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Myth from Oceania & Australia


Maui of a Thousand Tricks was an ugly, excitable, but quick-witted half-divine, half-mortal trickster who was covered in tattoos. If he didn't like the ways things were, he changed them. And there were many things Maui didn't like.


For example, he did not like the sun. Every day, Maui watched human beings scramble to work, or plant, or cook, or make bark cloth in the few precious hours between sunrise and sunset. There was never enough time; the sun moved too fast, the people suffered. They had no choice but to eat their food raw.


Maui grabbed his rope and his grandmother's magic jawbone. With a quick flick of the rope, he lassoed the sun and beat the sun god with the jawbone, until the golden one agreed to move more slowly across the sky. Then Maui looked closely at the sky itself. It hung way too low. With a mighty heave, Maui shoved the firmament up higher.


One day the Maui went fishing.  His brother wouldn't share their bait, so Maui punched his own nose and used his blood to fish. He hauled in catches so big they became the Polynesian islands.