© Marinus Jan Marijs
Index (Click on the links here below to select the stories)
1. St. George and the dragon
2. Wolf man / werewolf
3. Ali Baba
5. Flying carpet
6. Snow white
7. Sleeping beauty
13. The phoenix
15. Arthur Excalibur
17. Little red hood
18. Hansel and Gretel
22. Elf land
23. Emperors Tomb (Solomon’s mines) Hidden treasure chamber
25. The fisherman and his wife
26. The witch
27. The lord of the Rings
1. St. George and the dragon
St. George, was an early Christian martyr who during the Middle Ages became an ideal of martial valour and selflessness. He is the patron saint of England. Legends about him as a warrior-saint, dating from the 6th century, became popular and increasingly extravagant. Jacob de Voragine’s Legenda aurea (1265–66; Golden Legend) repeats the story of his rescuing a Libyan king’s daughter from a dragon and then slaying the monster in return for a promise by the king’s subjects to be baptized. George’s slaying of the dragon may be a Christian version of the legend of Perseus, who was said to have rescued Andromeda from a sea monster near Lydda. It is a theme much represented in art, the saint frequently being depicted as a youth wearing knight’s armour with a scarlet cross.
St. George and the dragon is a typical European fairy tale. The dragon, represents the lower nature in man and when it is killed, this liberates the higher nature represented here by the king’s daughter. The fact that the dragon is described as a guardian of great treasure means that by this Piagetian stage transition something of a very great value will be realised.
2. Wolf man / werewolf
A werewolf, also known as a lycanthrope (from the Greek lykos, “wolf”, and anthrōpos, “man”), is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or a therianthropic hybrid wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse or affliction (e.g. via a bite or scratch from another werewolf). Early sources for belief in lycanthropy are Petronius and Gervase of Tilbury
This story symbolises the lower nature of man which is personified as wolf-like in nature.
3. Ali Baba
Ali Baba, is a fictional character, the hero of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, one of the best-known stories in The Thousand and One Nights. Ali Baba is a poor woodcutter who secretly watches as 40 thieves hide their booty in a cave, the door to which can be opened only by the verbal command of “Open, Sesame!” He later uses this magic phrase, steals riches from the cave, and lives a prosperous life. The thieves eventually suspect Ali Baba, and they hide themselves in large oil jars that, with the unsuspecting Ali’s permission, are stored overnight in Ali Baba’s courtyard. When the slave Morgiana goes to extract oil from one of the jars, she hears a robber whisper. Morgiana realizes that the jars contain not oil but robbers lying in wait to kill her master. She pours hot oil into each jar, thus killing the robbers. Morgiana later saves Ali Baba’s life a second time, and in gratitude he frees her. She marries Ali Baba’s son, and the entire family lives prosperously on the wealth obtained from the cave that only they can enter.
The forty thieves symbolise lower forces in a person, within the subconsciousness, (the cave) that keep the treasures of the soul hidden.
Sindbad the Sailor, Sindbad also spelled Sinbad, hero of The Thousand and One Nights who recounts his adventures on seven voyages.
The stories of Sindbad’s travels, which were a relatively late addition to The Thousand and One Nights, were based on the experiences of merchants from Basra (Iraq) trading under great risk with the East Indies and China, probably in the early ʿAbbāsid period (750–c. 850). A strong infusion of the miraculous in the stories has exaggerated the dangers encountered.
In the frame story Sindbad is marooned or shipwrecked after he sets sail from Basra with merchandise. He is able to survive the terrible dangers he encounters by a combination of resourcefulness and luck and returns home with a fortune. Sindbad’s movement from prosperity to loss, experienced during a voyage filled with adventure, and back to prosperity, achieved when he returns home, is repeated in the structure of each tale.
The Seven Voyages of Sinbad ultimately represent the travels of the Soul through the seven spheres of Spiritual Knowledge.
5. Flying carpet
One of the stories in the One Thousand and One Nights relates how Prince Husain, the eldest son of Sultan of the Indies, travels to Bisnagar (Vijayanagara) in India and buys a magic carpet. This carpet is described as follows: “Whoever sitteth on this carpet and willeth in thought to be taken up and set down upon other site will, in the twinkling of an eye, be borne thither, be that place near hand or distant many a day’s journey and difficult to reach.” The literary traditions of several other cultures also feature magical carpets, in most cases literally flying rather than instantly transporting their passengers from place to place.
The flying carpet symbolises a meditative state by which one is freed from the influences of the physical world.
6. Snow white
Snow white is a 19th-century German fairy tale which is today known widely across the Western world. The Brothers Grimm published it in 1812 in the first edition of their collection Grimms’ Fairy Tales.
At the beginning of the story, a queen sits sewing at an open window during a winter snowfall when she pricks her finger with her needle, causing three drops of red blood to drip onto the freshly fallen white snow on the black windowsill. Then, she says to herself, “How I wish that I had a daughter that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony.” Some time later, the queen gives birth to a baby daughter whom she names Snow White, but dies shortly thereafter.
A year later, Snow White’s father, the king, takes a new wife, who is very beautiful, but a wicked and vain woman. The new queen possesses a magic mirror, which she asks every morning, “Magic mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?” The mirror always replies: “My queen, you are the fairest in the land.” The queen is always pleased with that, because the magic mirror never lies. But as Snow White grows up, she becomes more beautiful each day and even more beautiful than the queen, and when the queen asks her mirror, it tells her that Snow White is the fairest.
This gives the queen a great shock. She becomes envious, and from that moment on, her heart turns against Snow White, whom the queen grows to hate increasingly with time. Eventually, the angry queen orders a huntsman to take Snow White into the deepest woods to be killed. As proof that Snow White is dead, the queen demands that he returns with her lungs and liver. The huntsman takes Snow White into the forest. After raising his knife, he finds himself unable to kill her and he spares her life. He tells Snow White that her stepmother wants her dead and orders her to flee as far away from the kingdom as possible. He instead brings the queen the heart of a wild animal.
After wandering through the forest, Snow White discovers a tiny cottage belonging to a group of seven dwarfs. Since no one is at home, she eats some of the tiny meals, drinks some of their wine, and then tests all the beds. Finally, the last bed is comfortable enough for her and she falls asleep. When the dwarfs return home, they immediately become aware that someone had snuck in secretly, because everything in their home is in disorder. During their loud discussion about who had snuck in, they discover the sleeping Snow White. She wakes up and explains to them what happened, and the dwarfs take pity on her and let her stay with them in exchange for housekeeping. They warn her to be careful when alone at home and to let no one in when they are away delving in the mountains.
Meanwhile, the queen asks her mirror once again: “Magic mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?” The mirror replies: “My queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White beyond the mountains at the Seven Dwarfs is a thousand times more beautiful than you”. The queen is horrified to learn that the huntsman has betrayed her and that Snow White is still alive. Planning to kill Snow White, the queen disguises herself as an old peddler. The queen appears at the dwarfs’ cottage and offers Snow White colourful, silky laced bodices and convinces Snow White to take the most beautiful laces as a present. Then the queen laces her up so tightly that Snow White faints, causing the queen to leave her for dead. But the dwarfs return just in time, and Snow White revives when the dwarfs loosen the laces.
The queen then consults her magic mirror again, and the mirror reveals Snow White’s survival. The queen dresses as a comb seller and convinces Snow White to take a beautiful comb as a present. She brushes Snow White’s hair with the poisoned comb and the girl faints again. She is again revived by the dwarfs when they remove the comb from her hair. When the mirror again indicates that Snow White still lives, the queen makes a third and final attempt on Snow White by disguising herself as a farmer’s wife, and offering a poisoned apple to her. The girl is at first hesitant to accept it, so the queen cuts the apple in half, eating the white (harmless) half and giving the red poisoned half to Snow White. The girl eagerly takes a bite and falls into a state of suspended animation. This time, the dwarfs are unable to revive Snow White. Assuming that she is dead, they place her in a glass casket.
After a short period, a prince traveling through the land sees Snow White. He strides to her coffin. Enchanted by her beauty, he instantly falls in love with her. The seven dwarfs succumb to his entreaties to let him have Snow White. The moment he lifts the coffin to carry it away, the piece of poisoned apple falls from between her lips and Snow White awakens saying “Where am I?” The Prince then declares his love for her and soon a wedding is planned. Snow White and the prince invite everyone to come to their wedding party, including Snow White’s stepmother.
