Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/58

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48
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and laid his friend there and covered him up. And when Adam saw this he said to Eve, 'We will do the same with Abel.' God rewarded the raven for this by promising that none should ever injure his young; that he should always have meat in abundance, and that his prayer for rain should be immediately answered."

From the same source Ave select one more legend, in which the raven appears as the possessor of a valuable secret, which, upon compulsion, it teaches the great king: "While Solomon was building the temple, he captured Iachr, one of the most powerful of all the jinns; and, having the demon bound and completely in his control, he promised him his liberty if he would tell him how the hardest metals could be cut and shaped without noise. 'I myself know of no means,' answered the demon, 'but the raven can tell thee how to do this. Take the eggs out of the raven's nest and place a crystal cover upon them, and thou shalt see how the raven will break it.' Solomon followed the advice of Iachr. A raven came and fluttered some time around the cover, and, seeing that she could not reach her eggs, she vanished, and returned shortly with a stone in her beak, named iamur or ichamir, and no sooner had she touched the crystal therewith, than it clave asunder. 'Whence hast thou this stone?' asked Solomon of the raven, 'It comes from a mountain in the far west,' replied the bird. Solomon commanded a jinn to follow the raven to the mountain and bring him more of those stones. Then he released Iachr as he had promised. When the jinn returned with the stone ichamir, Solomon went back to Jerusalem, and distributed the stones among the jinns whom he had employed in building the temple."

In the Egyptian mythology we have no single equivalent of the glorious sun-god of the Greeks; and, though the Rosetta-stone has explained to us the mystery of the hieroglyphs, and revealed the long hidden meaning of many of the sculptured monuments and half-effaced papyri of the land of the Pharaohs, yet much of her curious mythology is a sealed book, and the attributes of some of her unique gods are still enigmas even to the most learned Egyptologists. Osiris, Aroueris, (the elder Horus), Harpocrates (the younger Horus), Chnum, Ra, Tum, and Mentu were all deifications of the sun during some part of the day or year; but it is no easy matter to limit the peculiar province of each god, or give his exact equivalent in Greek thought; and though Herodotus and other Greek writers assert that Horus was the same as the Greek Apollo, even this throws but little light upon the subject, since there were two Egyptian gods bearing this name, and several (probably deified) kings, one of whom restored the worship of the sun, after it had been forbidden by Amenophis IV, and had been neglected for nearly one hundred years. However, it is at least certain that Horus was worshiped by the Egyptians as the embodiment of the sun in a part of his course, and to him were sacred the hawk, the wolf, and the crow. Pritchard, quoting from Æolian's "History of Animals," says.