawns, and that yawn alone sends forth a wind 
which resembles a rushing wind that shall usher in the 
end of the world. The aspect of Kumbhakarnas when 
he rises is like that of an immense cloud swelled out with 

refers to it, it is the malignant genius who destroys the foatus in the 
womb of the pregnant mother. He is defined as ^aJcunigrdh% properly 
the seizer of the bird. Kagyapas, the universal phallos, the Pra^apatis, 
certainly unites himself to Yinati in the form of a phallos-bird, as to 
Kadru in that of a phallos-serpent. ^ vi. 37-38, 46. 



THE FUNEREAL SERPENT. 401 

rain towards the end of summer ; he is horned like a 
mountain, and bellows like a thunder-cloud. No sooner 
is he born, than, inasmuch as by the curse of Brahman he 
can waken but one day in the year (that is in the autumn), 
he asks for food, and devours buflfaloes, wild boars, men 
and women ; he once swallowed even the ten nymphs, or 
Apsarasas (the clouds that blow over the waters), of the 
god Indras ; he finds that the world is not provided 
with animals enough to satiate his hunger. When 
Kumbhakarnas moves to battle against the monkeys of 
Eamas, he draws his enemies to himself to devour them, 
he draws and receives the shock of whole mountains, but 
is not shaken. E4mas cuts one of his arms off, and the 
arm cut off (or the serpent, or the cloud cut off, like the 
stick of fairy tales which beats of itself) continues to 
massacre the monkeys. EsLmas cuts Kumbhakarnas's 
other arm off, which supports with its hand the whole 
trunk of a robust shorea ; but arm and trunk continue 
to slaughter the enemies on their own account.^ At last 
E^mas shoots him in the mouth and heart ; the monster 
falls, and crushes as he falls two thousand monkeys under 
his immense body. Here, therefore, we again see the 
monster and the serpent in relation with the clouds and 
waters. To touch the serpent, that is, the rainy season 
or the night, is for the solar hero or heroine the same as 
to die. In the Mahdhhdratam'^ the girl Pramadvar^ 
falls dead to the ground, having inadvertently pressed a 
serpent with her foot on the way ; Eurus brings her to 
life again by renouncing half of his own life. In this 
legend the year or the day personifies life ; summer 
sacrifices itself to winter, winter to summer, day to night. 



^ Cfr. for this subject the first and second chapters of the first book. 
2 i. 949, 974. 

VOL. II. 2 c 



02 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

night to day, the sun to the moon, and the moon to the 
sun. In the beautiful legend of Savitri, the wife sacrifices 
herself and offers herself to Yamas, the god of the dead, 
in order to be faithful to her husband. In the same 
Mahdhhdratam,^ the King Parlkshit falls into the 
power of Takshakas, the king of the serpents, a form 
of Yamas the god of the dead (also called Anantas), 
because he had thrown a dead serpent on the shoulders 
of a Brahman. In the Rdmdyanam,^ it is said that a 
man who has, when asleep, fallen into the hands of 
the god of the dead, Yamas, is bitten by a venomous 
serpent. The very rope with which Yamas the god of 
the dead binds men is a serpent. To the rope-serpent of 
Yamas we must refer the fatal collar with seven serpents 
and seven pearls (a symbol of the year, half luminous, 
half gloomy) which Hephaistos gave to Harmonia and 
Kadmos on the occasion of their wedding. Kadmos and 
Harmonia become serpents, and are taken into heaven 
by the gods. The daughters of Kadmos all come to an 
unhappy end. The collar is afterwards possessed by 
Erliphile, for Avhich reason evils befalls Amphiaraos, and 
subsequently also Alkme6n. When Sit4;^ in order to 
escape from the unjust suspicions of her husband and 
the perverse evil-speakings of the vulgar, wishes to dis- 
appear from the sight of men and to descend under 
ground, the serpents (pannages, who go not with feet) 
carry her upon their heads (as in Christian tradition the 
Virgin crushes the head of the serpent-seducer), and from 
the depths of the earth a voice is heard saying : " Difficult 
to be acquired is the sight of this woman, who resides in 
the three worlds ; staying down here, she is honoured by 

1 i. 1671, 1980, etseq. 2 ^^^ i^ 

3 Rdmdy. vii. 104, 105. 



SEI^FENTS AND RICHES. 403 

the serpents (pu^yate n^g^ih), and, in the world of the 
mortals, by mankind ; nectar of the higher blessed ones, 
she is the satiator of the immortals." The kingdom of 
the n^gas, or the city of Bhogavatl (an equivocal word, 
which means both furnished with serpents and furnished 
with riches), is full of treasures, like the hell of Western 
tradition. This infernal world went definitively under 
ground when the gods, having fallen, took humbler forms 
upon the earth and upon the waters of the earth ; the 
lower world became the kingdom of the serpents and of 
the devils of the Vedic cloudy and gloomy heavens (devils 
and serpents, which Jewish tradition therefore represents 
with great justice as fallen angels). The riches of heaven, 
concealed by the cloudy or gloomy monster of night or 
winter, passed into the earth ; the observation of heavenly 
phenomena helped this conception. The true mythica.1 trea- 
sures are the sun and the moon in their splendour ; when 
they go down they seem to hide themselves underground ; 
the solar hero goes underground, he goes to hell, after 
having lost all his treasures and all his riches ; he under- 
takes in poverty his infernal journey ; when the sun rises 
from the mountain, it seems to come out from under- 
ground ; the solar hero returns from his journey through 
hell, he returns resplendent and wealthy; the infernal 
demon gives back to him part of the treasures which he 
possesses, having carried them off from him, or else the 
young hero recovers them by his valour. But this hell 
was once the watery, wintry, nocturnal heaven itself, 
from which now the sun, now the moon emerges ; the hero 
or the god was obscured or eclipsed, and assumed a gloomy 
form in the sky itself, and, as we have already said,^ 

^ Cfr. concerning this subject in particular, the first chapter of the 
first book, the chapter on the Wolf and that on the Frog. 



404 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

he who destroys, lacerates, or kills this form, does a 
service to the poor and cursed wandering Jew who 
wears it. We are reminded of the aquatic monster, in 
the Rdmdyanam,^ by the gandharvas^ Tumburus, who 
assumed, under a curse, the form of the monster VirMhas 
who carries Sit4 off from E^mas, with the sole design 
that Eamas may kill him and deliver him from the male- 
diction, so that he may be able to reascend in happiness 
to heaven. In a similar manner, Hanumant delivers 
from her curse the ogress of the lake, the seizer (grihl) 
and devourer, who was once a nymph. ^ The body of 
the old rishis Qarabhangas also gives us the idea of a 
serpent s body. Qarabhangas desires to deliver himself 
from it, as a serpent casts oflf its old skin. He then 
enters the fire ; the fire burns him ; Qarabhangas, arising 
from the conflagration, comes forth young, splendid, and 
as brilliant as fire.^ In the celebrated episode of Nalas 
in the Mahdhhdratam,^ the serpent Karkotakas, sur- 
rounded by the flames, asks Nalas, on the other hand, to 
deliver him from the flames ; the serpent makes himself 
small in order that Nalas may be able to carry him 
away ; Nalas does so, and the serpent bites him ; he then 



1 iii. 8. 

2 Cfr. the discussion concerning the gandharvas in the chapter on the 
Ass. 

^ Rdmdy. vi. 82. — This nymph becomes grahi, because she had 
once struck a holy Brahman with her chariot. The same reason is 
assigned for the malediction which falls upon King ISTahushas, who 
became an enormous serpent ; this serpent squeezed the hero Bhimas 
in its mortal coils; his brother, Yudhishthiras, runs up, and answers 
in a highly satisfactory manner to the abstruse philosophical questions 
addressed to him by the serpent, which then releases BMmas, casts 
off its skin, and ascends in the form of Nahushas to heaven ; Mhh. 
iii. 12, 356, et seq. 4 B^dmdy. iii, 8. 

5 iii. 2609, ttseq. 



THE SERPENT IN THE FLAMES. 405 

loses his shape, which passes into that of the serpent. In 
this new diabolical form Nalas becomes invulnerable and 
invisible. The diverse action taken by fire in legends 
can be comprehended by reference to the solar hero, now 
in the morning, now in the evening, now in spring, now 
in autumn : in the morning and in the spring the serpent 
of night enters the flames and becomes a handsome youth 
again ; in the evening and in the autumn the serpent 
comes out of the flames of the evening aurora, or of the 
summer, and becomes the moon, after having made the 
sun disappear, or rendered it invisible or invulnerable. 
In the forty-seventh story of the sixth book of Afanassieff, 
a hunter (the hunting solar hero) is about to heat the 
stove ; a serpent is lying in it, and promises, if he will 
draw it out of the fire, to render him happy, and teach 
him the language of all animals. He tells the hunter 
to put the end of his stick into the fire, by which means 
it will be enabled to make its escape ; the hunter com- 
plies, but is warned that he will die himself should he 
reveal that secret to any one. 

The serpent, therefore, is not only monstrous and 
maleficelnt in Hindoo tradition, but also at once the 
learned one, and he who imparts learning ; it sacrifices 
itself to let the hero carry away the water of life, the 
water of strength, the health-giving herb or the treasure ; 
it not only often spares, but it favours the predestined 
hero ; it destroys individuals, but preserves the species ; 
it devours nations, but preserves the regenerative kings ; 
it poisons plants, and throws men into deep sleep, but it 
gives new strength in its occult domain to the sun, who 
gives new life to the world every morning and every 
spring. In the Vedic heavens the serpent is a magician 
expert in every kind of magic ; in the kingdom of the 
serpents the young lost hero recovers his splendour. 



4o6 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

wisdom, and victorious power. Hence the worship in 
India of the serpent, who is revered as a symbol of every 
species of learning. We have, on a previous occasion, 
found the horned or crested serpent who personifies, in 
the Rigvedas, fire or the god Agnis, and by this we 
must understand the crest or mane of the sun, which 
comes out of the darkness ; thus the god Haris or Vishnus 
lies upon a crested serpent or a many-headed serpent 
Three-headed serpents or dragons, such as are famous in 
fairy tales, occur in the Harivan^as^ and correspond to 
the Vedic monster Trigiras, that is, three-headed. The 
crest of the serpent is the god Vishnus himself, as a solar 
deity who comes out of the serpent's body. Hence the 
hooded-serpent, called Nalla P4mba in the Malabar,^ is 
especially revered in India. *' The sudden appearance of 
one of these serpents," wrote Lazzaro Papi from India, 
''is considered to presage some future good or evil. It 
is the divinity himself in this form, or at least his 
messenger, and the bringer of rewards or chastisement. 
Although it is exceedingly venomous, it is neither killed, 
molested, nor crushed in the house which it enters, but 
respected, and even caressed and adored by the more 
superstitious. They give it milk to drink, and the 
accommodation to which it is accustomed ; they con- 
struct little huts for it, and prepare receptacles and nests 
for it under large trees. This reminds me of the ancient 
inhabitants of Prussia, who nourished several serpents 
with milk in honour of Patriumpho or Patrimpos, their 
deity. The family in which one of these serpents takes 
up its abode esteems itself fortunate and secure from 



^ Trigirsha iva n^gapotas ; 12,74:4. 

2 Cfr. Papi, Lettere sulle Indie Orientaliy Lucca, 1829; it is the 
cohra de capello of the Portuguese. 



THE SACRED SERPENT. 407 

poverty and other misfortunes ; and if some one, as it 
not seldom happens, is bitten by them and dies, the 
victim of his own credulity, it is, they say, a punishment 
of God that has overtaken him for some crime." It is 
nearly the same belief as that which we found in the 
preceding chapter concerning the toad and the amphis- 
bhsena. In Hungary, as Count Geza Kunn informs me, 
some fairies are said to be born with a serpent's skin, 
and to resume their form after this serpent's skin 
has been shed. It is said that a precious stone can 
be found under a serpent's tongue. When the serpents 
warm themselves in the sun of spring, they blow out the 
stone (or the sun itself), and subsequently conceal it 
under the tongue of a still larger serpent, the king of the 
serpents. 

The serpent is supposed to protect and preserve the 
lost riches, and to guard the soul of the dead hero ; hence 
serpents, like crows amongst birds, are revered in India 
as embodied souls of the dead. In Germany,^ the white 
serpent (that is, the snowy winter), according to the 
popular legend, gives to whoever eats of it (or w^ho is 
licked by it in the ears) the gift of understanding the 
language of birds, and of universal knowledge (it is in 
the night of Christmas, that is, in the midst of the snow, 
that those who are predestined to see marvels can com- 
prehend, in the stables, the language of the cattle, and, in 
the woods, the language of the birds ; according to the 
legend, Charles le Gros, in the night of Christmas, saw 
heaven and hell open, and was able to recognise his 
forefathers). Thus in Greece, Melampos, Cassandra, 
and Tiresias became seers by their contact with the 

^ Cfr. Simrock Deutsche Mythologie, pp. 478, 513, 514, and Roch- 
holtz DeiUscher Glauhe und Branch^ i. 146. 



