By Martin Persson Nilsson
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We shall see later that they may have another origin, in the aetiological tale, and very often it is difficult if not impossible to decide to which of the two varieties they belong. This is in great measure due to the fact that the mythology has undergone a literary revision, and the tales of metamorphosis in particular chiefly appear in later writers, who have remodelled them according to an established scheme. The folk~tale often makes an evil witch transform men into animals. There is an example of this in the Circe story, one of the many folk-tale motifs in the Odyssey.
357 et seq. ~1illo(m-]tIycenaean Religion 35 Greek gods in the form of children constitute, as has been said, the connecting link. l The household snake, which had the same function, therefore lent to Zeus his shape. Zeus Ktesios and kmdred fonus appear in the likeness of a snake. Further, the Greeks had tutelary household daemons in the form of dwarfs, or learned to know them. Ll16S' KOVpOl, and 'rulers, lords', &'lIaKtf. , not. a household deity. The transition had far-reaching consequences. Old legends becoming implicated, there arose the myth of the birth of Zeus, the story of the swallowing and r/;,scue of the child, and of his being suckled by wild beasts.
In Greek legend we have the Cyclops, Thyestcs, and Tantalos. But we may have here an aetio~ logic,Ll tale, as is almost certainly the case with the Lykaon story. Human sacrifices formed part of the cult of Zeus on :Mount Lykaion even in historic times. Social conditions, too, arc otten said to be reflected in the preference of the folk-tale for the youngest son.