Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel
by Ignatius Donnelly
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And then grave and able men,—philosophers, scientists,—were seen with note-books and pencils, going out into Hindoo villages, into German cottages, into Highland huts, into Indian tepees, in short, into all lands, taking down with the utmost care, accuracy, and respect, the fairy-stories, myths, and legends of the people;—as repeated by old peasant-women, "the knitters in the sun," or by "gray-haired warriors, famousd for fights."

And, when they came to put these narratives in due form, and, as it were, in parallel columns, it became apparent that they threw great floods of light upon the history of the world, and especially upon the question of the unity of the race. They proved that all the nations were repeating the same stories, in some cases in almost identical words, just as their ancestors had heard them, in some most ancient land, in "the dark background and abysm of time," when the progenitors of the German, Gaul, Gael, Greek, Roman, Hindoo, Persian, Egyptian, Arabian, and the red-people of America, dwelt together under the same roof-tree and used the same language.

But, above all, these legends prove the absolute fidelity of the memory of the races.

We are told that the bridge-piles driven by the Romans, two thousand years ago, in the rivers of Europe,

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from which the surrounding waters have excluded the decaying atmosphere, have remained altogether unchanged in their condition. If this has been the case for two thousand years, why would they not remain unchanged for ten thousand, for a hundred thousand years? If the ice in which that Siberian mammoth was incased had preserved it intact for a hundred years, or a thousand years, why might it not have preserved it for ten thousand, for a hundred thousand years?

Place a universal legend in the minds of a race, let them repeat it from generation to generation, and time ceases to be an element in the problem.

Legend has one great foe to its perpetuation—civilization.

Civilization brings with it a contempt for everything which it can not understand; skepticism becomes the synonym for intelligence; men no longer repeat; they doubt; they dissect; they sneer; they reject; they invent. If the myth survives this treatment, the poets take it up and make it their stock in trade: they decorate it in a masquerade of frippery and finery, feathers and furbelows, like a clown dressed for a fancy ball; and the poor barbarian legend survives at last, if it survives at all, like the Conflagration in Ovid or King Arthur in Tennyson—a hippopotamus smothered in flowers, jewels, and laces.

Hence we find the legends of the primitive American Indians adhering quite closely to the events of the past, while the myths that survive at all among the civilized nations of Europe are found in garbled forms, and. only among the peasantry of remote districts.

In the future more and more attention will be given to the myths of primitive races; they will be accounted as more reliable, and as reaching farther back in time than many things which we call history. Thoughtful men will

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analyze them, despising nothing; like a chemist who resolves some compound object into its original elements—the very combination constituting a history of the object.

H. H. Bancroft describes myths as—

"A mass of fragmentary truth and fiction, not open to rationalistic criticism; a partition wall of allegories, built of dead facts cemented with wild fancies; it looms ever between the immeasurable and the measurable past."

But he adds:

"Never was there a time in the history of philosophy when the character, customs, and beliefs of aboriginal man, and everything appertaining to him, were held in such high esteem by scholars as at present."

"It is now a recognized principle of philosophy that no religious belief, however crude, nor any historical tradition, however absurd, can be held by the majority of a people for any considerable time as true, without having had in the beginning some foundation in fact."[1]

An universal myth points to two conclusions:

First, that it is based on some fact.

Secondly, that it dates back, in all probability, to the time when the ancestors of the races possessing it had not yet separated.

A myth should be analyzed carefully; the fungi that have attached themselves to it should be brushed off; the core of fact should be separated from the decorations and errors of tradition.

But above all, it must be remembered that we can not depend upon either the geography or the chronology of a myth. As I have shown, there is a universal tendency to give the old story a new habitat, and hence we have Ararats and Olympuses all over the world. In the same

[1. "The Native Races of America," vol. iii, p. 14.]

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way the myth is always brought down and attached to more recent events:

"All over Europe-in Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Ireland—the exploits of the oldest mythological heroes, figuring in the Sagas, Eddas, and Nibelungen Lied, have been ascribed, in the folk-lore and ballads of the people, to Barbarossa, Charlemagne, Boabdil, Charles V, William Tell, Arthur, Robin Hood, Wallace, and St. Patrick."[1]

In the next place, we must remember how impossible it is for the mind to invent an entirely new fact.

What dramatist or novelist has ever yet made a plot which did not consist of events that had already transpired somewhere on earth? He might intensify events, concentrate and combine them, or amplify them; but that is all. Men in all ages have suffered from jealousy,—like Othello; have committed murders,—like Macbeth; have yielded to the sway of morbid minds,—like Hamlet; have stolen, lied, and debauched,—like Falstaff;—there are Oliver Twists, Bill Sykeses, and Nancies; Micawbers, Pickwicks, and Pecksniffs in every great city.

There is nothing in the mind of man that has not preexisted in nature. Can we imagine a person, who never saw or heard of an elephant, drawing a picture of such a two-tailed creature? It was thought at one time that man had made the flying-dragon out of his own imagination; but we now know that the image of the pterodactyl had simply descended from generation to generation. Sindbad's great bird, the roc, was considered a flight of the Oriental fancy, until science revealed the bones of the dinornis. All the winged beasts breathing fire are simply a recollection of the comet.

In fact, even with the patterns of nature before it, the

[1. Bancroft, "Native Races," note, vol. iii, p. 17.]

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human mind has not greatly exaggerated them: it has never drawn a bird larger than the dinornis or a beast greater than the mammoth.

It is utterly impossible that the races of the whole world, of all the continents and islands, could have preserved traditions from the most remote ages, of a comet having struck the earth, of the great heat, the conflagration, the cave-life, the age of darkness, and the return of the sun, and yet these things have had no basis of fact. It was not possible for the primitive mind to have imagined these things if they had never occurred.

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FIRST, let us ask ourselves this question, Did man exist before the Drift?

If he did, he must have survived it; and he could hardly have passed through it without some remembrance of such a terrible event surviving in the traditions of the race.

If he did not exist before the Drift, of course, no myths descriptive of it could have come down to us.

This preliminary question must, then, be settled by testimony.

Let us call our witnesses

"The palolithic hunter of the mid and late Pleistocene river-deposits in Europe belongs, as we have already shown, to a fauna which arrived in Britain before the lowering of the temperature produced glaciers and icebergs in our country; he may, therefore, be viewed as being probably pre-glacial."[1]

Man had spread widely over the earth before the Drift; therefore, he had lived long on the earth. His remains have been found in Scotland, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Greece; in Africa, in Palestine, in India, and in the United States.[2]

"Man was living in the valley of the lower Thames before the Arctic mammalia had taken full possession of

[1. Dawkins's "Early Man in Britain," p. 169.

2. Ibid., pp. 165, 166.]

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the valley of the Thames, and before the big-nosed rhinoceros had become extinct."[1]

Mr. Tidderman[2] writes that, among a number of bones obtained during the exploration of the Victoria Cave, near Settle, Yorkshire, there is one which Mr. Busk has identified as human. Mr. Busk says:

"The bone is, I have no doubt, human; a portion of an unusually clumsy fibula, and in that respect not unlike the same bone in the Mentone skeleton."

The deposit from which the bone was obtained is overlaid "by a bed of stiff glacial clay, containing ice-scratched bowlders." "Here then," says Geikie, "is direct proof that men lived in England prior to the last inter-glacial period."[3]

The evidences are numerous, as I have shown, that when these deposits came upon the earth the face of the land was above the sea, and occupied by plants and animals.



The accompanying cut, taken from Sir John Lubbock's "Prehistoric Times," page 364, represents the strata at St. Acheul, near Amiens, France.

[1. Dawkins's "Early Man in Britain," p. 137.

2. "Nature," November 6, 1873.

3. "The Great Ice Age," p. 475.]

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The upper stratum (a) represents a brick earth, four to five feet in thickness, and containing a few angular flints. The next (b) is a thin layer of angular gravel, one to two feet in thickness. The next (c) is a bed of sandy marl, five to six feet in thickness. The lowest deposit (d) immediately overlies the chalk; it is a bed of partially rounded gravel, and, in this, human implements of flint have been found. The spot was used in the early Christian period as a cemetery; f represents one of the graves, made fifteen hundred years ago; e represents one of the ancient coffins, of which only the nails and clamps are left, every particle of the wood having perished.

And, says Sir John Lubbock:

"It is especially at the lower part" of these lowest deposits "that the flint implements occur."

The bones of the mammoth, the wild bull, the deer, the horse, the rhinoceros, and the reindeer are found near the bottom of these strata mixed with the flint implements of men.

"All the fossils belong to animals which live on land; . . . we find no marine remains."[2]

Remember that the Drift is unfossiliferous and unstratified; that it fell en masse, and that these remains are found in its lower part, or caught between it and the rocks below it, and you can form a vivid picture of the sudden and terrible catastrophe. The trees were imbedded with man and the animals; the bones of men, smaller and more friable, probably perished, ground up in the tempest, while only their flint implements and the great bones of the larger animals, hard as stones, remain to tell the dreadful story. And yet some human bones

[1. "Prehistoric Times," p. 366.

2. Ibid., pp. 366, 367.]

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have been found; a lower jaw-bone was discovered in a pit at Moulinguignon, and a skull and other bones were found in the valley of the Seine by M. Bertrand.[1]

And these discoveries have not been limited to river-gravels. In the Shrub Hill gravel-bed in England, "in the lowest part of it, numerous flint implements of the palolithic type have been discovered."[2]

We have, besides these sub-drift remains, the skulls of men who probably lived before the great cataclysm,—men who may have looked upon the very comet that smote the world. They represent two widely different races. One is "the Engis skull," so called from the cave of Engis, near Lige, where it was found by Dr. Schmerling. "It is a fair average human skull, which might," says Huxley, "have belonged to a philosopher, or might have contained the thoughtless brains of a savage."[3] It represents a



civilized, if not a cultivated, race of men. It may represent a victim, a prisoner, held for a cannibalistic feast or a trader from a more civilized region.

[1. "Prehistoric Times," p. 360.