4o8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

serpent, symbolised at a later period in the python and 
the pj^honess, as the depositaries of all the oracles of 
wisdom. In Scandinavian mythology, Odin also assumes 
the form of a serpent (ormr), and the name of Ofnir, in 
the same way as Zeus becomes a serpent in Greek mytho- 
logy Avhen he wishes to create Zagreus, the bull-headed, 
another Zeus or another Diontisos. In Rochholtz and 
Simrock, we find indications of the same worship as that 
given to the serpent in India, where it is regarded as a 
good domestic genie. Milk is given to certain domestic 
little snakes to drink ; they are put to watch over little 
children in their cradles, with whom they divide their 
food ; they bring good luck to the children near which 
they stay ; it is therefore considered a fatal sacrilege to 
kill them. It is fabled, moreover, that a serpent is some- 
times born with a child entwined round its neck, and 
that it and the child are thenceforth inseparable (an 
image of the year and of the day, half luminous and half 
tenebrous, inseparable the one from the other). It guards 
the cattle in the stables, and procures for good and 
beautiful maidens husbands worthy of them. According 
to a popular legend, two serpents are found in every 
house (a male and a female), which only appear when 
they announce the death of the master and mistress 
of the house ; when these die, the snakes also cease 
to live. To kiU one of these serpents is to kill the head 
of the family. Under this aspect, as a protector of 
children, as a giver of husbands to girls, and identified 
with the head or progenitor of the family, the serpent is 
again a phallical form. From the gloomy serpent of 
night, the tenebrous serpent of winter, even the nocturnal 
and wintry heavens illumined by the moon, and from the 
Avhite moon, emerges the diurnal sun, the sun of spring, 
the day and the warm and luminous season. The ogre, 



THE SERPENT AND THE TREE, 409 

dragon, or serpent keeps back the waters in the cloud 
and the waters in the rivers, occupies the fountains, lies 
at the roots of the tree which yields honey, of the 
ambrosial tree, of the tree in the midst of the lake of 
milk ; the tree and the phallos are again identified. The 
Phrygian Attis, loved by Cybele, is deprived of his 
phallos, and expires ; Cybele transforms him into a pine 
tree (which is cone-bearing and evergreen, which resists, 
like the moon, even the rigours of winter), in which the 
funereal and regeneratory phallos is personified ; the 
cypress (cone-bearing and evergreen), which the three 
brothers of the fairy tales must watch during the night, 
and which only the youngest brother succeeds in deliver- 
ing from the dragon or serpent which carries it away, is 
also represented in Persian tradition as in the middle of 
a lake of ambrosia. The serpent steals this tree, as in 
the Hindoo myth it steals the ambrosia from the gods ; 
it knows well that in it consists the regeneratory strength 
of the hero, whom the serpent has bitten ; sometimes it 
steals the tree from him, and sometimes guards over it. 
Out of the golden apple, or out of the orange of the tree 
guarded by the dragon, in popular tales, the beautiful 
maiden comes ; the dragon keeps her back a second time 
on the way, making her mount upon a tree, or throwing 
her into the fountain, near which the beautiful maiden 
becomes a dark fish or a dark bird (a swallow or a dove), 
in order to come out again from the fish or the bird in 
the form of a beautiful girl. The love of the young 
princess for the young hero, in Eussian stories, comes out 
of the duck's egg taken under the tree, and the death of 
the serpent-dragon is caused by it. Here the gloomy 
monster of the, night and winter, the monster serpent, 
appears, in guardianship of the moon, the protectress of 
marriages, as an ambrosial and evergreen tree, and, like 



410 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

the cypresSj a funereal tree, which is at the same time 
symbolical of immortality. From the moon of winter 
and of night, the solar hero of spring and the day, the 
maiden spring and the maiden aurora come forth. The 
serpent, like the toad, the frog, the fish, and the bird, 
now desires the moon of winter and of night for itself, 
and now presents it to the young hero, whom it protects. 
The moon appears when the diurnal sun goes down in 
the west ; hence the garden of the Hesperides, as the word 
denotes, was supposed to be situated in the west ; the 
moon rules the northern heavenly region, the cold season 
of the year ; for this reason Apollodorus placed this same 
garden of the Hesperides in the north, amongst the 
Hyperboreans, where the tree of oblivion also grew accord- 
ing to ^lianos. In India, the ambrosial tree, the tree of 
immortality, the tree of Brahman's paradise, like the 
moon and Qivas (the god of paradise and of hell, the 
phaUical and destroying god), was also placed in the 
north, on Mount Merus, the phaUical and primeval 
mountain, near the sea of oblivion, guarded by a dragon ; 
but because the dragon or serpent represents evil oftener 
than good, because Qivas, the moon, and the cypress, have 
a double aspect, phaUical and funereal, paradisiacal and 
infernal, because Kagyapas, the great primitive phallos, 
created opposite things in the form of a bird and in that 
of a serpent, two trees are also represented upon Mount 
Merus, one of good and one of evil, one of life and one 
of death, which reminds us of the Jewish and Mahometan 
traditions. The legends concerning the tree of the 
golden apples or figs, which yields honey or ambrosia, 
guarded by dragons, in which the life, the fortune, the 
glory, the strength, ^nd the riches of the hero have their 
beginning, are numerous among every people of Aryan 
origin \ in India and in Persia, in Prussia and in Poland, 



THE SERPENT AND THE TREE. 411 

in Sweden and in Germany, in Greece and in Italy, 
popular myths, poems, songs, and fairy tales amplify 
with a great variety of incidents, partly unconscious of 
their primitive signification, this strange subject of phal- 
lical cosmogony.^ 

1 Cfr. again the legend of Adam and Eve, of the tree and the serpent, 
and the original sin. In the mediaeval comedy La Sibila del Oriente, 
Adam when dying says to his son, " Mira en cima de mi sepulcro, que 
un arbol nace." In Russian stories the young hero will be fortunate, 
now because he watched at his father's tomb, now because he defended 
the paternal cypress from the demon who wished to carry it off. In 
the legend of the wood of the cross, according to a sermon of Her- 
mann von Fristlar (cfr. Mussafia, Sulla Leggenda del legno della Groce)^ 
the tree upon the wood of which, made into a cross, Christ died, is 
said to have been a cypress. The same mediaeval legend describes the 
terrestrial paradise whence Adam was expelled, and where Seth repairs 
to obtain for Adam the oil of pity. The tree rises up to heaven, and 
its root goes down to hell, where Seth sees the soul of his brother 
Abel. On the summit there is a child, the Son of God, the promised 
oil. The angel gives to Seth three grains which he is to put into 
Adam's mouth ; three sprouts spring up which remain an arm's-length 
in height till the time of ]\Ioses, who converts them into miraculous 
rods, and replants them before his death • David finds them again, 
and performs miracles with them. The three sprouts become one 
plant which grows proudly into a tree. Solomon wishes to build the 
temple with this wood ; the workmen cannot make use of it ; he then 
has it carried into the temple; a sybil tries to sit upon it, and her 
clothes take fire; she cries out, "Jesus, God and my Lord," and pro- 
phesies that the Son of God will be hanged upon that wood. She is 
condemned to death, and the wood thrown into a fish-pond, which 
acquires thaumaturgic virtue ; the wood comes out and they wish to 
make a bridge of it ; the Queen of the East, Saba, refuses to pass over 
it, having a presentiment that Jesus will die upon that wood. Abia 
has the wood buried, and a fish-pond appears over it. — Now, this is 
what an author, unsuspected of heresy, writes concerning the symbol of 
the serpent (Martigny, Dictionnaire des Antiquites Chretiennes) : " Les 
ophites, suivant en cela 4es nicolaites et les premiers gnostiques, 
rendirent au serpent lui-m^me un culte direct d'adoration, et les 
manich^ens le mirent aussi ^ la place de J^sus Christ (S. Augustin. 
De Hares, cap. xvii. et xlvi.) Et nous devons regarder conime ex- 



412 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. ' 

The Persian cosmogony is of a less material character 
than the Hindoo, but its principle is the same. Ahura- 
mazda and Anhromainyu, who occupy the first place as 
the creators of the world, are also two males in opposition 
to one another. From Ahuramazda descends Thrsetaona 
or Feridun, the killer of the serpent (azhi) Dahaka, or 
Dahak, or Zohak, the three-headed dragon which Anhro- 
mainyu created to destroy the beautiful in the world, as 
the strongest of monsters.^ In Hindoo tradition we find 
the bird Garudas on the side of the gods, and the N^gas 
or serpent on that of the demons ; so, in Persian tradi- 
tion, the bird Simurg is on the side of the gods, and 
the serpent or sea-monster on that of the demons. It is 
in the midst of the waters that the hero Kerey^jpa finds 
the great serpent Qruvara, who devours men and horses, 
and who ejects a venom as large as a man's thumb. 
Taking him probably for an island,^ he has food cooked 

tremement probable que les talismans et les amulettes avec la figure du 
serpent qui sont arrives jusqu' k nous, proviennent des h6r^tiques de 
la race de Basilide, et non pas des parens, comme on le suppose com- 
mun^ment." To the continuers of the admirable studies of Strauss 
and Renan will be reserved the office of seeking the sense hidden in this 
myth, made poetical by the evangelical morals. When we shall be 
able to bring into Semitic studies the same liberty of scientific 
criticism which is conceded to Aryan studies, we shall have a Semitic 
mythology ; for the present, faith, a natural sense ' of repugnance to 
abandon the beloved superstitions of our credulous childhood, and 
more than all, a less honourable sentiment of terror for the opinion of 
the world, have restrained men of study from examining Jewish 
history and tradition with entire impartiality and severity of judg- 
ment. We do not wish to appear Voltairians, and we prefer to shut 
our eyes not to see, and our ears not to hear what history, studied 
critically and positively, presents to us less agreeable to our pride as 
men, and to our vanity as Christians. 

1 Cfr, Ya<^na^ ix. 25-27 ; cfr. also Prof. Spiegel's introduction to 
the Khorda Avesta^ pp. 59, 60. 

2 Cfr. the chapter concerning the Fishes and that on the Tortoise. 



THE PERSIA N SERPENT. 4 1 3 

upon it ; the serpent feels the heat, and begins to move ; 
it then throws Kerej^gpa, the courageous Kere9d5pa, over 
backwards. There seems to be some analogy between this 
myth of the Ya9na of the Avesta and the story of the 
fearless hero of the Russian story, who, being asleep in a 
boat, falls into the river when terrified by the little fish 
which had jumped upon him. (The serpent appears also 
as the enemy of fire in the Kho7'da-Avesta.y The 
serpent causes the diseases which Thrsetaona is requested 
to cure ; it poisons whatever it sees and touches ; and, 
according to the Khorda-Avesta,^ the wicked are con- 
demned to feed upon poison after death. In the Shah- 
Name the sun disappears, devoured by a sea-monster or 
crocodile. In the third adventure of Isfendiar, the hero 
is almost inebriated by the venomous smoke and the 
pestilential breath of the dragon which he has victoriously 
combated ; and, after having won, he falls to the ground 
as if dead ; thus Indras, after having defeated the 
monstrous serpent, flees in terror over the rivers, like a 
madman attacked by hydrophobia, terrified by the 
shadow, the smoke, or the water of the dead serpent, 
because this shadow, which is perhaps his own, and not 
his enemy's, menaces to submerge him in those poisoned 
waves, and to transform him into a sea-monster, assimi- 
lating him thus to his enemy ; inasmuch as the god 
sends to make man like himself, so also does the demon. 
In Persia, therefore, the serpent is generally considered 
as a demoniacal and monstrous animal, the personification 
of evil. If it is prayed to, it is to conjure it away, to in- 
duce it to go far distant, as the Arabs and the Tatars 
particularly do to expel the devil. The Persian genius has 



^ Cfr. Prof. Spiegel's introduction to the Khorda-Avesta^ p. 60. 
2 xxxviii. 36. 



414 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

not the mobility, the plasticity, and elasticity of the 
Hindoo ; its mjrthical images are more severe and less 
multiform ; hence the serpent remained in Persian tradi- 
tion the demoniacal animal far excellence. In the Tuti- 
Name, on the contrary, which is of Hindoo origin, the 
serpent has a double aspect. The serpent wishes to eat 
the frog. (In the fifteenth story of the third book of the 
Pancatantram, the frogs ride upon the serpent, and leap 
upon it in delight, like Phsedrus's frogs upon King Log, 
which was sent to them in derision by Jove ; the serpent 
and the rod are assimilated.) The hero saves the frog, ( 
upon which the serpent reproves him, because he thus 
takes its food from it ; the hero then cuts off some of his 
own flesh to give it to the serpent ; ^ the serpent protects 
the hero ever afterwards, and cures with an ointment the 
king's daughter, who had been bitten by another serpent ; 
the king gives his daughter, on her recovery, to the hero 
who had satisfied the serpents hunger. In the tenth 
story of the third book of the Pa/icatantram, two little 
serpents, who talk to each other, both work their own 
ruin and make the fortune of the hero and of the heroine. 
A king's son has a serpent in his body without knowing 

1 A variety of the Hindoo legend of the hawk (Indras), of the dove 
(Agnis), and of King givis, wLo, to save tlie dove from the hawk, his 
guest, gives some of his own flesh to the hawk to eat. Here the 
serpent is identified with the hawk or eagle ; in the Mongol story, 
however, the dragon is grateful to the man who delivered him from 
the bird Garudas; the king. of the dragons keeps guard over the white 
pearls, arrives upon a white horse, dressed in white (probably the snow 
of -winter, or the moon) ; the king of the dragons rewards the hero by 
giving him a red bitch, some fat, and a string of pearls. — In the sixth 
story of the Pancatantram, we have the serpent and the crow, one at 
the foot of a tree, the other on the summit ; the serpent eats the crow's 
eggs, and the crow avenges itself by stealing a golden necklace from 
the queen and throwing it into the snake's hole ; the men go to seek the 
necklace, find the serpent and kill it. 



THE TWO SERPENTS. 415 

it, and becomes ill ; lie abandons in despair his father's 
palace, and goes begging ; he is given, in contempt, the 
second daughter of another king to wife, who had never 
said amiable things to her father, like her eldest sister (a 
variation of the legend of Cordelia and Lear) ; whilst one 
day the young prince has fallen asleep with his head 
upon an ant-hill, the little serpent which is in his body 
puts out its head to breathe a little fresh air, and sees 
another serpent coming out of the ant-hill ; ^ the two 
little serpents begin to dispute and call each other names ; 
one accuses the other of tormenting the young prince by 
inhabiting his body, and the accused responds by charging 
it with hiding two jars full of gold under the ant-hill.^ 
Continuing their quarrel, one says how easy it would be 
to kill the other ; a little mustard would suffice to settle 
the first, and a little hot oil the second (the serpent is 
killed by being burned ; the rich uhlan-serpent of the 
Eussian story is burned in the trunk of an oak-tree, in 
which it had taken refuge out of fear for the fire and the 
lightning) ; the hidden wife listens to everything, de- 
livers her husband from the little serpent in his body, 
and kills the other serpent to take out the treasure which 
it keeps hidden/ In the fourteenth of the stories of Santo 

1 We have seen in the chapter on the Ant how the ants make 
serpents come out of their holes; in Bavaria, according to Baron 
Beinsberg von Diiringsfeld, the work quoted before, p. 259, an asp 
(natter) taken in August must be shut well up in a vase in order that 
it may die of heat and of hunger ; then it is placed upon an ants' nest, 
that the ants may eat all its flesh ; of what remains, a sort of pater- 
noster is made, which is supposed to be very useful against all kinds of 
eruptions upon the head. 

2 Cfr. the interminable riches of the uhlan-serpent in the story vi. 
11, of Afanassieff. 

2 Here we have a serpent which expels and ruins another. In a 
similar manner, before the times of San Carlo Borromeo, a bronze 
serpent, which had been carried from Constantinople by the Arch- 



41 6 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

Stefano di Calcinaia, the third of the young daughters, in 
order to save her father from certain death, consents to 
marry the serpent, who carries her upon his tail to his 
palace, where he becomes a handsome man called Sor 
Fiorante, of the red and white stockings. But she must 
reveal the secret to no one. The maiden (as in the fable 
of Cupid and Psyche) does not resist the temptation of 
speaking of it to her sisters, on which her husband dis- 
appears ; she finds him again after having filled seven 
flasks with her tears ; breaking first a walnut, then a 
hazel-nut, and finally an almond, of which each contains 
a magnificent robe, she recovers her husband, and is re- 
cognised by him.^ In a variety of the same story in my 

bishop Arnolfo in the year 1001, was revered in the basilica of St 
Ambrose at Milan ; some said that it was the serpent of ^sculapius, 
others that of Moses, others that it was an image of Christ ; for us it 
is enough to remark here that it was a mythical serpent, before which 
Milanese mothers brought their children when they suffered from 
worms, in order to relieve them, as we learn from the depositions of 
the visit of San Carlo to this basilica: "Est qusedam superstitio de ibi 
mulierum pro infantibus morbo verminum laborantibus,'' San Carlo 
put down this superstition. 

