Theft of fire
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The theft of fire for the benefit of humanity is a theme that recurs in many world mythologies. Examples include:
- According to the Rig Veda (3:9.5), the hero Mātariśvan recovered fire, which had been hidden from humanity.
- In Greek mythology, the Titan Prometheus steals the heavenly fire for humanity, enabling the progress of civilization.
- In the Book of Enoch, the fallen angels and Azazel teach early humanity to use tools and fire.
- In Polynesian myth, Māui stole fire from the Mudhens.
- In Cherokee myth, after Possum and Buzzard had failed to steal fire, Grandmother Spider used her web to sneak into the land of light. She stole fire, hiding it in a clay pot.
- Among various Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest and First Nations, fire was stolen and given to humans by Coyote, Beaver or Dog.
- According to some Yukon First Nations people, Crow stole fire from a volcano in the middle of the water.
- According to the Creek Native Americans, Rabbit stole fire from the Weasels.
- In Algonquin myth, Rabbit stole fire from an old man and his two daughters.
- In Ojibwa myth, Nanabozho the hare stole fire and gave it to humans.
- Alexander, Hartley Burr. The Mythology of All Races. Vol 10: North American. Boston, 1916.
- Erdoes, Richard and Alfonso Ortiz, eds. American Indian Myths and Legends. New York, 1984.
- Judson, Katharine B. Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest. Chicago, 1912.
- Swanton, John. "Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians." Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 88: 1929.
- Westervelt, W.D. Legends of Maui – a Demigod of Polynesia, and of His Mother Hina. Honolulu, 1910.
- O fogo e as chamas dos mitos (text in Portuguese) by Betty Mindlin Essay about the origin of fire, stealing of fire, keeping of fire in different South-American indigenous cultures
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