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Title: Legends of Ma-ui—a demi god of Polynesia, and of his mother Hina
Author: Westervelt, W. D.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Legends of Ma-ui—a demi god of Polynesia, and of his mother Hina" ***

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[Illustration: Hale-a-ka-la Crater, the House of the Sun.]





  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

  I. Maui's Home                                                       3

  II. Maui the Fisherman                                              12

  III. Maui Lifting the Sky                                           31

  IV. Maui Snaring the Sun                                            40

  V. Maui Finding Fire                                                56

  VI. Maui the Skillful                                               78

  VII. Maui and Tuna                                                  91

  VIII. Maui and His Brother-in-Law                                  101

  IX. Maui's Kite-Flying                                             112

  X. Oahu Legends of Maui                                            119

  XI. Maui Seeking Immortality                                       128

  XII. Hina of Hilo                                                  139

  XIII. Hina and the Wailuku River                                   146

  XIV. The Ghosts of the Hilo Hills                                  155

  XV. Hina, the Woman in the Moon                                    165



  Frontispiece--Haleakala Crater

  "Rugged Lava of Wailuku River"                                       7

  Leaping to Swim to Coral Reefs                                      12

  Sea of Sacred Caves                                                 14

  Spearing Fish                                                       21

  Here are the Canoes                                                 29

  Iao Mountain from the Sea                                           43

  Haleakala                                                           53

  Hawaiian Vines and Bushes                                           74

  Bathing Pool                                                        84

  Coconut Grove                                                       96

  Boiling Pots--Wailuku River                                        100

  Outside were other Worlds                                          107

  Hilo Coast--Home of the Winds                                      115

  Bay of Waipio Valley                                               121

  The Ieie Vine                                                      125

  Rainbow Falls                                                      147

  Wailuku River--The Home of Kuna                                    151

  On Lava Beds                                                       163


There are three simple rules which practically control Hawaiian
pronunciation: (1) Give each vowel the German sound. (2) Pronounce each
vowel. (3) Never allow a consonant to close a syllable.

Interchangeable consonants are many. The following are the most common:
h=s; l=r; k=t; n=ng; v=w.


Maui is a demi god whose name should probably be pronounced Ma-u-i, _i.
e._, Ma-oo-e. The meaning of the word is by no means clear. It may mean
"to live," "to subsist." It may refer to beauty and strength, or it may
have the idea of "the left hand" or "turning aside." The word is
recognized as belonging to remote Polynesian antiquity.

MacDonald, a writer of the New Hebrides Islands, gives the derivation of
the name Maui primarily from the Arabic word "Mohyi," which means
"causing to live" or "life," applied sometimes to the gods and sometimes
to chiefs as "preservers and sustainers" of their followers.

The Maui story probably contains a larger number of unique and ancient
myths than that of any other legendary character in the mythology of any

There are three centers for these legends, New Zealand in the south,
Hawaii in the north, and the Tahitian group including the Hervey Islands
in the east. In each of these groups of islands, separated by thousands
of miles, there are the same legends, told in almost the same way, and
with very little variation in names. The intermediate groups of islands
of even as great importance as Tonga, Fiji or Samoa, possess the same
legends in more or less of a fragmentary condition, as if the three
centers had been settled first when the Polynesians were driven away
from the Asiatic coasts by their enemies, the Malays. From these
centers voyagers sailing away in search of adventures would carry
fragments rather than complete legends. This is exactly what has been
done and there are as a result a large number of hints of wonderful
deeds. The really long legends as told about the demi god Ma-u-i and his
mother Hina number about twenty.

It is remarkable that these legends have kept their individuality. The
Polynesians are not a very clannish people. For some centuries they have
not been in the habit of frequently visiting each other. They have had
no written language, and picture writing of any kind is exceedingly rare
throughout Polynesia and yet in physical traits, national customs,
domestic habits, and language, as well as in traditions and myths, the
different inhabitants of the islands of Polynesia are as near of kin as
the cousins of the United States and Great Britain.

The Maui legends form one of the strongest links in the mythological
chain of evidence which binds the scattered inhabitants of the Pacific
into one nation. An incomplete list aids in making clear the fact that
groups of islands hundreds and even thousands of miles apart have been
peopled centuries past by the same organic race. Either complete or
fragmentary Maui legends are found in the single islands and island
groups of Aneityum, Bowditch or Fakaofa, Efate, Fiji, Fotuna, Gilbert,
Hawaii, Hervey, Huahine, Mangaia, Manihiki, Marquesas, Marshall, Nauru,
New Hebrides, New Zealand, Samoa, Savage, Tahiti or Society, Tauna,
Tokelau and Tonga.

S. Percy Smith of New Zealand in his book Hawaiki mentions a legend
according to which Maui made a voyage after overcoming a sea monster,
visiting the Tongas, the Tahitian group, Vai-i or Hawaii, and the
Paumotu Islands. Then Maui went on to U-peru, which Mr. Smith says "may
be Peru." It was said that Maui named some of the islands of the
Hawaiian group, calling the island Maui "Maui-ui in remembrance of his
efforts in lifting up the heavens." Hawaii was named Vai-i, and Lanai
was called Ngangai--as if Maui had found the three most southerly
islands of the group.

The Maui legends possess remarkable antiquity. Of course, it is
impossible to give any definite historical date, but there can scarcely
be any question of their origin among the ancestors of the Polynesians
before they scattered over the Pacific ocean. They belong to the
prehistoric Polynesians. The New Zealanders claim Maui as an ancestor of
their most ancient tribes and sometimes class him among the most ancient
of their gods, calling him "creator of land" and "creator of man."
Tregear, in a paper before the New Zealand Institute, said that Maui was
sometimes thought to be "the sun himself," "the solar fire," "the sun
god," while his mother Hina was called "the moon goddess." The noted
greenstone god of the Maoris of New Zealand, Potiki, may well be
considered a representation of Maui-Tiki-Tiki, who was sometimes called

Whether these legends came to the people in their sojourn in India
before they migrated to the Straits of Sunda is not certain; but it may
well be assumed that these stories had taken firm root in the memories
of the priests who transmitted the most important traditions from
generation to generation, and that this must have been done before they
were driven away from the Asiatic coasts by the Malays.

Several hints of Hindoo connection is found in the Maui legends. The
Polynesians not only ascribed human attributes to all animal life with
which they were acquainted, but also carried the idea of an alligator or
dragon with them, wherever they went, as in the mo-o of the story

The Polynesians also had the idea of a double soul inhabiting the body.
This is carried out in the ghost legends more fully than in the Maui
stories, and yet "the spirit separate from the spirit which never
forsakes man" according to Polynesian ideas, was a part of the Maui
birth legends. This spirit, which can be separated or charmed away from
the body by incantations was called the "hau." When Maui's father
performed the religious ceremonies over him which would protect him and
cause him to be successful, he forgot a part of his incantation to the
"hau," therefore Maui lost his protection from death when he sought
immortality for himself and all mankind.

How much these things aid in proving a Hindoo or rather Indian origin
for the Polynesians is uncertain, but at least they are of interest
along the lines of race origin.

The Maui group of legends is preëminently peculiar. They are not only
different from the myths of other nations, but they are unique in the
character of the actions recorded. Maui's deeds rank in a higher class
than most of the mighty efforts of the demi gods of other nations and
races, and are usually of more utility. Hercules accomplished nothing to
compare with "lifting the sky," "snaring the sun," "fishing for
islands," "finding fire in his grandmother's finger nails," or "learning
from birds how to make fire by rubbing dry sticks," or "getting a magic
bone" from the jaw of an ancestor who was half dead, that is dead on one
side and therefore could well afford to let the bone on that side go for
the benefit of a descendant. The Maui legends are full of helpful
imaginations, which are distinctly Polynesian.

The phrase "Maui of the Malo" is used among the Hawaiians in connection
with the name Maui a Kalana, "Maui the son of Akalana." It may be well
to note the origin of the name. It was said that Hina usually sent her
retainers to gather sea moss for her, but one morning she went down to
the sea by herself. There she found a beautiful red malo, which she
wrapped around her as a pa-u or skirt. When she showed it to Akalana,
her husband, he spoke of it as a gift of the gods, thinking that it
meant the gift of Mana or spiritual power to their child when he should
be born. In this way the Hawaiians explain the superior talent and
miraculous ability of Maui which placed him above his brothers.

These stories were originally printed as magazine articles, chiefly in
the Paradise of the Pacific, Honolulu; therefore there are sometimes
repetitions which it seemed best to leave, even when reprinted in the
present form.



  "Akalana was the man;
  Hina-a-ke-ahi was the wife;
  Maui First was born;
  Then Maui-waena;
  Maui Kiikii was born;
  Then Maui of the malo."

  --Queen Liliuokalani's Family Chant.

Four brothers, each bearing the name of Maui, belong to Hawaiian legend.
They accomplished little as a family, except on special occasions when
the youngest of the household awakened his brothers by some unexpected
trick which drew them into unwonted action. The legends of Hawaii,
Tonga, Tahiti, New Zealand and the Hervey group make this youngest Maui
"the discoverer of fire" or "the ensnarer of the sun" or "the fisherman
who pulls up islands" or "the man endowed with magic," or "Maui with
spirit power." The legends vary somewhat, of course, but not as much as
might be expected when the thousands of miles between various groups of
islands are taken into consideration.

Maui was one of the Polynesian demi-gods. His parents belonged to the
family of supernatural beings. He himself was possessed of supernatural
powers and was supposed to make use of all manner of enchantments. In
New Zealand antiquity a Maui was said to have assisted other gods in the
creation of man. Nevertheless Maui was very human. He lived in thatched
houses, had wives and children, and was scolded by the women for not
properly supporting his household.

The time of his sojourn among men is very indefinite. In Hawaiian
genealogies Maui and his brothers were placed among the descendants of
Ulu and "the sons of Kii," and Maui was one of the ancestors of
Kamehameha, the first king of the united Hawaiian Islands. This would
place him in the seventh or eighth century of the Christian Era. But it
is more probable that Maui belongs to the mist-land of time. His
mischievous pranks with the various gods would make him another Mercury
living in any age from the creation to the beginning of the Christian

The Hervey Island legends state that Maui's father was "the supporter of
the heavens" and his mother "the guardian of the road to the invisible

In the Hawaiian chant, Akalana was the name of his father. In other
groups this was the name by which his mother was known. Kanaloa, the
god, is sometimes known as the father of Maui. In Hawaii Hina was his
mother. Elsewhere Ina, or Hina, was the grandmother, from whom he
secured fire.

The Hervey Island legends say that four mighty ones lived in the old
world from which their ancestors came. This old world bore the name
Ava-iki, which is the same as Hawa-ii, or Hawaii. The four gods were
Mauike, Ra, Ru, and Bua-Taranga.

It is interesting to trace the connection of these four names with
Polynesian mythology. Mauike is the same as the demi-god of New Zealand,
Mafuike. On other islands the name is spelled Mauika, Mafuika, Mafuia,
Mafuie, and Mahuika. Ra, the sun god of Egypt, is the same as Ra in New
Zealand and La (sun) in Hawaii. Ru, the supporter of the heavens, is
probably the Ku of Hawaii, and the Tu of New Zealand and other islands,
one of the greatest of the gods worshiped by the ancient Hawaiians. The
fourth mighty one from Ava-ika was a woman, Bua-taranga, who guarded the
path to the underworld. Talanga in Samoa, and Akalana in Hawaii were the
same as Taranga. Pua-kalana (the Kalana flower) would probably be the
same in Hawaiian as Bua-taranga in the language of the Society Islands.

Ru, the supporter of the Heavens, married Bua-taranga, the guardian of
the lower world. Their one child was Maui. The legends of Raro-Tonga
state that Maui's father and mother were the children of Tangaroa
(Kanaloa in Hawaiian), the great god worshiped throughout Polynesia.
There were three Maui brothers and one sister, Ina-ika (Ina, the fish).

The New Zealand legends relate the incidents of the babyhood of Maui.

Maui was prematurely born, and his mother, not caring to be troubled
with him, cut off a lock of her hair, tied it around him and cast him
into the sea. In this way the name came to him, Maui-Tiki-Tiki, or "Maui
formed in the topknot." The waters bore him safely. The jelly fish
enwrapped and mothered him. The god of the seas cared for and protected
him. He was carried to the god's house and hung up in the roof that he
might feel the warm air of the fire, and be cherished into life. When he
was old enough, he came to his relations while they were all gathered in
the great House of Assembly, dancing and making merry. Little Maui crept
in and sat down behind his brothers. Soon his mother called the children
and found a strange child, who proved that he was her son, and was taken
in as one of the family. Some of the brothers were jealous, but the
eldest addressed the others as follows:

"Never mind; let him be our dear brother. In the days of peace remember
the proverb, 'When you are on friendly terms, settle your disputes in a
friendly way; when you are at war, you must redress your injuries by
violence.' It is better for us, brothers, to be kind to other people.
These are the ways by which men gain influence--by laboring for
abundance of food to feed others, by collecting property to give to
others, and by similar means by which you promote the good of others."

[Illustration: Rugged Lava of Wailuku River.]

Thus, according to the New Zealand story related by Sir George Grey,
Maui was received in his home.

Maui's home was placed by some of the Hawaiian myths at Kauiki, a
foothill of the great extinct crater Haleakala, on the Island of Maui.
It was here he lived when the sky was raised to its present position.
Here was located the famous fort around which many battles were fought
during the years immediately preceding the coming of Captain Cook. This
fort was held by warriors of the Island of Hawaii a number of years. It
was from this home that Maui was supposed to have journeyed when he
climbed Mt. Haleakala to ensnare the sun.

And yet most of the Hawaiian legends place Maui's home by the rugged
black lava beds of the Wailuku river near Hilo on the island Hawaii.
Here he lived when he found the way to make fire by rubbing sticks
together, and when he killed Kuna, the great eel, and performed other
feats of valor. He was supposed to cultivate the land on the north side
of the river. His mother, usually known as Hina, had her home in a lava
cave under the beautiful Rainbow Falls, one of the fine scenic
attractions of Hilo. An ancient demigod, wishing to destroy this home,
threw a great mass of lava across the stream below the falls. The rising
water was fast filling the cave.

Hina called loudly to her powerful son Maui. He came quickly and found
that a large and strong ridge of lava lay across the stream. One end
rested against a small hill. Maui struck the rock on the other side of
the hill and thus broke a new pathway for the river. The water swiftly
flowed away and the cave remained as the home of the Maui family.

According to the King Kalakaua family legend, translated by Queen
Liliuokalani, Maui and his brothers also made this place their home.
Here he aroused the anger of two uncles, his mother's brothers, who were
called "Tall Post" and "Short Post," because they guarded the entrance
to a cave in which the Maui family probably had its home.

"They fought hard with Maui, and were thrown, and red water flowed
freely from Maui's forehead. This was the first shower by Maui." Perhaps
some family discipline followed this knocking down of door posts, for it
is said:

  "They fetched the sacred Awa bush,
  Then came the second shower by Maui;
  The third shower was when the elbow of Awa was broken;
  The fourth shower came with the sacred bamboo."

Maui's mother, so says a New Zealand legend, had her home in the
under-world as well as with her children. Maui determined to find the
hidden dwelling place. His mother would meet the children in the evening
and lie down to sleep with them and then disappear with the first
appearance of dawn. Maui remained awake one night, and when all were
asleep, arose quietly and stopped up every crevice by which a ray of
light could enter. The morning came and the sun mounted up--far up in
the sky. At last his mother leaped up and tore away the things which
shut out the light.

"Oh, dear; oh, dear! She saw the sun high in the heavens; so she hurried
away, crying at the thought of having been so badly treated by her own

Maui watched her as she pulled up a tuft of grass and disappeared in the
earth, pulling the grass back to its place.

Thus Maui found the path to the under-world. Soon he transformed himself
into a pigeon and flew down, through the cave, until he saw a party of
people under a sacred tree, like those growing in the ancient first
Hawaii. He flew to the tree and threw down berries upon the people. They
threw back stones. At last he permitted a stone from his father to
strike him, and he fell to the ground. "They ran to catch him, but lo!
the pigeon had turned into a man."

Then his father "took him to the water to be baptized" (possibly a
modern addition to the legend). Prayers were offered and ceremonies
passed through. But the prayers were incomplete and Maui's father knew
that the gods would be angry and cause Maui's death, and all because in
the hurried baptism a part of the prayers had been left unsaid. Then
Maui returned to the upper world and lived again with his brothers.

Maui commenced his mischievous life early, for Hervey Islanders say that
one day the children were playing a game dearly loved by
Polynesians--hide-and-seek. Here a sister enters into the game and hides
little Maui under a pile of dry sticks. His brothers could not find him,
and the sister told them where to look. The sticks were carefully
handled, but the child could not be found. He had shrunk himself so
small that he was like an insect under some sticks and leaves. Thus
early he began to use enchantments.

Maui's home, at the best, was only a sorry affair. Gods and demigods
lived in caves and small grass houses. The thatch rapidly rotted and
required continual renewal. In a very short time the heavy rains beat
through the decaying roof. The home was without windows or doors, save
as low openings in the ends or sides allowed entrance to those willing
to crawl through. Off on one side would be the rude shelter, in the
shadow of which Hina pounded the bark of certain trees into wood pulp
and then into strips of thin, soft wood-paper, which bore the name of
"Tapa cloth." This cloth Hina prepared for the clothing of Maui and his
brothers. Tapa cloth was often treated to a coat of cocoa-nut, or
candle-nut oil, making it somewhat waterproof and also more durable.