^ These marvels are always three, as the apples are three, the beautiful 
girls three, the enchanted palaces in the kingdom of the serpents which 
they inhabit three (cfr. Afanassieff, i. 5). The heads of the dragon 
are in this story and generally three, but sometimes also five, six 
(cfr. Afanassieff, v. 28), seven (cfr. Pentamerone, i, 7, and Afanassieff, 
ii. 27 ; the serpent of the seven heads emits foul exhalations), nine 
(iii. 2, V. 24), or twelve (cfr. Afanassieff, ii. 30) — In the twenty-first 
story of the second book of Afanassieffj first the serpent with three 
heads appears, then that with six, then that with nine heads which 
throw out water and threaten to inundate the kingdom. Ivan Tzarevid 
exterminates them. In the twenty-second story of the same book the 
serpent of the Black Sea, with wings of fire, flies into the Tzar's 
garden and carries off the three daughters ; the first is obtained and 
shut up by the five-headed serpent, the second by the seven-headed 
one, and the third by the serpent with twelve heads ; the young hero 
Frolka Sidien kills the three serpents and liberates the three daughters. 



THE SERPENT AND THE MAIDEN 417 

little collection, a good serpent fairy advises the blind 
princess, and gives her the hazel-nut, the almond, and 
the walnut ; each of the three gifts contains a marvel ; 
by means of the first marvel the young princess regains 
one eye from the false wife ; by means of the second 
marvel, the other eye, which the serpent puts in its 
place ;^ and by means of the third, which is a golden hen 
with forty-four golden chickens (perhaps forty-four stands 
for forty times four, or a hundred and sixty, which might 
represent the luminous and warm days of the year, from 
the first of April to the end of August), she finds her lost 
husband again. In an unpublished Sicilian story com- 
municated to me by Dr Ferraro, a serpent presses the 
neck of King Moharta to avenge a beautiful gixl whom 
the king had forsaken, after having violated her; in 
order to release himself from the serpent, the king is 
compelled to marry the beautiful girl whom he had 
betrayed. In the sixteenth of the Tuscan stories pub- 
lished by me, the three sons of the king go to get the 
water which jumps and dances, and which is guarded 
by a dragon who devours as many as approach it ; the 
dragon sleeps from twelve to two o'clock, and sleeps with 
its eyes open, which signifies, if we interpret twelve 
o'clock as twelve o'clock of the day, that the dragon is 
asleep when the sun watches, and if, on the contrary, as 
twelve o'clock at night, that it sleeps when the moon, 
compared to the hare which sleeps with its eyes open, 
shines in the sky.^ In an ancient Neapolitan vase ex- 

^ Cfr. also, for the legend of the blind woman, the first chapter of 
the first book. 

2 When the mythical serpent refers to the year, the hours corre- 
spond to the months, and the months daring which the mythical 
serpent sleeps seem to be those of summer, in contradiction to what is 
observed in nature. 

VOL. II. 2 D 



4i8 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 



plained by Gerhard and Panofka, we find a tree and a 
fountain, a serpent (the same as that which gnaws at the 
roots of the tree Yggdrasill in the Eddas), three Hes- 
perides, and Herakles. One Hesperis is giving the 
wounded serpent some beverage in a cup, the second is 
plucking an apple, the third is about to pluck one, and 
Herakles has also an apple in his hand. The myth and 
the story of the ogre and the three oranges correspond 
perfectly to one another.^ The maiden was at first 
identified with the serpent, as the daughter of the dragon, 
and as a female serpent ; she lays aside her disguise on 
the approach of the young hero, and recovers all her 
splendour. In an unpublished story of the Monferrato, 
communicated to me by Dr Ferraro, a beautiful girl, 
when plucking up a cabbage (a lunar image), sees under 
its roots a large room, goes down into it, and finds a 
serpent there, who promises to make her fortune if she 
will kiss him and sleep with him; the girl consents. 
After three months, the serpent begins to assume the legs 
of a man, then a man's body, and finally the face of a 
handsome youth, the son of a king, and marries his young 
deliverer. In popular tradition, we also have the con- 



1 In the fifth story of the second book of the Pentamerone, a 
serpent has itself adopted, as their son, by a man and woman who 
have no children, and then asks for the king's daughter to wife ; 
the king, who thinks to turn the serpent into ridicule, answers that he 
will consent when the serpent has made all the fruit-trees of the royal 
garden become golden, the soil of the same garden turn into precious 
stones^ and his whole palace into a pile of gold. The serpent sows kernels 
of fruits and egg-shells in the garden ; from the first, the required 
trees spring up ; from the second, the pavement of precious stones ] 
he then anoints the palace with a certain herb, and it turns to gold. 
The serpent comes to take his wife in a golden chariot, drawn by four 
golden elephants, lays aside his serpent's disguise, and becomes a hand- 
some youth. 



THE SERPENT'S WHISTLES. 419 

trary form of the same myth, that is, the beautiful 
maiden "who becomes a serpent again. In a German 
legend,^ the young hero hopes to deliver the beautiful 
maiden by three kisses : ^ the first time he kisses her 
as a beautiful girl ; the second time as a monster, half 
woman half serpent ; the third time he refuses to kiss 
her, because she has become entirely a serpent. 

When the day or the summer dies, the mythical ser- 
pent shows himself (in absolute contradiction to what we 
are taught by Natural History, one would almost say 
that when the serpent ceases to creep along the ground 
and to devour the animals of the earth, it goes to creep 
and to devour the animals of the sky) ; then the north 
winds begin to whistle, — and the serpent, particularly the 
mythical serpent, is a famous A^fhistler. Isidorus ^ even 
identifies the basilisk and the serpent, called a regulus 
with the whistle itself : " Sibilus idem est qui et Regulus : 
sibilo enim occidit antequam mordeat vel exurat." In 
the twenty-fifth story of the fifth book of Afanassieff, 
the gipsy and the serpent challenge one another to see 
who will whistle loudest. When the serpent whistles or 
hisses (that is, in autumn) all the trees lose their leaves. 
The gipsy defeats the serpent by a cheat ; he makes it 
believe that it will be unable to resist the eff'ects of his 
whistle if it does not cover its head, and then beats it 
without pity, so that the serpent is convinced of the 
gipsy's superiority, and says that it reveres him as its 
elder brother.^ I cited in the first chapter of the first 

1 Cfr. Mone, Anzeig. iii. 88. 

2 Cfr. on this subject the stories recorded in the first and second 
chapters of the first book. ^ Ovigines, siv. 4. 

^ Cfr. the same, Afanassieff, vi. 10, where the cunning workman, in 
reward for having vanquished the little devil in whistling, and for 
having made it believe that he could throw a stick upon the clouds, 
obtains the money which can remain in a hat which never fills. 



420 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

book the Russian story of Alexin the son of the priest, 
or the divine Alexin, who fights against Tugarin, the son 
of the serpent, or the demon-serpent, and begs the Virgin 
to bathe the monster's wings with the rain of the black 
cloud : the monster's wings being heavy with water, force 
it to fall to the groimd. Here we return again to the 
simple yet grandiose Vedic myth, the most remote of 
all, from which we started ; we return to lyrical poetry, 
inspired, spontaneous, ingenuous, full of agreeable or 
fearful surprises, of naive enthusiasms, of creative im- 
pulses, the unconscious originator of a new civilisation 
and a n^^ faith, as yet undefiled with phallical cosmo- 
gonies, as yet unruptured and unimpoverished by the 
sterile dreams of eunuch-like metaphysics. 



CONCLUSION. 

" E come quel die con lena affannata 
Uscito fuor del pelago a la riva 
Si volge all 'onda perigliosa e guata, 
Cosi ranimo mio che ancor fuggiva 
Si volse indietro a rimirar ..." 

and the shadows of the mythological monsters rise again 
before me, and occupy my fearful thoughts. During these 
months of my solitary sojourn on Olympus, have I only 
been the victim of a horrible nightmare, or have I 
apprehended aright the reality of the changeful figures 
of the sky in their animal forms ? The ancient mytho- 
logy, Avhich used to be taught to us at school, was filled 
with the incests of Jove, of Mars, and of Venus ; but they 
were classical myths, and the adulterers were called gods ; 
and our good fathers, in the vain search for symbolical 
meanings, tortured their ingenious brains to extract from 
each scandal of Olympus a moral lesson for the instruc- 
tion of youth. Hence it was permitted to art to repre- 
sent Jove as a bull, an eagle, a swan, a seducer iti an 
animal form, without ofiending decency or violating the 
sanctity of the schools ; and the young scholars were 
encouraged to write their rhetorical exercises in Italian 
or Latin verse upon the favourite themes of classical 
mythology, inasmuch as with symbols and moral allegories 
the vile matter could all be made divine. Platonic or 



422 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

metaphysical love not requiring the vehicles of sense to 
communicate itself, the animal forms of the god were for 
our old masters nothing else than symbols and allegories, 
conceived and intended to veil an elevated educational 
Avisdom. But we have rocked ourselves long enough in 
the cradle of this infantile fantasy, and must now discard 
from this and kindred themes all such idle dreams. It is 
at last necessary to summon up the courage to front the 
problems of history with the same frankness and ardour 
with which naturalists approach the mysteries of Nature, 
and pierce the veil ; nor is this attempt so hazardous, 
since, in order to demonstrate entirely our historical 
theses, we have certain and positive data provided for us 
in speech and in legend by comparative oral and written 
tradition. We do not invent; we simply accumulate, 
and then put in order the facts relating to the common 
history of popular thought and sentiment in our privileged 
race. The difficulty consists only in classifying the facts ; 
the facts themselves are many and evident. It is very 
possible to be deceived in their arrangement, and hence 
also in their minute interpretation ; and I am, for my part, 
not without apprehension that I may have here and there 
made an unlucky venture in interpreting some particular 
myths ; but if this may, in some degree, reflect discredit 
on my intelligence, which is perhaps imperfectly armed, 
and without sufficient penetration, this can in nowise 
prejudice the fundamental truths which permit com- 
parative mythology to constitute and install itself as a 
positive science, that may henceforth, like every science, 
instruct and edify with profit. The principal error into 
which the students of the new science are apt to fall, and 
into which I may myself have sometimes been betrayed 
in the course of this work, is that of confining their 
observations to one special favourite mythical point or 



CONCLUSION. 423 



moment, and referring almost every myth to it, and not 
taking sufficient account of their mobility and their 
separate history, that is, of the various periods of their 
manifestation. One sees in the myth only the sun, an- 
other only the moon in its several revolutions, and their 
amours with the verdant and resplendent earth ; one sees 
the darkness of night in opposition to the light of day, an- 
other the same light in opposition to the gloomy cloud ; 
one the loves of the sun with the moon, another those of 
the sun with the aurora. These diverse, special, and too 
exclusive points of view, from which the myths have 
hitherto been generally studied by learned men, have 
afforded ill-disposed adversaries an opportunity of ridi- 
culing the science of Comparative Mythology as a science 
which is little serious, and which changes its nature 
according to the student who occupies himself with it. 
But this opposition is disarmed by its own weapons. 
For what does the concord of all learned men and 
scholars in this department prove ? It proves, in my 
opinion, but one thing, and that is, the reproduction 
and confirmation of the same natural myths under mul- 
tiples forms, the representation by analogous myths of 
analogous phenomena, and that the variations met with 
in fairy tales are also found in myths. The sun chases 
away the darkness in the day, the moon the darkness 
in the night ; both are called haris, or fairhaired, golden, 
luminous. Indras is haris ; as haris, he is now in rela- 
tion with the sun that thunders in the cloud (Jupiter 
Tonans), now with the ambrosial moon which attracts 
rain (Jupiter Pluvius) ; Zeus gives up the field to his son 
Diontisos, and, be it as the sun, be it as the moon, he is 
always Zeus the refulgent one, Diespiter or the father of 
light ; in the first case, he pierces through the cloud, and 
in the second through the darkness. Even when the 



424 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 



moon or the sun is hidden, when Zeus or Dioniisos lives ^ '^ 
in his august mystery, they prepare new luminous 
phenomena. Thus Vishnus is haris, and as haris he is 
identified now with, the sun, now with the moon ; or, to 
speak with more precision, the sun haris and the moon 
haris are confounded in one sole mythical personage, in 
one god, who represents them both in various moments, 
that is to say, in Vishnus. It is desirable that the entirety 
of the myths should be studied with full comprehension 
of the whole field which the myth may have enriched, 
and of the whole period in which the myth may have 
been developed ; but this does not prevent, in special 
studies, a learned man from addressing himself (as Pro- 
fessors Kuhn, Mtiller, and Breal have done) to one 
special point to prove one special mythological thesis. 
To this point he applies his lever; he might, perhaps, 
use it somewhere else ; but this causes no prejudice 
to the essential truth, by bringing his demonstrations 
to the highest degree of clearness in one point alone. 
The, excess of demonstration can easily be corrected, and 
meanwhile from these special studies, in which investi- 
gation becomes every day more profound, the myths 
come out in brighter colours. It would be an exag- 
geration to ascribe to all the myths one unvaried manner 
of formation, as also to think absolutely that all myths 
began by a simple confusion of words. Equivocal- 
ness, no doubt, played a principal part in the formation of 
myths ; but this same equivocalness would not always 
have been possible without the pre-existence, so to speak, 
of pictorial analogies. The child who even now, gazing . 
on the sky, takes a white cloud for a mountain of snow, 
certainly does not yet know that parvatas meant both 
cloud and mountain in the Vedic language ; he continues, 
however, to elaborate his elementary myth by means of 



CONCLUSION. 425 



simple analogies of images. The equivoque of words 
usually succeeded to the analogy of external figures as they 
appeared to primitive man. He had not yet named the 
cloud as a mountain, and yet he already saw it. When 
the confusion of images took place, that of words became 
almost inevitable, and only served to determine it, to 
give it in the external sound a more consistent form, to 
manifest it more artistically, and to constitute it into a 
sort of trunk upon which, with the help of new par- 
ticular observations, of new images, and of new equi- 
voques, an entire tree of mythical genealogies was to 
sprout out. 

