The Ancient Spider in the mythology of Nauru Island. In the beginning only Areop-Enap and the sea existed. Then one day he discovered a mussel shell. After much trouble he managed to open it and crept inside. It was so dark inside the shell that he was unable to see a thing. He felt around and discovered a small snail and later a bigger one. He transferred some of his power to the small snail and made it the moon.

The light of the moon, though faint, illuminated his surroundings somewhat. He then saw a worm, which he set to work separating the upper and lower parts of the shell; these became the sky and the earth. When the worm was finished it died of exhaustion. Its sweat ran into the lower shell and became the sea. The large snail Areop-Enap turned into the sun. Finally, from stones Areop-Enap made men to support the sky.

After he had finished, Areop-Enap traveled about the newly created world and discovered various other beings. He learned their names by creating a winged creature from the dirt under his nails. This flying "bird" greatly annoyed the people and they called to each other to kill it. Thus Ancient Spider knew what they were called.



  • Leach, Maria, ed. (1956). The Beginning. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, p. 184.
  • Leach, Maria, ed. (1984). Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. New York: HarperCollins.