2. Ibid., p. 351.

3. "Man's Place in Nature," p. 156.]

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In another cave, in the Neanderthal, near Hochdale, between Dsseldorf and Elberfeld, a skull was found which is the most ape-like of all known human crania. The mail to whom it belonged must have been a barbarian brute of the rudest possible type. Here is a representation of it.



I beg the reader to remember these skulls when he comes to read, a little further on, the legend told by an American Indian tribe of California, describing the marriage between the daughter of the gods and a son of the grizzly bears, from which union, we are told, came the Indian tribes. These skulls represent creatures as far apart, I was about to say, as gods and bears. The "Engis skull," with its full frontal brain-pan, its fine lines, and its splendidly arched dome, tells us of ages of cultivation and development in some favored center of the race; while the horrible and beast-like proportions of "the Neanderthal skull" speak, with no less certainty, of undeveloped, brutal, savage man, only a little above the gorilla in capacity;—a prowler, a robber, a murderer, a cave-dweller, a cannibal, a Cain.

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We shall see, as we go on in the legends of the races on both sides of the Atlantic, that they all looked to some central land, east of America and west of Europe, some island of the ocean, where dwelt a godlike race, and where alone, it would seem, the human race was preserved to repeople the earth, while these brutal representatives of the race, the Neanderthal people, were crushed out.

And this is not mere theorizing. It is conceded, as the result of most extensive scientific research:

1. That the great southern mammalia perished in Europe when the Drift came upon the earth.

2. It is conceded that these two skulls are associated with the bones of these locally extinct animals, mingled together in the same deposits.

3. The conclusion is, therefore, logically irresistible, that these skulls belonged to men who lived during or before the Drift Age.

Many authorities support this proposition that man—palolithic man, man of the mammoth and the mastodon—existed in the caves of Europe before the Drift.

"After having occupied the English caves for untold ages, palolithic man disappeared for ever, and with him vanished many animals now either locally or wholly extinct."[1]

Above the remains of man in these caves comes a deposit of stalagmite, twelve feet in thickness, indicating a vast period of time during which it was being formed, and during this time man was absent.[2]

Above this stalagmite comes another deposit of cave-earth:

"The deposits immediately overlying the stalagmite and cave-earth contain an almost totally different assemblage

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 411.

2. Ibid., p. 411.]

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of animal remains, along with relics of the neolithic, bronze, iron, and historic periods.

"There is no passage, but, on the contrary, a sharp and abrupt break between these later deposits and the underlying palolithic accumulations."[1]

Here we have the proof that man inhabited these caves for ages before the Drift; that he perished with the great mammals and disappeared; and that the twelve feet of stalagmite were formed while no men and few animals dwelt in Europe. But some fragment of the human race had escaped elsewhere, in some other region; there it multiplied and replenished the earth, and gradually extended and spread again over Europe, and reappeared in the cave-deposits above the stalagmite. And, in like manner, the animals gradually came in from the regions on which the Drift had not fallen.

But the revelations of the last few years prove, not only that man lived during the Drift age, and that he dwelt on the earth when the Drift fell, but that he can be traced backward for ages before the Drift; and that he was contemporary with species of great animals that had run their course, and ceased to exist centuries, perhaps thousands of years, before the Drift.

I quote a high authority:

"Most of the human relics of any sort have been found in the more recent layers of the Drift. They have been discovered, however, not only in the older Drift, but also, though very rarely, in the underlying Tertiary. For instance, in the Upper Pliocene at St. Prest, near Chartres, were found stone implements and cuttings on bone, in connection with relics of a long-extinct elephant (Elephas meridionalis) that is wholly lacking in the Drift. During the past two years the evidences of human existence in the Tertiary period, i. e., previous to the age of mammoths

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 411.]

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of the Diluvial period, have multiplied, and by their multiplication give cumulative confirmation to each other. Even in the lower strata of the Miocene (the middle Tertiary) important discoveries of stone knives and bone-cuttings have been made, as at Thenay, department of Marne-et-Loire, and Billy, department of Allier, France. Professor J. D. Whitney, the eminent State geologist of California, reports similar discoveries there also. So, then, we may believe that before the last great upheaval of the Alps and Pyrenees, and while the yet luxuriant vegetation of the then (i. e., in the Tertiary period) paradisaic climate yet adorned Central Europe, man inhabited this region."[1]

We turn to the American Continent and we find additional proofs of man's pre-glacial existence. The "American Naturalist," 1873, says:

"The discoveries that are constantly being made in this country are proving that man existed on this continent as far back in geological time as on the European Continent; and it even seems that America, really the Old World, geologically, will soon prove to be the birthplace of the earliest race of man. One of the late and important discoveries is that by Mr. E. L. Berthoud, which is given in full, with a map, in the 'Proceedings of the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences for 1872,' p. 46. Mr. Berthoud there reports the discovery of ancient fire-places, rude stone monuments, and implements of stone in great number and variety, in several places along Crow Creek, in Colorado, and also on several other rivers in the vicinity. These fire-places indicate several ancient sites of an unknown race differing entirely from the mound-builders and the present Indians, while the shells and other fossils found with the remains make it quite certain that the deposit in which the ancient sites are found is as old as the Pliocene, and perhaps as the Miocene. As the fossil shells found with the relies of man are of estuary forms, and as the sites of the ancient towns are on extended

[1. "Popular Science Monthly," April, 1875, p. 682.]

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points of land, and at the base of the ridges or bluffs, Mr. Berthoud thinks the evidence is strongly in favor of the locations having been near some ancient fresh-water lake, whose vestiges the present topography of the region favors."

I quote the following from the "Scientific American" (1880):

"The finding of numerous relies of a buried race on an ancient horizon, from twenty to thirty feet below the present level of country in Missouri and Kansas, has been noted. The St. Louis 'Republican' gives particulars of another find of an unmistakable character made last spring (1880) in Franklin County, Missouri, by Dr. R. W. Booth, who was engaged in iron-mining about three miles from Dry Branch, a station on the St. Louis and Santa F Railroad. At a depth of eighteen feet below the surface the miners uncovered a human skull, with portions of the ribs, vertebral column, and collar-bone. With them were found two flint arrow-heads of the most primitive type, imperfect in shape and barbed. A few pieces of charcoal were also found at the same time and place. Dr. Booth was fully aware of the importance of the discovery, and tried to preserve everything found, but upon touching the skull it crumbled to dust, and some of the other bones broke into small pieces and partly crumbled away; but enough was preserved to fully establish the fact that they are human bones.

"Some fifteen or twenty days subsequent to the first finding, at a depth of twenty-four feet below the surface, other bones were found—a thigh-bone and a portion of the vertebra, and several pieces of charred wood, the bones apparently belonging to the first-found skeleton. In both cases the bones rested on a fibrous stratum, suspected at the time to be a fragment of coarse matting. This lay upon a floor of soft but solid iron-ore, which retained the imprint of the fibers. . . .

"The indications are that the filled cavity had originally been a sort of cave, and that the supposed matting was more probably a layer of twigs, rushes, or weeds, which the inhabitants of the cave had used as a bed, as the fiber

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marks cross each other irregularly. The ore-bed in which the remains were found, and part of which seems to have formed after the period of human occupation of the cave, lies in the second (or saccharoidal) sandstone of the Lower Silurian."

Note the facts: The remains of this man are found separated—part are eighteen feet below the surface, part twenty-four feet—that is, they are six feet apart. How can we account for this condition of things, except by supposing that the poor savage had rushed for safety to his shallow rock-shelter, and had there been caught by the world-tempest, and torn to pieces and deposited in fragments with the dbris that filled his rude home?

In California we encounter a still more surprising state of things.

The celebrated Calaveras skull was found in a shaft one hundred and fifty feet deep, under five beds of lava and volcanic tufa, and four beds of auriferous gravel.

The accompanying cut represents a plummet found in digging a well in the San Joaquin Valley, California, thirty feet below the surface.



Dr. Foster says:

"In examining this beautiful relic, one is led almost instinctively to believe that it was used as a plummet, for the purpose of determining the perpendicular to the horizon [for building purposes?]; . . . when we consider its symmetry of form, the contrast of colors brought out by the process of grinding and polishing, and the delicate drilling of the hole through a material (syenite) so liable to fracture, we are free to say it affords an exhibition of the lapidary's skill superior to anything yet furnished by the Stone age of either continent."[1]

[1. "The Prehistoric Races of the United States," p. 55.]

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In Louisiana, layers of pottery, six inches thick, with remnants of matting and baskets, were found twelve feet below the surface, and underneath what Dr. Foster believes to be strata of the Drift.[1]

I might fill pages with similar testimony; but I think I have given enough to satisfy the reader that man did exist before the Drift.

I shall discuss the subject still further when I come to consider, in a subsequent chapter, the question whether pre-glacial man was or was not civilized.

[1. "The Prehistoric Races of the United States," p. 56.]

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WE turn now to the legends of mankind.

I shall try to divide them, so as to represent, in their order, the several stages of the great event. This, of course, will be difficult to do, for the same legend may detail several different parts of the same common story; and hence there may be more or less repetition; they will more or less overlap each other.

And, first, I shall present one or two legends that most clearly represent the first coming of the monster, the dragon, the serpent, the wolf, the dog, the Evil One, the Comet.

The second Hindoo "Avatar" gives the following description of the rapid advance of some dreadful object out of space, and its tremendous fall upon the earth:

"By the power of God there issued from the essence of Brahma a being shaped like a boar, white and exceeding small; this being, in the space of an hour, grew to the size of an elephant of the largest size, and remained in the air."

That is to say, it was an atmospheric, not a terrestrial creature.

"Brahma was astonished on beholding this figure, and discovered, by the force of internal penetration, that it could be nothing but the power of the Omnipotent which had assumed a body and become visible. He now felt that God is all in all, and all is from him, and all in him;

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and said to Mareechee and his sons (the attendant genii): 'A wonderful animal has emanated from my essence; at first of the smallest size, it has in one hour increased to this enormous bulk, and, without doubt, it is a portion of the almighty power.'"

