Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel
by Ignatius Donnelly
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[1. Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii, p. 204.]

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my words to thee; I put myself in peril of falling into the gorge and cavern of this river. I, Lord, have come to take with my hands, blindness to mine eyes, rottenness and shriveling to my members, poverty and affliction to my body; for my meanness and rudeness this it is that I merit to receive. Live and rule for ever in all quietness and tranquillity, O thou that art our lord, our shelter, our protector, most compassionate, most pitiful, invisible, impalpable."

It is true that much of all this would apply to any great period of famine, but it appears that these events occurred when there was great cold in the country, when the people gathered around fires and could not get warm, a remarkable state of things in a country possessing as tropical a climate as Mexico. Moreover, these people were wanderers, "going by mountain and wilderness," seeking food, a whole nation of poverty-stricken, homeless, wandering paupers. And when we recur to the part where the priest tells the Lord to seek his friends and servants in the mountains, "below the dung-hills," and raise them to riches, it is difficult to understand it otherwise than as an allusion to those who had been buried under the falling slime, clay, and stones. Even poor men do not dwell under dung-hills, nor are they usually buried under them, and it is very possible that in transmission from generation to generation the original meaning was lost sight of. I should understand it to mean, "Go, O Lord, and search and bring back to life and comfort and wealth the millions thou hast slaughtered on the mountains, covering them with hills of slime and refuse."

And when we turn to the traditions of the kindred and more ancient race, the Toltecs,[1] we find that, after the fall of the fire from heaven, the people, emerging from the

[1. "North Americans of Antiquity," p. 240.]

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seven caves, wandered one hundred and four years, "suffering from nakedness, hunger, and cold, over many lands, across expanses of sea, and through untold hardships," precisely as narrated in the foregoing pathetic prayer.

It tells of the migration of a race, over the desolated world, during the Age of Darkness. And we will find something, hereafter, very much like it, in the Book of Job.

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A GREAT solar-myth underlies all the ancient mythologies. It commemorates the death and resurrection of the sun. It signifies the destruction of the light by the clouds, the darkness, and the eventual return of the great luminary of the world.

The Syrian Adonis, the sun-god, the Hebrew Tamheur, and the Assyrian Du-Zu, all suffered a sudden and violent death, disappeared for a time from the sight of men, and were at last raised from the dead.

The myth is the primeval form of the resurrection.

All through the Gothic legends runs this thought—the battle of the Light with the Darkness; the temporary death of the Light, and its final triumph over the grave. Sometimes we have but a fragment of the story.

In the Saxon Beowulf we have Grendel, a terrible monster, who comes to the palace-hall at midnight, and drags out the sleepers and sucks their blood. Beowulf assails him. A ghastly struggle follows in the darkness. Grendel is killed. But his fearful mother, the devil's clam, comes to avenge his death; she attacks Beowulf, and is slain.[1] There comes a third dragon, which Beowulf kills, but is stifled with the breath of the monster and dies, rejoicing, however, that the dragon has brought with him a great treasure of gold, which will make his people rich.[2]

[1. Poor, "Sanskrit and Kindred Literatures," p. 315.

2. Ibid.]

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Here, again, are the three comets, the wolf, the snake, and the dog of Ragnarok; the three arrows of the American legends; the three monsters of Hesiod.

When we turn to Egypt we find that their whole religion was constructed upon legends relating to the ages of fire and ice, and the victory of the sun-god over the evil-one. We find everywhere a recollection of the days of cloud, "when darkness dwelt upon the face of the deep."

Osiris, their great god, represented the sun in his darkened or nocturnal or ruined condition, before the coming of day. M. Mariette-Bey says:

"Originally, Osiris is the nocturnal sun; he is the primordial night of chaos; he is consequently anterior to Ra, the Sun of Day."[1]

Mr. Miller says:

"As nocturnal sun, Osiris was also regarded as a type of the sun before its first rising, or of the primordial night of chaos, and as such, according to M. Mariette, his first rising—his original birth to the light under the form of Ra—symbolized the birth of humanity itself in the person of the first man."[2]

M. F. Chabas says:

"These forms represented the same god at different hours of the day. . . . the nocturnal sun and the daily sun, which, succeeding to the first, dissipated the darkness on the morning of each day, and renewed the triumph of Horus over Set; that is to say, the cosmical victory which determined the first rising of the sun—the organization of the universe at the commencement of time. Ra is the god who, after having marked the commencement of time, continues each day to govern his work. . . . He succeeds

[1. "Muse de Boulaq," etc., pp. 20, 21, 100, 101.

2. Rev. O. D. Miller, "Solar Symbolism," "American Antiquarian," April, 1881, p. 219.]

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to a primordial form, Osiris, the nocturnal sun, or better, the sun before its first rising."[1]

"The suffering and death of Osiris," says Sir G. Wilkinson, "were the great mystery of the Egyptian religion, and some traces of it are perceptible among other people of antiquity. His being the divine goodness, and the abstract idea of good; his manifestation upon earth, his death and resurrection, and his office as judge of the dead in a future state, look like the early revelation of a future manifestation of the Deity, converted into a mythological fable."[2]

Osiris—the sun—had a war with Seb, or Typho, or Typhon, and was killed in the battle; he was subsequently restored to life, and became the judge of the under-world.[3]

Seb, his destroyer, was a son of Ra, the ancient sun-god, in the sense, perhaps, that the comets, and all other planetary bodies, were originally thrown out from the mass of the sun. Seb, or Typho, was "the personification of all evil." He was the destroyer, the enemy, the evil-one.

Isis, the consort of Osiris, learns of his death, slain by the great serpent, and ransacks the world in search of his body. She finds it mutilated by Typhon. This is the same mutilation which we find elsewhere, and which covered the earth with fragments of the sun.

Isis was the wife of Osiris (the dead sun) and the mother of Horus, the new or returned sun; she seems to represent a civilized people; she taught the art of cultivating wheat and barley, which were always carried in her festal processions.

When we turn to the Greek legends, we shall find

[1. "Revue Archologique," tome xxv, 1873, p. 393.

2. Notes to Rawlinson's "Herodotus," American edition, vol. ii, p.:219.

3. Murray's "Mythology," p. 347.]

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Typhon described in a manner that clearly identifies him with the destroying comet. (See page 140, ante.)

The entire religion of the Egyptians was based upon a solar-myth, and referred to the great catastrophe in the history of the earth when the sun was for a time obscured in dense clouds.

Speaking of the legend of "the dying sun-god," Rev. O. D. Miller says:

"The wide prevalence of this legend, and its extreme antiquity, are facts familiar to all Orientalists. There was the Egyptian Osiris, the Syrian Adonis, the Hebrew Tamheur, the Assyrian Du-Zu, all regarded as solar deities, vet as having lived a mortal life, suffered a violent death, being subsequently raised from, the dead. . . . How was it possible to conceive the solar orb as dying and rising from the dead, if it had not already been taken for a mortal being, as a type of mortal man? . . . We repeat the proposition: it was impossible to conceive the sun as dying and descending into hades until it had been assumed as a type and representative of man. . . . The reign of Osiris in Egypt, his war with Typhon, his death and resurrection, were events appertaining to the divine dynasties. We can only say, then, that the origin of these symbolical ideas was extremely ancient, without attempting to fix its chronology."

But when, we realize the fact that these ancient religions were built upon the memory of an event which had really happened—an event of awful significance to the human race—the difficulty which perplexed Mr. Miller and other scholars disappears. The sun had, apparently, been slain by an evil thing; for a long period it returned not, it was dead; at length, amid the rejoicings of the world, it arose from the dead, and came in glory to rule mankind.

And these events, as I have shown, are perpetuated in the sun-worship which still exists in the world in many

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forms. Even the Christian peasant of Europe still lifts his hat to the rising sun.

The religion of the Hindoos was also based on the same great cosmical event.

Indra was the great god, the sun. He has a long and dreadful contest with Vritra, "the throttling snake." Indra is "the cloud-compeller"; he "shatters the cloud with his bolt and releases the imprisoned waters";[1] that is to say, he slays the snake Vritra, the comet, and thereafter the rain pours down and extinguishes the flames which consume the world.

"He goes in search of the cattle, the clouds, which the evil powers have driven away."[2]

That is to say, as the great heat disappears, the moisture condenses and the clouds form. Doubtless mankind remembered vividly that awful period when no cloud appeared in the blazing heavens to intercept the terrible heat.

