WEREWOLVES AND SWAN-MAIDENS.
IT is related by Ovid that Lykaon, king of Arkadia, once invited Zeus to dinner, and served up for him a dish of human flesh, in order to test the god's omniscience. But the trick miserably failed, and the impious monarch received the punishment which his crime had merited. He was transformed into a wolf, that he might henceforth feed upon the viands with which he had dared to pollute the table of the king of Olympos. From that time forth, according to Pliny, a noble Arkadian was each year, on the festival of Zeus Lykaios, led to the margin of a certain lake. Hanging his clothes upon a tree, he then plunged into the water and became a wolf. For the space of nine years he roamed about the adjacent woods, and then, if he had not tasted human flesh during all this time, he was allowed to swim back to the place where his clothes were hanging, put them on, and return to his natural form. It is further related of a certain Demainetos, that, having once been present at a human sacrifice to Zeus Lykaios, he ate of the flesh, and was transformed into a wolf for a term of ten years.*
These and other similar mythical germs were developed by the mediæval imagination into the horrible superstition of werewolves.
A werewolf, or loup-garou,† was a person who had the____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Myths and Myth-Makers:Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology. Contributors: John Fiske - Author. Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1901. Page number: 69.