Tag Archives: Myths and Folktales

NON-DILLINGER: QUICK TAKES ON OTHER GANGSTERS OF HIS ERA

With John Dillinger folklore given WAY too much attention, Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at some of the legends versus the ugly reality regarding some of his contemporary gangsters. 

Two Gun Crowley biggerTWO-GUN CROWLEY

Real Name: Francis Crowley

Birth – Death: October 31st, 1912 – January 21st, 1932

Lore: Crowley was supposedly born out of wedlock to a German-American woman and a New York police officer who refused to marry Crowley’s mother. This supposedly accounts for his intense hatred of the police.

Reality: Such shallow, Pulp Magazine thinking doesn’t seem likely. The young man was adopted by a family in which Francis grew up alongside a cop-killing older brother named John Crowley. John himself would be killed in a battle with police.

This background seems a more likely explanation for Francis’ issues than some mythical hatred of an unknown father who abandoned him and his mother. 

Two Gun Crowley in bedCriminal Career: By age 19, Crowley had a reputation as a competent holdup man and hit & run armed robber who never slipped up enough for a conviction. He might have escaped suspicion entirely if not for his excessively belligerent attitude when questioned by authorities.     

On February 21st, 1931 Crowley, packing the omnipresent pair of hand-guns that earned him his nickname, crashed an American Legion dance in the Bronx. Two-Gun was accompanied by a pair of male accomplices, one of whom was believed to be frequent associate Rudolph “Fats” Durringer.

When the Legionnaires attempted to expel the uninvited trio Crowley whipped out his pair of firearms and opened fire, wounding at least two innocent men before fleeing. With charges of attempted murder now hanging over his head, Two-Gun was about to enter the busiest period of his career. Continue reading

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PALADINS OF CHARLEMAGNE

Carolingian empireTradition and folklore hold that Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by the Pope on Christmas, but in real life it apparently did not happen until the following February. Still, Charlemagne’s anointing as Holy Roman Emperor on top of the kingly titles he already held was recounted as a Christmas tale for quite a while.

Most importantly, so much attention is paid to King Arthur – who may not have existed at all – that the real-life Charlemagne gets overlooked. But then reality has no place in the following look at the legends surrounding Charlemagne’s Paladins (Knights).  

Twelve PeersTHE TWELVE PEERS – This term was the Charlemagne equivalent of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

If you’ll recall the reason that King Arthur’s table was round was so that nobody could be considered above the others in rank or status. The same reasoning applied with Charlemagne’s designation of his Paladins as Twelve PEERS or equals.

MaugrisMAUGRIS THE ENCHANTER aka MALAGIGI – This magician was the Frankish equivalent of Merlin from King Arthur lore. Maugris was raised by a Fairy named Oriande and appears in a supporting role in many tales of Charlemagne’s Paladins, often in a mystical disguise.

Maugris was generally depicted as younger than Merlin is depicted, and often used a sword in combat. This Frankish Wizard had an Enchanted Tome in which information he needed could magically appear. Maugris often conjured up winged demons to use as flying mounts to transport him from one location to another.

THE PALADINS

Bradamante BETTERBRADAMANTE – This female Paladin was the sister of Renaut de Montaubon.

Bradamante, who wielded an enchanted lance that unseated any opponent it touched, rescued her true love, the Saracen warrior Ruggiero from his captivity in a glass dome atop Mount Carena in Northern Africa. Continue reading

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INUIT MYTHS: ILAGANIQ

Balladeer’s Blog has already examined all the major gods and goddesses of the Inuit so here is a look at another one of their mythical heroes. For my initial list of Inuit deities click HERE 

Bering SeaILAGANIQ – The Inuit hero Ilaganiq was born in the village of Imitchaq, which was famous for being right near the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bering Sea. Ever since he was very young Ilaganiq and his brothers were subjected to extensive physical conditioning by their father.

Ilaganiq’s father Aapaang hoped that one of his sons would be the hero to destroy the Amikuk, or “the Skin Octopus” a monster which terrorized the region. The creature was called the Skin Octopus because of its flat body, like a seal-skin stretched and drying in the sun.