"He who fixed firm the moving earth; who tranquillized the incensed mountains; who spread the spacious firmament; who consolidated the heavens—he, men, is Indra.

"He who having destroyed Ahi (Vritra, Typhon,) set free the seven rivers, who, recovered the cows, (the clouds,) detained by Bal; who generated fire in the clouds; who is invincible in battle—he, men, is Indra."

In the first part of the "Vendidad," first chapter, the author gives an account of the beautiful land, the Aryana Vaejo, which was a land of delights, created by Ahura Mazda (Ormaz). Then "an evil being, Angra-Manyus, (Ahriman,) pill of death, created a mighty serpent, and winter, the work of the Devas."

"Ten months of winter are there, and two months of summer."

[1. Murray's "Mythology," p. 330.

2. Ibid.]

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Then follows this statement:

"Seven months of summer are there; five months of winter were there. The latter are cold as to water, cold as to earth, cold as to trees. There is the heart of winter; then all around falls deep snow. There is the worst of evils."

This signifies that once the people dwelled in a fair and pleasant land. The evil-one sent a mighty serpent; the serpent brought a great winter; there were but two months of summer; gradually this ameliorated, until the winter was five months long and the summer seven months long. The climate is still severe, cold and wet; deep snows fell everywhere. It is an evil time.

The demonology of the Hindoos turns on the battles between the Asuras, the irrational demons of the air, the comets, and the gods:

"They dwell beneath the three-pronged root of the world-mountain, occupying the nadir, while their great enemy Indra," (the sun;) "the highest Buddhist god, sits upon the pinnacle of the mountain, in the zenith. The Meru, which stands between the earth and the heavens, around which the heavenly bodies revolve, is the battlefield of the Asuras and the Devas."[1]

That is to say, the land Meru—the same as the island Mero of the ancient Egyptians, from which Egypt was first colonized; the Merou of the Greeks, on which the Meropes, the first men, dwelt—was the scene where this battle between the fiends of the air on one side, and the heavenly bodies and earth on the other, was fought.

The Asuras are painted as "gigantic opponents of the gods, terrible ogres, with bloody tongues and long tusks, eager to devour human flesh and blood."[2]

And we find the same thoughts underlying the myths

[1. "American Cyclopdia," vol. v, p. 793.

2. Ibid.]

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of nations the most remote from these great peoples of antiquity.

The Esquimaux of Greenland have this myth:

"In the beginning were two brothers, one of whom said, 'There shall be night and there shall be day, and men shall die, one after another.' But the second said, 'There shall be no day, but only night all the time, and men shall live for ever.' They had a long struggle, but here once more he who loved darkness rather than light was worsted, and the day triumphed."

Here we have the same great battle between Light and Darkness. The Darkness proposes to be perpetual; it says, "There shall be no more day." After a long struggle the Light triumphed, the sun returned, and the earth was saved.

Among the Tupis of Brazil we have the same story of the battle of light and darkness. They have a myth of Timandonar and Ariconte:

"They were brothers, one of fair complexion, the other dark. They were constantly struggling, and Ariconte, which means the stormy or cloudy day, came out worst."

Again the myth reappears; this time among the Norsemen:

Balder, the bright sun, (Baal?) is slain by the god Hodur, the blind one; to wit, the Darkness. But Vali, Odin's son, slew Hodur, the Darkness, and avenged Balder. Vali is the son of Rind—the rind—the frozen earth. That is to say, Darkness devours the sun; frost rules the earth; Vali, the new sun, is born of the frost, and kills the Darkness. It is light again. Balder returns after Ragnarok.

And Nana, Balder's wife, the lovely spring-time, died of grief during Balder's absence.

[1. Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 200.]

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We have seen that one of the great events of the Egyptian mythology was the search made by Isis, the wife of Osiris, for the dead sun-god in the dark nether world. In the same way, the search for the dead Balder was an important part of the Norse myths. Hermod, mounted on Odin's horse, Sleifner, the slippery-one, (the ice?) set out to find Balder. He rode nine days and nine nights through deep valleys, so dark that he could see nothing;[1] at last he reaches the barred gates of Hel's (death's) dominions. There he found Balder, seated on a throne: he told Hel that all things in the world were grieving for the absence of Balder, the sun. At last, after some delays and obstructions, Balder returns, and the whole world rejoices.

And what more is needed to prove the original unity of the human race, and the vast antiquity of these legends, than the fact that we find the same story, and almost the same names, occurring among the white-haired races of Arctic Europe, and the dark-skinned people of Egypt, Phœnicia, and India. The demon Set, or Seb, of one, comes to us as the Surt of another; the Baal of one is the Balder of another; Isis finds Osiris ruling the underworld as Hermod found Balder on a throne in Hel, the realm of death.

The celebration of the May-day, with its ceremonies, the May-pole, its May-queen, etc., is a survival of the primeval thanksgiving with which afflicted mankind welcomed the return of the sun from his long sleep of death. In Norway,[2] during the middle ages, the whole scene was represented in these May-day festivals: One man represents summer, he is clad in green leaves the other represents winter; he is clad in straw, fit picture of the

[1. "Nome Mythology," p. 288.

2. Ibid., p. 291.]

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misery of the Drift Age. They have each a large company of attendants armed with staves; they fight with each other until winter (the age of darkness and cold) is subdued. They pretend to pluck his eyes out and throw him in the water. Winter is slain.

Here we have the victory of Osiris over Seb; of Adonis over Typhon, of Balder over Hodur, of Indra over Vritra, of Timandonar over Ariconte, brought down to almost our own time. To a late period, in England, the rejoicing over the great event survived.

Says Horatio Smith:

"It was the custom, both here and in Italy, for the youth of both sexes to proceed before daybreak to some neighboring wood, accompanied with music and horns, about sunrise to deck their doors and windows with garlands, and to spend the afternoon dancing around the May-pole."

Stow tells us, in his "Survey of London":

"Every man would walk into the sweet meddowes and green woods, there to rejoice their spirits with the beauty and savour of sweet flowers, and with the harmony of birds praising God in their kindes."[2]

Stubbs, a Puritan of Queen Elizabeth's days, describing the May-day feasts, says:

"And then they fall to banquet and feast, to leape and dance about it," (the May-pole), "as the heathen people did at the dedication of their idolles, whereof this is a perfect picture, or rather the thing itself."[3]

Stubbs was right: the people of England in the year 1550 A. D., and for years afterward, were celebrating the end of the Drift Age, the disappearance of the darkness and the victory of the sun.

[1. "Festivals, Games," etc., p. 126.

2. Ibid., p. 127.

3. Ibid.]

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The myth of Hercules recovering his cows from Cacus is the same story told in another form:

A strange monster, Cacus, (the comet,) stole the cows of Hercules, (the clouds,) and dragged them backward by their tails into a cave, and vomited smoke and flame when Hercules attacked him. But Hercules killed Cacus with his unerring arrows, and released the cows.

This signifies that the comet, breathing fire and smoke, so rarefied the air that the clouds disappeared and there followed an age of awful heat. Hercules smites the monster with his lightnings, and electrical phenomena on a vast scale accompany the recondensation of the moisture and the return of the clouds.

"Cacus is the same as Vritra in Sanskrit, Azbidihaka in Zend, Python in Greek, and the worm Fafnir in Norse."[1]

The cows everywhere are the clouds; they are white and soft; they move in herds across the fields of heaven; they give down their milk in grateful rains and showers to refresh the thirsty earth.

We find the same event narrated in the folk-lore of the modern European nations.

Says the Russian fairy-tale:

"Once there was an old couple who had three sons."

Here we are reminded of Shem, Ham, and Japheth; of Zeus, Pluto, and Neptune; of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; of the three-pronged trident of Poseidon; of the three roots of the tree Ygdrasil.

"Two of them," continues the legend, "had their wits about them, but the third, Ivan, was a simpleton.

"Now, in the lands in which Ivan lived there was never any day, but always night. This was a snake's doings. Well, Ivan undertook to kill the snake."

[1. Poor, "Sanskrit Literature," p. 236.]

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This is the same old serpent, the dragon, the apostate, the leviathan.

"Then came a third snake with twelve heads. Ivan killed it, and destroyed the heads, and immediately there was a bright light throughout the whole land."[1]

Here we have the same series of monsters found in Hesiod, in Ragnarok, and in the legends of different nations; and the killing of the third serpent is followed by a bright light throughout the whole land—the conflagration.