Here Maui lived on edible roots and fruits and raw fish, knowing little
about cooked food, for the art of fire making was not yet known. In
later years Maui was supposed to live on the eastern end of the island
Maui, and also in another home on the large island Hawaii, on which he
discovered how to make fire by rubbing dry sticks together. Maui was the
Polynesian Mercury. As a little fellow he was endowed with peculiar
powers, permitting him to become invisible or to change his human form
into that of an animal. He was ready to take anything from any one by
craft or force. Nevertheless, like the thefts of Mercury, his pranks
usually benefited mankind.

It is a little curious that around the different homes of Maui, there is
so little record of temples and priests and altars. He lived too far
back for priestly customs. His story is the rude, mythical survival of
the days when of church and civil government there was none and worship
of the gods was practically unknown, but every man was a law unto
himself, and also to the other man, and quick retaliation followed any
injury received.



  "Oh the great fish hook of Maui!
  Manai-i-ka-lani 'Made fast to the heavens'--its name;
  An earth-twisted cord ties the hook.
  Engulfed from the lofty Kauiki.
  Its bait the red billed Alae,
  The bird made sacred to Hina.
  It sinks far down to Hawaii,
  Struggling and painfully dying.
  Caught is the land under the water,
  Floated up, up to the surface,
  But Hina hid a wing of the bird
  And broke the land under the water.
  Below, was the bait snatched away
  And eaten at once by the fishes,
  The Ulua of the deep muddy places."

  --Chant of Kualii, about A. D. 1700.

One of Maui's homes was near Kauiki, a place well known throughout the
Hawaiian Islands because of its strategic importance. For many years it
was the site of a fort around which fierce battles were fought by the
natives of the island Maui, repelling the invasions of their neighbors
from Hawaii.

[Illustration: Leaping to Swim to Coral Reefs.]

Haleakala (the House of the Sun), the mountain from which Maui the
demi-god snared the sun, looks down ten thousand feet upon the Kauiki
headland. Across the channel from Haleakala rises Mauna Kea, "The White
Mountain"--the snow-capped--which almost all the year round rears its
white head in majesty among the clouds.

In the snowy breakers of the surf which washes the beach below these
mountains, are broken coral reefs--the fishing grounds of the Hawaiians.
Here near Kauiki, according to some Hawaiian legends, Maui's mother Hina
had her grass house and made and dried her kapa cloth. Even to the
present day it is one of the few places in the islands where the kapa is
still pounded into sheets from the bark of the hibiscus and kindred

Here is a small bay partially reef-protected, over which year after year
the moist clouds float and by day and by night crown the waters with
rainbows--the legendary sign of the home of the deified ones. Here when
the tide is out the natives wade and swim, as they have done for
centuries, from coral block to coral block, shunning the deep resting
places of their dread enemy, the shark, sometimes esteemed divine. Out
on the edge of the outermost reef they seek the shellfish which cling
to the coral, or spear the large fish which have been left in the
beautiful little lakes of the reef. Coral land is a region of the sea
coast abounding in miniature lakes and rugged valleys and steep
mountains. Clear waters with every motion of the tide surge in and out
through sheltered caves and submarine tunnels, according to an ancient
Hawaiian song--

  "Never quiet, never failing, never sleeping,
  Never very noisy is the sea of the sacred caves."

Sea mosses of many hues are the forests which drape the hillsides of
coral land and reflect the colored rays of light which pierce the
ceaselessly moving waves. Down in the beautiful little lakes, under
overhanging coral cliffs, darting in and out through the fringes of
seaweed, the purple mullet and royal red fish flash before the eyes of
the fisherman. Sometimes the many-tinted glorious fish of paradise
reveal their beauties, and then again a school of black and gold
citizens of the reef follow the tidal waves around projecting crags and
through the hidden tunnels from lake to lake, while above the fisherman
follows spearing or snaring as best he can. Maui's brothers were better
fishermen than he. They sought the deep sea beyond the reef and the
larger fish. They made hooks of bone or of mother of pearl, with a
straight, slender, sharp-pointed piece leaning backward at a sharp
angle. This was usually a consecrated bit of bone or mother of pearl,
and was supposed to have peculiar power to hold fast any fish which had
taken the bait.

[Illustration: In the Sea of Sacred Caves.]

These bones were usually taken from the body of some one who while
living had been noted for great power or high rank. This sharp piece was
tightly tied to the larger bone or shell, which formed the shank of the
hook. The sacred barb of Maui's hook was a part of the magic bone he had
secured from his ancestors in the under-world--the bone with which he
struck the sun while lassooing him and compelling him to move more
slowly through the heavens.

"Earth-twisted"--fibres of vines--twisted while growing, was the cord
used by Maui in tying the parts of his magic hook together.

Long and strong were the fish lines made from the olona fibre, holding
the great fish caught from the depths of the ocean. The fibres of the
olona vine were among the longest and strongest threads found in the
Hawaiian Islands.

Such a hook could easily be cast loose by the struggling fish, if the
least opportunity were given. Therefore it was absolutely necessary to
keep the line taut, and pull strongly and steadily, to land the fish in
the canoe.

Maui did not use his magic hook for a long time. He seemed to understand
that it would not answer ordinary needs. Possibly the idea of making
the supernatural hook did not occur to him until he had exhausted his
lower wit and magic upon his brothers.

It is said that Maui was not a very good fisherman. Sometimes his end of
the canoe contained fish which his brothers had thought were on their
hooks until they were landed in the canoe.

Many times they laughed at him for his poor success, and he retaliated
with his mischievous tricks.

"E!" he would cry, when one of his brothers began to pull in, while the
other brothers swiftly paddled the canoe forward. "E!" See we both have
caught great fish at the same moment. Be careful now. Your line is
loose. "Look out! Look out!"

All the time he would be pulling his own line in as rapidly as possible.
Onward rushed the canoe. Each fisherman shouting to encourage the
others. Soon the lines by the tricky manipulation of Maui would be
crossed. Then as the great fish was brought near the side of the boat
Maui the little, the mischievous one, would slip his hook toward the
head of the fish and flip it over into the canoe--causing his brother's
line to slacken for a moment. Then his mournful cry rang out: "Oh, my
brother, your fish is gone. Why did you not pull more steadily? It was a
fine fish, and now it is down deep in the waters." Then Maui held up his
splendid catch (from his brother's hook) and received somewhat
suspicious congratulations. But what could they do, Maui was the smart
one of the family.

Their father and mother were both members of the household of the gods.
The father was "the supporter of the heavens" and the mother was "the
guardian of the way to the invisible world," but pitifully small and
very few were the gifts bestowed upon their children. Maui's brothers
knew nothing beyond the average home life of the ordinary Hawaiian, and
Maui alone was endowed with the power to work miracles. Nevertheless the
student of Polynesian legends learns that Maui is more widely known than
almost all the demi-gods of all nations as a discoverer of benefits for
his fellows, and these physical rather than spiritual. After many
fishing excursions Maui's brothers seemed to have wit enough to
understand his tricks, and thenceforth they refused to take him in their
canoe when they paddled out to the deep-sea fishing grounds. Then those
who depended upon Maui to supply their daily needs murmured against his
poor success. His mother scolded him and his brothers ridiculed him.

In some of the Polynesian legends it is said that his wives and children
complained because of his laziness and at last goaded him into a new

The ex-Queen Liliuokalani, in a translation of what is called "the
family chant," says that Maui's mother sent him to his father for a hook
with which to supply her need.

  "Go hence to your father,
  'Tis there you find line and hook.
  This is the hook--'Made fast to the heavens--'
  'Manaia-ka-lani'--'tis called.
  When the hook catches land
  It brings the old seas together.
  Bring hither the large Alae,
  The bird of Hina."

When Maui had obtained his hook, he tried to go fishing with his
brothers. He leaped on the end of their canoe as they pushed out into
deep water. They were angry and cried out: "This boat is too small for
another Maui." So they threw him off and made him swim back to the
beach. When they returned from their day's work, they brought back only
a shark. Maui told them if he had been with them better fish would have
been upon their hooks--the Ulua, for instance, or, possibly, the
Pimoe--the king of fish. At last they let him go far out outside the
harbor of Kipahula to a place opposite Ka Iwi o Pele, "The bone of
Pele," a peculiar piece of lava lying near the beach at Hana on the
eastern side of the island Maui. There they fished, but only sharks were
caught. The brothers ridiculed Maui, saying: "Where are the Ulua, and
where is Pimoe?"

Then Maui threw his magic hook into the sea, baited with one of the Alae
birds, sacred to his mother Hina. He used the incantation, "When I let
go my hook with divine power, then I get the great Ulua."

The bottom of the sea began to move. Great waves arose, trying to carry
the canoe away. The fish pulled the canoe two days, drawing the line to
its fullest extent. When the slack began to come in the line, because of
the tired fish, Maui called for the brothers to pull hard against the
coming fish. Soon land rose out of the water. Maui told them not to look
back or the fish would be lost. One brother did look back--the line
slacked, snapped, and broke, and the land lay behind them in islands.

One of the Hawaiian legends also says that while the brothers were
paddling in full strength, Maui saw a calabash floating in the water. He
lifted it into the canoe, and behold! his beautiful sister Hina of the
sea. The brothers looked, and the separated islands lay behind them,
free from the hook, while Cocoanut Island--the dainty spot of beauty in
Hilo harbor--was drawn up--a little ledge of lava--in later years the
home of a cocoanut grove.

The better, the more complete, legend comes from New Zealand, which
makes Maui so mischievous that his brothers refuse his
companionship--and therefore, thrown on his own resources, he studies
how to make a hook which shall catch something worth while. In this
legend Maui is represented as making his own hook and then pleading with
his brothers to let him go with them once more. But they hardened their
hearts against him, and refused again and again.

Maui possessed the power of changing himself into different forms. At
one time while playing with his brothers he had concealed himself for
them to find. They heard his voice in a corner of the house--but could
not find him. Then under the mats on the floor, but again they could not
find him. There was only an insect creeping on the floor. Suddenly they
saw their little brother where the insect had been. Then they knew he
had been tricky with them. So in these fishing days he resolved to go
back to his old ways and cheat his brothers into carrying him with them
to the great fishing grounds.

Sir George Gray says that the New Zealand Maui went out to the canoe and
concealed himself as an insect in the bottom of the boat so that when
the early morning light crept over the waters and his brothers pushed
the canoe into the surf they could not see him. They rejoiced that Maui
did not appear, and paddled away over the waters.

They fished all day and all night and on the morning of the next day,
out from among the fish in the bottom of the boat came their troublesome

They had caught many fine fish and were satisfied, so thought to paddle
homeward; but their younger brother plead with them to go out, far out,
to the deeper seas and permit him to cast his hook. He said he wanted
larger and better fish than any they had captured.

[Illustration: Spearing Fish.]

So they paddled to their outermost fishing grounds--but this did not
satisfy Maui--

  "Farther out on the waters,
  O! my brothers,
  I seek the great fish of the sea."

It was evidently easier to work for him than to argue with
him--therefore far out in the sea they went. The home land disappeared
from view; they could see only the outstretching waste of waters. Maui
urged them out still farther. Then he drew his magic hook from under his
malo or loin-cloth. The brothers wondered what he would do for bait. The
New Zealand legend says that he struck his nose a mighty blow until the
blood gushed forth. When this blood became clotted, he fastened it upon
his hook and let it down into the deep sea.

Down it went to the very bottom and caught the under world. It was a
mighty fish--but the brothers paddled with all their might and main and
Maui pulled in the line. It was hard rowing against the power which held
the hook down in the sea depths--but the brothers became enthusiastic
over Maui's large fish, and were generous in their strenuous endeavors.
Every muscle was strained and every paddle held strongly against the sea
that not an inch should be lost. There was no sudden leaping and darting
to and fro, no "give" to the line; no "tremble" as when a great fish
would shake itself in impotent wrath when held captive by a hook. It was
simply a struggle of tense muscle against an immensely heavy dead
weight. To the brothers there came slowly the feeling that Maui was in
one of his strange moods and that something beyond their former
experiences with their tricky brother was coming to pass.

At last one of the brothers glanced backward. With a scream of intense
terror he dropped his paddle. The others also looked. Then each caught
his paddle and with frantic exertion tried to force their canoe onward.
Deep down in the heavy waters they pushed their paddles. Out of the
great seas the black, ragged head of a large island was rising like a
fish--it seemed to be chasing them through the boiling surf. In a little
while the water became shallow around them, and their canoe finally
rested on a black beach.

Maui for some reason left his brothers, charging them not to attempt to
cut up this great fish. But the unwise brothers thought they would fill
the canoe with part of this strange thing which they had caught. They
began to cut up the back and put huge slices into their canoe. But the
great fish--the island--shook under the blows and with mighty earthquake
shocks tossed the boat of the brothers, and their canoe was destroyed.
As they were struggling in the waters, the great fish devoured them. The
island came up more and more from the waters--but the deep gashes made
by Maui's brothers did not heal--they became the mountains and valleys
stretching from sea to sea.

White of New Zealand says that Maui went down into the underworld to
meet his great ancestress, who was one side dead and one side alive.
From the dead side he took the jaw bone, made a magic hook, and went
fishing. When he let the hook down into the sea, he called:

  "Take my bait. O Depths!
  Confused you are. O Depths!
      And coming upward."

Thus he pulled up Ao-tea-roa--one of the large islands of New Zealand.
On it were houses, with people around them. Fires were burning. Maui
walked over the island, saw with wonder the strange men and the
mysterious fire. He took fire in his hands and was burned. He leaped
into the sea, dived deep, came up with the other large island on his
shoulders. This island he set on fire and left it always burning. It is
said that the name for New Zealand given to Captain Cook was Te ika o
Maui, "The fish of Maui." Some New Zealand natives say that he fished up
the island on which dwelt "Great Hina of the Night," who finally
destroyed Maui while he was seeking immortality.

One legend says that Maui fished up apparently from New Zealand the
large island of the Tongas. He used this chant:

  "O Tonga-nui!
  Why art Thou
  Sulkily biting, biting below?
  Beneath the earth
  The power is felt,
  The foam is seen,
  O thou loved grandchild
  Of Tangaroa-meha."

This is an excellent poetical description of the great fish delaying the
quick hard bite. Then the island comes to the surface and Maui, the
beloved grandchild of the Polynesian god Kanaloa, is praised.

It was part of one of the legends that Maui changed himself into a bird
and from the heavens let down a line with which he drew up land, but the
line broke, leaving islands rather than a mainland. About two hundred
lesser gods went to the new islands in a large canoe. The greater gods
punished them by making them mortal.

Turner, in his book on Samoa, says there were three Mauis, all brothers.
They went out fishing from Rarotonga. One of the brothers begged the
"goddess of the deep rocks" to let his hooks catch land. Then the island
Manahiki was drawn up. A great wave washed two of the Mauis away. The
other Maui found a great house in which eight hundred gods lived. Here
he made his home until a chief from Rarotonga drove him away. He fled
into the sky, but as he leaped he separated the land into two islands.

Other legends of Samoa say that Tangaroa, the great god, rolled stones
from heaven. One became the island Savaii, the other became Upolu. A god
is sometimes represented as passing over the ocean with a bag of sand.
Wherever he dropped a little sand islands sprang up.

Payton, the earnest and honored missionary of the New Hebrides Islands,
evidently did not know the name Mauitikitiki, so he spells the name of
the fisherman Ma-tshi-ktshi-ki, and gives the myth of the fishing up of
the various islands. The natives said that Maui left footprints on the
coral reefs of each island where he stood straining and lifting in his
endeavors to pull up each other island. He threw his line around a large
island intending to draw it up and unite it with the one on which he
stood, but his line broke. Then he became angry and divided into two
parts the island on which he stood. This same Maui is recorded by Mr.
Payton as being in a flood which put out one volcano--Maui seized
another, sailed across to a neighboring island and piled it upon the top
of the volcano there, so the fire was placed out of reach of the flood.

In the Hervey Group of the Tahitian or Society Islands the same story
prevails and the natives point out the place where the hook caught and a
print was made by the foot in the coral reef. But they add some very
mythical details. Maui's magic fish hook is thrown into the skies, where
it continuously hangs, the curved tail of the constellation which we
call Scorpio. Then one of the gods becoming angry with Maui seized him
and threw him also among the stars. There he stays looking down upon his
people. He has become a fixed part of the scorpion itself.

The Hawaiian myths sometimes represent Maui as trying to draw the
islands together while fishing them out of the sea. When they had pulled
up the island of Kauai they looked back and were frightened. They
evidently tried to rush away from the new monster and thus broke the
line. Maui tore a side out of the small crater Kaula when trying to draw
it to one of the other islands. Three aumakuas, three fishes supposed to
be spirit-gods, guarded Kaula and defeated his purpose. At Hawaii
Cocoanut Island broke off because Maui pulled too hard. Another place
near Hilo on the large island of Hawaii where the hook was said to have
caught is in the Wailuku river below Rainbow Falls.

