Polynesian and Papuan Parallels with AmerIndian Bird-Nester Myth

some parallels in AmerIndian Bird-Nester myth with non-AmerIndian mythologies [written Aug 17-18 2015; "PVBSC&R" parallels added Aug 19 2015; 3ME added Aug 20 2015]


Polynesian & Nusantara

Melanesia & Other

"One youth secretly followed ..., caught her unawares, and raped her. When the woman returned from the forest, her husband noticed feathers caught in her bark-cloth belt, which were similar to those worn by youths as an adornment." (R&C, p. 35)

"humans ... are assisted by flocks of birds, each kind of bird with a rope of their own. These birds are the Hakituri." (MM&L, s.v. "Takitimu", p. 172a) With /HAKItuRI/ cf. /HAKIRI-rani/, name of "the leading female tohunga on the waka [Takitimu]" (MM&L, s.v. "Hakirirangi").

Erotic magic "made her feel dizzy, so she ... was soon fast asleep. [3EM 3.4d, p. 156] ... When Moro awoke she realized that Umori had lain with her, so ... she took Umori's feather and stuck it into her grass skirt." (3EM 3.4e, p. 156)

"accompanied by the hummingbird {cf. god Huitzil-opochtli ('Hummingbird on the Left Side'), who directed the path of migration of the Aztec tribe},"

During migration while Tupai was aboard, "paua ... shellfish {cf. Haw. /paua/ 'clam'} rose up through the water ... . ... This happened several times" (MM&L, s.v. "Takitimu", p. 172b).

"she reached a place, Kaukiova by name, where the path again divided ... she placed there the oyster shell." (3EM 3.5c, p. 159)

a musical "instrument fell into the water" (R&C, p. 35).

Kama-pua>a's army "take refuge in the sea." (HM, p. 207)

[Musical?] bow of [>ugaritic] >aqhat fell into the sea.

A liahona pole directed the mythic Choctaw migration toward the southeast, to north sector of state of Mississippi.

A "croton sprig" directed travel by Umori "in the south-east direction" (3EM 3.7a, p. 165).

Heroine Moro fell "into the depths of the river" (3EM 3.7d, p. 167).

"One of them climbs a Brazil-nut tree." (W&ShA, p. 291)

"Thereupon Meavea climbed up" (3EM 3.8as, p. 169).

{cf. Nala's cutting off a section of his wife Damayanti's dress while she was wearing it (MahaBh).}

"There the two fish ... bit off a piece of Moro's grass skirt." (3EM 3.9a, p. 171)

cf. Haw. /ALAWelA/ 'dark lines on belly of praegnant woman'; and Haw. /ALAWeo/ 'Chenopodium oahuense' (a shrub with leaves edible when cooked)

While "far advanced in pregnancy", heroine Moro was floated by a buoyant ALAUA-opo stalk (3EM 3.9g, p. 174).

"stole some buttore; these are jingling bells made from the hoofs of the caititu (Dicotyles torquatus, a type of wild pig)" (R&C, p. 35).

"Moro and Umori, made their way ... leaving behind them a trail of ... footprints of pigs" (3EM 3.9i, p. 175). Moro gave birth to Levao.

"Evara, ... also known as Mirou, had a dream. ... He woke up during the night and ... There to his great astonishment was Moro sitting with the baby" (3EM 3.10a, p. 176).

{The vivified wooden canoe's crew is likewise a Sumerian motif.}

Many years later, from aboard a canoe manned by a vivified wooden crew (3EM 3.11c-d, pp. 180-1),

Levao shot "a Pasuka stingray and an Arova barramundi fish" (3EM 3.12a, p. 182); and as for "the shark Morea-Pai ... they made a meal of the shark." (3EM 3.12b, p. 183)

Levao's vivified wooden "steersmen, Oaeafefo and Kokafefo, with the rest of the crew dived into the water, they were so scared. ... ... they were changed, one into the snail Sibiti" (3EM 3.14b, p. 190).

Meavea temporarily became a boar in order to scare his son Levao, as a practical joke (3EM 3.15d, pp. 196-7).

"Meavea used ... from time to time to watch the boys playing a game in which they threw mangrove fruit at eac other. It was a game that Meavea had not previously known" (3EM 3.15g, p. 200).

{Departing from Ithake, Odusseus traveled abroad in order to seek folk who would misrecognize his oar as some other implement.}

Intrigued with "a decorated paddle", Meavea departed in order to seek its makers the Maipua folk (3EM 3.16a-b, pp. 200-1).