Brahma, an earthly king, was at first frightened by the terrible spectacle in the air, and then claimed that he had produced it himself!

"They were engaged in this conversation when that vara, or 'boar-form,' suddenly uttered a sound like the loudest thunder, and the echo reverberated and shook all the quarters of the universe."

This is the same terrible noise which, as I have already shown, would necessarily result from the carbureted hydrogen of the comet exploding in our atmosphere. The legend continues:

"But still, under this dreadful awe of heaven, a certain wonderful divine confidence secretly animated the hearts of Brahma, Mareechee, and the other genii, who immediately began praises and thanksgiving. That vara (boar-form) figure, hearing the power of the Vedas and Mantras from their mouths, again made a loud noise, and became a dreadful spectacle. Shaking the full flowing mane which hung down his neck on both sides, and erecting the humid hairs of his body, he proudly displayed his two most exceedingly white tusks; then, rolling about his wine-colored (red) eyes, and erecting his tail, he descended from the region of the air, and plunged headforemost into the water. The whole body of water was convulsed by the motion, and began to rise in waves, while the guardian spirit of the sea, being terrified, began to tremble for his domain and cry for mercy.[1]

flow fully does this legend accord with the descriptions of comets given by astronomers, the "horrid hair," the mane, the animal-like head! Compare it with Mr.

[1. Maurice's "Ancient History of Hindustan," vol. i, p. 304.]

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Lockyer's account of Coggia's comet, as seen through Newell's large refracting telescope at Ferndene, Gateshead, and which he described as having a head like "a fan-shaped projection of light, with ear-like appendages, at each side, which sympathetically complemented each other at every change either of form or luminosity."

We turn to the legends of another race:

The Zendavesta of the ancient Persians[1] describes a period of "great innocence and happiness on earth."

This represents, doubtless, the delightful climate of the Tertiary period, already referred to, when endless summer extended to the poles.

"There was a 'man-bull,' who resided on an elevated region, which the deity had assigned him."

This was probably a line of kings or a nation, whose symbol was the bull, as we see in Bel or Baal, with the bull's horns, dwelling in some elevated mountainous region.

"At last an evil one, denominated Ahriman, corrupted the world. After having dared to visit heaven" (that is, he appeared first in the high heavens), "he descended upon the earth and assumed the form of a serpent."

That is to say, a serpent-like comet struck the earth.

"The man-bull was poisoned by his venom, and died in consequence of it. Meanwhile, Ahriman threw the whole universe into confusion (chaos), for that enemy of good mingled himself with everything, appeared everywhere, and sought to do mischief above and below."

We shall find all through these legends allusions to the poisonous and deadly gases brought to the earth by the comet: we have already seen that the gases which are proved to be associated with comets are fatal to life.

[1. Faber's "Hor Mosaic," vol. i, p. 72.]

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And this, be it remembered, is not guess-work, but the revelation of the spectroscope.

The traditions of the ancient Britons[1] tell us of an ancient time, when

"The profligacy of mankind had provoked the great Supreme to send a pestilential wind upon the earth. A pure poison descended, every blast was death. At this time the patriarch, distinguished for his integrity, was shut up, together with his select company, in the inclosure with the strong door. (The cave?) Here the just ones were safe from injury. Presently a tempest of fire arose. It split the earth asunder to the great deep. The lake Llion burst its bounds, and the waves of the sea lifted themselves on high around the borders of Britain, the rain poured down from heaven, and the waters covered the earth."

Here we have the whole story told briefly, but with the regular sequence of events:

1. The poisonous gases.

2. The people seek shelter in the caves.

3. The earth takes fire.

4. The earth is cleft open; the fiords are made, and the trap-rocks burst forth.

5. The rain pours down.

6. There is a season of floods.

When we turn to the Greek legends, as recorded by one of their most ancient writers, Hesiod, we find the coming of the comet clearly depicted.

We shall see here, and in many other legends, reference to the fact that there was more than one monster in the sky. This is in accordance with what we now know to be true of comets. They often appear in pairs or even triplets. Within the past few years we have seen Biela's comet divide and form two separate comets, pursuing

[1. "Mythology of the British Druids," p. 226.]

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their course side by side. When the great comet of 1811 appeared, another of almost equal magnitude followed it. Seneca informs us that Ephoras, a Greek writer of the fourth century before Christ, had recorded the singular fact of a comet's separation into two parts.

"This statement was deemed incredible by the Roman philosopher. More recent observations of similar phenomena leave no room to question the historian's veracity."[1]

The Chinese annals record the appearance of three comets—one large and two smaller ones—at the same time, in the year 896 of our era.

"They traveled together for three days. The little ones disappeared first and then the large one."

And again:

"On June 27th, A. D. 416, two comets appeared in the constellation Hercules, and pursued nearly the same path."[2]

If mere proximity to the earth served to split Biela's comet into two fragments, why might not a comet, which came near enough to strike the earth, be broken into several separate forms?

So that there is nothing improbable in Hesiod's description of two or three arial monsters appearing at or about the same time, or of one being the apparent offspring of the other, since a large comet may, like Biela's, have broken in two before the eyes of the people.

Hesiod tells us that the Earth united with Night to do a terrible deed, by which the Heavens were much wronged. The Earth prepared a large sickle of white iron, with jagged teeth, and gave it to her son Cronus, and stationed him in ambush, and when Heaven came, Cronus, his son, grasped at him, and with his "huge sickle, long and jagged-toothed," cruelly wounded him.

[1. Kirkwood, "Comets and Meteors," p. 60.

2. Ibid., p. 51.]

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Was this jagged, white, sickle-shaped object a comet?

"And Night bare also hateful Destiny, and black Fate, and Death, and Nemesis."

And Hesiod tells us that "she," probably Night—

"Brought forth another monster, irresistible, nowise like to mortal man or immortal gods, in a hollow cavern; the divine, stubborn-hearted Echidna (half-nymph, with dark eyes and fair cheeks; and half, on the other hand, a serpent, huge and terrible and vast), speckled, and flesh-devouring, 'neath caves of sacred Earth. . . . With her, they say that Typhaon (Typhon) associated in love, a terrible and lawless ravisher for the dark-eyed maid. . . . But she (Echidna) bare Chimra, breathing resistless fire, fierce and huge, fleet-footed as well as strong; this monster had three heads: one, indeed, of a grim-visaged lion, one of a goat, and another of a serpent, a fierce dragon;


COMET OF 1862. Aspect of the head of the comet at nine in the evening, the 23d August, and the 24th August at the same hour.

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in front a lion, a dragon behind, and in the midst a goat, breathing forth the dread strength of burning fire. Her Pegasus slew and brave Bellerophon."

The astronomical works show what weird, and fantastic, and goblin-like shapes the comets assume under the telescope. Look at the representation on page 137, from Guillemin's work,[1] of the appearance of the comet of 1862, giving the changes which took place in twenty-four hours. If we will imagine one of these monsters close to the earth, we can readily suppose that the excited people, looking at "the dreadful spectacle," (as the Hindoo legend calls it,) saw it taking the shapes of serpents, dragons, birds, and wolves.

And Hesiod proceeds to tell us something more about this fiery, serpent-like monster:

"But when Jove had driven the Titans out from Heaven, huge Earth bare her youngest-born son, Typhœus (Typhaon, Typhœus, Typhon), by the embrace of Tartarus (Hell), through golden Aphrodite (Venus), whose hands, indeed, are apt for deeds on the score of strength, and untiring the feet of the strong god; and from his shoulders there were a hundred heads of a serpent, a fierce dragon playing with dusky tongues" (tongues of fire and smoke?), "and from the eyes in his wondrous heads are sparkled beneath the brows; whilst from all his heads fire was gleaming, as he looked keenly. In all his terrible heads, too, were voices sending forth every kind of voice ineffable. For one while, indeed, they would utter sounds, so as for the gods to understand, and at another time, again, the voice of a loud-bellowing bull, untamable in force and proud in utterance; at another time, again, that of a lion possessing a daring spirit; at another time, again, they would sound like to whelps, wondrous to hear; and at another, he would hiss, and the lofty mountains resounded.

[1. "The Heavens," p. 256.]

{p. 139}

"And, in sooth, then would there have been done a deed past remedy, and he, even he, would have reigned over mortals and immortals, unless, I wot, the sire of gods and men had quickly observed him. Harshly then he thundered, and heavily and terribly the earth re-echoed around; and the broad heaven above, and the sea and streams of ocean, and the abysses of earth. But beneath his immortal feet vast Olympus trembled, as the king uprose and earth groaned beneath. And the heat from both caught the dark-colored sea, both of the thunder and the lightning, and fire from the monster, the heat arising from the thunder-storms, winds, and burning lightning. And all earth, and heaven, and sea, were boiling; and huge billows roared around the shores about and around, beneath the violence of the gods; and unallayed quaking arose. Pluto trembled, monarch over the dead beneath; and the Titans under Tartarus, standing about Cronus, trembled also, on account of the unceasing tumult and dreadful contention. But Jove, when in truth he had raised high his wrath, and had taken his arms, his thunder and lightning, and smoking bolt, leaped up and smote him from Olympus, and scorched all around the wondrous heads of the terrible monster.

"But when at length he had quelled it, after having smitten it with blows, the monster fell down, lamed, and huge Earth groaned. But the flame from the lightning-blasted monster flashed forth in the mountain hollows, hidden and rugged, when he was stricken, and much was the vast earth burnt and melted by the boundless vapor, like as pewter, heated by the art of youths, and by the well-bored melting-pit, or iron, which is the hardest of metals, subdued in the dells of the mountain by blazing fire, melts in the sacred earth, beneath the hands of Vulcan. So, I wot, was earth melted in the glare of burning fire. Then, troubled in spirit, he hurled him into wide Tartarus."[1]

Here we have a very faithful and accurate narrative of the coming of the comet:

[1. "Theogony."]

