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The Hawaiian Noah. Nu'u-pule, ‘praying Nu'u’, escaped the flood in a large vessel with a house on top of it. Having landed at the summit of a mountain on Hawaii and sacrificed kava, pig, and coconuts to heaven, the god Kane descended on a rainbow and explained ‘his mistake’. The tidal wave, a familiar catastrophe in the Pacific Ocean, was connected with the rising of an ‘undersea goddess’ from the depths. The Banks islanders relate how the Melanesian hero Qat built a canoe on high ground and awaited the coming of the deluge there. The biblical flood story has been entwined with both Melanesian and Polynesian legend, but there is no reason to suppose that independent stories did not exist prior to the arrival of missionaries. In Hawaii there was said to be a certain tree that grew over Ka-wai-o-ulu, ‘the waters of generation’, and held these waters together with its great roots. Were it not for this tree water would submerge all the valleys.

Subjects: Religion.

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