A myth or an ancient tale can feed the imaginations and souls of humans. The vast majority of these tales are just stories people have handed down through the decades.
But a few of these tales have roots in real geological events of the past, giving warning of possible dangers and speaking to the astonishment the one holds for the might of the planet.
These stories record the observations of the people who witnessed them. This article introduces tales from different countries around the world. It introduced Indian tales, Irish tales, Greek tales as well as Chinese tales.
India is a land of great people and has a lot of great tales as well. India passed through a lot of critical events during history. Indian Mythology is full of adventure and morals. These stories are a great way to introduce Indian values and ethics to children.
Right and Might
A deer was eating wild fruit one day. The deer heard an owl call “Haak, Haak”, and a cricket cry. “Wat” felt surrounded and frightened so he fled. During his flight, he flew through the trees up into the mountains, and down into streams.
In one of the streams, the deer walked upon a small fish and smashed it almost to death. Then the fish made a complaint to the court, and the deer, owl, cricket, and fish had a case. In the court appeared this evidence:
When the deer escaped, he ran into some dry grass. So, the seed dropped into the eye of a wild chicken. The pain of the seed in the eye of the chicken made it fly up against a nest of red ants. The red ants were alarmed so they rushed out to do battle. While hurrying, They bit a mongoose.
The mongoose flew into a vine of wild fruit and shook many pieces of it on the head of a hermit. The hermit sat thinking under a tree. He asked the fruit why they fell on him. The fruit said that it is because of the mongoose.
Then, the hermit asked the mongoose about the reason. The mongoose answered that he didn’t mean it. It was because of the red ants. So, the hermit asked the red ants why they did so. The red ants replied that it wasn’t them, it was because of the hen.
The hermit asked the hen why she flew against the ants’ nest. The hen answered that it was because the seed fall into the hen’s eyes. The hermit turned to seed to ask. The seed answered that it was because of the deer.
The hermit asked the deer why he shook the seed down. The deer said that he didn’t mean to do that but the owl called, frightening him, so he ran. The hermit asked the owl why she frightened the deer. The owl replied that because she used to call so the cricket called too.
After the judge heard the evidence, he sentenced the cricket to replace the smashed parts of the fish. This is because he is the main reason to frighten the deer and caused all of these troubles. The cricket was smaller and weaker than the owl or the deer, thus he had to accept the punishment.
Agasthya drinks the ocean
The Devas and Asuras were cousins. They were consistently fighting. The Devas had control over Devalok, the world above Earth. The Asuras existed in the world below Earth which is called Paatal. The Asuras became more powerful after sunset. So, the Asuras always struck their cousins at night.
When the sun rose, the Devas grew more powerful. They would be prepared to attack the Asuras. But the Asuras would vanish! The Devas would look for them in heaven, earth, and, everywhere, but the Asuras weren’t there.
Finally, the Devas noticed the Asuras’ footprints guiding them to the ocean. Indra, lord of the Devas, shouted that the Asuras were hiding in the ocean. Vayu, the Wind God, was excited to catch them.
Agni, the Fire God hissed and wondered if they could fight them underwater. He saw Sage Agasthya sitting on the beach, in a mood of meditation. Indra ran to him and asked for his help. Agasthya was a strong sage, who liked the Devas.
He decided to help them. Agasthya prayed to the Sun, he plunged his hands into the ocean and lift out some water. The next moment, all the water from the ocean was pulled into his palms. The sage drank it all at once.
As the great sage was in seventh heaven, the Asuras stood uncovered on the dry ocean bed. The Devas attacked them. Terribly beaten, the Asuras ran from battle. The Devas roared in victory.
Seeing his cousins flying away, Indra believed that they would not bother the Devas again. He thanked Sage Agasthya and asked him to return the water to the ocean.
Agasthya frowned at Indra and said that he already drank all the water. He can’t return it. Indra felt sinful. Without the ocean, all living things on earth would suffer.
Agasthya continued that the only way out is to wait for Ganga to come down to earth. This was the only river that can fill the empty space in the ocean. Therefore started the long wait for Ganga.
The Rajah’s Rice
Once upon a time, there was a Rajah who ruled over many rice farmers. He demanded nearly all of their rice. In exchange, he would store it and return it in times of famine.
One year, when the rice grew badly, there was a terrible famine. The Rajah refused to return any of the previously promised rice. He thought it was improper that a Rajah ever goes hungry.
Many people starved to death, yet he still refused. One day an elephant carrying rice from the royal storehouse strung a leek. A young girl named Rani saw this and began to catch the grain in her skirt. She formed a plan.
When the elephant finally stopped, Rani ran to the Royal Palace. She was led in to be personally thanked by the Rajah for saving his precious rice. He told rowdy that she can have anything she wished for. Rani at first asked for nothing but a single grain of rice.
The Rajah was very confused. He didn’t want to reward such a good deed with such a small price. After more goading, Rani finally agreed to a new reward. She asked the Rajah to first give her a single grain of rice, and every day for 30 days, he would double that amount.
As in tomorrow, she would get two. The next day, she would get four. Soon after 30 days, the amount slowly was by the sixteenth day, she received it back in Hainan 32.768 grains. It was enough for two medium-sized bags led by a goat.
There all she grew worried, perhaps it wasn’t so smaller the gift after all. But there were only 14 days left, what could happen? The 27th day soon arrived and Rani received 64 baskets of rice delivered by 32 bowels.
The Rajah was worried but vowed to have fulfilled his promise until the end. By the 30th day, the Rajah sent out 56 elephants carrying the rice of 4 royal storehouses. The Rajah was officially out of rice.
Rani promised to give all the rice to the hungry people. The Rajah swore you would never be so selfish again. There was never that sort of catastrophe in the land again
The Strength of Durga
This story is based on the essence of the day why Indians celebrate Mahalaya. It is about how goddess Durga defeated the demon named Mahisha Surah.
As you know, Mahisha Surah was a demon. He was partly a buffalo and partly a demon. Since the mother of Mahisha surah was a Mahesh which is a buffalo, his name was Mahisha Surah. Mahisha means the buffalo and Asura mean the demon.
Goddess Durga is known to kill many demons. Once a demon named Mahisha Surah became very powerful. After that, he was very cruel. He started defeating various gods who were staying the heaven. Finally, he defeated Lord Indra, the king of all the gods in heaven.
Mahisha Surah took the place of lord Indra in heaven. He sat under the throne of Indra. After that, he decided that he would stay and became the lord of the gods
Goddess Durga was called upon. She has been created from the divine energies of all the gods combined there. Goddess Durga was the combined force of all the gods.
Durga took on Mahisha Surah. She defeated him and ultimately she saved the gods in heaven. Thereby, she saved the world.
The Focus of Arjuna
The Pandavas and Kauravas were studying in the Gurukula. They were studying under the guidance of Acharya Drona. One day, Guru wanted to test students’ skills in archery. He called all the students. He asked them to gather.
Drona called upon one of the students, Yudhistra. Drona asked him to aim at the bird’s eye. Drona asked the student about what he could see. The student replied that he could see the bird. Drona asked him to move back and that he needed more practice.
Then, another student came forward and aimed at the bird’s eye as well. Drona asked him the same question. The student, called Bhima, replied that he could see the bird and its base. Again, Drona sent him back.
Another student, Duryodhana, came in. Drona asked again the same question. The student answered that he could see the bird, its base, and some clouds. Drona told him that he needed a lot more practice because his aim was bad.
Drona called Arjuna to come in and asked him to aim at the target. Then, he asked about what he saw. He answered that he could see only an eye of a bird. Drona asked him to shoot. Drona was happy about it.
Drona explained that it was about concentration. That sort of concentration is what makes a great archer. Drona wished the student to become the best archer in the whole world.
The Loyalty of Shravana
Shravan Kumar was the only offspring of his parents. He used to serve them a lot. One day he fed the parents, when they started relaxing he started pressing their feet.
The conversion started when he said some people were going to the shrine today. There were happy to sing hymns. They didn’t have their own presence of mind. The old father said that he wished they could go to the holy place. The mother prayed for her son to be safe and guarded.
At the same time, Shravan Kumar decided that he would hurl them. He didn’t even tell this his wife. He was aware that she would not be happy. Shravan was married in childhood. His wife was used to serving in form of laws.
On the second day, Shravan went to the carpenter. The carpenter was very happy to see him. He asked Shravan how to help him. Shravan said that he wanted him to make a basket.
Shravan wanted to take his parents on to pilgrimage. The carpenter said that it would be difficult to take the paths alone. Shravan asked the carpenter how long he would take to finish the basket. Finally, the carpenter told him that he could take the basket the next day in the evening.
Shravan went back home. He started preparing to go. In the evening, he returned home. He told his wife to go to the shrine. He would leave in the early morning. He also told his parents explaining that they wouldn’t have any problem in the way.
The next morning, he got up early. His parents sat in the basket. He carried the baskets. All the people of the whole village were blessed with blessings. Anyone who saw them, their eyes were full of tears.
Several months elapsed, and Shravan travelled with his parents all day long. He slept at night. One day he was coming out of the forest, and the sound of the birds seemed good to him.
It became night, and he put the basket down. They lay down. The father asked for water. Shravan picked up the bowel but there was no water in it. He told his father that he would go to get some water. Father refused still Shravan went.
In a while, he saw a river. He started filling the water. An arrow came into his chest. He got a lot of shouts out of his mouth. King Dashrath came to the forest for hunting. The king heard the sound. He thought that it was an elephant coming to drink.
The king heard the man’s scream. Then, he saw a handsome young man on earth. The king put his head on his lap. The king took the arrow from Shravan’s chest. Shravan was calling his parents.
Tears flow with the king’s eyes. The king said that he became a big sin. The king told Shravan that he thought it was an elephant so he started an arrow. The king asked Shravan to forgive him.
Shravan told the king that his parents were sitting thirsty in the forest. Shravan asked that king to go and give them water. The king heard all the story from Shravan. There was no limit to the king’s sorrow. Shravan asked the king to take the water to his parents, and then he died.
The king went to Shravan’s parents. The father said that he was late. The king gave them the water in hand for both of them without speaking. The father wondered asked why he didn’t speak, under the impression that he was his son Shravan.
The mother told him that they would drink after he explained what happened to him. King Dashrath had tears in his eyes; his throat was blocked. The king said that he was also their son. Finally, he told them about the death of Shravan
On hearing his news the parents screamed. The king said that he was their Shravan. He said that he would serve them but they refused. They told him that one day he would suffer for a son like them. After saying this, the parents died.
The king was afraid after the curse of Shravan’s parents. The king performed their last rites with a very heavy heart. Even after he went back to his palace, there was no peace in his mind. His eyes didn’t sleep.
After many years, his son Ram went into exile. The king was so sad. Yearning for the son, he remembered the curse of his parents of Shravan.
