- Guide to Mythology
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My aim in this book on Mythology for young readers has been to give them solid knowledge on the subject, as far as it is advisable to go with immature minds, based upon the most recent investigations of scholars, and to select the myths used in illustration of the plan, with a view to giving them interesting stories to read, which will, almost unconsciously to themselves, lay a firm foundation for the fascinating study of Comparative Mythology, should they wish to go more deeply into it in the future.
There is much talk nowadays as to the authenticity of the records of savage myths. Much of this talk seems to me futile, for a myth is not a fixed entity. Each successive narrator is almost sure to vary and embellish somewhat the material that comes to him, according to his own inventive fancy. If, therefore, a savage myth recorded by a white man retains the chief characteristics of the savage myth, in spite of some fanciful turns given it by him, to the degree, say, that a story of Ovid’s retains those of a Greek myth, it is to all intents and purposes a savage myth, and the embellishments may be disregarded, as Ovid’s are when we are considering Greek Mythology. I have, therefore, included in this volume those versions of the myths that seemed most readable and attractive, provided the primitive attitude of mind and customs were fully emphasized.