Born of Night a monster appears, a serpent, huge, terrible, speckled, flesh-devouring. With her is another comet, Typhaon; they beget the Chimæra, that breathes resistless fire, fierce, huge, swift. And Typhaon, associated with both these, is the most dreadful monster of all, born of Hell and sensual sin, a serpent, a fierce dragon, many-headed, with dusky tongues and fire gleaming; sending forth dreadful and appalling noises, while mountains and fields rock with earthquakes; chaos has come; the earth, the sea boils; there is unceasing tumult and contention, and in the midst the monster, wounded and broken up, falls upon the earth; the earth groans under his weight, and there he blazes and burns for a time in the mountain fastnesses and desert places, melting the earth with boundless vapor and glaring fire.
We will find legend after legend about this Typhon he runs through the mythologies of different nations. And as to his size and his terrible power, they all agree. He was no earth-creature. He moved in the air; he reached the skies:
“According to Pindar the head of Typhon reached to the stars, his eyes darted fire, his hands extended from the East to the West, terrible serpents were twined about the middle of his body, and one hundred snakes took the place of fingers on his hands. Between him and the gods there was a dreadful war. Jupiter finally killed him with a flash of lightning, and buried him under Mount Etna.”
And there, smoking and burning, his great throes and writhings, we are told, still shake the earth, and threaten mankind:
And with pale lips men say,
’To-morrow, perchance to-day,
Encelidas may arise! “’
THERE is in the legends of the Scandinavians a marvelous record of the coming of the Comet. It has been repeated generation after generation, translated into all languages, commented on, criticised, but never understood. It has been regarded as a wild, unmeaning rhapsody of words, or as a premonition of some future earth catastrophe.
But look at it!
The very name is significant. According to Professor Anderson’s etymology of the word, it means “the darkness of the gods”; from regin, gods, and rökr, darkness; but it may, more properly, be derived from the Icelandic, Danish, and Swedish regn, a rain, and rök, smoke, or dust; and it may mean the rain of dust, for the clay came first as dust; it is described in some Indian legends as ashes.
First, there is, as in the tradition of the Druids, page 135, ante, the story of an age of crime.
The Vala looks upon the world, and, as the “Elder Edda” tells us—