Meanwhile, the queen, still believing that Snow White is dead, again asks her magic mirror who is the fairest in the land. The mirror says: “Thou, lady, art loveliest here, I ween; but lovelier far is the new-made queen”, which enrages the queen. Not knowing that the Prince’s bride is her stepdaughter, the queen arrives at the wedding and sees that the bride is Snow White, whom she thought dead. She is frozen with rage and fear, but iron slippers have been put in the fire, and they are put before her. She is then forced to put on the red-hot slippers and dance to death.
The different persons in the story are personifications of internal events.
After the birth of Snow White, the ego manifests itself personified as the evil queen. The ego is time and time again busy with its self-image.
This self-image ignores the higher elements and tries to remove them.
These elements, personified by Snow White, are repressed and they have their residence with the seven dwarfs who work in the mines, which means within the subconscious.
The seven dwarfs are (underground) creatures who take care of her.
The seven dwarfs can be seen as representing the seven chakra´s who are out of sight.
After several efforts the pure higher elements are suspended.
After a certain amount of time a prince, who represents the conscious aspect, succeeds in awakening her, and forms a union with her.
The story ends with the elimination of the lower egocentric elements.
7. Sleeping beauty
Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who were very unhappy because they had no children. But at last a little daughter was born, and their sorrow was turned to joy. All the bells in the land were rung to tell the glad tidings.
The king gave a christening feast so grand that the like of it had never been known. He invited all the fairies he could find in the kingdom—there were seven of them—to come to the christening as godmothers. He hoped that each would give the princess a good gift.
When the christening was over, the feast came. Before each of the fairies was placed a plate with a spoon, a knife, and a fork—all pure gold. But alas! As the fairies were about to seat themselves at the table, there came into the hall a very old fairy who had not been invited. She had left the kingdom fifty years before and had not been seen or heard of until this day.
The king at once ordered that a plate should be brought for her, but he could not furnish a gold one such as the others had. This made the old fairy angry, and she sat there muttering to herself.
A young fairy who sat near overheard her angry threats. This good godmother, fearing the old fairy might give the child an unlucky gift, hid herself behind a curtain. She did this because she wished to speak last and perhaps be able to change the old fairy’s gift.
At the end of the feast, the youngest fairy stepped forward and said, “The princess shall be the most beautiful woman in the world.”
The second said, “She shall have a temper as sweet as an angel.”
The third said, “She shall have a wonderful grace in all she does or says.”
The fourth said, “She shall sing like a nightingale.”
The fifth said, “She shall dance like a flower in the wind.”
The sixth said, “She shall play such music as was never heard on earth.”
Then the old fairy’s turn came. Shaking her head spitefully, she said,
“When the princess is seventeen years old, she shall prick her finger with a spindle, and-she-shall-die!”
At this all the guests trembled, and many of them began to weep. The king and queen wept loudest of all.
Just then the wise young fairy came from behind the curtain and said: “Do not grieve, O King and Queen. Your daughter shall not die. I cannot undo what my elder sister has done; the princess shall indeed prick her finger with the spindle, but she shall not die. She shall fall into sleep that will last a hundred years. At the end of that time, a king’s son will find her and awaken her.”
Immediately all the fairies vanished.
The king, hoping to save his child even from this misfortune, commanded that all spindles should be burned. This was done, but it was all in vain.
One day when the princess was seventeen years of age, the king and queen left her alone in the castle. She wandered about the palace and at last came to a little room in the top of a tower. There an old woman—so old and deaf that she had never heard of the king’s command—sat spinning.
“What are you doing, good old woman?” asked the princess.
“I am spinning, my pretty child.”
“Ah,” said the princess. “How do you do it? Let me see if I can spin also.”
She had just taken the spindle in her hand when, in some way, it pricked her finger. The princess dropped down on the floor. The old woman called for help, and people came from all sides, but nothing could be done.
When the good young fairy heard the news, she came quickly to the castle. She knew that the princess must sleep a hundred years and would be frightened if she found herself alone when she awoke. So the fairy touched with her magic wand all in the palace except the king and the queen. Ladies, gentlemen, pages, waiting maids, footmen, grooms in the stable, and even the horses—she touched them all. They all went to sleep just where they were when the wand touched them. Some of the gentlemen were bowing to the ladies, the ladies were embroidering, the grooms stood currying their horses, and the cook was slapping the kitchen boy.
The king and queen departed from the castle, giving orders that no one was to go near it. This command, however, was not needed. In a little while there sprang around the castle a wood so thick that neither man nor beast could pass through.
A great many changes take place in a hundred years. The king had no other child, and when he died, his throne passed to another royal family. Even the story of the sleeping princess was almost forgotten.
One day the son of the king who was then reigning was out hunting, and he saw towers rising above a thick wood. He asked what they were, but no one could answer him.
At last an old peasant was found who said, “Your highness, fifty years ago my father told me that there is a castle in the woods where a princess sleeps—the most beautiful princess that ever lived. It was said that she must sleep there a hundred years, when she would be awakened by a king’s son.”
At this the young prince determined to find out the truth for himself. He leaped from his horse and began to force his way through the wood. To his astonishment, the stiff branches gave way, and then closed again, allowing none of his companions to follow.
A beautiful palace rose before him. In the courtyard the prince saw horses and men who looked as if they were dead. But he was not afraid and boldly entered the palace. There were guards motionless as stone, gentlemen and ladies, pages and footmen, some standing, some sitting, but all like statues.
At last the prince came to a chamber of gold, where he saw upon a bed the fairest sight one ever beheld—a princess of about seventeen years who looked as if she had just fallen asleep. Trembling, the prince knelt beside her, and awakened her with a kiss. And now the enchantment was broken.
The princess looked at him with wondering eyes and said: “Is it you, my prince? I have waited for you long.”
So happy were the two that they talked hour after hour. In the meantime all in the palace awaked and each began to do what he was doing when he fell asleep. The gentlemen went on bowing to the ladies. The ladies went on with their embroidery. The grooms went on currying their horses, the cook went on slapping the kitchen boy, and the servants began to serve the supper. Then the chief lady in waiting, who was ready to die of hunger, told the princess aloud that supper was ready.
The prince gave the princess his hand, and they all went into the great hall for supper. That very evening the prince and princess were married. The next day the prince took his bride to his father’s palace, and there they lived happily ever afterward.
The story is about the conscious and unconscious forces in human development. When the child is born all the elements guide the growth of a person, manifest themselves. Next to all the positive forces there are also instinctual forces represented here by the old fairy.
The spinning wheel is the wheel of fate. That the princess and her surroundings fall asleep, means the unconsciousness of higher aspects.
The prince represents the conscious aspect which succeeds to awake the higher aspects of the human soul.
The Sea King has six mermaid daughters – the youngest is most beautiful and has the best singing voice. On her 15th birthday the Little Mermaid is allowed to make her first trip to the surface. She watches a party taking place on a boat and falls in love with the handsome prince she sees there.
A storm comes, the boat is wrecked and the prince seems sure to drown. The Little Mermaid rescues him and leaves him on a nearby beach, where he is found by a girl who fetches help. The Little Mermaid wishes to become human so that she can see the prince again – even though the life of a human is much shorter than that of a mermaid.
She visits a sea witch, who provides a potion that will give her legs, but at the cost of her voice. Furthermore, every step on her legs will cause great pain – and should the prince marry someone else the mermaid will disappear, becoming bubbles on the sea.
The Mermaid takes the potion, and when found on the beach, is taken to the palace.
The prince enjoys her company but will not marry her as he is waiting to find the girl who had found him on the beach years before. This turns out to be a princess from a neighbouring kingdom. On the day of the wedding the mermaid’s sisters appear and give her a knife that they brought from the sea witch. The mermaid must kill the prince with the knife and allow his blood to drip on her feet – she will then regain her tail and her voice. She cannot bring herself to kill the prince, so throws the knife away and disappears.
Later, the prince imagines he can see her face when looking at bubbles on the sea.
The Undine, is a mythological figure of European tradition. She is a water nymph who becomes human when she falls in love with a man but is doomed to die if he is unfaithful to her. Derived from the Greek figures known as Nereids, attendants of the sea god Poseidon.
Ondine was first mentioned in the writings of the Swiss author Paracelsus, who put forth his theory that there are spirits called “undines” who inhabit the element of water. The word comes from the Latin unda, meaning “wave” or “water.”
The story is about the conflict which arises when spiritual elements of a higher ontological level are getting involved in the physical world.
Parzival, epic poem, one of the masterpieces of the Middle Ages, written between 1200 and 1210 in Middle High German by Wolfram von Eschenbach. This poem is in part a religious allegory describing Parzival’s painful journey from utter ignorance and naïveté to spiritual awareness.
