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The place of the Thunder-god in polytheistic religion is similar to that of the Rain-god, in many cases even to entire coincidence. But his character is rather of wrath than of beneficence, a character which we have half lost the power to realize, since the agonizing terror of the thunderstorm which appals savage minds has dwindled away in ours, now that we behold in it not the manifestation of divine wrath, but the restoration of electric equilibriuin. North American tribes, as the Mandans, heard in the thunder and saw in the lightning the clapping wings and flashing eyes of that awful heaven-bird which belongs to, or even is, the Great Manitu himself. The Dacotas could show at a place called Thunder-tracks, near the source of the St. Peter's River, the footprints of the thunder-bird five and twenty miles apart. It is to be noticed that these Sioux, among their varied fancies about thunder-birds and the like, give unusually well a key to the great thunderboltmyth which recurs in so many lands. They consider the lightning entering the ground to scatter there in all directions thunderbolt-stones, which are flints, &c., their reason for this notion being the very rational one, that these siliceous stones actually produce a flash when struck. In an account of certain Carib deities, who were men and are now stars, occurs the name of Savacou, who was changed into a great bird ; he is captain of the hurricane and thunder, he blows fire through a tube and that is lightning, he gives the great rain. Rochefort describes the effect of a thunderstorm on the partly Europeanized Caribs of the West Indies two centuries ago. When they perceive its approach, he says, they quickly betake themselves to their cabins, and range themselves in the kitchen on their little seats near the fire; hiding their faces and leaning their heads in their hands and on their knees, they fall to weeping and lamenting in their jargon “Maboya mouche fache contre Caraïbe," i.e.,
Pr. Max v. Wied, ‘N. Amer.' vol. ii. pp. 152, 223; J. G. Müller, p. 120; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 179.
2 Keating, Narr.' vol. i. p. 407; Eastman, “Dahcotah,' p. 71 ; Brinton, p. 150, etc. ; see M'Coy, ‘Baptist Indian Missions,' p. 363.
Maboya (the evil demon) is very angry with the Caribs. This they say also when there comes a hurricane, not leaving off this dismal exercise till it is over, and there is no end to their astonishment that the Christians on these occasions manifest no such affliction and fear. The Tupi tribes of Brazil are an example of a race among whom the Thunder or the Thunderer, Tupan, flapping his celestial wings and flashing with celestial light, was developed into the very representative of highest deity, whose name still stands among their Christian descendants as the equivalent of God. In Peru, a mighty and far-worshipped deity was Catequil the Thunder-god, child of the Heaven-god, he who set free the Indian race from out of the ground by turning it up with his golden spade, he who in thunderflash and clap hurls from his sling the small round smooth thunderstones, treasured in the villages as fire-fetishes and charms to kindle the flames of love. How distinct in personality and high in rank was the Thunder and Lightning (Chuqui yllayllapa) in the religion of the Incas, may be judged from his huaca or fetish-idol standing on the bench beside the idols of the Creator and the Sun at the great Solar festival in Cuzco, when the beasts to be sacrificed were led round them, and the priests prayed thus : “ O Creator, and Sun, and Thunder, be for ever young! do not grow old. Let all things be at peace! let the people multiply, and their food, and let all other things continue to increase.”
In Africa, we may contrast the Zulu, who perceives in thunder and lightning the direct action of Heaven or Heaven's lord, with the Yoruba, who assigns them not to Olorun the Lord of Heaven, but to a lower deity, Shango the Thunder-god, whom they call also Dzakuta the Stonecaster, for it is he who (as among so many other peoples who have forgotten their Stone Age) flings down from heaven the stone hatchets which are found in the ground, and preserved as sacred objects. In the religion of the Kamchadals, Billukai, the hem of whose garment is the rainbow, dwells in the clouds with many spirits, and sends thunder and lightning and rain. Among the Ossetes of the Caucasus the Thunderer is Ilya, in whose name mythologists trace a Christian tradition of Elijah, whose fiery chariot seems indeed to have been elsewhere identified with that of the Thunder-god, while the highest peak of Ægina, once the seat of Pan-hellenic Zeus, is now called Mount St. Elias. Among certain Moslem schismatics, it is even the historical Ali, cousin of Mohammed, who is enthroned in the clouds, where the thunder is his voice, and the lightning the lash wherewith he smites the wicked. Among the Turanian or Tatar race, the European branch shows most distinctly the figure of the Thunder-god. To the Lapps, Tiermes appears to have been the Heaven-god, especially conceived as Aija the Thunder-god; of old they thought the Thunder (Aija) to be a living being, hovering in the air and hearkening to the talk of men, smiting such as spoke of him in an unseemly way; or, as some said, the Thundergod is the foe of sorcerers, whom he drives from heaven and smites, and then it is that men hear in thunder-peals the hurtling of his arrows, as he speeds them from his bow, the Rainbow. In Finnish poetry, likewise, Ukko the Heaven-god is portrayed with such attributes. The Runes call him Thunderer, he speaks through the clouds, his fiery shirt is the lurid storm-cloud, we hear of his stones and his hammer, he flashes his fiery sword and it lightens, or he draws his mighty rainbow, Ukko's bow, to shoot his fiery copper arrows, wherewith men would invoke him to
i De la Borde, Caraïbes,' p. 530 ; Rochefort, 'Iles Antilles,' p. 431.
