A quote written by Edith Hamilton:
is quite generally supposed to to show us the way the human race
thought and felt untold ages ago. Through it, according to this
view, we can retrace the path from civilized man who lives so
far from nature, to man who lived in close companionship with
nature; and the real interest of the myths is that they lead us
back to a time when the world was young and people had a
connection with the earth, with trees and seas and flowers and
hills, unlike anything we ourselves can feel. When the stories
were being shaped, we were given to understand, little
distinction had yet been made between the real and the unreal.
The imagination was vividly alive and not checked by the reason,
so that anyone in the woods might see through the trees a
fleeing nymph, or bending over a clear pool to drink, behold in
the depths a naiads face."