The poem introduced the theme of the Holy Grail into German literature, and it is considered to be the climax of medieval Arthurian tradition.
It questions the ultimate value of an education based solely on the code of courtly honour, and it takes its hero beyond the feudal world of knights and lords to the threshold of a higher order.
Parzival, who is eager to become a knight, leaves the forest home in which he has led a sheltered life.
He visits Arthur’s court but is judged too raw to become a knight of the Round Table. Later, after numerous adventures, he is granted knighthood.
When he visits the ailing Grail King, however, he fails to ask the one question that will release the old man from his suffering: the reason behind his illness. For his ignorance, Parzival is punished by being cursed, and in turn he curses God, whom he believes has turned against him.
When he meets an old hermit who helps him realize the true nature of God, Parzival reaches a turning point in his spiritual education.
He returns to the Grail King and this time, having gained wisdom, performs his duties correctly. He is rewarded with the title and duties of the keeper of the Grail.
Perceval, hero of the Arthurian romance, distinguished by his quality of childlike innocence, which protected him from worldly temptation and set him apart from other knights in Arthur’s fellowship.
In Chrétien de Troyes’s poem Le Conte du Graal (12th century), Perceval’s great adventure was a visit to the castle of the wounded Fisher King, where he saw a mysterious dish (or grail), but having previously been scolded for asking too many questions, failed to ask the question that would have healed the Fisher King.
Afterward, he set off in search of the Grail and gradually learned the true meaning of chivalry and its close connection with the transformation to a higher way of spiritual being.
Grendel, fictional character, a monstrous creature defeated by Beowulf in the Old English poem Beowulf (composed between 700 and 750 ce). Descended from the biblical Cain, Grendel is an outcast, doomed to wander the face of the earth. He revenges himself upon humans by terrorizing and occasionally devouring the warriors of the Danish king Hrothgar. Beowulf, a warrior and headman of the Geats (a Swedish tribe), engages him in combat and mortally wounds him. Grendel’s horrible mother avenges her son’s death but is also defeated and killed by Beowulf. Many critics have seen Grendel as the embodiment of the physical and moral evil of heathenism. Beowulf’s struggles to overcome the monster are thought to symbolize Anglo-Saxon England’s emerging Christianity.
Beowulf falls into two parts. It opens in Denmark, where King Hrothgar’s splendid mead hall, Heorot, has been ravaged for 12 years by nightly visits from an evil monster, Grendel, who carries off Hrothgar’s warriors and devours them. Unexpectedly, young Beowulf, a prince of the Geats of southern Sweden, arrives with a small band of retainers and offers to cleanse Heorot of its monster. Hrothgar is astonished at the little-known hero’s daring but welcomes him, and, after an evening of feasting, much courtesy, and some discourtesy, the king retires, leaving Beowulf in charge. During the night Grendel comes from the moors, tears open the heavy doors, and devours one of the sleeping Geats. He then grapples with Beowulf, whose powerful grip he cannot escape. He wrenches himself free, tearing off his arm, and leaves, mortally wounded.
The next day is one of rejoicing in Heorot. But at night as the warriors sleep, Grendel’s mother comes to avenge her son, killing one of Hrothgar’s men. In the morning Beowulf seeks her out in her cave at the bottom of a mere and kills her. He cuts the head from Grendel’s corpse and returns to Heorot. The Danes rejoice once more. Hrothgar makes a farewell speech about the character of the true hero, as Beowulf, enriched with honours and princely gifts, returns home to King Hygelac of the Geats.
The second part passes rapidly over King Hygelac’s subsequent death in a battle (of historical record), the death of his son, and Beowulf’s succession to the kingship and his peaceful rule of 50 years. But now a fire-breathing dragon ravages his land and the doughty but aging Beowulf engages it. The fight is long and terrible and a painful contrast to the battles of his youth. Painful, too, is the desertion of his retainers except for his young kinsman Wiglaf. Beowulf kills the dragon but is mortally wounded. The poem ends with his funeral rites and a lament.
Beowulf belongs metrically, stylistically, and thematically to a heroic tradition grounded in Germanic religion and mythology. It is also part of the broader tradition of heroic poetry. Many incidents, such as Beowulf’s tearing off the monster’s arm and his descent into the mere, are familiar motifs from folklore. The ethical values are manifestly the Germanic code of loyalty to chief and tribe and vengeance to enemies. Yet the poem is so infused with a Christian spirit that it lacks the grim fatality of many of the Eddaic lays or the sagas of Icelandic literature. Beowulf himself seems more altruistic than other Germanic heroes or the ancient Greek heroes of the Iliad. It is significant that his three battles are not against men, which would entail the retaliation of the blood feud, but against evil monsters, enemies of the whole community and of civilization itself. Many critics have seen the poem as a Christian allegory, with Beowulf the champion of goodness and light against the forces of evil and darkness. His sacrificial death is not seen as tragic but as the fitting end of a good (some would say “too good”) hero’s life. Encyclopædia Britannica
On a deeper level this story is about the inner landscape in which personality structures are personified and become involved in a battle between order and chaos.
This mythological story gives a narrative in which Grendel, who represents the lower nature, kills the warriors of the king, which represents the higher nature.
Beowulf succeeds in eliminating Grendel, which means the conscious mind transcends the instinctual patterns after an intense struggle.
However these instinctual patterns once again get the upper hand, now personified as Grendel’s mother.
Beowulf finely eradicates this threat too.
Beowulf now becomes king with a peaceful rule of 50 years.
But now a fire-breathing dragon ravages his land and the doughty but aging Beowulf engages it. The fight is long and terrible and a painful contrast to the battles of his youth.
Beowulf at his old age kills the dragon but is mortally wounded.
The term fairy tale, if taken literally, should refer only to stories about fairies, a class of supernatural and sometimes malevolent beings—often believed to be of diminutive size—who were thought by people in medieval and postmediaeval Europe to inhabit a kingdom of their own; a literary expression of this belief can be found in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The term fairy tale, however, is normally used to refer to a much wider class of narrative, namely stories (directed above all at an audience of children) about an individual, almost always young, who confronts strange or magical events; examples are “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Cinderella,” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The modern concept of the fairy tale seems not to be found earlier than the 18th century in Europe, but the narratives themselves have earlier analogues much farther afield, notably in the Indian Katha-saritsagara (The Ocean of Story) and in The Thousand and One Nights.
Like myths, fairy tales present extraordinary beings and events. Unlike myths—but like fables—fairy tales tend to be placed in a setting that is geographically and temporally vague and might begin with the words “Once upon a time there was a handsome prince….” A myth about a prince, by contrast, would be likely to name him and to specify his lineage, since such details might be of collective importance (for example, with reference to issues of property inheritance or the relative status of different families) to the social group among which the myth was told.
Elements in fairy tales generally are metaphors or personifications which represent psychological structures within the human psyche.
A sphinx, is a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion.
In Greek tradition, it has the head of a human, the haunches of a lion, and sometimes the wings of a bird. It is mythicized as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer its riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories, as they are killed and eaten by this ravenous monster. This deadly version of a sphinx appears in the myth and drama of Oedipus. Unlike the Greek sphinx, which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man (an androsphinx). In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent, but having a ferocious strength similar to the malevolent Greek version and both were thought of as guardians often flanking the entrances to temples.
Sphinxes are generally associated with architectural structures such as royal tombs or religious temples. The oldest known sphinx was found near Gobekli Tepe at another site, Nevali Çori, or possibly 195 kilometres (120 mi) to the east at Kortik Tepe, Turkey, and was dated to 9,500 BCE.
In Greek mythology, a sphinx is represented as a monster with a head of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and a serpent-headed tail.
The Riddle of the Sphinx
The Sphinx is said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes, and to have asked a riddle of travellers to allow them passage. The exact riddle asked by the Sphinx was not specified by early tellers of the stories, and was not standardized as the one given below until late in Greek history.
It was said in late lore that Hera or Ares sent the Sphinx from her Aethiopian homeland (the Greeks always remembered the foreign origin of the Sphinx) to Thebes in Greece where she asks all passersby the most famous riddle in history: “Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?” She strangled and devoured anyone who could not answer. Oedipus solved the riddle by answering: Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then uses a walking stick in old age. By some accounts (but much more rarely), there was a second riddle: “There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?” The answer is “day and night” (both words—ἡμέρα and νύξ, respectively—are feminine in Ancient Greek). This riddle is also found in a Gascon version of the myth and could be very ancient.
In Greek tradition, the Sphinx has the head of a human, the haunches of a lion and sometimes the wings of a bird. It is mythicized as treacherous and merciless.