It has fallen to me to study the least elevated depart- 
ment of mythology. In the primitive man, who created the 
myths, the same twofold tendency shows itself which we 
observe in ourselves — the instinct by which we are allied 
to the brutes, and the instinct which lifts us to the com- 
prehension and sentiment of the divine or the ideal. 
The ideal was the portion of few ; material instinct that 
of many : the ideal was the promise of human progress ; 
material instinct represented that inert resisting matter 
which stiU acts in opposition to progress. Hence images 
full of elevated poesy by the side of others, vulgar and 
gross, which remind us of the relation of man to that 
petulant and lascivious brute from which it is supposed 
that he descends. The god who becomes a brute cannot 
preserve always intact his divinity ; the animal form is 
that of his avatdras or of his decadence, of his fall ; it is 
usually the form assumed by the god or the hero in 
consequence of a cm-se or a crime. The Hindoo and the 
Pythagorean beliefs considered the disguise of the animal 
as the purgatory of a guilty man. And the god-beast, 
the hero-beast, the man-beast cannot restrain themselves 
from brutish acts. The proud and ferocious King A^icv4- 



426 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY. 

mitras, the Indian Nebuchadnezzar, when he wanders 
through the forest in the form of a monster, takes the 
nature of the forest-rakshasas, the devourer ; the beauti- 
ful celestial nymphs become sea-monsters, devour the 
heroes who approach their fountain. Only when the 
animal form is killed, when the matter is shaken off, does 
the god or hero assume his divine goodness, beauty, and 
excellence. Here mythology is not in contradiction to 
physiology ; the character of the mythical personages is 
the result of their corporeal forms^ of their organism, 
until the natural destiny changes, and a new physical 
transformation taking place in the species, even its moral 
characteristics are modified ; light is good, darkness is evil, 
or good only inasmuch as it is supposed to enclose light 
in its body. From the dark wood rubbed and shaken, 
from the dark stone struck and dilated, comes forth the 
spark which causes conflagrations ; from the body when 
exercised and made agile comes forth the splendour of 
look, of speech, of affection, of thought ; the god breaks 
forth. Substance is dark, but when it is agitated it pro- 
duces light ; as long as it is inert, it is evil, and it is still 
evil as long as it attracts to itself, as if to a centre of 
gravity, everything that lives. In as far as the monster 
swallows beautiful things, it is evil ; in as far as it lets 
them radiate and go forth, it is good. Disperse the cloud, 
disperse the darkness, dilate and expand the matter which 
tends to grow narrow and to become inert, to absorb life, 
and the divine light will come out of it, the splendid in- 
telligent life will appear ; the fallen hero, the hero turned 
to stone, w^ho has become inert substance, will ascend 
again, agile and refulgent, into the divine heavens. 

Certainly, I am far from believing that this was the inten- 
tion of the myth. Morals have often been an appendix of 
fables, but they never enter into the primitive fable itself. 



CONCLUSION. 427 



The elementary myth is a spontaneous production of im- 
agination, and not of reflection. When the myth exists, art 
and religion may make use of it as an allegory for their 
aesthetic and moral ends ; but the myth itself is devoid 
of moral conscience ; the myth shows, as I have said, only 
more or less elevated instincts. And if I have sought 
to compare several physiological laws with the myths, 
it is not because I attribute to the myth a wisdom greater 
than that which it contains in reality, but only to indicate 
that, much better than metaphysics, the science of nature, 
with the criteria of positive philosophy, can help us to 
study the original production of myths and their succes- 
sive development in tradition. I have had to prove in 
mythology its most humble aspect, that is to say, the 
god enclosed in the animal ; and inasmuch as amongst 
the various mythical animals which I have endeavoured 
to describe, several preserve the propitious character and 
resplendent form of the god, they are generally considered 
as the form which the deity assumes either to feed secretly 
upon the forbidden fruit or to fulfil a term of punish- 
ment for some former fault of his ; in any case, these 
forms never serve to give us a superlative idea of the 
divine excellence and perfection. Instead of ascribing 
to the god all the attributes of beauty, goodness, and 
strength at once, instead of associating in one all the 
gods, or all the sympathic forces and figures of Nature, a 
new divine form was created for each attribute. And 
because the primitive man was not so much inclined to 
make abstractions as comparisons (to represent strength, 
for instance, he had recourse to the image of the bull, the 
lion, or the tiger ; to represent goodness, he figured it in 
the lamb, the dog, or the dove ; to represent beauty, he 
chose the gazelle, the stag, the peacock, and so on), in 



428 ZOOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY, 

the primitive speech, of mankind no conjunctions existed 
by means of which to unite the two terms of a comparison : 
hence a strong king became the lion, a faithful friend the 
dog, an agile girl the gazelle, and so on. We sometimes 
hear our women, in their moments of tenderness for a 
distant person, or in their impatience to go where their 
heart calls them, or in their curiosity to know what is 
going on at such a moment in such a place, say, " I wish 
I could become a bird to go there." In reality they envy 
only the bird's wings, in order to fly, to arrive there 
sooner, and for this desire alone they Avould renounce 
all the precious privileges which distinguish them as 
women. The same sacrifice of their own luminous forms 
to obtain some determinate end happens in the mythical 
sky. The god humbles himself in order to make use of 
some quality which he needs to manifest especially. Thus 
Indras, to put the generosity of King Qivis to the proof, 
finds it necessary to follow, in the shape of a hawk, the 
god Agnis, who had become a dove, and taken refuge 
with the king. Primitive man does not ascribe to the 
god any other form than those which he sees round him, 
and which he knows : the god cannot have wings of his 
own, divine wings ; he must become a bird in order to 
be winged. Thus, to draw a chariot, or to carry a hero 
through the air, he must become a hippogrifi*, that is, 
horse and bird ; and when he falls into the sea, he must 
enter a fish's body to escape drowning. 

The god can therefore exercise his divine power only 
on the condition of entering into the forms of those 
animals which are supposed to have the privilege of the 
qualities which the god is in need of in a special m3rthical 
occurrence. But in this animal form in which the god 
displays in a transcendent manner some particular quality, 



CONCLUSION, 429 



he dims at the same time a great part of his divine 
splendour. Having, therefore, surprised the deity in this 
strange and unlucky moment, the reader will not, I hope, 
impute to me the poor figure which the deity has had to 
make in many pages of this work ; nor will he think evil 
of me if I have deprived him, perchance, of some illusion 
in compensation for some imperfect, but perhaps not use- 
less revelation. 



INDEX, 



{This Index is compiled at the instance of the Puhllsher, and is not hy the Author.) 



Absalom and his hair, i. 334. 

Aohilleus, horses of, i. 351. 

Achelooa, horn of, i. 266. 

A^vin^u, the, i. 18, 19; friendship for 
Tritas, 25 ; awakening of, 27 ; and the 
aurora, 30 ; eyes to the blind, feet to 
the lame, 32, 36 ; and Kabandhas, 63 ; 
the sons of, 78 ; as the two ears of 
Vishnus, 81 ; 285-287, 300-302, 304, 
306-308, 310, 315, 319, 321, 327, 370 ; 
ass of, 371. 

Adam and Eve, legend of, ii. 411. 

Aditis and the cow, in Vedic literature, 
i. 5, 6 ; 23, 70, 74. 

Adonis, ii. 14-16. 

Adrika, the nymph-fish, ii. 331 ; son and 
daughter of, 332. 

.-Eschylos, fabled death of, ii. 197. 

jEsculapius, i. 353. 

Afrasiab, i. 114, 116, 117. 

Agas and synonyms, i. 402. 

Agnis, as the fire-god, 10 ; adjutant to 
Indras, 13 ; 299, 301. 

Agnus Dei, sacrifice of the, i. 423. 

Ahaly^, legend of, i. 414. 

Ahura Mazda, i. 97, 109. 

AiStaa, bulls of, i. 267. 

Ai-Kan, story of, i. 146. 

Alexander the Great, i. 119 ; and augury, 
ii. 178 ; and the fish, 333 ; and the crab, 
355. 

AUwi's, the dwarf, i. 207, 225, 260, 261. 

Amalthea, i. 430. 

Amazons, the, i. 211, 212. 

Ambrosia, i. 5 ; giver of, 18 ; the milk 
which forms, 52, 54 ; contest for, 53 
the demons and, 53 ; Gandharvas, guar- 
dians of, 53 ; 81 ; of the cow, 275, 276 . 
the origin of, ii. 361 ; the phallical re- 
ference of, 361, 365. 

Ampelos, i. 267. 

AmpMsbhsena, the, ii. 386. 

Anautas, the serpent, ii. 398, 399. 

Angadas, i. 337. 

Animals, gradation of, for sacrifice, i. 44 ; 
substitutes for, in sacrifice, 44 ; battles 
of tame and savage, 186 ; inviolability 
of the mysteries of, 246 ; mythical 
identification of, ii. 123 ; colours of, in 
mythology, 295, 296. 

Ansumant, i. 332. 



Antony, St, the Vedic, i. 47 ; and the 
hog, ii. 6. 

Antelopes and the Marutas, ii. 83, 84 ; 
king disguised as an, 86. 

Ants, the, and the serpent, ii. 44 ; and 
the shepherd's son, 45 ; and the grain, 
47 ; and the horses, 50 ; Indian, 50, 51 ; 
that dig up gold, 51 ; the monster, 51. 

ApM^, Indras, and the somas, ii. 3; and 
her ugly skin, 5. 

AphroditI, i. 394 ; and Hermes, ii. 197. 

Apollo, and Laomedon, i. 279 ; Smintheus, 
ii. 68 ; and the crow, 254. 

Apple-tree, the legend of, i. 251 ; the 
mythical, 405 ; and the goat, 405. 

Aquila and Aquilo, ii. 191, 192. 

Arabs, the, saying of, ii. 11. 

Arachnfi, ii. 163. 

Arcadia, i. 387, 390. 

Ardshi-Bordshi Khan, the history of, i. 
120 ; stories from, 134, 139. 

Ardvi Ctira An^hita, the Persian, i. 99, 
100. ' 

Argos panoptes, i. 418, 

Argus, ii. 327. 

Ar|unas, i. 79, 104. 

Ariadne, i. 212. 

Arkas, ii. 118. 

Arnfi, ii. 259. 

Artemis and Aktaion, ii. 86 ; the huntress 
87 ; and hind, 88. 

Arunas, i. 292. 

Ases, the three, and the eagle, ii. 191 

Ashis Vaguhi, i. 108, 109. 

Ass, the, among the Greeks and Romans, 
i. 259, 260 ; in the East, 360 ; in the 
"West, 360 ; mistakes about, 361 ; Chris- 
tianity powerless to redeem, 361, 362 ; 
hymn in honour of, 361, 362 ; treat- 
ment of, by the Church, 363; down- 
trodden condition of, 363 ; in the 
Eigvedas, 364 ; names of, 364, 365 ; of 
Apuleius, 366; which carries mysteries 
367 ; and flight into Egypt, 367 ; of the 
A^vin^u, 371 ; of Indras, 371 ; phallic 
nature of, 372, 373; chastisement of, 
for phallic offences, 372, 373 ; fall of 
in the Rigvedas, 372, 374; the de- 
moniacal, 374, 376 ; slowness, 374 ; the 
golden, 375, 376 ; the Hindoo, 377 ; and 
the jackal, 377, 378 ; -lion, 378, 379 ; 



432 



INDEX. 



-musician, 378, 379; three-legged, bray- 
ing, 379 ; and lion, 380 ; braying of, 
and the merchants, 380 ; and Vesta, 
384 ; and the Trojans, 386 ; ears of, 
386 ; skin of, 388 ; that throws gold 
from its tail, 388 ; and the waters of 
Styx, 390 ; horned, of India, 390, 391 ; 
horn of the Scythian, 390, 391; and 
Silenos, 391, 392. 394 ; and Bacchus, 
392 ; and the talisman, 393 ; skin of, 
394 ; proverbs about, 394 ; the combed, 
395 ; shadow and nose, 395 ; golden, of 
Apuleius, 395 ; uncontainedness, 396 ; 
that brays, 397, 398; in hell, 398; 
knowledge of, 398, 
Assassins, story of the king of the, ii. 35. 
Atavism in mythology, i. 199. 
Atli, i. 226. 

Attis, the Phrygian, ii. 409. 
Audhumla, the cow, i. 224. 
Aulad, the warrior, i. 112, 113. 
Aurora, the cow, process of re-creating, 
i. 20 ; cow of abundance, 26 ; relations 
to Indras, 27 ; the milk of, 27 ; and her 
cows, 25, 29; the girl, the swift one 
without feet, 30, 31 ; the evening, per- 
fidy of, 32 ; as a sorceress, 33 ; per- 
secutions of, 34 ; the saviour, 35 ; once 
blind, now seeing and sight-giving, 36 ; 
and the night, 36-38 ; the sisters, 38 ; 
the younger, 38, 39 ; nuptials of, and 
its conditions, 39 ; fruit of the nuptials 
of, 39, 40 ; and Kak^, 50 ; characteristic 
form of, 50 ; as a cow, 51 ; mother of 
the sun, 61 ; rich in pearls, 66 ; and 
the moon, 56, 65; the Persian, 100-102, 
121-125, 146 ; awakener of, 163 ; 170 ; 
amours of, 324 ; the two, and the fox, 
ii. 124. 
Avesta, the, i. 109, 110. 

Bacchus and the asses, i. 392. 

BalinandSugrivas,i. 312, 313;ii. 100,101. 

Barrel, the mythical, i. 197. 

Basiliga, story of, i. 298, 299. 

Batrachomyomachia, the, ii. 71. 

Battos the shepherd, i. 279. 

Bear, at blind-man's-buff with the maiden, 
ii. 69 ; and Vicv4mitras, 109 ; king of 
the bears, 109 ; in the forest of honey, 
109 ; eater of honey, 110 ; and peasant, 
110-112 ; duped by the peasant, 112 ; 
and the fox, 113 ; king and the twins, 
114, 115 ; the demoniacal, and the two 
children, 115, 116 ; disguises of, 117 ; 
woman in the den of, 117, 118 ; half 
bear half man, 118; as musician, 118, 
119. 

Beaver, the, ii. 79, 80. 