The Integrity of Ram
Lord Rama is the strongest character in Indian history. He is strong mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He doesn’t shy from taking the road less struggling. He was a living example of the popular saying “do what is right and not what is easy”.
There are five instances of how he chose right over wrong whatever price he had to pay for it. First, he was sent to Gurukul by his father Nashira. His life was tough. He could have thrown a tranquil of being price and treated in a different way. Yet, he acted with respect toward his guru. He followed all the tenets of the guru, a personal spiritual teacher, Shishek Parampara.
Second, he was sent to exile by his father under the command of his stepmother. Rama had the right to refuse his father but he chose not to do so. He ended up in the forest and made the most of his state.
Rama learned many things from many people. He learned the art of sharing from Shabri. He also learned friendship from the king of Nishadas. He came to know wisdom from Rishi Bharathwaj. He also learned protection from demons. Though he loses his crowd, he gained wisdom like no one else.
Fourth, Rama lost his wife after she got kidnapped. He waged the biggest war of all time fighting tooth and nail to get his wife back. He even injured his brother. He could have let it go since he was from a loyal family. Yet, this showed his love and dedication to his wife, Sita.
Fifth, after Ravan’s death, Rama was requested to perform the funeral rites of his brother. According to Dharma, a religious belief in India, the winner of the battle had all the rights on the asset of the defeated person, even his body.
Rama told the bishop that he didn’t have any enmity or hostility toward his brother unattended with his death. Ram explained that he killed his brother because he didn’t send his wife back to him till the very last moment.
Ancient Irish Tales
The Irish are popular for their wonderful tales. Many of these tales have been moved passed through generations. Let’s check the best Irish stories for kids. They vary from stories inspired by myth and ancient folklore to modern tales about today’s world.
The Children of Lir – the inspiration for Swan Lake
It is a unique and poetic tale that fits right along with the rest of Celtic mythology. The tale begins with the
Once upon a time, there was a wealthy chieftain. His name was Lir. He had 4 children. Lir loved his children more than anything in the whole world. Their names were Vanilla, A, kun and Fiachra.
A heartbreaking thing happened. The children’s mother has passed away. King Lir and the children were very emotional that day. Lir felt very sad. The absence of his wife made him love his children even more.
His advisers said he should get married again. Lir agreed and got married to another daughter of bob Jargs called Ifa. She was a very beautiful young woman. They loved each other very much.
One day when Lir was out of the castle, Ifa asked the children if they wanted to visit their grandfather. The children squealed in delight. Even though Vanilla thought it was a bad idea and tried to get out of it.
When they went out to the coach, she told the knights to kill the children. The knights said no. One day they were going to the castle, and she asked them if they would like to go for a swim in the lake. The children jumped right.
Ifa threw one from her cloak and turned them into swans. Ifa told the children that they would spend 300 years in lake Jerivara, 300 years in the sea of Moya, and 300 years in the sea of Varys.
The spell would be broken when a king from the North marries a queen from the South and the bell of a new religion rings. Vanilla swam up to Ifa. Vanilla asked Ifa not to leave them like this.
Ifa felt sorry for them, so she gave them the gift of song. That would make anyone happy. When Ifa came home, she told Lir that the children drowned and she couldn’t save them.
Ifa thought that lir then would give her all the attention. Yet, Lir was so sad. He set off to find his children. He found 4 swans in the lake Derevara. Then, the swans started to talk to father, father. They told him that Ifa cursed them. They would be stuck swans for 900 years. Lir was so sad. When he went home he punished Ifa.
Lir stayed with the 4 swans for 300 years. When the swans had to leave, he waved goodbye to them. Tears flooded his eyes as he watched them disappear into the clouds.
After 300 years of being in lake Derevara, the 4 swans travelled to the sea of Moya for another 300 years. The sea of Moyo was not like the lake Derevara. The sea was rough and stormy. It was a sea between Ireland and Scotland. Finula sheltered her brothers under her wings in the cold and lonely nights.
Finally, the 300 years and the cold sea were over. The swans flew over Ireland to the western ocean. In the western ocean, there was grass instead of hard rocks. It was their favourite Island.
The swans would watch the sunset over the sea and sing quietly together. People in the ships passing by them thought that they were listening to mermaids.
One day when they were out fishing, fisher and Kun came to Vanilla. Kun said that something strange was happening. On an explorer, the 4 swans flew towards the island. Then they saw a holy man who was building a tiny hut of stones.
The holy man sang while he was walking. When he finished, he tied something shiny to the top of the hut. It was a bell. The wind blew and the bell began to ring.
The children had never had anything so lovely. The holy man looked up at the 4 beautiful swans flying around above him. The man asked the swans to come down and sing with him.
As soon as the poor children landed on the island, something strange happened. Their feather fell from them. Vanilla looked at her brothers, she saw three very old men. She found herself also a very old woman.
The holy man looked sadly at them, he knew from the old stories that there were the children of Lir and that they are going to die. Yet, Vanilla smiled and asked the holy man not to be sad. She continued that they are too tired, they lived for too long lives. She said that they would be happy to sleep on his island.
The holy man purified the 4 children. Then, children lay down on the soft green grass behind a little hut. All the bells of the island came to sing them to sleep
The Harp of Dagda
It is said that there were two different kinds of people in Ireland. One set of people with long dark hair and dark eyes is called Faux Mauryans. They carried long slender spears made of gold and bronze when they fought.
Another race of people who were golden-haired and blue-eyed, and carried short blunt heavy spheres of dull metal.
The Dagda was the supreme god of the Celts and the king of Tuatha de Danann. He was said to watch over the Celtic tribes like a father figure, together with Ogma who was sometimes said to be his brother.
Together with Lugh, Dagda formed the great trinity of gods of the Tuatha de Danann. His name Dadga means the good god. Not because he was particularly good to the people, but because he was good in everything he did.
Dagda had a lot of skills and talents. He was also known under a lot of different names, including the great father and the fertile one. In Gaul, he was known as Sucellos. His real name was a mystery but the names he is given describe a lot of his character traits.
When picturing him, he is described as a giant of a man, always dressed in the wooden hooded cloak covering up his face. Thanks to his giant stature and his enormous appetite, his clothes were always too tight. His stomach and butt often stuck out.
Dagda’s unshaven face was adorned by a long unruly beard and all in all he was a little bit off. But at the same time, he was said to be very good-looking, pretty, and wise beyond compare.
He is the all-father, the keeper of justice, law, and order. He is a king, a father, and a druid associated with wisdom, magic, masculinity, and also fertility. He had a lot of lovers and a lot of children.
Some of his lovers were the goddess Danu, the goddess Boine and the goddess Morrigan. His children include the famous goddess Brigid as well as gods like Aengus, Caermit, and Aed.
While the Dagda was best known for his strength and his enormous appetite, his most famous attributes may have been the objects he possessed.
There were three magical objects in his possessions. First, the Coire ansir, the undry, a bottomless cauldron big enough for two grown men to fit into it. It was big enough to feed a whole village with an endless supply of food.
At the same time, the hilt of the club had the power to restore health and resurrect people. So, this object might have brought the Dagda the association with the power over life and death.
The third and probably most interesting object was the Daurdabla or the Uaithne. It is a magical golden harp made from the very first oak tree of Ireland and covered in Jewels. With this harp, the Dagda had the power of changing seasons or even the weather.
This object, the Coire ansir, might have been given to the Dagda the association with feasts and prosperity.
The second object was the Loge Mor, a massive club. It was so big, so huge that it has to be transported on a cart. It can only be lifted by the Dagda or eight grown men. It was also said that the Dagda could kill nine men with a single stroke of this club.
He could introduce prophetic sleep. He also could invoke the strongest emotions within beasts, men and gods alike. In fact, the harp was so powerful that it could incite man to war, cure the battle-weary men and bring joy and sorrow beyond measure.
Of course, an object as powerful as the harp, couldn’t stay unnoticed by the enemies for long. So, after the second battle of Moy Tura, which was won by the Tuatha de Danann, the Fomorians were so impressed with the harp. The Fomorian chief wanted to have it in his possession.
The Tuatha de Danann meanwhile celebrated the victory, ate from the bottomless cauldron of the Dagda, and listened to stories of glorious victories. While listening, the Tuatha de Danann were unaware of the Fomorians who made their way into the camp.
The Fomorians stole the magical harp from right beyond their noses. Of course, the Fomorian didn’t stay and wait until the theft was noticed. They ran for their lives carrying the harp with them to a nearby abandoned fortress.
It wasn’t until one of the Dagda’ men asked to hear some music from the harp that the theft was noticed and the Tuatha de Danann realized what had happened. The Dagda was furious, what an insult to him! He knew that the thieves wouldn’t be able to handle the magic of the harp.
Yet, without the harp, the Dagda wouldn’t be able to control seasons and weather either and people would have to suffer. So, he asked his men who would come with him to retrieve the harp. The first men to stand up and joined the Dagda in his mission were Ogma and Lugh.
As the trio found the camp of the Fomorians after a long walk, they saw that the enemies vastly outnumbered them. Lugh and Ogma weren’t really sure how they would be able to retrieve the harp. But the Dagda didn’t even flinch.
The Dagda called out his harp. Hearing it is his true master’s voice, the harp sprung from where it was hung and flew directly into the hands of the Dagda. On its way, it killed seven Fomorians and wounded a lot more.
Within seconds, the Fomorians followed the harp and stormed in the direction of the trio. Ogma and Lough told the Dagda it would be time to play a tune.
The Dagda agreed. He started to play a sad melody of grief. As it came to the ears of Fomorians, they instantly stopped and started sobbing with their heads and their hands.
Even though they were cold people, they couldn’t help but feel the pain of the worriers lost in the recent battle. They were overwhelmed with grief and misery. The tears rolled down their cheeks.
Yet, the moment the song ended, they got themselves together again. They were even more furious than before and stormed toward the trio. Again, the Dagda started a little tune. This time, it is a joyful one.
The Fomorians started laughing uncontrollably. Once again, tears rolled on their cheeks. But this time, they were tears of pure laughter. They laughed so hard to the extent that they even dropped their weapons.
Yet, the moment the tune stopped, they picked up their weapons again. They started to charge at the trio. The Dagda meanwhile started the third and last song. This time the tune was the most gentle and soothing anyone had ever heard.
Within seconds, the Fomorians just stopped their attack. They also fell into a deep slumber. None of them had the chance to resist the tune. So, when the trio was sure that everyone was asleep, they just rode home and let them sleep there.
Since that day, no one ever dared to steal the harp again or even
Tir Na Nog
Tir Na Nog is an Irish legend. It is the land of eternal youth a land full of beauty and bliss. Oisin was the son of the legendary Fionn Mccumhaill, the leader of the Fianna. Oisin was known as a poet and a bard but also as a skilled worrier.