{p. 140}

Born of Night a monster appears, a serpent, huge, terrible, speckled, flesh-devouring. With her is another comet, Typhaon; they beget the Chimra, that breathes resistless fire, fierce, huge, swift. And Typhaon, associated with both these, is the most dreadful monster of all, born of Hell and sensual sin, a serpent, a fierce dragon, many-headed, with dusky tongues and fire gleaming; sending forth dreadful and appalling noises, while mountains and fields rock with earthquakes; chaos has come; the earth, the sea boils; there is unceasing tumult and contention, and in the midst the monster, wounded and broken up, falls upon the earth; the earth groans under his weight, and there he blazes and burns for a time in the mountain fastnesses and desert places, melting the earth with boundless vapor and glaring fire.

We will find legend after legend about this Typhon he runs through the mythologies of different nations. And as to his size and his terrible power, they all agree. He was no earth-creature. He moved in the air; he reached the skies:

"According to Pindar the head of Typhon reached to the stars, his eyes darted fire, his hands extended from the East to the West, terrible serpents were twined about the middle of his body, and one hundred snakes took the place of fingers on his hands. Between him and the gods there was a dreadful war. Jupiter finally killed him with a flash of lightning, and buried him under Mount Etna."

And there, smoking and burning, his great throes and writhings, we are told, still shake the earth, and threaten mankind:

And with pale lips men say, 'To-morrow, perchance to-day, Encelidas may arise! "'

{p. 141}



THERE is in the legends of the Scandinavians a marvelous record of the coming of the Comet. It has been repeated generation after generation, translated into all languages, commented on, criticised, but never understood. It has been regarded as a wild, unmeaning rhapsody of words, or as a premonition of some future earth catastrophe.

But look at it!

The very name is significant. According to Professor Anderson's etymology of the word, it means "the darkness of the gods"; from regin, gods, and rkr, darkness; but it may, more properly, be derived from the Icelandic, Danish, and Swedish regn, a rain, and rk, smoke, or dust; and it may mean the rain of dust, for the clay came first as dust; it is described in some Indian legends as ashes.

First, there is, as in the tradition of the Druids, page 135, ante, the story of an age of crime.

The Vala looks upon the world, and, as the "Elder Edda" tells us—

There saw she wade In the heavy streams, Men—foul murderers And perjurers, And them who others' wives Seduce to sin. Brothers slay brothers Sisters' children Shed each other's blood. {p. 142} Hard is the world! Sensual sin grows huge. There are sword-ages, axe-ages; Shields are cleft in twain; Storm-ages, murder ages; Till the world falls dead, And men no longer spare Or pity one another."[1]

The world has ripened for destruction; and "Ragnarok," the darkness of the gods, or the rain of dust and ashes, comes to complete the work.

The whole story is told with the utmost detail, and we shall see that it agrees, in almost every particular, with what reason assures us must have happened.

"There are three winters," or years, "during which great wars rage over the world." Mankind has reached a climax of wickedness. Doubtless it is, as now, highly civilized in some regions, while still barbarian in others.

"Then happens that which will seem a great miracle: that the wolf devours the sun, and this will seem a great loss."

That is, the Comet strikes the sun, or approaches so close to it that it seems to do so.

"The other wolf devours the moon, and this, too, will cause great mischief."

We have seen that the comets often come in couples or triplets.

"The stars shall be hurled from heaven."

This refers to the blazing dbris of the Comet falling to the earth.

"Then it shall come to pass that the earth will shake so violently that trees will be torn up by the roots, the

[1. Anderson, "Norse Mythology," p. 416.]

{p. 143}

mountains will topple down, and all bonds and fetters will be broken and snapped."

Chaos has come again. How closely does all this agree with Hesiod's description of the shaking earth and the universal conflict of nature?

"The Fenris-wolf gets loose."

This, we shall see, is the name of one of the comets.

"The sea rushes over the earth, for the Midgard-serpent writhes in giant rage, and seeks to gain the land."

The Midgard-serpent is the name of another comet; it strives to reach the earth; its proximity disturbs the oceans. And then follows an inexplicable piece of mythology:

"The ship that is called Naglfar also becomes loose. It is made of the nails of dead men; wherefore it is worth warning that, when a man dies with unpared nails, he supplies a large amount of materials for the building of this ship, which both gods and men wish may be finished as late as possible. But in this flood Naglfar gets afloat. The giant Hrym is its steersman.

"The Fenris-wolf advances with wide-open mouth; the upper jaw reaches to heaven and the lower jaw is on the earth."

That is to say, the comet extends from the earth to the sun.

"He would open it still wider had he room."

That is to say, the space between the sun and earth is not great enough; the tail of the comet reaches even beyond the earth.

"Fire flashes from his eyes and nostrils."

A recent writer says:

"When bright comets happen to come very near to the sun, and are subjected to close observation under the

{p. 144}

advantages which the fine telescopes of the present day afford, a series of remarkable changes is found to take place in their luminous configuration. First, jets of bright light start out from the nucleus, and move through the fainter haze of the coma toward the sun; and then these jets are turned backward round the edge of the coma, and stream from it, behind the comet, until they are fashioned into a tail."[1]

"The Midgard-serpent vomits forth venom, defiling all the air and the sea; he is very terrible, and places himself side by side with the wolf."

The two comets move together, like Biela's two fragments; and they give out poison—the carbureted-hydrogen gas revealed by the spectroscope.

"In the midst of this clash and din the heavens are rent in twain, and the sons of Muspelheim come riding through the opening."

Muspelheim, according to Professor Anderson,[2] means the day of judgment." Muspel signifies an abode of fire, peopled by fiends. So that this passage means, that the heavens are split open, or appear to be, by the great shining comet, or comets, striking the earth; it is a world of fire; it is the Day of Judgment.

"Surt rides first, and before him and after him flames burning fire."

Surt is a demon associated with the comet;[3] he is the same as the destructive god of the Egyptian mythology, Set, who destroys the sun. It may mean the blazing nucleus of the comet.

"He has a very good sword that shines brighter than the sun. As they ride over Bifrost it breaks to pieces, as has before been stated."

[1. "Edinburgh Review," October, 1874, p. 207.

2. "Norse Mythology," p. 454.

3. Ibid., p. 458.]

{p. 145}

Bifrost, we shall have reason to see hereafter, was a prolongation of land westward from Europe, which connected the British Islands with the island-home of the gods, or the godlike race of men.

There are geological proofs that such a land once existed. A writer, Thomas Butler Gunn, in a recent number of an English publication,[1] says:

"Tennyson's 'Voyage of Maeldune' is a magnificent allegorical expansion of this idea; and the laureate has also finely commemorated the old belief in the country of Lyonnesse, extending beyond the bounds of Cornwall:

'A land of old upheaven from the abyss By fire, to sink into the abyss again; Where fragments of forgotten peoples dwelt, And the long mountains ended in a coast Of ever-shifting sands, and far away The phantom circle of a moaning sea.'

"Cornishmen of the last generation used to tell stories of strange household relics picked up at the very low tides, nay, even of the quaint habitations seen fathoms deep in the water."

There are those who believe that these Scandinavian Eddas came, in the first instance, from Druidical Briton sources.

The Edda may be interpreted to mean that the Comet strikes the planet west of Europe, and crushes down some land in that quarter, called "the bridge of Bifrost."

Then follows a mighty battle between the gods and the Comet. It can have, of course, but one termination; but it will recur again and again in the legends of different nations. It was necessary that the gods, the protectors of mankind, should struggle to defend them against these strange and terrible enemies. But their very helplessness

[1. "All the Year Round."]

{p. 146}

and their deaths show how immense was the calamity which had befallen the world.

The Edda continues:

"The sons of Muspel direct their course to the plain which is called Vigrid. Thither repair also the Fenris-wolf and the Midgard-serpent."

Both the comets have fallen on the earth.

"To this place have also come Loke" (the evil genius of the Norse mythology) "and Hrym, and with him all the Frost giants. In Loke's company are all the friends of Hel" (the goddess of death). "The sons of Muspel have then their efficient bands alone by themselves. The plain Vigrid is one hundred miles (rasts) on each side."

That is to say, all these evil forces, the comets, the fire, the devil, and death, have taken possession of the great plain, the heart of the civilized land. The scene is located in this spot, because probably it was from this spot the legends were afterward dispersed to all the world.

It is necessary for the defenders of mankind to rouse themselves. There is no time to be lost, and, accordingly, we learn—

"While these things are happening, Heimdal" (he was the guardian of the Bifrost-bridge) "stands up, blows with all his might in the Gjallar-horn and awakens all the gods, who thereupon hold counsel. Odin rides to Mimer's well to ask advice of Mimer for himself and his folk.

"Then quivers the ash Ygdrasil, and all things in heaven and earth tremble."

The ash Ygdrasil is the tree-of-life; the tree of the ancient tree-worship; the tree which stands on the top of the pyramid in the island-birth place of the Aztec race; the tree referred to in the Hindoo legends.

"The asas" (the godlike men) "and the einherjes" (the heroes) "arm themselves and speed forth to the battlefield. Odin rides first; with his golden helmet, resplendent

{p. 147}

byrnie, and his spear Gungner, he advances against the Fenris-wolf" (the first comet). "Thor stands by his side, but can give him no assistance, for he has his hands full in his struggle with the Midgard-serpent" (the second comet). "Frey encounters Surt, and heavy blows are exchanged ere Frey falls. The cause of his death is that he has not that good sword which he gave to Skirner. Even the dog Garm," (another comet), "that was bound before the Gnipa-cave, gets loose. He is the greatest plague. He contends with Tyr, and they kill each other. Thor gets great renown by slaying the Midgard-serpent, but retreats only nine paces when he falls to the earth dead, poisoned by the venom that the serpent blows upon him."

He has breathed the carbureted-hydrogen gas!

"The wolf swallows Odin, and thus causes his death; but Vidar immediately turns and rushes at the wolf, placing one foot on his nether jaw.

["On this foot he has the shoe, for which materials have been gathering through all ages, namely, the strips of leather which men cut off from the toes and heels of shoes; wherefore he who wishes to render assistance to the asas must cast these strips away."]

