Sharks Bring Mystery

What is a myth? A myth is a legend or a story that can not be proven with facts. It typically involves some religious or super powers of the unknown. It is often detailed and repeated over the centuries. There are many famous myths in literature. The myths discussed here will be ones that are themed with some kind of shark involved.

In Greek mythology Akhelios was the son of Zeus and Lamia. He was exceptionally good looking and pleasing to the eye. He was described as having irresistible beauty. He boasted that he had more beauty than Aphrodite. She was angry and punished Akehelios by transforming him to ugliness. She turned him into  a shark shaped sea demon.

The Indigenous people of Solomon believe that the bodies of sharks are inhabited by the souls of dead people. Dakuwanga was the shark God that was the eater of the souls that were lost.

The Native Americans of the Northwest place dogfish sharks on their totem posts. They do this in memory of a woman that was kidnapped by a shark, and eventually turned herself into a shark.

A Hawaiian legend tells the story of the King of Sharks. The King of Sharks spotted a young girl swimming near the shore and immediately fell in love with her. He transformed himself into a handsome man, dressed as chief, decorated with a feathered cape. He followed the girl back to her village to woo her.

He was welcomed with a traditional Hawaiian luau, and asked the young girl to marry him. He built their home by a waterfall and spent great amounts of time in the water. He said he was building a place at bottom of the pool for their son.

Before the child was born, the King of the Sharks, returned to his people. He left the cape and made his wife promise that the cape would always be wrapped around the shoulders of the child. When the son was born the mother saw a mark upon his back that looked like the mouth of a shark and then realized who her husband was.

She named her son Nanave. True to her word, she always had her son wear the cape. She did notice that he too spend hours deep in the pool. In the morning  the fishermen would walk by the pond and Nanave would greet them and ask about fishing.

The fishermen found that they were catching less and less fish. The village chief called the people to the temple and told them there was bad God among them that  was interfering with the fishing. He placed leaves and said that everyone would walk across the leaves. The bad God would leave no footprints. Nanave was very nervous and tried to hurry across the leaves. He slipped and a man grabbed the cape to try and save him from a fall. Of course, they saw the shark mouth on his back. He ran quickly to the pond and jumped in. The villagers threw big rocks in the pond to kill the boy.

His mother knew that her son was safe with his father. The fishermen never revealed their fishing destinations as they believed the sharks may hear and chase the fish away.

It seems like human nature to try and take things and animals we don’t understand and turn them into something mystical. That is why mythology is so interesting and makes for great stories.