Pygmy to Python

Pygmy, a dwarf. The pygmies were a nation of dwarfs, always at war with the cranes of Scythia. They were not above a foot high, and lived somewhere at the “end of the earth”—either in Thrace, Ethiopia, India, or the Upper Nile. The pygmy women were mothers at the age of three, and old women at eight. Their houses were built of egg-shells. They cut down a blade of wheat with an axe and hatchet, as we fell huge forest trees.

One day, they resolved to attack Herculês in his sleep, and went to work as in a siege. An army attacked each hand, and the archers attacked the feet. Herculês awoke, and with the paw of his lion-skin overwhelmed the whole host, and carried them captive to king Eurystheus.

Swift has availed himself of this fable in Gulliver’s Travels (“Lilliput,” 1726).

Schweinfurth, it is said, met the Akkers (pygmies) in the Mombuttu country.

Dr. Ludwig Wolf and Wissman, who recently explored the Sankuru, also came upon a nation of pygmies, not exceeding 1’4 metre in height. These dwarfs are called “Batua,” and their chief employment is the manufacture of palm oil. The main height of these little folk is 1’3 metre.

Stanley came upon pygmies in his African exploration. He saw the first specimen at an Arab settlement near the Amiri Falls—a woman thirty-three inches in height. The pygmies are said to be thickly scattered north of the Sturi, from the Ngaiyu eastward.—Stanley: Darkest Africa, pp. 197, 198.

Pyke and Pluck (Messrs.), the tools and toadies of sir Mulberry Hawk. They laugh at all his jokes, snub all who attempt to rival their patron, and are ready to swear to anything sir Mulberry wishes to be confirmed.—Dickens: Nicholas Nickleby (1838).

Pylades and Orestes, inseparable friends. Pyladês was a nephew of king Agamemnon, and Orestês was Agamemnon’s son. The two cousins contracted a friendship which has become proverbial. Subsequently, Pyladês married Orestês’s sister Electra.

(Lagrange-Chancel has a French drama entitled Oreste et Pylade (1695). Voltaire also (Oreste, 1750). The two characters are introduced into a host of plays, Greek, Italian, French, and English, See Andromache, p. 43.)

Pyracmon, one of Vulcan’s work-men in the smithy of mount Etna. (Greek, Pûr akmôn, “fire anvil.”)

Far passing Bronteus or Pyracmon great,
The which in Lipari do day and night
Frame thunderbolts for Jove.

Spenser: Faërie Queene, iv. 5 (1596).

Pyramid. According to Diodorus Siculus (Hist., i.) and Pliny (Nat. Hist., xxxvi. 12), there were 360,000 men employed for nearly twenty years upon one of the pyramids.

The largest pyramid was built by Cheops or Suphis, the next largest by Cephrerês or Sen-Suphis, and the third by Mencherês last king of the fourth Egyptian dynasty, said to have lived before the birth of Abraham.

(Respecting the third pyramid, there is a tradit ion that it was built by Rhodopis or Rhodopê, the Greek courtezan. Rhodopis means the “rosy-cheeked.”)

The Rhodopê that built the pyramid.

Tennyson: The Princess, ii. (1830).

Pyramid of Mexico. This pyramid is said to have been built in the reign of Montezuma emperor of Mexico (1466–1520). Its base is double the size of Cheops’s pyramid, that is, 1423 feet each side, but its height

  By PanEris using Melati.

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