Animals in Mythology (Myths and Legends of the World)
Since the beginning of human history, people have lived in close contact with animalssually as hunters and farmersnd have developed myths and legends about them. All kinds of creatures, from fierce leopards to tiny spiders, play important roles in mythology. A myth can give special meaning or extraordinary qualities to common animals such as frogs and bears. However, other creatures found in mythsany-headed monsters, dragons, and unicornsever existed in the real world.
Animals may serve as stand-ins for humans or human characteristics, as in the African and Native American tales or the fables of the Greek storyteller Aesop. In some legends, animals perform heroic deeds or act as mediatorsgo-between between heaven and earth. They may also be the source of the wisdom and power of a
Animals often have a dualisticconsisting of two equal and opposing forces quality in mythology. They can be helpful to humans or harmfulometimes both. They provide people with food, but at the same time, they can be dangerous. As sources and symbols, animals represent the mystery and power of the natural world, which can create or destroy.
Animals and People
Many myths explore relationships between humans and animals. People may...
(The entire section is 2783 words.)
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