RAPETO – This gigantic deity falls into the global mythological category of “Divine Geographers” for his role in crafting and creating many landmarks throughout Madagascar. This makes him similar to Khong Lo in Vietnamese myths, Inugpasug in Inuit myths, Halmang in Korean myths and Moshiri in Ainu myths. A number of stories about the enormous Rapeto explain the origin of various geographical features throughout the land. His name was used to classify the Rapetosaurus, a dinosaur that used to inhabit Madagascar.
Once Rapeto asked his wife, the cattle goddess Rasoalao, to lend him her herds to trample down his vast, sprawling rice fields. She refused, so he dammed up the fields, causing them to fill with water and become Lake Itasy, where Rasoalao watered her herds. According to tradition this incident must have happened before the two deities married since the Merina priests said a wife would not have been allowed to refuse such a request from her husband. Once again we see that this type of sexism afflicted virtually all ancient cultures and is not characteristic of just one place.
Other myths recount how various valleys were Rapeto’s dinner bowls, various canyons were his footprints and islands in lakes were stones he kicked out of his way. Another prominent myth tells how Rapeto foolishly tried to drag the moon from the sky to serve as his daughter’s plaything but the moon seared him with its beams, dissuading him from the attempt.
That last particular myth is often used to point out the perils of hubris, like the tale of Icarus in Greco-Roman myths.
I’LL BE EXAMINING ADDITIONAL MERINO DEITIES IN A FEW DAYS.
FOR THE MAIN LIST OF MERINA DEITIES CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2015/02/24/top-figures-in-merina-mythology/
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