shapeshifter mythology

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Some shapeshifters are able to change form only if they have some item, usually an article of clothing. While the Greek gods could use transformation punitively – such as Medusa, turned to a monster for having sexual intercourse with Poseidon in Athena's temple – even more frequently, the tales using it are of amorous adventure. Some are rare, such as Italo Calvino's "The Canary Prince" is a Rapunzel variant in which shapeshifting is used to gain access to the tower. 226–7 Gregory Bassham ed. While the popular idea of a shapeshifter is of a human being who turns into something else, there are numerous stories about animals that can transform themselves as well.[1]. In Scandinavia, there existed, for example, the famous race of she-werewolves known with a name of Maras, women who took on the appearance of the night looking for huge half-human and half-wolf monsters. In some fairy tales, the character can reveal himself in every new form, and so a usurper repeatedly kills the victim in every new form, as in Beauty and Pock Face, A String of Pearls Twined with Golden Flowers, and The Boys with the Golden Stars. This lasts until she discovers where he has hidden the article, and she can flee. At an extreme, in Prince Lindworm, the bride who avoids being eaten by the lindworm bridegroom arrives at her wedding wearing every gown she owns, and she tells the bridegroom she will remove one of hers if he removes one of his; only when her last gown comes off has he removed his last skin, and become a white shape that she can form into a man. He finally turned into a lump of burning coal and was thrown into a well, whereupon he reappeared in his human form. Most of these mortals did not become true Shapeshifters after they were transformed by the gods because they weren’t able to change back into a human form again. In the myths of both Jason and Cadmus, one task set to the hero was to sow dragon's teeth; on being sown, they would metamorphose into belligerent warriors, and both heroes had to throw a rock to trick them into fighting each other to survive. In many cases, imposed forms are punitive in nature. The Seven Ravens are transformed when their father thinks his sons are playing instead of fetching water to christen their newborn and sickly sister, and curses them. Metis, however, was already pregnant. These characters frequently appear as radiant maidens or strong young men, whose beauty entrances anyone who crosses their path. She also turned Nyctimene into an owl, though in this case it was an act of mercy, as the girl wished to hide from the daylight out of shame from being raped by her father. Athena sprang from her father's head, fully grown, and in battle armor. Many fairy-tale characters have expressed ill-advised wishes to have any child at all, even one that has another form, and had such children born to them. There is, however, more to the word "Nahuel" - it can also signify "a man who by sorcery has been transformed into a puma" (or jaguar). The most common such shapeshifter is the huli jing, a fox spirit which usually appears as a beautiful young woman; most are dangerous, but some feature as the heroines of love stories. This may be a just punishment, the nature of the transformation matching the crime for which it occurs; in other cases, the form is unjustly imposed by an angry and powerful person. Seemingly all of the Greek and Roman gods were Shapeshifters, although some of them enjoyed changing their form more than others. As the story goes they both soar into the heavens, and lived together for eternity. Berserkers were held to change into wolves and bears in order to fight more effectively. The concept remains a common trope in modern fantasy, children's literature and popular culture. written by John W. Campbell (later adapted to film as, Both the Earthmasters and their opponents in Patricia A. McKillip's 1976. Nereus told Heracles where to find the Apples of the Hesperides for the same reason. Pwyll was transformed by Arawn into Arawn's own shape, and Arawn transformed himself into Pwyll's, so that they could trade places for a year and a day. In the Lokasenna, Odin and Loki taunt each other with having taken the form of females and nursing offspring to which they had given birth. While the popular idea of a shapeshifter is of a human being who turns into something else, there are numerous stories about animals that can transform themselves as well. The idea of shapeshifting is in the oldest forms of totemism and shamanism, as well as the oldest existant literature and epic poems such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Iliad. Others include swan maidens and the Japanese tennin. At an extreme, in Prince Lindworm, the bride who avoids being eaten by the lindworm bridegroom arrives at her wedding wearing every gown she owns, and she tells the bridegroom she will remove one of hers if he removes one of his; only when her last gown comes off has he removed his last skin, and become a white shape that she can form into a man. The pursued may finally succeed in escape or the pursuer in capturing. Less commonly, ill-advised wishes can transform a person after birth. In The Rose Tree and The Juniper Tree, the murdered children become birds who avenge their own deaths. In one tale, Chonguita the Monkey Wife, a woman is turned into a monkey, only becoming human again if she can marry a handsome man. Unlike its Chinese and Japanese counterparts, the kumiho is always malevolent. In romantic fairytales, shapeshifting is a burden upon powerless characters, who have usually been tricked or cursed by a more powerful magical being. In an early Mayan text, the Shapeshifter, or Mestaclocan, has the ability to change his appearance and to manipulate the minds of animals. In many fairy tales, the hero's talking animal helper proves to be a shapeshifted human being, able to help him in its animal form. It can be either a transformation chase (as in The Grateful Prince, King Kojata, Foundling-Bird, Jean, the Soldier, and Eulalie, the Devil's Daughter, or The Two Kings' Children) or an obstacle chase (as in The Battle of the Birds, The White Dove, or The Master Maid).