Who has not experienced the dream of flight? We drift, soar or flap our arms wildly. We strap into rockets or grasp the necks of great beasts. Our desire to fly is deep and strong. We grew up with several favorite stories of flight. Peter Pan showed that we can fly if we have enough trust (and a little magic fairy dust.) The message is about having faith in your abilities and imagination. Mary Poppins floated through the air with her umbrella and Aladdin soared on a magic carpet in "1001 Arabian Nights." Flight was only one of the powers Superman used to fight evil as he went "faster than a speeding bullet,... leaping over tall buildings in a single bound."
From childhood to old age, from nursery rhyme to the text of the great religions, the imagery of flight can be found everywhere. It extends from our earliest known history to present day and will continue to appear in the future.
Science is a recent development in the history of humankind. Before the discoveries and inventions that are part of our lives today, myths provided the answers. People have always tried to answer questions about the forces of nature. Why do birds fly? Why does the sun rise and set every day? Myths tell the relation between animals to each other, people to each other, the heavens to the earth and the gods to the mortals. They carry knowledge that cannot be conveyed more precisely because there are not yet words to describe it more exactly.
The stories that follow are just a mere handful of the hundreds of tales about flight around the world and throughout time. They illustrate the desire to fly as well as our relationship with the world around us.
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