Oceanic Mythology - Miscellaneous Tales
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
WE have thus far considered the Polynesian cosmogonic myths and those which group themselves in a cycle about the hero Maui; but there is also a considerable mass of myth material which, although less systematic, is nevertheless of great importance in any survey of the mythology of the area. It is obviously impossible to consider all of this data, so that we must restrict ourselves to a selection of what seems most typical and most significant. As the available material is particularly abundant from New Zealand, it follows that to a large extent the examples chosen must be taken from there; although reference will likewise be made, so far as is possible, to data from other island groups.
In Maori mythology a number of tales cluster about a herodeity named Tawhaki and his grandson Rata; and we may well begin the consideration of the residuum of Polynesian mythology with an outline of this story.' Whaitari or Whatitiri ("Thunder") was a female divinity of cannibalistic propensities who lived in the sky. Hearing of a man in this world, a warrior known as Kai-tangata, or "Man-Eater" (apparently not to be confused with the Kai-tangata, son of Rehua, who was killed by Rupe), and supposing from his name that he, too, was fond of human flesh, she determined to marry him. Descending to earth, therefore, she slew one of her slaves and carried the reeking heart to Kai-tangata as an offering, but he indignantly refused to accept it and explained that his name had reference merely to his warlike prowess. Although disappointed, Whaitari married him and bore several children, ne of whom was Hema; but to appease her fondness for human flesh she continued to slay men and accidentally thus killed and ate certain of her husband's relatives. Not knowing who they were, he used their bones to make fish-hooks, but when Whaitari ate of the fish caught with these hooks, she was stricken blind as a punishment for her evil deeds. Soon after this, displeased at certain remarks which her husband made about her, she resolved to leave him and return to the sky, but before going she told Hema not to attempt to follow her, although she said that if he had children they might be successful in reaching the heavens. In some versions these instructions were given to Kai-tangata's other wife, who duly reported them to the sorrowing husband. Whaitari herself ascended to the sky in a cloud which came and enveloped her.
Hema grew up, married, and had as children Tawhaki and Karihi, but when his wife had been carried off by evil beings, Hema went to rescue her, only to be himself overcome and killed by them.' Meanwhile Tawhaki's cousins were jealous of him, for owing to his beauty and prowess he won the favour of all the maidens; so one day his kinsmen attacked him while he was bathing and left him for dead. Found by his wife, he was nursed back to health and revenged himself amply on those who sought his death, by overwhelming them in a flood sent by the gods in answer to his prayers.
Tawhaki now resolved to seek and rescue his mother. He successfully accomplished the long journey to the distant land where she was kept captive and found that she had to remain outside the great house in which her goblin captors lived, and rouse them daily at dawn. With her he concocted a plan by which their enemies were destroyed. Concealing himself in the house, he waited until all the occupants were inside and asleep, whereupon, aided by his mother, he silently stopped up every cranny by which light could enter and thus kept all imprisoned until it was broad daylight. Then, when the door was suddenly opened, those within were dazzled by the unaccustomed glare and thus fell an easy prey to Tawhaki, who rushed from his place of concealment and slew them all.
Hema, the father of Tawhaki, had now to be sought, and on this quest Tawhaki was accompanied by his brother, Karihi. The order of events varies in different versions, but the incidents, as a rule, are much the same. The two set off in a canoe to seek for their father, and after crossing the sea they came to a land where they found a blind old woman who was none other than Whaitari, their grandmother. She was busy counting over and over a series of yams or baskets of food, and Tawhaki (as in some versions of the Maui stories) quietly snatched away one after another until she became aware that something was wrong. She sniffed in all directions, hoping to detect the thief and catch him, for she was a cannibal and hungry for human flesh; but at last Tawhaki made himself known as her grandson, and then restored her sight, either by anointing her eyes with his spittle mixed with clay or by slap-ping them with his hand.
From his grandmother he learned of the way to reach the upper world, which could be attained only by climbing a spider's web which hung down to earth. Up this Tawhaki accordingly went, his brother, who tried to ascend first, being driven back by the winds so that he fell and was killed. Arrived in the sky-world, Tawhaki inquired from an aged woman whom he met where his father's bones were to be found and discovered that they were kept in a house. Paying no further attention to them, apparently, he then proceeded to climb to the highest heaven of all that he might learn from a deity there the most powerful incantations and charms. He was successful and brought them back to this world for the use of man. Some versions have him take a wife in the upper world and remain there as a deity of lightning; although if we may believe others, his ascent to the sky was in quest of his wife. While he still lived on earth, according to this latter form of the myth, a beautiful sky-maiden was enamoured of him and came down to earth secretly at night to visit him, later deciding to remain openly as his wife and bearing him a daughter. As a result of a disagreement, she determined to return to her celestial home and did so, taking her child with her, whereupon, disconsolate over his loss, Tawhaki re-solved to seek her, had his encounter with the blind old woman, and climbed to the upper world by means of the , spider's web. Arrived in the sky, he assumed the guise of an old man, and was forced by a group of people engaged in making a canoe to carry their axes for them; but returning secretly he completed the boat unaided in a marvellously short time, after which he resumed his normal form, openly sought and found his wife, and lived with her in the sky-world. However Tawhaki secured his wife, she bore him a son, Wahieroa, who married in his turn, but when his wife was about to give birth to her child, she requested that a certain sort of rare food, to be obtained only in far-away lands, be brought to her. Wahieroa, accordingly, went off to a distant eastern country to secure it, but was there caught and killed by a cannibal giant named Matuku. The child, a son, was born, and named Rata .
When Rata had grown up, he asked his mother about his father and learned from her how he had been killed in a distant land, so he resolved to be avenged and accordingly set about building a canoe. Selecting a great tree, he cut it down, but was amazed the next day, on coming to continue his work, to find the tree again erect and quite unharmed. A second time he cut it down, only to discover it intact and standing when he returned. A third time he felled the tree and then hid him-self to observe what happened. Soon he heard voices singing:
"It is Rata. Rata you are
And as he watched, the chips that he had cut flew together to the stump, and the tree slowly rose and became whole once more. Rata then recognized the work of the little forest spirits (in some versions said to have come in the guise of birds), but when he called to them and asked them to desist, they in-formed him that he had done wrong in not having made the fitting sacrifices and said the proper charms before beginning his work. The wood spirits took pity on him, however, and told him that if he would go home, they would complete his canoe for him overnight; and so indeed it happened, for in the morning the work was all done, and a fine new boat stood beside the door.