There is a Maori "legend of the mysterious Waka Wairua (spirit canoe)" having "a crew of women to paddle it." (WG) Among the Manchu on the river Amur, one may see a "barge manned by ten women" (OThA, Cap XVII).

"a canoe ... came near. Meavea ... noticed that there were only women on board ... . Thereupon Meavea ... became a boy dwarf." (3EM 3.16c, p. 201)

Those women "began hunting for crabs" (3EM 3.16e, p. 203).

"Itzamna located himself in the heavens ... . ... The Maya also associated him with sky ... monsters" (MMGB, p. 196).

"Epe, whose younger brother was Havora [Savora], originally lived in the sky, but used to descend at night by a ladder to earth" (3EM, p. 225, n. 91).

Itzamna's "name means "Iguana

"there was a man ... Epe ... who ... had the form of an iguana, and ... he saw Meavea lying with his paramour" (3EM 3.18a, p. 211).

House"" (MML&F, p. 480b).

"They divided the house ... : Maomao [cf. Haw. /maomao/ 'far; calm' clear'] was the half that belonged to Meavea, and Ruparuparau [cf. Haw. /lupalupa/ 'purification-caerimonies'], the owner of which was Epe." (3EM 3.18d, p. 213)

"He was helped by the large grasshopper" (R&C, pp. 35-6).

The 12 spies as grasshoppers to giants (B-Midbar 13:33).

[Tenetehara] "the dance house rises into the air" (W&ShA, p. 296). {cf. Taoist flying houses of caelestial immortals}

In the divine universe "likun avun, ... [where] Everything was sparkling and bright ... the houses could fly." ("PVBSC&R")

12 male spies visited the heroine Rah.ab : "her house was upon the town wall" (Yho^s^u<a 2:15).

He climbed "a long pole" to

Followers climbed "ladder" set by Kama-pua>a to top of "cliff" (HM, p. 212).

"a creeper" hanging from atop a "cliff" (R&C, p. 36).

Tawhaki ascended via creeper hanging from highest Heaven; and

also (MM&L, s.v. "Tawhaki', p. 193b) "walks across the water".

Eu-phemos had "the gift of walking on water." (DCM, s.v. "Euphemus", p. 155b).

"the dead lizards went bad and gave off such a vile smell that the hero fainted." (R&C, p. 36)

[Ra>i-atea] "Hiro overhears his wife [Vai-tu-marie] laughing ... about her husband's strong odor" (HM, p. 244).

The kentaur Pulenor imparted "an unhealthy smell" to the stream Anigros (DCM, s.v. "Pylenor").

His buttocks were devoured (R&C, p. 36).

The buttocks of Theseus were pulled off in Haides.

Kama-pua>a "sends [Ku-o>u] the husband [of Kapo] flying over the cliff" (HM, p. 213).

Luko-medes "pushed Theseus off a cliff" (DCM, s.v. "Theseus", p. 451b).

"The wife had a bad odor" ("BNM", p. 91).

Tawhaki's wife left him because he said their daughter stank (MM&L, s.v. "Tawhaki', p. 194a).

"turning himself into four birds" (R&C, p. 36). He produced "a thunder storm

Tawhaki produceth lightning (MM&L, s.v. "Tawhaki', p. 194a).

Zeus became a thornax bird. Zeus produceth lightning.

which put out all the fires" (R&C, p. 36).

"Kama-pua>a threatens to put out the fires" (HM, p. 206).

"murderous tumbleweeds that had killed eagles" ("BNM", p. 90).

Kama-pua>a's "plant bodies to entangle the

"false antlers ... impaled ... plants ... ." (R&C, p. 37)

eight stone foreheads of Lono-kaeho" (HM, p. 205). [/Ka->eho/ 'The cairn']

"a ram caught in a thicket by his horns." (B-Re>s^it 22:13) ["rocks and mortar" (LB, p. 132)]

[Parintintin] "birds are tattooed with blood from the human victim" (W&ShA, p. 294, Table 7.2).

Tama-nui-a-Rani "visits his ancestors in the underworld and they tattoo him" (MM&L, s.v. "Rukutia", p. 163a).

[Carrier et al. of British Columbia]

"An orphan gnome, the boy Tchakabech, lived with his sister. ... He snared the Sun with his sister's pubic hair. In the darkness that followed, ... only a big red mouse covered with paint could cut the cord. After its proximity to the Sun it shrank to its present size." ("SS&LM", p. 21, and "MAMA", p. 6 -- both citing Luomala 1940, pp. 26-33; cf. "Snaring of the Sun" in MCIBC). {The red ochre was evidently to keep the sun at its coolest, when it is red during its rising or setting.}

[Menomini] Similar (except that the mouse is not red) : the brother employed for the noose "a single hair" plucked from his sister's "person" (NAL"SS").

