Greek Myths


February 18, 1997

Dear Rebecca,

I am writing to you today to tell you about a few wonderful myths that I
have read. I feel that they would interest you as much as they did me. I
will give you a brief summary on each so that they will be a little more
familiar to you if you decide to read them at some time in the future.
The first story I read was the tale of Hermes. Born on Mount Cyllene
to his mother Maia, Hermes was an astonishing child. His growth was equally
astonishing for he grew at a rapid rate. Deciding he wanted an adventure,
Hermes set out one day and stole a herd of cows from Apollo, the sun god.
When Apollo discovered the missing herd, he set out to find them but to
no avail. Hearing of a reward offered by Apollo for the recovery of the herd,
Silenus and his satyrs set out as well. Traveling far and wide their journeys
brought them to a small cave, which echoed with the beautiful muffled sounds of
a melody to which they were drawn. When finding out the music was produced by
an instrument made of cow gut and tortoise shell, it was then understood that
young Hermes had taken the herd from Apollo. Formal charges were brought to Mt.
Olympus. Apollo, while going to get his remaining cows discovered Hermes\'
musical invention. Intrigued by this astonishing invention he offered his
whole flock for the musical instrument. Hermes agreed, after which he invented
a shepherd\'s pipe, which also awed Apollo. He offered Hermes his golden staff
in exchange for the pipe but to no avail. In addition to the golden staff
Hermes wanted the knowledge of augury. He felt it was a useful art. Hermes
returned to Mt. Olympus to tell his father, Zeus, of all goings on. Zeus was
very amused. Hermes suggested to Zeus that he be made into a herald. Zeus
complied with this suggestion and showered Hermes with gifts.
Sounds like an interesting tale, doesn\'t it. Well it is much better if
you read it yourself. The next tale I read was of Krishna. This one story
was the most confusing of the four I read. To fully understand it you must
read it and interpret it for yourself. I will try to do the best I can.
Rama and Krsna were two children who loved to play in the village.
First they crawled and then they walked causing the village women to laugh and
giving them great pleasure. Then Krsna started to untie the cows at
inappropriate times and steal milk and curds. Krsna\'s mother was unable to
scold him after looking at the child\'s\' frightened face. She could only smile.
One day a report came to her that Krsna had eaten dirt. She could not take it
anymore and grabbed his hand and began to scold him. Krsna swore he had not
eaten dirt and to prove this opened his mouth for his mother to peer inside.
While looking into her child\'s\' mouth she saw everything that was in the world.
She saw all forms of life and time, she saw actions and hopes, her own village
and herself. In the winter a group of girls celebrating vows to the goddess
Katayayani went to the river, took off their clothes and chanted to Krsna.
Krsna appeared and told them to take their clothes and go back to the village.
When hearing the divine word from him the girls felt they had obtained what they
wanted and returned to the village under Krshnas\' command. To fully understand
this story it is necessary to read it yourself and indulge in the vocabulary and
trickster ways, which Krshna had shown. The next tale that I would like to share
with you is the tale of Old Man Coyote. I hope this story intrigues you as it
did me. This story told of a poor old coyote that wished he could renew his
youth and vibrancy. One day he spotted a strong proud buffalo. He knew that
this animal could help him so he went to ask the buffalo for his assistance.
The buffalo said that he could make the old man coyote young and strong but
could not restore his powers. Thankfully the coyote agreed to the buffalo\'s
conditions and the process began. Once the coyote was transformed into a
youthful buffalo the old man coyote began his youthful days of fun. One day,
four years later another old coyote limped toward the buffalo. This time the
buffalo was the