Many years ago lived a girl, Dewdrop, with her family, in which dwelt her mother, father, old aunt, and twelve children. They were very poor. Though they all worked hard in the fields, they often remained hungry. On the night the eldest daughter of the twelve gave birth to another child, Dewdrop said, "There are too many mouths to feed here. We give half of our crop to that foreign warlord and then we are harried by bandits and evil-doers. Rather than till these fields and suffer poverty, I will learn to hunt."

One of her sisters said, "We have been farming folk for three generations. What do you know of hunting?"

"Anything would be better than starving like this," Dewdrop responded.

She left that night, before anyone could talk her out of it. She took her great grandfather's old bow and arrows and departed. Soon, Dewdrop had learned some tricks of hunting and fighting. She became skilled at shaping stone arrowheads and fashioning bowstrings from animal gut.

Dewdrop shared the game she brought down with her family and others. Knowing the great warlord king might not approve of her activities, she often hunted by night using the moon as her guide. She slipped under the cover of night to visit people's homes with game.

Once she saw a bandit stealing a family's nanny goat. Stealthily, she drew back an arrow and slew the thief. She returned the nanny goat to its family, as this goat provided milk and cheese for the children.

Folks began to call her the Moon Girl or Moon's Child. She became more skilled in both hunting and fighting in general. Her arrows flew swift and deadly. Wherever she went, she cleared away evil-doers and eliminated cruel oppressors, but helped those without food and clothing so that all the poor folk regarded the Moon Girl as their defender. Sometimes friends joined her when she hunted a particularly troublesome bandit. These companions of hers dabbed their faces with gypsum mud so that they would not later be recognized. Some people said the Moon Girl's companions were actually benificent faery-spirits.

The warlord king, however, looked upon the Moon Girl as something of a thorn in his side. The warlord called himself the Protector of the Land or the Great Protector. He viewed the Moon Girl as a rival. "It is best if farming folk know their place," he mused.

One harvest, Dewdrop's old aunt delivered sacks of grain to the warlord king. The warlord overheard someone asking Dewdrop's aunt if she thought the Moon Girl would bring anything as a tribute to the warlord king. The old aunt replied, "Hah, why should the Moon Girl come? Her strength is now so great. She owes nothing to the Great Protector."

The warlord king said, "This is rebellion."

Using this as a pretext, the warlord declared the Moon Girl a rebel who refused to pay tribute grain to the Protector of the Land. He assembled a large group of warriors to conquer and destroy her.

The warriors engaged the Moon Girl and her companions in a number of skirmishes--when they could find her. During one of these battles, some of her companions were killed and the rest dispersed. The Moon Girl, however, was so strong and swift that she darted from hilltop to hilltop, and the warriors could never lay hands upon her.

Finally the warriors, mounted on horses, trapped the Moon Girl on a mountain and encircled its base with a ring of war axes and shields. They waited at the foot of the mountain out of the range of her flint-tipped arrows.

When the Moon Girl perceived she could not escape, she slipped into the darkness of a cave. The Moon Girl groped along through the blackness, hoping to find some other passage out.

She smelled sweet air blowing on a cold wind. "If the air is sweet," she thought, "then this passage must lead out." Indeed, she saw a light ahead.

At the end of this passage, however, was a vast, twilight cavern, lit by a shining palace.

In the main hall was a man dressed in a beautiful robe, embroidered with snakes.

She greeted him, introduced herself as Moon's Child, and explained her reasons for entering the cave.

The man in the serpent robe answered, "There is no passage out other than the way you came. I am the ruler here. You may stay for awhile if you wish."

Moon's Child thanked the lord, who ordered servants to prepare her a bath and attend to her needs.

Moon's Child stayed in the cave. The snake king seemed comfortable with her company. She passed tranquil hours learning magic arts and healing arts from the snake king as well as practicing techniques of archery. Yet, she ate only the dry food and water in her hunting bag. Even though she believed the chthonic snake king had no evil intentions towards her, she remembered stories in which it was not safe to eat the food in an enchanted realm.

Besides, Moon's Child had enough food to last three days--by that time, hopefully the warlord would look for her elsewhere.