Oisin was known for his strong sense of justice. He was well respected and highly valued among the Fianna. Oisin, Fionn, and the Fianna had many adventures together. It seemed like nothing would ever change until that one faithful day.
The Fianna came from just another great battle and decided to rest at the beautiful and quiet shore of Lough Lane near Killarney in the country Kerry. Their heads were weary of the thoughts of the friends they had lost and the faces they would never see again.
Suddenly, as the men looked toward the water, a young maiden appeared ridding swiftly above the water on a beautiful white stallion. The Fianna couldn’t believe what they saw. As the woman approached, every man turned to watch her beauty.
Her long golden hair fell softly upon her shoulders. Her eyes were blue like the ocean. Her clothes were of the finest the Fianna had ever seen. Gold and silver patterns had been woven into them. A sight that was only surpassed by the crown on her head.
But it was not just the maiden that stole the breath of the Fianna, even the majestic horse she rode, a silver crown, and her golden braidings all over her body.
The maiden rode towards the men. As she reached them, she spoke with a voice so gentle and kind. Her accent seemed strange and very old to the Fianna. They had never had an accent like that.
The maiden introduced herself as Niamh Cinn Oir, Niamh of the golden hair, princess of Tir Na Nog. She told the Fianna that she was indeed the daughter of Manannan Mac Lir, the king of the oceans.
Fionn who was as captured by the woman, as his man spoke up and asked what she wanted. Niamh looked around the men for a second and responded that she had heard of the bravery and the talents of the Fianna and that she has come to seek a husband.
Bewitched by the beauty of Niamh, all men instantly tried to show off in the hope that her choice would fall on them. Some showed their strength, others their talents with the swords.
Only Oisin took the time to get his harp and tune it. Then he started to play the most beautiful song directly from his heart. Not only did he get the attention of a Fianna, but as soon as the song came to Niamh’s ears, she started to sing from her heart.
As both tunes met and melted into one, Niamh and Oisin were meant to be together. One more Niamh spoke to Fionn. She had already heard of the pure heart, the beauty, the bravery and the skills of poetry and music that Oisin possessed. She did come to ask for his land.
Fionn’s heart was troubled for he knew Niamh was one of the Sidhe the people of the other world. But he also knew that Oisin’s mother was also one of their kind. Also, It might be Oisin’s fate to follow her to her people.
One look at Oisin told Fionn that the lad would follow this woman, no matter what he thought about it. As Oisin heard her words, he was full of joy. He ran to her and took her hands into his own.
Niamh told Oisin of the land she was from, a land where there would never be any sorrow, no death, or age. It was a land where all he could wish for would come true. It was a land where there were feasts and drinking, music and more riches than he could ever imagine.
Niamh continued it was the land where he could stay young and strong forever. Tempted by her words and the beauty, Oisin mounted the horse and was about to ride off with her.
When Fionn called his name and said “You don’t know what waits for you in this mysterious land! No one has ever returned.” But Niamh just whispered into his ear “Come away with me Oisin. Come away to Tir Na Nog, the most beautiful land you can imagine. We have no illness, no aging, no death. But beautiful valleys and several rivers.”
Oisin bit Fionn and the Fianna farewell and promised to return one day. A promise made by one of the Fianna must always be kept. Even though Fionn felt like this day would never come, he let him go and watched as Niamh and Oisin galloped away upon the water.
Oisin was full of joy as he and Niamh rode past many strange places, beautiful palaces, and cities, and finally, they reached Tir Na Nog. Oisin looked around. This place was all that Niamh had promised and more.
Oisin looked at the flawless blue skies, at animals without compare, at the beautiful people who seem to be as happy as can be, and the jewels and gold that were to be found everywhere.
Niamh and Oisin married. Oisin feasted on food and wine, composed a lot of poetry, and hunted every day. So, they lived happily for a while. The happy couple had three children, a daughter, and two sons. It seemed like everything was perfect.
After a while, that felt like an eternity, Oisin felt the call back to Ireland for he desired to see his father and the Fianna again. For a while, Niamh was able to distract his thoughts through more feasts, hunts, or other entertainment.
But after a while, he couldn’t ignore the ache in his heart anymore. After three years, he asked Niamh if he could visit Ireland once more. Niamh knew that time passed slowly in Tir Na Nog and that the land he wanted to return to, wouldn’t exist anymore.
Niamh feared losing him, but couldn’t refuse to let him go. She called upon her white horse. She made him promise that whatever happened, he may never under no circumstances, set foot on Irish soil or he would never be able to return to her.
Oisin didn’t quite understand why but gave her the promise to never set foot on Irish soil and to return to her and the children. Oisin rode away, while Niamh had the feeling that she may never see her fair love again.
Oisin unaware of his fate rode away with a light heart, full of joy to see his friends and family again. But as he arrived in Ireland, he couldn’t find Fionn anywhere. He was also confused about the sights he saw.
Mighty castles he once knew now lay in ruins that had been overgrown. The forest he and Fiann loved to hunt in was cut down. The people he found seem to have grown a lot smaller and weaker than the people he remembered, not more than children in his eyes.
He came across a lot of churches that he had never seen before. The thought that something must have happened while he was away, grew stronger and stronger.
After a while, he approached a man on the road and asked for the whereabouts of his father. But the man didn’t know who Fionn was. Oisin couldn’t believe him since everyone knew Fionn and the Fianna. He rode off.
Once again after a while, he came across another group of men. Oisin asked about the Fianna again. Those men had indeed heard of them but only in very old legends and poems.
Only now did Oisin realize that while his time in the land of youth felt for him like three years, in Ireland really three hundred years had passed. He was devastated. His heart broke and he was already about a return to his great love Niamh and his children.
When he came across two other men who were unable to lift the large boulder. He approached them and leaned over to lit the rock. It was a small thing for him and he lifted it without a problem. But as small as the boulder seemed to be for him, its weight was enough so that the saddle strap snapped and he fell off his horse.
The white stallion ran off in fright, never to be seen again. Oisin as long as his skin touched the ground was called upon the years he had missed.
The two men near him rushed to help him up but found him not being the beautiful young man he was a minute ago, but an old man near to death.
Weeping for the family and friends he would never see again, and begging for someone to write down all the stories Oisin has to tell about the Fianna, the man brought him to the great bishop Patrick, who was known as St. Patrick.
Patrick helped Oisin to be comfortable and listened to the stories Oisin told of Fionn and the Fianna. As Oisin ended and Patrick had everything written down, both men started to argue at length. For Partick came to Ireland to bring Christianity to the people.
Oisin was still an advocate for the old ways. Patrick wanted to baptize Oisin and prepare him before his death and the afterlife, but Oisin denied Christianity. He stood true to the way of his people, the path of honour.
In the end, Oisin died as the last of his kind. It is said that with his last thought of all he had lost, the one thing he regretted most having lost was his wife Niamh. For if he could choose between 300 years with Fianna or one single day with his love, he would always choose Niamh.
Some say that until this day once in a while, a woman in a white horse can be seen, galloping above the water in the hope of finding her true love again.
Ancient Tales and Folklore From Japan
Japanese folklore is the mythology of Japan. It is very affected by Shinto and Buddhism, the two most significant religions in the country. It usually has funny or strange characters and situations.
It also contains many supernatural creatures, such as kami, gods and revered spirits. It also has yōkai, monster spirits such as oni, kappa, and tengu. Onryō is ghosts, dragons, and animals with supernatural powers like the kitsune, and a fox. Tanuki is a raccoon dog, mujina that is a badger, and Bakeneko is a transforming cat.
Japanese folklore is often separated into different categories:
- mukashibanashi: tales of long-ago
- namidabanashi: sad stories
- obakebanashi: ghost stories
- ongaeshibanashi: stories of kindness
- tonchibanashi: witty stories
- waraibanashi: funny stories; and
- yokubaribanashi: stories of greed
The Ogre of Rashomon
A long time ago in Kyoto in Japan, there was a band of samurai knights. They were renowned for their great might and power, Kyoto was at this time in question the capital of Japan.
Across Japan, were various gates leading in and out of cities and areas and such. One night the band of fierce samurai knights sat around the table, nestled on the Tatami floor, drinking sake and eating a meal.
One of the samurai began to speak of a tale he had heard from an elderly woman. He mentioned that the gate to Rashomon, the word on the street had it that there is an ogre that is taking people from twilight through dusk.
One samurai named Watanabe blurted out that it could not be true as their master had led them into battles against the last of the ogres in Kyoto, upon the mountains not so far in time.
The others looked upon him and said: “if you are so sure then you should go check out.” For a moment Watanabe grew concerned. Then his brave and gallant personality kicked him.
Watanabe said: “I shall everyone wanted evidence, I’m willing to go alone and check.” So, each member of the band of samurai knights placed their surnames on a parchment.
Watanabe said he would nail the paper to the door, and they could all go in the next morning to see it placed upon the gate.
Despite the fact that there was a fierce storm and the wind howled and screeched like pigs going to slaughter and the rain beat down like the pounding of her falling oak, Watanabe drew the reins of his horse and attached his Katana to his armour, and placed firmly his helmet upon his head.
For a brief second, the band of samurai thought that he would succumb to fear at the ferocity of the storm of which no normal person would dare to brace. Nonetheless, Watanabe rode into the night and the wind berated him and the horse.
The rain was cold as ice, the night was as dark as a cavern, and the thunder and lightning roared and lit the way toward the gate. He arrived and like as he thought there was nothing there. He stapled the parchment to the gate.
Watanabe began to ride home to his fellow samurai knights and brothers when suddenly a giant hand latched onto his helmet and stopped him in his tracks.
He felt around to find that it was a thick arm as thick as a temple pillar and had hair as coarse as a brush littered upon it. The stench was also overwhelming.
At this moment with knowledge of the battle he had thought upon the mountain with his master and samurai brothers, he became alert to the fact it most certainly was an ochre.
Watanabe drew his sword as fast as the lightning and struck and began slashing furiously at the ogre’s arm. The ogre’s grip released and a battle ensued.
The lightning-casting shapes of a ginormous ogre and one brave samurai fighting for their lives. Watanabe had battled ogres before but never alone.
His heart pumped with a passion to protect the folks of Kyoto and seek glory for his band of samurai and to claim the head of the ogre as proof of his battles.
The rain struck the blade of the Katana making more bellowing whipping sounds than the wind itself. Soon, the ogre began to realize that this was no average samurai, that Watanabe had gallantry, that his swordsmanship was incredible.
So the ogre began to flee the battle. Watanabe provoked by the cowardice of the ogre, set to chase him. The ogre, the size of the gate itself had great stride and so soon surpassed him.
Watanabe was disappointed that he had not slain the ogre. The human-eating ogre returned to the gate of his loyal steed. As he approached the horse, he noticed a large object scattered on the floor in the shining light of the storm.
