Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 2).djvu/131

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117
SAVAGE PARALLELS.

considered "more blasphemous" than the rest does not appear.

It will probably be admitted that nothing in this sacred story would seem out of place if we found it in the legends of Pund-jel, or Cagn, or Yehl, among Australians, Bushmen, or Utes, whose own "culture-hero," like the ghost of Osiris, was a wolf. The dismembering of Osiris in particular resembles the dismembering of many other heroes in American myth; for example, of Chokanipok, out of whom were made vines and flint-stones. Objects in the mineral and vegetable world were explained in Egypt as transformed parts or humours of Osiris, Typhon, and other heroes.[1]

Once more, though the Egyptian gods are buried here and are immortal in heaven, they have also, like the heroes of Eskimo and Australians and Indians of the Amazon, been transformed into stars, and the priests could tell which star was Osiris, which was Isis, and which was Typhon.[2] Such are the wild inconsistencies which Egyptian religion shares with the fables of the lowest races. In view of these facts it is difficult to agree with Brugsch[3] that "from the root and trunk of a pure conception of deity spring the boughs and twigs of a tree of myth, whose leaves spread into a rank impenetrable luxuriance." Stories like the Osiris myth—stories found all over the whole world—-

  1. Magical Text, nineteenth dynasty, translated by Dr. Birch; Records of Past, vi. 115; Lefébure, Osiris, pp. 100, 113, 124, 205; Livre des Morts, chap. xvii.; Records of Past, x. 84.
  2. Custom and Myth, "Star Myths;" De Rougé, Nouv. Not., p. 197; Lefébure, Osiris, p. 213.
  3. Religion und Mythologie, p. 99.