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Something I find very interesting about the myths are the uses of numbers and colours. In many of the myths the same numbers, or multiples of numbers are repeatedly used. It seems the repetition of numbers is a feature of oral story telling, for example in the Native American story, “they lived there for four days”, “they remained there four days”, the number four is often used. I assume keeping the same number is easier to remember and easier for the listener to keep track of.

Colours are also used, often in the Native American myths, but also in others such as the Chinese myth, for ex. Nu Kwa uses yellow earth to create the rich and the noble humans. As we know, certain colours can be associated with a variety of things, and feelings. The rich and nobles created from yellow earth, makes sense given that yellow is the colour of brightness (or brilliance) and light, a pleasant colour. I find the use of colour in a story makes the telling of it (especially an oral story) more vivid and easier to imagine.

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2 thoughts on “Numbers and Colours

  1. It is rather curious how numbers and colours were used in many of the myths. I also find that it makes it more vivid, as well as more interesting. Like in Hesiod, the use of 3 and multiples of 3, like 12. The big 3 gods, the 9 muses, the 12 titans. etc. In the North America creation stories a lot of colours were used. Each region had it’s colour: red, blue, white, yellow. Why, who knows. But I do find the use of colours and numbers very interesting.

  2. It is interesting to wonder why certain numbers were picked. In the Native American myths I think four was maybe the most important number because of the four directions. For example in the Zuni myth the twins asked permission from the four bow priests, the priest of the north, the south, the east and the west. I really wonder where the colours come from though.

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