Bees and the Agvin^u, ii. 215 ; Vedic gods 
as, 216 ; as moon, 217 ; from the bull's 
carcase, 217 ; in Finnish mythology, 
218 ; spiritual and immortal, 218-220 ; 
wax of, 219 ; and young hero, 220 ; as 
musician, 223. 
Beetle, the, and eagle, ii. 209 ; the sacred, 
209 ; red, 209, 210 ; names of the red, 



210, 211 ; and first teeth of children, 
211; worship of the red,, 211, 212; 
green, 214, 
Bellerophontes, i. 305, 338. 
Berta, i. 85; the Russian Queen, 218; 
Queen, legend of, 251-267 ; large-footed, 
253. 
Betta and the cake-youth, ii, 238, 239. 
Bharatas, King, ii, 85. 
Bharadv^gas, ii. 275, 276. 
Bhlmas the terrible, i. 77-79, 104. 
Bhogavati, city of, ii. 403. 
Bhrigus and Cyavanas, ii. 10. 
Binding, vanquishing by, i. 106, 107. 
Birds, language of, i. 151, 152 ; the myth- 
ical impersonations of, ii. 168, 169; 
the wise, story of, 169-172 ; virtue 
of feathers of, 172; the language of, 
174 ; story of, and the queen, 175 ; 
excrement of, 176; the blue, 176; 
Semiramis and, 176 ; as diviners, 177 ; 
auguries from, 178 ; the, of Bretagne, 
I 271, 272. 
Bitch, the mythical, ii. 19-25 ; as spy, 35. 
Blind lame one, the, i. 31, 32. 
Blue BeaTd, the Esthonian, i. 168. 
Boar, the, of Erymanthus, ii. 9 ; of Mel- 
eagros, 9 ; the monster wild, in the 
Rigvedas, 9, 10 ; Indo-European tra- 
dition of, 13 ; tusks of, 15. 
Brahmadattas and the crab, ii. 356. 
BrahmanS,3, the, i. 414. 
Breal, M., i. 263. 
Bribus, ii. 308. 
Bridge, the mythical, i, 228. 
Brian, the Celtic hero, i. 239, 240. 
Brother, the third, i. 79, 83 ; the Turanian, 
and his dream, 139-142 ; the riddle- 
solving eldest Turanian, 142 ; the 
third, in quest of the lost cow, 155, 
156 ; journey to hell, 157 ; as coun- 
sellor, 156, 159 ; royal, as peasant, 
162; awakener of the princess of the 
seven years' slumber, 162, 163; who 
mounts to heaven, 176 ; and the tree- 
purchaser, 176 ; endeavour of, to milk 
the bull, 177 ; who snaps his fingers, 
184; ascent into and descent from 
heaven of, 189, 190; who steals from 
the other two, 194 ; and the flying-ship, 
205 ; in bronze, silver, and gold, 291. 
Brothers, the three, i. 77, 80, 82, 104 ; the 
Persian, 106; the two, 107, 108, 120; 
the three, 109, 111, 125, 128 ; the four, 
and the pearls, 127; the six, Calmuc 
story of, 128, 129; the two, Calmuc 
story of, 130 ; the two Calmuc, rich 
and poor, 131, 132 ; the two (lion and 
bull), and the fox, 134 ; the three, 148, 
153, 156, 161; the three dwarf, story 
of, 161, 162 ; the two rich and poor, 
and magic stone, 177 ; the three, of the 
purse, whistle, and mantle, 288, 289 ; 
the two, who go one to the right and 
the other to the left, 317, 319 ; 327. 
Brunhilt, i. 212. 
Brutus, the first, i. 199^ 



INDEX. 



433 



Bufonite, ii. 384. 

Buhtan and the fox, ii. 134, 135. 

Bull, the sun a, i. 4 ; the, fecundator of 
the cow, 6 ; the great bellowing, 7-10 ; 
the horns of , 9 ; a symbol of royalty, 
44; of the Persians, 95; the excre- 
ment of, 80, 95 ; disembodied soul of, 
97 ; ambrosial, 99 ; capacity of, for 
drinking, 175 ; in the council of ani- 
mals, 185 ; which comes out of the sea, 
222, 223; which carries the maiden, 
223 ; about to be sacrificed, 270 ; with- 
out entrails, 270, 271. 

Buri, i. 224. 

Butterfly, the mythical, ii. 213, 214. 

Butter-ears, the cat, ii. 53, 54. 

Bucephalus, i. 338. 

Cabala, i. 73. 
Cacus, i. 280. 281. 
Caducous of Mercury, ii. 219, 22U. 
Cakuntala, i. 219. 

Calf, the, as marriage -priest, i. 257. 
(^ambaras, cities of, i. 13. 
Oantanus, myth of, i. 67, 68. 
Canicula, the, ii. 33. 
^aoka, i. 98. 
Uaradvat, ii. 332. 
L'iirmishtha, the witch, i. 83, 84. 
Oarp, the, ii. 351, 352. 
Carpus, ii. 352. 

Cat, the white, ii. 42 ; penitent, 54 ; fox, 
and fattened mouse, 56 ; and sparrow, 
56 ; dog, and ring, 56, 57 ; and dog and 
supposititious child, 57 ; and moon, 58 ; 
and Diana, 58; and St Martha, 58; 
and Freya, 69 ; and St Gertrude, 59 ; 
the chattering, 59 ; and fox, 59 ; and 
cock, 59 ; and lamb, 60 ; the gi'ateful, 
60 ; the white, Blanchette, 61 ; and 
the house, 62. 
Cats, the enchanted, ii. 62 ; the black, 
62, 63 ; ill-omened apparitions of, 63 ; 
and witches, 63, 64 ; the two, 64. 
Cavari, i. 64, 66, 69. 
Cerberi, the, i, 49. 
Cerire, i. 117. 
Chameleon, the, ii. 161. 
Charlemagne, tradition of, i. 161 ; and 

Orlando, 256. 
Children, king of, story of, i. 135, 136. 
Chimsera, the, ii. 158. 
Chinese, the, and Little Tom, i. 336. 
Christ and Prometheus, ii. 40. 
Christopher, St, and Christ, ii. 57 , and 

lark, 274 ; and the cocks, 284. 
Chrysaor, i. 305. 

Cianna and the grateful ant, ii. 46. 
Cicada, the, ii. 223, 224. 
Cienzo and Meo, story of, i. 329, 330. 
Cinderella, origin of the legend of, i. 31 ; 
101, 126, 161 ; the Kussian, 196, 197 ; 
ii. 5, 197, 281, 304. 
Circe and the ass's head, i. 366 ; and the 

companions of Odysseus, ii. 6. 
Oivas, the dtus phallicus, i. 44, 59; ii. 
' 160. 

VOL. II. 



ChuuUus, Publius, and the auguries, ii. 

291. 
Clodoveus and St Martin, i. 356. 
Clouds, the, i. 6-9 ; mythical conceptions 
of, 31, 12; sky with, as a forest, 14; 
as mountains, 61 ; battles in, 62 ; as 
barrels, 63. 
Cock, the mythical functions of, ii. 278 ; 
and Mars, 280 ; Indraa, the paramour 
of Ahaly^. as a, 280 ; and hen in Indin 
and Persia, and sacredness of the, 282, 
284 ; crowing of, 282, 285, 286 ; Ohristus 
invoked as a, 283 ; in the Ciosjicls, 2iS;-; ; 
the miraculous, 284 ; of night, 285 ; 
and Minec' Aniellu, 287 ; Esthonian 
legends of, 288; hitting the, 289 ; as a 
symbol, 290 ; -fights, 290 ; the Danes 
and, 290; auguries from, 291. 
Coition, mythical, i. 348. 
Cornucopia, Scandinavian, i. 225. 
Cosmogony, the Persian, ii. 412. 
Cosimo and the fox, ii. 135, 136. 
Cow and the Bull, the, origin and mean- 
ing of the myth, i. 3, 4; respect paid 
to, in the family, 46. 
Cow, the infinite, celestial, i. 5, 6 ; son of 
the, 5; -child, the spotted, 6, 14; as 
monster, 15 ; -moon, 19 ; -aurora, 19, 
20 ; of abundance, 26, 95 ; hide of, as 
symbol of fecundity, 46, 47 ; sour 
milk of, as favourable to generation, 
47 ; milk-yielding, of night, 48 ; invoca- 
tion of the spotted, 50 ; the sacred, of 
the Persians, 97 ; purification by the 
excrement, 99 ; pearl excrement of, 
129 ; the black, 167 ; and the weather, 
174 ; Vedic, double aspect, 175 ; filled 
with straw and sparrows, 187 ; of 
abundance, Scandinavian, 224 ; red, 
228 ; German proverbs relating to, 229 ; 
and dwarf Allwis, 260 ; testicles of, and 
the jackal, 233 ; the, that spins, 250 ; 
the Sabine, 268 ; the sacrificed, 269 , 
the ashes of, 276. 
Cow-cloud, the, i. 14, 15, 74. 
Cow-moon, the, i. 274, 275. 
Cows, the, of night, i. 17 ; the two, 27 ; 
that do not cover themselves with dust, 
28, 31 ; seen in dreams, 47, 48 ; coming 
forth of, 50. 
Cowherd, the hero disguised as, i. 168 

169. 
Cox, Mr, i. 262, 263. 

Crab, the, in the riddle, ii. 354 ; celestial, 
in June, 354 ; in the myth of Herakles, 
3.^5 ; and Alexander, 355 ; and the de- 
ceiving crane, 355 ; and the serpent, 
356 ; sun and moon as, 356 ; and 
fox, -357 ; "from a man, a," 358 ; as a 
charm, 359 ; Cancer, the, 359. 
Crescentia, the Persian, i. 121. 
Cross, the, ii. 411 ; of paradise, 411. 
Crow, the, in borrowed feathers, ii. 240 ; 
mythical significance, 250, 251 ; and 
cheese, 251 ; disguised, 251, 252 ; the 
enchanted, and P.amas, 252 ; cunnin<' 
of, 253; Kanias and Aj>ollo as, 25;!- 

2 E 



434 



INDEX, 



and Pallas and Yamas, 254 ; of evil 
omen, 254 ; the giant, 255 ; and the 
dead, 255 ; and the old man, 255 ; the 
procrastinating, and Phcebus, 256 ; as 
messenger, 257 ; the egg, 257 ; brood, 
257. 
Cuckoo, the, and Zeus, i. 248 ; its mythi- 
cal congeners, ii. 226 ; Indras as a, 228, 
229, 231 ; biith of the, 231 ; a phalli- 
cal symbol, 232 ; and Hera and Zeus, 

232 ; and marriage, 232 ; as mocker, 

233 : harbinger of spring, 233 : sinister 
aspect of, 234 ; as cuckold, 234 ; as 
a bird of omen, 234, 235 ; immortal 
and omniscient, 235; and nightingale, 
235. 

^unahgepas, i. 35 ; story of, 69-72, 74. 
Cupid and Psyche, i. 368, 369 ; ii. 378. 
Cypresses, riddle of the two, ii. 174. 
Cyrus, legend of, i. 110, 118 
Cyzicene, the, i. 275. 

DvEDALUS and Icarus, ii. 186. 

Dadhyanc, the head of, i. 303, 304. 

DadhikrS,, the solar horse, i. 337. 

Dakshas, ii. 364. 

Danaidee, the, i. 265. 

Daphnd, i. 170, 273. 

Darius Hystaspes, myth of, i. 346. 

Daughter, the third, and the toad, i. 381 ; 
and the magician, 382, 383, 

Dawns, the two, i. 27. 

Dejanira, i. 212. 

Delilah, counter-types of, i. 212. 

Deluge, the Vedic, ii. 335. , 

Demons, mountain of, i. ^^. 

Demosthenes on Ath^n^, ii. 247. 

DevayS,nl, the nymph, i. 83, 84. 

Devil, the, as a bull, i. 184 ; and the 
waters, ii. 390, 391. 

Dh^umyas, three disciples of, i. 79. 

Diana (Hindoo), ii. 43. 

Dead, the, good luck brought by, i. 
198. 

Dionysos, ii. 217 ; and the panther, 
160. 

Dioskuroi, i. 304, 305 ; the legend of, 
318. 

Dirghatamas, i. 84, 85. 

Dog, the, and cat, ii. 56, 57. 

Dolphin, the, ii. 351. 

Dominic, St, and the dog, ii. 40. 

Domitian and the astrologer, ii. 39. 

Dove, in the Rigvedas, ii. 297 ; Agnisas, 
297 ; Moses and the flesh of, 297 ; self- 
sacrificing, 297; and the ant, 298 ; 
stories of the maiden {and prince) 
transformed into, 298 ; story of the 
twelve sons changed into, 298, 299 ; of 
the prince and servants changed into, 
299-301 ; the two, and GennarieUo, 
300-302 ; the funereal, 303 ; as an- 
nouncer of the resurrection, 304 ; the 
daughters of Anius changed into, 304 ; 
the two, and Little Mary, 304 ; and 
Zezolla, 305 ; doves and the rosebush- 
maiden, 305 ; Periatera changed into. 



305 ; and Venus, 305 ; the laughing, 
306 ; and Aspasia, 306 ; infidelity of, 
306. 

Drinking, trial of, i. 206. 

Drusilla, Livia, and the white hen, ii. 196, 

Duck, swan, or goose, the, Agnis as, ii. 
307 ; the Marutas, and the horses of the 
A^vinS-u as, 307 ; and golden egg, 308 ; 
the sun as, 309 j in the lake, 309 ; the 
white, and her three sons, 311 ; death 
of, 311 ; that lays a golden and a silver 
egg, 311, 212. 

Drunkenness, and madness, ii. 348, 349. 

Dundus, i. 75, 76. 

Dundubhis, the cloud-monster, i. 75. 

Eagle, the, and Zeus, ii. 195-197; 
and the classic heroes, 196 ; the 
Hellenic, 196 ; and Aphrodite, 197. 

Earrings, theft and recovery of the, of 
Kamas, i. 80, 81. ^ 

Eel, the, as phallical, sacrificial, and 
divine, ii. 341 ; proverbs about, 341 ; 
eating, 342 ; with two heads and two 
tails, 342 ; transformation into a foun- 
tain and an, 343 ; the maiden changed 
into an, 343 ; and monster-serpent, 
343 ; diabolical, 344 ; the epic exploit, 
344. 

Eggs, hatching of, and thunder, ii. 281 ; 
worship of, 291 ; the golden, 292 ; be- 
ginning with, 292, 293. 

Elephant and the hare, ii. 77 ; mythical 
qualities of, 91 ; general mythical 
significance, 92 ; Airavanas, 92 ; the 
white, overcome by the monkey, 93 ; in 
the lake, 93 ; that supports the world, 
92, 93, 95 ; and the tortoise, 93-95 ; 
the Vedic, 94. 

Emilius, the lazy, and the grateful pike, 
i. 195-198. 

Empusa, i. 367. 

Endymion, i. 429. 

Epics, the, killing of the serpent the 
theme of all, ii. 392. 

Eros as a fish, ii. 340. 

Esmeralda and Quasimodo, loves of, i. 
421. 

Eulenspiegel, ii. 246. 

Eurdp^. i. 264, 265, 272. 

Exchanges, tales of unfortunate, i. 176. 

Fabquhar II., death of, ii. 14. 

Fecundity, symbols of, i. 49. 

