Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/167

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Aigupios (vulture) and his mother, Boulis. They sinned inadvertently, like Œdipus and Jocasta; wherefore Boulis, becoming aware of the guilt, was about to put out the eyes of her son and slay herself. Then they were changed, Boulis into the heron, "which tears out and feeds on the eyes of snakes, birds, and fishes, and Aigupios into the vulture which bears his name." This story, of which the more repulsive details are suppressed, is much less pleasing and more savage than the Hervey Islanders' myth of the origin of pigs. Maaru was an old blind man who lived with his son Kationgia. There came a year of famine, and Kationgia had great difficulty in finding food for himself and his father. He gave the blind old man puddings of banana roots and fishes, while he lived himself on sea-slugs and shell-fish, like the people of Terra del Fuego. But blind old Maaru suspected his son of giving him the worst share and keeping what was best for himself. At last he discovered that Kationgia was really being starved; he felt his body, and found that he was a mere living skeleton. The two wept together, and the father made a feast of some cocoa-nuts and breadfruit, which he had reserved against the last extremity. When all was finished, he said he had eaten his last meal and was about to die. He ordered his son to cover him with leaves and grass, and return to the spot in four days. If worms were crawling about, he was to throw leaves and grass over them and come back four days later. Kationgia did as he was instructed, and, on his second visit to the grave, found the whole mass of leaves in commotion. A brood of