Overeating, mega consuming myth

Hi mythologists,

I was doing some automatic writing this morning and an image or an action appeared in my head of an obese man stuffing his face, and this emerged from writing about human overconsumption. I'm wondering if there are any corresponding myths of a human eating his way out of existence or of eating all the food of society. Anybody know? I thought of eating contests and of a scene from 100 years of solitude where there is an eating contest in which a woman defeats a man and I think the man dies. I also thought of the 5 Chinese brothers story that someone brought up in the class and the brother who can swallow the sea. Anyway, tips would be helpful. Thanks.


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  • Erysichthon.

    • The Depth Psychology Alliance has awarded me a Certificate in Applied Mythology. Earlier today I was writing automatically about human overconsumption and the image of an obese man stuffing his face insatiably came into my mind. Here is a related short myth from ancient Greece. Erysichthon was a Thessalian king who chopped down the sacred grove of the goddess Demeter in order to build himself a feast-hall. As punishment for the crime the goddess inflicted him with insatiable hunger, driving him to exhaust his riches, sell his daughter, and finally, in poverty, devour his own flesh. Demeter is the god of the harvest and soil and health of the Earth. Is the fate of our species the fate of Erysichthon? Are we in the process of defiling the Earth, disrespecting our food sources, and inappropriately felling trees that will lead to us eating ourselves out of existence?

    • I just searched for fairy tales related to gluttony. Grimm's 'Hansel and Gretel' and 'Little Red Cap' came up.  Also, I've been reading Artemis by Jean Shinoda Bolen lately and found this quote earlier today that I really like..."Wilderness beauty is sacred to Artemis.This is her landscape. To honor her requires taking care of the planet and halting the excesses- from over-population to over-fishing the ocean. We must limit our excesses as a sacrifice to honor the sacred feminine". I imagine Demeter would appreciate this as well.    

    • Thanks, Deborah. I agree with you. I have been meaning to read the Grimm Bros in the original. My German is good enough. This gives me more motivation. I think Craig's suggestion really hit my image on the head, but I like yours a lot too. I was reading about the evolution and variation in the Little Red Riding Hood tale and it's pretty amazing. There's a very anti-wilderness and anti-nature message embedded in the story that is quite out of date, I find. It's fascinating and I am excited thinking about reading these stories. Thanks again for your input.

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