The canoe, thus magically provided, was soon launched, and Rata, setting out with his followers to avenge his father, came, after long voyaging, to an island where one of the cannibal giants lived. This monster first tried to swallow the whole party at once, but by his power Rata multiplied his followers so greatly that they spread over all the shore, and the giant, huge as he was, could not accomplish the feat. Failing in this, he tried to induce them, after they had entered his house, to sit on mats cleverly contrived to conceal traps below, but this fate they also escaped. They would not eat the food with which he sought to tempt them, and after a vain search for water, for which they asked, he returned cold and tired. This was Rata's opportunity, and promising the giant some warm and strengthening food, he threw into the monster's great mouth some red-hot stones from the fireplace, which caused him to burst and killed him. The arch-cannibal, Makutu, who lived in a great underground cave, remained, but by spreading nooses over the opening, the giant was finally enticed to come out by the abundant food which he hoped to secure. As he emerged, the nooses caught him and were drawn tight, and although he struggled tremendously, his wings (in some accounts he was winged 7) were broken, and he was finally overcome and killed. Rata then gathered up the bones of his father and with them re-turned to his home.
The whole story of Whaitari, Tawhaki, and Rata does not appear to exist in other parts of Polynesia, at least in this form, so that the best and easiest method of discussing it and its relationships, both within and without Polynesia, will be to consider the various incidents separately. In no portion of Polynesia do tales involving cannibals and cannibalism appear quite so prominently as in New Zealand. Whaitari was, as has been seen, a female cannibal who, coming down from the sky to secure men for food, used to capture them with a net; 8 and a somewhat similar idea is shown in a tale from Mangaia, where a sky-cannibal lets down a basket in which he catches and hauls up his human prey; while in Rotuma (a small island west of Samoa, containing a mixed Polynesio-Melanesian population) we again find something analogous, in that cannibal deities from the upper world were said to descend to earth to fish and to catch men, carrying them back with them to the sky."
Outside of New Zealand the Tahitian version alone brings in the cannibalistic ancestress, although in a somewhat different way, forming a prologue, as it were, to the tale as a whole. According to this story," a female deity named Haumea married Ro'o-nui, who came up from the underworld; but as a result of a quarrel between the two, Ro'o-nui abandoned his wife and child, Tuture, and returned to the lower world. Angry at this, Haumea became a cannibal, and Tuture feared for his life. He therefore constructed a magic canoe which the gods transported to the shore for him. In order to get a good start in his projected flight he secretly pierced holes in the bottom of the gourds used to carry water and then asked his mother to bring him a supply from a distant spring.
She found the vessels empty on her return and at length, after several attempts to bring water in them, discovered the trick, whereupon she at once set out after Tuture to kill him. He had meanwhile fled in his canoe, but swimming in pursuit, she rapidly caught up with him and was about to swallow man and canoe when he threw into her open mouth some stones heated red-hot in the fire, and thus destroyed her. She was not really killed, however, for her body drifted ashore and there, coming to life again, she changed her name to Nona (Rona) and continued her cannibalistic practices. She bore a daughter who, when she grew up, had as lover one of the last survivors of the people, most of the rest of whom her mother had eaten. This lover kept himself hidden in a cave which opened at a magic word, but the cannibal mother at last discovered the secret, and going instead of her daughter, repeated the charm, entered the cave, and killed and ate the fugitive. In her anger she then determined to devour her daughter also, but the latter, placing a log of wood in her bed to deceive her mother, fled, only to be pursued by the relentless ogress. The daughter took refuge with an old man whom she begged to protect her. This he did, and when Nona came, he succeeded in killing her, after which he married the daughter, one of whose children was Hema, the father of Tawhaki.
In this episode and in the New Zealand myth the cannibalistic feature is strongly marked, but in general cannibals are not prominent figures in Polynesian mythology. On the other hand, they are very frequently mentioned in Melanesia and Indonesia, where they are commonly described as living in or perching on trees and seem, as will be pointed out in more detail later, to be possibly associated with or derived from vampire spirits. Apart from the cannibal element, an-other aspect of this initial part of the tale deserves attention in that here we have a sky-maiden who comes down to earth to become the wife of a mortal and later leaves him to return to the upper world. Now, while this lacks certain rather characteristic elements of the familiar "swan-maiden" episode, it at least contains suggestions of it which, in view of the commonness of the "swan-maiden" tale in the adjacent portion of Melanesia and the practical absence of any similar myth in other parts of Polynesia may be significant." The "swan-maiden" tale so wide-spread in many parts of the world appears in quite characteristic form in the New Hebrides," but — so far as noted — nowhere else in Melanesia, except in the western end of Dutch New Guinea. It is, on the other hand, almost universal in Indonesia, as will be seen later."
The remainder of the first portion of the tale, up to Tawhaki's search for his father, does not seem to be told outside of New Zealand, although Hema and the two children occur with the same names in Hawaii '7 and in Tahiti." The episode of the attempted murder of Tawhaki, found in the Cook and Society Groups in somewhat different forms, seems to be absent from Hawaii. In Tahiti the search for and rescue of the mother is replaced, more or less, by an episode lacking in New Zealand and elsewhere. Ac-cording to this form of the tale, Arihi and a company of companions went off on an expedition to slay certain evil man-killing monsters. Tafa'i ( Tawhaki) wanted to go with them, and although they refused to consent, he determined to outwit them, so that, by securing a powerful charm, he was enabled to ride over the sea on a great shark and reach the destination first, surprising Arihi and the others, who found him already there when they arrived. The first menace to be overcome was a magic kava-plant which stabbed and killed all who approached it, but after some of Arihi's followers had been slain, Tafa'i conquered and destroyed it. A man-killing monster was similarly disposed of, and then, his tasks accomplished, the hero returned home on his magic shark, once more arriving before Arihi and the rest. When they came, he induced all but Arihi to climb into trees which, by his magic power, he caused to grow tall and bend over; and he then struck the trees, whereupon the men who had tried to prevent him from accompanying Arihi fell off into the sea and were transformed into porpoises."
The episode of the blind old woman, which occurs in substantially the same form in Mangaia and Tahiti, has already been discussed 20 in connexion with certain versions of Maui's snaring of the sun. The most important difference in the episode as told of Tawhaki lies in the attempts made by the blind ogress to capture her tormentors. In one Tahitian version obtained in the Tuamotu, Kui the Blind at first tried to en-tangle Tawhaki and Arihi in a net, the usual cannibal custom, but failing in this, she essayed several other methods in vain until at last she swung her great fish-hook, with which she succeeded in catching Arihi. In the other version from here and in that from Mangaia the hook seems to be the only weapon. At her first attempt her only prize was a log, but finally she succeeded in taking her human prey, which she released when she discovered that it was her grandson. In Mangaia the whole episode is attributed to Tane, not to Tawhaki, and several incidents are added which are not found in the other versions. According to this form of the story, Tane agreed to go with a friend, a chief named Ako, to aid him in prosecuting his suit for the hand of a beautiful maiden; but Tane himself fell in love with the fair one and endeavoured — though in vain — to win her away from his friend. Disgusted at his failure, he sought his canoe in order to return home, only to find that Ako had punctured the boat in revenge for Tane's faithlessness. As it began to sink, Tane, to save himself from drowning, leaped into a tree near the shore, and swaying it violently, swung himself across the sea to a distant land. Then he met Kui the Blind, and the episodes of stealing her food and restoring her eyesight took place.