"The constellation Orion was often viewed as a bird snare with .. a perch on which a flower was fastened to attract birds. In the sky this flower was Puanga [the star Rigel]." (MM&L, s.v. "Puanga", p. 133a)

"Tawhaki has a special association with red" (MM&L, s.v. "Tawhaki", p. 194b); and (using, of course, a length of string) "Tawhaki ... attempted, with Whaitiri's help, to fly a kite. But Tama-i-waho, a demonic being in the highest sky, ... struck the kite and make it fall." (Ibid., p. 193b) {Here, Tama-i-waho would apparently be aequivalent to the North American Indian mythic mouse; while Tawhaki would apparently be aequivalent to that mouse's source of the red ochre.}

"when Sennacherib invaded his country. Sethos fell asleep in the temple, and the god, appearing to him in a vision, told him that divine succour would come to the Egyptians. In the night before the battle, field-mice gnawed the quivers and shield-handles of the foe, who fled on finding themselves thus disarmed. ... One of the Trojan 'mouse-stories' ran—That emigrants had set out in prehistoric times from Crete. The oracle advised them to settle 'wherever they were attacked by the children of the soil.' At Hamaxitus in the Troad, they were assailed in the night by mice, which ate all that was edible of their armour and bowstrings." ("Apollo and the Mouse" in C&M).

[Waya~pi] "brothers-in-law. He offends them by comparing the little birds' feathers {squabs' down} to their sister's juvenile pubic hair. ...

Maui "slowed down the sun-god by lassoing his genitals with a rope of his sister's pubic hair." ("HH") "With a rope women from his sister's pubic hair ... he lassoed the sun-god by his genitals." (TSS)

The brothers-in-law ... the magical armadillo drags them underground.


Taukoru "iived on a diet of ginger" (3EM 2.6a, p. 129) and generated "shrimps" (3EM 2.6k, p. 132).

HM, p. 208 [Maori] Tu-te-KORO-PANo (= [Haw.] >OLO-PANa, the uncle-and-adversary of Kama-pua>a) "conjures up plants to obstruct". This he did when he, as paramour, fled with the eloping adulterous wife Rukutia (fleeing her husband Tama-nui-a-Rani, MM&L, s.v. "Tu-te-koropanga", p. 234b-235a). But this fence (of tree-nettle, clinging-bush-lawyer, and matagouri)

So as to close off their escape route, when the eloping adulterous wife (fleeing from her husband Marai) Eare ('wild banana', 3EM, p. 139, n. 1), accompanied by her paramour Taukoru, then in order magically to close off their escape-route, "there sprang up lawyer-vines, ... thorny vines" (3EM 2.6m, p. 133).

was cut through by Tama-nui-a-Rani "with a taiaha" (Ibid., p. 235a).

Nevertheless Marai tracked and found Eare (3EM 2.7c, pp. 134-5) :

Next Ulukauli kills his wife,

Tama-nui-a-Rani "in pursuit of his wife ... kills her, then ...

thereupon Marai "murdered" his wife Eare.

cuts her into pieces ... . {Cf. various myths in eastern islands of Nus-antara, wherein when a heroine is dismembered, the first food-crops originate from her body-parts : hence the germination of crops every spring.} ...

When the spring comes, she returns to life." (MM&L, s.v. "Rukutia", p. 163a). Similarly, tattooing-god Ue-tona's daughter Niwa-reka was, by her husband Mata-ora (guided by netherworld-guardian Ku-watawata), "brought up from the underworld" (MM&L, s.v. "Mataora and Niwareka", p. 111a), where persons were "thrown down" (Ibid., p. 110b) by her father in order that he tattoo them.

"He cut her body into little pieces, strung up ... onto a tree" (3EM 2.7d, p. 135). The 13 brethren (3EM 2.8a, p. 136) of Tautoru "joined ... together" (3EM 2.8g, p. 138) these body-pieces in order for her "to come back to life." She was sought in marriage because she was heavily "decorated with tattoo" (3EM 2.4f, p. 126), "covered all over with tattoo" (3EM 2.5d, p. 128) while she was as yet in "the sea-depths where her name was Eau" (3EM, p. 139, n. 1).