And the Russians have the legend in another form. They tell of Ilia, the peasant, the servant of Vladimir, Fair Sun. He meets the brigand Solove, a monster, a gigantic bird, called the nightingale; his claws extend for seven versts over the country. Like the dragon of Hesiod, he was full of sounds—"he roared like a wild beast, bowled like a dog, and whistled like a nightingale." Ilia bits him with an arrow in the right eye, and he tumbles headlong from his lofty nest to the earth. The wife of the monster follows Ilia, who has attached him to his saddle, and is dragging him away; she offers cupfuls of gold, silver, and pearls—an allusion probably to the precious metals and stones which were said to have fallen from the heavens. The Sun (Vladimir) welcomes Ilia, and requests the monster to howl, roar, and whistle for his entertainment; he contemptuously refuses; Ilia then commands him and he obeys: the noise is so terrible that the roof of the palace falls off, and the courtiers drop dead with fear. Ilia, indignant at such an uproar, "cuts up the monster into little pieces, which he scatters over the fields"—(the Drift).[2]

Subsequently Ilia hides away in a cave, unfed by

[1. Poor, "Sanskrit and Kindred Literatures," p. 390.

2. Ibid., p. .281.]

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Vladimir—that is to say, without the light of the sun. At length the sun goes to seek him, expecting to find him starved to death; but the king's daughter has sent him food every day for three years, and he comes out of the cave hale and hearty, and ready to fight again for Vladimir, the Fair Sun.[1] These three years are the three years of the "Fimbul-winter" of the Norse legends.

I have already quoted (see chapter viii, Part Ill, page 216, ante) the legends of the Central American race, the Quiches, preserved in the "Popul Vuh," their sacred book, in which they describe the Age of Darkness and cold. I quote again, from the same work, a graphic and wonderful picture of the return of the sun

"They determined to leave Tulan, and the greater part of them, under the guardianship and direction of Tohil, set out to see where they would take up their abode. They continued on their way amid the most extreme hardships for the want of food; sustaining themselves at one time upon the mere smell of their staves, and by imagining they were eating, when in verity and truth they ate nothing. Their heart, indeed, it is again and again said, was almost broken by affliction. Poor wanderers! they had a cruel way to go, many forests to pierce, many stern mountains to overpass, and a long passage to make through the sea, along the shingle and pebbles and drifted sand—the sea being, however, parted for their passage. At last they came to a mountain, that they named Hacavitz, after one of their gods, and here they rested—for here they were by some means given to understand that they should see the sun. Then, indeed, was filled with an exceeding joy the heart of Balam-Quitz, of Balam-Agab of Mahucutah, and of Iqui-Balam. It seemed to them that even the face of the morning star caught a new and more resplendent brightness.

"They shook their incense-pans and danced for very gladness: sweet were their tears in dancing, very hot

[1. Poor, "Sanskrit and Kindred Literatures," p. 883.]

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their incense—their precious incense. At last the sun commenced to advance; the animals small and great were full of delight; they raised themselves to the surface of the water; they fluttered in the ravines; they gathered at the edge of the mountains, turning their beads together toward that part from which the sun came. And the lion and the tiger roared. And the first bird that sang was that called the Queletzu. All the animals were beside themselves at the sight; the eagle and the kite beat their wings, and every bird both great and small. The men prostrated themselves on the ground, for their hearts were full to the brim."[1]

How graphic is all this picture! How life-like! Here we have the starving and wandering nations, as described in the preceding chapter, moving in the continual twilight; at last the clouds grow brighter, the sun appears: all nature rejoices in the unwonted sight, and mankind fling themselves upon their faces like "the rude and savage man of Ind, kissing the base ground with obedient breast," at the first coming of the glorious day.

But the clouds still are mighty; rains and storms and fogs battle with the warmth and light. The "Popul Vuh" continues:

"And the sun and the moon and the stars were now all established"; that is, they now become visible, moving in their orbits. "Yet was not the sun then in the beginning the same as now; his heat wanted force, and he was but as a reflection in a mirror; verily, say the historians, not at all the same sun as that of to-day. Nevertheless, he dried up and warmed the surface of the earth, and answered many good ends."

Could all this have been invented? This people could not themselves have explained the meaning of their myth, and yet it dove-tails into every fact revealed by our latest science as to the Drift Age.

[1. Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii, p. 46.]

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And then, the "Popul Vuh" tells us, the sun petrified their gods: in other words, the worship of lions, tigers, and snakes, represented by stone idols, gave way before the worship of the great luminary whose steadily increasing beams were filling the world with joy and light.

And then the people sang a hymn, "the song called 'Kamucu,'" one of the oldest of human compositions, in memory of the millions who had perished in the mighty cataclysm:

"We see;" they sang, "alas, we ruined ourselves in Tulan; there lost we many of our kith and kin; they still remain there! left behind! We, indeed, have seen the sun, but they—now that his golden light begins to appear, where are they?"

That is to say, we rejoice, but the mighty dead will never rejoice more.

And shortly after Balam-Quitz, Balam-Agab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam, the hero-leaders of the race, died and were buried.

This battle between the sun and the comet graduated, as I have shown, into a contest between light and darkness; and, by a natural transition, this became in time the unending struggle between the forces of good and the powers of evil—between God and Satan; and the imagery associated with it has,—strange to say,—continued down into our own literature.

That great scholar and mighty poet, John Milton, had the legends of the Greeks and Romans and the unwritten traditions of all peoples in his mind, when he described, in the sixth book of "Paradise Lost," the tremendous conflict between the angels of God and the followers of the Fallen One, the Apostate, the great serpent, the dragon, Lucifer, the bright-shining, the star of the morning, coming, like the comet, from the north.

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Milton did not intend such a comparison; but he could not tell the story without his over-full mind recurring to the imagery of the past. Hence we read the following description of the comet; of that—

"Thunder-cloud of nations, Wrecking earth and darkening heaven."

Milton tells us that when God's troops went forth to the battle—

"At last, Far in the horizon, to the north, appeared From skirt to skirt, a fiery region stretched, In battailous aspect, and nearer view Bristled with upright beams innumerable Of rigid spears, and helmets thronged and shields Various, with boastful arguments portrayed, The banded powers of Satan, hasting on With furious expedition. . . . High in the midst, exalted as a god, The apostate, in his sun-bright chariot, sat, Idol of majesty divine, inclosed With flaming cherubim and golden shields."

The comet represents the uprising of a rebellious power against the supreme and orderly dominion of God. The angel Abdiel says to Satan:

"Fool! not to think how vain Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms; Who out of smallest things could without end Have raised incessant armies to defeat Thy folly; or, with solitary hand, Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow, Unaided, could have finished thee, and whelmed Thy legions under darkness."

The battle begins:

"Now storming fury rose, And clamor such as heard in heav'n till now Was never; arms on armor clashing brayed {p. 248} Horrible discord, and the madding wheels Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise Of conflict; overhead the dismal hiss Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew, And, flying, vaulted either host with fire. . . . Army 'gainst army, numberless to raise Dreadful combustion warring and disturb Though not destroy, their happy native seat. . . . Sometimes on firm ground A standing fight, then soaring on main wing Tormented all the air, all air seemed then Conflicting fire."

Michael, the archangel, denounces Satan as an unknown being a stranger:

"Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt, Unnamed in heaven . . . how hast thou disturbed Heav'n's blessed peace, and into nature brought Misery, uncreated till the crime Of thy rebellion! . . . But think not here To trouble holy rest; heav'n casts thee out From all her confines: heav'n, the seat of bliss, Brooks not the works of violence and war. Hence then, and evil go with thee along, Thy offspring, to the place of evil, bell, Thou and thy wicked crew! "

But the comet (Satan) replies that it desires liberty to go where it pleases; it refuses to submit its destructive and erratic course to the domination of the Supreme Good; it proposes—

"Here, however, to dwell free If not to reign."

The result, of the first day's struggle is a drawn battle.

The evil angels meet in a night conference, and prepare gunpowder and cannon, with which to overthrow God's armies!

"Hollow engines, long and round, Thick rammed, at th' other bore with touch of fire {p. 249} Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth From far, with thund'ring noise, among our foes Such implements of mischief, as shall dash To pieces, and overwhelm whatever stands Adverse."

