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Momus Criticizes the Gods’ Creations, by Maarten van Heemskerck, 1561

I always think of Aesop’s fables as having to do with animals, but “Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, and Momus” features gods. It still has a relatable morale though.

According to an ancient legend, the first man was made by Jupiter, the first bull by Neptune, and the first house by Minerva. On the completion of their labors, a dispute arose as to which had made the most perfect work. They agreed to appoint Momus as judge, and to abide by his decision. Momus, however, being very envious of the handicraft of each, found fault with all. He first blamed the work of Neptune because he had not made the horns of the bull below his eyes, so he might better see where to strike. He then condemned the work of Jupiter, because he had not placed the heart of man on the outside, that everyone might read the thoughts of the evil disposed and take precautions against the intended mischief. And, lastly, he inveighed against Minerva because she had not contrived iron wheels in the foundation of her house, so its inhabitants might more easily remove if a neighbor proved unpleasant. Jupiter, indignant at such inveterate faultfinding, drove him from his office of judge, and expelled him from the mansions of Olympus.

The lesson is to avoid being a fault finder. No one wants told everything that’s wrong with their special creations.

In Greek mythology, Momus was the personification of satire, mockery, censure; a god of writers and poets; a spirit of evil-spirited blame and unfair criticism. I’m thinking maybe he wasn’t the best person to ask to be the judge.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

Melissa at Mommy wants to read joined in this week with King and King by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland.