Ori and the Rope of Cows' Hide

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Ori, the supreme being, is an all-seeing, incorporeal creator who lives in the sky but takes little interest in human affairs. Another word for the supreme being is Rabanga, which stands for the supernatural force responsible for reproduction: Rabanga may be a spirit, Mother Earth, fertility, or the force from which the sun, moon, and stars sprang.

At some time, Ori's wife or mother fell or was expelled from the sky in a shower of rain, and when on earth multiplied her kind. For some time, contact was maintained with the sky by means of a cowhide rope, but this was bitten by a hyena and human attempts to replace it with a bamboo tower failed.

In another version of this myth, Ori is the creator, without body, all present, all knowing, but not interesting himself greatly in human affairs. He lives in the sky, where also man dwelled when he was created. At some time, a man and a woman were for some offense expelled from heaven in a shower of rain (some say that they fell down accidentally), and they increased and multiplied. The gods afterward made a rope of cowhide by which communication was kept up, each side going from time to time to dance with the others, until the hyena bit through the rope. The men thereafter tried to reach the sky by building a tower of bamboo, but after they had built it very high it collapsed.

Subjects: Religion.

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