The sea slug myth of the Tikopia


In 1936 Roderick Firth presented a tale from Tikopia, a small island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean (1936: 500-501). Here is a later statement of the tale by Adam Kuper:


“One of the Tikopian tales he related was of a woman who tempted her husband’s penis outside their house and threw it into the sea. She would scoop it up whenever she wanted sexual gratification, but one day her son came along, took the penis for a sea-slug, and shot it dead with his arrow.”



Firth, R. 1936. We, the Tikopia: A Sociological Study of Kinship in Primitive Polynesia. London: George Allen & Unwin.

Kuper, A. 1996. Anthropology and anthropologists: the modern British school. London: Routledge.