It was the ogre’s arm. He was elated and began to tie the rope to the back of the horse. As dawn struck, he approached the centre of Kyoto dragging the ogre’s arm with his horse.
The samurai brothers and master were astounded and so proud of his gallant effort. They prepared a feast for him with fish of all kinds cooked in all manners and even raw.
They celebrated his efforts with saki and shochu and many assortments of entertainment. The whole of Kyoto had already known that this band of samurai knights was powerful and had a protective spirit, yet now there was a samurai who would fight ogres alone.
Watanabe became renowned. His notoriety extended across Kyoto like a bushfire. People paid to see the arm and praised his greatness. Yet in time, he became concerned that the ogre would return for the arm as ogres are very revengeful and possessive.
So Watanabe had a great box of timber and steel made to lock the arm away. Then, he placed the box in his own bedroom. He sought to never let anyone see it in fear that the ogre would snatch it.
Then, one cold and stormy night not unlike the one on which he had faced the ogre on, there came a knock at his gate. The maid came to the gate and found an old woman scratching at the door.
The old woman said, “I’m the master Watanabe’s witness.” I nursed him since a child. I heard of his great exploits and sought to it in my final hour to congratulate my sweet child of yesterday.” The maid rushed to Watanabe and told him of her at the gate.
Watanabe was void of all sense and concerned for the nature of her late call at night. As he was overwhelmed with nostalgia and love for his witness, she had been more like a mother than anyone else.
He had deep feelings of love and adored her kind and gentle soul. So, the gate was opened. Luckily, there was no sign of the ogre in the tempestuous night and the gate was closed behind her.
The old wet nurse limped into the lobby and proclaimed “my sweet child, you are a great hero of Kyoto. I heard of the exploit of this night and had to rush to congratulate you.”
This brought a serene joy and smile to Watanabe. The old woman nurse went on to say: “I so desire to see the ogre’s arm.” Watanabe replied that these eyes no one can see and that the arm is locked away.
Then, the old woman went on to whisper: “I’m old and soon I will pass. This is as certain as the light of a new day. Please, allow me this favour. I’ve in all my days to see such an anomaly and the freak of nature such as the arm of a demonic ogre.”
Watanabe endeared by her gentle voice, agreed. As the box was unchained and unlocked, the wet nurse seem to tremble in fear. The wooden lid was removed and she nervously limped over to the box.
With every step closer she took, she was seemingly stricken with more fear. Then suddenly the old woman transformed into an ogre. It was not fear, it was eagerness.
The ogre grabbed the arm and began swiping it furiously at Watanabe. Watanabe was emotionally overwhelmed by this meeting. For a moment petrified. Then, as he was flayed across the room, he instantly came to his senses and drew his katana as fast as he did on that night.
The ogre seeing the light of the lamp shine upon the katana was overwhelmed with fear and let through the ceiling chortling with a menacing laugh and madness as the ogre reclaimed his arm.
Watanabe was disappointed that he had trusted the ogre and not anticipated a shape-shifting power that some ogres are known to have. He sat down as the rain dripped through the ceiling and started onto the moon.
The light of a new day came in. Watanabe remained respected for his swordsmanship, yet he always felt disappointed that his heart was so supple and susceptible.
He waited at the gate of Rashomon for another chance many times. The ogre fearful of Watanabe might never return. Thus, Kyoto was saved.
Long ago in a village by the sea, there was a young man named Urashima Taro. He made his living by going out to the sea in his rowboat every day to catch fish.
But one day when Taro went out to sea, he couldn’t catch any fish. So, he left early and went back to shore. Then, he found some village children making a commotion.
Going closer, he saw a baby turtle tired of the children’s torment. He shouted at the kids to get out of the place. Taro took pity on the poor little turtle. He took the baby turtle home and took care of it until back to health.
The next day the baby turtle was good, so Taro sat it free back into the sea where it swam happily away and disappeared. A few days later when Taro was fishing, as usual, he heard a voice calling his name.
Taro thought it strange to hear a voice way out of the sea, but then his name called again. The sound was coming from the water. The voice said that it is a messenger from the Dragon of the Sea. The baby turtle he saved was from the palace of the Sea Dragon.
The messenger continued that it would take him there to repay him for his kindness. The turtle asked him to get on its back. Taro did as he was asked and got onto the turtle’s back.
Taro met someone there. She welcomed him and introduced herself as Otohime. It is the turtle he saved the other day. She continued that he wanted to see the world above, so he changed himself into a turtle.
Taro was astounded that the turtle he rescued had become that beautiful princess. She asked him to follow her as her father wished to thank him. Her father welcomed him and thanked him for saving his daughter.
Taro was treated to a fabulous reception. Then the mysterious day was over. Each day was like a dream. Then, one day Taro was taken to a special room where he could forget about time. He could quickly spend an enjoyable year.
Still, Otohime advised him not to use that room much as there was no way o turn the time back. Taro forgot all about the journey of time. He enjoyed himself in the room time again and again.
Nevertheless, eventually, he remembered his other life above the sea. The next day he asked about going home. The princess told him to just live in the palace and have fun. Taro was overcome with sadness but she couldn’t stop him.
Taro’s mind was made up. The princess gave him a lid as a memento. With it, he can come back to the Palace of the Sea but he must never ever open the lid on his world.
Once again, Taro got on the turtle’s back to take him to his world above the sea. He left the Palace of the Sea Dragon. Taro went back to the village he longed for so much. The village however had changed.
Where his house has been was now a big field with big trees and overgrown weeds. The villagers were all people he didn’t know. As taro hang around aimlessly, an old man asked him if he needed any help. Taro asked about his house.
The old man replied that there used to be a deserted old house but that was long ago. Taro was astounded. Then, he knew that what seemed like months at the Palace of the Sea Dragon had passed as decades or even countries here in the village.
Forgetting Otohime’s warning never to open the box, instantly Taro’s hair was gone and he changed into a withered old man with a bent back. NO longer having any place where he belonged, Taro just disappeared.
Some said he turned into a crane and flew off somewhere but that is another story.
Chinese Folk Tales
There are various myths and legends in Chinese culture. China has one of the ancient records of myths of all the countries in the world. Some of them go back over 4000 years. Chinese tales contain tales from emperors and heroes to mythical creatures like dragons.
The Jade Stone: A Chinese Folk Tale
Long ago in China, there lived a stone carver named Chang Lu Chan. Chan Lu spent his days carving birds, deer, and water buffalo from the coloured stones he found near the river.
People came from near and far to buy Chang Lu’s carvings. So, it happened that when the great emperor of all of China was given a perfect piece of green and white cape stone, one of the advisors in the celestial Palace thought of Chang Lu.
Tumble stone Carver was brought before the Great Emperor of All-China. Chang Lu bowed deeply. The emperor’s men carried the precious stone to Chang Lu’s garden. Chang Lu had never seen such a perfect piece of jade.
The great emperor commanded a dragon of wind and fire. Chang Lu wondered if that was what the stone wanted to be. Change Lu bent down and put his ear to the stone.
From deep inside came a gentle sound. Change Lu wondered, perhaps it was the sound of a dragon’s tail splashing in the ocean. But he was not sure. That evening he thought about dragons.
The next morning, Chang Lu went to the garden. The stone was spring water green in the morning light. Chang Lu put his ear to the green and white gate and listened. Softly, the sound came.
But these were not mighty dragon bombers coming from the rock. They were gentle lazy playful sounds. Chang Lu’s heart grew heavy, for he had not heard the emperor’s dragon.
That evening, he tried to think again about dragons. In the middle of the night, Chang Lu awoke. He went into the moonlit garden. The stone showed silver-green in the moonlight. He would listen one last time.
He put his ear to the stone, Silence. Chang Lu ran his hands over the jade and his fingers about tiny ridges. But Chang Lu knew these small delicate ridges were not dragon scales.
His fear weighed heavy in him like a great stone as he picked up his tools and began to carve. He worked slowly and carefully for a year and a day.
Only in the morning, before the birds were awake, Chang Lu wrapped the jade carving in a cloth and set out for the celestial palace. Chang Lu entered the great hall where the three advisors sat waiting for the Great Emperor of all China.
Chang Lu placed the jade stone on the table in the centre of the room. Soon, the emperor’s advisors grew curious. They scurried to the jade stone and peeked under the cloth.
The emperor roared, his eyes dark with anger and his voice rolling like black thunder. The emperor’s words burned into Chang Lu’s ears. But the emperor was so angry, that he couldn’t decide which punishment to choose.
Chang Lu was lifted by two palace guards. Then, he was dragged down many flights of stairs and thrown into a black prison cell. The emperor ordered that the jade stone be removed from the celestial palace.
The carver was placed outside, near the reed of the reflecting pool. That night, the emperor dreamed of fish playfully slapping their tails in green water. In the morning, the emperor’s advisor asked about the punishment the emperor choose.
The next day, the emperor dreamed of fish gliding smoothly through the deep, clear water. In the morning, the emperor’s advisor asked if he chose a punishment. Still, the emperor didn’t decide yet.
On the third night, the emperor groaned and tossed in his sleep but he didn’t dream. He awoke in the darkest hour of the night. A strange sound filled the room.
The emperor got out of bed and went toward the sound. Thereby the reflecting pool was the jade stone. The shining scales of the jade carp glowed in the moonlight. The fish’s slippery bodies were reflected in the pool.
The Fish seemed ready to flick their tails and swim among the reeds. Gazing at the jade stone until his advisors found him at sunrise. The great emperor smiled an imperial smile.
The advisors asked the emperor about the punishment he chose. The emperor asked his advisors to bring Chang Lu before him. The emperor spoke to Chang Lu and told him that he also heard the creatures in the stone.
Chang Lu was so pleased that the emperor became happy and asked the emperor to let him return to his village and carve what he hears. The emperor told him that he would return to his village in great honour being the master carver to the Great Emperor of all of China.
The Lost Horse: A Chinese Folk Tale
It is a story about a man in a far northern kingdom in China. There lived a man who owned a horse, a beautiful horse. It was so beautiful that people from all around come to see his horse, admire its beauty, and congratulate him.
The man would shrug and say “hmm, perhaps”. But a blessing could sometimes be a curse. Sometimes later, his horse ran away and disappeared. Those very same people would come to him and say “ Oh, that’s terribly bad luck”
People said that he should have built a fence. They say such a bit of bad luck. The man said “perhaps! You know sometimes a curse can be a blessing.” Some weeks later, his horse returned but not alone.
With it, it brought 21 wild horses, and by the law of the land, those 21 horses became the property of that man. Everybody congratulated him. They said that he was really lucky and that they are so jealous and that he must be blessed.