Maui went out from his home at Kauiki, fishing with his brothers. After
they had caught some fine fish the brothers desired to return, but Maui
persuaded them to go out farther. Then when they became tired and
determined to go back, he made the seas stretch out and the shores
recede until they could see no land. Then drawing the magic hook, he
baited it with the Alae or sacred mud hen belonging to his Mother Hina.
Queen Liliuokalani's family chant has the following reference to this

  "Maui longed for fish for Hina-akeahi (Hina of the fire, his mother),
  Go hence to your father,
  There you will find line and hook.
  Manaiakalani is the hook.
  Where the islands are caught,
  The ancient seas are connected.
  The great bird Alae is taken,
  The sister bird,
  Of that one of the hidden fire of Maui."

Maui evidently had no scruples against using anything which would help
him carry out his schemes. He indiscriminately robbed his friends and
the gods alike.

Down in the deep sea sank the hook with its struggling bait, until it
was seized by "the land under the water."

But Hina the mother saw the struggle of her sacred bird and hastened to
the rescue. She caught a wing of the bird, but could not pull the Alae
from the sacred hook. The wing was torn off. Then the fish gathered
around the bait and tore it in pieces. If the bait could have been kept
entire, then the land would have come up in a continent rather than as
an island. Then the Hawaiian group would have been unbroken. But the
bait broke--and the islands came as fragments from the under world.

Maui's hook and canoe are frequently mentioned in the legends. The
Hawaiians have a long rock in the Wailuku river at Hilo which they call
Maui's canoe. Different names were given to Maui's canoe by the Maoris
of New Zealand. "Vine of Heaven," "Prepare for the North," "Land of the
Receding Sea." His fish hook bore the name "Plume of Beauty."

On the southern end of Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, there is a curved ledge
of rocks extending out from the coast. This is still called by the
Maoris "Maui's fish-hook," as if the magic hook had been so firmly
caught in the jaws of the island that Maui could not disentangle it, but
had been compelled to cut it off from his line.

There is a large stone on the sea coast of North Kohala on the island of
Hawaii which the Hawaiians point out as the place where Maui's magic
hook caught the island and pulled it through the sea.

In the Tonga Islands, a place known as Hounga is pointed out by the
natives as the spot where the magic hook caught in the rocks. The hook
itself was said to have been in the possession of a chief-family for
many generations.

[Illustration: Here are the Canoes.]

Another group of Hawaiian legends, very incomplete, probably referring
to Maui, but ascribed to other names, relates that a fisherman caught a
large block of coral. He took it to his priest. After sacrificing, and
consulting the gods, the priest advised the fisherman to throw the coral
back into the sea with incantations. While so doing this block became
Hawaii-loa. The fishing continued and blocks of coral were caught and
thrown back into the sea until all the islands appeared. Hints of this
legend cling to other island groups as well as to the Hawaiian Islands.
Fornander credits a fisherman from foreign lands as thus bringing forth
the Hawaiian Islands from the deep seas. The reference occurs in part of
a chant known as that of a friend of Paao--the priest who is supposed to
have come from Samoa to Hawaii in the eleventh century. This priest
calls for his companions:

  "Here are the canoes. Get aboard.
  Come along, and dwell on Hawaii with the green back.
  A land which was found in the ocean,
  A land thrown up from the sea--
  From the very depths of Kanaloa,
  The white coral, in the watery caves,
  That was caught on the hook of the fisherman."

The god Kanaloa is sometimes known as a ruler of the under-world, whose
land was caught by Maui's hook and brought up in islands. Thus in the
legends the thought has been perpetuated that some one of the ancestors
of the Polynesians made voyages and discovered islands.

In the time of Umi, King of Hawaii, there is the following record of an
immense bone fish-hook, which was called the "fish-hook of Maui:"

"In the night of Muku (the last night of the month), a priest and his
servants took a man, killed him, and fastened his body to the hook,
which bore the name Manai-a-ka-lani, and dragged it to the heiau
(temple) as a 'fish,' and placed it on the altar."

This hook was kept until the time of Kamehameha I. From time to time he
tried to break it, and pulled until he perspired.

Peapea, a brother of Kaahumanu, took the hook and broke it. He was
afraid that Kamehameha would kill him. Kaahumanu, however, soothed the
King, and he passed the matter over. The broken bone was probably thrown



Maui's home was for a long time enveloped by darkness. The heavens had
fallen down, or, rather, had not been separated from the earth.
According to some legends, the skies pressed so closely and so heavily
upon the earth that when the plants began to grow, all the leaves were
necessarily flat. According to other legends, the plants had to push up
the clouds a little, and thus caused the leaves to flatten out into
larger surface, so that they could better drive the skies back and hold
them in place. Thus the leaves became flat at first, and have so
remained through all the days of mankind. The plants lifted the sky inch
by inch until men were able to crawl about between the heavens and the
earth, and thus pass from place to place and visit one another.

After a long time, according to the Hawaiian legends, a man, supposed to
be Maui, came to a woman and said: "Give me a drink from your gourd
calabash, and I will push the heavens higher." The woman handed the
gourd to him. When he had taken a deep draught, he braced himself
against the clouds and lifted them to the height of the trees. Again he
hoisted the sky and carried it to the tops of the mountains; then with
great exertion he thrust it upwards once more, and pressed it to the
place it now occupies. Nevertheless dark clouds many times hang low
along the eastern slope of Maui's great mountain--Haleakala--and descend
in heavy rains upon the hill Kauwiki; but they dare not stay, lest Maui
the strong come and hurl them so far away that they cannot come back

A man who had been watching the process of lifting the sky ridiculed
Maui for attempting such a difficult task. When the clouds rested on the
tops of the mountains, Maui turned to punish his critic. The man had
fled to the other side of the island. Maui rapidly pursued and finally
caught him on the sea coast, not many miles north of the town now known
as Lahaina. After a brief struggle the man was changed, according to the
story, into a great black rock, which can be seen by any traveler who
desires to localize the legends of Hawaii.

In Samoa Tiitii, the latter part of the full name of Mauikiikii, is used
as the name of the one who braced his feet against the rocks and pushed
the sky up. The foot-prints, some six feet long, are said to be shown
by the natives.

Another Samoan story is almost like the Hawaiian legend. The heavens had
fallen, people crawled, but the leaves pushed up a little; but the sky
was uneven. Men tried to walk, but hit their heads, and in this confined
space it was very hot. A woman rewarded a man who lifted the sky to its
proper place by giving him a drink of water from her cocoanut shell.

A number of small groups of islands in the Pacific have legends of their
skies being lifted, but they attribute the labor to the great eels and
serpents of the sea.

One of the Ellice group, Niu Island, says that as the serpent began to
lift the sky the people clapped their hands and shouted "Lift up!"
"High!" "Higher!" But the body of the serpent finally broke into pieces
which became islands, and the blood sprinkled its drops on the sky and
became stars.

One of the Samoan legends says that a plant called daiga, which had one
large umbrella-like leaf, pushed up the sky and gave it its shape.

The Vatupu, or Tracey Islanders, said at one time the sky and rocks were
united. Then steam or clouds of smoke rose from the rocks, and, pouring
out in volumes, forced the sky away from the earth. Man appeared in
these clouds of steam or smoke. Perspiration burst forth as this man
forced his way through the heated atmosphere. From this perspiration
woman was formed. Then were born three sons, two of whom pushed up the
sky. One, in the north, pushed as far as his arms would reach. The one
in the south was short and climbed a hill, pushing as he went up, until
the sky was in its proper place.

The Gilbert Islanders say the sky was pushed up by men with long poles.

The ancient New Zealanders understood incantations by which they could
draw up or discover. They found a land where the sky and the earth were
united. They prayed over their stone axe and cut the sky and land apart.
"Hau-hau-tu" was the name of the great stone axe by which the sinews of
the great heaven above were severed, and Langi (sky) was separated from
Papa (earth).

The New Zealand Maoris were accustomed to say that at first the sky
rested close upon the earth and therefore there was utter darkness for
ages. Then the six sons of heaven and earth, born during this period of
darkness, felt the need of light and discussed the necessity of
separating their parents--the sky from the earth--and decided to attempt
the work.

Rongo (Hawaiian god Lono) the "father of food plants," attempted to lift
the sky, but could not tear it from the earth. Then Tangaroa (Kanaloa),
the "father of fish and reptiles," failed. Haumia Tiki-tiki (Maui
Kiikii), the "father of wild food plants," could not raise the clouds.
Then Tu (Hawaiian Ku), the "father of fierce men," struggled in vain.
But Tane (Hawaiian Kane), the "father of giant forests," pushed and
lifted until he thrust the sky far up above him. Then they discovered
their descendants--the multitude of human beings who had been living on
the earth concealed and crushed by the clouds. Afterwards the last son,
Tawhiri (father of storms), was angry and waged war against his
brothers. He hid in the sheltered hollows of the great skies. There he
begot his vast brood of winds and storms with which he finally drove all
his brothers and their descendants into hiding places on land and sea.
The New Zealanders mention the names of the canoes in which their
ancestors fled from the old home Hawaiki.

Tu (father of fierce men) and his descendants, however, conquered wind
and storm and have ever since held supremacy.

The New Zealand legends also say that heaven and earth have never lost
their love for each other. "The warm sighs of earth ever ascend from the
wooded mountains and valleys, and men call them mists. The sky also lets
fall frequent tears which men term dew drops."

The Manihiki islanders say that Maui desired to separate the sky from
the earth. His father, Ru, was the supporter of the heavens. Maui
persuaded him to assist in lifting the burden. Maui went to the north
and crept into a place, where, lying prostrate under the sky, he could
brace himself against it and push with great power. In the same way Ru
went to the south and braced himself against the southern skies. Then
they made the signal, and both pressed "with their backs against the
solid blue mass." It gave way before the great strength of the father
and son. Then they lifted again, bracing themselves with hands and knees
against the earth. They crowded it and bent it upward. They were able to
stand with the sky resting on their shoulders. They heaved against the
bending mass, and it receded rapidly. They quickly put the palms of
their hands under it; then the tips of their fingers, and it retreated
farther and farther. At last, "drawing themselves out to gigantic
proportions, they pushed the entire heavens up to the very lofty
position which they have ever since occupied."

But Maui and Ru had not worked perfectly together; therefore the sky was
twisted and its surface was very irregular. They determined to smooth
the sky before they finished their task, so they took large stone adzes
and chipped off the rough protuberances and ridges, until by and by the
great arch was cut out and smoothed off. They then took finer tools and
chipped and polished until the sky became the beautifully finished blue
dome which now bends around the earth.

The Hervey Island myth, as related by W. W. Gill, states that Ru, the
father of Maui, came from Avaiki (Hawa-iki), the underworld or abode of
the spirits of the dead. He found men crowded down by the sky, which was
a mass of solid blue stone. He was very sorry when he saw the condition
of the inhabitants of the earth, and planned to raise the sky a little.
So he planted stakes of different kinds of trees. These were strong
enough to hold the sky so far above the earth "that men could stand
erect and walk about without inconvenience." This was celebrated in one
of the Hervey Island songs:

  "Force up the heavens,
        O, Ru!
  And let the space be clear."

For this helpful deed Ru received the name "The supporter of the
heavens." He was rather proud of his achievement and was gratified
because of the praise received. So he came sometimes and looked at the
stakes and the beautiful blue sky resting on them. Maui, the son, came
along and ridiculed his father for thinking so much of his work. Maui is
not represented, in the legends, as possessing a great deal of love and
reverence for his relatives provided his affection interfered with his
mischief; so it was not at all strange that he laughed at his father. Ru
became angry and said to Maui: "Who told youngsters to talk? Take care
of yourself, or I will hurl you out of existence."

Maui dared him to try it. Ru quickly seized him and "threw him to a
great height." But Maui changed himself to a bird and sank back to earth

Then he changed himself back into the form of a man, and, making himself
very large, ran and thrust his head between the old man's legs. He pried
and lifted until Ru and the sky around him began to give. Another lift
and he hurled them both to such a height that the sky could not come

Ru himself was entangled among the stars. His head and shoulders stuck
fast, and he could not free himself. How he struggled, until the skies
shook, while Maui went away. Maui was proud of his achievement in having
moved the sky so far away. In this self-rejoicing he quickly forgot his

Ru died after a time. "His body rotted away and his bones, of vast
proportions, came tumbling down from time to time, and were shivered on
the earth into countless fragments. These shattered bones of Ru are
scattered over every hill and valley of one of the islands, to the very
edge of the sea."

Thus the natives of the Hervey Islands account for the many pieces of
porous lava and the small pieces of pumice stone found occasionally in
their islands. The "bones" were very light and greatly resembled
fragments of real bone. If the fragments were large enough they were
sometimes taken and worshiped as gods. One of these pieces, of
extraordinary size, was given to Mr. Gill when the natives were
bringing in a large collection of idols. "This one was known as 'The
Light Stone,' and was worshiped as the god of the wind and the waves.
Upon occasions of a hurricane, incantations and offerings of food would
be made to it."

Thus, according to different Polynesian legends, Maui raised the sky and
made the earth inhabitable for his fellow-men.



  "Maui became restless and fought the sun
  With a noose that he laid.
  And winter won the sun,
  And summer was won by Maui."

  --Queen Liliuokalani's family chant.

A very unique legend is found among the widely-scattered Polynesians.
The story of Maui's "Snaring the Sun" was told among the Maoris of New
Zealand, the Kanakas of the Hervey and Society Islands, and the ancient
natives of Hawaii. The Samoans tell the same story without mentioning
the name of Maui. They say that the snare was cast by a child of the sun

The Polynesian stories of the origin of the sun are worthy of note
before the legend of the change from short to long days is given.

The Tongan Islanders, according to W. W. Gill, tell the story of the
origin of the sun and moon. They say that Vatea (Wakea) and their
ancestor Tongaiti quarreled concerning a child--each claiming it as his
own. In the struggle the child was cut in two. Vatea squeezed and rolled
the part he secured into a ball and threw it away, far up into the
heavens, where it became the sun. It shone brightly as it rolled along
the heavens, and sank down to Avaiki (Hawaii), the nether world. But the
ball came back again and once more rolled across the sky. Tongaiti had
let his half of the child fall on the ground and lie there, until made
envious by the beautiful ball Vatea made.

At last he took the flesh which lay on the ground and made it into a
ball. As the sun sank he threw his ball up into the darkness, and it
rolled along the heavens, but the blood had drained out of the flesh
while it lay upon the ground, therefore it could not become so red and
burning as the sun, and had not life to move so swiftly. It was as white
as a dead body, because its blood was all gone; and it could not make
the darkness flee away as the sun had done. Thus day and night and the
sun and moon always remain with the earth.

The legends of the Society Islands say that a demon in the west became
angry with the sun and in his rage ate it up, causing night. In the same
way a demon from the east would devour the moon, but for some reason
these angry ones could not destroy their captives and were compelled to
open their mouths and let the bright balls come forth once more. In
some places a sacrifice of some one of distinction was needed to placate
the wrath of the devourers and free the balls of light in times of

The moon, pale and dead in appearance, moved slowly; while the sun, full
of life and strength, moved quickly. Thus days were very short and
nights were very long. Mankind suffered from the fierceness of the heat
of the sun and also from its prolonged absence. Day and night were alike
a burden to men. The darkness was so great and lasted so long that
fruits would not ripen.

After Maui had succeeded in throwing the heavens into their place, and
fastening them so that they could not fall, he learned that he had
opened a way for the sun-god to come up from the lower world and rapidly
run across the blue vault. This made two troubles for men--the heat of
the sun was very great and the journey too quickly over. Maui planned to
capture the sun and punish him for thinking so little about the welfare
of mankind.

[Illustration: Iao Mountain From the Sea.]

As Rev. A. O. Forbes, a missionary among the Hawaiians, relates, Maui's
mother was troubled very much by the heedless haste of the sun. She had
many kapa-cloths to make, for this was the only kind of clothing known
in Hawaii, except sometimes a woven mat or a long grass fringe worn as a
skirt. This native cloth was made by pounding the fine bark of
certain trees with wooden mallets until the fibres were beaten and
ground into a wood pulp. Then she pounded the pulp into thin sheets from
which the best sleeping mats and clothes could be fashioned. These kapa
cloths had to be thoroughly dried, but the days were so short that by
the time she had spread out the kapa the sun had heedlessly rushed
across the sky and gone down into the under-world, and all the cloth had
to be gathered up again and cared for until another day should come.
There were other troubles. "The food could not be prepared and cooked in
one day. Even an incantation to the gods could not be chanted through
ere they were overtaken by darkness."

This was very discouraging and caused great suffering, as well as much
unnecessary trouble and labor. Many complaints were made against the
thoughtless sun.

Maui pitied his mother and determined to make the sun go slower that the
days might be long enough to satisfy the needs of men. Therefore, he
went over to the northwest of the island on which he lived. This was Mt.
Iao, an extinct volcano, in which lies one of the most beautiful and
picturesque valleys of the Hawaiian Islands. He climbed the ridges until
he could see the course of the sun as it passed over the island. He saw
that the sun came up the eastern side of Mt. Haleakala. He crossed over
the plain between the two mountains and climbed to the top of Mt.
Haleakala. There he watched the burning sun as it came up from Koolau
and passed directly over the top of the mountain. The summit of
Haleakala is a great extinct crater twenty miles in circumference, and
nearly twenty-five hundred feet in depth. There are two tremendous gaps
or chasms in the side of the crater wall, through which in days gone by
the massive bowl poured forth its flowing lava. One of these was the
Koolau, or eastern gap, in which Maui probably planned to catch the sun.

