Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/218

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lower limbs fell to earth, and became pumice-stone. In these Mangaian myths we discern resemblances to New Zealand fictions, as is natural, and the tearing of the body of "the very beginning" has numerous counterparts in European, American, and Indian fable. But on the whole, the Mangaian myths are more remarkable for their semi-scientific philosophy than for their coincidences with the fancies of other early peoples.

The Samoans, like the Maoris and Greeks, hold that heaven at first fell down and lay upon earth.[1] The arrowroot and another plant pushed up heaven, and "the heaven-pushing place" is still known and pointed out. Others say the god Ti-iti-i pushed up heaven, and his feet made holes six feet deep in the rocks during his exertions. The other Samoan myths chiefly explain the origin of fire, and the causes of the characteristic forms and habits of animals and plants. The Samoans, too, possess a semi-mythical, metaphysical cosmogony, starting from nothing, but rapidly becoming the history of rocks, clouds, hills, dew, and various animals, who intermarried, and to whom the royal family of Samoa trace their origin through twenty-three generations. So personal are Samoan abstract conceptions, that "Space had a long-legged stool," on to which a head fell, and grew into a companion for Space. Yet another myth (perhaps post-Christian) says that the god Tangaloa existed in space, and made heaven and earth, and sent down his daughter, a snipe. Man he made out of the

  1. Turner's Samoa, p. 198.