The man shrugged and said, “ Perhaps!. You know sometimes a blessing can be a curse.”. Sometime after his horse returned, his son and only son decided he wanted to try and ride one of the wild horses.
But it wasn’t broken in, it threw him from its back. The man’s son broke his leg and the bone never healed right, leaving the boy laying. People looked with pity in their eyes, shook their heads, and said “You must have done something terrible in your past life, such a curse.”
The man shrugged and said, “Perhaps but you know sometimes a curse can be a blessing.”. A few months later, a war broke out, the Emperor’s soldiers came to conscript the young men of the village but the boy with the broken leg couldn’t go.
The man’s lame son was no good as a soldier. They didn’t want him. All the young men who left the village to fight in the war none of them returned.
The people looked at the man with the horse and his lame son and said “You’re so lucky” The man shrugged and said “Perhaps”
So in these trying times, when the road ahead seems like an uphill struggle, always remember it is sometimes the curses, the hard times in our life which turn out to be the greatest blessings.
Once upon a time a long time ago, it was the custom of all the fathers and mothers in China to give the first and honoured sons quite long names. But second sons were hardly given any name at all.
In a small mountain village, a mother who had two little sons lived there. Her second son she called Chang which meant ‘little’ or ‘nothing’.
But her first and honoured son, she called Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa Rembo-Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Barako which meant the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world.
Every morning, the mother went to have a bath in a little stream near her home. The two boys always went playing along with her. On the bank, there was an old well. The mother warned them not to go near the well, otherwise, they would surely fall in the well. The boys didn’t always mind the mother.
One day, Chang fell when they were playing beside the well. Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa Rembo-Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Barako ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to his mother.
He said: “most honourable mother, Chang has fallen into the well. The mother replied: “The water roars little blossom; I can not hear you.” Then, Tikki Tikki Tembo raised his voice and cried “Chang has fallen into the well.”
The mother asked him to go to the old man with the ladder to fetch him out. Then, Tikki Tikki Temb ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to the old man with the ladder and said “ Old man with the ladder, Chang has fallen into the well. Will you come and fetch him out?”
The old man agreed. He went into the well. He steps over step picked up Chang. He brought him out of the well. He pumped the water out of him and pushed the air into him. Soon, Chang was just as good as ever.
For months, the boys go near the well. But after the festival of the eighth moon, they ran to the well to eat their rice cakes. They are near the well and played around the well. They walked on the well.
Tikki Tikki Tembo fell into the well. Chan ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to his mother and said “ Oh honourable mother, Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa Rembo-Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Barako has fallen into the well.”
The mother couldn’t hear him so the little Chang took a deep breath and repeated “ Oh mother, most honourable, Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa Rembo-Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Barako has fallen into the well.”
Still, the mother couldn’t hear Change and he repeated what he said but he messed up with his brother’s name. The mother asked him to say his brother’s name correctly.
Chang was out of breath and couldn’t say that long name again. Then, he thought of his brother in the old well, he bawled his head clear to the sand and took a deep breath, slowly said his brother’s full name, and told her that Tikki Tikki Temo was at the bottom of the well.
The mother ran to the well and asked Chang to go to the old man with the ladder to fetch his brother from the well. He ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to the old man with the ladder.
Under the tree, the old man set. Chang called him and asked him to go with him but there was no answer. With the very last bit of breath, Chang shouted again and told him that Tikki Tikki Tembo fell into the well.
The old man with the ladder was annoyed that Chang woke him up from his dreams. Chang begged him to go and get his brother out of the cold well. The old man with the ladder ran fast as he could.
Step over step, he picked the little boy out. He pumped the water out of him. He pushed the air into him. But the little Tikki Tikki Tembo had been in the water so long because of his great long name.
The moon rose so many times before he was quite the same again. From that day to this, the Chinese have always started wisely to give all the children little short names instead of great long names.
The Romans, as they expanded adopted various things from other cultures. They imitated all the Greek gods but they gave them different names to make them Roman and made changes to some of the stories to make the gods appear more like Romans.
The Legend of Romulus and Remus
It is a myth about two twin brothers who went through a lot and ended up founding the city of Rome. It was written around the 3rd century BC, but the actual story takes place a little bit earlier in the 8the century BC. It takes place in a city called Alba Longa, what is now known as modern Italy.
The original king of Alba Longa had his power taken away by his evil brother Amulius. Amulius was always jealous that his brother was the king and not him.
Ever since Amulius was a little kid he always plotted to find a way to take his brother’s power away. Since the king’s power is usually passed down from father to son, Amulius literally had no other choice but to kill every single one of Numa tour male offspring.
Amulius took his brother’s daughter Rhea Silvia and appointed her a vestal ever to live as a virgin within the temple of Vesta and served that goddess of hearth and home that she might never get married and never bear a son having a lawful claim to the throne.
This was no evidence against the will of the gods. For one day, Mars went down from the heavens and took to himself, Rhea Silvia. She soon found that she was pregnant. Although she strove to keep this secret the penalties against a Vestal who broke her vows were severe.
Rhea Silvia couldn’t hide her stay forever and in time she gave birth to twin boys. When Amulius found out this, he fell into anger. He locked away Rhea Silvia in a prison.
Amulius ordered that the boys be put into a reed basket and set adrift in the river Tiber. The basket floated down the river. Finally coming to rest against the river bank.
A she-wolf moving down the river to drink came across the basket. It seemed that there were two small motherless babies inside. Offered her own treats for them to suckle.
In this way, a shepherd to Amulius, a man named Faust Alice spotted the two children being cared for gently by the she-wolf. Taking pity on the children, Faust Alice had them home and handed them to his wife Lorenzo to nurse.
Under the care of Faust Alice and Lorenzo, the boys named Romulus and Remus grew up in the young in two young men, tall and strong. They assisted their foster father in his work. They hunted game in the forest. They practised with a bow and spear. They wrestled and boxed.
Soon it became well respected in the lands of Faust Alice’s homestead for their courage and strength, for their honesty, and for the way they stood up for the weak when oppressed by the strong.
Indeed, one of their favourite pastimes was to lay in wait for robbers to spoil them of their plunder and then share out the goods among the local shepherds.
It was not long before Romulus and Remus had summoned about them loyal bands of young men who would willingly do anything the brothers asked of them.
One day during the celebration of the feast of Penn, when the young men ran about naked in the honor of the gun. A group of robbers made up their minds to take their revenge upon the twins.
The robbers lay in a surprise attack for the lads as they celebrated the festival. While Romulus managed to fight his way free, Remus was caught captive. He was brought before Amulius.
Amulius was allowed to live in his state near Alba Longa. Remus, therefore, was sent to Numa Tour to command punishment.
Although Faust had suspected for some time that Romulus and Remus were the twin son of Rhea Silvia who had been condemned to exposure by Amuluis, he said nothing to anyone about this following to protect the children from their wicked uncle.
But seeing that Remus had been taken by the king, Faust thought to pour out his story to Romulus, telling him the whole truth of his parentage and how he came to be raised in a shepherd’s hut.
Soon after hearing the truth of his and his brother’s parentage, Romulus was frightened for the life of Remus and desired to have revenge upon his uncle for his misdeeds.
Romulus, therefore, assembled a band of his friends and headed to the palace of Amulius where they were soon joined by Remus who had been set free by Numa Tour.
He gathered his own band of companions together. The brothers and their friends stole to the palace and there Romulus killed the king. When Numa Tour heard of the assault on the palace, he at first summoned guards to deal with what he supposed was a foreign invasion.
But when Romulus and Remus came to him at the head of their band of powerful friends and proclaimed Numa Tour king, Numa Tour assembled a council of all the nobles of the land. He told the nobles the story of Amulius’ usurping the throne and killing all the Numa Tour heirs.
He also told the nobles how Amulius had imprisoned Rhea Silvia and condemned Romulus and Remus to exposure. He clarified that Romulus and Remus were his own grandsons. He also said that the vile Amulius had been put to death in answer for his crimes.
The nobles and the people gladly proclaimed Numa Tour their rightful king, so he took the throne of Alba Longa. Although the twin could expect to inherit Alba Longa after the death of their grandfather, they didn’t want to wait for a city of their own to rule.
They went out from Alba Longa searching for a place closer to where they had been fostered to find a new settlement. Along the river Tiber, they discovered a place that looked good where the river ran among Seven Hills.
Romulus thought palatine hill was by far the best place partly because it was closest to where they had been found as babies. Remus disagreed with the Aventine hill. He said had a better aspect being less steep and therefore easier to build on.
That surely was a more serious reason than the one Romulus clung to. Also, there was the problem of who would rule the city as soon as it was built as Romulus and Remus were twins.
Neither could demand to have more of a claim than the other because of age. The brothers debated at length over what was to be done. Yet, neither would yield to the other. Wishing still to resolve their quarrel peacefully, they went to Numa Tour to seek his advice.
Numa Tour suggested they determine which course to follow by augury since surely a sign from the god would be the best guide in such a great undertaking as to the foundation of the city.
The brothers agreed that this was a piece of wise advice and so returned with their followers to the place along the Tiber. Remus stated that Aventine hill was the place where he would search for augury while Romulus took the Palatine.
While they watched a fight of six vultures was seen above the Aventine hill which Remus took to be a sign that his cause was in the right. But soon after that Romulus reported 12 vultures above Palatine hill.
Since they had not determined how the augury was to be interpreted beforehand, Remus claimed himself the victor because birds has been seen over his hill first. While Romulus said the prize should go to him since his hill had a greater number of birds.
This time, the quarrel did come to blows. In the fight that ensued Romulus killed his brother, thus becoming the sole ruler of the new kingdom. After confirming that Remus was properly buried, Romulus stated about building his new city.
First, he ploughed a furrow some distance from where the city walls would be, to mark out the boundaries of the city. Then, he commenced the building of the walls.
In time, Romulus instituted laws in a system of government adopting the Etruscan custom of appointing 12 lictors, counsellors who attended the king and helped meet out justice.
Romulus also appointed 100 senators to help make the laws. One thing however was missing in this new state, there were not enough women among the settlers. Therefore insufficient children to keep its laws and customs when their parents were gone.
Romulus, therefore, sent emissaries to many neighbouring cities asking whether any of their families or women might be willing to join this new Enterprise on the banks of the Tiber.
But nowhere did the emissaries find anyone ready to leave their homes and live in the new city which was now known as Rome, after the name of its founder.
Romulus and his companions considered this a great insult. They decided that if they were not to be allowed brides by consent, they would have them by force.
The Romans, therefore, stated that they would have great games at the feast of Consuela, a harvest festival sacred to Neptune. They sent invitations to all the neighbouring cities and made preparations for the feasting.
When the time came, people from the districts all around responded to the invitation. Gladly coming to watch the competitions and honour the god, The Sabine people attended in particularly great numbers, bringing with them their wives and their children as did families from other neighbouring tribes.
