A BOOK OF DISCOVERY
"The History of the World's Exploration, From the Earliest Times to the Finding of the South Pole"
A LITTLE OLD WORLD
No story is complete unless it begins at the very beginning. But where is the beginning? Where is the dawn of geographyâ€"the knowledge of our earth? What was it like before the first explorers made their way into distant lands? Every day that passes we are gaining fresh knowledge of the dim and silent past.
Every day men are patiently digging in the old heaps that were once the sites of busy cities, and, as a result of their unwearying toil, they are revealing to us the life-stories of those who dwelt therein; they are disclosing secrets writ on weather-worn stones and tablets, bricks and cylinders, never before even guessed at.
Thus we read the wondrous story of ancient days, and breathlessly wonder what marvellous discovery will thrill us next.
For the earliest account of the old world -a world made up apparently of a little land and a little water -we turn to an old papyrus, the oldest in existence, which tells us in familiar words, unsurpassed for their exquisite poetry and wondrous simplicity, of that great dateless time so full of mystery and awe.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters…. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God … divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament…. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear…. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas."
Thus beautifully did the children of men express their earliest idea of the world's distribution of land and water.