Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Avraham Regelson, Ein Hasus: sipurim mehamitos hyevani. Dvir, 1966, 96 pp.
benyehuda.org (accessed: October 10, 2018)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
, 1896 - 1981
Regelson was a Jewish author, poet and translator. He was born in Russia, moved to the USA, came to Israel in 1933 and then returned to the USA. He later returned and settled in Israel in 1949. He wrote prose and poetry in Hebrew, English and Yiddish. He wrote various works, some of them for children. He was awarded The Brenner Prize and the Bialik Prize for his accomplishments in literature. He was also awarded the Neuman Prize by the Hebrew Department of NYU in 1976 for his contribution to Hebrew literature.
The author admits he wrote the mythology retelling book for the young at heart, not necessarily for children. He was influenced by stories he heard as a child. The book’s name – ein hasus – represents the spring which was created when Pegasus’ hoof hit the ground.
Ben Yehuda organization website (accessed: October 10, 2018);
abrahamregelson.org (accessed: October 10, 2018);
benyehuda.org (accessed: October 10, 2018).
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
A collection of mythological stories in poetic language for children. The book contains the following tales: the nine muses; Eurynome who created the world; Gaia and Uranus, and their offsprings; Rhea and Cronus; the Olympian gods; Hera throws Hephaestus; Prometheus and Epimetheus; Pandora’s box; Prometheus tricks Zeus; Prometheus steals the fire; Zeus and Leto; Zeus and Asteria; birth of Apollo; stories about Apollo; Zeus and Mia; Hermes; Zeus and Semele; Dionysus; Silanus and Dionysus; Typhon and Echidna; Atlantis; Midas and the golden touch; Midas and his donkey ears; the Aloadae; Marsyas and Apollo; Ares and Aphrodite; Hades and Kore; Eros and Psyche; Athena and Arachne.
This is one of the most detailed mythology books in Hebrew. In very rich and ornamented language, the author narrates the mythological stories, ranging from the creation of the world to the various deeds of the gods. For modern readers, his language would probably be perceived as archaic (it is a product of its time), yet it displays richness of expression. The author does not shun from exhibiting the passion of the gods – towards each other as well as to mortals. While there is no mention of rape or force, the narrative does relate Zeus’ escapades with various female, as well as Hera’s anger and punishment. In other cases, for example, the stories of Prometheus, Marsyas, Midas and Arachne, they seem to have been chosen for their moral lessons.
One of the longest stories in the book is the kidnap of Persephone (the other is Eros and Psyche). It is emphasized that while Persephone is named Kore and the author emphasizes the fact that she was a young girl. Zeus is reluctant to give her to Hades, but in the end he chooses peace with his brother over his child. Thus, in this tale, we have Hades kidnapping a child and marrying her; an aspect of the myth not usually mentioned in children’s mythology books. Interestingly, the author does not narrate how Hades tricked Persephone to eat the pomegranate seed. Instead, when she is reunited with Demeter, the gardener, Ascalaphus, informs Demeter that Persephone picked the pomegranate on her own. This takes away from Hades’ involvement. The emphasis on Persephone’s age seems to imply that the author believed his readers could understand it; he did not specifically intend for the book to be for children, but for those “young at heart”. The idea that one needs to be young at heart to read about Greek mythology is influenced by the traditional perception that the stories of Greek mythology are children’s tales. Yet, although some can be adjusted for children, the majority of these tales are not suitable for children at all. This volume, for example, also includes tales of passion, betrayal and punishment that are not suitable for all ages.
Another story that is many times retold differently for children is the contest between Arachne and Athena. The author takes this opportunity to include more short anecdotes as they appear in the tapestries of the two competitors. At the end of the competition, Arachne becomes angry because of Athena’s victory and tries to hang herself. The goddess then pities her. There is no mention here of Athena’s punishment or anger with Arachne, upon whom the entire blame is placed.
Another interesting twist of the myth occurs in the story of Marsyas. Marsyas is described as becoming a tree as a punishment, with no mention of his severe torture. This, like the Arachne story, suggests that the author was more interested in emphasizing the hubris of those (especially mortals) who dared to challenge the great gods. He prefers not to describe the gods as needlessly vindictive and cruel (except Hera who chases Zeus’ love interests).
In keeping with his theme of maintaining the dignity of the gods, the author finishes the book with a mention of Athena’s grace and clemency. He chooses the tale of Tiresias, who saw the goddess while bathing. Yet, his Athena showed him compassion when, instead of his eyesight, she gave him the gift of foresight. Then, according to the author, Tiresias became the founder of a generation of poet-prophets. Could the author be implying that as a poet he is also one of Tiresias’ offspring? Of course we cannot know for sure, yet since this was the story that was chosen to end the book, the connection cannot be avoided. The book opens with the muses (who inspire poets) and ends with the mortal founder of the chain of poets. The author probably also considered himself as another chain in this long line of storytellers.
Maurice, Lisa, “Greek Mythology in Israeli Children’s Literature,” in Katarzyna Marciniak, ed., Our Mythical Childhood... The Classics and Literature for Children and Young Adults, Leiden: Brill, 2016, 309–332.