Feridun, episode of old age of, i. 111. 

Finger, the knowing little, i. 166 ; Small 
Little, story of, ii. 151, 152. 

Finns, the, the epopee of, i. 150. 

Firefly, the, ii. 212, 213. 

Firud, i. 117. 

Fish, the laughing, i. 249 ; symbolic 
meaning of, 249; the April, 250; and 
the man's seed, 250 ; celestial meta- 
morphosis into, ii. 331 ; become a 
stone, 331 ; laughing, 333 ; Alexander 
and the, 333; the little gold, 334; 
Vishnus as a, 334, 335 ; and Aphrodit6, 



INDEX, 



435 



340 ; phallical, 341 ; wise and stupid, 
349 ; and the ring, 350 ; the heroic, 350, 
351 ; and pearl, 35'^ ; sacred, 353. 

Fly, the, and bear, ii. 221 ; aad ant, 222. 

Flies, ii. 221. 

Fleece, the golden, i. 146, 429. 

Flute, the magic, i. 161, 195. 

Fool, the fortunate, 195 ; the would-be, 
fortune -making, i. 240. 

Fox, the, and the bear, ii. 113 ; mythical 
significance, 122 ; and jackal, 123 ; 
double aspect of legendary, 123, 124 ; 
the wolf and honey, 128, 129 ; and the 
old man whose wife is dead, 129, 130 ; 
as weeper, 130 ; and tail, 131 ; and four 
hungry animals, 131 ; the hungry, and 
bird, 131 ; and wolf, 132, 133 ; and lost 
girl, 133 ; and the cheese, 133 ; as go- 
between, 134 ; and Buhtan, 134, 135 ; 
and Cosimo, 135 ; and hare, 136, 137 ; 
and cock, 137, 138 ; knaveries and 
cunning, 139 : and other animals, 139, 
140 ; the sick, and lion, 140 ; human 
antitype, 140 ; Lycaon, 147. 

Formicola, Captain, and the shepherd's 
son, ii. 45. 

Freya, i. 212 ; the foot of, 253. 

Frog, the, and mouse, ii. 71, 72. 

Frogs, the, in the sky, ii. 373 ; imitating 
the sounds of, 373 ; and the serpent or 
heron, 374 ; in the 103d hymn of the 
Rigvedas, 374 ; and Indras and Zeus, 
374; and the moon, 375-377; the 
dumb, 375 ; and Vroserpina, 375 ; 
and serpent, 376 ; and rook, 376 ; the 
diabolical, 376, 377 ; two dragons in 
the form of, 377 ; the maiden changed 
into, 377-379. 

Gahs, the, i. 98. 
Galanthis, iL 53. 
Galathea, i. 421, 422. 
Gandham^danas mountains, i. 52, 55. 
Gandharvas, the, i. 52, 53, 149, 160, 311 ; 

appetites of, 365 ; 367, 369, 370, 379. 
Ganegas, ii 68. 
Ganga, the nymph, i. 68. 
Ganges, the, ii. 308. 
Ganymede, rape of, ii. 196. 
Garatkarus, the wise, i. 68, 69. 
Gardabhas, i. 365, 369. 
Gargantua, at birth, i. 259. 
Garudas, the bird, and elephant, ii. 94, 

95 ; and the monsters, 184 ; and the 

birds, 245 ; 363. 
G^t5>yus, the omniscient vulture, ii. 185. 
Gazelle, the misleading, ii. 84. 
Gefion, voyage of, i. 222. 
Gemshid, legend of, i. 95. 
Genevieve, the Persian, 1. 121 ; 219. 
Gennariello and Milluccio, ii. 300-302. 
Geusurva, the, i. 98, 99. 
Gerion, the oxen of, i. 273, 277. 
Ghoshs,, the lein-ous, ii. 3, 5, 
Giaot-monster, the, and dwarf, i. 14S, 

149. 
Giovaunino, the fearless, i. 202, 388. 



Girl, the, persecuted, i. 121 ; affianced to 
three, 123 ; in the chest, Calmuc story 
of, 131 ; seven years old, Esthonian 
story of, 153 ; wise, of the wood, 154 ; 
the poor, and the lady of the waters 
(Esth.), 154 ; the beautiful, and the 
witch, 218. 
Giuseppe, the boy, and the ant*s leg, ii. 

45, 46. 
Gnat, the, ii. 221. 

Goat, the, triple aspect of, 1. 401; the 
cloud as, 402 ; the he-, 402, 403 ; Aq- 
vinilu as, 403; and apple-tree, 405; 
and walnut-tree, 405 ; kids of, and 
wolf, 406, 407 ; revenge of the goat, 
406, 407 ; mythical meaning, 407 ; he-, 
and merchant's daughter, 410 ; the 
sacrificed he-, 415, 416 ; as all-seeing, 
418 ; with seven eyes, 419 ; with twelve 
eyes, 419 ; constellation of the, 421 ; 
as rain -bringing, 421 ; milk of the, 421, 
424 ; blood of the he-, 422 ; stones, 422 ; 
sacrifice of he-, 423 ; cunning of the 
she-, 424 ; the witch and the boy goat- 
herds, 425 ; and the peasants of Sicily, 
426 ; and the goatherd of Val di For- 
mazza, 426 ; and the god Thor, 426 ; 
in the Scandinavian mythology, 427 ; 
the homed, 427, 428; lust of, 427, 
428 ; in Greek niythology, 428. 

Gods, the cheating of, i. 44, 45. 

Gold, hand of, ii. 32. 

Goose, the, and pearl, ii. 309 ; the 
miraculous, 312 ; foot of, 315 ; the 
disenchanted, 315 ; eating of, on St 
Michael's Day, 316. 

Gorgons, the, ii. 9. 

Godiva, the Mongol, i. 138. 

Grasshopper, the, the wedding of, with 
the ant, ii. 48, 49 ; as diviner, 48 ; song 
of the wedding, 49. 

Griffins, the, ii. 204, 205. 

Gudrun, i. 226. 

Guhas, i. 58. 

Guhas, King, ii. 333. 

Halcyon, the, phallical nature of, ii. 
269; the Greek, 270. 

Kansas, the, ii. 306, 307, 309. 

Hanumant in quest of the herb of health 
i. 52; 57-59, 61, 64, 78, 89; the monkey* 
ii. 101,106. ' 

Haoma, the ambrosial god, i. 97, 104. 

Harayas and Haritas, i. 376. 

Hare, the mythical, ii. 76; habitat and 
king, 76 ; and the elephant, 77 ; and 
hungry lion, 77 ; and the lion, 78 ; and 
dying eagle, 78 ; and cave of the wild 
beasts, 79 ; and lamb, 79 ; transfigured 
by Indras, 79 ; and parturition, 80 ; 
that sleeps with eyes open, 80 ; and 
bear, 81 ; and a wedding procession, 
81 ; and the girl that rides on it, 82. 

Harigcandras, i. 69-72. 

tiaris and hari, meanings of, i. 376 ■ ii 
99, 320. ' ■ 

Harpies, the, ii. 201, 202. 



43^ 



INDEX. 



Hawk, mytliical meaning of, ii. l'J2, 193; 
as a badge of knighthood, 193 ; sacred- 
iiess of, 193 ; and Attila, 11*4 ; and the 
Greek gods, 194 ; superstitious beliefs 
about, 194. 

Heads, exchange of, i. 303, 304. 

Health, herb of, i. 52-54 ; Gandharvas, 
guardians of, 53. 

Heaven, cup of, i. 8 ; battle in, 10, 11. 

Hedgehog and wolf, ii. 11, 12. 

Helen, the Argive, i. 170, 212; ii. 318. 

Hen, the crowing, ii. 284, 285 ; dreaming 
of the brood of the, 288. 

Heraklcs and Augeias, i. 143 ; and Cacus, 
232, 235, 266, 267 ; and the golden cup, 
273 ; and, the oxen of Gerion, 277 ; 
competes with the he-goat, 428; and 
the boar, ii. 9. 

Hermes and Admetos, i. 279 ; and SS-ra- 
meyjis, ii. 22. 

Hermits, the dwarf, ii. 364. 

Hero, the solar, riddle of, as a wonderful 
cowherd, i. 29 ; maiden helper, 209 ; con- 
cealed, 237 ; in the night, 326 ; saved 
by a tree, 334, 335. 

Heroes, the, hunger and thirst of, i. 8 ; 
chief arena of, 15 ; weapons of, 62 ; 
mountain of, 97 ; biblical, 118 ; dis- 
guise of, ii. 2 ; noises at the birth of, 
373. 

Heroines, perverted, i. 211, 212. 

Hesperides, garden of the, i. 274 ; ii. 410. 
418. 

Hiiipolytos, the legend of, i. 345. 

Hipponieues and Atalanta, ii. 159. 

Hog, as guise of the hero, ii. 2 ; the skin 
of, 5 ; bristles of, 5 ; dedicated to St 
Anthony, 6 ; lust of, 6 ; as Vishnus, 
7, 8 ; and wolf, 11. 

Holda, the dark, i, 251, 252. 

Hoopoe, the, ii. 230. 

Horse, the, of the sun, i. 290, 291 ; black, 
291, 292, 295 ; the three, 291, 296 ; tail 
and mane, 295 ; and the cat, 317 ; the 
myth of, 330, 331; fat of, 332; the 
strength of Indras, 336 ; the symbolic 
meaning of head of, 339 ; the hero's, 
340 ; binding of, 341 ; the neighing of, 
346, 347 ; tears of, 349, 350 ; mythical, 
349 ; the foam of, 352 ; the hoofs of, 
353, 354 ; and the gods, 355. 

Husband, the wicked, i. 124. 

Husbands, exchange of, i. 317. 

Tool, the wooden, iEsop's fable of, i. 177. 

Ichneumon, the, ii. 51-53. 

Iliad, the, most solemn moment of, i. 16. 

Ilvalas and Vdt^pis, legend of, i. 414. J 

Indras, the rOle of, i. 7, 15; appetite and I 
food, 8 ; hoins of the bull, 9 ; as the , 
fire-god Agnis, 10 ; his fields of battle, 
12, 15 ; great exi>loits of, 12 ; three- 
fold victory, 13, 14 ; weapons of, 14 ; 
companion of Somas, 18, 19 ; the 
triple, 20; moments of, 2(), 23; 
special function, 27 ; vrdations to the 
aurora, 27 ; and the blind lame one, 



32 ; destroyer of the witch Aurora, 
33 ; lover of the aurora, 35 ; i)ersonified 
in RS^mas, 59-61 ; slays Vi^varilpas, 
76 ; fall of, 76 ; protector of CJtankas, 
80, 81 ; transformation, 89 ; quarrel of, 
with the Marutas, 106 ; horses of, 351 ; 
as a ram, 403 ; with the thousand eyes, 
418 ; the rudder of, ii. 7 ; as a wild boar, 
8 ; and the dwarf hermits, 95 ; and 
Vishnus, 99, 100 ; and the monkeys, 
101 ; and Vritras, 154, 155 ; deprived of 
strength and beauty, 155 ; as a hawk, 
181 ; and Ahalya, 280, 281, 330 ; im- 
potent, 326 ; unchainmg the waters, 
330 ; drunk, 349 ; and the monster, 
393, 394 ; killing the monster, 394, 395. 

Indus, i. 18. 

lo, i. 264, 265, 271, 272. 

Iphiklos, ii. 198, 199. 

Isfendiar, seven adventures of, i. 118. 

Iskander, legend of, i. 119. 

Ivan, three essays of, i. 301, 302 ; {and 
Mary), with horse, dog, and apple-tree, 
ii. 28; resuscitated, 29; the three, sons 
respectively of the bitch, the cook, and 
the queen, 29 ; and the ring, 345 ; and 
his frog-bride, story of, 377-379. 

Ivan Tzarevic and the serpent, i. 177 ; 
and Helen and the bear, 178 ; and Prin- 
cess Mary, 179-182 ; and the demoniacal 
cow, 181 ; and the magic apples, 182 ; 
and the witch in the balance, 183 ; and 
the hero Nikanore, 184 ; and the theft 
of the black bull, 186 ; son of the black 
girl, 188 ; and his brothers, killing the 
serpents, 191 ; and the rescue of the 
three sisters, 194 ; of the dog, 194 ; the 
drinker, 194 ; and the dead body of his 
mother, 198, 199 ; courage of, 201 ; 
variations of, 202-204 ; horse of, 340. 

Ivan Durak and the humpbacked horse, 
i. 293, 294 ; and the fire-breathmg grey 
horse, 296 ; who, mounted, three times 
kisses the princess through twelve 
glasses, 297. 

Ivanushka and little Helen, i. 409. 

Jack and the beanstalk, i. 244. 

Jackal and the ass, i. 378 ; the perfidious, 
ii. 125 ; friend of the hero, 125 ; in 
borrowed feathers, 126 ; the, inquisi- 
tive and vile, 126 ; and the parrots, 127. 

Joan lou Pec, i. 397. 

-lohn, little, and his red shoes, i. 19.5, 196. 

Johnny and the goose-swans, ii. 309, 310. 

Jonah (the Hindoo), ii. 337. 

Jorsh, the, ii. 336-345 ; trial by the fishes 
of, 346-349 ; and Keinecke Fuchs, 348. 

Julius Csesar, horse of, i. 338, 350. 

Jupiter Ammon, i. 429. 

Kabandhas, the monster, i. 62-64. 

Kagapas, the, ii. 362. 

Kagyapas, the fecundator, ii. 364. 

Kadmos, i. 265, 272. 

Kai Khosru, the hero. i. 117, 118. 

Kan Pudai, Alt;tic story of, i. 144, 145. 



INDEX. 



437 



ICapilas, ravislier of the sacrificial horse, 

i. 331. 
Kapis, ii. 98, 99. 

Katoma and the hero's horse, i. 340, 341. 
KS-ucalyd,, i. 332. 

Kawus, King, i. 112, 113, 115, 116. 
Kentaiu's, the, i. 367-369. 
Ker lupta and the third brother, i. 290. 
Kere9^Qpa, the Persian hero, i. 106, 108 ; 

myth of, 313, 314, 335. 
King's son, the, and the peasant girl, 

i. 163-166. 
Kishmar, cypress of, i. 96. 
Krimhilt, i. 212. 
Krishnas, celebration of birth of, i. 51 ; 

father of, 75. 
Kruth, the bird, and tortoise, ii. 369, 370. 
Kulin, A., i. 263. 
Kumbhakarnas, the monster, ii. 400, 

401. 

