The Mystery of the Easter Island Giants


Nancy Tirthani
Etawah. A climb on the dead volcanic cones of Easter Island gives one the foretaste of a trip to the moon. The Island is like a little moon hung between the sky and the sea. Its landscape is also like that of the moon. The craters covered with grass and fern look like hung giants gaping towards the sky. Some of the largest craters have sky-blue lakes at the bottom with reeds mirroring clouds. There are a number of peaceful volcanoes here and there. One of these water-filled volcanoes is Rano Raraku. It is here that men seem to have been most busily at work. But now, it seems, they have fled or have hidden themselves in some holes.

Rano Raraku is one of the greatest and curious monuments of mankind. It warns us of the transience of man and civilization. The whole mountain massif has been reshaped as the rocks have been cut and carried away. It is here in the midst of the mountain’s gaping wound that there lie a hundred and fifty gigantic stone men like a supernatural army. On average, they stand 13 feet high and weigh 14 tons, human heads-on-torsos carved in the male form from rough hardened volcanic ash. The islanders call them “moai,” and they have puzzled ethnographers, archaeologists, and visitors to the island since the first European explorers arrived here in 1722. One feels small in their midst. While dismounting in the shadow of a great block of stone, one sees that block has features of the head of a fallen giant. This is so big that all the expeditions to the place could creep under it and find shelter in rain-storm.

In Rano Raraku the mystery of Easter Island is duly felt. The very air of the place seems to be full of it. The huge standing figures number one hundred and fifty. They look down at one with a mysterious stare. All of them look like as if they are unborn, dead, broken, lifeless and helpless. of clouds. The oldest figures are as they had been There is no mobility around except the movement left. These look proud, arrogant and tight-lipped indicating that no power would ever make them speak.

Wherever the storyteller and his companions went and stopped, they felt surrounded by those uncompleted figures staring at them. All the figures were alike. All had the same stoic expression and peculiar long ears. There lay five hundred feet above the plain, half-finished giants looking blankly into the sky. The swarm stood fixed on the earth like a procession down inside the crater.

When the storyteller and his team began to dig their ways down the heads, the chest appeared. And under the chest, the stomach and arms continued and the whole of the huge body right down to the hips. They also found both human bones and remains of fire under the earth. Now the heads looked quite different from those pictures given in books. The narrator and his men had difficulty in throwing a line over the highest heads. When they were able to dig out some of the statues, they found that they stood as much as forty feet high.


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