But the games and the feasting were just a ruse. At Romulus’s signal, the Romans fell upon the young women who came to the festival and dragged them back into the city.
The families were angry and asked for the return of their daughters but the Romans refused, saying that they too had the right to marry and have children. And that it had been unjust of their neighbours to deny this to them.
The Romans also promised that they would treat the women well and that the families had no reason to worry about that score. This for sure did not satisfy the families.
Families went to Titus Tatius, king of Sabines asking that he might raise an army to get their daughters back. When Titus didn’t act quickly enough, the other tribes massed their own armies and jointly attacked Rome.
But their campaign was ill-conceived and disorganized. Soon, the attacking armies were routed by Romulus and his troops and their own towns took before the Romans could despoil the towns and slay the inhabitants.
Herselio, the wife of Romulus, begged her husband to despair the townspeople, for their captive daughters had entreated her to ask this over.
Romulus came to an agreement but on the condition that they joined the Roman state. To this, the defeated townspeople gladly agreed. Some of the Romans moved to Rome itself while others took up farms in the defeated districts.
Both expanding Romulus rule in making peace between the old cities and the new. Although Titus Tatius had not participated in the first assault upon Rome, he had not been idle. He gathered his army and placed his plans carefully.
First, one of the Sabine generals paid off a Sabine woman to let soldiers of her own nation into the citadel of Rome. They then killed the woman.
Soon, the citadel was in the hands of the Sabines. Romulus gathered his army and laid siege. But not before the Romans were at the very gates did the Sabines do battle.
The fight went for the Romans until their chief general was slain. Then, the Romans line buckled and the soldiers began to fly from the Sabines. Romulus himself was taken in the fight for the gates.
He prayed the Jupiter to give him the victory promising that a great temple would be built in honour of the god if he were successful. Crying out that the god Jupiter himself commanded to the Romans turn and fight.
Romulus rallied his troops and thus turned the tide of the battle seeing that their menfolk were being put to the slaughter. The Sabine women were released forth from the citadel.
They stood between the combatants saying that they would rather die themselves than see a such conflict between their parents and husbands.
At this, the Sabines and Romans put down their weapons and agreed to a truce, placing the Sabine territories under the rule of Rome. Romulus, therefore, strengthened his authority and well established his city.
Although there were some more wars in the years that followed, the Romans appeared victorious in all of these. Romulus ruled wisely and was respected by his own people as well as by his allies.
Under his rule, Rome had a long period of peace. Then one day as Romulus was in the Campus Martius checking his army, a storm went down with much thunder, and a cloud covered Romulus, hiding him from the sight of his men.
When the storm passed and the cloud had disappeared, Romulus was nowhere to be found. The senators who had been placed next to the king stated that Romulus had been picked up to heaven by a divine storm and that their king now ruled immortal among the gods themselves.
One senator broke with Julius and said that Romulus had later appeared to him and that it was his will that the Roman state thrives and flourish and that it became the very capital of the world itself.
The people agreed that surely their king had been taken up into immortality and thus they strove to follow his command that Rome became the greatest state on earth.
The Mighty Hercules
Hercules was the prime of the mythological Greek heroes. He was popular for his incredible strength, courage, and intelligence. Hercules is actually his Roman name. The Greeks called him Heracles.
He was a demigod, which means that he was half god and half-human. His father was Zeus, the king of the gods, and his mother was Alcmene, a human.
Hercules was very strong even as a baby. When Hera Zeus’s wife came to know of her husband’s illegitimate child, she wanted to kill the baby. She sent two large snakes into the crib.
The snakes slit towards the bed. The Viper that was outside in front stuck out his tongue and hissed. It reared its head. That was the last thing it did because the boy shut out his hand and grabbed it by the neck.
The other snake slid quickly across the floor towards him but the child caught that one too and began to shake it violently. The nurse heard the disorder and came rushing into the nursery. Yet, it was too late for the snakes. Hercules had killed them both.
Hercules grew into a fine teenager and he was, without doubt, the strongest man on earth. One day, he met the Oracle of Delphi to get some advice. The Oracle told Hercules that he must serve king Eurystheus for ten years, and do any task the king asked of him.
Hercules obeyed and met king Eurystheus. The king was jealous of Hercules and did not like him at all. So, the king gave Hercules
Impossible tasks to do, hoping that Hercules would fail.
Eurystheus told Hercules has got a lion that was the cause of suffering in the land of Nemea. It was attacking not only animals but people as well.
Hercules’s first task was to hunt and kill the Nemean lion. He travelled to Nemean. The local people showed him in the direction of the lion’s cave. When Hercules reached the cave, he hid behind a boulder and waited for the lion to come out.
He waited and waited but the lion didn’t show up. When it was evening, the lion yawned and walked out of the cave. The Nemean lion had large teeth and skin so thick that it could not be pierced by arrows.
Everyone in the land of Nemea was terrified of it. A lot of hunters had tried to kill the beast but no one had succeeded. Hercules took aim and shot an arrow. It rushed towards the lion and had it in the chest. But instead of penetrating his skin, the arrow simply bounced off.
The lion looked with concern at his brave attacker, who was this fellow, no ordinary human of the curse. Seeing that Hercules was as strong and fierce as himself, he decided to retreat into his cave.
Hercules uprooted a tree and sealed the entrance so the lion may not escape. Once he was inside the cave, he saw the gleaming green eyes of the lion waiting to attack him. The lion was strong but Hercules was stronger than the lion.
He bounced on the lion. He fought and grappled with the man-eating beast and finally defeated it, killing it with his bare hands. That’s how Hercules completed his first task.
King Eurystheus was not very happy when he saw Hercules walking into his palace wearing the lion skin. Hercules had completed his second-day work by killing the Nemean lion. So, this time he decided to give Hercules a tougher task.
Hercules was given the task to fight another terrible creature known as the Lernaean Hydra. The Hydra was a big snake, a very big one, and it had nine heads.
The king knew that anyone who came near the monster’s den in the swamp would be killed by the snake’s poisonous breath. Also, if anyone tried to cut off any of its heads, two more would grow in its place.
The Hydra was indeed a fierce opponent. Even Hercules didn’t think he could fight this monster on his own. He considered the help of his nephew Iolaus.
Hercules was very clever too. When they reached the swamp, he could sense the poisonous air inside the den. They realized the danger and did not enter the den. They lured the monster out of the swamp.
Hercules did not waste any time and he jumped into action. Hercules fought the Hydra fiercely. Each time he chopped off one of its heads, Iolaus spurned it before another set of heads sprouted out.
Hercules and Iolaus clubbed off the monster’s nine heads. But one head refused to die. So, Hercules crushed the head and buried it deep in the ground.
He returned to Eurystheus with the news of his victory, but the king was not satisfied because he didn’t fight Hydra on his own. So, the labour did not count.
Hercules’s next task was to bring the sacred deer of Artemis which had iron feet and golden horns. It was called the Ceryneian Hind.
The Ceryneian Hind was not a monster like the Nemean lion or the Hydra. It was a noble creature, depicted with iron feet and golden horns that could outrun an arrow.
The sacred Hind belonged to Artemis goddess of wilderness. Hercules went out to hunt down and catch the golden stag of Artemis. Hercules spent almost a year wandering the forest in search of the Hind.
Finally, one night while the stag was sleeping, Hercules crept out of the sleeping animal and caught it by throwing a net over the sleeping animal. At once, Artemis appeared before Hercules.
Even though Artemis was a goddess, she feared the strength of the son of Zeus. She brought Apollo, her twin brother, along for moral support. Hercules apologized for his deeds. Then, he explained how he needed to capture the deer for completing the tasks given to him.
Artemis consulted with her brother and agreed on a compromise. Hercules was allowed to take the sacred deer to the Eurystheus alive but then, he must let it go. Hercules agreed.
He returned to the city gates with the deer. He knew that if the deer didn’t return safely, Artemis would hurt him. So, thinking fast Hercules agreed to give the king the deer under one condition that the king comes outside the city gates and get the deer himself.
The king agreed and arrived at the city gates. Just as the king was about to take the Hind, Hercules let it go and the deer sprinted back to Artemis. Eurystheus was furious.
Hercules told the king that he was not fast enough and that’s why the Hind escaped. That’s how mighty Hercules completed his third task.
The fourth labour of Hercules was to bring the wild boar of Erymanthus back to the castle alive. This time Eurystheus was sure that Hercules would get killed while trying to capture the boar.
It was called Eyramantheon boar because it lived on a mountain called Eyramanthus. This pig was huge, wild, and with a bad temper and tusks growing out of its mouth.
Every day the boar would come crashing down from his lair on the mountain attacking men and children. It was easy enough for Hercules to find the boar.
He could hear the beast’s snorting and stomping as it rooted around for something to eat. Hercules chased the boar round and round the mountain shouting as loud as he could.
The boar frightened and out of breath hid in a thicket. Hercules poked his sear into the thicket and drove the exhausted animal into a deep patch of snow.
He ran after the boar through the snowfield where it fell down from exhaustion. He trapped it with a net, then bound its feet and prompted it over his shoulder to carry it back to Eyramanthus.
King Euyrstheus didn’t expect Hercules to complete the labour. He was completely terrified when he saw the live boar snorting and squealing wildly. He immediately fled and hid in a half-buried bronze pathos which was like a giant storage jar.
He demanded that Hercules get rid of the boar before he dared to step out. Hercules left the place and took the boar with him. Disgruntled, He couldn’t understand why the king would ask of bringing back the boar if he was afraid of it.
King Eurystheus was ashamed now. Everyone had seen him hiding when Hercules brought the Eyramanatheon boar into the palace. He somehow had to get rid of Hercules. Now he finally came up with the next task for Hercules.
It was to kill the Stymphalian birds. The Stymphalian birds were just plain nasty. The people in the area spent their days and nights hiding from these frightful birds.
The Stymphalian birds were depicted as having pointed beaks and ripping claws as well their feathers were created from razor-sharp bronze.
At the lake which was deep in the woods, Hercules had no idea how to drive the huge gathering of birds away. Goddess Athena appeared before him and gave him a pair of bronze Crotona.
These were noise-making clappers similar to castanets. These were no ordinary castanets. This was created by Hephaestus, the god of blacksmiths. The castanets created tremendous sounds that would scare every living thing in the vicinity.
Hercules thanked Athena and Hephaestus for their gift and started climbing a hill nearby. Once he reached the top, he began to furiously shake the rattle. The loud noise shocked the birds and they ran away from the Marsh into the open air.
Hercules began to shoot as many as he could with his poisonous arrows. When the last bird knocked down,, the people hiding inside their huts and homes hurried outside and cheered.
Hercules retrieved the birds he had slain to bring back to King Eurystheus to prove that he had successfully completed his labour. Once again, Eurystheus was not happy.
