The role of the fish in the world’s creation was both active and passive in ancient myth. In the active version, a fish brings silt from the floor of the primeval ocean and creates land with it. The passive version has fish supporting the land, thus any sharp movement of the fish results in earthquakes.
In China and India the fish symbolizes rebirth. The fish is also a metaphor for Jesus Christ. In fact, the genus name for fish, ichthus is deciphered as the abbreviation of the Greek formula, Jesous Christos Theou Huios Soter. AS well, two of the Apostles Peter and Andrew were originally fishermen. Christ promises to make them “fishers of Men”. From this comes the allegorical sense of catching fish, or human souls, with a net as depicted in medieval art. How many souls have been caught in these nets since then? Man, inspired by his Creator, imitates this most artful and original creation.
In Polynesian mythology there is a wonderful legend about a strong man named Maui who possesses magical knowledge. He captures the sun into a specially fashioned trap making it shine longer and increasing the length of the day. He calms the winds, raises the sky that rested upon the earth in the beginning and- with the help of a specialized fishing hook- he lures a fish-island from the depths of the ocean floor.
People inhabit this island—Maui. Maui brings them fire, as did Prometheus, which helps them to prepare food. Like Prometheus, he battles other gods in an effort to give his people immortality. Famous songs about Maui are part of ritual dances and games of Polynesian natives.