"siraakng (Codiaeum variegatum), whose green leaves are spotted with yellow marks that look like yellow sacred rice", is "considered immortal" and therefore "Often ... planted on graves." ("ShBSRBO")

The re-assembled Eare's heart was a "croton" (3EM 2.8g, p. 138), i.e. Codiaeum variegatum (which could relate symbolically to polychrome tattoos).

Each time he relocates his village farther away until, one day, they can no longer track him." (W&ShA, p. 297).

"The path to Night and the path to Day are now shut off, and living men will no longer pass over them." (MM&L, s.v. "M&N", loc. cit.)

R&C = Claude Le'vi-Strauss : The Raw and the Cooked : Introduction to a Science of Mythology, Vol. I. London : Cape, 1970. http://radicalanthropologygroup.org/sites/default/files/pdf/class_text_056.pdf

MM&L = Margaret Orbell : Maori Myth and Legend. Canterbury Univ Pr, 1995.

3EM = Herbert A. Brown : Three Elema Myths. PACIFIC LINGUISTICS, series B-98. Australian National Univ, Canberra, 1988. [The Elema inhabit "the eastern shores of the Gulf of Papua from Cape Possession to the Aivei mouth of the Purari River." (p. v)]

HM = Martha Beckwith : Hawaiian Mythology. Yale Univ Pr, 1940.

W&ShA = Carlos Fausto : Warfare and Shamanism in Amazonia. Cambridge Univ Pr, 2012. https://books.google.com/books?id=_84hAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA291&lpg=PA291&dq=

WG = Griff Wiremu : Waka Girl. http://www.makemymovie.co.nz/2012/entry/waka-girl/

OThA = Thomas Wallace Knox : Overland through Asia : Pictures of Siberian, Chinese, and Tartar Life. 1871. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13806/13806-h/13806-h.htm#CHAPTER_XVII

MMGB = Kay Almere Read & Jason J. Gonza`lez : Mesoamerican Mythology : a Guide to the Gods ... . ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara (CA), 2000.

MML&F = Janet Parker & Julies Stanton (edtitrices) : Mythology : Myths, Legends and Fantasies. Struik Publ (a div of New Holland Publ), Cape Town, 2006. https://books.google.com/books?id=p7dR2w1Wv2sC&pg=PA480&lpg=PA480&dq=

"PVBSC&R" = Henry Chan : "The Punan Vuhang belief system: cosmology and rituals." BORNEO RESEARCH BULLETIN 39(2008):166-83. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+Punan+Vuhang+belief+system%3a+cosmology+and+rituals.-a0201548863

{The profusion in likun avun of "pebbles shining like sparkling beads" would indicate that it is identical with the 7 Tala-s, divine worlds composed (according to the Puran.a-s) of gem-pebbles. These Tala-s collectively underlie the 7 dvipa-s, which must, collectively, be identical with kak lolau, the universe above likun avun. That in likun avun "The water level always stayed the same" (meaning, that there are no tides) would suggest that it is identical with the Maori mythic world Te-Ao-Whiwhia above Te Ao-RAWEa = "the sacred island" Ka-ho>o-LAWE of (HM, p. 189) Pu>u-o-inaina "the wife of the two sons of the kahuna of Hua", HUA being "a god, ruling the tides—A. H. M. iii. 49" (M-PCD, p. 88). The "land bridge called Batang Tebilong" (in the world "Nuan Sok Lau", underneath Likun Avun) = Orphic land-bridge Lektonia (HDCA, s.v. "Lectonia"). "A dead person's soul ... going through the moon to reach the sok lau" = Neo-Platonic limitation of the ascent of the psukhe ('soul') of the dead to the sphaire of the moon's orbit; whereas that "the souls of the dead went up to the heavens during the appearance of a new moon" = Aupanis.adik limitation of ascension of the soul of the dead according the 1/2-cycle of lunation. The souls' "playing and splashing water (petitik)" = "the third, Nga-Roto, the heaven of lakes; the spray splashing over" (M-PCD, p. 392) = [perhaps Janas Loka of] the splashing during the aquatic play between Ap-ararases and Gandharva-s; whereas "The otu belahut emerged from the earth's surface to fish" = the world of (MM&L, s.v. "IO", p. 73b) god Tupai [= Haw. /kupaianaha/ 'wondrous, extraordinary'], "constantly taking ... the best fish" (MM&L, s.v. "Timu-whakairia", p. 214a). "In kunyuling, all things were red, and even the sunlight was reddish" (cf. the sunset-luminance of the Amita-ayus-Dhyana Vaipulya-sutra) : this would be the world of Tawhaki, god of all red things.}

