Otto Rank, Citing Aelian on the Birth of Gilgamesh
by Estéban Trujillo de Gutiérrez
“Aelian, who lived about 200 A.D., relates in his Animal Stories the history of a boy who was saved by an eagle:
“Animals have a characteristic fondness for man. An eagle is known to have nourished a child. I shall tell the entire story, in proof of my assertion.
When Senechoros reigned over the Babylonians, the Chaldean fortunetellers foretold that the son of the king’s daughter would take the kingdom from his grandfather; this verdict was a prophecy of the Chaldeans.
The king was afraid of this prophecy, and humorously speaking, he became a second Acrisius for his daughter, over whom he watched with the greatest severity. But his daughter, fate being wiser than the Babylonian, conceived secretly from an inconspicuous man.
For fear of the king, the guardians threw the child down from the acropolis, where the royal daughter was imprisoned. The eagle, with his keen eyes, saw the boy’s fall, and before the child struck the earth, he caught it on his back, bore it into a garden, and set it down with great care.
When the overseer of the place saw the beautiful boy, he was pleased with him and raised him. The boy received the name Gilgamesh, and became the king of Babylonia.
If anyone regards this as a fable, I have nothing to say, although I have investigated the matter to the best of my ability. Also of Achaemenes, the Persian, from whom the nobility of the Persians is derived, I learn that he was the pupil of an eagle.”
Otto Rank, Myth of the Birth of the Hero, 1914, pp. 26-7.