Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/325

This page has been validated.

are to call the members of this race of non—natural men) was not a more fortunate than the first in its family relations.

Cronus wedded his sister, Rhea, and begat Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and the youngest, Zeus. "And mighty Cronus swallowed down each of them, each that came to their mother's knees from her holy womb, with this intent that none other of the proud sons of heaven should hold his kingly sway among the immortals. Heaven and Earth had warned him that he too should fall through his children. Wherefore he kept no vain watch, but spied and swallowed down each of his offspring, while grief immitigable took possession of Rhea.[1]" Rhea, being about to become the mother of Zeus, took counsel with Uranus and Gæa. By their advice she went to Crete, where Zeus was born, and, in place of the child, she presented to Cronus a huge stone swathed in swaddling bands. This he swallowed, and was easy in his mind. Zeus grew up, and by some means, suggested by Gæa, compelled Zeus to disgorge all his offspring. "And he vomited out the stone first, as he had swallowed it last."[2] The swallowed children emerged alive, and Zeus fixed the stone at Pytho (Delphi), where Pausanias[3] had the privilege of seeing it, and where, as it did not tempt the cupidity of barbarous invaders, it probably still exists. It was not a large stone, Pausanias says, and the Delphians used to pour oil over it, as Jacob did[4] to the stone at Bethel, and on feast-days they covered it with wraps of wool.

  1. Theog., 460, 465.
  2. Theog., 498.
  3. x. 245.
  4. Gen. xxviii. 18.