M-PCD, s.v. "Hua" (Tregear : Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary, "H'). http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-TreMaor-c1-3.html

HDCA = Harry Thurston Peck : Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. NY, 1898. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0062%3Aalphabetic+letter%3DL%3Aentry+group%3D4%3Aentry%3Dlectonia-harpers

M-PCD, s.v. "rangi" (Tregear : Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary, "R"). http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-TreMaor-c1-11.html

"BNM" = Navaho "Bird Nester Myth". http://www.johntoth.net/Portfolio/BirdNesterMyth.pdf

DCM = Pierre Grimal (transl. by A. R. Maxwell-Hysslop) : The Dictionary of Classical Mythology. Blackwell Publ, Oxford, 1986.

LB = Louis Ginzberg : Legends of the Bible. Konecky & Konecky.

"HH" = "Hawaiian History". http://www.mauihi.com/mhculture.htm#Hawaiian history

TSS = Josie Dew : Travels In a Strange State. 2012. https://books.google.com/books?id=kDg2AgAAQBAJ&pg=PT84&lpg=PT84&dq=

"SS&LM" = Lionel Sims : "Snared Suns and Liberated Moons". https://www.academia.edu/8544206/Snared_Suns_and_Liberated_Moons

"MAMA" = Lionel Sims & Jarita Holbrook : "Magic – Another Method for Archaeoastronomers". https://www.academia.edu/10339752/Magic_-_another_method_for_archaeoastronomers

Luomala 1940 = Katherine Luomala : Oceanic, American Indian, and African Myths of Snaring the Sun. Honolulu : Bernice Pauahi Bishop Mus.

MCIBC = Diamond Jenness : Myths of the Carrier Indians of British Columbia. 1934. http://www.native-languages.org/carrierstory2.htm

NAL"SS" = Native American Legends "The Sun Snarer". http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TheSunSnarer-Menomini.html

C&M = Andrew Lang : Custom and Mythhttps://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Custom_and_Myth/Apollo_and_the_Mouse

"ShBSRBO" = Herwig Zahorka : "The Shamanic Belian Sentiu Rituals of the Benuaq Ohookng". BORNEO RESEARCH BULLETIN 38(2007):127-47. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+shamanic+belian+sentiu+rituals+of+the+Benuaq+Ohookng,+with...-a0179660413

HM, p. 205 boulder is rolled at Kama-pua>a by Lima-loa : cf. boulder rolled at S`akya-muni by Deva-datta.

HM, p. 205 Kama-pua>a illegally retained booty : cf. <akan (<akar) illegally retained booty (Yho^su<a 7:18-22).

HM, p. 206-7 Kama-pua>a (who had at birth been a discarded "foetus", HM, p. 203) courted Pele the sister of Moho (= [Samoan] /MOSo/, HM, p. 210) : cf. Miryam (who is traditionally regarded as the wife of (JE, s.v. "Caleb : In Rabbinical Literature") Kaleb, whose name is in turn cognate with Indo-European */galbha/ 'embryo', German /kalb/ having acquired the meaning 'calf' on account of the Golden Calf) the sistre of MOS^eh; alike unto Haumea, Miryam after becoming debilitated (with old age) "became again like a young woman" (JE, s.v. "Miriam : Her Names") -- so that (according to the Qur>an) thousands of years later she is as yet living and youthful. In her aspect as Hauma-puhia, when "she heard of the sea, ... She forced her way down ... the underground channel which is the only outlet of the lake" (MM&L, s.v. "Hauma-puhia"); and similarly in her aspect as Mir-yam ('bitter sea'), she formed a "marvelous well" which "disappeared after Miriam's death" and "was subsequently shown in the sea" (JE, loc. cit), perhaps the Maelstro,m off yhr coast of Norway, known possibly as goddess Kharubdis in the Odusseia.

HM, p. 207 Pele's family refuge in cavern : cf. Demeter, Hera, and Ama-terasu.

HM, p. 361 heroine Lu>ukia (= [Maori] originatrix of weaving Rukutia, cf. /ruku/ "to duck" in Mangarevan, M-PCD, p. 433) "taught tapa beating to the women" : weaveress-heroine Penelope 'Duck' (whose "webbed" feet are reminiscent of a webstress).

JE "Caleb" = Jewish Encyclopedia http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3918-caleb#anchor2

JE "Miriam" = Jewish Encyclopedia http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10874-miriam#anchor3

M-PCD, s.v. /ruku/ (Tregear : Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary, "R"). http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-TreMaor-c1-11.html