This time Eurysthesus gave Hercules the labour of travelling to Audion and cleaning the king of Aegean stables in a single day. This didn’t seem like much of a task for an immortal hero.
Although these specific stables housed thousands of cattle, sheep, goats, and horses, the stable had not been washed up in 30 years. The Aegean king was said to have more cattle than any man in Greece.
Hercules showed up before the king of Audion and offered to clean up his stable in one day. The king walked up to him and spoke to him confidently that if he did it, he would give over to him the 10th part of all his possessions in cattle.
Hercules didn’t say anything about how he was sent by Eurystheus or about his labours of redemption. He accepted the offer and set off to work. He took the king’s son along to watch.
First, the hero cut a big opening in the wall of the cattle yard where the stables existed. Then, he tore another opening in the wall on the opposite side of the yard.
Hercules set to work tearing a big hole in front of the stable yards. Next, Hercules cut a hole in the back wall of the stable yards. These holes were connected to the two rivers flowing nearby.
Hercules then turned the course of the rivers into the yard. The rivers rushed through the stables flushing them out and all of the mess flowed out of the hole in the wall on the other side of the yard.
That’s how Hercules accomplished the menial work without stooping to anything unworthy of an immortal. He met the king after completing the task and asked for the promised reward.
However, the king of Audion learned that Hercules’s work had been done in the service of Eurystheus, he now refused to reward Hercules saying that if Hercules didn’t agree, he could seek a settlement at the Audion courts.
So, Hercules did just that, the judge took his seat. Hercules called the son of Aegeus to testify. The boy swore that his father agreed to give him a reward. The judge declared that Hercules would have to be paid.
The king reluctantly paid Hercules. Then, he promptly banished both his son and Hercules from his kingdom. So, the boy went to the north country to live with his aunt and Hercules headed back to Mycena.
With all of the animals who housed the stables coming home that night from the fields, they saw clean beds of hay, warm buckets of oats and freshwater running. They couldn’t have been happier.
But Eurystheus said that this labour didn’t count because Hercules was paid for having done the work.
One-day king Minos, the ruler of Crete, prayed to the sea god Poseidon for a special bull to sacrifice to Zeus, the highest Olympian god. Poseidon granted his wish and a magnificent bull emerged from the ocean.
King Minos was dazzled by the beauty of this amazing creature. King Minos decided not to sacrifice this bull and sacrifice another one instead.
When Poseidon came to know about this, he punished Minos for his disobedience by making Pasiphae, the king’s wife, fall in love with this animal. As a result, Pasiphae delivered the Minotaur.
The Minotaur was a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. Poseidon was still made at the king, so he turned the bull mad that fire was coming out of its nostrils.
To the Minoans bulls were sacred. It was religiously forbidden to kill a bull. They tried to capture it again without harming it but they failed. The bull hid during the day. At night, it caused destruction from one end of the island to the other.
To capture the bull, master it, and bring it before Eurystheus was the 7th labour of Hercules.
Hercules arrived in Crete as instructed by Eurystheus. The beast was hiding in a forest at the far end of the island. When the bull saw Hercules, it was scared.
It didn’t fight Hercules and bowed its head down. Hercules quickly grabbed its horn and climbed on top. So thoroughly did Hercules master the animal that he drove it back to King Eurystheus.
Eurystheus saw that Hercules had succeeded in bringing back the Cretan bull, he planned to sacrifice the beast to his benefactor, the Greek goddess Hera.
Hera hated Hercules. she didn’t wish to receive a sacrifice because of the work of her husband’s illegitimate son and refused the offer. Eurystheus has no other option than to set the bull free.
When it was no longer under the management of Hercules, the bull became wild again and wandered in the city, destroying everything in its sight. It wandered around Greece, frightening the people and ended up in Marathon, a city near Athens.
At Marathon, the bull stopped its wandering and rather caused damage to property and people like what it had done in Crete. Later, it acquired the name Marathonian bull.
Later, Theseus, the son of the king of Athens Egeus, set forth to capture the bull. He went to Marathon and indeed successfully caught the bull. He then went back to Athens where he sacrificed it to Athena or Apollo. Theseus of course later travel to Crete where he killed the offspring of the Cretan bull.
Diomedes was the mean king of Thrace. He was a mean giant who ruled the land ruthlessly. Diomedes was the son of Mars the god of war. He was considered the great worrier.
He owned four ferocious mares who were so wild that they had to be secured with an iron chain. They were kept in a bronze manger tied to a golden post. These terrible creatures had fire coming out of their nostrils.
They sometimes ate humans too. The evil king would feed the innocent newcomers to the island with his horses. Stealing the mares of Diomedes was the 8th task of Hercules.
King Diomedes had a huge army of Bastognian men who were a bunch of nasty barbarians. They always kept guard of the king’s mares.
Hercules took with him his young squire Abduros whom he cared for very much. They sailed with his volunteer across the Aegean and after many days of travel, they finally reached Thrice.
Once they reached the island, off they went in the middle of the night to steal the man-eating mares. They snuck up on the horses. But before he could release them, Bastongnian men saw them and attacked them.
Diomedes woke up hearing the commotion, he was not very happy when heard that Hercules was trying to steal his favourite mares. Hercules asked Abduros to take care of the mares while he went ahead and fought Diomedes.
The king was huge but Hercules was stronger and smarter. Hercules defeated the king easily and returned to Abduros. But it was too late when the mares got hungry, they ate his favourite squire.
When Hercules saw this, he was very sad and angry. Enraged Hercules fed Diomedes to his own mares. Once the mares were done munching on their former master, they reverted to being regular calm mares.
When the Bastongnian and soldiers saw what happened to their kings, they started running away. Hercules rode the calm mares back to Macedonia and presented them before Eurystheus.
Eurystheus ordered the horses to be taken to Olympus to be sacrificed to Zeus. But Zeus refused the sacrifice and instead he sent lions and bears to kill the wild mares.
The mares indeed had such a notorious reputation. It was said that one of the mares managed to survive and had powerful descendants. Alexander of Macedonia or Alexander the Great was believed to have ridden one of them.
As for Hercules he greatly grieved over the loss of his friend and later founded a city in honour of Abduros naming it after him.
Hippolyte was the queen of the tribe of the Amazons in Greek Mythology. She was the daughter of the god of war, Ares, who had given her a magical belt as a gift. The belt didn’t seem to be outstanding.
At first glance, the belt seemed like nothing more than any other leather belt. But this one held magical properties that were granted to Hippolyte as she wore it. It also represented the authority over her people, much in the same as that a crown signified aking’s power.
King Eurystheus wanted to present this belt to his daughter. This was the ninth labour of Hercules.
The Amazons inhabited the region of the river Therodyne and were a race of strong women who followed the occupation of men. They were an all-female tribe of warriors who hated and distrusted men.
Hercules gathered his warrior companions into a ship and sailed through the black sea to accomplish his 9th task. They sailed for many days and Hercules kept thinking of ideas to get the belt Hippolyta.
There was no way that his small band of supporters could defeat a whole nation of dedicated warriors.
After a long journey, they have reached the land of Amazons. Hercules and the Greeks got off the boat and waited at the dock. Hippolyte was informed by her warriors that a ship had appeared on the horizon.
The amazons never had visitors to their homeland before. Both she and her people were concerned about these newcomers to their lands. When Hippolyte arrived at the dock, Hercules greeted her and asked her permission to meet her in private.
In the candlelight, Hercules told his story. Hippolyte listened concealing her pity and feelings. She was torn because she knew what the belt symbolized to herself as well as to her people.
But she was not heartless and felt great pity, compassion, and sorrow upon hearing Hercules’s story. Finally, Hippolyte agreed to give him the belt, so he could finish his 9th task.
Hera who hated Hercules overheard this and she was not very happy. She has been trying to foil and curse Hercules at every opportunity for years.
Hera disguised as an Amazon warrior and went up and down the army saying to each woman that the strangers who had arrived going to carry off the Queen.
The amazons were terrified. They put on their armour and raced down the hill. They began a battle with Hercules and his crew. Hippolyte didn’t understand what had happened and tried to calm her people but they were too angry to listen.
In the great battle that ensued, Hippolyte got accidentally killed. Hercules knew that he didn’t have much time before his ship would be completely overrun.
He kissed Hippolyte lightly on the cheek and with the belt in his grasp set sail towards Mycenae. When he reached back home. He gave the belt to king Eurystheus, thus completing the 9th task.
Obtaining the cattle of Geryon from Eurasia was Hercules’s 10th labour. These cattle were magnificent beasts with coasts made red by the red light of the sunset.
The danger in this task though was the fact that the cattle were owned by Geryon. Geryon himself was enormous. He was depicted as having three bodies, three heads, six arms as well as six feet.
Geryon was the son of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe who was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, which made Geryon the grandson of the Titans. On his island, Geryon kept a herd of red cattle guarded by Cerberus’s brother, Orthus, a two-headed hound, and the fierce herdsmen Eurytion.
Hercules set off for Eurythia, encountering and promptly killing many wild beasts along the way. After a long wandering through the desert country, he came at last to a fruitful land through which great streams flowed.
Here he founded a city of vast size which he named Apollodorus, which means city of a hundred gifts. When Hercules reached the most Western point of his journey, he spilt a mountain in half and created the Strait of Gibraltar.
These mountains were later known as the Pillars of Hercules. Hercules then crossed the Libyan desert. After travelling through the desert for three days and three nights. Hercules was so hot and thirsty.
By now, he got so angry that he shot an arrow at the sun. Helios or the Sunn god was not mad at Herculesfailed attempt to kill him. Instead, Helios admired Hercules’s courage and granted him a golden cup.
This wasn’t a cup for drinking. For you see, it was a cup that would allow the last leg of Hercules’s journey. It was a special cup that Hercules was going to sail into the island of Eurythia.
The golden pot allowed Hercules to quickly sail to Eurythia. On the island shoreline, the hero landed. Not long after he arrived, Orthus attacked Hercules. So, Hercules bashed him with his club, killing him in a single stroke.
He also killed the giant herdsmen who came to help the dog. Just as Hercules was hurrying away with the cattle, he was confronted by Geryon himself.
Hercules exhausted from his travels, took out an arrow and dipped it in the poisonous blood from the Hydra, and shot Gerron on each of his three heads, killing him instantly.
Hera, however, was not about letting the hero accomplish this labour. When Hercules reached Thrice, Hera sent a swarm of gadflies to bite the cattle. When the gadflies began biting the cattle, they got frightened and scattered all over the island.
It took Hercules a whole year to gather back all the cattle and continue his journey. Hera then caused the river Strymon to flood to make it impassable. The flood was only a minor setback.
Hercules threw rocks into the river all the way to be shallow enough for the cattle to safely cross it. Eventually, Hercules returned to the court of King Eurystheus driving the cattle of Geryon before him.