Despite its flat body the beast had tentacles like a traditional octopus and it had caused much loss of life as well as many sunken kayaks and umiaks. Aapaang’s youngest son Ilaganiq had been born with webbed hands and feet, making him the fastest swimmer of the family. Continue reading

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SUN GODS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Balladeer’s Blog’s mythology posts are among the most popular parts of this site. As a change of pace from my examinations of multiple deities from a single mythological pantheon this time I’ll do a light-hearted look at solar deities – both male and female – from around the world.

Seqinek11. SEQINEK

Pantheon: Inuit

Lore: Also called Malina, Seqinek’s home was in Udlormiut, the land that was on the other side of the sky. In Inuit cosmology the sky was the roof of the enormous ice- house (igloo) that enclosed the world and Udlormiut lay on the other side.

By day Seqinek would leave her home and run across the sky, with the sun itself being the flame from the torch she carried as she ran. The goddess was forever fleeing her brother, the moon god Tatqim, whose partially burnt- out torch was the moon.

For more Inuit deities – https://glitternight.com/inuit-myth/

10. SURYA

Pantheon: Hindu

Lore: The sun was Surya’s chariot racing across Continue reading

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ARKOANYO: A GOD OF THE TUPARI

Tupari live near the Rio BrancoARKOANYO – The bird-creating deity who often protected his fellow divinities, especially from the storm god Valedjad. That god often grew so angry with his fellow deities that he unleashed powerful storms on them, sometimes destroying lesser deities who dared to oppose him.

At one point Valedjad grew so angry he caused a storm so powerful it flooded the Earth, killing many of the other gods and goddesses. The surviving deities struggled to devise a way of at last ending Valedjad’s reign of terror. Arkoanyo, the bird-creating deity was the one who took action.  Continue reading

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TOP DEITIES IN AINU MYTHS

Ainu mapThe Ainu people of Japan suffered oppression at the hands of the Japanese which was similar to that suffered by various conquered peoples around the world at the hands of the Western World, Russia, China and the Muslim World.

The Ainu migrated south to the Japanese islands from the northern lands of the Inuit. Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will recognize the similarities between the Ainu and Inuit belief systems and methods of worship. In addition certain linguistic similarities will be noted between the Ainu and the Japanese. The Shinto “kami” becomes the Ainu “kamui”, to cite the most prominent example. 

As with the Inuit, exact names and aspects of the following deities can vary, with the most pronounced differences being in Saghalien. 

RUKORO – The Ainu god of the male privy. No, I’m not kidding. The powerful stench from his domain serves the useful purpose of  fending off evil spirits. Because of his association with evacuation and expulsion of things unclean he is regarded as a powerful exorcist. There is no corresponding goddess of the female privy, owing to primitive taboos about menstruation.

CHUP – The sun god of the Ainu. His wife is Tombe, the moon goddess. Ainu homes orient their sacred window toward the east to greet the rising sun. Until recent decades it was customary to salute the sun upon exposure to its rays, similar to the practice of genuflecting to the center of an altar, but done without kneeling.

It was considered disrespectful to bodily cross the rays of sunlight striking the hearth through the sacred window. It was better to wait until the position of the sun changed. An inau, one of the idols or totems of the Ainu people, would be set up to honor the sun. That inau bears an incised outline of the orb of the sun and during rituals libations and praise are offered up to Chup.    Continue reading

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HITTITE MYTH OF THE MOUNTAIN GOD AND THE DEER

Hittite empireBalladeer’s Blog takes a look at the Hittite myth involving a mountain god and a deer.

Zaliyanu, the god of the mountain which bears his name, was kind enough to shelter a deer that was fleeing hunters. The pursuit had begun on a neighboring mountain whose god didn’t dare risk the wrath of the hunting god Kurunta by sheltering the terrified creature. Zaliyanu, the greatest of the mountain deities, had no such compunction. Continue reading

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