Those who cannot answer its riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories, that is they are killed and eaten by this ravenous monster.
The Sphinx guards the entry to a higher territory, and to be able to answer the riddle of the Sphinx, means to understand the mystery of life.
13. The phoenix
In Greek mythology, and in the Talmud, a phoenix; is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or born again.
Associated with the Sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again. According to some texts, the phoenix could live over 1,400 years before rebirth.
In the historical record, the phoenix “could symbolize renewal in general as well as the sun, time, the Empire, metempsychosis, consecration, resurrection, life in the heavenly Paradise, Christ, Mary, virginity, the exceptional man, and certain aspects of Christian life”.
Scholars have observed analogues to the phoenix in a variety of cultures. These analogues include the Hindu garuda and gandaberunda, the Slavic firebird, the Persian simurgh, Georgian paskunji, the Arabian anqa, and from that, the Turkish Zümrüdü Anka, the Tibetan Me byi karmo, the Chinese fenghuang and zhu que, and the Japanese hō-ō.
The phoenix as a mythical bird symbolises among others the spiritual development of the human soul.
This development goes through several consecutive distinct stages, where each stage transcends the previous stage and becomes greater with each level.
Dragon, legendary monster usually conceived as a huge, bat-winged, fire-breathing, scaly lizard or snake with a barbed tail. The belief in these creatures apparently arose without the slightest knowledge on the part of the ancients of the gigantic, prehistoric, dragon-like reptiles. In Greece the word drakōn, from which the English word was derived, was used originally for any large serpent (see sea serpent), and the dragon of mythology, whatever shape it later assumed, remained essentially a snake.
In general, in the Middle Eastern world, where snakes are large and deadly, the serpent or dragon was symbolic of the principle of evil.
In folktales, dragon’s blood often contains unique powers, keeping them alive for longer or giving them poisonous or acidic properties. For example, in the opera Siegfried, dragon’s blood allows Siegfried to understand the language of the Forest Bird. The typical dragon protects a cavern or castle filled with gold and treasure. An evil dragon is often associated with a great hero who tries to slay it, and a good one is said to give wise advice.
Though a winged creature, the dragon is generally to be found in its underground lair, a cave that identifies it as an ancient creature of earth.
Dragons are usually shown in modern times with a body like a huge lizard, or a snake with one or two pairs of lizard-type legs, and able to emit fire from their mouths. This traces back to the continental dragon, commonly referred to as a fire-breathing dragon. The continental, like many other European dragons, has bat-like wings growing from its back.
In Western folklore, dragons are usually portrayed as evil, The typical dragon protects a cavern or castle filled with gold and treasure and is often associated with a great hero who tries to slay it. Though a winged creature, the dragon is generally to be found in its underground lair, a cave that identifies it as an ancient creature of earth.
The dragon as a mythological creature, stands for the lower nature of men.
Being a reptile it represents the instincts and its fire-breathing symbolises the lower emotions.
The battle with the dragon is the battle with ones lower nature.
Dragons in Greek mythology often guard a huge treasure, which means that when the lower nature of man has been slain, something of a very great value has been conquered.
15. Arthur Excalibur
Excalibur, is the legendary sword of King Arthur, sometimes also attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain. Sometimes Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone (the proof of Arthur’s lineage) are said to be the same weapon, but in most versions they are considered separate. Excalibur was associated with the Arthurian legend very early.
Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone
In Arthurian romance, a number of explanations are given for Arthur’s possession of Excalibur. In Robert de Boron’s Merlin, the first tale to mention the “sword in the stone” motif, Arthur obtained the British throne by pulling a sword from an anvil sitting atop a stone that appeared in a churchyard on Christmas Eve. In this account, the act could not be performed except by “the true king,” meaning the divinely appointed king or true heir of Uther Pendragon. As Malory’s writes: “Whoso pullet out this sword of this stone and anvil, is right wise king born.” This sword is thought by many to be the famous Excalibur, and its identity is made explicit in the later Prose Merlin, part of the Lancelot-Grail cycle. The challenge of drawing a sword from a stone also appears in the Arthurian legends of Galahad, whose achievement of the task indicates that he is destined to find the Holy Grail.
In the late 15th/early 16th-century Middle Cornish play Beunans Ke, Arthur’s sword is called Calesvol, which is etymologically an exact Middle Cornish cognate of the Welsh Caledfwlch. It is unclear if the name was borrowed from the Welsh (if so, it must have been an early loan, for phonological reasons), or represents an early, pan-Brittonic traditional name for Arthur’s sword.
Excalibur’s scabbard was said to have powers of its own. Loss of blood from injuries, for example, would not kill the bearer. In some tellings, wounds received by one wearing the scabbard did not bleed at all..
The story includes Merlin who advised Uther to establish the knightly fellowship of the Round Table and who suggested that Uther’s true heir would be revealed by a test that involved drawing a sword from a stone in which it was set. It also included a story of the wizard’s infatuation with the Lady of the Lake, which eventually brought about his death.
The story indicates that there is predestination relating to a royal destiny.
This can be seen as symbolic for one’s spiritual destiny.
The Adventures of Pinocchio
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the Carlo Collodi novel.
The Adventures of Pinocchio. It is about the mischievous adventures of an animated marionette named Pinocchio and his father, a poor woodcarver named Geppetto.
It is considered a canonical piece of children’s literature and has inspired hundreds of new editions, stage plays, merchandising and movies, such as Walt Disney’s iconic animated version and commonplace ideas such as a liar’s long nose. According to extensive research done by the Fondazione Nazionale Carlo Collodi in late 1990s and based on UNESCO sources, it has been adapted in over 260 languages worldwide. That makes it the most translated non-religious book in the world, and one of the best-selling books ever published.
The story begins in Tuscany, Italy. A carpenter named Master Antonio, but whom everyone calls Master Cherry, has found a block of pinewood which he plans to carve into a leg for his table. When he begins, however, the log shouts out. Frightened by the talking log, Master Cherry gives it to his neighbour Geppetto, an extremely poor man who plans to make a living as a puppeteer in hopes of earning “a crust of bread and a glass of wine”.
Geppetto carves the block into a boy and names him “Pinocchio”. As soon as Pinocchio’s nose has been carved, it begins to grow with his congenital impudence. Before he is even built, Pinocchio already has a mischievous attitude; no sooner than Geppetto is finished carving Pinocchio’s feet does the puppet proceed to kick him. Once the puppet has been finished and Geppetto teaches him to walk, Pinocchio runs out the door and away into the town. He is caught by a Carabiniere, who assumes Pinocchio has been mistreated and imprisons Geppetto.
Left alone, Pinocchio heads back to Geppetto’s house to get something to eat. Once he arrives at home, a talking cricket who has lived in the house for over a century warns him of the perils of disobedience and hedonism. In retaliation, Pinocchio throws a hammer at the cricket, more accurately than he intended to, and accidentally kills it. That evening, Pinocchio falls asleep with his feet on the stove, and wakes to find that they have burned off. Geppetto is released from prison and makes Pinocchio a new pair of feet. In gratitude, Pinocchio promises to attend school, and Geppetto sells his only coat to buy him a school book.
On his way to school the next morning, Pinocchio encounters the Great Marionette Theatre, and he sells his school book in order to buy a ticket for the show. The marionettes on stage recognize him in the audience and call out to him, angering the puppet master Mangiafuoco. The puppet master initially decides to use Pinocchio as firewood but ultimately releases him and gives him five gold pieces to give to Geppetto.
As Pinocchio travels home to give the coins to his father, he meets a fox and a cat. The Cat pretends to be blind, and the Fox pretends to be lame. A white blackbird tries to warn Pinocchio of their lies, but the blackbird is eaten by the Cat. The two animals convince Pinocchio that if he plants his coins in the Field of Miracles outside the city of Catchfools, they will grow into a tree with gold coins. They stop at an inn, where the Fox and the Cat gorge themselves on food at Pinocchio’s expense and ask to be awoken by midnight. Two hours before the set time, the pair abandon Pinocchio, leaving him to pay for the meal with one of his coins. They instruct the innkeeper to tell Pinocchio that they left after receiving a message stating that the Cat’s eldest kitten had fallen ill and that they would meet Pinocchio at the Field of Miracles in the morning.
They take off ahead of Pinocchio and disguise themselves as bandits while Pinocchio continues on toward Catchfools, despite warnings from the Talking Cricket. The disguised Fox and Cat ambush Pinocchio, but the puppet escapes to a white house after biting off the Cat’s paw. Upon knocking on the door, Pinocchio is greeted by a young fairy with turquoise hair who says she is dead and waiting for a hearse. Unfortunately, the bandits catch him and hang him in a tree. After a while, the Fox and Cat get tired of waiting for the puppet to suffocate, and they leave.
