great god, the mantis insect, and disgorges him alive with all the other persons and animals whom he has engulphed in the course of a long and voracious career. The moon in Australia, while he lived on earth, was very greedy, and swallowed the eagle-god, whom he had to disgorge. Mr. Im Thurn found similar tales among the Indians of Guiana. The swallowing and disgorging of Heracles by the monster that was to slay Hesione is well known. Scotch peasants tell of the same feats, but localise the myth on the banks of the Ken in Galloway. Basutos, Eskimos, Zulus, and European fairy tales all possess this incident, the swallowing of many persons by a being from whose maw they return alive and in good case.
A mythical conception which prevails from Greenland to South Africa, from Delphi to the Solomon Islands, from Brittany to the shores of Lake Superior, must have some foundation in the common elements of human nature. Now it seems highly probable that this curious idea may have been originally invented in an attempt to explain natural phenomena by a nature-myth. It has already been shown (chapter v.) that eclipses are interpreted, even by the peasantry of advanced races, as the swallowing of the moon by a beast or a monster. The Piutes account for the disappearance of the stars in the daytime by the hypothesis that the "sun swallows his children." In the
- Bleek, Bushman Folk-lore, pp. 6, 8.
- The myth of Cronus and the swallowed children and the stone is transferred to Gargantua. See Sébillot, Gargantua dans les Traditions Populaires. But it is impossible to be certain that this is not an example of direct borrowing by Madame De Cerny in her Saint Suliac, p. 69.