Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/333

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of the contact of heaven and earth he mutilates his parent, and throws away the portion abstracted. "It needs but a little of the true sense for mythology to see that this is merely the description of the setting sun." This is proved by the birth of Erinnyes, giants, and Melian nymphs from the blood of Uranus; for the Erinnyes are noctural goddesses, and "the Melian nymphs are not ash-nymphs, but bees, that is to say, stars." The blood represents the red of sunset; and if Aphrodite rises from the sea-foam where the amputated portions fell, "she manifests herself here in the moon."

So this earlier incident, with all its foul details, is merely a curious and disgusting old Greek way of saying that the moon rises from the sea after a fine sunset.

The second myth, says Dr. Tiele, has a wider signification, though it is still more barbarous than the former. The myth is that which tells how Cronus swallowed his children. The central idea here is "the devouring of the luminous gods, lords of day, by the god of the nether regions," who disgorges them at dawn. The episode of the stone offered to the cannibal father in place of Zeus is an addition needed for the introduction of the story about the education of Zeus in Crete. There, "in conformity with his nature, Zeus is fed with the honey of the bees that nest in the cave of Ida (the stars of night), and with the milk of the she-goat Amalthea, the moon, that is to say, with light." The combination of these ideas produces the myth of Cronus.