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The World Myth

The Hero

What are some examples of the hero being threatened and abandoned or hidden during childhood?

The world hero is a threat to the status quo and is immediately threatened in childhood. Sometimes he is actually abandoned, sometimes he is successfully hidden away for his protection. In the Jesus story, King Herod feels so threatened when the magi tell him they have come to worship a new king, that he orders the killing of all newborn boys in his land. Kamsa does the same thing in the Krishna story. Jesus is taken to Egypt, and Krishna is sent away to a foster family. In Iran, other magi announce the birth of Zoroaster to King Duransarum, and he attempts to stab the child. In Egypt, Isis hides the young Horus in the Delta to save him from his violent uncle, Seth. Sigurd, Moses, and Sargon are all hidden away from threatening forces. King Acrisius tries to rid himself of Perseus by abandoning him in the river. Jocasta and Laius give up the baby Oedipus to the wilderness.

The world hero is often protected by animals or people of the lower classes—“ordinary” people. Romulus and Remus are abandoned and raised by a wolf. Sigurd grows up with a smith, Krishna with cowherders.



The heroine Draupadi (right) used a miraculous sari to protect her from those who meant her harm.

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