Thus armed, the evil ones renew the fight. They fire their cannon:

"For sudden all at once their reeds Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame, But soon obscured with clouds, all heav'n appeared, From these deep-throated engines belched, whose roar Emboweled with outrageous noise the air, And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul Their devilish glut, chained thunder-bolts and hail Of iron globes."

The angels of God were at first overwhelmed by this shower of missiles and cast down; but they soon rallied:

"From their foundations, loos'ning to and fro, They plucked the seated hills, with all their load, Rocks, waters, woods, and by their shaggy tops Uplifted bore them in their hands."

The rebels seized the hills also:

So hills amid the air encountered hills, Hurled to and fro with jaculation. dire.

. . . . And now all heaven Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread,"

had not the Almighty sent out his Son, the Messiah, to help his sorely struggling angels. The evil ones are overthrown, overwhelmed, driven to the edge of heaven:

"The monstrous sight Struck them with horror backward, but far worse Urged them behind; headlong themselves they threw Down from the verge of heav'n; eternal wrath Burnt after them to the bottomless pit. . . .{p. 250} Nine days they fell: confounded Chaos roared And felt tenfold confusion in their fall Through his wide anarchy, so huge a rout Encumbered him with ruin."

Thus down into our own times and literature has penetrated a vivid picture of this world-old battle. We see, as in the legends, the temporary triumph of the dragon; we see the imperiled sun obscured; we see the flying rocks filling the appalled air and covering all things with ruin; we see the dragon at last slain, and falling clown to hell and chaos; while the sun returns, and God and order reign once more supreme.

And thus, again, Milton paints the chaos that precedes restoration:

On heav'nly ground they stood; and from the shores They viewed the vast immeasurable abyss, Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild, Up from the bottom, turned by furious winds And surging waves, as mountains to assault Heav'n's height, and with the center mix the poles."

But order, peace, love, and goodness follow this dark, wild age of cold and wet and chaos:—the Night is slain, and the sun of God's mercy shines once more on its appointed track in the heavens.

But never again, they feel, shall the world go back to the completely glorious conditions of the Tertiary Age, the golden age of the Eden-land. The comet has "brought death into the world, and all our woe." Mankind has sustained its great, its irreparable "Fall."

This is the event that lies, with mighty meanings, at the base of all our theologies.

{p. 251}



I TRUST that the reader, who has followed me thus far in this argument, is satisfied that the legends of mankind point unmistakably to the fact that the earth, in some remote age—before the Polynesians, Red-men, Europeans, and Asiatics had separated, or been developed as varieties out of one family—met with a tremendous catastrophe; that a conflagration raged over parts of its surface; that mankind took refuge in the caves of the earth, whence they afterward emerged to wander for a long time, in great poverty and hardships, during a period of darkness; and that finally this darkness dispersed, and the sun shone again in the heavens.

I do not see how the reader can avoid these conclusions.

There are but two alternatives before him: he must either suppose that all this concatenation of legends is the outgrowth of a prodigious primeval lie, or he must concede that it describes some event which really happened.

To adopt the theory of a great race-lie, originating at the beginning of human history, is difficult, inasmuch as these legends do not tell the same story in anything like the same way, as would have been the case had they all originated in the first instance from the same mind. While we have the conflagration in some of the legends, it has

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been dropped out of others; in one it is caused by the sun; in another by the demon; in another by the moon; in one Phaton produced it by driving the sun out of its course; while there are a whole body of legends in which it is the result of catching the sun in a noose. So with the stories of the cave-life. In some, men seek the caves to escape the conflagration; in others, their race began in the caves. In like manner the age of darkness is in some cases produced by the clouds; in others by the death of the sun. Again, in tropical regions the myth turns upon a period of terrible heat when there were neither clouds nor rain; when some demon had stolen the clouds or dragged them into his cave: while in more northern regions the horrible age of ice and cold and snow seems to have made the most distinct impression on the memory of mankind. In some of the myths the comet is a god; in others a demon; in others a serpent; in others a feathered serpent; in others a dragon; in others a giant; in others a bird in others a wolf; in others a dog; in still others a boar.

The legends coincide only in these facts:—the monster in the air; the heat; the fire; the cave-life; the darkness; the return of the light.

In everything else they differ.

Surely, a falsehood, springing out of one mind, would have been more consistent in its parts than this.

The legends seem to represent the diverging memories which separating races carried down to posterity of the same awful and impressive events: they remembered them in fragments and sections, and described them as the four blind men in the Hindoo story described the elephant;—to one it was a tail, to another a trunk, to another a leg, to another a body;—it needs to put all their stories together to make a consistent whole. We can not understand

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the conflagration without the comet; or the cave-life without both; or the age of darkness without something that filled the heavens with clouds; or the victory of the sun without the clouds, and the previous obscuration of the sun.

If the reader takes the other alternative, that these legends are not fragments of a colossal falsehood, then he must concede that the earth, since man inhabited it, encountered a comet. No other cause or event could produce such a series of gigantic consequences as is here narrated.

But one other question remains: Did the Drift material come from the comet?

It could have resulted from the comet in two ways: either it was a part of the comet's substance falling upon our planet at the moment of contact; or it may have been torn from the earth itself by the force of the comet, precisely as it has been supposed that it was produced by the ice.

The final solution of this question can only be reached when close and extensive examination of the Drift deposits have been made to ascertain how far they are of earth-origin.

And here it must be remembered that the matter which composes our earth and the other planets and the comets was probably all cast out from the same source, the sun, and hence a uniformity runs through it all. Humboldt says:

"We are 'astonished at being able to touch, weigh, and chemically decompose metallic and earthy masses which belong to the outer world, to celestial space'; to find in them the minerals of our native earth, making it probable, as the great Newton conjectured, that the materials which belong to one group of cosmical bodies are for the most part the same."[1]

[1. "Cosmos," vol. iv, p. 206.]

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Some arolites are composed of finely granular tissue of olivine, augite, and labradorite blended together (as the meteoric stone found at Duvets, in the department de l'Ardche, France):

"These bodies contain, for instance, crystalline substances, perfectly similar to those of our earth's crust; and in the Siberian mass of meteoric iron, investigated by Pallas, the olivine only differs from common olivine by the absence of nickel, which is replaced by oxide of tin."

Neither is it true that all meteoric stones are of iron. Humboldt refers to the arolites of Siena, "in which the iron scarcely amounts to two per cent, or the earthy arolite of Alais, (in the department du Gard, France,) which broke up in the water," (clay?); "or, lastly, those from Jonzac and Juvenas, which contained no metallic iron."[2]

Who shall say what chemical changes may take place in remnants of the comet floating for thousands of years through space, and now falling to our earth? And who shall say that the material of all comets assumes the same form?

I can not but continue to think, however, until thorough scientific investigation disproves the theory, that the cosmical granite-dust which, mixed with water, became clay, and which covers so large a part of the world, we might say one half the earth-surface of the planet, and possibly also the gravel and striated stones, fell to the earth from the comet.

It is a startling and tremendous conception, but we are dealing with startling and tremendous facts. Even though we dismiss the theory as impossible, we still find ourselves face to face with the question, Where, then, did these continental masses of matter come from?

[1. "Cosmos," vol. i, p. 131.

2. Ibid., vol. i, p. 129.]

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I think the reader will agree with me that the theory of the glacialists, that a world-infolding ice-sheet produced them, is impossible; to reiterate, they are found, (on the equator,) where the ice-sheet could not have been without ending all terrestrial life; and they are not found where the ice must have been, in Siberia and Northwestern America, if ice was anywhere.

If neither ice nor water ground up the earth-surface into the Drift, then we must conclude that the comet so ground it up, or brought the materials with it already ground up.

The probability is, that both of these suppositions are in part true; the comet brought down upon the earth the clay-dust and part of the gravel and bowlders; while the awful force it exerted, meeting the earth while moving at the rate of a million miles an hour, smashed the surface-rocks, tore them to pieces, ground them up and mixed the material with its own, and deposited all together on the heated surface of the earth, where the lower part was baked by the heat into "till" or "hardpan," while the rushing cyclones deposited the other material in partly stratified masses or drifts above it; and part of this in time was rearranged by the great floods which followed the condensation of the cloud-masses into rain and snow, in the period of the River or Champlain Drift.

Nothing can be clearer than that the inhabitants of the earth believed that the stones fell from heaven—to wit, from the comet. But it would be unsafe to base a theory upon such a belief, inasmuch as stones, and even fish and toads, taken up by hurricanes, have often fallen again in showers; and they would appear to an uncritical population to have fallen from heaven. But it is, at least, clear that the fall of the stones and the clay are associated in

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the legends with the time of the great catastrophe; they are part of the same terrible event.