This last paragraph, like that concerning the ship Naglfar, is probably the interpolation of some later age. The narrative continues:

"With one hand Vidar seizes the upper jaw of the wolf, and thus rends asunder his mouth. Thus the wolf perishes. Loke fights with Heimdal, and they kill each other. Thereupon Surt flings fire over the earth, and burns up all the world."

This narrative is from the Younger Edda. The Elder Edda is to the same purpose, but there are more allusions to the effect of the catastrophe on the earth

The eagle screams, And with pale beak tears corpses. . . . Mountains dash together, {p. 148} Heroes go the way to Hel, And heaven is rent in twain. . . . All men abandon their homesteads When the warder of Midgard In wrath slays the serpent. The sun grows dark, The earth sinks into the sea, The bright stars From heaven vanish; Fire rages, Heat blazes, And high flames play 'Gainst heaven itself"

And what follow then? Ice and cold and winter. For although these things come first in the narrative of the Edda, yet we are told that "before these" things, to wit, the cold winters, there occurred the wickedness of the world, and the wolves and the serpent made their appearance. So that the events transpired in the order in which I have given them.

"First there is a winter called the Fimbul winter,"

"The mighty, the great, the iron winter,"[1]

"'When snow drives from. all quarters, the frosts are so severe, the winds so keen, there is no joy in the sun. There are three such winters in succession, without any intervening summer."

Here we have the Glacial period which followed the Drift. Three years of incessant wind, and snow, and intense cold.

The Elder Edda says, speaking of the Fenris-wolf:

"It feeds on the bodies Of men, when they die The seats of the gods It stains with red blood."

[1. "Norse Mythology," p. 444.]

{p. 149}

This probably refers to the iron-stained red clay cast down by the Comet over a large part of the earth; the "seats of the gods" means the home of the god-like race, which was doubtless covered, like Europe and America, with red clay; the waters which ran from it must have been the color of blood.

"The Sunshine blackens In the summers thereafter, And the weather grows bad."

In the Younger Edda (p. 57) we are given a still more precise description of the Ice age:

"Replied Har, explaining, that as soon as the streams, that are called Elivogs" (the rivers from under ice), "had came so far that the venomous yeast" (the clay?) "which flowed with them hardened, as does dross that runs from the fire, then it turned" (as) "into ice. And when this ice stopped and flowed no more, then gathered over it the drizzling rain that arose from the venom" (the clay), "and froze into rime" (ice), "and one layer of ice was laid upon another clear into the Ginungagap."

Ginungagap, we are told,[1] was the name applied in the eleventh century by the Northmen to the ocean between Greenland and Vinland, or America. It doubtless meant originally the whole of the Atlantic Ocean. The clay, when it first fell, was probably full of chemical elements, which rendered it, and the waters which filtered through it, unfit for human use; clay waters are, to this day, the worst in the world.

"Then said Jafnhar: 'All that part of Ginungagap that turns to the north' (the north Atlantic) 'was filled with thick and heavy ice and rime, and everywhere within were drizzling rains and gusts. But the south part of Ginungagap was lighted up by the glowing sparks that flew out of Muspelheim.'"

[1. "Norse Mythology," p. 447.]

{p. 150}

The ice and rime to the north represent the age of ice and snow. Muspelheim was the torrid country of the south, over which the clouds could not yet form in consequence of the heat—Africa.

But it can not last forever. The clouds disappear; the floods find their way back to the ocean; nature begins to decorate once more the scarred and crushed face of the world. But where is the human race? The "Younger Edda" tells us:

"During the conflagration caused by Surt's fire, a woman by the name of Lif and a man named Lifthraser lie concealed in Hodmimer's hold, or forest. The dew of the dawn serves them for food, and so great a race shall spring from them, that their descendants shall soon spread over the whole earth."[1]

The "Elder Edda" says:

"Lif and Lifthraser Will lie hid In Hodmimer's-holt; The morning dew They have for food. From them are the races descended."

Holt is a grove, or forest, or hold; it was probably a cave. We shall see that nearly all the legends refer to the caves in which mankind escaped from destruction.

This statement,

"From them are the races descended,"

shows that this is not prophecy, but history; it refers to the past, not to the future; it describes not a Day of Judgment to come, but one that has already fallen on the human family.

Two others, of the godlike race, also escaped in some

[1. "Norse Mythology" p. 429.]

{p. 151}

way not indicated; Vidar and Vale are their names. They, too, had probably taken refuge in some cavern.

"Neither the sea nor Surt's fire had harmed them, and they dwell on the plains of Ida, where Asgard was before. Thither come also the sons of Thor, Mode, and Magne, and they have Mjolner. Then come Balder and Hoder from Hel.

Mode and Magne are children of Thor; they belong to the godlike race. They, too, have escaped. Mjolner is Thor's hammer. Balder is the Sun; he has returned from the abode of death, to which the comet consigned him. Hoder is the Night.

All this means that the fragments and remnants of humanity reassemble on the plain of Ida—the plain of Vigrid—where the battle was fought. They possess the works of the old civilization, represented by Thor's hammer; and the day and night once more return after the long midnight blackness.

And the Vala looks again upon a renewed and rejuvenated world:

"She sees arise The second time. From the sea, the earth, Completely green. The cascades fall, The eagle soars, From lofty mounts Pursues its prey."

It is once more the glorious, the sun-lighted world the world of flashing seas, dancing streams, and green leaves; with the eagle, high above it all,

"Batting the sunny ceiling of the globe With his dark wings;"


"The wild cataracts leap in glory."

{p. 152}

What history, what poetry, what beauty, what inestimable pictures of an infinite past have lain hidden away in these Sagas—the despised heritage of all the blue-eyed, light-haired races of the world!

Rome and Greece can not parallel this marvelous story:

The gods convene On Ida's plains, And talk of the powerful Midgard-serpent; They call to mind The Fenris-wolf And the ancient runes Of the mighty Odin."

What else can mankind think of, or dream of, or talk of for the next thousand years but this awful, this unparalleled calamity through which the race has passed?

A long-subsequent but most ancient and cultivated people, whose memory has, for us, almost faded from the earth, will thereafter embalm the great drama in legends, myths, prayers, poems, and sagas; fragments of which are found to-day dispersed through all literatures in all lands; some of them, as we shall see, having found their way even into the very Bible revered alike of Jew and Christian:

The Edda continues,

"Then again The wonderful Golden tablets Are found in the grass In time's morning, The leader of the gods And Odin's race Possessed them."

And what a find was that! This poor remnant of humanity discovers "the golden tablets" of the former

{p. 153}

civilization. Doubtless, the inscribed tablets, by which the art of writing survived to the race; for what would tablets be without inscriptions? For they talk of "the ancient runes of mighty Odin," that is, of the runic letters, the alphabetical writing. And we shall see hereafter that this view is confirmed from other sources.

There follows a happy age:

"The fields unsown Yield their growth; All ills cease. Balder comes. Hoder and Balder, Those heavenly gods, Dwell together in Odin's halls."

The great catastrophe is past. Man is saved, The world is once more fair. The sun shines again in heaven. Night and day follow each other in endless revolution around the happy globe. Ragnarok is past.

{p. 154}



Now let us turn to the mythology of the Latins, as preserved in the pages of Ovid, one of the greatest of the poets of ancient Rome.[1]

Here we have the burning of the world involved in the myth of Phaton, son of Phœbus—Apollo—the Sun—who drives the chariot of his father; he can not control the horses of the Sun, they run away with him; they come so near the earth as to set it on fire, and Phaton is at last killed by Jove, as he killed Typhon in the Greek legends, to save heaven and earth from complete and common ruin.

This is the story of the conflagration as treated by a civilized mind, explained by a myth, and decorated with the flowers and foliage of poetry.

We shall see many things in the narrative of Ovid which strikingly confirm our theory.

Phaton, to prove that he is really the son of Phœbus, the Sun, demands of his parent the right to drive his chariot for one day. The sun-god reluctantly consents, not without many pleadings that the infatuated and rash boy would give up his inconsiderate ambition. Phaton persists. The old man says:

"Even the ruler of vast Olympus, who hurls the ruthless bolts with his terrific right hand, can not guide

[1. "The Metamorphoses," book xi, fable 1.]

{p. 155}

this chariot; and yet, what have we greater than Jupiter? The first part of the road is steep, and such as the horses, though fresh in the morning, can hardly climb. In the middle of the heaven it is high aloft, whence it is often a source of fear, even to myself, to look down upon the sea and the earth, and my breast trembles with fearful apprehensions. The last stage is a steep descent, and requires a sure command of the horses. . . . Besides, the heavens are carried round with a constant rotation, and carrying with them the lofty stars, and whirl them with rapid revolution. Against this I have to contend; and that force which overcomes all other things does not overcome me, and I am carried in a contrary direction to the rapid world."

Here we seem to have a glimpse of some higher and older learning, mixed with the astronomical errors of the day: Ovid supposes the rapid world to move, revolve, one way, while the sun appears to move another.

But Phaton insists on undertaking the dread task. The doors of Aurora are opened, "her halls filled with roses"; the stars disappear; the Hours yoke the horses, "filled with the juice of ambrosia," the father anoints the face of his son with a hallowed drug that he may the better endure the great heat; the reins are handed him, and the fatal race begins. Phœbus has advised him not to drive too high, or "thou wilt set on fire the signs of the heavens"—the constellations;—nor too low, or he will consume the earth.