The Fairy has Pinocchio rescued by summoning a falcon to get him down and having her poodle servant pick him up in her stagecoach. The Fairy calls in three famous doctors to tell her whether Pinocchio is dead. Two of them, an owl and a crow, are unsure of Pinocchio’s status. The third doctor is the Ghost of the Talking Cricket, who says that the puppet is fine, but has been disobedient and hurt his father. The Fairy administers medicine to Pinocchio who consents to take it after four undertaker rabbits arrive to carry away his body. Recovered, Pinocchio lies to the Fairy when she asks what has happened to the gold coins, and his nose grows until it is so long that he cannot turn around in the room. The Fairy explains that Pinocchio’s lies are making his nose grow and calls in a flock of woodpeckers to chisel it down to size. The Fairy sends for Geppetto to come and live with them in the forest cottage.
When Pinocchio heads out to meet his father, he once again encounters the Fox and the Cat. When Pinocchio notices the Cat’s missing paw, the Fox claims that they had to sacrifice it to feed a hungry old wolf. They remind the puppet of the Field of Miracles, and finally, he agrees to go with them and plant his gold. They finally reach the city of Catchfools, where every animal in town has done something exceedingly foolish and now suffers as a result. Upon reaching the Field of Miracles, Pinocchio buries his coins and then leaves for the twenty minutes that it will take for his gold to grow into gold coin trees. After Pinocchio leaves, the Fox and the Cat dig up the coins and run away.
Once Pinocchio returns, he learns of the Fox and the Cat’s treachery from a parrot who mocks Pinocchio for falling for their tricks. Pinocchio rushes to the Catchfools courthouse where he reports the theft of the coins to a gorilla judge. Although he is moved by Pinocchio’s plea, the judge sentences Pinocchio to four months in prison for the crime of foolishness. Fortunately, all criminals are released early by the jailers when the unseen young Emperor of Catchfools declares a celebration following his army’s victory over the town’s enemies. Upon being released, Pinocchio leaves Catchfools.
Pinocchio then heads back to the Fairy’s house in the forest, but he sneaks into a farmer’s yard to steal some grapes. He is caught in a weasel trap where he encounters a glow-worm. The farmer finds Pinocchio and ties him up in the doghouse of his late watch dog Melampo to guard the chicken coop. When Pinocchio foils the chicken-stealing weasels, the farmer frees the puppet as a reward. Pinocchio finally comes to where the cottage was, finds nothing but a gravestone, and believes that the Fairy has died of sorrow.
A friendly pigeon sees Pinocchio mourning the Fairy’s death and offers to give him a ride to the seashore, where Geppetto is building a boat in which to search for Pinocchio. Pinocchio is washed ashore when he tries to swim to his father. Geppetto is then swallowed by The Terrible Dogfish. Pinocchio accepts a ride from a dolphin to the nearest island called the Island of Busy. Upon arriving on the Island of Busy, Pinocchio can only get food in return for labor. Pinocchio offers to carry a lady’s jug home in return for food and water. When they get to the lady’s house, Pinocchio recognizes the lady as the Fairy, now miraculously old enough to be his mother. She says she will act as his mother, and Pinocchio will begin going to school. She hints that if Pinocchio does well in school and tries his hardest to be good for one whole year, then he will become a real boy.
Pinocchio studies hard and rises to the top of his class, but this makes the other schoolboys jealous. The other boys trick Pinocchio into playing hookey by saying they saw a large sea monster at the beach, the same one that swallowed Geppetto. However, the boys were lying and a fight breaks out. One boy named Eugene is hit by Pinocchio’s school book, though Pinocchio did not throw it. Pinocchio is accused of injuring Eugene by two Carabinieres, but the puppet escapes. During his escape, Pinocchio saves a drowning Mastiff named Alidoro. In exchange, Alidoro later saves Pinocchio from The Green Fisherman, who was going to eat the marionette, as Pinocchio returns home. After meeting the Snail that works for the Fairy, Pinocchio is given another chance by the Fairy.
Pinocchio does excellently in school and passes with high honours. The Fairy promises that Pinocchio will be a real boy the next day and says he should invite all his friends to a party. He goes to invite everyone, but he is side-tracked when he meets a boy nicknamed Candlewick who is about to go to a place called Toyland where everyone plays all day and never works. Pinocchio goes along with him when they are taken there by The Coachman, and they have a wonderful time for the next five months.
One morning in the fifth month, Pinocchio and Candlewick awake with donkeys’ ears. A Dormouse tells Pinocchio that boys who do nothing but play and never work always turn into donkeys while they are in Toyland. Soon both Pinocchio and Candlewick are fully transformed, and Pinocchio is sold to a circus by The Coachman. He is trained by the ringmaster to do tricks until he falls and sprains his leg. The ringmaster then sells Pinocchio to a man who wants to skin him and make a drum. The man throws the donkey into the sea to drown him. But when the man goes to retrieve the corpse, all he finds is a living marionette. Pinocchio explains that the fish ate all the donkey skin off him, and he is now a puppet again.
Pinocchio dives back into the water and swims out to sea. When the Terrible Dogfish appears, Pinocchio swims from it at the advice of the Fairy in the form of a little blue-furred goat from atop a high rock, but is swallowed by it. Inside the Dogfish, Pinocchio unexpectedly finds Geppetto, who has been living on a ship inside the Dogfish. Pinocchio and Geppetto manage to escape the monster and search for a place to stay.
Pinocchio and Geppetto pass two beggars: the Fox and the Cat. The Cat has really become blind, and the Fox has really become lame and is also thin, is almost hairless, and has chopped off his tail to sell for food. The Fox and the Cat plead for food or money, but Pinocchio rebuffs them and tells them that their misfortunes have served them right for their wickedness. Geppetto and Pinocchio arrive at a small house, which is home to the Talking Cricket. The Talking Cricket says they can stay and reveals that he got his house from a little goat with turquoise hair. Pinocchio gets a job doing work for a farmer and recognizes the farmer’s dying donkey as his friend Candlewick.
Pinocchio becomes a real human boy.
After long months of working for the farmer and supporting the ailing Geppetto, Pinocchio goes to town with the forty pennies he has saved to buy himself a new suit. He discovers that the Fairy is ill and needs money. Pinocchio instantly gives the Snail he met back on the Island of Busy all the money he has. That night, he dreams that he is visited by the Fairy, who kisses him. When he wakes up, he is a real boy at last. His former puppet body lies lifeless on a chair. Furthermore, Pinocchio finds that the Fairy has left him a new suit, boots, and a bag in which he thinks are the forty pennies that he originally gave to her. Instead, the boy is shocked to find forty freshly-minted gold coins. Geppetto also returns to health and resumes woodcarving.
The story of Pinocchio can be seen as Piagetian stage transitions, a story of personality and character development.
Pinocchio is a naughty, pine-wood marionette who gains wisdom through a series of misadventures which lead him to becoming a real human as reward for his good deeds.
He starts quasi animated.
Mister Geppetto is an elderly, impoverished woodcarver and the creator (and thus father) of Pinocchio.
Represents the creative force.
The Talking Cricket is a cricket whom Pinocchio kills after it tries to give him some advice. The Cricket comes back as a ghost to continue advising the puppet.
Represents conscience the capacity for moral development.
Mangiafuoco is the wealthy director of the Great Marionette Theatre.
The puppet master represents the wish to be popular.
The Fox and the Cat Greedy animals pretending to be lame and blind respectively, the pair lead Pinocchio astray, rob him and eventually try to hang him. A pair of unreliable elements.
Represents The ego, crocked, grandiose. With the imitator the follower.
The Fairy with Turquoise Hair The Blue-haired Fairy is the spirit of the forest who rescues Pinocchio and adopts him first as her brother, then as her son.
Represents the benevolent force of nature.
The Falcon who helps the Fairy with Turquoise Hair rescue Pinocchio from his hanging.
Represents a spiritual element.
The Parrot who tells Pinocchio of the Fox and the Cat’s trickery that they played on him outside of Catchfools and mocks him for being tricked by them.
The Terrible Dogfish A mile-long, five-story-high fish. Pescecane, while literally meaning “dog fish”, generally means “shark” in Italian.
Represents the depth of the unconscious.
The Pigeon who gives Pinocchio a ride to the seashore.
Represents the higher elements.
