Monday, September 28, 2009

63. Europium


Europa and the Bull

The myth of Europa and the Bull (Zeus conceives a passion for a beautiful girl, turns himself into a bull, carries her to a distant land and has his wicked way with her) is a lot older than most people think. As best we can reconstruct it, the original story goes like this:

About one hundred thousand years ago, the King of the Gods (his name was not Zeus or even Ra but something far older) saw a beautiful maiden at play with her friends by the seashore. Or possibly—see below—the riverside. We do not know the maiden's true name. The Greek myth tells us she was "Phoenician," by which they meant Egyptian, but given that she was the granddaughter of Lybia, we can presume an origin further south.

So the Great Progenitor turned himself into a white (white is the color of death) bull, playful and mild. He licked the maiden's beautiful brown feet, ate flowers from her graceful hand, and eventually coaxed her into climbing on his back.

All in an instant, the God-Bull plunged into the Nile! The poor girl clung to his back in paroxysms of fear as he wildly swam hundreds of miles down to the sea, and then all the way across its storm-lashed surface to the far shore. So great was her terror that her skin turned white as snow. The cold waters pinched her nose and withered her lips and made lank her hair, so that by the end of her ordeal she barely looked human at all.

At last they arrived at the Land of the Dead. From that time onward the girl was known as Europa, or "She Who Has Died." The Primal Inseminator assumed his true form then (it may have been winged and beaked; he may have had talons) and fathered upon her a new race of men.

Three sons did Europa bear the Father of Gods, named Hunting Dog and Javelin and Bronze Skin. The first excelled in the hunt. The second could hit any target with his spear. The third was a protector of his people. There was at this time a mighty folk in Europe, strong in sinew and plentiful in number, who we call today the Neanderthaler. These the sons of Europa slew. So did they achieve dominion over all the land and prosper.

This is the story of how the Basque first came to Spain. It is recorded on the walls of Lascaux and Altamira and many other caves, where the God-Bull is given prominence of place and number.

Some years later, lesser pale-skinned peoples also came to Europe. But since they achieved nothing of any particular note, their fate does not concern us here.

© 2002 by Michael Swanwick and SCIFI.COM.

No comments:

Post a Comment