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ADI-MAILAGU – This goddess was one of the evil deities driven from the Skyworld by the Fijian demigod Tuilakemba. When Adi-Mailagu first fell from the sky humans witnessed her landing in Uruone, Fiji. She fell into the small Kele Kele River and caused the water to overflow the banks. Embarrassed, the goddess emerged from the water in the form of a large grey rat and fled into the jungle since Fijian deities are vulnerable when in animal form.
From there she would venture into the villages by night, stealing children’s shadows and carrying them off in her palm leaf basket. The children would then grow sick and die unless their shadows managed to escape before Adi-Mailagu could eat them. The goddess lived in a patch of ivi trees and if passersby made noise it would anger Adi-Mailagu, who would come out and attack them.
To handsome, fit men this goddess would appear as a beautiful young woman who would seduce them and steal their soul in the process. To women or to men that she did not find attractive Adi-Mailagu would appear as either a withered old woman with a long red tongue or as a large grey rat. She would merely injure such people rather than steal their souls.
Men took to making offerings to the goddess before passing through her territory, so that she would not victimize them if she found them attractive. Her priests would provide burnt offerings to Adi-Mailagu near her home, from which she would emerge to answer questions put to her by the holy men. In her honor those priests would caress and rub oil into the fur of any rats they encountered.