The Green Fisherman A green-skinned ogre who catches Pinocchio in his fishing net and attempts to eat him.
Represents humans lower nature.
Romeo “Lampwick” or “Candlewick” (Lucignolo) – A tall, thin boy (like a wick) who is rebellious and wayward,
17. Little red hood
Little Red Riding Hood” is a European fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf.
The story revolves around a girl called Little Red Riding Hood. In Grimm’s’ and Perrault’s versions of the tale, she is named after her magical red hooded cape/cloak that she wears. The girl walks through the woods to deliver food to her sickly grandmother (wine and cake depending on the translation). In the Grimm’s’ version, her mother had ordered her to stay strictly on the path.
A Big Bad Wolf wants to eat the girl and the food in the basket. He secretly stalks her behind trees, bushes, shrubs, and patches of little and tall grass. He approaches Little Red Riding Hood, and she naively tells him where she is going. He suggests that the girl pick some flowers, which she does. In the meantime, he goes to the grandmother’s house and gains entry by pretending to be the girl. He swallows the grandmother whole (in some stories, he locks her in the closet) and waits for the girl, disguised as the grandma.
When the girl arrives, she notices that her grandmother looks very strange. Little Red then says, “What a deep voice you have!” (“The better to greet you with”, responds the wolf), “Goodness, what big eyes you have!” (“The better to see you with”, responds the wolf), “And what big hands you have!” (“The better to hug/grab you with”, responds the wolf), and lastly, “What a big mouth you have” (“The better to eat you with!”, responds the wolf), at which point the wolf jumps out of bed and eats her up too. Then he falls asleep. In Charles Perrault’s version of the story (the first version to be published), the tale ends here. However, in later versions the story continues generally as follows:
A woodcutter in the French version, but a hunter in the Brothers Grimm and traditional German versions, comes to the rescue and with his axe cuts open the sleeping wolf. Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother emerge unharmed. They then fill the wolf’s body with heavy stones. The wolf awakens and tries to flee, but the stones cause him to collapse and die. Sanitized versions of the story have the grandmother locked in the closet instead of eaten and some have Little Red Riding Hood saved by the lumberjack as the wolf advances on her rather than after she is eaten where the woodcutter kills the wolf with his axe.
Relationship to other tales:
The theme: A young person who grows up and is get caught by its lower nature, symbolised by the wolf. But is finally released unharmed.
Its general theme is at least as old as the biblical story, Jonah and the Whale.
18. Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel are the children of a poor woodcutter. When a great famine settles over the land, the woodcutter’s wife decides to take the children into the woods and leave them there to fend for themselves, so that she and her husband do not starve to death, because the children eat too much. The woodcutter opposes the plan but finally, and reluctantly, submits to his wife’s scheme. They were unaware that in the children’s bedroom, Hansel and Gretel have overheard them. After the parents have gone to bed, Hansel sneaks out of the house and gathers as many white pebbles as he can, then returns to his room, reassuring Gretel that God will not forsake them.
The next day, the family walk deep into the woods and Hansel lays a trail of white pebbles. After their parents abandon them, Hansel and Gretel follow the trail back home. When the wife sees them she is furious and locks them in the house. Hansel and Gretel are unable to escape or even simply collect pebbles.
The following morning, the family treks into the woods. Hansel takes a slice of bread and leaves a trail of bread crumbs for them to follow home. However, after they are once again abandoned, they find that birds have eaten the crumbs and they are lost in the woods. After days of wandering, they follow a beautiful white bird to a clearing in the woods, and discover a large cottage built of gingerbread, cakes, candy and with window panes of clear sugar. Hungry and tired, the children begin to eat the rooftop of the house, when the door opens and a “very old woman” emerges and lures the children inside, with the promise of soft beds and delicious food and a hot bath. They do this unaware that their hostess is actually a bloodthirsty witch who waylays children to cook and eat them.
The next morning, the witch cleans out the cage in the garden from her previous captive. Then she throws Hansel into the cage and forces Gretel into becoming her slave. The witch feeds Hansel regularly to fatten him up. Hansel is smart and when the witch asks for Hansel to stick out his finger for her to see how fat he is, he sticks out a bone he finds in the cage every time. The witch is too impatient and decides to eat Hansel anyway.
The next day, the witch prepares the oven for Hansel, but decides she is hungry enough to eat Gretel too. She coaxes Gretel to the open oven and prods her to lean over in front of it to see if the fire is hot enough. Gretel, sensing the witch’s intent, pretends she does not understand what she means. Infuriated, the witch demonstrates and Gretel instantly shoves the hag into the oven, slams and bolts the door shut, leaving “the ungodly creature to be burned to ashes”, screaming in pain until she dies. Gretel frees Hansel from the cage and the pair discover a vase full of treasure and precious stones. Putting the jewels into their clothing, the children set off for home.
A duck ferries them across an expanse of water and at home they find only their father who revealed that their mother died from an unknown cause. Their father had spent all his days lamenting the loss of his children and is delighted to see them safe and sound. With the witch’s wealth, they all live happily ever after.
The story is about a human soul who is born into physical world, symbolised by losing contact with the parents. Both children represent the soul and the spirit of one person. The witch represents the ego.
And cottage built of gingerbread, cakes, candy and with window panes of clear sugar represents the cravings, desire, ill will and pride. The sister who represents the higher element succeeds in freeing the lower element and succeeds with her brother to finally reach home.
Cinderella, The Little Glass Slipper, is a folk tale of which thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances, that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The story of Rhodopis, recounted by the Greek geographer Strabo in around 7 BC, about a Greek slave girl who marries the king of Egypt, is usually considered as the earliest known variant of the “Cinderella” story. The first literary European version of the story was published in Italy by Giambattista Basile in his Pentamerone in 1634; the most popular version was published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697, and later by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms’ Fairy Tales in 1812.
The oldest known version of the Cinderella story is the ancient Greek story of Rhodopis, a Greek courtesan living in the colony of Naucratis in Egypt, whose name means “Rosy-Cheeks”. The story is first recorded by the Greek geographer Strabo in his Geographica (book 17, 33), probably written around 7 BC or thereabouts:
They tell the fabulous story that, when she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals from her maid and carried it to Memphis; and while the king was administering justice in the open air, the eagle, when it arrived above his head, flung the sandal into his lap; and the king, stirred both by the beautiful shape of the sandal and by the strangeness of the occurrence, sent men in all directions into the country in quest of the woman who wore the sandal; and when she was found in the city of Naucratis, she was brought up to Memphis, became the wife of the king …
The same story is also later reported by the Roman orator Aelian (ca. 175–ca. 235) in his Miscellanious History, which was written entirely in Greek. Aelian’s story closely resembles the story told by Strabo, but adds that the name of the pharaoh in question was Psammetichus. Aelian’s account indicates that the story of Rhodopis remained popular throughout antiquity.
Herodotus, some five centuries before Strabo, records a popular legend about a possibly-related courtesan named Rhodopis in his Histories, claiming that Rhodopis came from Thrace, and was the slave of Iadmon of Samos, and a fellow-slave of the story-teller Aesop and that she was taken to Egypt in the time of Pharaoh Amasis, and freed there for a large sum by Charaxus of Mytilene, brother of Sappho the lyric poet.
A wealthy widower marries a proud and haughty woman as his second wife. She has two daughters, who are equally vain and selfish. The gentleman has a beautiful young daughter, a girl of unparalleled kindness and sweet temper. The man’s daughter is forced into servitude, where she is made to work day and night doing menial chores. After the girl’s chores are done for the day, she curls up near the fireplace in an effort to stay warm. She often arises covered in cinders, giving rise to the mocking nickname “Cinderella” by her stepsisters. Cinderella bears the abuse patiently and does not tell her father, who would have scolded her.
One day, the Prince invites all the young ladies in the land to a royal ball, planning to choose a wife. The two stepsisters gleefully plan their wardrobes for the ball, and taunt Cinderella by telling her that maids are not invited to the ball.
As the sisters depart to the ball, Cinderella cries in despair. Her Fairy Godmother magically appears and immediately begins to transform Cinderella from house servant to the young lady she was by birth, all in the effort to get Cinderella to the ball. She turns a pumpkin into a golden carriage, mice into horses, a rat into a coachman, and lizards into footmen. She then turns Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful jeweled gown, complete with a delicate pair of glass slippers. The Godmother tells her to enjoy the ball, but warns her that she must return before midnight, when the spells will be broken.
At the ball, the entire court is entranced by Cinderella, especially the Prince. At this first ball, Cinderella remembers to leave before midnight. Back home, Cinderella graciously thanks her Godmother. She then greets the stepsisters, who had not recognized her earlier, and talk of nothing but the beautiful girl at the ball.