I shall briefly recapitulate some of the evidence.

The Mattoles, an Indian tribe of Northern California, have this legend:

"As to the creation, they teach that a certain Big Man began by making the naked earth, silent and bleak, with nothing of plant or animal thereon, save one Indian, who roamed about in a wofully hungry and desolate state. Suddenly there arose a terrible whirlwind, the air grew dark and thick with dust and drifting sand, and the Indian fell upon his face in sore dread. Then there came a great calm, and the man rose and looked, and lo, all the earth was perfect and peopled; the grass and the trees were green on every plain and hill; the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, the creeping things, the things that swim, moved everywhere in his sight."[1]

Here, as often happens, the impressive facts are remembered, but in a disarranged chronological order. There came a whirlwind, thick with dust, the clay-dust, and drifting sand and gravel. It left the world naked and lifeless, "silent and bleak"; only one Indian remained, and he was dreadfully hungry. But after a time all this catastrophe passed away, and the earth was once more populous and beautiful.

In the Peruvian legends, Apocatequil was the great god who saved them from the powers of the darkness. He restored the light. He produced the lightning by hurling stones with his sling. The thunder-bolts are small, round, smooth stones.[2]

The stone-worship, which played so large a part in antiquity, was doubtless due to the belief that many of the stones of the earth had fallen from heaven. Dr. Schwarz,

[1. Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii, p. 86.

2. Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 165.]

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of Berlin, has shown that the lightning was associated in popular legends with the serpent.

"When the lightning kindles the woods it is associated with the descent of fire from heaven, and, as in popular imagination, where it falls it scatters the thunderbolts in all directions, the flint-stones, which flash when struck, were supposed to be these fragments, and gave rise to the stone-worship so frequent in the old world."[1]

In Europe, in old times, the bowlders were called devil-stones; they were supposed. to have originated from "the malevolent agency of man's spiritual foes." This was a reminiscence of their real source.

The reader will see (page 173, ante) that the Iroquois legends represent the great battle between the White One, the sun, and the Dark One, the comet. The Dark One was wounded to death, and, as it fled for life, "the blood gushed from him at every step, and as it fell turned into flint-stones."

Here we have the red clay and the gravel both represented.

Among the Central Americans the flints were associated with Hurakan, Haokah, and Tlaloe {Tlaloc?—jbh}, the gods of storm and thunder:

"The thunder-bolts, as elsewhere, were believed to be flints, and thus, as the emblem of the fire and the storm, this stone figures conspicuously in their myths. Tohil, the god who gave the Quiches fire by shaking his sandals, was represented by a flint-stone. Such a stone, in the beginning of things, fell from heaven to earth, and broke into sixteen hundred pieces, each of which sprang up a god. . . . This is the germ of the adoration of stones as emblems of the fecundating rains. This is why, for example) the Navajos use, as their charm for rain, certain

[1. Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 117.]

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long, round stones, which they think fall from the cloud when it thunders."[1]

In the Algonquin legends of Manibozho, or Manobosbu, or Nanabojou, the great ancestor of all the Algic tribes, the hero man-god, we learn, had a terrific battle with "his brother Chakekenapok, the flint-stone, whom he broke in pieces, and scattered over the land, and changed his entrails into fruitful vines. The conflict was long and terrible. The face of nature was desolated as by a tornado, and the gigantic bowlders and loose rocks found on the prairies are the missiles hurled by the mighty combatants."[2]

We read in the Ute legends, given on page —-, ante, that when the magical arrow of Ta-wats "struck the sun-god full in the face, the sun was shivered into a thousand fragments, which fell to the earth, causing a general conflagration."[3]

Here we have the same reference to matter falling on the earth from the heavens, associated with devouring fire. And we have the same sequence of events, for we learn that when all of Ta-wats was consumed but the head, "his tears gushed forth in a flood, which spread over the earth and extinguished the fires."

The Aleuts of the Aleutian Archipelago have a tradition that a certain Old Man, called Traghdadakh, created men "by casting stones on the earth; he flung also other stones into the air, the water, and over the land, thus making beasts, birds, and fishes."[4]

It is a general belief in many races that the stone axes and celts fell from the heavens. In Japan, the stone

[1. Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 170.

2. Ibid., p. 181.

3. Major J. W. Powell, "Popular Science Monthly," 1879, p. 799.

4 Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii, p. 104.]

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arrow-heads are rained from heaven by the flying spirits, who shoot them. Similar beliefs are found in Brittany, in Madagascar, Ireland, Brazil, China, the Shetlands, Scotland, Portugal, etc.[1]

In the legends of Quetzalcoatl, the central figure of the Toltec mythology, we have a white man—a bearded man—from an eastern land, mixed up with something more than man. He was the Bird-serpent, that is, the winged or flying serpent, the great snake of the air, the son of Iztac Mixcoatl, "the white-cloud serpent, the spirit of the tornado."[2] He created the world. He was overcome by Tezcatlipoca, the spirit of the night.

"When he would promulgate his decrees, his herald proclaimed them from Tzatzitepec, the hill of shouting, with such a mighty voice that it could be heard a hundred leagues around. The arrows which he shot transfixed great trees; the stones he threw leveled forests; and when he laid his hands on the rocks the mark was indelible."[3]

"His symbols were the bird, the serpent, the cross, and the flint."[4]

In the Aztec calendar the sign for the age of fire is the flint.

In the Chinese Encyclopdia of the Emperor Kang-hi, 1662, we are told:

"In traveling from the shores of the Eastern Sea toward Che-lu, neither brooks nor ponds are met with in the country, although it is intersected by mountains and valleys. Nevertheless, there are found in the sand, very far away from the sea, oyster-shells and the shields of crabs. The tradition of the Mongols who inhabit the country is, that it has been said from time immemorial that in a

[1. Tyler's "Early Mankind," p. 224.

2. Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 197.

3. Ibid., p. 197.

4. Ibid., p. 198.]

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remote antiquity the waters of the deluge flooded the district, and when they retired the places where they had been made their appearance covered with sand. . . . This is why these deserts are called the 'Sandy Sea,' which indicates that they were not always covered with sand and gravel."[1]

In the Russian legends, a "golden ship sails across the heavenly sea; it breaks into fragments, which neither princes nor people can put together again,"—reminding one of Humpty-Dumpty, in the nursery-song, who, when he fell from his elevated position on the wall—

"Not all the king's horses, Nor all the king's men, Can ever make whole again."

In another Russian legend, Perun, the thunder-god, destroys the devils with stone hammers. On Ilya's day, the peasants offer him a roasted animal, which is cut up and scattered over the fields,[2] just as we have seen the great dragon or serpent cut to pieces and scattered over the world.

Mr. Christy found at Bou-Merzoug, on the plateau of the Atlas, in Northern Africa, in a bare, deserted, stony place among the mountains, a collection of fifteen hundred tombs, made of rude limestone slabs, set up with one slab to form a roof, so as to make perfect dolmens—closed chambers—where the bodies were packed in.

"Tradition says that a wicked people lived there, and for their sins stones were rained upon them from heaven; so they built these chambers to creep into."[3]

In addition to the legend of "Phaton," already given, Ovid derived from the legends of his race another story,

[1. Tylor's "Early Mankind," p. 328.

2. Poor, "Sanskrit Literature," p. 400.

3. Tylor's "Early Mankind," p. 222.]

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which seems to have had reference to the same event. He says (Fable XI):

"After the men who came from the Tyrian nation had touched this grove with ill-fated steps, and the urn let down into the water made a splash, the azure dragon stretched forth his head from the deep cave, and uttered dreadful hissings."

We are reminded of the flying monster of Hesiod, which roared and hissed so terribly.

Ovid continues:

"The urns dropped from their hands, and the blood left their bodies, and a sudden trembling seized their astonished limbs. He wreathes his scaly orbs in rolling spirals, and, with a spring, becomes twisted into mighty folds; and, uprearing himself from below the middle into the light air, he looks down upon all the grove, and is of" (as) "large size, as, if you were to look on him entire, the serpent which separates the two Bears" (the constellations).

He slays the Phœnicians; "some he kills with his sting, some with his long folds, some breathed upon by the venom of his baleful poison."

