myth identification - Stories of children raised out of human society?

I am interested in the theme of human children nursed and/or raised out of human society (e.g. Mowgli or Romulus and Remus), whether by animals, gods, flowers, aliens, etc.Are there any myths in other cultures where such a theme appears previous to Romulus and Remus?Ideally, I would like to know which is the oldest myth where such a theme appears (to the best of our knowledge) but that might be impossible to know for certain....Read more

myth identification - Are there stories of punishment for challenging an oracle?

Are there any myths or stories where someone asks an oracle (or prophet or deity) tricky questions in order to test/trick/falsify it, which results in punishment of the doubter?Two examples, which do not match completely:Herodotus reports that king Croesus tested several oracles for their knowledge and is later misled by the Delphic oracle regarding his war against the Persians.However, Herodotus seems not to indicate that the ambiguity of the Delphic answer is a direct consequence of Croesus' initial skepticism.In "Oedipus the King" by Sophocl...Read more

myth identification - Are there any homosexual gods?

I have recently came across Tu'er Shen, a Chinese deity who manages the love and sex between homosexual men. After reading about him, I am interested to find out if there are any homosexual gods(exclude the Greco-Roman gods), preferably those who married another homosexual god. However, I am not looking for gods who are in charge of homosexual love, like the Chinese god mentioned above, but I am looking for gods who are naturally homosexual, like Zeus, who took Ganydeme, a boy, as a lover....Read more

Myths of the Wind Impregnating Women

What examples do you know of from Greco-Roman myths in which the wind as such impregnates a woman (could be mortal or a goddess)? I'm aware of examples where the wind personalized as a god (e.g., Boreas, Zephyrus) impregnates a woman, which is thought of as sex, but here I'm interested in situations where it is just the wind as such and conception is not portrayed as occurring through implied copulation. There are examples of female animals (mares, hens, etc.) being impregnated by a non-personalized wind, but I'm having trouble coming up with e...Read more

myth identification - Are there stories of a hero or god fighting off old age?

I recently learned of Geras, the personification of old age. The deity is primarily known from vase depictions that show him with Heracles. One example is this Attic red-figured neck-amphora1: Unfortunately, the mythic story of Heracles fighting off Geras has not survived. I'm wondering, however, if there are other stories of a hero or god2 fighting off old age, especially in cultures that would be aware of the Heracles mythos. I realise it will not be possible to say that these stories - if they even exist - contain traces of the Heracles and ...Read more

mythical creatures - Pre-Tolkien Orcs in myths or folklore?

So what I'm trying to understand is what exactly pre-Tolkien orcs were like in regards to folklore. I understand that Tolkien has had a massive influence on how we conceptualize many creatures from different myths such as dragons, wargs, and dwarves, but in all these cases they existed in a defined form before Tolkien used them in his stories. Orcs seem to be a bit different because I haven't found one or a few myths where they exist as their own thing.Were orcs even a single creature pre-Tolkien or did he pull from multiple sources to create h...Read more

myth identification - What's the earliest recorded story of a human woman giving birth to a monster?

In Greek mythology, a human woman gave birth to the Minotaur, a "monster". I know timelines get fuzzy with mythology, but are there any other instances of a human woman giving birth to a "monster" that predate the Minotaur myth? In any mythology?I'm using "monster" very loosely, hence the quotes. I'm trying to separate them from demi-gods who become heroes or get elevated to gods themselves and could pass as human if not for their extraordinary abilities....Read more

animals - Is there a myth that dolphins were humans who chose to return to the sea?

In the Fantasy Island (1998) episode "Dreams", Michael Allen is a stockbroker who finds a mysterious woman (played by Jennifer Garner) who says this to him when they first meet. Sally: You know, there's a theory that dolphins were once human beings who chose to return to the sea. That would explain it. Michael: Explain what? Sally: Why they have such a close connection to people.As it turns out, "Sally" is indeed a dolphin who can transform to a human.This sounds like the sort of thing that would be in a myth or traditional stories (alth...Read more

myth identification - The Great Bear and Dragon encircling the Tree of Life

In "Yeats Poems" by W. B. Yeats, pg. 522, (in notes to his poem 'The Poet pleads with the Elemental Powers') it is written, Yeats commented that the Great Bear and the constellation of the Dragon 'in certain old mythologies' encircle the Tree of Life.Ursa Major, the Great Bear and Draco are circumpolar northern and far northern sky constellations that go around Polaris, the North Pole Star. It's a beautiful allegory, seen here with the constellations drawn (U. Minor, not U. Major) and the stars moving.Greek mythology has the dragon Ladon "twi...Read more

myth identification - What are some iconic legends of human depravity and spiritual pollution?

My purposes are non-salacious, I promise. There's an undercurrent in mythology and folklore that I didn't get a lot of in school, but which I've noticed more and more of as I've read on my own. These are stories of men and women, often royal but occasionally divine, who fall into a fit of madness, passion, or fury and violate the highest moral laws, in a particular way that seems like an arrow aimed at the human sense of spiritual pollution. The Greeks, in particular, seem to love this stuff, and the first example that always comes to mind is O...Read more

india - Is there an Indian Wild Hunt myth?

In the Wikipedia Wild Hunt article, an Indian related myth is mentioned1: M.M. Banks cautioned against viewing the Wild Hunt as a peculiarly European phenomenon, identifying a similar tale of cavalry being heard on the wind that was located in the early twentieth-century in the Ghats, India.The cited source is Banks, M.M. (1944). "The Wild Hunt?". Folklore (London: The Folklore Society), which I don't have access to.Is there an Indian Wild Hunt myth?1 The article has since been updated, and the "Related Myths" section was removed....Read more