Mt. Hale-a-ka-la of the Hawaiian Islands means House-of-the-sun. "La,"
or "Ra," is the name of the sun throughout parts of Polynesia. Ra was
the sun-god of ancient Egypt. Thus the antiquities of Polynesia and
Egypt touch each other, and today no man knows the full reason thereof.

The Hawaiian legend says Maui was taunted by a man who ridiculed the
idea that he could snare the sun, saying, "You will never catch the sun.
You are only an idle nobody."

Maui replied, "When I conquer my enemy and my desire is attained, I will
be your death."

After studying the path of the sun, Maui returned to his mother and told
her that he would go and cut off the legs of the sun so that he could
not run so fast.

His mother said: "Are you strong enough for this work?" He said, "Yes."
Then she gave him fifteen strands of well-twisted fiber and told him to
go to his grandmother, who lived in the great crater of Haleakala, for
the rest of the things in his conflict with the sun. She said: "You must
climb the mountain to the place where a large wiliwili tree is standing.
There you will find the place where the sun stops to eat cooked bananas
prepared by your grandmother. Stay there until a rooster crows three
times; then watch your grandmother go out to make a fire and put on
food. You had better take her bananas. She will look for them and find
you and ask who you are. Tell her you belong to Hina."

When she had taught him all these things, he went up the mountain to
Kaupo to the place Hina had directed. There was a large wiliwili tree.
Here he waited for the rooster to crow. The name of that rooster was
Kalauhele-moa. When the rooster had crowed three times, the grandmother
came out with a bunch of bananas to cook for the sun. She took off the
upper part of the bunch and laid it down. Maui immediately snatched it
away. In a moment she turned to pick it up, but could not find it. She
was angry and cried out: "Where are the bananas of the sun?" Then she
took off another part of the bunch, and Maui stole that. Thus he did
until all the bunch had been taken away. She was almost blind and could
not detect him by sight, so she sniffed all around her until she
detected the smell of a man. She asked: "Who are you? To whom do you
belong?" Maui replied: "I belong to Hina." "Why have you come?" Maui
told her, "I have come to kill the sun. He goes so fast that he never
dries the tapa Hina has beaten out."

The old woman gave a magic stone for a battle axe and one more rope. She
taught him how to catch the sun, saying: "Make a place to hide here by
this large wiliwili tree. When the first leg of the sun comes up, catch
it with your first rope, and so on until you have used all your ropes.
Fasten them to the tree, then take the stone axe to strike the body of
the sun."

Maui dug a hole among the roots of the tree and concealed himself. Soon
the first ray of light--the first leg of the sun--came up along the
mountain side. Maui threw his rope and caught it. One by one the legs of
the sun came over the edge of the crater's rim and were caught. Only one
long leg was still hanging down the side of the mountain. It was hard
for the sun to move that leg. It shook and trembled and tried hard to
come up. At last it crept over the edge and was caught by Maui with the
rope given by his grandmother.

When the sun saw that his sixteen long legs were held fast in the ropes,
he began to go back down the mountain side into the sea. Then Maui tied
the ropes fast to the tree and pulled until the body of the sun came up
again. Brave Maui caught his magic stone club or axe, and began to
strike and wound the sun, until he cried: "Give me my life." Maui said:
"If you live, you may be a traitor. Perhaps I had better kill you." But
the sun begged for life. After they had conversed a while, they agreed
that there should be a regular motion in the journey of the sun. There
should be longer days, and yet half the time he might go quickly as in
the winter time, but the other half he must move slowly as in summer.
Thus men dwelling on the earth should be blessed.

Another legend says that he made a lasso and climbed to the summit of
Mt. Haleakala. He made ready his lasso, so that when the sun came up the
mountain side and rose above him he could cast the noose and catch the
sun, but he only snared one of the sun's larger rays and broke it off.
Again and again he threw the lasso until he had broken off all the
strong rays of the sun.

Then he shouted exultantly, "Thou art my captive; I will kill thee for
going so swiftly."

Then the sun said, "Let me live and thou shalt see me go more slowly
hereafter. Behold, hast thou not broken off all my strong legs and left
me only the weak ones?"

So the agreement was made, and Maui permitted the sun to pursue his
course, and from that day he went more slowly.

Maui returned from his conflict with the sun and sought for Moemoe, the
man who had ridiculed him. Maui chased this man around the island from
one side to the other until they had passed through Lahaina (one of the
first mission stations in 1828). There on the seashore near the large
black rock of the legend of Maui lifting the sky he found Moemoe. Then
they left the seashore and the contest raged up hill and down until Maui
slew the man and "changed the body into a long rock, which is there to
this day, by the side of the road going past Black Rock."

Before the battle with the sun occurred Maui went down into the
underworld, according to the New Zealand tradition, and remained a long
time with his relatives. In some way he learned that there was an
enchanted jawbone in the possession of some one of his ancestors, so he
waited and waited, hoping that at last he might discover it.

After a time he noticed that presents of food were being sent away to
some person whom he had not met.

One day he asked the messengers, "Who is it you are taking that present
of food to?"

The people answered, "It is for Muri, your ancestress."

Then he asked for the food, saying, "I will carry it to her myself."

But he took the food away and hid it. "And this he did for many days,"
and the presents failed to reach the old woman.

By and by she suspected mischief, for it did not seem as if her friends
would neglect her so long a time, so she thought she would catch the
tricky one and eat him. She depended upon her sense of smell to detect
the one who had troubled her. As Sir George Grey tells the story: "When
Maui came along the path carrying the present of food, the old chiefess
sniffed and sniffed until she was sure that she smelt some one coming.
She was very much exasperated, and her stomach began to distend itself
that she might be ready to devour this one when he came near.

Then she turned toward the south and sniffed and not a scent of anything
reached her. Then she turned to the north, and to the east, but could
not detect the odor of a human being. She made one more trial and turned
toward the west. Ah! then came the scent of a man to her plainly and she
called out, 'I know, from the smell wafted to me by the breeze, that
somebody is close to me.'"

Maui made known his presence and the old woman knew that he was a
descendant of hers, and her stomach began immediately to shrink and
contract itself again.

Then she asked, "Art thou Maui?"

He answered, "Even so," and told her that he wanted "the jaw-bone by
which great enchantments could be wrought."

Then Muri, the old chiefess, gave him the magic bone and he returned to
his brothers, who were still living on the earth.

Then Maui said: "Let us now catch the sun in a noose that we may compel
him to move more slowly in order that mankind may have long days to
labor in and procure subsistence for themselves."

They replied, "No man can approach it on account of the fierceness of
the heat."

According to the Society Island legend, his mother advised him to have
nothing to do with the sun, who was a divine living creature, "in form
like a man, possessed of fearful energy," shaking his golden locks both
morning and evening in the eyes of men. Many persons had tried to
regulate the movements of the sun, but had failed completely.

But Maui encouraged his mother and his brothers by asking them to
remember his power to protect himself by the use of enchantments.

The Hawaiian legend says that Maui himself gathered cocoanut fibre in
great quantity and manufactured it into strong ropes. But the legends of
other islands say that he had the aid of his brothers, and while working
learned many useful lessons. While winding and twisting they discovered
how to make square ropes and flat ropes as well as the ordinary round
rope. In the Society Islands, it is said, Maui and his brothers made six
strong ropes of great length. These he called aeiariki (royal nooses).

The New Zealand legend says that when Maui and his brothers had finished
making all the ropes required they took provisions and other things
needed and journeyed toward the east to find the place where the sun
should rise. Maui carried with him the magic jaw-bone which he had
secured from Muri, his ancestress, in the under-world.

They traveled all night and concealed themselves by day so that the sun
should not see them and become too suspicious and watchful. In this way
they journeyed, until "at length they had gone very far to the eastward
and had come to the very edge of the place out of which the sun rises.
There they set to work and built on each side a long, high wall of clay,
with huts of boughs of trees at each end to hide themselves in."

Here they laid a large noose made from their ropes and Maui concealed
himself on one side of this place along which the sun must come, while
his brothers hid on the other side.

Maui seized his magic enchanted jaw-bone as the weapon with which to
fight the sun, and ordered his brothers to pull hard on the noose and
not to be frightened or moved to set the sun free.

"At last the sun came rising up out of his place like a fire spreading
far and wide over the mountains and forests.

He rises up.

His head passes through the noose.

The ropes are pulled tight.

Then the monster began to struggle and roll himself about, while the
snare jerked backwards and forwards as he struggled. Ah! was not he held
fast in the ropes of his enemies.

Then forth rushed that bold hero Maui with his enchanted weapon. The sun
screamed aloud and roared. Maui struck him fiercely with many blows.
They held him for a long time. At last they let him go, and then weak
from wounds the sun crept very slowly and feebly along his course."

In this way the days were made longer so that men could perform their
daily tasks and fruits and food plants could have time to grow.

The legend of the Hervey group of islands says that Maui made six snares
and placed them at intervals along the path over which the sun must
pass. The sun in the form of a man climbed up from Avaiki (Hawaiki).
Maui pulled the first noose, but it slipped down the rising sun until it
caught and was pulled tight around his feet.

[Illustration: Hale-a-ka-la Crater. Where the Sun Was Caught.]

Maui ran quickly to pull the ropes of the second snare, but that also
slipped down, down, until it was tightened around the knees. Then Maui
hastened to the third snare, while the sun was trying to rush along
on his journey. The third snare caught around the hips. The fourth snare
fastened itself around the waist. The fifth slipped under the arms, and
yet the sun sped along as if but little inconvenienced by Maui's

Then Maui caught the last noose and threw it around the neck of the sun,
and fastened the rope to a spur of rock. The sun struggled until nearly
strangled to death and then gave up, promising Maui that he would go as
slowly as was desired. Maui left the snares fastened to the sun to keep
him in constant fear.

"These ropes may still be seen hanging from the sun at dawn and
stretching into the skies when he descends into the ocean at night. By
the assistance of these ropes he is gently let down into Ava-iki in the
evening, and also raised up out of shadow-land in the morning."

Another legend from the Society Islands is related by Mr. Gill:

Maui tried many snares before he could catch the sun. The sun was the
Hercules, or the Samson, of the heavens. He broke the strong cords of
cocoanut fibre which Maui made and placed around the opening by which
the sun climbed out from the under-world. Maui made stronger ropes, but
still the sun broke them every one.

Then Maui thought of his sister's hair, the sister Inaika, whom he
cruelly treated in later years. Her hair was long and beautiful. He cut
off some of it and made a strong rope. With this he lassoed or rather
snared the sun, and caught him around the throat. The sun quickly
promised to be more thoughtful of the needs of men and go at a more
reasonable pace across the sky.

A story from the American Indians is told in Hawaii's Young People,
which is very similar to the Polynesian legends.

An Indian boy became very angry with the sun for getting so warm and
making his clothes shrink with the heat. He told his sister to make a
snare. The girl took sinews from a large deer, but they shriveled under
the heat. She took her own long hair and made snares, but they were
burned in a moment. Then she tried the fibres of various plants and was
successful. Her brother took the fibre cord and drew it through his
lips. It stretched and became a strong red cord. He pulled and it became
very long. He went to the place of sunrise, fixed his snare, and caught
the sun. When the sun had been sufficiently punished, the animals of the
earth studied the problem of setting the sun free. At last a mouse as
large as a mountain ran and gnawed the red cord. It broke and the sun
moved on, but the poor mouse had been burned and shriveled into the
small mouse of the present day.

A Samoan legend says that a woman living for a time with the sun bore a
child who had the name "Child of the Sun." She wanted gifts for the
child's marriage, so she took a long vine, climbed a tree, made the vine
into a noose, lassoed the sun, and made him give her a basket of

In Fiji, the natives tie the grasses growing on a hilltop over which
they are passing, when traveling from place to place. They do this to
make a snare to catch the sun if he should try to go down before they
reach the end of their day's journey.

This legend is a misty memory of some time when the Polynesian people
were in contact with the short days of the extreme north or south. It is
a very remarkable exposition of a fact of nature perpetuated many
centuries in lands absolutely free from such natural phenomena.



  "Grant, oh grant me thy hidden fire,
    O Banyan Tree.
  Perform an incantation,
  Utter a prayer
    To the Banyan Tree.
  Kindle a fire in the dust
    Of the Banyan Tree."

  --Translation of ancient Polynesian chant.

Among students of mythology certain characters in the legends of the
various nations are known as "culture heroes." Mankind has from time to
time learned exceedingly useful lessons and has also usually ascribed
the new knowledge to some noted person in the national mythology. These
mythical benefactors who have brought these practical benefits to men
are placed among the "hero-gods." They have been teachers or "culture
heroes" to mankind.

Probably the fire finders of the different nations are among the best
remembered of all these benefactors. This would naturally be the case,
for no greater good has touched man's physical life than the discovery
of methods of making fire.

Prometheus, the classical fire finder, is most widely known in
literature. But of all the helpful gods of mythology, Maui, the
mischievous Polynesian, is beyond question the hero of the largest
numbers of nations scattered over the widest extent of territory.
Prometheus belonged to Rome, but Maui belonged to the length and breadth
of the Pacific Ocean. Theft or trickery, the use of deceit of some kind,
is almost inseparably connected with fire finding all over the world.
Prometheus stole fire from Jupiter and gave it to men together with the
genius to make use of it in the arts and sciences. He found the rolling
chariot of the sun, secretly filled his hollow staff with fire, carried
it to earth, put a part in the breast of man to create enthusiasm or
animation, and saved the remainder for the comfort of mankind to be used
with the artist skill of Minerva and Vulcan. In Brittany the golden or
fire-crested wren steals fire and is red-marked while so doing. The
animals of the North American Indians are represented as stealing fire
sometimes from the cuttle fish and sometimes from one another. Some
swiftly-flying bird or fleet-footed coyote would carry the stolen fire
to the home of the tribe.

The possession of fire meant to the ancients all that wealth means to
the family of today. It meant the possession of comfort. The gods were
naturally determined to keep this wealth in their own hands. For any one
to make a sharp deal and cheat a god of fire out of a part of this
valuable property or to make a courageous raid upon the fire guardian
and steal the treasure, was easily sufficient to make that one a
"culture hero." As a matter of fact a prehistoric family without fire
would go to any length in order to get it. The fire finders would
naturally be the hero-gods and stealing fire would be an exploit rather
than a crime.

It is worth noting that in many myths not only was fire stolen, but
birds marked by red or black spots among their feathers were associated
with the theft.

It would naturally be supposed that the Hawaiians living in a volcanic
country with ever-flowing fountains of lava, would connect their fire
myths with some volcano when relating the story of the origin of fire.
But like the rest of the Polynesians, they found fire in trees rather
than in rivers of melted rock. They must have brought their fire legends
and fire customs with them when they came to the islands of active

Flint rocks as fire producers are not found in the Hawaiian myths, nor
in the stories from the island groups related to the Hawaiians. Indians
might see the fleeing buffalo strike fire from the stones under his hard
hoofs. The Tartars might have a god to teach them "the secret of the
stone's edge and the iron's hardness." The Peruvians could very easily
form a legend of their mythical father Guamansuri finding a way to make
fire after he had seen the sling stones, thrown at his enemies, bring
forth sparks of fire from the rocks against which they struck. The
thunder and the lightning of later years were the sparks and the crash
of stones hurled among the cloud mountains by the mighty gods.

In Australia the story is told of an old man and his daughter who lived
in great darkness. After a time the father found the doorway of light
through which the sun passed on his journey. He opened the door and a
flood of sunshine covered the earth. His daughter looked around her home
and saw numbers of serpents. She seized a staff and began to kill them.
She wielded it so vigorously that it became hot in her hands. At last it
broke, but the pieces rubbed against each other and flashed into sparks
and flames. Thus it was learned that fire was buried in wood.

Flints were known in Europe and Asia and America, but the Polynesian
looked to the banyan and kindred trees for the hidden sparks of fire.
The natives of De Peyster's Island say that their ancestors learned how
to make fire by seeing smoke rise from crossed branches rubbing together
while trees were shaken by fierce winds.

In studying the Maui myths of the Pacific it is necessary to remember
that Polynesians use "t" and "k" without distinguishing them apart, and
also as in the Hawaiian Islands an apostrophe (') is often used in place
of "t" or "k". Therefore the Maui Ki-i-k-i'i of Hawaii becomes the
demi-god Tiki-tiki of the Gilbert Islands--or the Ti'i-ti'i of Samoa or
the Tiki of New Zealand--or other islands of the great ocean. We must
also remember that in the Hawaiian legends Kalana is Maui's father. This
in other groups becomes Talanga or Kalanga or Karanga. Kanaloa, the
great god of most of the different Polynesians, is also sometimes called
the Father of Maui. It is not strange that some of the exploits usually
ascribed to Maui should be in some places transferred to his father
under one name or the other. On one or two groups Mafuia, an ancestress
of Maui, is mentioned as finding the fire. The usual legend makes Maui
the one who takes fire away from Mafuia. The story of fire finding in
Polynesia sifts itself to Maui under one of his widely-accepted names,
or to his father or to his ancestress--with but very few exceptions.
This fact is important as showing in a very marked manner the race
relationship of a vast number of the islanders of the Pacific world.
From the Marshall Islands, in the west, to the Society Islands of the
east; from the Hawaiian Islands in the north to the New Zealand group in
the south, the footsteps of Maui the fire finder can be traced.