When she had exhausted her personal store of food, she began to think of her mother, father, old aunt, and siblings at home. She said goodby to the snake king.

The snake king responded, "Stay here in my land. Time has passed and things have changed."

Moon Girl answered, "No! No! I must go home! I'm sure it is safe for me to leave now." She gathered all her belongings and left.

When she reached the mouth of the cave, Moon Girl cautiously scanned for warriors. Seeing none, she left and was seen by a boy and girl carrying a bucket full of well water. They dropped the bucket and ran away screaming, "A ghost! A ghost has come out from the cave!"

Astonished by the children's reaction, Moon Girl looked at her clothes. They were old and worn rags. Her hair had come unbound and was knotted and tangled. The sandals on her feet were crumbling even as she stood there. Moon Girl wondered how her clothes could now be rags. Then she remembered time flows differently in the chthonic world then it does in the world above. How many years had passed while she dwelled with the snake king?

She wondered also how ever could she face anyone in this state? What else had changed? Were any of her family alive?

Moon Girl therefore went back into the cave to return to the land of the snake king, but the passage was now sealed tight with solid rock, no crack or seam visible. Clearly, there was no passage back.

Several times she wanted to go home, but always she was afraid she would frighten people, and she miserably retreated again into the mouth of the cave.

When her younger sister, Little Rain, heard of the ghost of the cave and that the face of the ghost looked somewhat like her long lost sibling, the young woman became sad and tears wet her cheeks. She feared Dewdrop was a lost, wandering spirit. Still she thought, "Perhaps Dewdrop is not a ghost at all."

The young woman took some clothes and meal cakes, of which Dewdrop had been very fond. She put these things in front of the cave and called, "Dewdrop! Dewdrop! Dewdrop! Dewdrop! The warlord who oppressed you is dead! Mother is old! Father is old! I am grown from a child to a woman. If you are my elder sister, Dewdrop, take these clothes and eat the cakes and come home with your little sister."

After awhile, she looked again and Dewdrop had put on the clothes and eaten the cakes. Then the two sisters saw each other and, astonished and happy, they embraced and cried. Dewdrop said, "How grown you are, Little Rain!"

Her younger sister responded, "Dewdrop, not only are you still alive, but your face is unchanged. Nine years have gone since you vanished. At home, they think the warlord killed you. Yet he is dead these seven years past, slain by another enemy. Mother and Father wept over you 'til they were half dead with grief. Let us go quickly home that they will all be happy."

Dewdrop went home and her parents were amazed that their daughter had come back alive and unchanged. They were happy and sad at the same time and tears rolled down without ceasing.

Thus Dewdrop returned as mysteriously as she had vanished. However, now she was not only a skilled hunter, but also skilled in the arts of healing and magic. By these arts, she became famous, and her family prospered.

Myth's Notes

There are lots of scholarly theories about what people did in prehistory and how language, storytelling, culture, and other innovations got spread about. There is also a lot of academic debate about which theory is the most correct.

One theory is that more than 5,000 years ago a group of people left their Homeland and migrated through large parts of Europe and Asia, spreading the seeds of their language.

This migration and spread of language and culture was responsible for the development of languages in the Indo-European language family. These people are often referred to as Proto-Indo-Europeans or simply Indo-Europeans.

Linguists speculated that the single unrecorded language, academically called Proto-Indo-European, split into a number of dialects by the beginning of the third millenium bce. These dialects carried by the Proto-Indo-Europeans to Europe and Asia evolved into separate languages. (More on languages in the Indo-European language family later.)

Hypotheses about where the Homeland was, who the Proto-Indo-Europeans were, why they left the Homeland, etc., relate to academic views about the splintering of the initial Proto-Indo-European language into other dialects and eventually evolving into languages--which can be traced by comparison of languages within the Indo-European language family.

One scholarly speculation stated the location of the Homeland was the stepp regions north of the Black Sea or perhaps north of the Caspian Sea. Another scholarly speculation located the Homeland in the neighborhood of Anatolia.