Lakshmanas, i. 55 ; and Ramas, 62, 63, 

66, 77 ; ii. 85. 
Lame, the, and the blind, i. 217. 
Lapillus Alectorius, ii. 287. 
Lanka, three brothers of, i. 77. 
Lark, the, in cosmogony, ii. 273, 274 ; and 

St Chiistopher, 274 ; the crested, 275 ; 

Bharadvfi^gas, 275. 
Leaf, the magic, i. 155, 156. 
Lear, King, in embryo, i. 85 ; ii. 230. 
LMa, ii. 185. 
Lion, the, and the bull, i. 278 ; (and tiger) 

symbol of strength and majesty, ii. 153 ; 

Indras as a, 154 ; virtae of hair of, 155 ; 

lion's share, 156 ; -sun, the western, 157 ; 

sign of, 159 ; Androcles and, 157 ; the 

NemsBan, 158; afraid of the cock, 159. 
Lizard, the, as witch, ii. 385 ; as omen, 

385 ; the little, 385 ; the green, 386, 

387 ; and poor Laric, 387. 
Locust, the nocturnal, ii. 47. 
Lohengrin and Elsa, the legend of, ii. 

317-319. 
Loki, i. 226, 227 ; and the pike, ii. 333, 

334. 
Louse, the, stories of, ii. 222. 
Lucia, St, the Vedic, i. Z^^ 254 ; feast of, 

ii. 210. 
Lucius, of Apuleius, i. 366. 
Luuus. i. 58 ; the god, 139, 324. 
Lynx, the, ii. 54. 

Madonna the old, and the maiden who 
combs her head, i. 180. 

Magician, the, of the seven heads, ii. 36. 

Magpie, the, in mythology, ii. 258, 259 ; 
as a robber, 259 ; knowledge and malice 
of, 259 ; bird of omen, 260. 

Mah&,bharatam, the, most solemn moments 
of, i. 16. 

Mahrusa, i. 125. 

ftlaiden, the enchanted, and her hair, i. 
146 ; Esthonian story of the prince 
and persecuted, 151-153 ; and the golden 
slipper, 208; that by a i)uppet weaves a 
shirt for a prince, 20^ ; the, and the 



apple-tree, 251 ; the fairies' favourite, 
and the enchanted prince, ii. 286, 
287. 

Man and woman, the old, with the nine 
cows, i. 132 133 ; the old, who essays 
heaven in vain with his wife, 190 ; and 
the cabbage, beanstalk, &c., 190, 191 ; 
the old, and the beanstalk, 243. 

Man-bull, Calmuc tale of, i. 129. 

Mandaras, the, ii. 361, 362. 

Manus, ii. 248 ; and Vishnus as a fish, 
335. 

MansCir, i. 315. 

IMurcellus, St, the legend of, ii. 159. 

Rliire's head and the two girls, i. 298. 

M^rg^ras, ii. 42, 43. 

Mari(jas, the stag, i. 64 ; ii. 85. 

Mars and the wild boar, ii. 14. 

Martin, St, and birds of, ii. 270. 

Marutas, or winds, i. 5-7, 10, 12 ; kindred 
of, 17, 59 ; ii. 7 ; horses of, S3, 84 ; as 
monkeys, 99. 

Marziella and the geese, ii. 313. 

Mary and the cow's ear, and the step- 
mother with three daughters, i. 179- 
182 ; little, and the slipper, 196, 197. 

Matsyas, the, ii. 332. 

MS,yA,vin, the monster, i, 313. 

Max Miiller, i. 262, 263 ; and the panegyric 
of the frogs, ii. 371, 372. 

Medea, of the Vedas, i. 33, 35. 

Medea, i. 212. 

Medusa, i. 305. 

Menas, ii. 87. 

Merchant, synonymous with miser, i. 184 ; 
son of the, who transforms himself 
into a horse, 342 ; the, and his three 
daughters, 410. 

Mercury, i. 335 ; legend of, ii. 23. 

Merdi Ganb^z, the faithful, i. 120. 

Merhuma, the story of, i. 120, 121 ; 315. 

Merula, the fish, ii. 340. 

Metempsychosis, ii, 328. 

Mice and the dead, ii. 67 ; apparitions of, 

67 ; men transformed into, 67 ; presages 
from, 67, 68 ; and lion and elephant, 

68 ; war of, with the frogs, 72. 
Michael, St, i. 183. 

Midas, myth of (the Mongoliau), i. 381 ; 
(the Phrygian), 382, 383 ; as musical 
critic, 385 ; ears of, 386 ; as a miser, 
389 ; the progenitor and judge, 390. 

Milky-sea, the, i. 52 ; -way, the, 2"J8. 

Millstone, the devil under the, i. 114. 

Milon of Kroton, ii. 113, 147. 

Minotaurus, the Calmuc, i. 129 ; 265. 

Minucehr, the hero, i. 112. 

Mithra, the solar god, i. 95, 102, 103; 
bow of, 107. 

Mitras, the sun, =• witch at a riddle, i. 
30, 31; 52. 

Blole, the, ii. 73, 74. 

Monkey, original home of myth of, ii. 
97 ; equivalents, 97, 98 ; and Vislmus, 
99; mythical significations, 99; king 
nf, mo, 101 ; Hanumant, 101-106 ; mis- 
taken for a man, 103 ; tail of, 107 



43S 



INDEX. 



divination from, 107 ; and Jove, 108 ; 
as stupid, 108 ; musician, 119. 

Monster, the celestial, i. 10, 12 ; subdued 
by Indras, 12-14 ; tbat keeps back the 
■waters, ii. 393 ; killing of, 394, 395 ; and 
the egg of the duck, 395 ; the eggs of, 
396 ; the aquatic, 404. 

Moon, the mythical nature and office of, 
i. 18 ; as a pearl, 54 ; as a good fairy, 
56, 57 ; as a bull, 58 ; Indian, ii. 87. 

Mother of gold and her three dwarf sons, 
i. 153 ; story of the, "who recovers her 
hands and son by throwing her arms 
into a fountain, ii. 31 ; and the hands 
of gold, 31. 

Mouse, transformed by the penitent into 
a beautiful maiden, ii. 65, 66 ; and the 
mountain 66 ; and maiden, 69 ; the 
grateful, 70 ; and sparrow, 70, 71 ; the, 
Paicharpax, 71. 

Muses, the, and the bee, ii. i223. 

Mtish (mtishas, &c.), ii. 43. 

Music in the heavens, sorrow-inspired, i. 
149. 

Mythology, the Greek, i. 262 ; mobile 
nature of the objects of, 319, 320; 
allegorical treatment of, 421, ii. a Semi- 
tic, 412 ; the science of, 422 ; principal 
error in the scientific study of, 422, 423 ; 
concord of the learned in, 423 ; way to 
study, 424 ; animal, 425 ; product of 
imagination, 427. 

Myths, the central interest and most 
splendid moments of, i. 15, 16 ; de- 
velopment of objects in the, into per- 
sonalities with relationships, 320, 321 ; 
the negative as a factor in the forma- 
tion of, 322; the uncertain subjective 
in, 323 ; entrance of variety into, 324 ; 
interpretation of, 323-326. 

Nakulas, i. 311 ; ii. 43, 51, 52. 

Nalas, ii. 404. 

Neptune, i. 430. 

Netherworld, the, ii. 403. 

Nibelungen, the, most solemn moments 

of, i. 16 ; 257. 
Night and the aurora, i. 36, 37. 
Nightingale, as iDrognosticator, ii, 236 ; 

whistUng of, 237 ; propitious to lovers, 

239. 
Nisos and Scylla, ii. 197. 
Noah, the Vedic, ii. 335. 
Nose, the bleeding, Calmuc story of, i. 

131. 
Niikteus, ii. 246, 247. 
Numbers, sacred, i. 6, 76, 77 ; ii. 416. 

Odin, i. 224, 226, 227. 
Oiiysseus, i. 266. 
Oidin-oidon, i. 398, 399. 
Okeanos, the bull-headed, i. 207. 
Onokentaura, i. 367-369. 
Orpheus, i. 149, 160. 
OUer, the monster, ii. 391. 
Owl, the, as the bird of death, ii. 244; 
as an evil genius, 244 ; and vulture, 



244, 245; and the crows, 245, 246; 
cunning, 246 ; and Athene, 247 ; eggs 
of, 247 ; the male, 247, 248 ; prophetic 
faculty of, 249 ; horned, 249, 250. 
Ox, the speaking, i. 247 ; and Zeus, 248 ; 
as priest, 258. 

Pallas and the war of the frogs and 
mice, ii. 72 ; and the crow, 254, 

Pan and Midas, i. 385 ; and the ass, 387, 
391 ; god of shepherds, 387 ; at Mara- 
thon, 389 ; 428, 429. 

Panayas, the, ii. 19, 20. 

P^ndavas, the five brothers, i. 77-79. 

Pandora, i. 34. 

Pandus, ii. 84. 

Paravri^, the blind-lame, i. 32. 

Partkshit, King, ii. 84, 

Parrot, the, myth of, ii. 320 ; and the 
colour haris, 321 ; as Qukas, 321 ; lunar 
character of, 322 ; aa counsellor, 322. 

Partridge, the devil as, ii. 227 ; Talaus 
changed into, 228 ; and peasant, 228 ; 

Pasiphae, myth of, i. 237 ; 266, 

Peacock, the mythical equivalents of, 
ii. 323 ; the hiding of, 324 ; as rival of 
the cuckoo, 324 ; and dove, 324 ; Indras 
as, 325, 326 ; feather of, and the younger 
brother, 325 ; tail of, 326, 327 ; as a 
symbol of immortality, 327. 

Pearl, the ambrosial, i. 54. 

Peasant, riddle-solving, i. 142, 

Pfigasos, and Hippocrene, i. 176 ; 291, 305, 
338. 

Penelope, i. 428 ; and he-goat, ii. 163, 

Pepin, the times of, i. 252; King, 255, 
256. 

Peirithoos and Trikerberos, ii. 39. 

Perrault, story of, i. 367. 

Perrette, the Calmuc, i. 134, 135. 

Peter, St, and the dog, ii. 27. 

Phaethdn, i. 277 ; the bull, 277 ; 343, 
344. 

Phalaris, the bull, i. 239. 

Phineus, ii. 74. 

Phrixos and Helle, the Russian, i. 409; 
429. 

Phcenix, the, mythical significance of, ii. 
200, 201 ; death of, 200. 

Pi9^cS,s, the ass, i. 375, 376. 

Piccolino, ii, 151. 

Picus, King, ii. 265, 266. 

Pike, the luminous, ii. 334 ; the brown, 
337, 338 ; and Erailius, 338 ; the phal- 
lical, 339 ; and crab and heron, 339 ; 
drunk, 349. 

Pimpi, the stupid, and the hog, ii. 10. 

Pipetta and the sackful of souls, i. 388. 

Pipkin, the miraculous, i, 126 ; the 
stories of, 243-245% 

Piran and Pilsem, i. 314. 

Poem, an epic, i. 141. 

Polyphemos, i. 266, 

Porcupine, the, ashes and quills of, ii. 
12, 13. 

Pork, virtues of, ii. 10, II. 

Porringer, the enchanted, i. 126. 



INDEX. 



439 



Portugal, third son of the King of, and 
the dragons, ii. 187-189. 

Poseid6n, i. 266. 

PragS-patis, i. 47. 

Pretiosa, disguised as a bear, ii. 117. 

Priapos, i. 394, 396 ; and Silenos, 384. 

Pri9nayas, the, i. 6, 16, 17. 

Prince, the, and princess of the bird's 
egg, i. 170 ; "who three times wins the 
race, 291 ; and enchanted mantle, 411. 

Princess, three-breasted, i, 86, 122 ; in 
the chest, Celtic story of, 241 ; and the 
pups, 412. 

Proserpina, the Teutonic, i. 252, 260. 

Proverb, the, of shutting the stable after 
the cow is stolen, i. 231; of shutting 
Peppergate, 231 ; recovering the cow's 
tail, 232; of the cow's tail wagging 
but never falling, 234; of the egg- 
hatching cow, 238 ; of the cow and the 
hare, of the cow and the moon, 241, 
2-^2; of hunting by blowing a horn, 
242 ; of the blind cow finding the pea, 
243 ; of the laughing cow, 245 ; of the 
spinning cow, 250, 251 ; of the cow- 
maid that spins, 250. 

Proverbs, German, relating to the cow, 
i. 229 ; mythical, 230, 231. 

Puppets, the three, i. 207. 

Purse, the enchanted, i. 126. 

Purtlravas, myth of, i. 67. 

Piinis, i. 84. 

Pfishan, i. 409. 

Pyramos and Thysbe, ii. 157. 

Pythagoras once a peacock, ii. 327 ; the 
belief of, 328. 

Quail, the, in Rigvedas, ii. 276 ; as 
symbol of the Tzar, 276 ; and Hercules 
and Latona, 277 ; and moon, 277 ; the 
game of, 277 ; as a bird of omen, 277, 
278. 

Queen, the blinded, and her servant, i. 
218, 219. 

Queen-mother, the, and her wicked sister, 
i. 412. 

Rahus, ii. 252, 
Rak&, i. 50, 56. 
Ram, the rain-cloud as a, i. 402 ; Indras, 

403; Indras and testicles of, 414; de- 

vourer of, 415. 
Ra,mas, the sun, i, 55, 57-59 ; alter ego of 

Indras, 59-62 ; and Lakshmanas, 63, 

77, 311, 312, 315 ; ii. 24, 85 ; and Ka- 

bandhas, i. 64-66, 81, 86 ; and Bharatas, 

374. 
R&,m^yanam, the, most solemn moments 

of, i. 16. 
RS,vanas, the monster, i. 76, 77 ; asses of, 

375. 
Rebhas, i. 299. 
Keinardus Vulj^es, ii. 141. 
Henart, Procession du, ii. 140, 141. 
Resurrection, offerings symbolic of, i. 48, 

49; faith in, 339. 
RhodopS and her slipper, ii. 197. 



Ribhavas, the brothers, work and work- 
manship of, i. 20, 21, 46 ; names and 
relationships, 21, 22; identification with 
Indras as Agohyas, 2ii; the third of, 
20-26; in Hindoo tradition, 25; pro- 
tectors of the cow, 27 ; and the even- 
ing aurora, 33 ; the three, in search of 
the earrings, 79 ; 81, 125. 

Riddles, propounding, i. 82, 102, 112 ; 
solving of, 143 ; identification by solv- 
ing, 206, 207. 

Rigr^gvas, the red horse, i. 415, 417. 

Rigvedas, the, i. 4, 40 ; 28th hymn of 10th 
book, ii. 77, 78; the 103d hymn of, 
371-373. 

Rikshas, ii. 98. 

Ring of recognition, i. 55; of Dushyan- 
tas, ii. 350. 

Pi,occo, San, and dog, ii. 27- 

Rohitas, i. 69-72. 

Romeo and Juliet, i. 125. 

Romulus, i. 118 ; and Remus, ii. 177. 