The Hawaiian story of fire finding is one of the least marvelous of all
the legends. Hina, Maui's mother, wanted fish. One morning early Maui
saw that the great storm waves of the sea had died down and the fishing
grounds could be easily reached. He awakened his brothers and with them
hastened to the beach. This was at Kaupo on the island of Maui. Out into
the gray shadows of the dawn they paddled. When they were far from shore
they began to fish. But Maui, looking landward, saw a fire on the
mountain side.

"Behold," he cried. "There is a fire burning. Whose can this fire be?"

"Whose, indeed?" his brothers replied.

"Let us hasten to the shore and cook our food," said one.

They decided that they had better catch some fish to cook before they
returned. Thus, in the morning, before the hot sun drove the fish deep
down to the dark recesses of the sea, they fished until a bountiful
supply lay in the bottom of the canoe.

When they came to land, Maui leaped out and ran up the mountain side to
get the fire. For a long, long time they had been without fire. The
great volcano Haleakala above them had become extinct--and they had
lost the coals they had tried to keep alive. They had eaten fruits and
uncooked roots and the shell fish broken from the reef--and sometimes
the great raw fish from the far-out ocean. But now they hoped to gain
living fire and cooked food.

But when Maui rushed up toward the cloudy pillar of smoke he saw a
family of birds scratching the fire out. Their work was finished and
they flew away just as he reached the place.

Maui and his brothers watched for fire day after day--but the birds, the
curly-tailed Alae (or the mud-hens) made no fire. Finally the brothers
went fishing once more--but when they looked toward the mountain, again
they saw flames and smoke. Thus it happened to them again and again.

Maui proposed to his brothers that they go fishing leaving him to watch
the birds. But the Alae counted the fishermen and refused to build a
fire for the hidden one who was watching them. They said among
themselves, "Three are in the boat and we know not where the other one
is, we will make no fire today."

So the experiment failed again and again. If one or two remained or if
all waited on the land there would be no fire--but the dawn which saw
the four brothers in the boat, saw also the fire on the land.

Finally Maui rolled some kapa cloth together and stuck it up in one end
of the canoe so that it would look like a man. He then concealed
himself near the haunt of the mud-hens, while his brothers went out
fishing. The birds counted the figures in the boat and then started to
build a heap of wood for the fire.

Maui was impatient--and just as the old Alae began to select sticks with
which to make the flames he leaped swiftly out and caught her and held
her prisoner. He forgot for a moment that he wanted the secret of fire
making. In his anger against the wise bird his first impulse was to
taunt her and then kill her for hiding the secret of fire.

But the Alae cried out: "If you are the death of me--my secret will
perish also--and you cannot have fire."

Maui then promised to spare her life if she would tell him what to do.

Then came the contest of wits. The bird told the demi-god to rub the
stalks of water plants together. He guarded the bird and tried the
plants. Water instead of fire ran out of the twisted stems. Then she
told him to rub reeds together--but they bent and broke and could make
no fire. He twisted her neck until she was half dead--then she cried
out: "I have hidden the fire in a green stick."

Maui worked hard, but not a spark of fire appeared. Again he caught his
prisoner by the head and wrung her neck, and she named a kind of dry
wood. Maui rubbed the sticks together, but they only became warm. The
neck twisting process was resumed--and repeated again and again, until
the mud-hen was almost dead--and Maui had tried tree after tree. At last
Maui found fire. Then as the flames rose he said: "There is one more
thing to rub." He took a fire stick and rubbed the top of the head of
his prisoner until the feathers fell off and the raw flesh appeared.
Thus the Hawaiian mud-hen and her descendants have ever since had bald
heads, and the Hawaiians have had the secret of fire making.

Another Hawaiian legend places the scene of Maui's contest with the
mud-hens a little inland of the town of Hilo on the Island of Hawaii.
There are three small extinct craters very near each other known as The
Halae Hills. One, the southern or Puna side of the hills, is a place
called Pohaku-nui. Here dwelt two brother birds of the Alae family. They
were gods. One had the power of fire making. Here at Pohaku-nui they
were accustomed to kindle a fire and bake their dearly loved food--baked
bananas. Here Maui planned to learn the secret of fire. The birds had
kindled the fire and the bananas were almost done, when the elder Alae
called to the younger: "Be quick, here comes the swift son of Hina."

The birds scratched out the fire, caught the bananas and fled. Maui told
his mother he would follow them until he learned the secret of fire. His
mother encouraged him because he was very strong and very swift. So he
followed the birds from place to place as they fled from him, finding
new spots on which to make their fires. At last they came to Waianae on
the island Oahu. There he saw a great fire and a multitude of birds
gathered around it, chattering loudly and trying to hasten the baking of
the bananas. Their incantation was this: "Let us cook quick." "Let us
cook quick." "The swift child of Hina will come."

Maui's mother Hina had taught him how to know the fire-maker. "If you go
up to the fire, you will find many birds. Only one is the guardian. This
is the small, young Alae. His name is Alae-iki: Only this one knows how
to make fire." So whenever Maui came near to the fire-makers he always
sought for the little Alae. Sometimes he made mistakes and sometimes
almost captured the one he desired. At Waianae he leaped suddenly among
the birds. They scattered the fire, and the younger bird tried to snatch
his banana from the coals and flee, but Maui seized him and began to
twist his neck. The bird cried out, warning Maui not to kill him or he
would lose the secret of fire altogether. Maui was told that the fire
was made from a banana stump. He saw the bananas roasting and thought
this was reasonable. So, according to directions, he began to rub
together pieces of the banana. The bird hoped for an unguarded moment
when he might escape, but Maui was very watchful and was also very
angry when he found that rubbing only resulted in squeezing out juice.
Then he twisted the neck of the bird and was told to rub the stem of the
taro plant. This also was so green that it only produced water. Then he
was so angry that he nearly rubbed the head of the bird off--and the
bird, fearing for its life, told the truth and taught Maui how to find
the wood in which fire dwelt.

They learned to draw out the sparks secreted in different kinds of
trees. The sweet sandalwood was one of these fire trees. Its Hawaiian
name is "Ili-ahi"--the "ili" (bark) and "ahi" (fire), the bark in which
fire is concealed.

A legend of the Society Islands is somewhat similar. Ina (Hina) promised
to aid Maui in finding fire for the islanders. She sent him into the
under-world to find Tangaroa (Kanaloa). This god Tangaroa held fire in
his possession--Maui was to know him by his tattooed face. Down the dark
path through the long caves Maui trod swiftly until he found the god.
Maui asked him for fire to take up to men. The god gave him a lighted
stick and sent him away. But Maui put the fire out and went back again
after fire. This he did several times, until the wearied giver decided
to teach the intruder the art of fire making. He called a white duck to
aid him. Then, taking two sticks of dry wood, he gave the under one to
the bird and rapidly moved the upper stick across the under until fire
came. Maui seized the upper stick, after it had been charred in the
flame, and burned the head of the bird back of each eye. Thus were made
the black spots which mark the head of the white duck. Then arose a
quarrel between Tangaroa and Maui--but Maui struck down the god, and,
thinking he had killed him, carried away the art of making fire. His
father and mother made inquiries about their relative--Maui hastened
back to the fire fountain and made the spirit return to the body--then,
coming back to Ina, he bade her good bye and carried the fire sticks to
the upper-world. The Hawaiians, and probably others among the
Polynesians, felt that any state of unconsciousness was a form of death
in which the spirit left the body, but was called back by prayers and
incantations. Therefore, when Maui restored the god to consciousness, he
was supposed to have made the spirit released by death return into the
body and bring it back to life.

In the Samoan legends as related by G. Turner, the name Ti'iti'i is
used. This is the same as the second name found in Maui Ki'i-ki'i. The
Samoan legend of Ti'iti'i is almost identical with the New Zealand fire
myth of Maui, and is very similar to the story coming from the Hervey
Islands from Savage Island and also from the Tokelau and other island
groups. The Samoan story says that the home of Mafuie the earthquake
god was in the land of perpetual fire. Maui's or Ti'iti'i's father
Talanga (Kalana) was also a resident of the under-world and a great
friend of the earthquake god.

Ti'iti'i watched his father as he left his home in the upper-world.
Talanga approached a perpendicular wall of rock, said some prayer or
incantation--and passed through a door which immediately closed after
him. (This is a very near approach to the "open sesame" of the Arabian
Nights stories.)

Ti'iti'i went to the rock, but could not find the way through. He
determined to conceal himself the next time so near that he could hear
his father's words.

After some days he was able to catch all the words uttered by his father
as he knocked on the stone door--

  "O rock! divide.
  I am Talanga,
  I come to work
  On my land
  Given by Mafuie."

Ti'iti'i went to the perpendicular wall and imitating his father's voice
called for a rock to open. Down through a cave he passed until he found
his father working in the under-world.

The astonished father, learning how his son came, bade him keep very
quiet and work lest he arouse the anger of Mafuie. So for a time the
boy labored obediently by his father's side.

In a little while the boy saw smoke and asked what it was. The father
told him that it was the smoke from the fire of Mafuie, and explained
what fire would do.

The boy determined to get some fire--he went to the place from which the
smoke arose and there found the god, and asked him for fire. Mafuie gave
him fire to carry to his father. The boy quickly had an oven prepared
and the fire placed in it to cook some of the taro they had been
cultivating. Just as everything was ready an earthquake god came up and
blew the fire out and scattered the stones of the oven.

Then Ti'iti'i was angry and began to talk to Mafuie. The god attacked
the boy, intending to punish him severely for daring to rebel against
the destruction of the fire.

What a battle there was for a time in the under-world! At last Ti'iti'i
seized one of the arms of Mafuie and broke it off. He caught the other
arm and began to twist and bend it.

Mafuie begged the boy to spare him. His right arm was gone. How could he
govern the earthquakes if his left arm were torn off also? It was his
duty to hold Samoa level and not permit too many earthquakes. It would
be hard to do that even with one arm--but it would be impossible if
both arms were gone.

Ti'iti'i listened to the plea and demanded a reward if he should spare
the left arm. Mafuie offered Ti'iti'i one hundred wives. The boy did not
want them.

Then the god offered to teach him the secret of fire finding to take to
the upper-world.

The boy agreed to accept the fire secret, and thus learned that the gods
in making the earth had concealed fire in various trees for men to
discover in their own good time, and that this fire could be brought out
by rubbing pieces of wood together.

The people of Samoa have not had much faith in Mafuie's plea that he
needed his left arm in order to keep Samoa level. They say that Mafuie
has a long stick or handle to the world under the islands--and when he
is angry or wishes to frighten them he moves this handle and easily
shakes the islands. When an earthquake comes, they give thanks to
Ti'iti'i for breaking off one arm--because if the god had two arms they
believe he would shake them unmercifully.

One legend of the Hervey Islands says that Maui and his brothers had
been living on uncooked food--but learned that their mother sometimes
had delicious food which had been cooked. They learned also that fire
was needed in order to cook their food. Then Maui wanted fire and
watched his mother.

Maui's mother was the guardian of the way to the invisible world. When
she desired to pass from her home to the other world, she would open a
black rock and pass inside. Thus she went to Hawaiki, the under-world.
Maui planned to follow her, but first studied the forms of birds that he
might assume the body of the strongest and most enduring. After a time
he took the shape of a pigeon and, flying to the black rock, passed
through the door and flew down the long dark passage-way.

After a time he found the god of fire living in a bunch of banyan
sticks. He changed himself into the form of a man and demanded the
secret of fire.

The fire god agreed to give Maui fire if he would permit himself to be
tossed into the sky by the god's strong arms.

Maui agreed on condition that he should have the right to toss the fire
god afterwards.

The fire-god felt certain that there would be only one exercise of
strength--he felt that he had everything in his own hands--so readily
agreed to the tossing contest. It was his intention to throw his
opponent so high that when he fell, if he ever did fall, there would be
no antagonist uncrushed.

He seized Maui in his strong arms and, swinging him back and forth,
flung him upward--but the moment Maui left his hands he changed himself
into a feather and floated softly to the ground.

Then the boy ran swiftly to the god and seized him by the legs and
lifted him up. Then he began to increase in size and strength until he
had lifted the fire god very high. Suddenly he tossed the god upward and
caught him as he fell--again and again--until the bruised and dizzy god
cried enough, and agreed to give the victor whatever he demanded.

Maui asked for the secret of fire producing. The god taught him how to
rub the dry sticks of certain kinds of trees together, and, by friction,
produce fire, and especially how fire could be produced by rubbing fire
sticks in the fine dust of the banyan tree.

A Society Island legend says Maui borrowed a sacred red pigeon,
belonging to one of the gods, and, changing himself into a dragon fly,
rode this pigeon through a black rock into Avaiki (Hawaiki), the
fire-land of the under-world. He found the god of fire, Mau-ika, living
in a house built from a banyan tree. Mau-ika taught Maui the kinds of
wood into which when fire went out on the earth a fire goddess had
thrown sparks in order to preserve fire. Among these were the "au"
(Hawaiian hau), or "the lemon hibiscus"--the "argenta," the "fig" and
the "banyan." She taught him also how to make fire by swift motion when
rubbing the sticks of these trees. She also gave him coals for his
present need.

But Maui was viciously mischievous and set the banyan house on fire,
then mounted his pigeon and fled toward the upper-world. But the flames
hastened after him and burst out through the rock doors into the sunlit
land above--as if it were a volcanic eruption.

The Tokelau Islanders say that Talanga (Kalana) known in other groups of
islands as the father of Maui, desired fire in order to secure warmth
and cooked food. He went down, down, very far down in the caves of the
earth. In the lower world he found Mafuika--an old blind woman, who was
the guardian of fire. He told her he wanted fire to take back to men.
She refused either to give fire or to teach how to make it. Talanga
threatened to kill her, and finally persuaded her to teach how to make
fire in any place he might dwell--and the proper trees to use, the
fire-yielding trees. She also taught him how to cook food--and also the
kind of fish he should cook, and the kinds which should be eaten raw.
Thus mankind learned about food as well as fire.

The Savage Island legend adds the element of danger to Maui's
mischievous theft of fire. The lad followed his father one day and saw
him pull up a bunch of reeds and go down into the fire-land beneath.
Maui hastened down to see what his father was doing. Soon he saw his
opportunity to steal the secret of fire. Then he caught some fire and
started for the upper-world.

His father caught a glimpse of the young thief and tried to stop him.

Maui ran up the passage through the black cave--bushes and trees
bordered his road.

The father hastened after his son and was almost ready to lay hands upon
him, when Maui set fire to the bushes. The flames spread rapidly,
catching the underbrush and the trees on all sides and burst out in the
face of the pursuer. Destruction threatened the under-world, but Maui
sped along his way. Then he saw that the fire was chasing him. Bush
after bush leaped into flame and hurled sparks and smoke and burning air
after him. Choked and smoke-surrounded, he broke through the door of the
cavern and found the fresh air of the world. But the flames followed him
and swept out in great power upon the upper-world a mighty volcanic

The New Zealand legends picture Maui as putting out, in one night, all
the fires of his people. This was serious mischief, and Maui's mother
decided that he should go to the under-world and see his ancestress,
Mahuika, the guardian of fire, and get new fire to repair the injury he
had wrought. She warned him against attempting to play tricks upon the
inhabitants of the lower regions.

[Illustration: Hawaiian Vines and Bushes.]

Maui gladly hastened down the cave-path to the house of Mahuika, and
asked for fire for the upper-world. In some way he pleased her so that
she pulled off a finger nail in which fire was burning and gave it to
him. As soon as he had gone back to a place where there was water, he
put the fire out and returned to Mahuika, asking another gift, which he
destroyed. This he did for both hands and feet until only one nail
remained. Maui wanted this. Then Mahuika became angry and threw the last
finger nail on the ground. Fire poured out and laid hold of everything.
Maui ran up the path to the upper-world, but the fire was
swifter-footed. Then Maui changed himself into an eagle and flew high up
into the air, but the fire and smoke still followed him. Then he saw
water and dashed into it, but it was too hot. Around him the forests
were blazing, the earth burning and the sea boiling. Maui, about to
perish, called on the gods for rain. Then floods of water fell and the
fire was checked. The great rain fell on Mahuika and she fled, almost
drowned. Her stores of fire were destroyed, quenched by the storm. But
in order to save fire for the use of men, as she fled she threw sparks
into different kinds of trees where the rain could not reach them, so
that when fire was needed it might be brought into the world again by
rubbing together the fire sticks.

The Chatham Islanders give the following incantation, which they said
was used by Maui against the fierce flood of fire which was pursuing

  "To the roaring thunder;
  To the great rain--the long rain;
  To the drizzling rain--the small rain;
  To the rain pattering on the leaves.
  These are the storms--the storms
  Cause them to fall;
  To pour in torrents."

The legend of Savage Island places Maui in the role of fire-maker. He
has stolen fire in the under-world. His father tries to catch him, but
Maui sets fire to the bushes by the path until a great conflagration is
raging which pursues him to the upper-world.

Some legends make Maui the fire-teacher as well as the fire-finder. He
teaches men how to use hardwood sticks in the fine dry dust on the bark
of certain trees, or how to use the fine fibre of the palm tree to catch

In Tahiti the fire god lived in the "Hale-a-o-a," or House of the
Banyan. Sometimes human sacrifices were placed upon the sacred branches
of this tree of the fire god.

In the Bowditch or Fakaofa Islands the goddess of fire when conquered
taught not only the method of making fire by friction but also what fish
were to be cooked and what were to be eaten raw.