Why the Proto-Indo-Europeans left their Homeland is anybody's guess. Perhaps they were migrating, following game animals. Perhaps they were pastoral nomads, moving onto greener pastures due to climatic changes with their domesticated herds. Perhaps they desired colonization and trade. Perhaps they were simply in search of a better grain to make a superior tasting beer.

At least one speculation claimed that the Proto-Indo-Europeans were warlike tribes that imposed their language on various indigenous peoples when they conquered areas. (This speculation reflects the spread of Latin during the Roman Empire, but may not accurately portray the spread of Proto-Indo-European language.)

In any case, the above speculation was later refined: the evil, warlike, patriarchal Proto-Indo-European hoards swept down throughout Europe and Asia, oppressing the peaceful, Goddess-worshipping, matriarchal indigenous peoples. These patriarchal hoards, armed with technologically superior weaponry and mounted on horseback, were especially well-equipped to rape, pillage and enslave any people they encountered. Some Wiccans embraced this speculation, as it provided a historical backdrop for the legendary, matriarchal golden age and the fall of the matriarchal age.

I do not know if such a scenario took place or not. Proto-Indo-Europeans may have been an aggressive bunch, or perhaps only some of them were. The latest scholarly speculation is there was more than one wave leaving from wherever their Homeland was.

In any case, the above story of Dewdrop does not derive from Etruscan, Italic or Roman mythology. I have largely created it from a series of random ideas--it owes quite a bit to a Chinese folktale. I set the tale back in some misty, neolithic or possibly copper or bronze age past--perhaps when Proto-Indo-Europeans were bothering indigenous peoples.

But perhaps not. After all, people have been bothered by foreign warlords off and on through most of history.

I included this story in my Aradia web site as it represented the way I originally imagined a recreated story about Aradia might be retold. I fiddled with writing such a tale back in the mid 1980's. My central character was Aradia and I envisioned her more like a neolithic shaman, who identified herself as the daughter of the moon. All I can say is the Muse wouldn't let me write the story like that back then. The tale finally "worked" when I made the heroine into a huntress, with a bow and arrows, and when I finally dropped the name, Aradia. (Incidentally, if anyone has written a story about a neolithic shaman named Aradia or Altar of the Moon, please email it to me and perhaps I can include it on this web site.)

Why Dewdrop? One of Diana's titles was the "Dewy One," which related to the belief that the moon produced the dew--moisture which mysteriously appeared and vanished with the moon. Furthermore, a dewdrop or the personified dew could be seen as a child of the personified, feminine Moon.

The heroine of this tale was meant to be a mortal with special attributes that linked her to the moon and Moon Goddess. Hence the people she helps assign her the names, "Moon Girl" and "Moon's Child."

Indo-European Languages

The Indo-Europeans languages are a family of languages spoken in most of Europe and in much of Southwest and South Asia. Modern languages in the Indo-European family of languages include: Modern Greek, Breton, Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Catalan, French, Italian, Portugese, Provencal, Rhaeto-Romanian, Spanish, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Modern High German, Yiddish, and Afrikaans, Dutch, English, Flemmish, Frisian, Modern Low German, Anatolian, Tochkian, Albanian, Armenian, Czeck, Polish, Slavic, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbo-Kraus, Slavakian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Persian, Pashto, Bengali, Guartig, Hindi, Marthia, Punjabi, Romani, Urdo, and others.

For purposes of this web site, it's probably useful for you to realize Latin and Italic languages are part of the Indo-European language family, but Etruscan is not. (The Etruscans are believed to have migrated from the Indus valley and may be related to the people of Sumer.)

The concept of a genetic-like relationship or family relationship between certain of the Indo-European languages (Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Germanic and Celtic) was first proposed by Sir William Jones in 1786. In 1813, Thomas Young coined the term, "Indo-European," for this widely spread family of related languages. In the course of the 19th century, more scholars studying relationships between parent languages and daughter languages became more accurate and refined in their techniques.

If you are interested in viewing a chart of languages descending from Proto-Indo-European, click on the link below. If the subject truly interest you, you will have to do research in other locations specializing in it.

Copyright May 2005 Myth Woodling

Proto-Indo-European language chart
Index page