Page:Amazonian Tortoise Myths.djvu/22

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

— 14 —

that runs a race with a tortoise[1] but who, confiding in his swiftness, goes to sleep, while the tortoise, persevering slowly, first reaches the goal.

In Siam the myth takes the following form:—[2]

"The bird Kruth, no doubt a limited and particular form of Garudas, wishes to eat a tortoise (here perhaps the moon) which lies upon the shores of a lake. The tortoise consents to be eaten under the condition that the Kruth accepts a challenge to a trial of speed, and arrives soonest on the other side of the lake, the bird to go through the air and the tortoise through the water.

"The bird Kruth accepts the wager; and the tortoise calls together millions and millions of tortoises, and places them all in such a way that they surround the lake, each distant a few steps from the water. Then he gives the signal to the bird to commence the race. The Kruth rises up into the air and flies to the opposite bank; wherever he essays to alight, he finds the tortoise has been there before him." De Gubernatis suggests that the Siamese myth may represent the relation of the sun to the lunations.

In the East Indian "fable of the ant and the grasshopper,"[3] of which the former represents "the

  1. De Gubernatis, Zoölogical Mythology, Vol. II, p. 369.
  2. De Gubernatis, op. cit. Vol. II, p. 369.
  3. De Gubernatis. op. cit. Vol. I, p. 244.