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Aristotle FR. 44 Rose: Midas and Silenus

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image of Mnemosyne

Scholars have identified two supposedly separate folk-tale patterns: (a) the questing hero's initial encounter with an ambivalent helper figure; (b) the capture of a demonic figure from whom crucial information is extracted. This article establishes that (a) and (b) are identical aspects of one and the same pattern and that the story of Midas' encounter with Silenus exemplifies this pattern. Two Appendixes show how Silenus resembles that primeval and widely disseminated figure the Wild Man; and that the folk-tale sequence whereby one helper sends on the hero to another helper (or helpers) lurks beneath the surface of several stories that exemplify the relevant pattern.


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