[30]. Even when the form is not undertaken to resemble a literal escape, the abilities specific to the form allow the character to act in a manner that was previously impossible. This obstacle chase is literally found worldwide, in many variants in every region. They were stuck in a non-human form for the rest of time. Erik J. Wielenberg, "Aslan the Terrible" pp. Gilfaethwy committed rape with help from his brother Gwydion. In his centuries long life he became successively a stag, a wild boar, a hawk and finally a salmon prior to being eaten and (as in the Wooing of Étaín) reborn as a human. In Brother and Sister, when two children flee from their cruel stepmother, she enchants the streams along the way to transform them. Shapeshifting may also include symbolic significance, like the Beast's transformation in Beauty and the Beast indicates Belle's ability to accept him despite his appearance.[24]. In one tale, Chonguita the Monkey Wife,[14] a woman is turned into a monkey, only becoming human again if she can marry a handsome man. Likewise, in the Tochmarc Étaíne, Fuamnach jealously turns Étaín into a butterfly. Scottish mythology features shapeshifters, which allows the various creatures to trick, deceive, hunt, and kill humans. Tam Lin, once seized by Janet, was transformed by the fairies to keep Janet from taking him, but as he had advised her, she did not let go, and so freed him. The pursued may finally succeed in escape or the pursuer in capturing. In one story, she was so proud, that her husband, Zeus, tricked her into changing into a fly. Fafnir was originally a dwarf, a giant or even a human, depending on the exact myth, but in all variants he transformed into a dragon—a symbol of greed—while guarding his ill-gotten hoard. In Child ballad 35, "Allison Gross", the title witch turns a man into a wyrm for refusing to be her lover. The Grimm Brothers fairy tale Foundling-Bird contains this as the bulk of the plot. The Navajo people and many surrounding tribes have a tradition about “skinwalkers,” a group of witches who are able to change into coyotes, wolf, fox, owl, or crow. The heroine must fall in love with the transformed groom. The Volsunga saga contains many shapeshifting characters. The Titan Metis, the first wife of Zeus and the mother of the goddess Athena, was believed to be able to change her appearance into anything she wanted. Hans My Hedgehog was born when his father wished for a child, even a hedgehog. The dwarf Andvari is described as being able to magically turn into a pike. Despite his monstrous appearance, his lover, the goddess Freyja, refused to leave his side. https://mythology.wikia.org/wiki/Shapeshifting?oldid=110583. Berserkers were held to change into wolves and bears in order to fight more effectively. The most common such shapeshifter is the huli jing, a fox spirit which usually appears as a beautiful young woman; most are dangerous, but some feature as the heroines of love stories. The idea of shapeshifting is in the oldest forms of totemism and shamanism, as well as the oldest extant literature and epic poems such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Iliad. The name of the Nahuel Huapi Lake in Argentina derives from the toponym of its major island in Mapudungun (Mapuche language): "Island of the Jaguar (or Puma)", from nahuel, "puma (or jaguar)", and huapí, "island". In an early Mayan text, the Shapeshifter, or Mestaclocan, has the ability to change his appearance and to manipulate the minds of animals. Perhaps the best-known Irish myth is that of Aoife who turned her stepchildren, the Children of Lir, into swans to be rid of them. [3] But others, such as the Hedley Kow, could change to many forms, and both human and supernatural wizards were capable of both such changes, and inflicting them on others. [32] The motif of capturing a person by holding him through many transformations is found in folktales throughout Europe,[7] and Patricia A. McKillip references it in her Riddle-Master trilogy: a shapeshifting Earthmaster finally wins its freedom by startling the man holding it. In Puddocky, when three princes start to quarrel over the beautiful heroine, a witch curses her because of the noise. Examples of this are in fairy tales. Llwyd ap Cil Coed transformed his wife and attendants into mice to attack a crop in revenge; when his wife is captured, he turned himself into three clergymen in succession to try to pay a ransom. The Six Swans are transformed into swans by their stepmother,[37] as are the Children of Lir in Irish mythology. In Tatterhood, Tatterhood is transformed by her asking her bridegroom why he didn't ask her why she rode a goat, why she carried a spoon, and why she was so ugly, and when he asked her, denying it and therefore transforming her goat into a horse, her spoon into a fan, and herself into a beauty. [25] In the Earthsea books, Ursula K. Le Guin depicts an animal form as slowly transforming the wizard's mind, so that the dolphin, bear or other creature forgets it was human, making it impossible to change back. Chinese mythology contains many tales of animal shapeshifters, capable of taking on human form. Usually its form is of a beautiful young woman; one tale recounts a man, a would-be seducer, revealed as a kumiho. Zeus transformed King Lycaon and his children into wolves (hence lycanthropy) as a punishment for either killing Zeus' children or serving him the flesh of Lycaon's own murdered son Nyctimus, depending on the exact version of the myth.

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