? De Laet, Novus Orbis,' xv. 2. Waitz, vol. iii. p. 417; J. G. Müller, p. 270 ; also 421 (thunderstorms by anger of Sun, in Cumana, etc.).
3 Brinton, p. 153 ; Herrera, 'Indias Occidentales,' Dec. v. 4. J. G. Müller, p. 327. Rites and Laws of the Yncas,' tr. & ed. by C. R. Markham, p. 16, see 81 ; Prescott, 'Peru,' vol, i. p. 86.
Bowen, Yoruba Lang.' p. xvi. in ‘Smithsonian Contr.' vol. i. See Burton, “Dahome,' vol. ii. p. 142. Details as to thunder-axes, etc. in Early Hist. of Mankind,'ch, viji.
* Steller, “Kamtschatka,' p. 266.
3 Klemm, 'C. G.' vol. iv. p. 85. (Ossetes, etc.) See Welcker, vol. i. p. 170 ; Grimm, 'D. M.' p. 158. Bastian, ‘Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 423 (Ali-sect.).
smite their enemies. Or when it is dark in his heavenly house he strikes fire, and that is lightning. To this day the Finlanders call a thunderstorm an "ukko,” or an “ukkonen,” that is, “ a little ukko," and when it lightens they say, “There is Ukko striking fire !”]
What is the Aryan conception of the Thunder-god, but a poetic elaboration of thoughts inherited from the savage state through which the primitive Aryans had passed? The Hindu Thunder-god is the Heaven-god Indra, Indra's bow is the rainbow, Indra hurls the thunderbolts, he smites his enemies, he smites the dragon-clouds, and the rain pours down on earth, and the sun shines forth again. The Veda is full of Indra's glories : “Now will I sing the feats of Indra, which he of the thunderbolt did of old. He smote Ali, then he poured forth the waters; he divided the rivers of the mountains. He smote Ahi by the mountain ; Tvashtar forged for him the glorious bolt."-" Whet, O strong Indra, the heavy strong red weapon against the enemies !” -“May the axe (the thunderbolt) appear with the light; may the red one blaze forth bright with splendour !”— “ When Indra hurls again and again his thunderbolt, then they believe in the brilliant god.” Nor is Indra merely a great god in the ancient Aryan pantheon, he is the very patron-deity of the invading Aryan race in India, to whose help they look in their conflicts with the dark-skinned tribes of the land. “Destroying the Dasyus, Indra protected the Aryan colour "-" Indra protected in battle the Aryan worshipper, he subdued the lawless for Manu, he conquered the black skin.”? This Hindu Indra is the offspring of Dyaus the Heaven. But in the Greek religion, Zeus is himself Zeus Kerauneios, the wielder of the thunderbolt, and thunders from the cloud-capped tops of Ida or Olympos. In like manner the Jupiter Capitolinus of Rome is himself Jupiter Tonans :
I Castren, ‘Finn. Myth.' p. 39, etc. 2 Rig-Veda,' i. 32. 1, 55. 5, 130. 8, 165 ; ii. 34. 9; vi 20; x. 43. 9, 89, 9. Max Müller, “Lectures,' 2nd S. p. 427 ; 'Chips,' vol. i. p. 42, vol. ii. p. 323. Sce Muir, 'Sanskrit Texts.'
“Ad penetrale Numse, Capitolinumque Tonantem.” i Thus, also, it was in accurate language that the old Slavonic nations were described as adoring Jupiter Tonans as their highest god. He was the cloud-dwelling Heaven-god, his weapon the thunder-bolt, the lightning-flash, his name Perun the Smiter (Perkun, Perkunas). In the Lithuanian district, the thunder itself is Perkun; in past times the peasant would cry when he heard the thunder peal “Dewe Perkune apsaugog mus !—God Perkun spare us !" and to this day he says, “Perkunas gravja !—Perkun is thundering!” or “Wezzajs barrahs !—the Old One growls !” The old German and Scandinavian theology made Thunder, Donar, Thor, a special deity to rule the clouds and rain, and hurl his crushing hammer through the air. He reigned high in the Saxon heaven, till the days came when the Christian convert had to renounce him in solemn form, “ec forsacho Thunare !—I forsake Thunder !” Now, his survival is for the most part in mere verbal form, in the etymology of such names as Donnersberg, Thorwaldsen, Thursday.3
In the polytheism of the lower as of the higher races, the Wind-gods are no unknown figures. The Winds themselves, and especially the Four Winds in their four regions, take name and shape as personal divinities, while some deity of wider range, a Wind-god, Storm-god, Air-god, or the inighty Heaven-god himself, may stand as compeller or controller of breeze and gale and tempest. We have already taken as examples from the Algonquin mythology of North America the four winds whose native 'legends have been versified in “ Hiawatha ; " Mudjekeewis the West Wind, Father of the Winds of Heaven, and his children, Wabun the East Wind, the morning-bringer, the lazy Shawondasee the South Wind, the wild and cruel North
| Homer, Il. viii. 170, xvii. 595. Ovid. Fast. ii. 69. See Max Müller, Lectures,' l. c. ; Welcker, Griech. Götterl.' vol. ii. p. 194. 2 Hanusch, “Slaw. Myth' p. 257. 3 Grimin, Deutsche Myth. ch. viii. Edda ; Gylfaginning, 21, 44.