Here again there is a repetition of the incident of the swaying tree, for Tane, having climbed to the top of a tall coconut tree, caused it to bend far over until its top was above his own home, whereupon he shook off the nuts and then caused the tree to spring back to its original position. This twice-repeated incident of the tree bending over to bring a person to a distant land appears in slightly different form in the Tahitian account of Tawhaki's deeds, but seems not to be known else-where in Polynesia, although it occurs in Melanesia, as well as in Indonesia. Whether the incident of Kui the Blind is to be regarded as originally belonging to the Tawhaki myth, which has been assimilated by the Maui cycle in certain cases, or vice versa, it is impossible to say. Tawhaki's search for his father involves the episode of the ascent to the sky in the New Zealand story, a feat usually accomplished by climbing a spider's web, although in some versions this is replaced by a cord or a vine, said to be let down by his heavenly ancestress. In the other recensions of the story, a journey to a distant land serves as a substitute. In the Rarotonga tale there are various dangers to be encountered, chief of which is the island or land of fierce women, all of whom wish to marry a rash intruder. Possibly it is not too hazardous to see in this an echo of the Melanesian tale of the "island of fair women" — a veritable Cythera where a man was in danger of dying of love if he should be enticed to land.
The incident of the ascent to the upper world, as told in the New Zealand tale, appears in several myths and is quite wide-spread. In Polynesia, the spider's web as a means of approach seems to occur outside of New Zealand only in Hawaii, al-though farther afield it has been noted in the New Hebrides 26 and the Carolines 27 A rope, on the other hand, is not specifically referred to elsewhere in Polynesia, but is found in Melanesia 28 and Indonesia, whereas ascent by means of a vine seems to appear only in Indonesia 30 The Hawaiian fragmentary version of Tawhaki (Kaha'i) makes him and his brother, Karihi (Aliki), reach the upper world by travelling on the rainbow, there to inquire of Tane and Tangaloa where their father, Hema, had gone. The Hawaiian Tawhaki myth is only a fragment, and may perhaps, as Fornander thinks, have been a direct importation from the south (Marquesas and Tahiti) by the immigrants who came thence to Hawaii. Nowhere else in Polynesia and Melanesia, however, so far as observed, does the rainbow appear as a heavenly road, although it is so regarded in Indonesia, whence the incident may be taken as one of several such purely Indonesian elements which occur in Hawaii but not elsewhere in Polynesia. It might be noted here that all the forms of the tale state that the captors of Tawhaki's father were cannibals, and the same is also true of the following legend, for Rata's parents were cannibals in some versions. These cannibalistic people are, moreover, described as black. In rationalizing these myths, Smith and others regard this as referring to ancient encounters with Melanesian peoples in the islands west of Polynesia.
Although the primary cause for Tawhaki's ascent to the sky was to seek for his father, in the New Zealand version he paid little attention to his parent's bones when found, but set off to seek powerful charms in the highest heavens. In the versions from the Cook Group and Tahiti the thread of the story is better sustained. In Rarotonga Tawhaki rescued his father from his enemies just as they were about to kill and roast him. In Tahiti, on the other hand, he found that his parent had been buried in filth by his captors, and from this unpleasant predicament Tawhaki rescued him, after which the hero stretched nets about the house in which the perpetrators of this insult were gathered, set fire to the dwelling, destroying them all, and brought his father back in safety. According to the Hawaiian version, Tawhaki himself was killed while searching for his father, and it was Rata, his grandson, who finally obtained his revenge.
The quest and capture or death of Wahieroa at the hands of an evil monster appears also in Hawaii, Tahiti, and the Cook Group, although in somewhat different form. In the Tahitian version Wahieroa and his wife left their child, Rata, in charge of Um the Blind when they went off on a fishing expedition, but while they were gone, they were seized by a great bird, Matu'u-ta'u-ta'uo, who swallowed Wahieroa and carried his wife to a distant land. Rata, who had never known his parents, was one day playing games with other children, but when he proved to be the victor, they angrily taunted him with being a foundling. Indignantly he asked the aged Ui, who at last confessed the truth, after trying to put him off, and told him how his parents had been abducted. Rata at once determined to seek for them and refused to be influenced by the accounts of the dangers on the way. Next follows the incident of the building of Rata's canoe, so that, in slightly varying form, the story of the magic resurrection of the tree by the wood spirits and of their subsequent completion of the canoe for the hero in one night appears in several parts of Polynesia."
The version from Aitutaki treats the incident in a somewhat different light. Here Rata, on his way to cut a tree for a canoe, passed a heron and a snake who were fighting, and though the bird asked him for help, he went on unheeding and chopped down his tree. Returning the next day, he found it re-erected, so he felled it a second time, only to see it again erect and sound on the following day. At this he remembered the heron who had asked his aid and its declaration that his canoe-making could not be finished without its help, so he sought for the combatants, now nearly exhausted, and killed the snake. Once more he cut down the tree, and then the heron, grateful for the aid rendered, assembled all the birds, who miraculously completed the canoe and carried it to Rata's house. Outside Polynesia the incident of the magic canoe appears in much the same form both in Melanesia " and Indonesia." The New Zealand version gives only a meagre account of Rata's voyage, whereas in the Cook Group this part of the story is amplified by several incidents. After his crew had been picked, and just as he was about to start, a man named Nganaoa asked to be allowed to go with him, offering to take care of the sails, to bale out the boat, or to do anything that Rata might wish. His request was refused, and the canoe sailed away, but Nganaoa had secreted himself on board and was discovered soon after Rata was out of sight of land. Angered at this trick, Rata threw his unasked companion overboard, thinking thus to be rid of him; but soon afterward, seeing a great gourd floating in the sea, Rata took it aboard, only to find Nganaoa concealed within it. This time the persistent fellow was threatened with death, but was finally permitted to remain with the party on his promising to aid Rata in destroying the monsters which beset the way. This promise Nganaoa made good, killing first a giant clam which threatened to close upon the canoe; next an enormous octopus which tried to drag the boat under the waves; and lastly a whale which was about to swallow the whole party. In this latter crisis Nganaoa first wedged the monster's jaws open with his spear and then jumped down its throat. In its belly the hero found his mother and father, who had, while fishing, been devoured by it; and with his fire-sticks Nganaoa kindled a flame inside the whale, which rushed ashore in agony, so that all came forth in safety. The episode of being swallowed by a sea-monster, the building of a fire within it, and the subsequent escape appears both in Melanesia 41 and Indonesia and very widely in a closely related form.
