Myths / Mythologies / Legends
THE LEGEND OF DEGEI
THE SNAKE GOD
Greatest of all Fijian gods was Degei, the Snake god. In the beginning he lived alone, without friends or companions, and the only living creature he knew was Turukawa the hawk. Although the hawk could not speak he was the constant companion of the god.
One day Degei could not find his friend and looked everywhere for him. Days went by and at last one morning he spied the hawk sitting in some long grass. Gladly, he welcomed the bird but, to his consternation, she ignored Degei and commenced building a nest. Disappointed, he retired to his house and the next day went back to the nest and found two eggs. He then realised the hawk had found a mate and that he had lost her affection. So scooping up the eggs he took them into his own house and kept them warm with his own body. After several weeks of nurturing the eggs and wondering what would happen two shells broke and there were two tiny human bodies.
Degei built them a shelter in a vesi tree and fed them on scraps of food. They grew quickly, but there was nobody to teach them except Degei. He did not understand children but when they were hungry he fed them and to save himself work he planted banana trees and root crops close to them. He also talked to them and told them about the secrets of nature. Eventually the children were fully grown and all this time had been unaware of each other's presence as Degei had placed them on opposite sides of the tree.
One day the man left his shelter and as soon as he saw the maiden held out his arms to her and told her Degei had made them for each other and that their children would populate the earth. So Degei showed them how to cook the root vegetables in an earth oven.
Some time later they were blessed with a little baby and Degei also was very happy as he knew that because of loneliness men and women had come into the world and would worship him as their god.
According to legend Degei also created Viti Levu and all the small islands.
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