Cadmus casts a huge stone, as big as a millstone, against him, but it falls harmless upon his scales, "that were like a coat-of-mail"; then Cadmus pierced him with his spear. In his fall he crushes the forests; the blood flows from his poisonous palate and changes the color of the grass. He is slain.

Then, under the advice of Pallas, Cadmus sows the earth with the dragon's teeth, "under the earth turned up, as the seeds of a future people." Afterward, the earth begins to move, and armed men rise up; they slay Cadmus, and then fight with and slay each other.

This seems to be a recollection of the comet, and the stones falling from heaven; and upon the land so afflicted

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subsequently a warlike and aggressive and quarrelsome race of men springs up.

In the contest of Hercules with the Lygians, on the road from Caucasus to the Hesperides, "there is an attempt to explain mythically the origin of the round quartz blocks in the Lygian field of stones, at the mouth of the Rhne."[1]

In the "Prometheus Delivered" of sechylus, Jupiter draws together a cloud, and causes "the district round about to be covered with a shower of round stones."[2]

The legends of Europe refer to a race buried under sand and earth:

"The inhabitants of Central Europe and Teutonic races who came late to England, place their mythical heroes under ground in caves, in vaults beneath enchanted castles, or in mounds which open and show their buried inhabitants alive and busy about the avocations of earthly men. . . . In Morayshire the buried race are supposed to have been buried under the sand-hills, as they are in some parts of Brittany."[3]

Turning again to America, we find, in the great prayer of the Aztecs to Tezcalipoca, {Tezcatlipoca—jbh} given on page 186, ante, many references to some material substances falling from heaven; we read:

"Thine anger and indignation has descended upon us in these days, . . . coming down even as stones, spears, and darts upon the wretches that inhabit the earth; this is the pestilence by which we are afflicted and almost destroyed." The children die, "broken and dashed to pieces as against stones and a wall. . . . Thine anger and thy indignation does it delight in hurling the stone and arrow and spear. The grinders of thy teeth" (the dragon's teeth of Ovid?) "are employed, and thy bitter whips upon the miserable of

[1. "Cosmos," vol. i, p. 115.

2. Ibid., p. 115.

3. "Frost and Fire," vol. ii, p. 190.]

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thy people.... Hast thou verily determined that it utterly perish; . . . that the peopled place become a wooded hill and a wilderness of stones? . . . Is there to be no mercy nor pity for us until the arrows of thy fury are spent? . . . Thine arrows and stones have sorely hurt this poor people."

In the legend of the Indians of Lake Tahoe (see page 168, ante), we are told that the stars were melted by the great conflagration, and they rained down molten metal upon the earth.

In the Hindoo legend (see page 171, ante) of the great battle between Rama, the sun-god, and Ravana, the evil one, Rama persuaded the monkeys to help him build a bridge to the Island of Lanka, "and the stones which crop out through Southern India are said to have been dropped by the monkey builders."

In the legend of the Tupi Indians (see page 175, ante), we are told that God "swept about the fire in such way that in some places he raised mountains and in others dug valleys."

In the Bible we have distinct references to the fall of matter from heaven. In Deuteronomy (chap. xxviii), among the consequences which are to follow disobedience of God's will, we have the following:

"22. The Lord shall smite thee . . . with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.

"23. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.

"24. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from. heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. . . .

"29. And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness."

And even that marvelous event, so much mocked at by modern thought, the standing-still of the sun, at the

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command of Joshua, may be, after all, a reminiscence of the catastrophe of the Drift. In the American legends, we read that the sun stood still, and Ovid tells us that "a day was lost." Who shall say what circumstances accompanied an event great enough to crack the globe itself into immense fissures? It is, at least, a curious fact that in Joshua (chap. x) the standing-still of the sun was accompanied by a fall of stones from heaven by which multitudes were slain.

Here is the record

"11. And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: there were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword."

"13. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

"14. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel."

The "book of Jasher" was, we are told, a very ancient work, long since lost. Is it not possible that a great, dim memory of a terrible event was applied by tradition to the mighty captain of the Jews, just as the doings of Zeus have been attributed, in the folk-lore of Europe, to Charlemagne and Barbarossa?

If the contact of Lexell's comet with the earth would, as shown on page 84, ante, have increased the length of the sidereal year three hours, what effect might not a comet, many times larger than the mass of the earth, have had upon the revolution of the earth? Were the heat,

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the conflagrations, and the tearing up of the earth's surface caused by such an arrestment or partial slowing-up of the earth's revolution on its axis?

I do not propound these questions as any part of my theory, but merely as suggestions. The American and Polynesian legends represent that the catastrophe increased the length of the days. This may mean nothing, or a great deal. At least, Joshua's legend may yet take its place among the scientific possibilities.

But it is in the legend of the Toltecs of Central America, as preserved in one of the sacred books of the race, the "Codex Chimalpopoca," that we find the clearest and most indisputable references to the fall of gravel (see page 166, ante):

"'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, basalt, trap-rocks) 'boiled with great tumult, there also arose the rocks of vermilion color.'

"'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.'"[1]

We find also many allusions in the legends to the clay.

When the Navajos climbed up from their cave they found the earth covered with clay into which they sank mid-leg deep; and when the water ran off it left the whole world full of mud.

In the Creek and Seminole legends the Great Spirit made the first man, in the primeval cave, "from the clay around him."

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

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Sanchoniathon, from the other side of the world, tells us, in the Phœnician legends (see page 209, ante), that first came chaos, and out of chaos was generated mt or mud.

In the Miztec (American) legends (see page 214, ante), we are told that in the Age of Darkness there was "nothing but mud and slime on all the face of the earth."

In the Quiche legends we are told that the first men were destroyed by fire and pitch from heaven.

In the Quiche legends we also have many allusions to the wet and muddy condition of the earth before the returning sun dried it up.

In the legends of the North American Indians we read that the earth was covered with great heaps of ashes; doubtless the fine, dry powder of the clay looked like ashes before the water fell upon it.

There is another curious fact to be considered in connection with these legends—that the calamity seems to have brought with it some compensating wealth.

Thus we find Beowulf, when destroyed by the midnight monster, rejoicing to think that his people would receive a treasure, a fortune by the monster's death.

Hence we have a whole mass of legends wherein a dragon or great serpent is associated with a precious horde of gold or jewels.

"The Scythians had a saga of the sacred gold which fell burning from heaven. The ancients had also some strange fictions of silver which fell from heaven, and with which it had been attempted, under the Emperor Severus, to cover bronze coins."[1]

"In Peru the god of riches was worshiped under the image of a rattlesnake, horned and hairy, with a tail of gold. It was said to have descended from the heavens in

[1. "Cosmos," vol. i, p. 115.]

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the sight of all the people, and to have been seen by the whole army of the Inca."[1]

The Peruvians—probably in reference to this event—chose as their arms two serpents with their tails interlaced.

Among the Greeks and ancient Germans the fiery dragon was the dispenser of riches, and "watches a treasure in the earth."[2]

These legends may be explained by the fact that in the Ural Mountains, on the east of Europe, in South America, in South Africa, and in other localities, the Drift gravels contain gold and precious stones.

The diamond is found in drift-gravels alone. It is pure carbon crystallized. Man has been unable to reproduce it, except in minute particles; nor can he tell in what laboratory of nature it has been fabricated. It is not found in situ in any of the rocks of an earth-origin. Has it been formed in space? Is it an outcome of that pure carbon which the spectroscope has revealed to us as burning in some of the comets?

[1. Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 125.

2. Ibid., p. 125.]

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AND when we turn to the Arabian tales, we not only see, by their identity with the Hindoo and Slavonic legends, that they are of great antiquity, dating back to the time when these widely diverse races, Aryan and Semitic, were one, but we find in them many allusions to the battle between good and evil, between God and the serpent.

Abou Mohammed the Lazy, who is a very great magician, with power over the forces of the air and the Afrites, beholds a battle between two great snakes, one tawny-colored, the other white. The tawny serpent is overcoming the white one; but Abou Mohammed kills it with a rock. "The white serpent" (the sun) "departed and was absent for a while, but returned"; and the tawny serpent was torn to pieces and scattered over the land, and nothing remained of her but her head.

And then we have the legend of "the City of Brass," or bronze. It relates to "an ancient age and period in the olden time." One of the caliphs, Abdelmelik, the son of Marwan, has heard from antiquity that Solomon, (Solomon is, in Arabic, like Charlemagne in the middle-age myths of Europe, the synonym for everything venerable and powerful,) had imprisoned genii in bottles of brass, and the Caliph desired to procure some of these bottles.

