The Goblin Messengers of Diana and Mercury
This goblin had a beautiful sister, who like him, ran errands, not for the gods, but for the goddesses (there was a female god for every male, even down to the small spirits); and Diana on the same day gave to this fairy the power that, whoever might chase her, she should, if pursued, never be overtaken.
On day the brother saw his sister speeding like a flash of lightning across the heaven, and he felt a sudden strange desire in rivalry to overtake her. So he dashed after as she flitted on; but though it was his destiny to catch, she had been fated never to be caught, and so the will of one supreme god was balanced by that of another.
So the two kept flying round and round the edge of heaven, and at first all the gods roared with laughter, but when they understood the case, hey grew serious, and asked one another how it was to end.
Then the great father-god said, "Behold the earth, which is in darkness and gloom! I will change the sister into a Moon, and her brother into a sun. And so shall she ever escape him, yet will he ever catch her with his light, which shall fall on her from afar; for the rays of the sun are his hands, which reach forth with burning grasp, yet which are ever eluded."
And thus it is said that this
race begins anew with, the first of every month, when the moon being cold,
is covered with as many coats as an onion. But while the race is being run,
as the moon becomes warm she casts off one garment after another, till she
is naked and then stops, and then when dressed the race begins again.
"On silent lake or streamlet
lone" as Villon hath it, even so minor myths are again formed from the fallen
waters. In this story we clearly have the dog made by Vulcan and the wolf
- Jupiter settled the question by petrifying them - as you may read in Julius
Pollux his fifth book, or any other on mythology.
Move on to Chapter XV