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MARTIN

 
Aerop-Enap
a Nauruan Creation Tale rewritten by Phillip Martin

In the beginning, there was a big, hairy, enormous spider named Areop-Enap and one deep, blue sea.  There was also total darkness.  The bad part about total darkness is you couldn’t see how blue the waters were.  The good part about total darkness is not seeing anything big, hairy and enormous.

Areop-Enap spent her time wandering through the darkness in search of food, which also must have existed in the beginning.  And one day, if there were days back then, she bumped into a huge clam.  Now, big, hairy, enormous spiders also have big, enormous stingers to stun their prey.  But, on this occasion, the spider wasn’t as fast as the clam.  Before she had a chance to doing any stunning, the clam opened up wide and swallowed the old spider whole.

Then, the clam slammed her jaws tightly shut.  Whoomp!

The world already was in total darkness, but it was even darker inside the belly of a huge clam.  Areop-Enap felt her way along the insides of her captor.  That’s when she came upon a small snail.  Although she was hungry, this was not the time for escargot.  Spider tucked the little snail under one of her arms and went to sleep.  For three days!  Areop-Enap knew that if the snail stayed there that long, some of her power could transfer to the little creature.

After a rest, the spider awoke to find a second, larger snail.  She tucked it under another arm and went back to sleep for another three days.

Now, after a very good rest, the spider asked for help, which is what you always should do if you find yourself trapped inside a giant clam.  “Little snail, would you be so kind to crawl over to the hinge of this clam and pry it open?” requested the spider.  “At least, see if you can open it enough for us to sit up.”

“I can certainly try,” replied the little snail.

As the little creature crawled away on the mission, it left a phosphorescent trail behind.  Let there be light!  Areop-Enap liked the light.  She used her powers to turn the snail into the moon, and then placed it in the western half of the shell.

With that light, the old spider spied a caterpillar named Rigi also inside the clam.  “This is a busy place!” thought Areop-Enap.  “How did I miss you?  There really isn’t that much room in here for all of us!”

After so much rest, the spider had plenty of power to cast a strength spell on the caterpillar.  “Why don’t you see if you can pry open this clam,” suggested Areop-Enap.

“I think that’s a great idea,” replied the caterpillar. 

It was no easy feat to pry open the clam.  Rigi strained and stretched, even with the help of the strength spell.  The clam resisted and the caterpillar sweated buckets, if buckets existed back then.  Anyway, a pool of sweat gathered in the bottom of the clam as the caterpillar struggled on the mission.  His head pressed against the top of the shell while his tail pushed upon the lower shell.  The pool of caterpillar sweat grew into a lake, then a sea, and finally the ocean.  Eventually, the saltiness of this sea killed that stubborn clam and the shell opened up.

Finally free from her imprisonment, Areop-Enap made the Earth from the lower shell of that clam. From the upper shell, she created the sky with the moon up in the western corner.  And the larger snail, who really hadn’t done or said much of anything, was placed in the eastern edge of the upper shell as the sun.  Hardly done creating, the spider made the islands from clam flesh and spun their vegetation with her own silk.  “Not bad.  What do you think, Rigi?” asked the old spider.

But, there was no answer from the little caterpillar.  Exhausted, he drowned in the sea of his own sweat.  Areop-Enap wrapped his companion in a cocoon of silk and placed him in the sky as the Milky Way. 

After creating the earth and the heavens, Areop-Enap gathered stones to create humans.  It would be their job to support the sky.  Then, the spider discovered other creatures in her newly created world.  Where did they come from?  If the old spider didn’t make them, I guess nobody knows. Anyway, from the dirt under her fingernails (and who knew spiders had those?) Areop-Enap created a bird to torment those creatures.  They called out to each other, complaining about the bird and wishing all kinds of bad things to happen to it.  In the process, the clever spider learned the names of every creature around the world.

After all this work, Areop-Enap found a place in the heavens to rest and observe her creation.  Except for sending the young spider, Areop-It-Eonin, down to learn the secret of fire, she doesn’t seem to do much of anything.  And, everyone hopes she keeps her big, hairy, enormous spidery nose to herself.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants the Great Clam to get annoyed or the sky might just come slamming down on top of us all.

MARTIN
Copyright 2016 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.