Another ball is held the next evening, and Cinderella again attends with her Godmother’s help. The Prince has become even more infatuated, and Cinderella in turn becomes so enchanted by him she loses track of time and leaves only at the final stroke of midnight, losing one of her glass slippers on the steps of the palace in her haste. The Prince chases her, but outside the palace, the guards see only a simple country girl leave. The Prince pockets the slipper and vows to find and marry the girl to whom it belongs. Meanwhile, Cinderella keeps the other slipper, which does not disappear when the spell is broken.
The Prince tries the slipper on all the women in the kingdom. When the Prince arrives at Cinderella’s home, the stepsisters try in vain to win him over. Cinderella asks if she may try, but the stepsisters taunt her. Naturally, the slipper fits perfectly, and Cinderella produces the other slipper for good measure. Cinderella’s stepfamily pleads for forgiveness, and Cinderella agrees. Cinderella had hoped her step-family would love her always.
Cinderella married the Prince as her stepsisters are married to two handsome gentlemen of the royal court.
Cinderella, The Little Glass Slipper: A first interpretation is that of a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression and triumphant reward.
A second interpretation is that there are on a deeper level human qualities that are of a greater value than superficial qualities. Expressed in many variants of the tale, the prince is told that Cinderella cannot possibly be the one, as she is too dirty and ragged. The prince nevertheless insists on her trying. Cinderella arrives and proves her identity by fitting into the slipper or other item (in some cases she has kept the other).
A lonely couple, who want a child, live next to a walled garden belonging to an evil witch named Dame Gothel. The wife, experiencing the cravings associated with the arrival of her long-awaited pregnancy, notices some rapunzel, growing in the garden and longs for it, desperate to the point of death. One night, her husband breaks into the garden to get some for her. She makes a salad out of it and greedily eats it. It tastes so good that she longs for more. So her husband goes to get some more for her. As he scales the wall to return home, Dame Gothel catches him and accuses him of theft. He begs for mercy, and she agrees to be lenient, and allows him to take all the rapunzel he wants, on condition that the baby be given to her when it’s born. Desperate, he agrees. When his wife has a baby girl, Dame Gothel takes her to raise as her own and names her Rapunzel after the plant her mother craved. She grows up to be the most beautiful child in the world with long golden hair. When she turns twelve, Dame Gothel locks her up inside a tower in the middle of the woods, with neither stairs nor a door, and only one room and one window. When she visits her, she stands beneath the tower and calls out:
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so that I may climb thy golden stair.
One day, a prince rides through the forest and hears Rapunzel singing from the tower. Entranced by her ethereal voice, he searches for her and discovers the tower, but is naturally unable to enter it. He returns often, listening to her beautiful singing, and one day sees Dame Gothel visit, and thus learns how to gain access to Rapunzel. When Dame Gothel leaves, he bids Rapunzel let her hair down. When she does so, he climbs up and they fall in love. He eventually asks her to marry him, which she agrees to.
Together they plan a means of escape, wherein he will come each night (thus avoiding Dame Gothel who visits her by day), and bring Rapunzel a piece of silk, which she will gradually weave into a ladder. Before the plan can come to fruition, however, she foolishly gives him away, she asks Dame Gothel (in a moment of forgetfulness) why it is easier for her to draw up the prince than her. In anger, she cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and casts her out into the wilderness to fend for herself.
When the prince calls that night, Dame Gothel lets the severed hair down to haul him up. To his horror, he finds himself staring at her instead of Rapunzel, who is nowhere to be found. When she tells him in a jealous rage that he will never see Rapunzel again, he leaps from the tower and lands on some thorns, which blind him.
For months, he wanders through the wastelands of the country and eventually comes to the wilderness where Rapunzel now lives with the twins she has given birth to, a boy and a girl. One day, as she sings, he hears her voice again, and they are reunited. When they fall into each other’s arms, her tears immediately restore his sight. He leads her and their twins to his kingdom, where they live happily ever after.
Rapunzel’s story has striking similarities to the 11th-century Persian tale of Rudāba, included in the epic poem Shahnameh by Ferdowsi. Rudāba offers to let down her hair from her tower so that her lover Zāl can climb up to her.
The story of Rapunzel is about the growth of the ”soul” to a higher spiritual level. As usual in these fairy tales the persons/ characters within the story are personifications of aspects within one person.
The prince represents a human who tries to reach to a higher spiritual level.
This level represented by Rapunzel who lives in a tower.
She can only be reached by climbing into her hair, which means that the higher spiritual level has to connect with the lowest level.
A goblin is a monstrous creature from European folklore, first attested in stories from the Middle Ages. They are ascribed various and conflicting abilities, temperaments and appearances depending on the story and country of origin. They are almost always small and grotesque, mischievous or outright evil, and greedy, especially for gold and jewellery. They often have magical abilities similar to a fairy or demon. Similar creatures include brownies, dwarves, duendes, gnomes, imps, and kobolds.
The goblin, who lives underground, represents the subliminal, the instincts, the deeper layers of the human personality.
That the goblin steels children, means that the lower nature steels ones innocence.
Its non-visible character refers to its subliminal nature.
22. Elf land
Elf + land, coming from the idea of an elf home (Elfhame) in Old English ballads and Álfheim in Old Norse mythology.
(Norse mythology) A luminous spirit presiding over nature and fertility and dwelling in the world of Álfheim (Elfland).
In Old Norse texts Álfheim as an abode of the Elves, is portrayed in a variety of ways in these ballads and stories, most commonly as mystical and benevolent, but also at times as sinister and wicked. The mysteriousness of the land, and its otherworldly powers are a source of scepticism and distrust in many tales. Additional journeys to the realm include the fairy tale “Childe Rowland”, which presents a particularly negative view of the land.
These stories refer to personifications of energies of a higher ontological level of existence that are felt but generally not seen by nature mystics.
23. Emperors Tomb (Solomon’s mines) Hidden treasure chamber
The Lost and Coveted Treasures of King Solomon
In the Hebrew Bible, the third king of Israel, Solomon, is depicted as a wise, powerful, and immensely wealthy king, who ruled between 965 BC and 925 BC. It is written that he reigned over a prosperous empire and commissioned magnificent palaces and fortresses in Jerusalem, also building the first temple to store the legendary Ark of the Covenant, a gilded case believed to hold the original Ten Commandments as handed down to Moses by God. But when his Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 597 and 586 BC, it is said that the Ark and his other treasures disappeared, never to be seen of again.
The Treasures of King Solomon
In historical records, Solomon is portrayed as a king with an extreme amount of wealth. For example, in the Book of Kings I (one of the two biblical books from which most of our knowledge of Solomon is derived, the other being Chronicles II ), it is written that,
Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, / Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country.
Additionally, it has also been recorded that,
King Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. / And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. / Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.… / And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon…. / So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.
The great wealth of Solomon has led many to believe that there is a great treasure hidden somewhere, awaiting its discovery. Yet, the exact contents of this ‘treasure’ are rather uncertain, and may range from gold and silver objects to the long coveted Ark of the Covenant.
This legendary story in which the enormous treasures of King Solomon are described, refer to the enormous value of wisdom and its application to personal development and society.
Aladdin is a Middle Eastern folk tale. It is one of the tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (“The Arabian Nights”), and one of the best known, although it was actually added to the collection in the 18th century by Frenchman Antoine Galland . (Wikipedia)
Aladdin is an impoverished young ne’er-do-well in a Chinese town. He is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb, who passes himself off as the brother of Aladdin’s late father Mustapha the tailor, convincing Aladdin and his mother of his goodwill by apparently making arrangements to set up the lad as a wealthy merchant. The sorcerer’s real motive is to persuade young Aladdin to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave. After the sorcerer attempts to double-cross him, Aladdin finds himself trapped in the cave. Fortunately, Aladdin retains a magic ring lent to him by the sorcerer as protection. When he rubs his hands in despair, he inadvertently rubs the ring, and a jinn, or “genie”, appears, who takes him home to his mother. Aladdin is still carrying the lamp, and when his mother tries to clean it, a second, far more powerful genie appears, who is bound to do the bidding of the person holding the lamp.
With the aid of the genie of the lamp, Aladdin becomes rich and powerful and marries Princess Badroulbadour, the Emperor’s daughter (after magically foiling her marriage to the vizier’s son). The genie builds Aladdin a wonderful palace – a far more magnificent one than that of the Emperor himself.
