The most cursory inspection of field and sky yields him information enough for his needs. Practical knowledge with him is all instinct and tradition. His mythology can for that very reason ride on nature with a looser rein. If at the same time, however, his circumstances are auspicious and he feels practically secure, he will have much leisure to ripen inwardly and to think.
He paused and shut his eyes. "You remember in the old mythology tales how, when the sons of the gods were born, the mothers always died in agony? Maybe it's only Semele I'm thinking of. At any rate, I've sometimes wondered whether the young men of our time had to die to bring a new idea into the world... something Olympian. I'd like to know. I think I shall know.
The country was part of that land which turned the minds of its ancient poets toward a more tender dreaming, so that indeed their nymphs would die, one is sure, in the cold mythology of the north with its storms amid the gloom of pine forests. It was all wine to Coleman's spirit. It enlivened him to think of success with absolute surety.
A medical friend of the writer tested the efficacy of the plant known by that name and found it to be much superior to either gallic acid or tannic acid in stopping blood. The Guhyakas occupy, in Hindu mythology, a position next only to that of the gods, and superior to that of the Gandharvas who are the celestial choristers.
It is a neighbourhood where natural beauties contend with the ugliness of industrialism, and usually emerge triumphant. There is a story told of St. Agnes in connection with Wesley, which proves how rapidly folk-lore may spring up; it is even more remarkable, because more modern, than the manner in which Devonians have associated mythology with the name of Francis Drake.
On the other hand, the resemblances above noticed between Aryan and American mythology fall very far short of the resemblances between the stories told in different parts of the Aryan domain. No barbaric legend, of genuine barbaric growth, has yet been cited which resembles any Aryan legend as the story of Punchkin resembles the story of the Heartless Giant.
By a curious anomaly the beautiful recitative, accompanied by the murmur of brooks and the songs of the birds, is in C major in both scores. The author could not have changed them. On the contrary he modified his instrumentation greatly, simplified and perfected it. We know that the authors, in utter defiance of mythology, wanted a happy ending and so brought Eurydice back to life a second time.
It is a wonderful work. Virgil was a practical farmer; he tells you correctly what to do. But he makes a work of art of it all poetical. He suffuses his directions for stock-raising and cabbage-hoeing with the light of mythology and poetry. He gives you the Golden Age and Saturn's Italy, and makes the soil seem sacred.
In the Voelsunga paraphrase of Eddic lays, upon which the story of the Ring is founded, the child of the unnatural union is not Sigurd, not the golden hero "whom every child loved," but the savage outlaw Sinfjoetli, half wolf, half robber, one of the most terrible creations of mythology.
But as soon as these traditions became fixed by a written language, the collectors of them, deceived by the similarity of name, assembled the scattered facts, and ascribing to a single man these accumulated exploits, degraded history to the level of a miraculous mythology.