Page:The fairy tales of science.djvu/328

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having dared to aspire to the favours of Juno; here Tantalus, condemned eternally to stand in water to the chin, and with an abundance of pleasant fruit just at his lips, without the power of even once satisfying his hunger or quenching his thirst—a fearful punishment indeed, yet well deserved, for that he, to test the divinity of the gods, had killed his own son Pelops, and set the limbs before them, baked in a pie; here the forty-nine daughters of Danaus, who, obedient to their father’s behest, had slain their husbands on the wedding night. Hypermnestra alone, of the fifty daughters of the king, had spared her husband Lynceus, and she alone was therefore exempt from the punishment decreed to her sisters, who were condemned to eternally and incessantly pour water into a tub full of holes.

Elysium, on the other hand, the placid abode of peace and contentment, was assigned for the habitation of the souls of good and virtuous men, the doers of heroic deeds, and those who had rendered important services to humanity. Here the spirits of the blessed wandered in serene happiness, under a sunny and star-spangled sky, in a pure atmosphere, over ever-blooming fields, and through ever-green laurel groves, continuing those pursuits and occupations in which they had delighted most in their terrestrial career.[1]

  1. Swedenborg, the great Scandinavian dreamer and seer, in his account of the “other world,” tells a similar tale respecting the pursuits and occupations of the spirits of the departed.