“Beauteous princess, Lo, thy brother Breaks thy vessel Now in fragments. From the blow come Thunder, lightning, Strokes of lightning And thou, princess, Tak’st the water, With it raineth, And the hail, or Snow dispenseth. Viracocha, World-constructor, World-enlivener, To this office Thee appointed, Thee created."
[1. “Myths of the New World,” p. 167.]
But it may be asked, How in such a period of terror and calamity—as we must conceive the comet to have caused-would men think of finding refuge in caves?
The answer is plain: either they or their ancestors had lived in caves.
Caves were the first shelters of uncivilized men. It was not necessary to fly to the caves through the rain of falling débris; many were doubtless already in them when the great world-storm broke, and others naturally sought their usual dwelling-places.
“The cavern,” says Brinton, “dimly lingered in the memories of nations.”
Man is born of the earth; he is made of the clay like Adam, created—
good red clay,
Haply from Mount Aornus, beyond sweep
Of the black eagle’s wing.”
The cave-temples of India-the oldest temples, probably, on earth—are a reminiscence of this cave-life.
We shall see hereafter that Lot and his daughters “dwelt in a cave”; and we shall find Job bidden away in the “narrow-mouthed bottomless” pit or cave.
[1. “Myths of the New World,” p. 244.]
LEGENDS OF THE AGE OF DARKNESS.
ALL the cosmogonies begin with an Age of Darkness; a damp, cold, rainy, dismal time.
Hesiod tells us, speaking of the beginning of things
“In truth, then, foremost sprung Chaos. . . . But from Chaos were born Erebus and black Night; and from Night again sprang forth Æther and Day, whom she bare after having conceived by union with Erebus.”
Aristophanes, in his “Aves,” says:
“Chaos and Night and black Erebus and wide Tartarus first existed."
“From the beginning the gloomy night enveloped and obscured all things that were under the ether” (the clouds). “The earth was invisible on account of the darkness, but the light broke through the ether” (the clouds), “and illuminated the earth.”
By this power were produced the sun, moon, and stars.
It is from Sanchoniathon that we derive most of the little we know of that ancient and mysterious people, the Phœnicians. He lived before the Trojan war; and of his writings but fragments survive—quotations in the writings of others.
[1. “The Theogony.”
2. Faber’s “Origin of Pagan Idolatry,” vol. i, p. 255.