Rata's conflicts with the two cannibal giants, as told in the New Zealand versions, afford further points of comparison. The trap of the concealed pitfall covered by mats, on which the first giant tried to induce Rata and his men to sit, seems to be lacking elsewhere in Polynesia, but is found in Melanesia, and appears also to be known in Indonesia. The destruction of a cannibal giant or monster by means of red-hot stones is likewise an incident of wide distribution, occurring in Hawaii 48 and Tahiti within the Polynesian area, as well as in parts of Melanesia 48 and Indonesia.
Having now considered in some detail the series of legends which group themselves about Tawhaki and Rata, we may turn to a few other myths which do not form in any sense a connected series. Going back to the group of Maui tales, it will be remembered that one of the hero's exploits was the trans-formation of his brother-in-law into a dog. According to the New Zealand version of the story, Maui's sister, Hina-uri, was so distressed at the fate of her husband that in despair she threw herself into the sea. For many months her body drifted about until at last it was washed ashore, where it was found by two brothers, who brought it to their house and by their care restored it to life. Since Hina-uri was a beautiful woman, the two brothers fell in love with her and made her their wife, not knowing who she was; but after some time Tinirau, the chief of this district, heard of the charming stranger and took her from the brothers to be his own spouse. Tinirau already had two wives who at once became jealous of the new favourite and tried to kill her, but by her superior magic power she destroyed them. Although her famous brother, Maui, was not troubled over her loss, one of the younger Mauis (later known as Rupe) was deeply grieved and set out to search for her. In vain he sought her everywhere and finally determined to ascend to the heavens to consult his ancestor, Rehua, one of the children of Rangi and Papa. At last he penetrated from the lower heavens to the tenth, where he found his godlike ancestor, to whom he made himself known. To provide refreshment for his visitor, Rehua shook from his heavy hair a flock of birds, which he ordered to be cooked, but Rupe, fearing the tabu of Rehua's sacred head, refused to touch them. Learning from his ancestor where Hina-uri was, Rupe turned himself into a pigeon and flew down to the place in which she was living as the wife of Tinirau. Some of the chief's people tried to spear the bird, but he dodged their weapons and at last was recognized by his sister. Seizing his opportunity, Rupe took both her and her child and flew away with them to the heaven of Rehua, where he performed another task, an Augean labour, in that he cleansed the courtyard of Rehua's house, which had become incredibly filthy in course of time.
With this we may compare a tale from Mangaia. One day Ina or Hina was left alone by her parents and charged to watch carefully over the precious ornaments belonging to the family. These were coveted by Nanga, a great thief, who could work, however, only when the bright rays of the sun were clouded. Taking advantage of such an opportunity, he crept up and persuaded Ina to let him try on the beautiful ornaments, after which, by a ruse, he escaped from the house in which Ina thought to confine him and fled with the treasure. When her parents returned, they were very angry with Ina and beat her until she determined to run away. In her distress she called upon the fish to aid her and one after another they came and tried to carry her across the sea to the island-home of Tinirau, the king of fishes; but all were too small and weak for the task until a shark appeared who was able to bear the burden. Ina had with her two coco-nuts to serve as food and drink on the way, but when she broke one of them on the head of her fishy steed he became angry, and diving deep left Ina struggling in the waves. The greatest of all sharks, however, came to her rescue and bore her to her journey's end, where she found Tinirau's house, though he himself was absent. She accordingly beat upon a great drum which was there, and when Tinirau hurried back to see who had dared to invade his premises, he found Ina and took her as his wife. Ina's younger brother, Rupe, was sorrowing for his sister and resolved to seek her, therefore he entered into a small bird who flew across the sea to where his sister was. Here he disclosed himself and then, returning with the news of his sister's safety, brought both her parents to visit her and celebrated a festival in honour of her children. Other versions are known from Nieue and the Chatham Islands, but the tale seems not to have been re-corded elsewhere in the Polynesian area. One or two of the incidents will repay brief examination. The quest of a woman by a hero in the guise of a bird is, as has been seen, a feature of both versions outlined. This episode appears as one of Maui's minor deeds in Hawaii and in a somewhat variant form occurs likewise in legends from New Britain 64 and the Admiralty Islands in Melanesia; while Ina's journey on a shark finds its counterpart in several tales where fish or sea-monsters act in a similar manner. The special incident of the coconut being cracked on the head of a shark is also reported from New Britain.
Several stories in the Polynesian area introduce the episode of the descent to the underworld of the dead, familiar to us from the classical myths of Orpheus, and in New Zealand, for instance, the origin of tatuing is thus explained. One day Mataora was asleep in his house when a party of Turehu (a people living in the underworld) came and discovered him. At first they made fun of Mataora, not knowing whether he was a man or no, for the Turehu were not as other folk; but while they were debating, he awoke, and proving himself to be a man, offered the visitors food. They, however, would not eat it, since it was cooked, and they ate only uncooked food, wherefore Mataora provided them with some raw fish, and when they had finished eating, they danced. Nuvarahu, one of the women of the Turehu, was very fair, and Mataora fell in love with her at first sight and took her for his wife. For a time all went well, but then, becoming jealous of his brother, who admired Nuvarahu, a quarrel arose in which Mataora beat his wife for her conduct. Angry at this treatment, she fled back to the underworld, but her husband grieved for his lost wife and resolved to seek her. From a man whom he met he learned that Nuvarahu had passed that way, and thus at length he reached the entrance to the underworld of Po, where he descended and sought news of Nuvarahu, learning that she had passed, weeping bitterly. Finally he arrived at the village of his father-in-law Uetonga, who was engaged in tatuing a person. Until this time people in the world above had only painted the designs upon their faces, but Uetonga cut the patterns deeply into the flesh, so that not only were the figures shown by the pigment, but the skin itself was carved. The people of the lower world laughed at Mataora, and when with their hands they had rubbed off the painting on his face, they showed him that their way of decorating, or "moko," could not be removed, for it was permanent. Mataora was pleased at this and asked to have his face tatued in the same way, whereupon Uetonga agreed, and as he chiselled the pat-terns, Mataora sang to ease the pain. The sound came to the ears of Nuvarahu, who was weaving a mat near by, and from the song she recognized her husband. She cared for him while the tatu-wounds were healing, and for a time the pair lived happily together; but Mataora yearned to return to the world above and begged his wife to accompany him. At first reluctant, she at last consented, and they started on their way. Coming to the foot of the ascent, they met Tiwaiwaka, a bird, who asked where they were going; but when he was told, he counselled them to go back, for the upper world was full of evil, and not to return until summer, when it would be safe to make the ascent. This advice they followed, and as they started again up the slope to this world, they were induced to take with them the young of the owl, the bat, the rail, and the fan-tail, who thus came to the earth. At last Mataora and his wife reached the door leading into this world, but here a misfortune occurred, for Nuvarahu tried to carry with her a sacred garment made in the underworld. The guardian at the door discovered this and forced her to leave it behind; and when they had passed, he shut the door, so that never again might living men descend to the world below, but only the spirits of the dead.
