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Mae

by Micha F. Lindemans
Mysterious snakes from the Banks Islands (New Hebrides). They are believed to become the guiding spirits of all those who encounter them. If a young man returns home after a day of fishing, at sunset he might see a young girl sitting on a rock, her head covered with flowers. She will beckon him to climb the steep cliff and when he approaches her he will notice that she has the face of a girl from his own village, or a neighboring one. Afraid that she is a mae he will look closer and see that her elbows and knees are on backwards; this betrays her true nature and the young man will flee. Should he, however, hit her with the leaf of the dracaena she will assume her true form and slip away as a snake.

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