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European Folklore

Halcyone and Ceyx

Over the kingdom of Thessaly, in the days of long ago, there reigned a king whose name was Ceyx, son of Hesperus, the Day Star, and almost as radiant in grace and beauty as was his father. His wife was the fair Halcyone, daughter of Æolus, ruler of the winds, and most perfectly did this king and queen love one another.

Ulysses and the Cyclops

Ulysses was well-nigh the last to sail for home after the great city of Troy was taken, for he had tarried many days to do pleasure to Agamemnon, lord of all the Greeks. Twelve ships he had with him—twelve he had brought to Troy—and in each there were some fifty men, being scarce half of those that had sailed in them in the old days, so many valiant heroes slept the last sleep by Simoïs and Scamander, and in the plain and on the seashore, slain in battle or by the shafts of Apollo.

Orpheus and his Lute

In the country of Thrace, surrounded by all the best gifts of the gods, Orpheus was born. His father was Apollo, the god of music and of song, his mother the muse Calliope. Apollo gave his little son a lyre, and himself taught him how to play it.

King Midas Judges a Music Contest

After finally ridding himself of the Golden Touch, King Midas had now no wish for golden riches, nor even for power. He wished to lead the simple life and to listen to the piping of Pan along with the goatherds on the mountains or the wild creatures in the woods. Thus, it befell that he was present one day at a contest between Pan and Apollo himself.

Pygmalion and the Statue

In days when the world was young and when the gods walked on the earth, there reigned over the island of Cyprus a sculptor-king, and king of sculptors, named Pygmalion. In the language of our own day, we should call him “wedded to his art.” In woman he only saw the bane of man.

Echo and Narcissus

When all the world was young, and nymphs and fauns and dryads dwelt in the forests, there was no nymph more lovely and sweet than she whose name was Echo. Diana would smile on her for her fleetness of foot when she followed her in the chase, and those whom she met in the leafy pathways of the dim, green woods, would pass on smiling at the remembrance of her merry chatter and her tricksy humor.