Page:The Mythology of the Aryan Nations.djvu/372

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

BOOK Puncher, a magician on the Upper Rhine.^ Another version is seen in the Saga of Saint Olaf, who challenges Eindridi, a heathen whom he wishes to convert, to the same task, only leading the way himself. Olaf s arrow grazes the child's head, and the pleading of Eindridi's wife then induces the king to put an end to the contest. With some differences of detail the legend reappears in the story of another Harold (Sigurdarson), in the eleventh century. Here the rival or opponent of the king is Heming, whose arrows, as Harold remarks, are all inlaid with gold, like the arrows of Phoibos. Enraged at many defeats, the king at last dares Heming to shoot a nut on the head not of his son but of his brother. Not less significant in some of its touches is the Faroese tradition, which attributes Tell's achieve- ment to Geyti, Aslak's son, the king being the same who is confronted by Heming. Learning that Geyti is his match in strength, Harold rides to the house of Aslak, and asking where his youngest son is, receives for answer that he is dead and buried in the churchyard of Kolrin. The king insists on seeing the body, and the father replies that where so many lie dead it would not be easy to find the corpse of his son. But as Harold rides back over the heath, he meets a huntsman armed with a bow, and asking who he is, learns that it is the dead Geyti, who has returned to the land of the living, like Memnon, or Euridyke, or Adonis. The story otherwise differs little, if at all, from that of Heming. In a Finnish story, as in the Tell myth, the apple is shot off a man's head; but the archer (and this feature seems specially noteworthy) is a boy of twelve years old, who appears armed with bow and arrows among the reeds on the banks of a lake, and threatens to shoot some robbers who had carried off his father as a captive from the village of Alajarvi. The marauders agree to yield up the old man if the boy will do by him as Tell and Cloudeslee do by their sons. The legend at the least suggests a comparison with the myth of the youthful Chrysaor, who also is seen on the shore of the Delian sea; while the twelve years look much like the ten years of the Trojan contest, the hours of the night during which the sun lies hid from the sight of men until he comes forth ready for the work in which his triumph is assured. The myth might be traced yet further, if it were necessary to do so. Further still, it seems impossible not to discern the same myth in the legend which tells us of the Lykian Sarpedon, that when Isandros and Hippolochos disputed with each other for the throne, his mother Laodameia offered him for the venture, when it was settled that the

' The passages from these three Dasent, A'<?;-Jtr Ta/e-j-.introduction.xxxv.-

works are quoted at length by Sir G. xxxix.