His mom was at home alone. Bored. Lonely. She molded a child out of the earth. Made him just the way she wanted. She liked the mud-tike so much she breathed life into him. He was perfect.
One afternoon she asked young Ganesha to guard the gate. Don't let anyone pass, she said.
Well, he did. He guarded the gate. Like a boss.
When his dad, whom he had never met, returned from his sojourns, young Ganesha said, Halt.
His dad, being a god and all, did not particularly like being told what to do. So - he cut the kid's head off.
When the boy's mom found out, she went into a roar of anguish. The dad, realizing in his manly way that he had royally fucked up, fixed the problem.
He found an elephant, who upon hearing the situation, offered his head to save the boy. The dad took the elephant head back to the lifeless boy's body and slapped the elephant head on. Boom. Live. A god is born.
Mom, upon seeing her malformed child, fell immediately in love. Parvati and Shiva raised the boy right.
This is the myth - or pretty close to the story - told about the birth of Ganesha. It's a crazy tale. But then again, so are most of the other myths told throughout history.
Do we really believe that Hercules actually buried Pyrene in a grave so piled high with stones that he gave us the pyrenees mountains? Are we certain that Adam's rib is the source of all female life on earth? Did a snake ruin everything?
Probably not. But these stories help us come to terms with how things are and why things are. They're useful to study to see how past generations explained things.
Ganesha removes obstacles. He reminds us to love, study, and act. The story is pretty outlandish. But it's certainly a good tale.