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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Re: Early Myth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0215  Tuesday, 9 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Feb 1999 09:45:20 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0208 Q: Early Myth

[2]     From:   Kristine Batey <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Feb 1999 14:01:27 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0208 Q: Early Myth

[3]     From:   Michele Marrapodi <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Feb 1999 11:24:19 +0100 (GMT+0100)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0208 Q: Early Myth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Monday, 08 Feb 1999 09:45:20 +0000
Subject: 10.0208 Q: Early Myth
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0208 Q: Early Myth

>I've been trying to remember the details of a myth about a hero who
>agrees to carry an old man across a river on his shoulders, but when he
>gets to the other side, the old man refuses to get off his back.  Does
>anyone recognize this story enough to supply names of the mythical
>participants?
>
> Helen Ostovich

The old man was Proteus, the Old Man of the Sea. I believe the hero was
Hercules, but may be mistaken. Look up Proteus in any mythology
dictionary. It is a delightful myth. The old man, who seems connected
with Poseidon in some way, not only won't get off the hero's back, but
turns himself into one powerful creature after another. But the hero has
been forewarned, and knows that if he keeps him off the ground long
enough he'll be forced to turn into his own shape again, that of a weak
old man, as he gets his strength from the earth, and in this way he
overcomes him.

The connection with Shakespeare's Proteus is of interest, naturally.

Stephanie Hughes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kristine Batey <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Feb 1999 14:01:27 -0600
Subject: 10.0208 Q: Early Myth
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0208 Q: Early Myth

Are you thinking of the story of Robin Hood and Friar Tuck? In brief,
Robin asks that the friar carry him across the river on his back. On the
other side, the friar pulls a sword and demands that Robin return the
favor.  Eventually, as I recall, one of them dumps the other in the
river, they fight, and Robin recruits the friar into his band of Merry
Men.

Kristine Batey
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michele Marrapodi <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Feb 1999 11:24:19 +0100 (GMT+0100)
Subject: 10.0208 Q: Early Myth
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0208 Q: Early Myth

A bawdy variation of the myth may of course be found in Giordano's Bruno
Candelaio (II.4), in the fable of the lion and the ass crossing the
river Garigliano. Bruno's transforms the story to suit his antimoralism
and radicalism. The deep source may be Aesop's or Phaedrus's fables. I
had no time to check.

Michele Marrapodi
University of Palermo
 

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