The Library of Obscure Wonders

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Tag: myth

Apple (Malus domestica)

Drawing of half an apple showing the inside.

Study of an Apple. Silverpoint. J V Roberts.

“hallucinating Apples, i went down to the shop and bought one. Counting out my last 23 pence at the counter felt like a righteous act and I treated it like that. walking home I felt like I was holding the Centre of the Universe in my hand.” manfromuranus


Beware of the apple, it is a sinful fruit. A master at the art of temptation.The symbol of immortality, health and fertility in Norse myth, it gave the gods their eternal youth.

It is an ancient fruit originating from Asia, perhaps the first ever cultivated.

When the Greek goddess of dischord was not invited to the party she threw a golden apple on to the dance floor, with an inscription that read “to the fairest”.  Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite all claimed the apple. Paris would have to judge which of them was the fairest. Aphrodite wanted the golden apple so much she got Paris to vote for her by offering him Helen of Troy, and so started the Trojan war.

Atlanta was tricked by the tempting apple when Aphrodite gave 3 apples to Hippomenes.  Atlanta would only marry the man that could win against her in a race, but she was fast and no man could beat her . Then Hippomenes laid down the apples Aphrodite had given him, placed them one by one in Atlanta’s path so she slowed down to retrieve them. Hippomenes won the race so Atlanta had to marry him as she’d agreed with her father.

Then there is of course the apple of the tree of knowledge, so delicious looking on that branch. It couldn’t have taken much persuading from the snake or Eve, Adams mouth was watering.

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but be careful who it does bring. An old tradition was to toss an apple to the person you loved, and if the loved one caught the apple it meant they loved you in return.

Studies of an old slightly rotten apple. Silverpoint on paper. By JV Roberts

Golden Apple from Aphrodite


Mythological person with one leg and one large foot.

A sciapod shading himself from the sun, pen and watercolour on handmade paper, JV Roberts.

Sciapods are mythological dwarf-like people with one leg and one  very large foot. The name comes from “shadow feet” in Greek. They are able to leap with surprising agility (Pliny Natural History) and are in the habit of lying on their backs in hot whether using their feet as shade against the sun. In this position they can be mistaken for large mushrooms.

The Cyclops


Example of a Cyclops

A cyclops is a primordial giant with a single eye in the centre of his forehead. They are strong, stubborn and emotional. They are also very good blacksmiths and the noises proceeding from the heart of volcanoes can be attributed to their operations. Cyclopes are present in Greek and Roman mythology . On escaping Troy after the Trojan War, Aeneas landed on the Island of the cyclops.

Other creatures similar to the Cyclops include:

The  Arimaspoi, a legendary people who lived in the foothills of the mountains north of the Black Sea. They liked trying to steal gold from griffins so were constantly at war with them.

The Hitotsume-kozo of Japanese folklore are the size of ten-year old children, resemble Buddhist monks and have a “single, giant eye peering from the center of the face, along with a long tongue”

And apparently Odin, king of the Norse Gods, gave up one eye to gain wisdom and power.Cyclops ID Kit - mask, filing cabinet, drawings, bones, an eye.