But, what is myth? Not just fiction, myth explains the origin of an idea or a physical element. Where do chickens come from. Why does the sun rise in the morning. Where do people go when they die. They explain the creation of a reality. The people that appear in myths are usually supernatural. Because only from the outside world can this one come into being. Or at least, it is of utmost importance because it took place in a very distant far time, a time which is before time.
It proves itself truthful because of the reality we experience. The myth about the origin of the swan’s black beak is true because well, look at the swan! What color is its beak? Where did black color come from? Pigments in bone? What are bird’s beaks made of? *pauses to check wikipedia* Oh, it’s a bone structure covered in hard keratinized epidermis. So a bone with skin. I see. Also, swans don’t have black beaks. It’s their faces that are black. Hell, I fed swans for two months when I was in Scotland and I already forgot about the swans!
Myths explain why you do things. Why do you have to arrange your house in this or that way. Why you don’t plant tomatos during july. Just an example. But why? Because of myth. And myth is so valuable as part of your culture, that you believe in it.
Myths are not fables: the fable of the fox and the grape vine is not real, and it is clearly so. Animals don’t speak, and foxes probably don’t eat grapes. Do they? wikipedia…yes, they do. But they are not very healthy for them apparently.
In some cultures, myths are kept away from the ears of the profane. Fables can be told to children and women. Myths, however, are kept for the religious castes. Today, our myths are called history, but our histories share much with the myths. They explain why we are here, why we do what we do, and we believe in them regardless of the evidence to believe in them (sometimes, familiarity replaces evidence. We believe the earth is round because entities familiar to us also affirm this).
In some cultures , myth is not just knowledge, but rather it gives the knower the power over the thing or creature that the myth is about. The myth of the creation of fire grants the power to start a fire. Hunters who know the mythical origin of the animal they are hunting are expected to be more successful than others who don’t. The people that know the legend about the origin of a healing herb are the only ones that can use to heal.
Magic and prestige of origins
Myths resemble cosmogonies on a smaller scale. They detail the change in the world, which happened in a time and a place that was not ours. Change consequence of each we have what we have today. Since they have a similar origin storyline, sometimes they begin detailing the cosmogony that surrounds the story. How was the universe created, how was the earth created, the animals, the humans, and all the way down to actual kings and families that inhabit the earth. It’s not infrequent to have long genealogies included as the opening.