"In the mean time the swift Pyroeis, and Eos and thon, the horses of the sun, and Phlegon, the fourth, fill the air with neighings, sending forth flames, and beat the barriers with their feet. . . . They take the road . . . they cleave the resisting clouds, and, raised aloft by their wings, they pass by the east winds that had arisen from the same parts. But the weight" (of Phaton) "was light, and such as the horses of the sun could not feel; and the yoke was deficient of its wonted weight. . . . Soon as

{p. 156}

the steeds had perceived this they rush on and leave the beaten track, and run not in the order in which they did before. He himself becomes alarmed, and knows not which way to turn the reins intrusted to him; nor does he know where the way is, nor, if he did know, could he control them. Then, for the first time, did the cold Triones grow warm with sunbeams, and attempt, in vain, to be dipped in the sea that was forbidden to them. And the Serpent, which is situate next to the icy pole, being before torpid with cold, and formidable to no one, grew warm, and regained new rage for the heat. And they say that thou, Botes, scoured off in a mighty bustle, although thou wert but slow, and thy cart hindered thee. But when from the height of the skies the unhappy Phaton looked down upon the earth lying far, very far beneath, he grew pale, and his knees shook with a sudden terror; and, in a light so great, darkness overspread his eyes. And now he could wish that he had never touched the horses of his father; and now he is sorry that he knew his descent, and prevailed in his request; now desiring to be called the son of Merops."

"What can he do? . . . He is stupefied; he neither lets go the reins, nor is able to control them. In his fright, too, he sees strange objects scattered everywhere in various parts of the heavens, and the forms of huge wild beasts. There is a spot where the Scorpion bends his arms into two curves, and, with his tail and claws bending on either side, he extends his limbs through the space of two signs of the zodiac. As soon as the youth beheld him, wet with the sweat of black venom, and threatening wounds with the barbed point of his tail, bereft of sense he let go the reins in a chill of horror."

Compare the course which Ovid tells us Phaton pursued through the constellations, past the Great Serpent and Botes, and close to the venomous Scorpion, with the orbit of Donati's comet in 1858, as given in Schellen's great work.[1]

[1. "Spectrum Analysis," p. 391.]

{p. 157}



The path described by Ovid shows that the comet came from the north part of the heavens; and this agrees with what we know of the Drift; the markings indicate that it came from the north.

The horses now range at large; "they go through

{p. 158}

the air of an unknown region; . . . they rush on the stars fixed in the sky"; they approach the earth.

"The moon, too, wonders that her brother's horses run lower than her own, and the scorched clouds send forth smoke, As each region is most elevated it is caught by the flames, and cleft, it makes vast chasms, its moisture being carried away. The grass grows pale; the trees, with their foliage, are burned up, and the dry, standing corn affords fuel for its own destruction. But I am complaining of trifling ills. Great cities perish, together with their fortifications, and the flames turn whole nations into ashes; woods, together with mountains, are on fire. Athos burns, and the Cilician Taurus, and Tmolus, and Œta, and Ida, now dry but once most famed for its springs, and Helicon, the resort of the virgin Muses, and Hmus, not yet called Œagrian. tna burns intensely with redoubled flames, and Parnassus, with its two summits, and Eryx, and Cynthus, and Orthrys, and Rhodope, at length to be despoiled of its snows, and Mimas, and Dindyma, and Mycale, and Cithron, created for the sacred rites. Nor does its cold avail even Scythia; Caucasus is on fire, and Ossa with Pindus, and Olympus, greater than them both, and the lofty Alps, and the cloud-bearing Apennines.

"Then, indeed, Phaton beholds the world see on fire on all sides, and he can not endure heat so great, and he inhales with his mouth scorching air, as though from a deep furnace, and perceives his own chariot to be on fire. And neither is he able now to bear the ashes and the emitted embers; and on every side he is involved in a heated smoke. Covered with a pitchy darkness, he knows not whither he is going, nor where he is, and is hurried away at the pleasure of the winged steeds. They believe that it was then that the nations of the thiopians contracted their black hue, the blood being attracted. into the surface of the body. Then was Libya" (Sahara?) "made dry by the heat, the moisture being carried off; then with disheveled hair the Nymphs lamented the springs and the lakes. Bœotia bewails Dirce, Argos Amymone, and Ephyre the waters of Pirene. Nor do rivers that

{p. 159}

have banks distant remain secure. Tanais smokes in the midst of its waters, and the aged Peneus and Teuthrantian Cacus and rapid Ismenus. . . . The Babylonian Euphrates, too, was on fire, Orontes was in flames, and the swift Thermodon and Ganges and Phasis and Ister. Alpheus boils; the banks of Spercheus burn; and the gold which Tagus carries with its stream melts in the flames. The river-birds, too, which made famous the Monian banks with song, grew hot in the middle of Caster. The Nile, affrighted, fled to the remotest parts of the earth and concealed his head, which still lies hid; his seven last mouths are empty, seven channels without any streams. The same fate dries up the Ismarian rivers, Hebeus together with Strymon, and the Hesperian streams, the Rhine, the Rhone, and the Po, and the Tiber, to which was promised the sovereignty of the world."

In other words, according to these Roman traditions here poetized, the heat dried up the rivers of Europe, Asia, and Africa; in short, of all the known world.

Ovid continues:

"All the ground bursts asunder, and through the chinks the light penetrates into Tartarus, and startles the infernal king with his spouse."

We have seen that during the Drift age the great clefts in the earth, the fiords of the north of Europe and America, occurred, and we shall see hereafter that, according to a Central American legend, the red rocks boiled up through the earth at this time.

"The ocean, too, is contracted," says Ovid, "and that which lately was sea is a surface of parched sand, and the mountains which the deep sea has covered, start up and increase the number of the scattered Cyclades" (a cluster of islands in the gean Sea, surrounding Delos as though with a circle, whence their name); "the fishes sink to the bottom, and the crooked dolphins do not care to raise themselves on the surface into the air as usual. The bodies of sea-calves float lifeless on their backs on

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the top of the water. The story, too, is that even Nereus himself and Doris and their daughters lay hid in the heated caverns."

All this could scarcely have been imagined, and yet it agrees precisely with what we can not but believe to have been the facts. Here we have an explanation of how that vast body of vapor which afterward constituted great snow-banks and ice-sheets and river-torrents rose into the air. Science tells us that to make a world-wrapping ice-sheet two miles thick, all the waters of the ocean must have been evaporated;[1] to make one a mile thick would take one half the waters of the globe; and here we find this Roman poet, who is repeating the legends of his race, and who knew nothing about a Drift age or an Ice age, telling us that the water boiled in the streams; that the bottom of the Mediterranean lay exposed, a bed of dry sand; that the fish floated dead on the surface, or fled away to the great depths of the ocean; and that even the sea-gods "hid in the heated caverns."

Ovid continues:

"Three times had Neptune ventured with stern countenance to thrust his arms out of the water; three times he was unable to endure the scorching heat of the air."

This is no doubt a reminiscence of those human beings who sought safety in the water, retreating downward into the deep as the heat reduced its level, occasionally lifting up their heads to breathe the torrid and tainted air.

"However, the genial Earth, as she was surrounded by the sea, amid the waters of the main" (the ocean); "the springs dried up on every side which had hidden themselves in the bowels of their cavernous parent, burnt up, lifted up her all-productive face as far as her neck, and

[1. "Science and Genesis," p. 125.]

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placed her hand to her forehead, and, shaking all things with a vast trembling, she sank down a little and retired below the spot where she is wont to be."

Here we are reminded of the bridge Bifrost, spoken of in the last chapter, which, as I have shown, was probably a prolongation of land reaching from Atlantis to Europe, and which the Norse legends tell us sank down under the feet of the forces of Muspelheim, in the day of Ragnarok:

"And thus she spoke with a parched voice: 'O sovereign of the gods, if thou approvest of this, if I have deserved it, why do thy lightnings linger? Let me, if doomed to perish by the force of fire, perish by thy flames; and alleviate my misfortune by being the author of it. With difficulty, indeed, do I open my mouth for these very words. Behold my scorched hair, and such a quantity of ashes over my eyes' (the Drift-deposits), 'so much, too, over my features. And dost thou give this as my recompense? This as the reward of my fertility and my duty, in that I endure wounds from the crooked plow and harrows, and am harassed all the year through, in that I supply green leaves for the cattle, and corn, a wholesome food, for mankind, and frankincense for yourselves.

"'But still, suppose I am deserving of destruction, why have the waves deserved this? Why has thy brother' (Neptune) 'deserved it? Why do the seas delivered to him by lot decrease, and why do they recede still farther from the sky? But if regard neither for thy brother nor myself influences thee, still have consideration for thy own skies; look around on either side, see how each pole is smoking; if the fire shall injure them, thy palace will fall in ruins. See! Atlas himself is struggling, and hardly can he bear the glowing heavens on his shoulders.

"'If the sea, if the earth, if the palace of heaven, perish, we are then jumbled into the old chaos again. Save it from the flames, if aught still survives, and provide for the preservation of the universe.'

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"Thus spoke the Earth; nor, indeed, could she any longer endure the vapor, nor say more, and she withdrew her face within herself, and the caverns neighboring to the shades below.

"But the omnipotent father, having called the gods above to witness, and him, too, who had given the chariot to Phaton, that unless he gives assistance all things will perish in direful ruin, mounts aloft to the highest eminence, from which he is wont to spread the clouds over the spacious earth; and from which he moves his thunders, and burls the brandished lightnings. But then he had neither clouds that he could draw over the earth, nor showers that he could pour down from the sky."

That is to say, so long as the great meteor shone in the air, and for some time after, the heat was too intense to permit the formation of either clouds or rain; these could only come with coolness and condensation.

He thundered aloud, and darted the poised lightning from his right ear, against the charioteer, and at the same moment deprived him both of life and his seat, and by his ruthless fires restrained the flames. The horses are affrighted, and, making a bound in the opposite direction, they shake the yoke from their necks, and disengage themselves from the torn harness. In one place lie the reins, in another the axle-tree wrenched from the pole, in another part are the spokes of the broken wheels, and the fragments of the chariot torn in pieces are scattered far and wide. But Phaton, the flames consuming his yellow hair, is hurled headlong, and is borne in a long track through the air, as sometimes a star is seen to fall from the serene sky, although it really has not fallen. Him the great Eridanus receives in a part of the world far distant from his country, and bathes his foaming face. The Hesperian Naiads commit his body, smoking from the three-forked flames, to the tomb, and inscribe these verses on the stone: 'Here is Phaton buried, the driver of his father's chariot, which, if he did not manage, still he miscarried in a great attempt.'

