'To-Kabinana' can also refer to...


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A Melanesian creator hero. The New Britain islanders tell of a pre-existent spirit, ‘the one who was first there’, who drew two male figures on the ground, cut open his own skin, and sprinkled the drawings with his own blood. He then shaded the figures with large leaves till they emerged as two men, named To-Kabinana and To-Karvuvu.

Whilst To-Kabinana always did things of benefit to the world, To-Karvuvu never succeeded in avoiding unfortunate actions. One day To-Kabinana climbed a coconut tree, picked two unripe fruit, and threw them to the ground. They split open and released two beautiful women. To-Karvuvu admired them and asked his brother how he had come by them. Having discovered the secret, To-Karvuvu also climbed a coconut tree, picked two unripe fruit, and threw them to the ground. Unhappily, they landed point downward, and the women who came from them had flat ugly noses.

Another day To-Kabinana carved a certain fish out of wood and cast it into the sea, where it might live forever after. This grateful fish used to drive other fishes to the beach, so that To-Kabinana could simply pick them up. Impressed, To-Karvuvu carved a shark and placed it in the waves. When this ungrateful fish did not drive other fishes to the beach but ate them instead, To-Karvuvu was sorry and told his brother what he had done. To-Kabinana said: ‘You are despicable. Now our descendants will suffer. That shark of yours will eat both fishes and men.’

The twin brothers represent the antithetical character of Nature. The New Britain islanders explain the unpleasant, disturbing, and fearful aspects of the world in terms of To-Karvuvu's foolishness. They say that although creation is good, and in the actions of To-Kabinana this goodness becomes actual, unfortunately he has a half-witted brother who is always interfering with what he does. To-Karvuvu, in other words, adds to creation the dark side of evil, the blood trailing from the jaws of that archetypal killer, the shark.

Subjects: Religion.

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