Thus some of the myths of Maui, the mischievous, finding fire are told
by the side of the inrolling surf, while natives of many islands,
around their poi bowls, rest in the shade of the far-reaching boughs and
thick foliage of the banyan and other fire-producing trees.



According to the New Zealand legends there were six Mauis--the Hawaiians
counted four. They were a band of brothers. The older five were known as
"the forgetful Mauis." The tricky and quick-witted youngest member of
the family was called Maui te atamai--"Maui the skillful."

He was curiously accounted for in the New Zealand under-world. When he
went down through the long cave to his ancestor's home to find fire, he
was soon talked about. "Perhaps this is the man about whom so much is
said in the upper-world." His ancestress from whom he obtained fire
recognized him as the man called "the deceitful Maui." Even his parents
told him once, "We know you are a tricky fellow--more so than any other
man." One of the New Zealand fire legends while recording his flight to
the under-world and his appearance as a bird, says: "The men tried to
spear him, and to catch him in nets. At last they cried out, 'Maybe you
are the man whose fame is great in the upper-world.' At once he leaped
to the ground and appeared in the form of a man."

He was not famous for inventions, but he was always ready to improve
upon anything which was already in existence. He could take the sun in
hand and make it do better work. He could tie the moon so that it had to
swim back around the island to the place in the ocean from which it
might rise again, and go slowly through the night.

His brothers invented a slender, straight and smooth spear with which to
kill birds. He saw the fluttering, struggling birds twist themselves off
the smooth point and escape. He made a good light bird spear and put
notches in it and kept most of the birds stuck. His brothers finally
examined his spear and learned the reason for its superiority. In the
same way they learned how to spear fish. They could strike and wound and
sometimes kill--but they could not with their smooth spears draw the
fish from the waters of the coral caves. But Maui the youngest made
barbs, so that the fish could not easily shake themselves loose. The
others soon made their spears like his.

The brothers were said to have invented baskets in which to trap eels,
but many eels escaped. Maui improved the basket by secretly making an
inside partition as well as a cover, and the eels were securely trapped.
It took the brothers a long time to learn the real difference between
their baskets and his. One of the family made a basket like his and
caught many eels. Then Maui became angry and chanted a curse over him
and bewildered him, then changed him into a dog.

The Manahiki Islanders have the legend that Maui made the moon, but
could not get good light from it. He tried experiments and found that
the sun was quite an improvement. The sun's example stimulated the moon
to shine brighter.

Once Maui became interested in tattooing and tried to make a dog look
better by placing dark lines around the mouth. The legends say that one
of the sacred birds saw the pattern and then marked the sky with the red
lines sometimes seen at sunrise and sunset. An Hawaiian legend says that
Maui tattooed his arm with a sacred name and thus that arm was strong
enough to hold the sun when he lassoed it. There is a New Zealand legend
in which Maui is made one of three gods who first created man and then
woman from one of the man's ribs.

The Hawaiians dwelling in Hilo have many stories of Maui. They say that
his home was on the northern bank of the Wailuku River. He had a strong
staff made from an ohia tree (the native apple tree). With this he
punched holes through the lava, making natural bridges and boiling
pools, and new channels for its sometimes obstructed waters, so that the
people could go up or down the river more easily. Near one of the
natural bridges is a figure of the moon carved in the rocks, referred by
some of the natives to Maui.

Maui is said to have taught his brothers the different kinds of fish
nets and the use of the strong fibre of the olona, which was much better
than cocoanut threads.

The New Zealand stories relate the spear-throwing contests of Maui and
his brothers. As children, however, they were not allowed the use of
wooden spears. They took the stems of long, heavy reeds and threw them
at each other, but Maui's reeds were charmed into stronger and harder
fibre so that he broke his mother's house and made her recognize him as
one of her children. He had been taken away as soon as he was born by
the gods to whom he was related. When he found his way back home his
mother paid no attention to him. Thus by a spear thrust he won a home.

The brothers all made fish hooks, but Maui the youngest made two kinds
of hooks--one like his brothers' and one with a sharp barb. His
brothers' hooks were smooth so that it was difficult to keep the fish
from floundering and shaking themselves off, but they noticed that the
fish were held by Maui's hook better than by theirs. Maui was not
inclined to devote himself to hard work, and lived on his brothers as
much as possible--but when driven out by his wife or his mother he
would catch more fish than the other fishermen. They tried to examine
his hooks, but he always changed his hooks so that they could not see
any difference between his and theirs. At such times they called him the
mischievous one and tried to leave him behind while they went fishing.
They were, however, always ready to give him credit for his
improvements. They dealt generously with him when they learned what he
had really accomplished. When they caught him with his barbed hook they
forgot the past and called him "ke atamai"--the skillful.

The idea that fish hooks made from the jawbones of human beings were
better than others, seemed to have arisen at first from the angle formed
in the lower jawbone. Later these human fish hooks were considered
sacred and therefore possessed of magic powers. The greater sanctity and
power belonged to the bones which bore more especial relation to the
owner. Therefore Maui's "magic hook," with which he fished up islands,
was made from the jawbone of his ancestress Mahuika. It is also said
that in order to have powerful hooks for every-day fishing he killed two
of his children. Their right eyes he threw up into the sky to become
stars. One became the morning and the other the evening star.

The idea that the death of any members of the family must not stand in
the way of obtaining magical power, has prevailed throughout Polynesia.

From this angle in the jawbone Maui must have conceived the idea of
making a hook with a piece of bone or shell which should be fastened to
the large bone at a very sharp angle, thus making a kind of barb. Hooks
like this have been made for ages among the Polynesians.

Maui and his brothers went fishing for eels with bait strung on the
flexible rib of a cocoanut leaf. The stupid brothers did not fasten the
ends of the string. Therefore the eels easily slipped the bait off and
escaped. But Maui made the ends of his string fast, and captured many

The little things which others did not think about were the foundation
of Maui's fame. Upon these little things he built his courage to snare
the sun and seek fire for mankind.

In a New Zealand legend, quoted by Edward Tregear, Maui is called
Maui-maka-walu, or "Maui with eyes eight." This eight-eyed Maui would be
allied to the Hindoo deities who with their eight eyes face the four
quarters of the world--thus possessing both insight into the affairs of
men and foresight into the future.

Fornander, the Hawaiian ethnologist, says: "In Hawaiian mythology,
Kamapuaa, the demigod opponent of the goddess Pele, is described as
having eight eyes and eight feet; and in the legends Maka-walu,
'eight-eyed,' is a frequent epithet of gods and chiefs." He notes this
coincidence with the appearance of some of the principal Hindoo deities
as having some bearing upon the origin of the Polynesians. It may be
that a comparative study of the legends of other islands of the Pacific
by some student will open up other new and important facts.

In Tahiti, on the island Raiatea, a high priest or prophet lived in the
long, long ago. He was known as Maui the prophet of Tahiti. He was
probably not Maui the demigod. Nevertheless he was represented as
possessing very strange prophetical powers.

According to the historian Ellis, who previous to 1830 spent eight years
in the Society and Hawaiian Islands, this prophet Maui clearly
prophesied the coming of an outriggerless canoe from some foreign land.
An outrigger is a log which so balances a canoe that it can ride safely
through the treacherous surf.

The chiefs and prophets charged him with stating the impossible.

He took his wooden calabash and placed it in a pool of water as an
illustration of the way such a boat should float.

Then with the floating bowl before him he uttered the second prophecy,
that boats without line to tie the sails to the masts, or the masts to
the ships, should also come to Tahiti.

[Illustration: Hawaiian Bathing Pool.]

When English ships under Captain Wallis and Captain Cook, in the latter
part of the eighteenth century, visited these islands, the natives cried
out, "O the canoes of Maui--the outriggerless canoes."

Passenger steamships, and the men-of-war from the great nations, have
taught the Tahitians that boats without sails and masts can cross the
great ocean, and again they have recurred to the words of the prophet
Maui, and have exclaimed, "O the boats without sails and masts." This
rather remarkable prophecy could easily have occurred to Maui as he saw
a wooden calabash floating over rough waters.

Maui's improvement upon nature's plan in regard to certain birds is also
given in the legends as a proof of his supernatural powers.

White relates the story as follows: "Maui requested some birds to go and
fetch water for him. The first one would not obey, so he threw it into
the water. He requested another bird to go--and it refused, so he threw
it into the fire, and its feathers were burnt. But the next bird obeyed,
but could not carry the water, and he rewarded it by making the feathers
of the fore part of its head white. Then he asked another bird to go,
and it filled its ears with water and brought it to Maui, who drank, and
then pulled the bird's legs and made them long in payment for its act of

Diffenbach says: "Maui, the Adam of New Zealand, left the cat's cradle
to the New Zealanders as an inheritance." The name "Whai" was given to
the game. It exhibited the various steps of creation according to Maori
mythology. Every change in the cradle shows some act in creation. Its
various stages were called "houses." Diffenbach says again: "In this
game of Maui they are great proficients. It is a game like that called
cat's cradle in Europe. It is intimately connected with their ancient
traditions and in the different figures which the cord is made to assume
whilst held on both hands, the outline of their different varieties of
houses, canoes or figures of men and women are imagined to be
represented." One writer connects this game with witchcraft, and says it
was brought from the under-world. Some parts of the puzzle show the
adventures of Maui, especially his attempt to win immortality for men.

In New Zealand it was said Maui found a large, fine-grained stone block,
broke it in pieces, and from the fragments learned how to fashion stone

White also tells the New Zealand legend of Maui and the winds.

"Maui caught and held all the winds save the west wind. He put each wind
into a cave, so that it might not blow. He sought in vain for the west
wind, but could not find from whence it came. If he had found the cave
in which it stayed he would have closed the entrance to that cave with
rocks. When the west wind blows lightly it is because Maui has got near
to it, and has nearly caught it, and it has gone into its home, the
cave, to escape him. When the winds of the south, east, and north blow
furiously it is because the rocks have been removed by the stupid people
who could not learn the lessons taught by Maui. At other times Maui
allows these winds to blow in hurricanes to punish that people, and also
that he may ride on these furious winds in search of the west wind."

In the Hawaiian legends Maui is represented as greatly interested in
making and flying kites. His favorite place for the sport was by the
boiling pools of the Wailuku river near Hilo. He had the winds under his
control and would call for them to push his kites in the direction he
wished. His incantation calling up the winds is given in this Maui

  "Strong wind come,
  Soft wind come."

White in his "Ancient History of the Maoris," relates some of Maui's
experiences with the people whom he found on the islands brought up from
the under-world. On one island he found a sand house with eight hundred
gods living in it. Apparently Maui discovered islands with inhabitants,
and was reported to have fished them up out of the depths of the ocean.
Fishing was sailing over the ocean until distant lands were drawn near
or "fished up."

Maui walked over the islands and found men living on them and fires
burning near their homes. He evidently did not know much about fire, for
he took it in his hands. He was badly burned and rushed into the sea.
Down he dived under the cooling waters and came up with one of the New
Zealand islands on his shoulders. But his hands were still burning, so
wherever he held the island it was set on fire.

These fires are still burning in the secret recesses of the volcanoes,
and sometimes burst out in flowing lava. Then Maui paid attention to the
people whom he had fished up. He tried to teach them, but they did not
learn as he thought they should. He quickly became angry and said, "It
is a waste of light for the sun to shine on such stupid people." So he
tried to hold his hands between them and the sun, but the rays of the
sun were too many and too strong; therefore, he could not shut them out.
Then he tried the moon and managed to make it dark a part of the time
each month. In this way he made a little trouble for the stupid people.

There are other hints in the legends concerning Maui's desire to be
revenged upon any one who incurred his displeasure. It was said that
Maui for a time lived in the heavens above the earth. Here he had a
foster brother Maru. The two were cultivating the fields. Maru sent a
snowstorm over Maui's field. (It would seem as if this might be a
Polynesian memory of a cold land where their ancestors knew the cold
winter, or a lesson learned from the snow-caps of high mountains.) At
any rate, the snow blighted Maui's crops. Maui retaliated by praying for
rain to destroy Maru's fields. But Maru managed to save a part of his
crops. Other legends make Maui the aggressor. At the last, however, Maui
became very angry. The foster parents tried to soothe the two men by
saying, "Live in peace with each other and do not destroy each other's
food." But Maui was implacable and lay in wait for his foster brother,
who was in the habit of carrying fruit and grass as an offering to the
gods of a temple situated on the summit of a hill. Here Maui killed Maru
and then went away to the earth.

This legend is told by three or four different tribes of New Zealand and
is very similar to the Hebrew story of Cain and Abel. At this late day
it is difficult to say definitely whether or not it owes its origin to
the early touch of Christianity upon New Zealand when white men first
began to live with the natives. It is somewhat similar to stories found
in the Tonga Islands and also in the Hawaiian group, where a son of the
first gods, or rather of the first men, kills a brother. In each case
there is the shadow of the Biblical idea. It seems safe to infer that
such legends are not entirely drawn from contact with Christian
civilization. The natives claim that these stories are very ancient, and
that their fathers knew them before the white men sailed on the



When Maui returned from the voyages in which he discovered or "fished
up" from the ocean depths new islands, he gave deep thought to the
things he had found. As the islands appeared to come out of the water he
saw they were inhabited. There were houses and stages for drying and
preserving food. He was greeted by barking dogs. Fires were burning,
food cooking and people working. He evidently had gone so far away from
home that a strange people was found. The legend which speaks of the
death of his brothers, "eaten" by the great fish drawn up from the floor
of the sea, may very easily mean that the new people killed and ate the

Maui apparently learned some new lessons, for on his return he quickly
established a home of his own, and determined to live after the fashion
of the families in the new islands.

Maui sought Hina-a-te-lepo, "daughter of the swamp," and secured her as
his wife. The New Zealand tribes tell legends which vary in different
localities about this woman Hina. She sometimes bore the name
Rau-kura--"The red plume."

She cared for his thatched house as any other Polynesian woman was in
the habit of doing. She attempted the hurried task of cooking his food
before he snared the sun and gave her sufficient daylight for her

They lived near the bank of a river from which Hina was in the habit of
bringing water for the household needs.

One day she went down to the stream with her calabash. She was entwined
with wreaths of leaves and flowers, as was the custom among Polynesian
women. While she was standing on the bank, Tuna-roa, "the long eel," saw
her. He swam up to the bank and suddenly struck her and knocked her into
the water and covered her with slime from the blow given by his tail.

Hina escaped and returned to her home, saying nothing to Maui about the
trouble. But the next day, while getting water, she was again overthrown
and befouled by the slime of Tuna-roa.

Then Hina became angry and reported the trouble to Maui.

Maui decided to punish the long eel and started out to find his hiding
place. Some of the New Zealand legends as collected by White, state
that Tuna-roa was a very smooth skinned chief, who lived on the opposite
bank of the stream, and, seeing Hina, had insulted her.

When Maui saw this chief, he caught two pieces of wood over which he was
accustomed to slide his canoe into the sea. These he carried to the
stream and laid them from bank to bank as a bridge over which he might
entice Tuna-roa to cross.

Maui took his stone axe, Ma-Tori-Tori, "the severer," and concealed
himself near the bank of the river.

When "the long eel" had crossed the stream, Maui rushed out and killed
him with a mighty blow of the stone axe, cutting the head from the body.

Other legends say that Maui found Tuna-roa living as an eel in a deep
water hole, in a swamp on the sea-coast of Tata-a, part of the island
Ao-tea-roa. Other stories located Tuna-roa in the river near Maui's

Maui saw that he could not get at his enemy without letting off the
water which protected him.

Therefore into the forest went Maui, and with sacred ceremonies,
selected trees from the wood of which he prepared tools and weapons.

Meanwhile, in addition to the insult given to Hina, Tuna-roa had caught
and devoured two of Maui's children, which made Maui more determined to
kill him.

Maui made the narrow spade (named by the Maoris of New Zealand the "ko,"
and by the Hawaiians "o-o") and the sharp spears, with which to pierce
either the earth or his enemy. These spears and spades were consecrated
to the work of preparing a ditch by which to draw off the water
protecting "the long eel."

The work of trench-making was accomplished with many incantations and
prayers. The ditch was named "The sacred digging," and was tabooed to
all other purposes except that of catching Tuna-roa.

Across this ditch Maui stretched a strong net, and then began a new
series of chants and ceremonies to bring down an abundance of rain. Soon
the flood came and the overflowing waters rushed down the sacred ditch.
The walls of the deep pool gave way and "the long eel" was carried down
the trench into the waiting net. Then there was commotion. Tuna-roa was
struggling for freedom.

Maui saw him and hastened to grasp his stone axe, "the severer."
Hurrying to the net, he struck Tuna-roa a terrible blow, and cut off the
head. With a few more blows, he cut the body in pieces. The head and
tail were carried out into the sea. The head became fish and the tail
became the great conger-eel. Other parts of the body became sea
monsters. But some parts which fell in fresh water became the common
eels. From the hairs of the head came certain vines and creepers among
the plants.

After the death of Tuna-roa the offspring of Maui were in no danger of
being killed and soon multiplied into a large family.

Another New Zealand legend related by White says that Maui built a
sliding place of logs, over which Tuna-roa must pass when coming from
the river.

Maui also made a screen behind which he could secrete himself while
watching for Tuna-roa.

He commanded Hina to come down to the river and wait on the bank to
attract Tuna-roa. Soon the long eel was seen in the water swimming near
to Hina. Hina went to a place back of the logs which Maui had laid down.