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Then Talib (the son of Sahl) tells the Caliph that a man once voyaged to the Island of Sicily, but a wind arose and blew him away "to one of the lands of God."

"This happened during the black darkness of night."

It was a remote, unfrequented land; the people were black and lived in caves, and were naked and of strange speech. They cast their nets for Talib and brought up a bottle of brass or bronze, containing one of the imprisoned genii, who came out of it, as a blue smoke, and cried in a horrible voice, "Repentance, repentance, O prophet of God!"

All this was in a Western land. And Abdelmelik sent Talib to find this land. It was "a journey of two years and some months going, and the like returning." It was in a far country. They first reach a deserted palace in a desolate land, the palace of "Kosh the son of Sheddad the son of Ad, the greater." He read an inscription:

"Here was a people, whom, after their works, thou shalt see wept over for their lost dominion.

"And in this palace is the last information respecting lords collected in the dust.

"Death hath destroyed them and disunited them, and in the dust they have lost what they amassed."

Talib goes on with his troops, until they come to a great pillar of black stone, sunk into which, to his armpits, was a mighty creature; "he had two wings and four arms; two of them like those of the sons of Adam, and two like the fore-legs of lions with claws. He had hair upon his head like the tails of horses, and two eyes like two burning coals, and he had a third eye in his forehead, like the eye of the lynx, from which there appeared sparks of fire."

He was the imprisoned comet-monster, and these

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arms and eyes, darting fire, remind us of the description given of the apostate angel in the other legends:



"He was tall and black; and he was crying out 'Extolled be the perfection of my Lord, who hath appointed me this severe affliction and painful torture until the day of resurrection!'"

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The party of Talib were stupefied at the sight and retreated in fright. And the wise man, the Sheik Abdelsamad, one of the party, drew near and asked the imprisoned monster his history. And he replied:

"I am an Afrite of the genii, and my name is Dahish, the son of Elamash, and I am restrained here by the majesty of God.

"There belonged to one of the sons of Eblis an idol of red carnelian, of which I was made guardian; and there used to worship it one of the kings of the sea, of illustrious dignity, of great glory, leading, among his troops of the genii, a million warriors who smote with swords before him, and who answered his prayer in cases of difficulty. These genii, who obeyed him, were under my command and authority, following my words when I ordered them: all of them were in rebellion against Solomon the son of David (on both of whom be peace!), and I used to enter the body of the idol, to command them and to forbid them."

Solomon sent word to this king of the sea that he must give up the worship of the idol of red carnelian; the king consulted the idol, and this Afrite, speaking through the idol, encouraged the king to refuse. What,—he said to him,—can Solomon do to thee, "when thou art in the midst of this great sea?" And so Solomon came to compel the island-race to worship the true God; he surrounded his island, and filled the land with his troops, assisted by birds and wild beasts, and a dreadful battle followed in the air:

"After this they came upon us all together, and we contended with him in a wide tract for a period of two days; and calamity befell us on the third day, and the decree of God (whose name be exalted!) was executed among us. The first who charged upon Solomon were I and my troops: and I said to my companions, 'Keep in your places in the battle-field while I go forth to them and challenge Dimiriat."' (Dimiriat was the Sun, the

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bright one.) "And lo, he came forth, like a great mountain, his fires flaming and his smoke ascending; and he approached and smote me with a flaming fire; and his arrow prevailed over my fire. He cried out at me with a prodigious cry, so that I imagined the heaven had fallen and closed over me, and the mountains shook at his voice.



Then he commanded his companions, and they charged upon us all together: we also charged upon them, and we cried out one to another: the fires rose and the smoke ascended, the hearts of the combatants were almost cleft asunder, and the battle raged. The birds fought in the air, and the wild beasts in the dust; and I contended with Dimiriat until he wearied me and I wearied him;

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after which I became weak, and my companions and troops were enervated and my tribes were routed."

The birds tore out the eyes of the demons, and cut them in pieces until the earth was covered with the fragments, like the trunks of palm-trees. "As for me, I flew from before Dimiriat, but he followed me a journey of three months until he overtook me." And Solomon hollowed out the black pillar, and sealed him in it with his signet, and chained him until the day of resurrection.

And Talib and his party go on still farther, and find "the City of Brass," a weird, mysterious, lost city, in a desolate land; silent, and all its people dead; a city once of high civilization, with mighty, brazen walls and vast machinery and great mysteries; a city whose inhabitants had perished suddenly in some great calamity. And on the walls were tablets, and on one of them were inscribed these solemn words:

"'Where are the kings and the peoples of the earth? They have quitted that which they have built and peopled. And in the grave they are pledged for their past actions. There, after destruction, they have become putrid corpses. Where are the troops? They repelled not nor profited. And where is that which they collected and boarded? The decree of the Lord of the Throne surprised them. Neither riches nor refuge saved them from it.'

"And they saw the merchants dead in their shops; their skins were dried, and their bones were carious, and they had become examples to him who would be admonished."

Everywhere were the dead, "lying upon skins, and appearing almost as if they would speak."

Their death seems to have been due to a long period of terrible heat and drought.

On a couch was a damsel more beautiful than all the daughters of Adam; she was embalmed, so as to preserve all her charms. Her eyes were of glass, filled with quick

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silver, which seemed to follow the beholder's every motion. Near her was a tablet of gold, on which was inscribed:

"In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful.... the Lord of lords, the Cause of causes; the Everlasting, the Eternal. . . . Where are the kings of the regions of the earth" Where are the Amalekites? Where are the mighty monarchs? The mansions are void of their presence, and they have quitted their families and homes. Where are the kings of the foreigners and the Arabs? They have all died and become rotten bones. Where are the lords of high degree? They have all died. Where are Korah and Haman? Where is Sheddad, the son of Add? Where are Canaan and Pharaoh? God hath cut them off, and it is he who cutteth short the lives of mankind, and he hath made the mansions to be void for their presence. . . . I am Tadmor, the daughter of the king of the Amalekites, of those who ruled the countries with equity: I possessed what none of the kings possessed," (i. e., in extent of dominion,) "and ruled with justice, and acted impartially toward my subjects; I gave and bestowed; and I lived a longtime in the enjoyment of happiness and an easy life, and emancipated both female and male slaves. Thus I did until the summoner of death came, and disasters occurred before me. And the cause was this: Seven years in succession came upon us, during which no water descended on us from heaven, nor did any grass grow for us on the face of the earth. So we ate what food we had in our dwellings, and after that we fell upon the beasts and ate, and there remained nothing. Upon this, therefore, I caused the wealth to be brought, and meted it with a measure, and sent it, by trusty men, who went about with it through all regions, not leaving unvisited a single large city, to seek for some food. But they found it not, and they returned to us with the wealth after a long absence. So, thereupon we exposed to view our riches and our treasures, locked the gates of the fortresses in our city, and submitted ourselves to the decrees of our Lord; and thus we all died, as thou beholdest, and left what we had built and what we had treasured."

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And this strange tale has relations to all the other legends.

Here we have the great demon, darting fire, blazing, smoking, the destructive one; the rebel against the good God. He is overthrown by the bright-shining one, Dimiriat, the same as the Dev-Mrityu of the Hindoos; he and his forces are cut to pieces, and scattered over the land, and he, after being chased for months through space, is captured and chained. Associated with all this is a people of the Bronze Age—a highly civilized people; a people living on an island in the Western Sea, who perished by a calamity which came on them suddenly; "a summoner of death" came and brought disasters; and then followed a long period of terrible heat and drought, in which not they alone, but all nations and cities, were starved by the drying up of the earth. The demon had devoured the cows-the clouds; like Cacus, he had dragged them backward into his den, and no Hercules, no Indra, had arisen to hurl the electric bolt that was to kill the heat, restore the clouds, and bring upon the parched earth the grateful rain. And so this Bronze-Age race spread out their useless treasures to the sun, and, despite their miseries, they praise the God of gods, the Cause of causes, the merciful, the compassionate, and lie down to die.

And in the evil-one, captured and chained and sealed by Solomon, we seem to have the same thing prefigured in Revelation, xx, 2:

"2. And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

"3. And he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should no more seduce the nations."

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WE are told in the Bible (Job, i, 16)—

"While he [Job] was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee."

And in verse 18 we are told—

"While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:

"19. And behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee."

