E is for El-lal

Published April 6, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

E

In what we now call Patagonia, back in the mists of time, there lived a couple, Nosjthej and his wife.

Now, Nosjthej was not a terribly nice person.  In fact, as his wife swelled up with child, he began to take a dislike to the whole idea of having a child.  It seemed like a bad thing to him, something to be avoided at all costs.

So, when his wife was about to give birth, he reached into her womb and snatched out the baby, planning to eat it and thus put an end to it.

But the child fell from his grasp and was carried off to safety by a rat.

In the rat’s nest, the child grew to manhood, and he was called El-lal.

The rat was a very wise rat, as well as an oddly kind one, and it had taught El-lal many things that the rest of the human race didn’t know, especially how to bend things to his will.

He used that power to create the first bow and arrow, and using that new weapon, he marched to war against his wicked father, and against a race of giant demons who lived in the area.

Once his home had been freed of these terrible beings, El-lal gave his bow to the other humans, and taught them how to use it, then departed the earth, leaving to live in the sky.


So, once again, I’ve failed to find something with a strong, non-Greek comparison. *sigh*

But the Greek comparison is a pretty strong one!

Like Nosjthej, Kronos snatched up his newborn children to eat them.  But Zeus — like El-lal — was whisked away to safety, so he could grow to manhood and avenge himself (and his siblings).  The race of giants or demons (my sources used both words) aren’t specified as being Nosjthej’s siblings, the way the Titans were the siblings of Kronos, but the fact that a whole race of monstrous beings had to be defeated before the rescued infant’s triumph was complete seems like a pretty solid comparison none the less.

And they both go to live in the sky when it’s over, too.

Of course, Zeus was never human or mortal, and he wasn’t the one to invent the bow and arrow (or any other weapon), but no comparison can be perfect, right?

But really this is one of the strongest — and strangest — parallels I’ve seen.  (Though it’s not helped by the fact that El-lal’s story has only come to me in the most condensed of forms.  There was no reason given as to why his father would want to devour him, none whatsoever.)  And the sources of the myths are quite far apart in space, climate and most likely in time as well.  (My sources were also silent on just how old the Patagonian myth is…but I suspect they don’t actually know, considering writing wouldn’t have arrived there until the 17th century.)  So why do both of them feature a cannibalistic father and a rescued child who grows up to subdue both his father and a whole race of powerful beings?

Without the time to research the Patagonian culture whose hero El-lal is, I obviously can’t give a satisfactory answer to that question, much as it annoys me to say so.  One possibility is that ritual sacrifice and cannibalism (of children?) was at some time part of both cultures.  I know I’ve seen it theorized that all the cannibalism in Greek myths indicate that there was once cannibalism in the area, back in the early pre-history of the culture.  (I’m not sure how well accepted that theory is, of course, but I’ve seen an entire book on the subject in the university library, so it must have at least some acceptance.)  If a theory like that applies to one culture, it might apply to another as well.

Or it could just be proof of how terrible his father is, and how mighty he is to be able to defeat him.  Either works.  (Or it could be both…)

So, I’m sorry about all the question marks in the post-comparison section, but I hope they didn’t detract from the comparison itself!

(Also, I’m sorry not to provide any illustrations.  I couldn’t find any artworks for El-lal, and the Kronos images weren’t ancient Greek.  I was tempted to fudge and use Goya…but just looking at the thumbnails gave me the heebie-jeebies, so I decided against it.  Seriously nightmarish, that…and having essentially seen it in animated form doesn’t help.)

[BTW, if you’re looking for my IWSG post, it’s right here.]

One comment on “E is for El-lal

  • Comments are closed.

    Vocaloid Tarot

    Vocaloid, UTAU and Tarot; individually or all-in-one

    Matthew Meyer

    the yokai guy

    Arwen's Butterflies and Things

    My BJD creation blog. Here's where my sewing creations and projects are showcased. Some outfits are for sale. Please use the tags & catagories to navigate this blog. I love comments and reviews!

    History From Below

    Musings on Daily Life in the Ancient and Early Medieval Mediterranean By Sarah E. Bond

    The Bloggess

    Like Mother Teresa, only better.

    My Tiny Joy

    Where little things matter!

    Klein's Other Toys

    Comics, Funko Pops and Anime figures oh my!

    BINARYTHIS

    EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT GENDER BUT WERE TOO AFRAID TO ASK

    Creating Herstory

    Celebrating the women who create history

    Kicky Resin

    BJDs et al

    Lala Land

    (>°~°)><(°~°<)

    A'Cloth the World

    Where Textiles, Fashion, Culture, Communication and Art Come Together.

    starshiphedgehog

    Occasionally my brain spurts out ideas and this is where I put them

    The Social Historian

    Adventures in the world of history

    medievalbooks

    Erik Kwakkel blogging about medieval manuscripts

    Sara Letourneau

    Poet. Freelance editor and writing coach. SFF enthusiast.

    Zounds, Alack, and By My Troth

    A tragical-comical-historical-pastoral webcomic by Ben Sawyer

    Project Doll House

    never too old to play with dolls

    knotted things

    All about the things that I'm all about.

    Eclectic Alli

    A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

    Omocha Crush

    Secret Confessions of a Toy Addict

    C.G.Coppola

    FIND YOUR ESCAPE

    WordDreams...

    Jacqui Murray's

    Onomastics Outside the Box

    Names beyond the Top 100, from many nations and eras

    Hannah Reads Books

    This is an archival site for old posts. Visit hannahgivens.com for art, puppetry, and links to any current media commentary.

    Ariel Hudnall

    the writings, musings, and photography of a dream smith

    Taking a Walk Through History

    Walking back in time to discover the origins of every historical route on earth

    SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

    ΕΥΔΟΞΑ ΑΓΝΩΣΤΑ ΚΑΤΑΓΕΛΑΣΤΑ

    Pullips and Junk

    We're all mad about Pullips here!

    mycupofteaminiatures

    Handmade miniatures

    Dutch Fashion Doll World

    A Dutch Barbie collector in Holland

    Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter

    Reviews and News From the Doll World

    It's a Britta Bottle!

    Small Stories of a Twenty-Something Adventuring Through Life

    DataTater

    It's all small stuff.

    The Photographicalist

    Preserving the photographical perspective

    The Daily Post

    The Art and Craft of Blogging

    We're All Mad Here!

    <---This Way | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . | That Way--->

    The WordPress.com Blog

    The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

    %d bloggers like this: