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Parental Abandonment / Myths & Religion

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  • Older Than Feudalism: Moses and Oedipus are two characters abandoned by their parents. Also see Moses in the Bulrushes.
  • King Arthur is a more recent example.
  • The story of Romulus and Remus, who allegedly founded Rome, were abandoned on a mountainside. They were found and raised by a she-wolf. Depending on your translation, this could mean that they were actually Raised by Wolves, or it could mean that they were rescued and taken in by a prostitute or a madam.
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  • In the Book of Exodus, Moses is set adrift in a basket on the Nile River by his mother, in hopes of protecting him from the soldiers of the Nepharious Pharaoh (who had ordered them to slaughter all newborn Hebrew male babies, in order to secure his throne). Moses' older sister Miriam saw the whole thing, including the part where the Pharaoh's daughter found him and decided she would raise him, and offered to go find a wet nurse for the Pharaoh's daughter. The wet nurse turns out to be their mother, Jochebed.
  • In the Books of Samuel, a woman named Hannah, who is suffering from Infertility Angst big time prays fervently for a child when her family goes to the Temple for a religious holiday. She vows that if she becomes pregnant, she will dedicate that child to live and work in the Temple, in the service of God. Sure enough, she does manage to become pregnant and carry to term, and true to her word, once that child is weaned, she dedicates him to work in the Temple, which (of course) meant leaving him there and having little or no contact with him ever again. She does go on to have several more children, however.
    • Some extrabiblical sources (and also Islam) believe that a similar turn of events happened with the Virgin Mary, with her mother Anne having her at a relatively old age after years of infertility, and then dedicating her to work in the Temple as something not unlike a Miko until she was old enough that the High Priest would arrange a marriage for her, in place of her father. note  Adherents to this school of thought hold that she was fed and cared for by angels in her years of serving in the Temple, and (according to some) that (at an improbably young age) she made a vow before God to remain a virgin her whole life, even before becoming the mother of Jesus.
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  • In one hadith note , a woman came to Muhammad, saying that she had become pregnant from adultery, felt guilty, and asked to be purified. He told her to come back after she had her baby. Months later she came back, with her illegitimate baby, again asking to be purified. He told her to come back after the baby was weaned. When that baby was about 2-4 years old, she came back, again requesting purification, and even fed her toddler a piece of bread to prove that the child had, in fact, been weaned. He then decreed that she was to be stoned to death, the ordinary punishment for adultery, and she was taken away from her child to be executed.


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