Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": THE STONE AND THE BANANA:

AN INDONESIAN MYTH


Thus the natives of Poso, a district of Central Celebes, say that in the beginning the sky was very near the earth, and that the Creator, who lived in it, used to let down his gifts to men at the end of a rope. One day he thus lowered a stone; but our first father and mother would have none of it and they called out to their Maker, 'What have we to do with this stone? Give us something else.' The Creator complied and hauled away at the rope; the stone mounted up and up till it vanished from sight. Presently the rope was seen coming down from heaven again, and this time there was a banana at the end of it instead of a stone. Our first parents ran at the banana and took it. Then there came a voice from heaven saying: 'Because ye have chosen the banana, your life shall be like its life. When the banana-tree has offspring, the parent stem dies; so shall ye die and your children shall step into your place. Had ye chosen the stone, your life would have been like the life of the stone changeless and immortal.' The man and his wife mourned over their fatal choice, but it was too late; that is how through the eating of a banana death came into the world.


J. G. Frazer, The Belief in Immortality, 1 (London, 1913), PP. 74-5, quoting A. C. Kruijt

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