The episode of the descent to the underworld to seek a lost wife also appears in stories told of Tane. After the earth had been formed, Tane desired a spouse, and shaping woman out of earth, he endowed her with life. A daughter was born whom he called Hine-i-tau-ira and whom he also took to wife when she had grown up. Becoming curious to know who her father was, she inquired, and learning that Tane himself was her parent, she killed herself for shame. Descending to the underworld, she then became Hine-nui-te-po, the great goddess of night, whom later Maui tried in vain to conquer. Tane was saddened by the loss of his wife and resolved to seek her in the world below. Passing one guardian after another, he at last reached the house where she had taken refuge, but although he knocked, he could not gain admittance. He begged her to return with him to the world of light above, but she refused, telling him that he must go back alone to nourish their progeny in the light of day, while she remained below to drag them down to darkness and death So in sorrow Tane departed, and as he went, he sang this lament:
"Are you a child,
In Mangaia of the Cook Group we also find a myth embodying this same episode. Eneene's wife, Kura, with her sister was one day gathering sweet-smelling flowers from a great bua-tree, but in trying to get more than her just share she leaned far out on a branch which broke and precipitated her to the ground. At this moment the earth opened, and Kura fell through into the underworld, whose people took her prisoner and tied her to a post in a house to be kept until they were ready to kill and eat her, placing her under the guard of a blind old man who continually called to her and whom she answered, so that he knew that she was still safe. Her husband, discovering his loss, determined to seek her and by the aid of his guardian deity also penetrated to the underworld, where, after much searching, he heard the blind guardian calling Kura's name and so discovered her whereabouts. Stealthily climbing a tree, he gathered some coco-nuts and spread the scraped meats along the eight paths which led to the house in which his wife was imprisoned. The rats, smelling the good food, came in droves, and covered by the turmoil of their quarrelling over the booty, Eneene, the husband, was able to break through the roof of the house. Here he quickly cut the bonds of his wife and told her to run to the place where he had descended from the upper world while he stayed in her stead, imitating her voice as best he could whenever the blind guardian called. Having given her a good start, he then slipped away himself, joined his wife, and together they fled to the world of light, just escaping the pursuit of the baffled denizens of the world of shades.
The Hawaiian tale of Hiku and Kawelu brings in some additional points of interest. According to this version, Hiku was a youth who had been brought up by his mother far away among the mountains and had never beheld other mortals until at last his desire to see the world induced him to leave his secluded retreat. Taking his magic arrow, he shot it into the air, and following its flight, watched where it fell. Travelling to this place, he shot it again, and thus led by it, he approached a village where the shaft dropped at the feet of a fair maiden named Kawelu, who quickly hid it. Hiku at first was puzzled, but calling out to his arrow, it answered him and thus revealed the hiding-place. So made acquainted, the pair fell in love and were married. One day Hiku, remembering his mother's injunction to return and see her, eluded his wife, who endeavoured to prevent his going, and escaped from the house where she tried to keep him prisoner; but when Kawelu discovered his absence she was heartbroken and soon died of grief.. Apprised of her sorrow, Hiku returned in haste, but was too late and could only weep over her corpse. In despair, and stung by the taunts of his wife's friends who upbraided him for leaving his love, he determined to try to bring her spirit back from the underworld. With the help of his friends, he made a great length of rope, took, with him a hollow coconut, and anointing himself with rancid oil, that he might smell like a corpse, had himself let down through the opening to the world. below, the odour of the fetid oil being so strong that all the shades were deceived, even Miru, the lord of the dead. The long rope or vine on which Hiku had been lowered formed a most excellent swing, and the denizens of the underworld were all anxious to try it, among these being Kawelu, who recognized her husband and gained permission to swing with him. So interested was she in finding him and so greatly pleased was she with the swing that she did .not notice the signal which Hiku gave to his friends above, who' began to haul up the vine. When she was aware of the trick, she transformed herself into a butterfly and tried to escape; but Hiku was ready, and catching the fluttering thing in his coco-nut-shell, he was drawn rapidly to the upper world. With his precious burden he hastened to where the corpse of Kawelu lay, and making a hole in the great toe of the left foot, he forced the unwilling spirit to re-enter the body which it had left, and thus restored his wife to life and strength.
A strikingly close parallel to this Hawaiian tale is found in New Zealand. Pare was a maiden of the highest rank, so high that there was none of her own tribe who could marry her. One day, when the people were amusing themselves with games at a festival, a stranger, a chief of high rank named Hutu, arrived by chance and joined in the contests. His skill was great, especially in throwing the niti, and once, when he hurled this, it flew far away and fell at Pare's feet. Quickly seizing the dart, she hid it in her house, but Hutu soon came in search of his lost plaything and asked Pare to return it. She refused, and smitten with love for the handsome stranger, begged him to take her as his wife; but ignoring all her en-treaties, and in spite of force, he refused to accede to her wishes, and escaping, fled away, whereupon Pare shut herself up in her house in despair and hanged herself. When her relatives heard-,of this, they were full of anger and determined that Hutu must die, since he had been the cause of Pare's death; wherefore he was waylaid and brought a captive to the house in which her body lay. Told that he must die, he said: "It is good, but do not bury Pare's corpse. Allow me to de-part. I will be absent three or four days, and then I will be here again. It is right that you kill me to appease your sorrow." Believing his promise to return, the people allowed him to depart, and Hutu accordingly hastened to the abode of the spirits of the dead to find Pare and bring her back to life. He came to Hine-nui-te-po and asked of her the way, giving her presents to bribe her into telling him the truth. She showed him the road, cooked food for him, and told him to husband this supply, for, she said, "If you eat of the food belonging to the world of spirits, you will not be able to come back to this world." 70 Descending to the nether realm, he sought for Pare and at last found where she was staying, but could not induce her to ascend, wherefore he joined with the other shades in games before her house in the vain attempt to lure her forth. At last he thought of a new device. Planting a tall pole in the ground and tying a rope to the top, he ordered the people to pull upon it until the top of the pole was bent nearly to the ground. Then seating himself upon the tip of the pole, he took one of the company on his back and called to the people, "Let go your hold of the ropes and let the top of the tree fly up." They obeyed, and Hutu and his companion flew high in the air to the great delight of the people.'
Tidings of this new mode of swinging were carried to Pare, who from curiosity went to watch it; and at last her desire to try the sport was so great that she begged Hutu to let her swing with him. This was just what he had planned, and telling her to hold him firmly, he called to the people, "Pull the head of the tree down, even to the earth." They did so, and when the ropes were let go, the tree sprang up with so prodigious a jerk that the ropes were flung clear to the sky and were caught among the roots of the grasses and bushes growing in the world above. This was Hutu's opportunity, and climbing the ropes, he seized the grass at the entrance to this world and pulled himself up. Carrying his precious burden, he hastened to the house where the corpse of Pare was lying, and there the spirit of Pare, which he had brought from the world of shades, entered into her body, which became alive again. Then ac-ceding to her request, Hutu took her to be his wife.
