We've been discussing mythology and exploring mythological creatures quite a bit. One thing that we learned together was that mythology is not just about monsters and creatures, but "Myths are stories that have been told over hundreds of years to help explain why the world works the way it does" (Introduction to Mythology for Kids by Zachary Hamby) and how "things" were created. In order to explore this concept a bit more, I have been searching for different versions of some stories we had already read (e.g. Finn MacCool/Benandonner and the Giant's Causeway, Anansi the Spider, centaurs, etc.). I also wanted to find stories that might be represented in a variety of cultures. Myths are rooted in oral story telling traditions and have been passed down through many generations, and also vary depending on location/culture. How incredible that we can find so many cultures represented in stories about so many things (e.g. the creation of the universe, the origins and inner workings of volcanoes, etc.).
Finn MacCool Faces a Giant - A Celtic Myth
We started with a different version of one of our favorite Scottish Mythological Creatures. Our first version is from a Scottish collection of mythological creatures.
Maui Slows the Sun - A Polynesian Myth
Giacomo, have you seen Moana? The Disney movie with Maui? - Elyse
“We’ve watched the one with the coral reef. I think it was number two or number one. Yeah, yeah, we’ve seen the movie Moana.” - Giacomo, 4.4 years
Well, the new mythology book also has a story about [the same character] Maui from Moana. - Elyse
Saul shared the next day that he had also seen "Moana".
Pan Gu and the Creation of the World - A Chinese Myth
“Elyse? Is this Pan Gu?” - Saul, 3.8 years
“Is Pan Gu still alive?” - Giacomo
Well, it says that his right eye is the sun and his left eye is the moon so that he can look down on his creation. - Elyse
“He was so big that huge drops fell into big holes onto the Earth (to make the oceans), and then they formed the oceans.” - Giacomo
According to this myth, a Chinese myth, this was how the universe was created. There are myths from other cultures about how the earth was created. There are some African myths; there are some Greek myths about how the world was created. A lot of different cultures have stories about these things. - Elyse
Anansi the Spider - A myth from the Ashanti (West Africa)
In the Chinese myth of Pan Gu, it says that one of his eyes becomes the sun, and the other eye becomes the moon. This reminded me of the book we read about Anansi the spider, a story from the Ashanti in Africa. In this story, a globe of light becomes the moon with the help of Nyame, the Ashanti people's God of All Things.
“Elyse which book did you brought?” - Saul, 3.8 years
Well, I was wondering if you remember when we read about ‘Anansi’ the spider and they had the…I forget what they called it. - Elyse
“A globe.” - Saul
Oh yes, a globe. You have a good memory. Do you remember what the globe became in the story? - Elyse
“A moon!” - Saul
So this was an African story about how the moon came into the sky. And the one that we just read, the Chinese myth, said that the moon is the eyeball of Pan Gu.
“Can you read it for me because I kind of like it.” - Saul