Tile Eighteen

In the story of Orpheus, the demi god descends into the underworld to confront Hades. He demands that the proud god return his love, Eurydice, to the land of the living. Hades is moved, and he grants the lad's request under one condition: he must trust that she will follow him back through the underworld and must not look back. All is agreed, and he returns up through the gloom and across the river Styx. Just before reaching the world above, Orpheus loses faith and looks back. He watches as she is pulled back into the darkness. This tile depicts that moment when he is struggling to keep his resolve, though we do not see the lady herself in this tile (she's in tile seventeen). But this is also a sibling tile:

In this context, without the lady riding in the boat with him, we understand that this takes place later in the story. He is't clenching his first in resolve, he is cursing his folly. I'm not sure what that has to do with Long John Silver and flying monkeys...

Anyhow, in the background we see the entrance to the tall hollow tree. Therefore, Hades, the underworld, is the first world mentioned in the Navajo story.


I think I'm supposed to put some copyright information here at the bottom:
Copyright Daniel Miller, 2011