I have at some point in my life encountered a claim that according to some islanders' myths, octopodes are the only survivors from a previous world, and managed to squeeze through a rift between worlds when our world created and the previous one was about to be destroyed. If I recall correctly, the story is claimed to originate in the Pacific.

Assuming it does exist, which creation myth tells that story?

I'm interested in finding the creation myth in question (either as an overview, adaptation, or translation). Finding the name of the previous world would also be something I'm interested in.

1 Answer 1


Looks like Kumulipo, an 18th-century chant in the Hawaiian language telling a creation story.

According to Wikipedia, the summary of the story is,

In the Kumulipo the world was created over a cosmic night. This is not just one night, but many nights over time. The ancient Hawaiian kahunas and priests of the Hawaiian religion would recite the Kumulipo during the makahiki season, honoring the god Lono.


The Kumulipo is a total of 2,102 lines long, in honor of Kalaninuiamamao, who created peace for all when he was born. There was a lot of fighting between his ʻI and Keawe family, who were cousins so his birth stopped the two from feuding. The Kumulipo is a cosmogonic genealogy, which means that it relates to the stars and the moon. Out of the 2102 lines, it has 16 "wā" which means era or age. In each , something is born whether it is a human, plant, or creature.

The octopus, known as Kanaloa, is mentioned in the 8th wā.

In the eighth wā, the four divinities are born: Laʻilaʻi (Female), Kiʻi (Male), Kāne (God), Kanaloa (Octopus), respectively.

Regarding the octopus being the only survivor from a previous world, it was interpreted by anthropologists Adolf Bastian and Roland Burrage Dixon.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, anthropologists Adolf Bastian and Roland Burrage Dixon interpreted a recurring verse of the Kumulipo as describing the octopus as the sole survivor of a previous age of existence.

The translated version can be read on:

Found by googling "octopus world creation" which returns Wikipedia article on Octopus that refers Kumulipo.

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