Orpheus and Eurydice


‘He could have been the happiest man on the earth, but it was not to be, for his marriage with the beautiful nymph Eurydice was not to last long. They were still only newly-weds when she, while walking through the meadows, stepped on a snake that bit her heel and tore away her young life. Orpheus dared travelling to the underworld and approach the throne of Hades. He accompanied his wistful song with string music. Then the shades cried, Tantalus forgot to bow to the water, Sisyphus sat listening on the stone that would not role away any more and even the Erinyes were moved to tears. Eurydice was called and returned to her husband; he was allowed to carry her to the world above as long he would not look at her before they had left the land of the shades. When they had come close to the exit, Orpheus – afraid that she might not make it to the exit, and filled with a desire to see her – looked behind him and saw her disappear; when he tried to grasp her, he reached out into air. A barely audible farewell reached his ears. When he tried to follow her, the hound Cerberus forbade him to pass. Seven days and seven nights he sat on the riverbank of the Styx before finally returning to earth.’

– Hoffmann. E. 1971. Goden- en Heldensagen [Sagas of Gods and Heroes] Groningen, The Netherlands: Wolters-Noordhoff (1977) p. 24-25

Chaos, Gaia, Ouranos and his Offspring


‘Firstly, the poet Hesiod tells us there was Chaos, the endless darkness of nothingness, the gaping maw, the strange birth of the entire world of souls and those who do not have souls. From it originated Gaia, the earth, and the Tartaros, the underworld deep underneath the surface of the earth; and also Eros, love, the power connecting everything. Gaia begat Ouranos, the heaven, the mountains of the earth and Pontos, the sea. Then heaven and earth married each other. They had eighteen children. Three of them, the Hekatoncheirs, with hundred arms and fifty heads; they stood higher than the highest mountains, and were hideous to gaze upon. Three others, called the Cyclops, had one eye each, round shaped and placed in the middle of the forehead. The twelve older children, six boys and six girls, were properly formed; they were called the Titans.’

– Hoffmann. E. 1971. Goden- en Heldensagen [Sagas of Gods and Heroes] Groningen, The Netherlands: Wolters-Noordhoff (1977) p. 9

Once Upon a Time


‘”Once upon a time ….” As long as these words retain their magical tone, there shall always remain an interest in the stories of gods and heroes, giants and monsters, and the mythology of numerous civilizations.’

– Hoffmann E. 1971. Goden- en Heldensagen [Sagas of Gods and Heroes] Groningen, The Netherlands: Wolters-Noordhoff (1977) p. 5