We have here the record of a great convulsion. Fire fell from heaven; the fire of God. It was not lightning, for it killed the seven thousand sheep, (see chap. i, 3,) belonging to Job, and all his shepherds; and not only killed but consumed them—burned them up. A fire falling from heaven great enough to kill seven thousand sheep must have been an extensive conflagration, extending over a large area of country. And it seems to have been accompanied by a great wind—a cyclone—which killed all Job's sons and daughters.

Has the book of Job anything to do with that great event which we have been discussing? Did it originate out of it? Let us see.

In the first place it is, I believe, conceded by the foremost

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scholars that the book of Job is not a Hebrew work; it was not written by Moses; it far antedates even the time of Abraham.

That very high orthodox authority, George Smith, F. S. A., in his work shows that—

"Everything relating to this patriarch has been violently controverted. His country; the age in which he lived; the author of the book that bears his name; have all been fruitful themes of discord, and, as if to confound confusion, these disputants are interrupted by others, who would maintain that no such person ever existed; that the whole tale is a poetic fiction, an allegory!"[1]

Job lived to be two hundred years old, or, according to the Septuagint, four hundred. This great age relegates him to the era of the antediluvians, or their immediate descendants, among whom such extreme ages were said to have been common.

C. S. Bryant says:

"Job is in the purest Hebrew. The author uses only the word Elohim for the name of God. The compiler or reviser of the work, Moses, or whoever he was, employed at the heads of chapters and in the introductory and concluding portions the name of Jehovah; but all the verses where Jehovah occurs, in Job, are later interpolations in a very old poem, written at a time when the Semitic race had no other name for God but Elohim; before Moses obtained the elements of the new name from Egypt."[2]

Hale says:

"The cardinal constellations of spring and autumn, in Job's time, were Chima and Chesil, or Taurus and Scorpio, of which the principal stars are Aldebaran, the Bull's Eye, and Antare, the Scorpion's Heart. Knowing, therefore, the longitudes of these stars at present, the interval

[1. "The Patriarchal Age," vol. i, p. 351.

2. MS. letter to the author, from C. S. Bryant, St. Paul, Minnesota.]

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of time from thence to the assumed date of Job's trial will give the difference of these longitudes, and ascertain their positions then with respect to the vernal and equinoctial points of intersection of the equinoctial and ecliptic; according to the usual rate of the precession of the equinoxes, one degree in seventy-one years and a half."[1]

A careful calculation, based on these principles, has proved that this period was 2338 B. C. According to the Septuagint, in the opinion of George Smith, Job lived, or the book of Job was written, from 2650 B. C. to 2250 B. C. Or the events described may have occurred 25,740 years before that date.

It appears, therefore, that the book of Job was written, even according to the calculations of the orthodox, long before the time of Abraham, the founder of the Jewish nation, and hence could not have been the work of Moses or any other Hebrew. Mr. Smith thinks that it was produced soon after the Flood, by an Arabian. He finds in it many proofs of great antiquity. He sees in it (xxxi, 26, 28) proof that in Job's time idolatry was an offense under the laws, and punishable as such; and he is satisfied that all the parties to the great dialogue were free from the taint of idolatry. Mr. Smith says:

"The Babylonians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, Canaanites, Midianites, Ethiopians of Abyssinia, Syrians, and other contemporary nations, had sunk into gross idolatry long before the time of Moses."

The Arabians were an important branch of the great Atlantean stock; they derived their descent from the people of Add.

"And to this day the Arabians declare that the father of Job was the founder of the great Arabian people."[2]

[1. Hale's "Chronology," vol. ii, p. 55.

2. Smith's "Sacred Annals," vol. i, p. 360.]

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Again, the same author says:

"Job acted as high-priest in his own family; and, minute as are the descriptions of the different classes and usages of society in this book, we have not the slightest allusion to the existence of any priests or specially appointed ministers of religion, a fact which shows the extreme antiquity of the period, as priests were, in all probability, first appointed about the time of Abraham, and became general soon after."[1]

He might have added that priests were known among the Egyptians and Babylonians and Phœnicians from the very beginning of their history.

Dr. Magee says:

"If, in short, there be on the whole, that genuine air of the antique which those distinguished scholars, Schultens, Lowth, and Michaelis, affirm in every respect to pervade the work, we can scarcely hesitate to pronounce, with Lowth and Sherlock, that the book of Job is the oldest in the world now extant."[2]

Moreover, it is evident that this ancient hero, although he probably lived before Babylon and Assyria, before Troy was known, before Greece had a name, nevertheless dwelt in the midst of a high civilization.

"The various arts, the most recondite sciences, the most remarkable productions of earth, in respect of animals, vegetables, and minerals, the classified arrangement of the stars of heaven, are all noticed."

Not only did Job's people possess an alphabet, but books were written, characters were engraved; and some have even gone so far as to claim that the art of printing was known, because Job says, "Would that my words were printed in a book!"

[1. Smith's "Sacred Annals," p. 364.

2. Magee "On the Atonement," vol. ii, p. 84.]

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The literary excellence of the work is of the highest order. Lowth says:

"The antiquary, or the critic, who has been at the pains to trace the history of the Grecian drama from its first weak and imperfect efforts, and has carefully observed its tardy progress to perfection, will scarcely, I think, without astonishment, contemplate a poem produced so many ages before, so elegant in its design, so regular in its structure, so animated, so affecting, so near to the true dramatic model; while, on the contrary, the united wisdom of Greece, after ages of study, was not able to produce anything approaching to perfection in this walk of poetry before the time of schylus."[1]

Smith says:

"The debate rises high above earthly things; the way and will and providential dealings of God are investigated. All this is done with the greatest propriety, with the most consummate skill; and, notwithstanding the expression of some erroneous opinions, all is under the influence of a devout and sanctified temper of mind."[2]

Has this most ancient, wonderful, and lofty work, breathing the spirit of primeval times, its origin lost in the night of ages, testifying to a high civilization and a higher moral development, has it anything to do with that event which lay far beyond the Flood?

If it is a drama of Atlantean times, it must have passed through many hands, through many ages, through many tongues, before it reached the Israelites. We may expect its original meaning, therefore, to appear through it only like the light through clouds; we may expect that later generations would modify it with local names and allusions; we may expect that they would even strike out parts whose meaning they failed to understand, and

[1. "Hebrew Poetry," lecture xxxiii.

2. "Sacred Annals," vol. i, p. 365.]

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interpolate others. It is believed that the opening and closing parts are additions made in a subsequent age. If they could not comprehend how the fire from heaven and the whirlwind could have so utterly destroyed Job's sheep, servants, property, and family, they would bring in those desert accessories, Saban and Chaldean robbers, to carry away the camels and the oxen.

What is the meaning of the whole poem?

God gives over the government of the world for a time to Satan, to work his devilish will upon Job. Did not God do this very thing when he permitted the comet to strike the earth? Satan in Arabic means a serpent. "Going to and fro" means in the Arabic in "the heat of haste "; Umbreit translates it, "from a flight over the earth."

Job may mean a man, a tribe, or a whole nation.

From a condition of great prosperity Job is stricken down, in an instant, to the utmost depths of poverty and distress; and the chief agency is "fire from heaven" and great wind-storms.

Does this typify the fate of the world when the great catastrophe occurred? Does the debate between Job and his three visitors represent the discussion which took place in the hearts of the miserable remnants of mankind, as they lay hid in caverns, touching God, his power, his goodness, his justice; and whether or not this world-appalling calamity was the result of the sins of the people or otherwise?

Let us see what glimpses of these things we can find in the text of the book.

When Job's afflictions fall upon him he curses his day—the day, as commonly understood, wherein he was born. But how can one curse a past period of time and ask the darkness to cover it?

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The original text is probably a reference to the events that were then transpiring:

"Let that day be turned into darkness; let not God regard it from above; and let not the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death cover it; let a mist overspread it, and let it be wrapped up in bitterness. Let a darksome whirlwind seize upon that night. . . . Let them curse it who curse the clay, who are ready to raise up a leviathan."[1]

De Dieu says it should read, "And thou, leviathan, rouse up." "Let a mist overspread it"; literally, "let a gathered mass of dark clouds cover it."

"The Fathers generally understand the devil to be meant by the leviathan."

We shall see that it means the fiery dragon, the comet:

"Let the stars be darkened with the mist thereof; let it expect light and not see it, nor the rising of the dawning of the day."[2]

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