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Appendix 3. On the Fountain, Sexual Mischief, and the Migration of Reapers
The fountain or well was one of the few places where a woman might encounter an unrelated man and consequently a likely locus for sexual mischief: see Richardson, pp. 179-180 on Homeric Hymn to Demeter 98 f. Hesiod’s κρήνη may well be a sexual detail, not merely a topographical one. In demotic song the βρύση, as it is called, is the commonest rendezvous point for the sexes. Marriage proposals and even seductions are said to occur here.  (In fact, until recently village etiquette discouraged nubile women from going to the village well or fountain except in a group.) In many stories the Neraides—the archetypal seductresses of popular tradition—make their aquatic epiphanies before the βρύση and tempt and even harm men. 
Hesiod’s κρήνη may, incidentally, be further evidence for the migration of reapers, since travellers would naturally stop at a spring for rest and refreshment: Iliad 2.305 f.; Odyssey 6. 291 f., 9.140 f., 17.204 f., 13.102 f.; Homeric Hymn to Demeter 98-100.
[ back ] 1. Also cf. Richardson 1986. 64-65.
[ back ] 2. As do the Lamies: cf. Stewart 1990. passim.