Once again Eurystheus was disappointed by the fact that Hercules had not died in the attempt of the task. Taking the cattle from the hero, Eurystheus sacrificed all of the herd to his benefactor Hera.
Eurystheus wasted no time and he summoned Hercules to give him his next labour.
Eurystheus asked Hercules to find him three golden apples from the trees of Hesperides. As Hercules went on his journey, he met three maidens. He asked them about the way to Hesperides. They told him that he had to ask the old man of the sea.
The maidens told Hercules that when he met the old man, he would hold him tight as he could easily escape. Once he did, Hercules couldn’t be able to find him because no one knows where he live.
Hercules thanked the maidens and made his way to the seashore. There he saw the old man sleeping. He instantly jumped on him and held him tightly. Hercules asked him for the way to Hesperides.
The old man immediately tried to escape, he turned himself into a stag, then into a sea bird, and every other animal form possible to escape from Hercules. But he couldn’t.
The old man told Hercules that it was an island in the middle of the sea. He told Hercules to keep walking along the seashore until he met a giant. Then, Hercules could ask the giant to show him the way.
Hercules reached the huge and strong giant that was sleeping. Hercules woke him up but the giant was very angry and struck Hercules with the club. But Hercules was strong.
Hercules attacked the giant and threw him down. The giant attacked Hercules back and every time Hercules threw him down. Then, Hercules lifted it in the air and kept him there. This made the giant slowly lose all of its strength.
Afraid of the giant, pleaded with Hercules to put him down on the ground. Then, Hercules asked him about the way to the Hesperides. The giant told him to go and meet the Atlas.
Hercules went on his journey again. He met Atlas. He was holding the sky on his shoulders. Hercules told him that he wanted the golden apples and his labour.
Atlas told him that Hesperides was so far from there and he was the only one who could go there. Atlas told him that he could get him the apples if he could hold the sky for him.
Hercules agreed and took the burden of the sky on his shoulders as Atlas walked away. He returned after some time with three gold apples and put them at Hercules’s feet.
Hercules thanked him and asked him to take back the sky. Atlas told him that he held the sky for a thousand years so Hercules had to hold it for the next thousand years.
Hercules was shocked to hear that but he calmly asked Atlas for some more help. He asked Atlas to hold the sky until he adjusted his shoulders, and then he would take it back.
As soon as Atlas took the sky from Hercules, he picked up the three golden apples and left. Hercules made his way back to Greece and gave the apples to the king.
The king was surprised to see that Hercules succeeded but he pretended to be happy and gave him a reward. Hercules completed his 11th task.
For the final and most difficult task, king Eurystheus asked Hercules to bring him Cerberus from the underworld to prove his strength and fearlessness. To Eurystheus this seemed an impossible task.
Cerberus was a wild beast that guarded the entrance to Hades and kept the living from entering the world of the dead. According to some legends, Cerberus was a strange mixture of creatures.
He had three heads of wild dogs, a dragon for a tail, and heads of snakes all over its back. Hercules was not daunted. Before starting the trip to the underworld, Hercules settled that he should take some extra precautions.
This was in any case a journey from which no mortal had ever survived. Hercules made his mind to be initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries in order to learn how to travel alive from the world of the living to the realm of the dead and vice versa.
The ancients were confident that those who acknowledged the secrets of the mysteries would have happiness in the underworld. After the hero met a few conditions, the priests initiated Hercules into the mysteries.
Then, with the strength to meet the horrors of the underworld, Hercules travelled to the Laconian city of Tenaris which contained the opening to the underworld.
Through a deep rocky cave, Hercules made his trip down to the underworld. He faced monsters, heroes, and ghosts as he made his way through.
The first barrier to the soul’s journey beyond the grave was the River Styx. One could cross this river only with the help of Sharon, the boatman’s ferryboat.
Sharon accepted those who were only dead and whose corps had gold coins under their tongues. Hercules met neither condition. Suddenly, goddess Hestia appeared and she helped him negotiate with Sharon.
Sharon agreed and helped Hercules to cross the Styx. Hercules then found the entrance to the underworld. But instead of attacking Cerberus, he went straight to Hades to ask permission to take his beloved hellhound.
Hades was impressed by the respect shown by Hercules and coming to him first before going to his hound. Hades was so impressed in fact that he allowed Hercules to try his luck but only on a few occasions.
Hercules could not kill or seriously injure Cerberus. This meant no weapons could be used. He found the hound camping near the dwelling of Acheron.
Without paying any attention to the bellowing three heads which were like the echo of fearful resounding thunder, he seized the dog by the legs, put his arms around his neck, and wouldn’t let him go.
The dragon tail of the animal kept biting him on his cheek. But Hercules held the dog even stronger. Cerberus had to bow to the force of the hero. Hercules left the underworld.
The king who thought this was a suicide mission was shocked, dismayed, and frightened when he saw Hercules with Cerberus cowering behind his throne.
He gave Hercules due credit for this final labour. Hercules then went on to return the dog to its master. Hades made an appearance in front of Eurystheus demanding to know why he would want his favourite pup as a trophy.
Eurystheus almost fainted begging Hades for forgiveness and asking that he spare him. Eurystheus revealed that he received orders for all of Hercules’s labours from Hera herself.
The tale goes that a none-too-happy Hades visited Hera and warned her if she ever sent Hercules on any such errand again, she would have to deal with him.
Thus, did the labours of Hercules come to an end
The Ancient Egyptians believed in a variety of deities! They had gods for everything, from dangers to chores, and each had different duties and had to be worshipped for life could be kept in balance.
The Great Myth – of Amun-Ra
When it comes to myths and legends, the most common theme in creation across cultures is the will of a creator god who separates the earth from the heavens, shapes the landscape, and creates people from clay, twigs, sweat, or even from his fleas.
In ancient Egyptian mythology, this god was Amun Ra, the divinity who brought himself into existence, and then followed the creation of every single thing in the universe.
According to the myth, Amun was the chief god throughout most of Egyptian history, the lord of the sky, and the almighty king of the Egyptian world.
He is perceived as the deity present in chaos at the creation of the cosmos, the mysterious creator god whose name meant the hidden one.
Although Amun’s true form was said to be unknowable, he was mostly portrayed as a bearded man, as a pharaoh in the prime of life wearing a turban surrounded by two long feathers symbolic of dominance over both upper and lower Egypt.
Originally the god was painted with red-brown skin but later was shown depicted in all blue illustrating his union with the sky and appeared in a wide variety of other forms.
His origins are said to be obscure but Amun and his female counterpart were part of the group of the eight primordial deities who came to be known as Ogdoad of Hermopolis.
They were listed among the divine protectors of the kings mentioned in the pyramid texts representing the invisible power. As early as the middle kingdom, Amun has been linked to another deity to become the embodiment of males’ strength and sexual power.
From there forth, he earned epithets followed by theories rising around his birth and how he populated the world. Through the name Amun Min, he gained the nickname meaning the bull of his mother.
A figure that came from the notion that since he was the first god formed, he couldn’t have had a father and had to impregnate his mother. Amun Ra was the mysterious originator of all life and was known as the one who made himself into millions.
In the temple of Thebes, he was given a partner in the form of a royal priestess known as the god’s wife. One of her duties seems to have been to physically arouse the gods so that he would continue the ongoing work of creation by generating life.
Like the ram god ban of Judah, Amun was said to be mystically united with the queen of Egypt to sire the heir to the throne. This legend of royal birth was depicted in several Theben temples.
For instance, in the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, there is a relief of her mother being impregnated by the god.
In the new kingdom, the cult of Amun was over time combined with those of other deities particularly that of the sun god Ra.
Becoming Amun Ra, he was worshipped as the king of the gods and the creator of the world and its inhabitants, earning the name Nebuchad, the lord without limit.
Another hymn tells that Amun Ra was a whole of three gods above everything in reality. Amun was the hidden one, the entity that cannot be known. Ra was set to be the visible form of the creator, especially through his features.
However, he also had a secret name, the knowledge which could bring great power to whoever gets his hands on it. He is the god regarded as concealed but still widely spread throughout the cosmos.
Unlike the other important deities, Amun didn’t seem to have been thought of as living in some distant celestial realm. He was everywhere unseen but felt like the wind.
Based on some accounts, Amun was worshipped outside Egypt as well, primarily in Libya and Nubia where he is chiefly symbolized by a curly-horned ram or as a ram-headed sphinx.
The lord of the thrones ruled as a divine pharaoh and was considered the father of each Egyptian king. Being a member of the Ogdoad, he was also shown with a snake’s head. The form in which he was revered at Thebes.
The Egyptian deity Amun was drawn as a manifestation of the ancient sun god of Heliopolis, which effectively raised his prestige and earned him the title of the king f the gods.
He was also worshipped at the great temple complex of Karnak and Thebes as the hidden god, becoming the local patron of that area, the paternal figure in a Theben triad of deities alongside his new consort, the goddess Maat and their son, the youthful moon god Khonsu.
In the temple of Amenhotep III at Luxor, the great hall of hypostyle is filled with wall paintings of Amun and the pharaoh which contains several processions honouring the god and allowing the Amun priesthood to turn into a powerful force in Egypt.
But unfortunately, the pharaoh Amenhotep IV truly disliked the cult devoted to Amun and brought forth the worship of Aten, leading eventually to conflicts of beliefs between them.
The story relates how the fanatical Pharaoh tried to establish the disk of the midday sun as the only god, both literally and symbolically. He deserted the old capital of Thebes where the god Amun Ra was worshipped and built a new city in honour of the solar disk.
He also named his son Tutankhamun, which means the living image of Aten. But with the abandonment of the pharaoh’s city and new reforms, the boy took the name from which history now knows him, the Pharoah Tutankhamun.
Amun Ra became revered as a transcendental self-created deity who maintained his secrecy and became the life force within everything in existence, including gods.
He was considered to be unfathomable by any other being, mortal or divine. The Egyptians honoured him as a supreme benefactor of mankind who bestowed the individual blessing of life and received praise from the powerful and helpless one alike.
The god Amun retained chief importance in the Egyptian pantheon throughout the new kingdom, except for the atheist Hersey under the Pharoah Amenhotep IV.
A question that is left unanswered is that is to know who genuinely the creator god between Amun and Ra. Despite being worshipped in different eras, perhaps these two entities emerged together since they are much more alike or they are just the same deity with different names.
This mystery would probably be left unknown, certainly because there is the knowledge that can’t be revealed. Therefore, remaining forever secrets.
Myths are the source of inspiration for humans throughout time. People used the majority of these tales to reintroduce morals to the ages. These stories record the observations of the people who established them. This article introduces tales from different countries around the world. It introduced Indian tales, Irish tales, Greek tales as well as Chinese tales.