"But his wretched father" (the Sun) "had hidden his

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face overcast with bitter sorrow, and, if only we can believe it, they say that one day passed without the sun. The flames" (of the fires on the earth) "afforded light, and there was some advantage in that disaster."

As there was no daily return of the sun to mark the time, that one day of darkness was probably of long duration; it may have endured for years.

Then follows Ovid's description of the mourning of Clymene and the daughters of the Sun and the Naiads for the dead Phaton. Cycnus, king of Liguria, grieves for Phaton until he is transformed into a swan; reminding one of the Central American legend, (which I shall give hereafter,) which states that in that day all men were turned into goslings or geese, a reminiscence, perhaps, of those who saved themselves from the fire by taking refuge in the waters of the seas:

"Cycnus becomes a new bird; but he trusts himself not to the heavens or the air, as being mindful of the fire unjustly sent from thence. He frequents the pools and the wide lakes, and, abhorring fire, he chooses the streams, the very contrary of flames.

"Meanwhile, the father of Phaton" (the Sun), "in squalid garb and destitute of his comeliness, just as he is wont to be when he suffers an eclipse of his disk, abhors both the light, himself, and the day; and gives his mind up to grief, and adds resentment to his sorrow."

In other words, the poet is now describing the age of darkness, which, as we have seen, must have followed the conflagration, when the condensing vapor wrapped the world in a vast cloak of cloud.

The Sun refuses to go again on his daily journey; just as we shall see hereafter, in the American legends, he refuses to stir until threatened or coaxed into action.

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"All the deities," says Ovid, "stand around the Sun as he says such things, and they entreat him, with suppliant voice, not to determine to bring darkness over the world." At length they induce the enraged and bereaved father to resume his task.

"But the omnipotent father" (Jupiter) "surveys the vast walls of heaven, and carefully searches that no part, impaired by the violence of the fire, may fall into ruin. After he has seen them to be secure and in their own strength, he examines the earth, and the works of man; yet a care for his own Arcadia is more particularly his object. He restores, too, the springs and the rivers, that had not yet dared to flow, he gives grass to the earth, green leaves to the trees; and orders the injured forests again to be green."

The work of renovation has begun; the condensing moisture renews the springs and rivers, the green mantle of verdure once more covers the earth, and from the waste places the beaten and burned trees put forth new sprouts.

The legend ends, like Ragnarok, in a beautiful picture of a regenerated world.

Divest this poem of the myth of Phaton, and we have a very faithful tradition of the conflagration of the world caused by the comet.

The cause of the trouble is a something which takes place high in the heavens; it rushes through space; it threatens the stars; it traverses particular constellations; it is disastrous; it has yellow hair; it is associated with great heat; it sets the world on fire it dries up the seas; its remains are scattered over the earth; it covers the earth with ashes; the sun ceases to appear; there is a time when he is, as it were, in eclipse, darkened; after a while he returns; verdure comes again upon the earth, the springs and rivers reappear, the world is renewed. During this catastrophe man has hidden himself, swanlike,

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in the waters; or the intelligent children of the earth betake themselves to deep caverns for protection from the conflagration.

How completely does all this accord, in chronological order and in its details, with the Scandinavian legend; and with what reason teaches us must have been the consequences to the earth if a comet had fallen upon it!

And the most ancient of the ancient world, the nation that stood farthest back in historical time, the Egyptians, believed that this legend of Phaton really represented the contact of the earth with a comet.

When Solon, the Greek lawgiver, visited Egypt, six hundred years before the Christian era, he talked with the priests of Sais about the Deluge of Deucalion. I quote the following from Plato ("Dialogues," xi, 517, Timus):

"Thereupon, one of the priests, who was of very great age, said, 'O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are but children, and there is never an old man who is an Hellene.' Solon, hearing this, said, 'What do you mean?' 'I mean to say,' he replied, 'that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age. And I will tell you the reason of this: there have been, and there will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes. There is a story which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Phathon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunder-bolt. Now, this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving around the earth and in the heavens, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth recurring at long intervals of time: when this happens, those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the sea-shore."'

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THE first of these, and the most remarkable of all, is the legend of one of the Central American nations, preserved not by tradition alone, but committed to writing at some time in the remote past.

In the "Codex Chimalpopoca," one of the sacred books of the Toltecs, the author, speaking of the destruction which took place by fire, says:

"The third sun" (or era) "is called Quia-Tonatiuh, sun of rain, because there fell a rain of fire; all which existed burned; and there fell a rain of gravel."

"They also narrate that while the sandstone, which we now see scattered about, and the tetzontli (amygdaloide poreuse—trap or basaltic rocks), 'boiled with great tumult, there also rose the rocks of vermilion color.'"

That is to say, the basaltic and red trap-rocks burst through the great cracks made, at that time, in the surface of the disturbed earth.

"Now, this was in the year Ce Tecpatl, One Flint, it was the day Nahui-Quiahuitl, Fourth Rain. Now, in this day, in which men were lost and destroyed in a rain of fire, they were transformed into goslings; the sun itself was on fire, and everything, together with the houses, was consumed."[1]

[1. "The North Americans of Antiquity," p. 499.]

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Here we have the whole story told in little: "Fire fell from heaven," the comet; "the sun itself was on fire"; the comet reached to, or appeared to reach to, the sun; or its head had fallen into the sun; or the terrible object may have been mistaken for the sun on fire. "There was a rain of gravel"—the Drift fell from the comet. There is also some allusion to the sandstones scattered about; and we have another reference to the great breaks in the earth's crust, caused either by the shock of contact with the comet, or the electrical disturbances of the time; and we are told that the trap-rocks, and rocks of vermilion color, boiled up to the surface with great tumult. Mankind was destroyed, except such as fled into the seas and lakes, and there plunged into the water, and lived like "goslings."

Can any one suppose that this primitive people invented all this? And if they did, how comes it that their invention agreed so exactly with the traditions of all the rest of mankind; and with the revelations of science as to the relations between the trap rocks and the gravel, as to time at least?

We turn now to the legends of a different race, in a different stage of cultivation—the barbarian Indians of California and Nevada. It is a curious and wonderful story:

"The natives in the vicinity of Lake Tahoe ascribe its origin to a great natural convulsion. There was a time, they say, when their tribe possessed the whole earth, and were strong numerous, and rich; but a day came in which a people rose up stronger than they, and defeated and enslaved them. Afterward the Great Spirit sent an immense wave across the continent from the sea, and this wave ingulfed both the oppressors and the oppressed, all but a very small remnant. Then the task-masters made the remaining people raise up a great temple, so that

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they, of the ruling caste, should have a refuge in case of another flood, and on the top of this temple the masters worshiped a column of perpetual fire."

It would be natural to suppose that this was the great deluge to which all the legends of mankind refer, and which I have supposed, elsewhere, to refer to the destruction of "Atlantis"; but it must be remembered that both east and west of the Atlantic the traditions of mankind refer to several deluges—to a series of catastrophes—occurring at times far apart. It may be that the legend of the Tower of Babel refers to an event far anterior in time even to the deluge of Noah or Deucalion; or it may be, as often happens, that the chronology of this legend has been inverted.

The Tahoe legend continues:

"Half a moon had not elapsed, however, before the earth was again troubled, this time with strong convulsions and thunderings, upon which the masters took refuge in their great tower, closing the people out. The poor slaves fled to the Humboldt River, and, getting into canoes, paddled for life from the awful sight behind them; for the land was tossing like a troubled sea, and casting up fire, smoke, and ashes. The flames went up to the very heavens, and melted many stars, SO THAT THEY RAINED DOWN IN MOLTEN METAL UPON THE EARTH, forming the ore" [gold?] "that white men seek. The Sierra was mounded up from the bosom of the earth; while the place where the great fort stood sank, leaving only the dome on the top exposed above the waters of Lake Tahoe. The inmates of the temple-tower clung to this dome to save themselves from drowning; but the Great Spirit walked upon the waters in his wrath, and took the oppressors one by one, like pebbles, and threw them far into the recesses of a great cavern on the east side of the lake, called to this day the Spirit Lodge, where the waters shut them in. There must they remain till the last great volcanic burning, which is to overturn the

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whole earth, is to again set them free. In the depths of cavern-prison they may still be heard, wailing and their cave, moaning, when the snows melt and the waters swell in the lake."[1]

Here we have the usual mingling of fact and myth. The legend describes accurately, no doubt, the awful appearance of the tossing earth and the falling fire and dbris; the people flying to rivers and taking shelter in the caves) and some of them closed up in the caves for ever.

The legend, as is usual, accommodates itself to the geography and topography of the country in which the narrators live.

In the Aztec creation-myths, as preserved by the Fray Andres de Olmos, and taken down by him from the lips of those who narrated the Aztec traditions to him, we have an account of the destruction of mankind by the sun, which reads as follows:

The sun had risen indeed, and with the glory of the cruel fire about him, that not even the eyes of the gods could endure; but he moved not. There he lay on the horizon; and when the deities sent Tlotli, their messenger, to him, with orders that he should go on upon his way, his ominous answer was that he would never leave that place till he had destroyed and put an end to them all. Then a great fear fell upon some, while others were moved only to anger; and among the others was one Citli, who immediately strung his bow and advanced against the glittering enemy. By quickly lowering his head the sun avoided the first arrow shot at him; but the second and third had attained his body in quick succession, when, filled with fury, he seized the last and launched it back upon his assailant. And the brave Citli laid shaft to string never more, for the arrow of the sun pierced his forehead. Then all was dismay in the assembly of the gods, and despair filled their hearts, for they saw that

[1. Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii, p. 89.]


they could not prevail against the shining one; and they agreed to die, and to cut themselves open through the breast. . Xololt was appointed minister, and he killed his companions one by one, and last of all he slew himself also. . . . Immediately after the death of the gods, the sun began his motion in the heavens; and a man called Tecuzistecatl, or Tezcociztecatl, who, when Nanahuatzin leaped into the fire, had retired into a cave, now emerged from his concealment as the moon. Others say that instead of going into a cave, this Tecuzistecatl had leaped into the fire after Nanahuatzin, but that the heat of the fire being somewhat abated he had come out less brilliant than the sun. Still another variation is that the sun and moon came out equally bright, but this not seeming good to the gods, one of them took a rabbit by the heels and slung it into the face of the moon, dimming its luster with a blotch whose mark may be seen to this day."[1]

Here we have the same Titanic battle between the gods, the godlike men of old—"the old ones"—and the Comet, which appears in the Norse legends, when Odin, Thor, Prey, Tyr, and Heimdal boldly march out to encounter the Comet and fall dead, like Citli, before the weapons or the poisonous breath of the monster. In the same way we see in Hesiod the great Jove, rising high on Olympus and smiting Typhaon with his lightnings. And we shall see this idea of a conflict between the gods and the great demon occurring all through the legends. And it may be that the three arrows of this American story represent the three comets spoken of in Hesiod, and the Fenris-wolf, Midgard-serpent, and Surt or Garm of the Goths: the first arrow did not strike the sun; the second and the third "attained its body," and then the enraged sun launched the last arrow back at Citli, at the earth; and thereupon despair filled the people, and they prepared to die.