Tuna-roa came towards her, and began to slide down the skids.

Maui sprang out from his hiding place and killed Tuna-roa with his axe,
and cut him in pieces.

The tail became the conger-eel. Parts of his body became fresh-water
eels. Some of the blood fell upon birds and always after marked them
with red spots. Some of the blood was thrown into certain trees, making
this wood always red. The muscles became vines and creepers.

From this time the children of Maui caught and ate the eels of both salt
and fresh water. Eel traps were made, and Maui taught the people the
proper chants or incantations to use when catching eels.

This legend of Maui and the long eel was found by White in a number of
forms among the different tribes of New Zealand, but does not seem to
have had currency in many other island groups.

In Turner's "Samoa" a legend is related which was probably derived from
the Maui stories and yet differs in its romantic results. The Samoans
say that among their ancient ones dwelt a woman named Sina. Sina among
the Polynesians is the same as Hina--the "h" is softened into "s". She
captured a small eel and kept it as a pet. It grew large and strong and
finally attacked and bit her. She fled, but the eel followed her
everywhere. Her father came to her assistance and raised high mountains
between the eel and herself. But the eel passed over the barrier and
pursued her. Her mother raised a new series of mountains. But again the
eel surmounted the difficulties and attempted to seize Sina. She broke
away from him and ran on and on. Finally she wearily passed through a
village. The people asked her to stay and eat with them, but she said
they could only help her by delivering her from the pursuing eel. The
inhabitants of that village were afraid of the eel and refused to fight
for her. So she ran on to another place. Here the chief offered her a
drink of water and promised to kill the eel for her. He prepared awa, a
stupefying drink, and put poison in it. When the eel came along the
chief asked him to drink. He took the awa and prepared to follow Sina.
When he came to the place where she was the pains of death had already
seized him. While dying he begged her to bury his head by her home. This
she did, and in time a plant new to the islands sprang up. It became a
tree, and finally produced a cocoanut, whose two eyes could continually
look into the face of Sina.

Tuna, in the legends of Fiji, was a demon of the sea. He lived in a deep
sea cave, into which he sometimes shut himself behind closed doors of
coral. When he was hungry, he swam through the ocean shadows, always
watching the restless surface. When a canoe passed above him, he would
throw himself swiftly through the waters, upset the canoe, and seize
some of the boatmen and devour them. He was greatly feared by all the
fishermen of the Fijian coasts.

[Illustration: A Coconut Grove in Kona.]

Roko--a mo-o or dragon god--in his journey among the islands, stopped at
a village by the sea and asked for a canoe and boatmen. The people said:
"We have nothing but a very old canoe out there by the water." He went
to it and found it in a very bad condition. He put it in the water, and
decided that he could use it. Then he asked two men to go with him and
paddle, but they refused because of fear, and explained this fear by
telling the story of the water demon, who continually sought the
destruction of this canoe, and also their own death. Roko encouraged
them to take him to wage battle with Tuna, telling them he would destroy
the monster. They paddled until they were directly over Tuna's cave.
Roko told them to go off to one side and wait and watch, saying: "I am
going down to see this Tuna. If you see red blood boil up through the
water, you may be sure that Tuna has been killed. If the blood is black,
then you will know that he has the victory and I am dead."

Roko leaped into the water and went down--down to the door of the cave.
The coral doors were closed. He grasped them in his strong hands and
tore them open, breaking them in pieces. Inside he found cave after cave
of coral, and broke his way through until at last he awoke Tuna. The
angry demon cried: "Who is that?" Roko answered: "It is I, Roko, alone.
Who are you?"

Tuna aroused himself and demanded Roko's business and who guided him to
that place. Roko replied: "No one has guided me. I go from place to
place, thinking that there is no one else in the world."

Tuna shook himself angrily. "Do you think I am nothing? This day is your

Roko replied: "Perhaps so. If the sky falls, I shall die."

Tuna leaped upon Roko and bit him. Then came the mighty battle of the
coral caves. Roko broke Tuna into several pieces--and the red blood
poured in boiling bubbles upward through the clear ocean waters, and
the boatmen cried: "The blood is red--the blood is red--Tuna is dead by
the hand of Roko."

Roko lived for a time in Fiji, where his descendants still find their
home. The people use this chant to aid them in difficulties:

  "My load is a red one.
  It points in front to Kawa (Roko's home).
  Behind, it points to Dolomo--(a village on another island)."

In the Hawaiian legends, Hina was Maui's mother rather than his wife,
and Kuna (Tuna) was a mo-o, a dragon or gigantic lizard possessing
miraculous powers.

Hina's home was in the large cave under the beautiful Rainbow Falls near
the city of Hilo. Above the falls the bed of the river is along the
channel of an ancient lava flow. Sometimes the water pours in a torrent
over the rugged lava, sometimes it passes through underground passages
as well as along the black river bed, and sometimes it thrusts itself
into boiling pools.

Maui lived on the northern side of the river, but a chief named
Kuna-moo--a dragon--lived in the boiling pools. He attacked Hina and
threw a dam across the river below Rainbow Falls, intending to drown
Hina in her cave. The great ledge of rock filled the river bed high up
the bank on the Hilo side of the river. Hina called on Maui for aid.
Maui came quickly and with mighty blows cut out a new channel for the
river--the path it follows to this day. The waters sank and Hina
remained unharmed in her cave.

The place where Kuna dwelt was called Wai-kuna--the Kuna water. The
river in which Hina and Kuna dwelt bears the name Wailuku--"the
destructive water." Maui went above Kuna's home and poured hot water
into the river. This part of the myth could easily have arisen from a
lava outburst on the side of the volcano above the river. The hot water
swept in a flood over Kuna's home. Kuna jumped from the boiling pools
over a series of small falls near his home into the river below. Here
the hot water again scalded him and in pain he leaped from the river to
the bank, where Maui killed him by beating him with a club. His body was
washed down the river over the falls under which Hina dwelt, into the

The story of Kuna or Tuna is a legend with a foundation in the enmity
between two chiefs of the long ago, and also in a desire to explain the
origin of the family of eels and the invention of nets and traps.

[Illustration: Wailuku River--the Boiling Pots.]



The "Stories of Maui's Brother-in-Law," and of "Maui seeking
Immortality," are not found in Hawaiian mythology. We depend upon Sir
George Grey and John White for the New Zealand myths in which both of
these legends occur.

Maui's sister Hina-uri married Ira-waru, who was willing to work with
his skillful brother-in-law. They hunted in the forests and speared
birds. They fished and farmed together. They passed through many
experiences similar to those Maui's own brothers had suffered before the
brother-in-law took their place as Maui's companion. They made spears
together--but Maui made notched barbs for his spear ends--and slipped
them off when Ira-waru came near. So for a long time the proceeds of
bird hunting fell to Maui. But after a time the brother-in-law learned
the secret as the brothers had before, and Maui was looked up to by his
fellow hunter as the skillful one. Sometimes Ira-waru was able to see
at once Maui's plan and adopt it. He discovered Maui's method of making
the punga or eel baskets for catching eels.

The two hunters went to the forest to find a certain creeping vine with
which to weave their eel snares. Ira-waru made a basket with a hole, by
which the eels could enter, but they could turn around and go out the
same way. So he very seldom caught an eel. But Maui made his basket with
a long funnel-shaped door, by which the eels could easily slide into the
snare but could scarcely escape. He made a door in the side which he
fastened tight until he wished to pour the eels out.

Ira-waru immediately made a basket like Maui. Then Maui became angry and
uttered incantations over Ira-waru. The man dropped on the ground and
became a dog. Maui returned home and met his sister, who charged him
with sorcery concerning her husband.

Maui did not deny the exercise of his power, but taught his sister a
chant and sent her out to the level country. There she uttered her chant
and a strange dog with long hair came to her, barking and leaping around
her. Then she knew what Maui had done. "Thus Ira-waru became the first
of the long-haired dogs whose flesh has been tabooed to women."

The Tahu and Hau tribes of New Zealand tell a different story. They say
that Maui went to visit Ira-waru. Together they set out on a journey.
After a time they rested by the wayside and became sleepy. Maui asked
Ira-waru to cleanse his head. This gave him the restful, soothing touch
which aided sleep. Then Maui proposed that Ira-waru sleep. Taking the
head in his hands, Maui put his brother-in-law to sleep. Then by
incantations he made the sleep very deep and prolonged. Meanwhile he
pulled the ears and arms and limbs until they were properly lengthened.
He drew out the under jaw until it had the form of a dog's mouth. He
stretched the end of the backbone into a tail, and then wakened Ira-waru
and drove him back when he tried to follow the path to the settlement.

Hina-uri went out and called her husband. He came to her, leaping and
barking. She decided that this was her husband, and in her agony
reproached Maui and wandered away.

The Rua-nui story-tellers of New Zealand say that Maui's anger was
aroused against Ira-waru because he ate all the bait when they went
fishing, and they could catch no fish after paddling out to the fishing
grounds. When they came to land, Maui told Ira-waru to lie down in the
sand as a roller over which to drag the canoe up the beach. When he was
lying helpless under the canoe, Maui changed him into a dog.

The Arawa legends make the cause of Maui's anger the success of
Ira-waru while fishing. Ira-waru had many fish while Maui had captured
but few. The story is told thus: "Ira-waru hooked a fish and in pulling
it in his line became entangled with that of Maui. Maui felt the jerking
and began to pull in his line. Soon they pulled their lines close up to
the canoe, one to the bow, the other to the stern, where each was
sitting. Maui said: 'Let me pull the lines to me, as the fish is on my
hook.' His brother-in-law said: 'Not so; the fish is on mine.' But Maui
said: 'Let me pull my line in.' Ira-waru did so and saw that the fish
was on his hook. Then he said: 'Untwist your lines and let mine go, that
I may pull the fish in.' Maui said: 'I will do so, but let me have
time.' He took the fish off Ira-waru's hook and saw that there was a
barb on the hook. He said to Ira-waru: 'Perhaps we ought to return to
land.' When they were dragging the canoe on shore, Maui said to
Ira-waru: 'Get between the canoe and outrigger and drag.' Ira-waru did
so and Maui leaped on the outrigger and weighed it heavily down and
crushed Ira-waru prostrate on the beach. Maui trod on him and pulled his
backbone long like a tail and changed him into a dog."

Maui is said to have tattooed the muzzle of the dog with a beautiful
pattern which the birds (kahui-zara, a flock of tern) used in marking
the sky. From this also came the red glow which sometimes flushes the
face of man.

Another Arawa version of the legend was that Maui and Ira-waru were
journeying together. Ira-waru was gluttonous and ate the best food. At
last Maui determined to punish his companion. By incantation he
lengthened the way until Ira-waru became faint and weary. Maui had
provided himself with a little food and therefore was enabled to endure
the long way. While Ira-waru slept Maui trod on his backbone and
lengthened it and changed the arms and limbs into the legs of a dog.
When Hina-uri saw the state of her husband she went into the thatched
house by which Ira-waru had so often stood watching the hollow log in
which she dried the fish and preserved the birds speared in the
mountains. She bound her girdle and hala-leaf apron around her and went
down to the sea to drown herself, that her body might be eaten by the
monsters of the sea. When she came to the shell-covered beach, she sat
down and sang her death song--

  "I weep, I call to the steep billows of the sea
  And to him, the great, the ocean god;
  To monsters, all now hidden,
  To come and bury me,
  Who now am wrapped in mourning.
  Let the waves wear their mourning, too,
  And sleep as sleeps the dead."

  --Ancient Maui Chant of New Zealand.

Then Hina-uri threw herself into the sea and was borne on the waves many
moons, at last drifting to shore, to be found by two fishermen. They
carried the body off to the fire and warmed it back to life. They
brushed off the sea moss and sea weeds and rubbed her until she awoke.

Soon they told their chief, Tini-rau, what a beautiful woman they had
found in the sea. He came and took her away to make her one of his
wives. But the other wives were jealous and drove Hina-uri away from the
chief's houses.

Another New Zealand legend says that Hina came to the sea and called for
a little fish to aid her in going away from the island. It tried to
carry her, but was too weak. Hina struck it with her open hand. It had
striped sides forever after. She tried a larger fish, but fell off
before they had gone far from shore. Her blow gave this fish its
beautiful blue spots. Another received black spots. Another she stamped
her foot upon, making it flat. At last a shark carried her far away. She
was very thirsty, and broke a cocoanut on the shark's head, making a
bump, which has been handed down for generations. The shark carried her
to the home of the two who rescued her and gave her new strength.

Meanwhile Rupe or Maui-mua, a brother of Hina-uri and Maui, grieved for
his sister. He sought for her throughout the land and then launched his
canoe upon the blue waters surrounding Ao-tea-roa (The Great White Land;
the ancient native New Zealand) and searched the coasts. He only
learned that his sister had, as the natives said, "leaped into the
waters and been carried away into the heavens."

[Illustration: "Outside Were Other Worlds."]

Rupe's heart filled with the desire to find and protect the frenzied
sister who had probably taken a canoe and floated away, out of the
horizon, seen from New Zealand coasts, into new horizons. During the
Viking age of the Pacific, when many chiefs sailed long distances,
visiting the most remote islands of Polynesia, they frequently spoke of
breaking through from the home land into new heavens--or of climbing up
the path of the sun on the waters into a new heaven. This was their
poetical way of passing from horizon to horizon. The horizon around
their particular island surrounded their complete world. Outside,
somewhere, were other worlds and other heavens. Rupe's voyage was an
idyll of the Pacific. It was one more story to be added to the prose
poems of consecrated travel. It was a brother feeling through the
mysteries of unknown lands for a sister, as dear to him as an Evangeline
has been to other men.

From the mist-land of the Polynesian race comes this story of the
trickery of Maui the learned, and the faithfulness of his older brother
Maui-mua or Rupe--one of the "five forgetful Mauis." Rupe hoisted
mat-sails over his canoe and thus made the winds serve him. He paddled
the canoe onward through the hours when calms rested on glassy waves.

Thus he passed out of sight of Ao-tea-roa, away from his brothers, and
out of the reach of all tricks and incantations of Maui, the
mischievous. He sailed until a new island rose out of the sea to greet
him. Here in a "new heaven" he found friends to care for him and prepare
him for his longer journey. His restless anxiety for his sister urged
him onward until days lengthened into months and months into years. He
passed from the horizons of newly-discovered islands, into the horizons
of circling skies around islands of which he had never heard before.
Sometimes he found relatives, but more frequently his welcome came from
those who could trace no historical touch in their genealogies.

Here and there, apparently, he found traces of a woman whose description
answered that of his sister Hina-uri. At last he looked through the
heavens upon a new world, and saw his sister in great trouble.

According to some legends the jealous wives of the great chief,
Tini-rau, attack Hina, who was known among them as Hina-te-ngaru-moana,
"Hina, the daughter of the ocean." Tini-rau and Hina lived away from the
village of the chief until their little boy was born. When they needed
food, the chief said, "Let us go to my settlement and we shall have food

But Hina chanted:

  "Let it down, let it down,
  Descend, oh! descend--"

and sufficient food fell before them. After a time their frail clothing
wore out, and the cold chilled them, then Hina again uttered the
incantation and clothing was provided for their need.

But the jealous wives, two in number, finally heard where Hina and the
chief were living, and started to see them.

Tini-rau said to Hina, "Here come my other wives--be careful how you act
before them."

She replied, "If they come in anger it will be evil."

She armed herself with an obsidian or volcanic-glass knife, and waited
their coming.

They tried to throw enchantments around her to kill her. Then one of
them made a blow at her with a weapon, but she turned it aside and
killed her enemy with the obsidian knife.

Then the other wife made an attack, and again the obsidian knife brought
death. She ripped open the stomachs of the jealous ones and showed the
chief fish lines and sinkers and other property which they had eaten in
the past and which Tini-rau had never been able to trace.

Another legend says that the two women came to kill Hina when they heard
of the birth of her boy. For a time she was greatly terrified. Then she
saw that they were coming from different directions. She attacked the
nearest one with a stone and killed her. The body burst open, and was
seen to be full of green stone. Then she killed the second wife in the
same way, and found more green stones. "Thus, according to the legends,
originated the greenstone" from which the choicest and most valuable
stone tools have since been made. For a time the chief and Hina lived
happily together. Then he began to neglect her and abuse her, until she
cried aloud for her brother--

  "O Rupe! come down.
  Take me and my child."

Rupe assumed the form of a bird and flew down to this world in which he
had found his sister. He chanted as he came down--

  "It is Rupe, yes Rupe,
  The elder brother;
  And I am here."

He folded the mother and her boy under his wings and flew away with
them. Sir George Gray relates a legend in which Maui-mua or Rupe is
recorded as having carried his sister and her child to one of the new
lands, found in his long voyage, where dwelt an aged relative, of chief
rank, with his retainers.

Some legends say that Tini-rau tried to catch Rupe, who was compelled
to drop the child in order to escape with the mother. Tini-rau caught
the child and carefully cared for him until he grew to be a strong young

Then he wanted to find his mother and bring her back to his father. How
this was done, how Rupe took his sister back to the old chief, and how
civil wars arose are not all these told in the legends of the Maoris.
Thus the tricks of Maui the mischievous brought trouble for a time, but
were finally overshadowed by happy homes in neighboring lands for his
suffering sister and her descendants.



