shapeshifter mythology

Examples of this are in fairy tales. In the myths of both Jason and Cadmus, one task set to the hero was to sow dragon's teeth; on being sown, they would metamorphose into belligerent warriors, and both heroes had to throw a rock to trick them into fighting each other to survive. Even stranger forms are possible: Giambattista Basile included in his Pentamerone the tale of a girl born as a sprig of myrtle, and Italo Calvino, in his Italian Folktales, a girl born as an apple. They were stuck in a non-human form for the rest of time. Athena sprang from her father's head, fully grown, and in battle armor. Cadmus is also often known to have transformed into a dragon or serpent towards the end of his life. Tam Lin, a man captured by the Queen of the Fairies is changed into all manner of beasts before being rescued. Pygmalion fell in love with Galatea, a statue he had made. The idea of shapeshifting is in the oldest forms of totemism and shamanism, as well as the oldest existant literature and epic poems such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Iliad. Despite his monstrous appearance, his lover, the goddess Freyja, refused to leave his side. The girl, once gone, can regain her human aspect. Witches, bards, and sorcerers are responsible for the lion’s share of shapeshifting events in Celtic folklore. While the brother refrains from the first two, which threaten to turn them into tigers and wolves, he is too thirsty at the third, which turns him into a deer. Not all fairies could shapeshift, and some were limited to changing their size, as with the spriggans, and others to a few forms and other fairies might have only the appearance of shapeshifting, through their power, called "glamour," to create illusions. Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf, in The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, included a version of the story with the typical elements (fisherman sees mermaids dancing on an island and steals the sealskin of one of them, preventing her from becoming a seal again so that he could marry her) and linked it to the founding of the city of Stockholm [35]. In Prince Lindworm, the woman eats two onions, but does not peel one, resulting in her first child being a lindworm. This lasts until she discovers where he has hidden the article, and she can flee. Even when the form is not undertaken to resemble a literal escape, the abilities specific to the form allow the character to act in a manner that was previously impossible. Loki, the god of chaos and mischief, was particularly fond of shapeshifting and could take any shape that he wanted, even mothering a few monsters while he was in a female shape! One motif is a shape change in order to obtain abilities in the new form. Proteus was noted among the gods for his shapeshifting; both Menelaus and Aristaeus seized him to win information from him, and succeeded only because they held on during his various changes. The banging of her metalworking made Zeus have a headache, so Hephaestus clove his head with an axe. When he discovered this, he tried to kill them, but the gods changed them all into birds. [18] When the warrior Hadding found and slew Svipdagr, Freyja cursed him to be tormented by a tempest and shunned like the plague wherever he went. The kumiho has nine tails and as she desires to be a full human, she uses her beauty to seduce men and eat their hearts (or in some cases livers where the belief is that 100 livers would turn her into a real human). There is, however, more to the word "Nahuel" - it can also signify "a man who by sorcery has been transformed into a puma" (or jaguar). In Bisclavret by Marie de France, a werewolf cannot regain human form without his clothing, but in wolf form does no harm to anyone. Gilfaethwy committed rape with help from his brother Gwydion. Metis, however, was already pregnant. In his centuries long life he became successively a stag, a wild boar, a hawk and finally a salmon prior to being eaten and (as in the Wooing of Étaín) reborn as a human. Gwydion was transformed into a stag, sow and wolf, and Gilfaethwy into a hind, boar and she-wolf. The Seven Ravens are transformed when their father thinks his sons are playing instead of fetching water to christen their newborn and sickly sister, and curses them.

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