[1. Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii, p. 62.]

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The Avesta, the sacred book of the ancient Persians, written in the Zend dialect, tells the same story. I have already given one version of it:

Ahura Mazda is the good god, the kind creator of life and growth; he sent the sun, the fertilizing rain. He created for the ancestors of the Persians a beautiful land, a paradise, a warm and fertile country. But Ahriman, the genius of evil, created Azhidahaka, "the biting snake of winter." "He had triple jaws, three heads, six eyes, the strength of a thousand beings." He brings ruin and winter on the fair land. Then comes a mighty hero, Thraetaona, who kills the snake and rescues the land.[1]

In the Persian legends we have Feridun, the hero of the Shah-Nameh. There is a serpent-king called Zohak, who has committed dreadful crimes, assisted by a demon called Iblis. As his reward, Iblis asked permission to kiss the king's shoulder, which was granted. Then from the shoulder sprang two dreadful serpents. Iblis told him that these must be fed every day with the brains of two children. So the human race was gradually being exterminated. Then Feridun, beautiful and strong, rose up and killed the serpent-king Zohak, and delivered his country. Zohak is the same as Azhidahaka in the Avesta—"the biting snake of winter."[2] He is Python; he is Typhaon; he is the Fenris-wolf; he is the Midgard-serpent.

The Persian fire-worship is based on the primeval recognition of the value of light and fire, growing out of this Age of Darkness and winter.

In the legends of the Hindoos we read of the fight between Rama, the sun-god (Ra was the Egyptian god of the sun), and Ravana, a giant who, accompanied by the

[1. Poor, "Sanskrit Literature," p. 144.

2. Ibid., p. 158.]

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Rakshasas, or demons, made terrible times in the ancient land where the ancestors of the Hindoos dwelt at that period. He carries away the wife of Rama, Sita; her name signifies "a furrow," and seems to refer to agriculture, and an agricultural race inhabiting the furrowed earth. He bears her struggling through the air. Rama and his allies pursue him. The monkey-god, Hanuman, helps Rama; a bridge of stone, sixty miles long, is built across the deep ocean to the Island of Lanka, where the great battle is fought: "The stones which crop out through Southern India are said to have been dropped by the monkey builders!" The army crosses on the bridge, as the forces of Muspelheim, in the Norse legends, marched over the bridge "Bifrost."

The battle is a terrible one. Ravana has ten heads, and as fast as Rama cuts off one another grows in its place. Finally, Rama, like Apollo, fires the terrible arrow of Brahma, the creator, and the monster falls dead.

"Gods and demons are watching the contest from the sky, and flowers fall down in showers on the victorious hero."

The body of Ravana is consumed by fire. Sita, the furrowed earth, goes through the ordeal of fire, and comes out of it purified and redeemed from all taint of the monster Ravana; and Rama, the sun, and Sita, the earth, are separated for fourteen years; Sita is hid in the dark jungle, and then they are married again, and live happily together ever after.

Here we have the battle in the air between the sun and the demon: the earth is taken possession of by the demon; the demon is finally consumed by fire, and perishes; the earth goes through an ordeal of fire, a conflagration; and for fourteen years the earth and sun do not see each other; the earth is hid in a dark jungle; but

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eventually the sun returns, and the loving couple are again married, and live happily for ever after.

The Phoibos Apollo of the Greek legends was, Byron tells us—

The lord of the unerring bow, The god of life and poetry and light, The sun in human limbs arrayed, and brow All radiant from his triumph in the fight. The shaft had just been shot, the arrow bright With an immortal's vengeance; in his eye And nostril beautiful disdain, and might, And majesty flash their full lightnings by, Developing in that one glance the deity."

This fight, so magnificently described, was the sun-god's battle with Python, the destroyer, the serpent, the dragon, the Comet. What was Python doing? He was "stealing the springs and fountains." That is to say, the great heat was drying up the water-courses of the earth.

"The arrow bright with an immortal's vengeance," was the shaft with which Apollo broke the fiend to pieces and tumbled him down to the earth, and saved the springs and the clouds and the perishing ocean.

When we turn to America, the legends tell us of the same great battle between good and evil, between light and darkness.

Manibozho, or the Great Hare Nana, is, in the Algonquin legends, the White One, the light, the sun. "His foe was the glittering prince of serpents"-the Comet.[1]

Among the Iroquois, according to the Jesuit missionary, Father Brebeuf, who resided among the Hurons in 1626, there was a legend of two brothers, Ioskeba and Tawiscara, which mean, in the Oneida dialect, the White One, the light, the sun, and the Dark One, the night.

[1. Brinton's "Myths," p. 182.]

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They were twins, born of a virgin mother, who died in giving them life. Their grandmother was the moon (the water deity), called At-aeusic, a word which signifies "she bathes herself," derived from the word for water.

"The brothers quarreled, and finally came to blows, the former using the horns of a stag, the latter the wild rose. He of the weaker weapon was very naturally discomfited and sorely wounded. Fleeing for life, the blood gushed from him at every step, and as it fell turned into flint-stones. The victor returned to his grandmother in the far east, and established his lodge on the borders of the great ocean, whence the sun comes. In time he became the father of mankind, and special guardian of the Iroquois. The earth was at first arid and sterile, but he destroyed the gigantic frog which had swallowed all the waters, and guided the torrents into smooth streams and lakes. The woods he stocked with game; and, having learned from the great tortoise who supports the world how to make fire, taught his children, the Indians, this indispensable art. . . . Sometimes they spoke of him as the sun, but this is only figuratively."[1]

Here we have the light and darkness, the sun and the night, battling with each other; the sun fights with a younger brother, another luminary, the comet; the comet is broken up; it flies for life, the red blood (the red clay) streaming from it, and flint-stones appearing on the earth wherever the blood (the clay) falls. The victorious sun re-establishes himself in the east. And then the myth of the sun merges into the legends concerning a great people, who were the fathers of mankind who dwelt "in the east," on the borders of the great eastern ocean, the Atlantic. "The earth was at first arid and sterile," covered with dbris and stones; but the returning sun, the White One, destroys the gigantic frog, emblem of cold and water, the great snows and ice-deposits; this

[1. Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 184.]

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frog had "swallowed all the waters," that is to say, the falling rains had been congealed in these great snow-banks and glaciers; the sun melts them, and kills the frog; the waters pour forth in deluging floods; Manibozho "guides the torrents into smooth streams and lakes"; the woods return, and become once more full of animal life. Then the myth again mixes up the sun and the sun-land in the east. From this sun-land, represented as "a tortoise," always the emblem of an island, the Iroquois derive the knowledge of "how to make fire."

This coming of the monster, his attack upon and conquest of the sun, his apparent swallowing of that orb, are all found represented on both sides of the Atlantic, on the walls of temples and in great earth-mounds, in the image of a gigantic serpent holding a globe in its mouth.

This long-trailing object in the skies was probably the origin of that primeval serpent-worship found all over the world. And hence the association of the serpent in so many religions with the evil-one. In itself, the serpent should no more represent moral wrong than the lizard, the crocodile, or the frog; but the hereditary abhorrence with which he is regarded by mankind extends to no other created thing. He is the image of the great destroyer, the wronger, the enemy.

Let us turn to another legend.

An ancient authority[1] gives the following legend of the Tupi Indians of Brazil:

"Monau, without beginning or end, author of all that is, seeing the ingratitude of men, and their contempt for him who had made them thus joyous, withdrew from them, and sent upon them tata, the divine fire, which burned all that was on the surface of the earth. He

[1. "Une Fte Brsilienne clbr Rouen en 1550," par M. Ferdinand Denis, p. 82.]

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swept about the fire in such a way that in places he raised mountains, and in others dug valleys. Of all men one alone, Irin Mag, was saved, whom Monau carried into the heaven. He, seeing all things destroyed, spoke thus to Monau: 'Wilt thou also destroy the heavens and their garniture? Alas! henceforth where will be our home? Why should I live, since there is none other of my kind? Then Monau was so filled with pity that he poured a deluging rain on the earth, which quenched the fire, and flowed on all sides, forming the ocean, which we call the parana, the great waters."[1]

The prayer of Irin Mag, when he calls on God to save the garniture of the heavens, reminds one vividly of the prayer of the Earth in Ovid.

It might be inferred that heaven meant in the Tupi legend the heavenly land, not the skies; this is rendered the more probable because we find Irin asking where should he dwell if heaven is destroyed. This could scarcely allude to a spiritual heaven.

And here I would note a singular coincidence: The fire that fell from heaven was the divine tata. In Egypt the Dame of deity was "ta-ta," or "pta-pta," which signified father. This became in the Hebrew "ya-ya," from which we derive the root of Jah, Jehovah. And this word is found in many languages in Europe and America, and even in our own, as, "da-da," "daddy," father. The Tupi "tata" was fire from the supreme father.

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