A somewhat different version of this Orpheus theme occurs also in Samoa, and it thus seems to be quite widely distributed in Polynesia. In Melanesia the episode appears, so far as noted, in the New Hebrides, Banks Islands, and German New Guinea, and in the first two, at least, instead of being ascribed to merely mythical persons, it is actually told of recent men. For Indonesia the episode does not seem to be reported.
An incident whose distribution is instructive is told by the Maori regarding Tura. He once journeyed to a distant country, where he married a wife from the strange folk who inhabited it; but they were not human, for they preferred raw food to cooked, and Tura had to teach them the use of fire. When the time approached for his wife to bear a child, her female relatives came with obsidian knives. Curious to know why these were brought, Tura asked, and was told by his wife that her relatives intended to cut open her body in order that her child might be born, for this was the custom of her country, adding that she herself must die as a result. Shocked at the ignorance of the people, her husband told her that death was unnecessary and instructed her in the ways of human beings, after which he built a house of retreat where her child was born in normal fashion, and her life saved. With this we may compare a Rarotongan tale. Near a certain village was a spring from which, at the time of the full moon, a man and woman, whose home was in the underworld, used to emerge to steal food from the gardens of mortal men, taking this back with them and eating it raw. The villagers determined to catch the thieves, and so one night, after the latter had come up as usual, a net was spread in the spring, and when the pair returned the woman was caught, although the man escaped. The captive maiden, who was very fair, was taken to wife by the chief, and when, in due course of time, she told her husband that she was about to bear him a son, she begged him, after cutting open her body, to bury her carefully and cherish their child. Horrified at her proposal, which, she said, was the customary procedure in the underworld, he refused, with the result that the child was born in the normal manner, and the life of his spirit wife was saved. A similar tale is known from Nieue 79 and Rotuma, in the latter instance the "unnatural people" being described as cannibals living in the sky. A Melanesian legend closely similar is reported from the Santa Cruz Group, and is also known from Micronesia."
Quite unlike these tales in character and feeling is the Maori story of Tama-nui-a-rangi and his wife Ruku-tia. Once upon a time Tu-te-koro-punga visited Tama-nui-a-rangi, and becoming enamoured of his wife, took advantage of his host's temporary absence and carried her off. Apprised of her faithlessness by his eldest child, Tama-nui-a-rangi hastened back and wept over his children, asking them why they had deserted their mother. They replied; "She has forsaken you on account of your ugliness and has become enamoured of Tu-te-koro-punga, the noble-looking man." Telling them to remain at home, Tama-nui-a-rangi went off, and transforming himself into a crane, flew away to a strange country where he was trapped and caught. Resuming his human form, he told his captors that he had come to learn from them the way in which they marked their faces so beautifully and permanently, for his face-decorations washed off whenever he bathed. The people referred him to his ancestors, and going to visit them, he begged them to "moko" (carve) his face. The operation was very painful, and Tama-nui-a-rangi fainted several times, but at last it was completed, and now he was even more beautiful than he who had stolen Ruku-tia's affections. Returning to his home, he comforted his children and set out to seek his wife. Her abductor had placed all sorts of obstructions in the way, but Tama-nui-a-rangi successfully forced a path through them until, disguised as an old man in filthy garments, he came to the place where his wife lived. That evening, as he sat unrecognized in the house of his enemy, Ruku-tia got up to dance, but by his charms he made her weep so that she was unable to continue; and later, removing his disguise, he secretly revealed himself to his wife, who begged him to take her home, for she no longer loved Tu-te-koropunga, who beat her. But Tama-nui-a-rangi said: "No, stay with your husband. You left me because I was an ugly man. Now you must stay with Tu-te-koro-punga. Yet, if you wish to return with me, climb up upon a food-stage, and when the first streaks of day are seen, call out in a loud tone:
`Shoot up, O rays,
This said, the injured husband left at once and returned to his home, where he gathered a crew and sailed again for the island where Ruku-tia was living. As the dawn appeared, she climbed upon a food-stage and called out as Tama-nui-a-rangi had told her. Tu-te-koro-punga, hearing her song, could not believe that Tama-nui-a-rangi had been able to overcome the obstructions in his way; but the latter called out to Ruku-tia to jump into the sea and swim to him. This she did, and as she came near the side of the canoe, he caught her by the hair and with his axe cut off her head, thus punishing her for her evil deeds. Wrapping it up carefully, he turned swiftly home-ward and buried the head by his house. He now had his revenge, but was full of remorse, still mourning and yearning for his dead wife; and as he wept, he chanted this song:
"Her praise is ever heard —
So Tama-nui-a-rangi lived alone in sorrow, but in the spring, when all the trees were blossoming, he heard a faint sound, as of the buzzing of a fly, which seemed to come from where he had buried the head of Ruku-tia; and uncovering the place, what was his joy to find her sitting there restored to life. All radiant with smiles, she rose to greet him, and each forgiven by the other, they started life anew.
Another tale is told of Rupe's sister, Hine." She was taken to wife by Tinirau, but he tired of her and left her for another. When Hine knew that she was soon to bear a child, she sent for Tinirau that he might prepare a special retreat for her and supply her with food; but though he came, he again left her alone after providing a secluded place. His neglect grieved her, and when the child was born, she called upon her brother Rupe, who, in the form of a pigeon, came and flew away with her and her child." In vain Tinirau begged her to return, but this she would not do, though partially relenting she dropped the infant, which Tinirau caught and tenderly cared for. When the boy grew up he excelled all his playmates in games, and in retaliation they angrily taunted him with having no mother. Smarting under their jibes, the boy, Tu-huruhuru, asked where his mother was, and though Tinirau at first refused to say, he at last told the lad, who determined to set out immediately to find her. His father accordingly gave him much advice, bidding him to blacken himself with soot that he might look like a slave, and also telling him that, if he was asked to pour water for Rupe to drink, he should pour it on his nose; and that if his mother should dance, he must repeat a certain chant. Thus counselled, Tu-huru-huru set out, and coming to the village where Hine lived, was promptly taken to Rupe's house as a slave. Carrying out his father's instructions, he angered Rupe, who struck him, whereupon Tu-huruhuru wept and murmured to himself, "I thought, when I came, that Rupe was my relation, and Hine-te-iwa-iwa was my mother, and Tinirau was my father"; but Rupe did not hear him. Later his mother danced, and when he repeated the chant which his father had taught him, she became angry and struck the boy, who repeated his lament as above. His mother heard and realized that she had beaten her own son. Her joy in the discovery was great, and she and Rupe accompanied Tu-huru-huru back to his home, where Tinirau held the baptismal ceremony for him, and he was baptized by Kae. Now Kae wished to return to his home and begged from Tinirau the loan of his pet whale, who carried him wherever he wanted to go. With many misgivings Kae's request was granted, and Tinirau gave him instructions as to how to treat the whale, but Kae disregarded them, and running the whale upon the beach, he killed it and cut it up. Tinirau waited many days for his pet to return, but in vain, until at last the south wind brought the sweet savour of the whale's flesh, which was being cooked by Kae and his friends. Thus Tinirau knew of Kae's faithlessness ana resolved to be revenged; but the culprit was very clever and could be caught only by a ruse. So Tinirau sent his wife and several women to find Kae, telling them that they might know him by his broken tooth, and instructing them to dance and sing comic songs so as to make people laugh, since only by this means would they be able to discover the telltale mark. All this they did, and thus detected the criminal. That night they repeated a charm which threw all the inmates of the house into a deep sleep, and seizing Kae, they carried him to their canoe and brought him, still insensible, to Tinirau's home, where they laid the captive in a position in the house exactly similar to that in which he had been lying in his own, lit a fire, and set out food. Then Tinirau waked Kae, saying, "O, old man, look and see if this is your own bed"; and Kae, dazed, and not realizing but that he was still at home, said, "Yes, it is my own bed." Then Tinirau asked him to come and have food, directing him to sit upon a bed of leaves and ferns that had been placed over a heated area to conceal it. After Kae had seated himself and reached out to take of the food offered him, the women poured water on the leaves and ferns, and when this penetrated to the hot stones below, the steam rushed up and scalded Kae to death.
