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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/58

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We now come to another form of transformation--a change of sex. I had an old carpenter many years ago who had been with my father before me, and he once told me that he knew a man in Cornwall who had married, and became a father of a family; then he changed his sex, married, and bore a second family. Ovid tells the story of Iphis, a daughter of Ligdus and Telethusa of Crete. When Telethusa was pregnant her husband bade her destroy the child when born if it proved to be a girl, because his poverty was so great that he could not afford to rear a daughter. Telethusa was distressed, and the goddess Isis appeared to her in a dream and bade her preserve the child. Telethusa brought forth a daughter, which was given to a nurse and passed for a boy under the name of Iphis. Ligdus continued ignorant of the deceit, and when Iphis was full grown her father resolved to give her in marriage to lanthe, the beautiful daughter of Telestes. A day to celebrate the nuptials was fixed, and mother and daughter were in consternation; but prayed to Isis, by whose advice the life of Iphis had been preserved. The goddess waas favourable, and changed the sex of Iphis, and, on the morrow, the nuptials were consummated with the greatest rejoicings.