time ago, when the
world was much younger than it is now, people told and believed a great
many wonderful stories about wonderful things which neither you nor I
ever seen. They often talked about a certain Mighty Being called
or Zeus, who was king of the sky and the earth; and they said that he
most of the time amid the clouds on the top of a very high mountain
he could look down and see everything that was going on in the earth
He liked to ride on the storm-clouds and hurl burning thunderbolts
and left among the trees and rocks; and he was so very, very mighty
when he nodded, the earth quaked, the mountains trembled and smoked,
sky grew black, and the sun hid his face.
both of them terrible fellows, but not nearly so great as himself. The
name of one of them was Neptune, or Poseidon, and he was the king of
sea. He had a glittering, golden palace far down in the deep sea-caves
where the fishes live and the red coral grows; and whenever he was
the waves would rise mountain high, and the storm-winds would howl
and the sea would try to break over the land; and men called him the
of the Earth.
brother of Jupiter
was a sad pale-faced being, whose kingdom was underneath the earth,
the sun never shone and where there was darkness and weeping and sorrow
all the time. His name was Pluto, or Aidoneus, and his country was
the Lower World, or the Land of Shadows, or Hades. Men said that
any one died, Pluto would send his messenger, or Shadow Leader, to
that one down into his cheerless kingdom; and for that reason they
spoke well of him, but thought of him only as the enemy of life.
number of other
Mighty Beings lived with Jupiter amid the clouds on the mountain
many that I can name a very few only. There was Venus, the queen of
and beauty, who was fairer by far than any woman that you or I have
seen. There was Athena, or Minerva, the queen of the air, who gave
wisdom and taught them how to do very many useful things. There was
the queen of earth and sky, who sat at the right hand of Jupiter and
him all kinds of advice. There was Mars, the great warrior, whose
was in the din of battle. There was Mercury, the swift messenger, who
wings on his cap and shoes, and who flew from place to place like the
clouds when they are driven before the wind. There was Vulcan, a
blacksmith, who had his forge in a burning mountain and wrought many
things of iron and copper and gold. And besides these, there were many
others about whom you will learn by and by, and about whom men told
and beautiful stories.
golden mansions, high up among the clouds-so high indeed that the eyes
of men could never see them. But they could look down and see what men
were doing, and oftentimes they were said to leave their lofty homes
wander unknown across the land or over the sea.
And of all
these Mighty Folk,
Jupiter was by far the mightiest.