Recalling some of the earlier tales of cannibals, the Maori story of Houmea presents certain other interesting features. One day when Uta, the husband of Houmea, returned from catching fish for his wife and two children, he summoned her to the shore to help carry up his catch; but she did not come, and when he went to the house to upbraid her, she excused herself, saying that she had been prevented by the disobedience of the children. Leaving Uta at the house, she then went down to the canoe, where she ate up all the fish, scattering the grass and trampling down the bushes, after which she made many tracks, both large and small, in the sand, that it might look as though a marauding party had come and stolen them. Returning to the house all out of breath, she declared that the fish had been stolen and that from the tracks the thieves were evidently of supernatural origin. Uta pretended to be convinced and went to sleep.
Next day he again went fishing, and on his return his wife once more failed to come when called. She gave the same excuse, but as he started off, Uta secretly sent the two children to spy upon her; and they, quickly coming back, told their father the truth, so that when Houmea returned and a second time pretended that the fish had been stolen, Uta convicted her out of the mouths of the boys. She loudly denied her guilt, however, and in her heart resolved to be avenged upon the children. Accordingly, on the following day, after Uta had gone fishing as usual, she sent one of them off to get water, and then enticing the other boy to her, she swallowed him whole. When the first child returned, she gulped him down also, and lay groaning on the floor when Uta came home. He asked her what was the trouble, and she said she was ill, and when asked where the children were, declared that they had gone away; but Uta knew that she was lying and by a powerful charm soon caused her to disgorge the two boys, who were none the worse for what they had experienced.
It was clear that Houmea was a very dangerous person, and so Uta and his children resolved to escape before it was too late. Counselling his sons not to obey him when he asked them to go for water, he thus induced Houmea to go instead; but after she had left Uta, by a charm, caused the water to dry up and retreat before her, so that she was obliged to go very far before she could find any. When the ogress had de-parted, Uta and the children fled to the canoe, after ordering the house, the trees, and various objects round about to answer for them, should Houmea call; and then, without losing more time he paddled hastily away. At last Houmea returned with the water, and not seeing any one as she approached, called out to Uta and the children. First one thing and then another answered for them, and Houmea went hither and thither, each time thinking that she heard their voices until at last she discovered the ruse and realized that her prey had escaped. Looking out to sea, she beheld the canoe, now a mere speck on the horizon, and resolving to follow, she entered into the body of a shag and hurried after the fugitives. As she approached, Uta was overcome with fear and hid beneath the deck of the canoe, but Houmea came on, her mouth wide open to swallow all, and asked the two children, "Where is my food?" They first cast her some fish, but she was not satisfied and asked for more, whereupon, telling her to open her mouth wide, as they were about to give her a large fish, they took a hot stone from the oven with the wooden tongs, and throwing it down her throat, burned her to death.
A Maori tale 92 that purports to record some of the reasons for the traditional emigration from the ancestral fatherland includes incidents which are of value from a comparative standpoint. A dog belonging to Houmai-tawaiti had committed an act of desecration on Uenuku for which it had been killed and eaten by the latter and Toi-te-hua-tahi. Tama-te-kapua and his brother, the sons of the owner of the dog, sought for it everywhere, calling it by name. When they came to the village where Toi-te-hua-tahi lived, the dog howled in his belly, and though Toi-te-hua-tahi held his mouth tightly shut, the dog kept howling loudly inside him so that Tama-te-kapua discovered the guilty person. Resolved to be avenged, Tamate-kapua and his brother returned home and made a pair of stilts on which, when night came, they went and ate the fruit from the poporo-tree belonging to Uenuku. This continued for several nights until the fruit was nearly gone, but at last Uenuku discovered the theft, and looking for traces of the robber, found the marks of the stilts. Lying in wait the next night with some of his followers, he succeeded in catching Tama-te-kapua's brother, but Tama himself ran away. He was, however, caught on the shore, and his captors said, "Chop down his stilts so that he may fall into the sea," whereupon Tama-te-kapua called out, "If you fell me in the water, I should not be hurt, but if you cut me down on shore, the fall will kill me." So he deceived them, and they chopped him down on the shore, and he fell, but quickly picking himself up, ran swiftly away and escaped. His brother, Whakaturia, was left, however, and after debating how to kill him, his captors decided to hang him up under the roof of Uenuku's house that he might slowly stifle in the smoke. No sooner said than done; and lighting a fire, they began to dance and sing very badly, continuing to do so every night. After a time the news of his brother's plight reached Tama-te-kapua, who determined to go and see if perchance his brother still lived. Secretly climbing on the roof, he made a small opening over the place where Whakaturia was suspended and whispered to him. The poor fellow was still alive, and when he told his brother how the people were always dancing, and that they danced badly, Tama-te-kapua thought of a scheme to free the captive. Acting on his suggestions, Whakaturia called out when the dancing had begun on the following night, and told the people that they did not know how to dance or sing. Asked if he was better skilled in dancing, he declared that he was and that if they would let him down and give him the proper accoutrements, he would prove what he said. Suspecting no guile, they did as he suggested, and he delighted them with his skill. Meanwhile Tama-te-kapua came secretly and stood outside the door, which his brother had asked to have opened a little on account of the heat; and at a given signal Whakaturia darted through the opening, while Tama-te-kapua quickly shut and barred the door and window. After this he and his brother ran away, leaving their enemies helpless; and when the pair were safely gone, someone passing by heard the cries of the imprisoned people and set them free. The feature of particular interest in this tale is the incident of the deceitful ad-vice by which the captive persuades his captors to kill him in the one way which he knows will not be fatal. So far as published materials go, this incident does not seem to occur else-where in Polynesia, and no instance of it has as yet been re-ported in Melanesia. It is, however, common in Indonesia,93 and is,. as is well known, wide-spread elsewhere.