Round table, the, poems of, i. 257. 

Rudras, i. 5, 47, 89 ; ii. 7. 

Rustem, the mych of, i. 112-116 ; and the 
ass, 379 ; horse of, and the lion, 380. 

Sack, the, the hero -in, i 2."7, 239, 240 ; 

the dwarf in, 238 ; and the hero cut in 

pieces, 295. 
Sailors, the, saved in the buffalo's hide, 

i. 239. 
Saints, i. 355, 356. 
Sal, the hero, i. 1 12. 
Salamander, the, ii. 380. 
Sampo, the Finnish cup of abundance, i. 

150. 
Samson, i. 236 ; the Hindoo, ii. 104-107 ; 

and the lion, 154-156. 
Samvaranas, i. 86, 87. 
Saram£L, i. 57, 58, 97 ; and the Panayas, 

ii. 19-22 ; and the cows in the rock, 19 ; 

impersonation of the moon, 21 ; sons 

of, 22 ; and Sarameyas, 24. 
Sarameyas, ii. 22-24. 
Savitar, i. 54, Qo. 
Saranyu, i. 347. 
Schmierbock, the cunning, i. 413, 416 ; 

ii. 151. 
Schwanritter, the, ii. 319. 
Scylla, ii. 34 

Sea-urchin, the, ii. 336, 350. 
Sefid, the demon, i. 113. 
SelSne, ii. 217. 
Serpent, as the privileged demoniac form, 

ii. 389 ; tail of, as betraying the devil, 

389 ; the devil, and the young widow, 

389; -devil, and the waters, 390; the 

killing of, the theme of all epics, 392 ; 

in the Rigvedas ; 393-396 ; tliat bites 

its tail, 396 ; Agnis as, 397 ; Indras, 

the Marutas, 397 ; the wisdom of, 397 ; 

and the Somas, 397, 398 ; the phallical. 

399 ; Anantas, 399 ; Vasukis, 400 ; 

and the cloud-monster, 400, 401 ; the 

funereal, 401, 402 ; -rope, of Yamas. 

402 ; collar of, 402 ; and SHa, 402 ; 



440 



INDEX. 



and riches, 403 ; and the lower world, 
403 ; Karkotakas, and Nalas, 405 ; and 
hunter, 405 ; as a wise magician, 405 ; 
the crested, 406 ; three-headed, 406 ; 
skin and tongue of, 407 ; and lost 
riches and the dead, 407 ; the white, 
407 ; worship of, 408 ; and children, 
408 ; and the heads of the family, 408 ; 
and the tree, 409 ; and moon, 410 ; tree 
guarded by a, 410 ; symbol of, 411 ; the, 
in the Persian mythology, 412, 417 ; 
the ^ruvara, 412, 413 ; the breath of, 
413 ; and frog, 414 ; the two talking, 
415, 416 ; the three headed, 416 ; fairy, 
and three gifts, 417 ; and king who has 
betrayed the maiden, 417 ; the sleep- 
ing, with eyes open, 417; and the king's 
daughter, 418 ; as whistler, 419. 

Sheep, the, triple aspect of, i. 401. 

Shepherd's son, ii. 45 ; and Giuseppe, 45. 

Shepherdess, the, who proves herself a 
queen, i. 209-211. 

Siddhi-Kilr, stories of, i. 120 ; Mongol 
and Calmuc stories of, 128-135. 

Sifrit, i. 213, 214 ; and Brunhilt, 329, 
330 ; horse of, 339. 

Sijavush, i. 116. 

Simurg, the bird, and the child Sal, ii. 
188, 189. 

Sirens, the, i. 149, 205, 206. 

Sister, triple, i. 85. 

Sisters, the three, i. 105 ; Calmuc story 
of, 130. 

Slta, the dawn, i. 26, 55-60, 62, 65, m ; 
fire sacrifice of, 67, 69 ; and SaramS,, 
ii. 21 ; and the sei-pents, 403. 

Sky, the glowing, a fire, i. 69 ; stone of, 
96 ; by night, ii. 167 ; winged animals 
of, 168. 

Slipper, the lost, i. 31 ; enchanted, 126 ; 
origin of throwing the, 196. 

Snail, the, ii. 74, 75. 

Sohrab, son of Kustem, i. 114, 115. 

Solabella and her seven brothers, ii. 
314. 

Solomon, ring of, and the hero, i. 167; 
story of the ring of, ii. 175. 

Somas, the. i. 8, 18 ; as a bull, and <u 
stallion, 19 ; 104. 

Son, the, who sacrifices his mother, i. 
124. 

Sons, three, rape and restoration of the, 
ii. 57 ; transformation of, into doves, 
57. 

Sperm as ambrosia, ii. 181. 

Spider, the, and its web, ii. 161, 163, 
165 ; and the wasp, 164. 

Squirrel, the, and fox, ii. 73 ; in the 
Edda, 73. - 

St James's Way, i. 422; Day, 422, 423, 
430. 

Stag, the mythical, ii. 83 ; the golden, 
85 ; the hero, ^% ; at the fountain, 86 ; 
Eikthyrner, 87; and Telephos, 88 ; 
as nourisher of heroes, 88 ; silver 
images of, in churches, 88 ; disguise 
of, 88, 89. 



Stone, mountain of, i, 314 ; the man 
turned to, ii. 285. 

Stork, the, and heron, ii. 261 ; and 
children, 261 ; mythical meaning of, 
261 ; and the old man, 262 ; and the 
peasant, 262. 

Strix, the, ii. 202, 203. 

Stymphalian, the, birds, ii. 204. 

Styx, the, i. 390. 

Sudabe, i. 116. 

SudeshnS,, Queen, i. 85. 

Sugrlvas, ii. 109. 

Sun, the, as a god, i. 7 ; as a bull, 8 ; re- 
lations of, ,to aurora, 27 ; as a cow- 
herd, 29 ; child of night and aurora, 
37 ; the, in relation to the aurora, 27 ; 
as a lame hero, 31, 32 ; persecuted 
by, and persecutor of, the aurora, 33 ; 
as born of aurora, 51 ; the pearl, 54 ; 
and the aurora, 56, 65 ; and moon, 65 ; 
light of the, and Ssaran, intrigue of, 
138 ; firing at, 344 : the, in the cloud, 
394. 

Sundiis and Upasundas, the inseparable, 
i. 310. 

Sunlight and Moonlight, i. 315, 316. 

Superlatif, i. 259. 

SuramS,, i. 57, 58. 

Sfiry4, i. 65 ; husband of, 307. 

Svagvas, i. 343. 

Svetazor and his brothers, i. 192-194. 

Swallows as birds of omen, ii. 240 ; the 
seven, and Sigurd, 240 ; and the Lord, 
240 ; of good augury, 240 ; and the 
crow, 241 ; and swan, 241 ; as babblers, 
241 ; dreaming of, 241. 

Swan, the, and the prince, ii, 311 ; hero 
as or on, 316. 

Swineherd, the, and the hogs' tails, i. 
234. 

Sword, the enchanted, i. 126. 

Tail, the, value of recovering, i. 235, 

237 ; the fox's, 236. 
Takshakas, king of serpents, i. 80, 81. 
Tapati, legend of the loves of, i. 86, 87. 
Tdtos, the Hungarian horse, i. 288, 296. 
Tehmime and Rustem, i. 114. 
Telephos and the stag, ii. 88. 
Tereus, the myth of, ii. 229. 
Theodore, the hero, i. 296. 
Thief and the pigs, i. 200, 201 ; the, in 

the myths, 333. 
Thomas, little, and the priest's horse, i. 

234 ; the ass, 362. 
Thor, and the serpent of Midgard, i. 225 ; 

his appetite, 226 ; and the goat, 426 ; 

the vessel of, 426 ; ii. 6. 
Thraetaona, i. 101, 103 -106. 
Three, the number, ii. 416. 
Thrita, i. 103-105. 
Thunder, son of, thunder-god and devil, 

story of, i. 159, 160. 
Thunderbolt, the, i. 9, 14 ; symbolic 

meaning, 250. 
Tiger, tail of, ii. 100. 
Tistar, i. 98. ^y 



INDEX. 



441 



Toad, the, as demou and as a diabolic 
form, ii. 379 ; the maiden changed into, 
379, 3S0; fortune -bringing, 380; sacred- 
ness of, 381 ; and the third daughter, 
381 ; -births, 383 ; the dried, as an 
amulet, 384 ; the -stone, 384. 

Tom, little, blind of an eye, and his 
brothers, i. 335, 336. 

Tortoise and the elephant, ii. 93-95 ; the 
incarnation of Vishnus as a, 360-362 ; 
originally, 361; names of, 361, 362; 
and mountain, 362; and elephant, 
363-364; the funereal, 365; buried, 
365 ; blood of, 365 ; and frogs, 366 ; 
changed into the lyre, 366 ; the shields 
of, 366 ; and Zeus, 366, 367 ; and new- 
born children, 367 ; mythical mean- 
ing, 368 ; German legend of, 368 ; the 
island, 368 ; and the hare, 369 ; and 
the eagle, 369; and the bird Kruth, 
369, 370. 

Tree, the ambrosial, guarded by a dragon, 
ii. 410, 411. 

Trigankus, i. 72-74. 

Trieiras, i. 76, 77. 

Trigata, 1. 57. 

Trinity, Indian, dispute for pre-eminence, 
ii. 8. 

Tritas, i. 8 ; horse of, 23 ; character and 
relationships, 23 ; why called stupid, 
23 ; in the well, 24, 25 ; and his 
brothers, 25. 

Turn -little-Pea and his brothers, story of, 
i. 191, 192. 

Tuti-Name, the, i. 119. 

Tvashtar, i. 21, 34; the Hindoo Vulcan, 
ii. 154, 155. 

Twilights, the two, i. 18, 27. 

Tyrant, the, and the bleating lamb, i. 416, 
417. 

Tzarovic, Ivan, and his Medea sister 
Helen, i. 212-214 ; and his penitent sis- 
ter, 214-216 ; and his perfidious mother, 
216 ; and his perfidious wife, 216, 217 ; 
and his wife Anna, 217. 

UccAiH^RAVAS, the horse, i. 288, 289. 

Udda,lakas, i. 80. 

Ukko, the Finnic thunder-god, i. 147. 

Upamanyus, i. 79. 

Ursula, St, ii. 118. 

Urva^i, the myth of, i. 39 : 67, 84, 170, 

273, 365, 369. 
Usha, i. 26. 
Utankas, myth of, i. 80, 81, 95: 331, 

333. 

VADHRIMATt, ii. 32. 

Vainamtiinen, dwarf-god, i. 147, 148 ; 

harp of, 149. 
Valkyries, the, and their swan forms, ii. 

315. 
Valmikam, ii. 43. 
Vamri, ii. 43. 
Vamras, ii. 44. 
Varuuas, i. 52, 69-72, 107. 
Vasavas, the, i. 68. 
VOL. II. 



j Vasishtas, cow of, i. 72-74, 87, 88 ; vain 
} attempt at self-destruction, 88, !^)!). 
j Valas, the grotto of, i. 13 ; as a cow, 15. 

V^yus, i. 5-7. 

Vedas, i. 80. 

Vegetables, as symbols of generation, 
i. 164. 

Veretraghna, the bull, i. 103, 104. 

Vespasian and the horse's dung, i. 389. 

Vesta, i. 384. 

Vi(;vamitras, myth of, i. 72-74, 88. 

Vi^var^pas, with the three heads, i. 76. 

Vikramadityas, the history of, i. 136, 137. 

Vishnus, i. 20, 24, 26, 54, 57; personi- 
fied in Kam^s, 59 ; three steps of, 301, 
302, 334 ; as a wild boar, ii. 8, 9 ; and 
Hiranyakshas, 8 ; and the monkeys, 
99, 100 ; as haris, 424. 

Vivasvant, i. 34. 

Vouru-Kasha, sea of, i. 96. 
i Vulcan, the Vedic, i. 21 ; the Christian, 
ii. 40. 

VidnerabiUty of the hero or monster, 1. 
82. 

Vulture, the, in the classics, ii. 198 ; 
feathers of, 198; and the immoital 
liver, 198 ; voracity, 199 

Vultures, the twin, ii. 184. 

Walchelm, the priest, i. 293. 

Walnut-tree, and goat, i. 4U5. 

"Wasp, wisdom of, ii. 221. 

Way, the Milky, i. 421 ; and she-goat, 

422. 
Weasel, the, ii. 52, 53. 
Wedding-ring, the, i. 169. 
Whale, the mythical, ii. -337 ; and the 

fleet, 345. 
Wife, the, and the bewitching voice, i. 

137. 
Willimar and his vow, i. 356. 
Wind, Persian god of, i. 105. 
Winds, the, as bulls, i. 7, 12. 
Wise men, the seven (Angirasas), i. 17, 

28. 
Wolf, the, and goat's kids, i. 406, 407 ; 
mythical meaning of, 408 ; the mon- 
ster, 408 ; the, and the devotee, ii. 142 ; 
impersonations of, 142 ; and dog, 143 ; 
heroic forms of, 144 ; the she-wolf, 144 ; 
I transformation into, 145 ; sent by God 
as instrument of vengeance, 146 ; hide 
] and teeth of, 146, 147 ; the demoniacal, 
j 147 ; as omen of death, 147 ; Skiill and 
' Hati, 147 ; disguises of, 147-149. 
, Woman, made of wood, story of, i. 137 ; 
the old, and her older sister, ii. 6. 
Women, knowledge of, i. 246, 247. 
Woodman and painter, the, Calmuc story 
of, i. 130. 
1 Woodpecker, the mythical meaning of, 
I ii. 265 ; and King Picus, 265 ; beak of, 
i 267 ; and Beowulf, 267 ; of evil omen, 
267, 268 ; and dog, 268, 269. 
"\A'ren, the, in mythology, ii. 207 ; and 
the eagle, 208; and beetle, 208; and 
I death of Csesar, 209. 

2 F 



44 ^ 



INDEX. 



Yamas, i. 23, 71, ii. 25 ; kingdom of, 

48, 49 ; son of, 78, 95, 107. 
Yay&tis and the girl in the well, i. 83. 

84. 
Yggdrasil and the four stags, ii. 87. 
Ysengrin, the wolf, ii, 141, 149. 
Yudhishthiras, i. 77-79, 82. 
Yiinx, the bird, ii. 269. 



Zaparana, ii. 10. 

Zeus and Hera, i. 247, 248 ; the beetle, 
and the eagle's eggs, ii. 195 ; eagle of, 
195, 196 ; and Latona, 277, 280 ; and 
L6da, 318 ; and lo, 327 ; Faber, 352, 
353. 

Zezolla, the maiden, and the dore, ii. 
304, 305. 



THE END. 



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