The great god Pan, protector of the shepherds and their flocks, was half man, half goat. Every one loved this strange god, who yet ofttimes startled mortals by his wild and wilful ways. When to-day a sudden, needless fear overtakes a crowd, and we say a panic has fallen upon it, we are using a word which we learned from the name of this old pagan god.
Down by the streams the great god Pan was sometimes seen to wander—
‘What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat,
With the dragon-fly on the river.
‘He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
From the deep cool bank of the river,’
and then sitting down he ‘hacked and hewed, as a great god can,’ at the slender reed. He made it hollow, and notched out holes, and lo! there was a flute ready for his use.
Sweet, piercing sweet was the music of Pan’s pipe as the god placed his mouth upon the holes.