The Polynesian people had numerous astronomical myths, of which the following may serve as examples. The Maori say that one night Rona went to get water from a neighbouring stream, but as she went the moon, which had been shining, disappeared behind a cloud, so that in the gloom Rona stumbled over stones and roots and in her anger cursed the moon, saying, "Oh, you cooked-headed moon, not to come forth and shine!" At this the moon was displeased, and coming down at once to earth, seized Rona and carried her away. In vain she caught hold of a tree; it was torn up by the roots, and Rona, her water-gourd, basket, tree, and all were taken up by the moon, where they may all still be seen. Other versions de-scribe Rona as a man who, according to some, reached the moon in pursuit of his wife. He is said to be the cause of the waning of the moon, for he eats it, and is himself devoured by it, both then being restored to life and strength by bathing in the "living waters of Tane," after which they renew their struggle. In the Cook Group there is a tale of the moon's becoming enamoured of one of the beautiful daughters of Kui the Blind, so that he descended and carried her off with him, and she may be seen in the moon with her piles of leaves for her oven and her tongs to adjust the coals. She is always at work making tapa, and this and the stones used for weighting it when spread out to bleach are also visible. From time to time she throws these stones aside, thus producing a crash which men call thunder.
The majority of the Hawaiian myths and tales so far published seem rather local in character, but some present features of interest from the comparative point of view. Such, for example, is the tale relating to the Pounahou spring. The wife of a certain chief died, leaving him with twins, a boy and a girl, of whom their father was very fond. Thinking to secure them better care, he married a second wife, but the step-mother soon became jealous of the children, although in her husband's presence she treated them kindly enough. The day came when the father had to be away for some time on a journey, and then his wife's hatred for the step-children had full scope, so that she persecuted and maltreated them unceasingly, although they were not without aid, for the spirit of their own mother was constantly assisting and protecting them. At last, unable longer to endure their step-mother's malevolence, they ran away, and after being driven from one refuge to another, finally sought a cave where they lived for some time. Again discovered by their unrelenting op-pressor, they fled to another more secret cave where they were unmolested, and where the brother, aided by a water spirit, made a spring and bathing-pool for his sister, which are to be seen to this day. Later their father returned, and hearing of the cruelty of his wife, first slew her and then committed suicide. The tale, though simple and of merely local importance, has a somewhat wider interest in that it would seem to be the only Polynesian instance of the "wicked step-mother theme," which, in almost exactly this form, is found in Indonesia 98 as well as Micronesia," and in a closely related fashion in Melanesia.'" This same theme, moreover, is wide-spread in Indonesia in a more general recension (i. e. without the miraculous aid given by the true mother) and also occurs in Melanesia."
Another example of somewhat similar type is the story of Kapipikauila. On the northern coast of the island of Molokai is a very precipitous cliff upon whose summit Kapipikauila once dwelt, but becoming enamoured of Hina, the beautiful wife of another man, he tempted her away and took her for his own. Her first husband, Hakalanileo, lamenting his loss, knew not what to do, for the heights of Haupu were inaccessible; and so he wandered about, seeking for some strong hero to aid him to recover his wife. First he met Kamaluluwalu, a strong man, one of whose sides was stone and one flesh. He threw a great stone up until it struck the sky, and as it fell, caught it on his stony side; but this feat was not enough to satisfy Hakalanileo, who went in search of another hero. One after another he met, but none proved to have the strength he thought was necessary until at last Nikeu, surnamed the Rogue, heard of the fruitless quest, and kicking over the trees as he went, met Hakalanileo and carried him to the house of Kaua; but in terror at the fierceness of this hero the hapless husband fled, when Kaua, stretching forth his hand, seized him and brought him back. After hearing the story, Kaua at ' once espoused his cause and ordered Nikeu to get a canoe forth--with, but since the latter did not succeed immediately, Kaua stretched out his hand, and scratching among the forests, brought forth two canoes which he placed upon the beach, after which, taking his magic rod, he embarked with the others and set off to be avenged upon Kapipikauila.
On the way a great reef impeded their progress, but this was destroyed by means of the magic staff; and a second danger, in the form of a mighty wall of water, was passed by the same means, which also served to overcome several great sea-monsters that disputed the way. At last they came to Haupu, and Nikeu the Rogue was sent to climb up the cliff and bring back Hakalanileo's captive wife. Twice he tried in vain, but the third time he succeeded in reaching the top, and entering the house of Kapipikauila, led Hina away before the astonished inmates realized what was happening. When they awoke to the fact, the enraged Kapipikauila sent a flock of birds to desecrate the head of Nikeu, which was sacred; and after they had done this, in very shame he let go of Hina, who was then seized and carried back by the birds. Returning to Kaua and the others below, he at first tried to conceal the , cause of his failure, but at last was forced to confess. Then Kaua resolved to fight. Standing up in the canoe, he stretched himself until he was as tall as the heights of Haupu, but his adversary was equal to the occasion, for cutting off the branches of a magic tree which grew upon the summit of the cliff, he caused the cliff to stretch upward also. But as the precipice rose, Kaua stretched himself likewise; and thus they strove one with the other until Kaua was as lean as a banana stalk and at last as thin as a spider's web — but still the cliff rose, and Kaua confessed himself beaten.
Then he laid his great length down upon the sea, so that his head reached across to Kona, in Hawaii, where his grandmother fed him and nursed him until he grew plump and fat again. Poor Nikeu, however, was left hungry, watching the feet of Kaua; and when he saw these regain their fullness, he could resist no longer, but severed one and ate it. After a time the pain crept along the vast length of the body of Kaua to his head, far away in Kona, and only then did he know that his foot had been cut off. Now, however, he was restored to strength and returned to the attack. First he severed all the branches of the magic tree by whose aid Kapipikauila had before been able to vanquish him; and then he revealed him-self and began once more to stretch. This time the enemy was helpless and could not cause the cliff to grow in height, so that Kaua, stretching himself until he overtopped the rocks of Haupu, slew Kapipikauila and brought Hina back to Hakalanileo. Then tearing down the cliff, he hurled great pieces of it into the sea where they stand to this day, being known to all as "The Rocks of Kaua." In this tale it is the episode of the hero's stretching which is of interest for comparative purposes, since this seems not to be recorded elsewhere in Polynesia, although it occurs both in Melanesia 104 and in Micronesia.