The sorcerer returns and is able to get his hands on the lamp by tricking Aladdin’s wife, who is unaware of the lamp’s importance, by offering to exchange “new lamps for old”. He orders the genie of the lamp to take the palace along with all its contents to his home in the Maghreb. Fortunately, Aladdin still has the magic ring and is able to summon the lesser genie. Although the genie of the ring cannot directly undo any of the magic of the genie of the lamp, he is able to transport Aladdin to the Maghreb, where he recovers the lamp and defeats the sorcerer, returning the palace (complete with the princess) to its proper place.
The sorcerer’s more powerful and evil brother tries to destroy Aladdin for killing his brother by disguising himself as an old woman known for her healing powers. Badroulbadour falls for his disguise, and commands the “woman” to stay in her palace in case of any illnesses. Aladdin is warned of this danger by the genie of the lamp and slays the imposter. Everyone lives happily ever after, Aladdin eventually succeeding to his father-in-law’s throne. (Wikipedia)
The story of Aladdin is a symbolic narrative which describes a mystical process. Aladdin as he grows up, is only superficial, worldly oriented. At one point he meets a magician (this symbolizes the ego, the lower in man). This magician claims that he is his uncle, which is untrue. (This refers to the fact that the ego does not belong to the man’s true being). The deception of the magician means that the ego with the lower mind gives deceptive knowledge. Aladdin is transported to a secret subterranean treasure room. (This treasure room represents the mystical higher levels where the magician, the ego cannot enter). Aladdin find the gems that are the higher mystical insights and capacities, the higher subtle energies. The lamp represents the divine light. At first, Aladdin doesn’t realize the value of the gems and the lamp.
Polishing the lamp symbolizes the cleaning process what makes that the divine light become manifest. The value of the silver bowls containing the gemstones (representing higher subtle energies) is only realized later. The princess symbolizes the higher mystical elements in man. Aladdin sees the princess unveiled, which will say that for the mystic that what remains hidden from the average man, becomes visible. The pursuit of a marriage with the princess for the mystic symbolizes the quest for a union with the higher mystical elements. The demands, the enormous requirements asked, symbolize the higher spiritual attributes, qualities and insights that are demanded. The spirit of the lamp builds in a blink of an eye, a palace made of gems and gold which is reminiscent of the higher subtle energy fields that are realized during the Bhava Samadhi. These fields are made up of subtle energies of different colored light, of which gems and gold are a good metaphor. But ultimately the mystic succeeds in his efforts to eliminate the lower elements.
25. The fisherman and his wife
The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish is a fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin wrote the tale in autumn 1833 and it was first published in the literary magazine Biblioteka dlya chteniya in May 1835. The tale is about a fisherman who manages to catch a “Golden Fish” which promises to fulfill any wish of his in exchange for its freedom.
In Pushkin’s poem, an old man and woman have been living poorly for many years. They have a small hut, and every day the man goes out to fish. One day, he throws in his net and pulls out seaweed two times in succession, but on the third time he pulls out a golden fish. The fish pleads for its life, promising any wish in return. However, the old man is scared by the fact that a fish can speak; he says he does not want anything, and lets the fish go.
When he returns and tells his wife about the golden fish, she gets angry and tells her husband to go ask the fish for a new trough, as theirs is broken, and the fish happily grants this small request. The next day, the wife asks for a new house, and the fish grants this also. Then, in succession, the wife asks for a palace, to become a noble lady, to become the ruler of her province, to become the tsarina, and finally to become the Ruler of the Sea and to subjugate the golden fish completely to her boundless will. As the man goes to ask for each item, the sea becomes more and more stormy, until the last request, where the man can hardly hear himself think. When he asks that his wife be made the Ruler of the Sea, the fish cures her greed by putting her back in the old hut and giving back the broken trough.
The fisherman was thrilled about having things back to normal because he never wanted to live in a luxurious castle filled with expensive things. Now he could enjoy fishing again and what he would catch would be enough for him and his wife who was still unsatisfied.
The moral of the story is that greedy people will never be satisfied and that they equalize they desire to have something with pricey things. Those are the people that will take advantage of other people’s kindness, and their only goal is to satisfy their selfish needs. The fisherman’s wife has an appetite that can’t be fed, and in the end, she is left with nothing. She is left with her husband in the small house. On a deeper level, this story deals with the psychological conflicts within an individual. The fisherman and his wife are personifications of the higher and lower nature within a person. The sea becoming more stormy symbolises that with these inner conflicts the mind becomes more restless.
The story tells that the fisherman finally finds peace, with means that the lower nature with its unfulfilled desires is transcended.
26. The witch
Witchcraft, the exercise or invocation of alleged supernatural powers to control people or events, practices typically involving sorcery or magic. Although it has defined differently in disparate historical and cultural contexts.
Witchcraft as such exists more in the imagination of contemporaries than in any objective reality. Yet this stereotype has a long history and has constituted for many cultures a viable explanation of evil in the world.
In many fairy tales one of the characters is a witch, who puts a spell on the main character in the story.
At about the age of two a child starts to develop a personal sense of identity, an ego.
The witch in these stories symbolises the ego and the story of the development into maturity.
And the different persons in the story are personifications of different psychological structures within an individual.
27. The lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. The title of the novel refers to the story’s main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across northwest Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters. (Wikipedia)
Tolkien included neither any explicit religion nor cult in his work. Rather the themes, moral philosophy, and cosmology of the Lord of the Rings reflect his Catholic worldview.In one of his letters Tolkien states, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imaginary world.
For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.” Carpenter, Humphrey (1995). The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin, Letter no. 142, page 172 (Wikipedia)
The Lord of the Rings which is written by Tolkien, is a mythological story similar to the apocalypse, a final struggle between good and evil forces.
The story begins, although not chronologically displayed, with elves who forge a number of magic rings: Three for the elven kings seven for the dwarf lords and nine for men. But secretly a black ruler has forged a ring that gives power over the earth and its inhabitants and can bind them into darkness. The story describes that there was a struggle in which Isidur, the human king, along with the elves manages to defeat the dark forces and to conquer the ring of the black ruler a thousand years ago. However, Sauron, the black ruler is not completely defeated and tries to get back the ring that gives him power. There are a number of millennia passed and the ring is in the possession of the hobbits. When they become aware of what the ring implicates they travel to the Rivendell, the elves realm, where it is decided to destroy the ring. This is only possible in the place where the ring is forged, and the story describes the journey into the dark realm of Mordor, and with many struggles and difficulties, where the ring eventually gets destroyed.
The story is begins with the forging of the power rings by the elves.
These rings symbolize the making of a connection: In the neo-Platonic philosophy but also in many other mystical philosophies there is the idea of a involutionary force, higher non-physical energies that gradually descend to lower levels: The so called descent through the spheres, to be connected eventually to physical matter.
The elves in this story symbolize these higher energies, the rings symbolize the connection of these energies with the physical matter. The higher energies become thus trapped in matter and their functioning becomes strongly determined by physical factors. This process is symbolised by the ring forged by the black ruler which is secretly ment to dominate the others and to obtain power over Middle-earth. Rivendell represents a higher ontological level of existence. Mordor, the dark realm, is the (collective) unconscious. And the journey to Mordor to destroy the ring is symbolic for the journey that the mystic makes to the (collective) unconscious to eliminate the total of the complexes, that the higher elements of the soul bind to the physical world.
Aragon represents the noble in men. The hobbits are humanoid but in contrast with humans are not ambitious and strive to a simple life. They and especially Frodo, represent the mystic, the mystical element. The elves and especially Legolas represent the angelic or the higher subtle elements.
The dwarfs represent the terrestrial biological element. Gandalf refers to the divine element in man, the atman, the Monad. Samwise “Sam” Gamgee represents the servitude and humbleness. Boromir stands for the egoistic element. The golem symbolizes the instincts.
The orks refer to the lower elements in human nature, their cannibalism signifies that these lower elements devour the higher human elements.
Sauruman the necromancer stands for the mechanical technical thinking, soulless, uninspired and which doesn’t know morality or spirituality, thinking that is corrupted by the lower nature, that brings dead things to life that have no soul.
Sauron represents the total of (Jungian) complexes/ forces which lie in the collective unconscious. After the ring is destroyed, Aragon marries the daughter of king of the elves, which symbolizes that men obtains a connection to higher energies. The elves who travel to another area symbolize the subtle energies or angelic forces which go to a higher level.
Frodo the mystic travels with them.
The story can be interpreted as symbolising the individual development of a mystic leading to enlightenment, but also as symbolising the collective development of humanity leading to a kosmic process of what Aurobindo called Supramentalisation.