This book, all 395 pages of it, features 34 fascinating stories of both famous and not-so-well-known mythical entities – Pygmalion, Adonis, Lorelei, Beowulf, Echo and Narcissus, Prometheus and Pandora, Niobe, and Roland the Paladin, among others. Some of the stories come with beautiful drawings by Helen Stratton, illustrating the antics and exploits of the main character.
Why a book filled with stories that has already been told and retold in other published compilations? It is worth noting that this collection dates back to 1915, a time when such types of compilations are not yet in abundance.
Aside from that, the author, Jeanie Lang, stressed in her preface that the stories "are not presented to the student of folklore as a fresh contribution to his knowledge." Instead, the book is said to be more apt for those who "frequently come across names which possess for them no meaning and who care to read some old stories, through which runs the same humanity that their own hearts know."
"For although the old worship has passed away, it is almost impossible for us to open a book that does not contain some mention of the gods of long ago," she explained in the next line.
Indeed, the entities featured in this book have been used as references in modern writings of a different genre. As such, this volume proves to be a trusty reading companion for the reader seeking to unveil the story behind the name.
The stories are told beautifully in great detail and are supplemented by verses from famed poets (Shakespeare, Byron, and Milton, among others), which added depth to the stories and their characters.
If you enjoy this book then we also recommend you read Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranicy by William Joseph Wilkins as it provides a selection of myths of Hindu origin.
The most usual habits of mind in our own day are the theoretical and analytical habits. Dissection, vivi section, analysis — those are the processes to which all things not conclusively historical and all things spiritual are bound to pass. Thus we find the old myths classified into Sun Myths and Dawn Myths, Earth Myths and Moon Myths, Fire Myths and Wind Myths, until, as one of the most sane and vigorous thinkers of the present day2 has justly observed: If you take the rhyme of Mary and her little lamb, and call Mary the sun and the lamb the moon, you will achieve astonishing results, both in religion and astronomy, when you find that the lamb followed Mary to school one day.