Maui the demi-god was sometimes the Hercules of Polynesia. His exploits
were fully as marvelous as those of the hero of classic mythology. He
snared the sun. He pulled up islands from the ocean depths. He lifted
the sky into its present position and smoothed its arched surface with
his stone adze. These stories belong to all Polynesia.

There are numerous less important local myths, some of them peculiar to
New Zealand, some to the Society Islands and some to the Hawaiian group.

One of the old native Hawaiians says that in the long, long ago the
birds were flying around the homes of the ancient people. The flutter of
their wings could be heard and the leaves and branches moved when the
motion of the wings ceased and the wanderers through the air found
resting places. Then came sweet music from the trees and the people
marvelled. Only one of all mankind could see the winged warblers. Maui,
the demi-god, had clear vision. The swift-flying wings covered with red
or gold he saw. The throats tinted many colors and reflecting the
sunlight with diamond sparks of varied hues he watched while they
trembled with the melody of sweet bird songs. All others heard but did
not see. They were blind and yet had open vision.

Sometimes the iiwi (a small red bird) fluttered in the air and uttered
its shrill, happy song, and Maui saw and heard. But the bird at that
time was without color in the eyes of the ancient people and only the
clear voice was heard, while no speck of bird life flecked the clear sky

At one time a god from one of the other islands came to visit Maui. Each
boasted of and described the beauties and merits of his island. While
they were conversing, Maui called for his friends the birds. They
gathered around the house and fluttered among the leaves of the
surrounding trees. Soon their sweet voices filled the air on all sides.
All the people wondered and worshiped, thinking they heard the fairy or
menehune people. It was said that Maui had painted the bodies of his
invisible songsters and for a long time had kept the delight of their
flashing colors to himself. But when the visitor had rejoiced in the
mysterious harmonies, Maui decided to take away whatever veil shut out
the sight of these things beautiful, that his bird friends might be
known and honored ever after. So he made the birds reveal themselves
perched in the trees or flying in the air. The clear eyes of the god
first recognized the new revelation, then all the people became dumb
before the sweet singers adorned in all their brilliant tropical

The beautiful red birds, iiwi and akakani, and the birds of glorious
yellow feathers, the oo and the mamo, were a joy to both eye and ear and
found high places in Hawaiian legend and story, and all gave their most
beautiful feathers for the cloaks and helmets of the chiefs.

The Maoris of New Zealand say that Maui could at will change himself
into a bird and with his feathered friends find a home in leafy
shelters. In bird form he visited the gods of the under-world. His
capricious soul was sensitive to the touch of all that mysterious life
of nature.

With the birds as companions and the winds as his servants Maui must
soon have turned his inventive mind to kite making.

The Hawaiian myths are perhaps the only ones of the Pacific Ocean which
give to any of the gods the pleasure and excitement of kite flying.
Maui, after repeated experiments, made a large kite for himself. It was
much larger than any house of his time or generation. He twisted a long
line from the strong fibers of the native plant known as the olona. He
endowed both kite and string with marvelous powers and launched the
kite up toward the clouds. It rose very slowly. The winds were not
lifting it into the sky.

[Illustration: The Home of the Winds, Hilo Coast.]

Maui remembered that an old priest lived in Waipio valley, the largest
and finest valley of the large island, Hawaii, on which he made his

This priest had a covered calabash in which he compelled the winds to
hide when he did not wish them to play on land and sea. The priest's
name was Kaleiioku, and his calabash was known as ipu-makani-a ka
maumau, "the calabash of the perpetual winds." Maui called for the
priest who had charge of the winds to open his calabash and let them
come up to Hilo and blow along the Wailuku river. The natives say that
the place where Maui stood was marked by the pressure of his feet in the
lava rocks of the river bank as he braced himself to hold the kite
against the increasing force of the winds which pushed it towards the
sky. Then the enthusiasm of kite flying filled his youthful soul and he
cried aloud, screaming his challenge along the coast of the sea toward

  "O winds, winds of Waipio,
  In the calabash of Kaleiioku.
  Come from the ipu-makani,
  O wind, the wind of Hilo,
  Come quickly, come with power."

Then the priest lifted the cover of the calabash of the winds and let
the strong winds of Hilo escape. Along the sea coast they rushed until
as they entered Hilo Bay they heard the voice of Maui calling--

  "O winds, winds of Hilo,
  Hasten and come to me."

With a tumultuous rush the strong winds turned toward the mountains.
They forced their way along the gorges and palisades of the Wailuku
river. They leaped into the heavens, making a fierce attack upon the
monster which Maui had sent into the sky. The kite struggled as it was
pushed upward by the hands of the fierce winds, but Maui rejoiced. His
heart was uplifted by the joy of the conflict in which his strength to
hold was pitted against the power of the winds to tear away. And again
he shouted toward the sea--

  "O winds, the winds of Hilo,
  Come to the mountains, come."

The winds which had been stirring up storms on the face of the waters
came inland. They dashed against Maui. They climbed the heights of the
skies until they fell with full violence against their mighty foe
hanging in the heavens.

The kite had been made of the strongest kapa (paper cloth) which Maui's
mother could prepare. It was not torn, although it was bent backward to
its utmost limit. Then the strain came on the strong cord of olona
fibre. The line was stretched and strained as the kite was pushed back.
Then Maui called again and again for stronger winds to come. The cord
was drawn out until the kite was far above the mountains. At last it
broke and the kite was tossed over the craters of the volcanoes to the
land of the district of Ka-u on the other side of the island.

Then Maui was angry and hastily leaped over the mountains, which are
nearly fourteen thousand feet in altitude. In a half dozen strides he
had crossed the fifty or sixty miles from his home to the place where
the kite lay. He could pass over many miles with a single step. His name
was Maui-Mama, "Maui the Swift." When Maui returned with his kite he was
more careful in calling the winds to aid him in his sport.

The people watched their wise neighbor and soon learned that the kite
could be a great blessing to them. When it was soaring in the sky there
was always dry and pleasant weather. It was a day for great rejoicing.
They could spread out their kapa cloth to dry as long as the kite was in
the sky. They could carry out their necessary work without fear of the
rain. Therefore when any one saw the kite beginning to float along the
mountain side he would call out joyfully, "E! Maui's kite is in the
heavens." Maui would send his kite into the blue sky and then tie the
line to the great black stones in the bed of the Wailuku river.

Maui soon learned the power of his kite when blown upon by a fierce
wind. With his accustomed skill he planned to make use of his strong
servant, and therefore took the kite with him on his journeys to the
other islands, using it to aid in making swift voyages. With the wind in
the right direction, the kite could pull his double canoe very easily
and quickly to its destination.

Time passed, and even the demi-god died. The fish hook with which he
drew the Hawaiian Islands up from the depths of the sea was allowed to
lie on the lava by the Wailuku river until it became a part of the
stone. The double canoe was carried far inland and then permitted to
petrify by the river side. The two stones which represent the double
canoe now bear the name "Waa-Kauhi," and the kite has fallen from the
sky far up on the mountain side, where it still rests, a flat plot of
rich land between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.



Several Maui legends have been located on the island of Oahu. They were
given by Mr. Kaaia to Mr. T. G. Thrum, the publisher of what is well
known in the Hawaiian Islands as "Thrum's Annual." He has kindly
furnished them for added interest to the present volume. The legends
have a distinctly local flavor confined entirely to Oahu. It has seemed
best to reserve them for a chapter by themselves although they are
chiefly variations of stories already told.


This history of Maui and his grandmother Hina begins with their arrival
from foreign lands. They dwelt in Kane-ana (Kane's cave), Waianae, Oahu.
This is an "ana," or cave, at Puu-o-hulu. Hina had wonderful skill in
making all kinds of tapa according to the custom of the women of ancient

Maui went to the Koolau side and rested at Kaha-luu, a diving place in
Koolaupoko. In that place there is a noted hill called Ma-eli-eli. This
is the story of that hill. Maui threw up a pile of dirt and concealed
rubbish under it. The two gods, Kane and Kanaloa, came along and asked
Maui what he was doing. He said, "What you see. You two dig on that side
to the foot of the pali, (precipice) and I will go down at Kaha-luu. If
you two dig through first, you may kill me. If I get through first I
will kill you." They agreed, and began to dig and throw up the dirt.
Then Maui dug three times and tossed up some of the hills of that place.
Kane and Kanaloa saw that Maui was digging very fast, so they put forth
very great strength and threw the dirt into a hill. Meanwhile Maui ran
away to the other side of the island. Thus by the aid of the gods the
hill Ma-eli-eli was thrown up and received its name "eli," meaning
"dig." "Ma-eli-eli" meant "the place of digging."


It was said that Maui and Hina had no fire. They were often cold and had
no cooked food. Maui saw flames rising in a distant place and ran to see
how they were made. When he came to that place the fire was out and some
birds flew away. One of them was Ka-Alae-huapi, "the stingy Alae"--a
small duck, the Hawaiian mud hen. Maui watched again and saw fire.
When he went up the birds saw him coming and scattered the fire,
carrying the ashes into the water; but he leaped and caught the little
Alae. "Ah!" he said, "I will kill you, because you do not let me have
fire." The bird replied, "If you kill me you cannot find fire." Maui
said, "Where is fire?" The Alae said, "Go up on the high land where
beautiful plants with large leaves are standing; rub their branches."
Maui set the bird free and went inland from Halawa and found dry land
taro. He began to rub the stalks, but only juice came out like water. He
had no red fire. He was very angry and said, "If that lying Alae is
caught again by me I will be its death."

[Illustration: Bay of Waipio Valley.]

After a while he saw the fire burning and ran swiftly. The birds saw him
and cried, "The cooking is over. Here comes the swift grandchild of
Hina." They scattered the fire, threw the ashes away and flew into the
water. But again Maui caught the Alae and began to kill it, saying: "You
gave me a plant full of water from which to get fire." The bird said,
"If I die you can never find fire. I will give you the secret of fire.
Take a branch of that dry tree and rub." Maui held the bird fast in one
hand while he rubbed with the other until smoke and fire came out. Then
he took the fire stick and rubbed the head of the bird, making a place
where red and white feathers have grown ever since.

He returned to Hina and taught her how to make fire, using the two fire
sticks and how to twist coconut fibre to catch the fire when it had been
kindled in wood. But the Alae was not forgotten. It was called huapi,
"stingy," because it selfishly kept the knowledge of fire making to


Maui watched Hina making tapa. The wet tapa was spread on a long tapa
board, and Hina began at one end to pound it into shape; pounding from
one end to another. He noticed that sunset came by the time she had
pounded to the middle of the board. The sun hurried so fast that she
could only begin her work before the day was past.

He went to the hill Hele-a-ka-la, which means "journey of the sun." He
thought he would catch the sun and make it move slowly. He went up the
hill and waited. When the sun began to rise, Maui made himself long,
stretching up toward the sky. Soon the shining legs of the sun came up
the hillside. He saw Maui and began to run swiftly, but Maui reached out
and caught one of the legs, saying: "O sun, I will kill you. You are a
mischief maker. You make trouble for Hina by going so fast." Then he
broke the shining leg of the sun. The sufferer said, "I will change my
way and go slowly--six months slow and six months faster." Thus arose
the saying, "Long shall be the daily journey of the sun and he shall
give light for all the people's toil." Hina learned that she could pound
until she was tired while the farmers could plant and take care of their
fields. Thus also this hill received its name Hele-a-ka-la. This is one
of the hills of Waianae near the precipice of the hill Puu-o-hulu.


Maui suggested to Hina that he had better try to draw the islands
together, uniting them in one land. Hina told Maui to go and see
Alae-nui-a-Hina, who would tell him what to do. The Alae told him they
must go to Ponaha-ke-one (a fishing place outside of Pearl Harbor) and
find Ka-uniho-kahi, "the one toothed," who held the land under the sea.

Maui went back to Hina. She told him to ask his brothers to go fishing
with him. They consented and pushed out into the sea. Soon Maui saw a
bailing dish floating by the canoe and picked it up. It was named
Hina-a-ke-ka, "Hina who fell off." They paddled to Ponaha-ke-one. When
they stopped they saw a beautiful young woman in the boat. Then they
anchored and again looked in the boat, but the young woman was gone.
They saw the bailing dish and threw it into the sea.

Maui-mua threw his hook and caught a large fish, which was seen to be a
shark as they drew it to the surface. At once they cut the line. So also
Maui-hope and Maui-waena. At last Maui threw his hook Manai-i-ka-lani
into the sea. It went down, down into the depths. Maui cried,
"Hina-a-ke-ka has my hook in her hand. By her it will be made fast."
Hina went down with the hook until she met Ka-uniho-kahi. She asked him
to open his mouth, then threw the hook far inside and made it fast. Then
she pulled the line so that Maui should know that the fish was caught.
Maui fastened the line to the outrigger of the canoe and asked his
brothers to paddle with all diligence, and not look back. Long, long,
they paddled and were very tired. Then Maui took a paddle and dipped
deep in the sea. The boat moved more swiftly through the sea. The
brothers looked back and cried, "There is plenty of land behind us." The
charm was broken. The hook came out of "the one toothed," and the raised
islands sank back into their place. The native say, "The islands are now
united to America. Perhaps Maui has been at work."


Maui had been fishing and had caught a great fish upon which he was
feasting. He looked inland and saw his wife, Kumu-lama, seized and
carried away by Pea-pea-maka-walu, "Pea-pea the eight-eyed." This
is a legend derived from the myths of many islands in which Lupe or Rupe
(pigeon) changed himself into a bird and flew after his sister Hina who
had been carried on the back of a shark to distant islands. Sometimes as
a man and sometimes as a bird he prosecuted his search until Hina was

[Illustration: The Ie-ie Vine.]

Maui pursued Pea-pea, but could not catch him. He carried Maui's wife
over the sea to a far away island. Maui was greatly troubled but his
grandmother sent him inland to find an old man who would tell him what
to do. Maui went inland and looking down toward Waipahu saw this man
Ku-olo-kele. He was hump-backed. Maui threw a large stone and hit the
"hill on the back" knocked it off and made the back straight. The old
man lifted up the stone and threw it to Waipahu, where it lies to this
day. Then he and Maui talked together. He told Maui to go and catch
birds and gather ti leaves and fibers of the ie-ie vine, and fill his
house. These things Maui secured and brought to him. He told Maui to go
home and return after three days.

Ku-olo-kele took the ti leaves and the ie-ie threads and made the body
of a great bird which he covered with bird feathers. He fastened all
together with the ie-ie. This was done in the first day. The second day
he placed food inside and tried his bird and it flew all right.
"Thus," as the Hawaiians say, "the first flying ship was made in the
time of Maui." This is a modern version of Rupe changing himself into a

On the third day Maui came and saw the wonderful bird body thoroughly
prepared for his journey. Maui went inside. Ku-olo-kele said, "When you
reach that land, look for a village. If the people are not there look to
the beach. If there are many people, your wife and Pea-pea the
eight-eyed will be there. Do not go near, but fly out over the sea. The
people will say, 'O, the strange bird;' but Pea-pea will say, 'This is
my bird. It is tabu.' You can then come to the people."

Maui pulled the ie-ie ropes fastened to the wings and made them move.
Thus he flew away into the sky. Two days was his journey before he came
to that strange island, Moana-liha-i-ka-wao-kele. It was a beautiful
land. He flew inland to a village, but there were no people; according
to the ancient chant:

  "The houses of Lima-loa stand,
  But there are no people;
  They are at Mana."

The people were by the sea. Maui flew over them. He saw his wife, but he
passed on flying out over the sea, skimming like a sea bird down to the
water and rising gracefully up to the sky. Pea-pea called out, "This
is my bird. It is tabu." Maui heard and came to the beach. He was caught
and placed in a tabu box. The servants carried him up to the village and
put him in the chief's sleeping house, when Pea-pea and his people
returned to their homes.

In the night Pea-pea and Maui's wife lay down to sleep. Maui watched
Pea-pea, hoping that he would soon sleep. Then he would kill him. Maui
waited. One eye was closed, seven eyes were opened. Then four eyes
closed, leaving three. The night was almost past and dawn was near. Then
Maui called to Hina with his spirit voice, "O Hina, keep it dark." Hina
made the gray dawn dark in the three eyes and two closed in sleep. The
last eye was weary, and it also slept. Then Maui went out of the bird
body and cut off the head of Pea-pea and put it inside the bird. He
broke the roof of the house until a large opening was made. He took his
wife, Kumu-lama, and flew away to the island of Oahu. The winds blew
hard against the flying bird. Rain fell in torrents around it, but those
inside had no trouble.

"Thus Maui returned with his wife to his home in Oahu. The story is pau



  Climb up, climb up,
  To the highest surface of heaven,
  To all the sides of heaven.

  Climb then to thy ancestor,
  The sacred bird in the sky,
  To thy ancestor Rehua
      In the heavens.

  --New Zealand kite incantation.

The story of Maui seeking immortality for the human race is one of the
finest myths in the world. For pure imagination and pathos it is
difficult to find any tale from Grecian or Latin literature to compare
with it. In Greek and Roman fables gods suffered for other gods, and yet
none were surrounded with such absolutely mythical experiences as those
through which the demi-god Maui of the Pacific Ocean passed when he
entered the gates of death with the hope of winning immortality for
mankind. The really remarkable group of legends which cluster around
Maui is well concluded by the story of his unselfish and heroic battle
with death.

The different islands of the Pacific have their Hades, or abode of dead.
It is, with very few exceptions, down in the interior of the earth.
Sometimes the tunnels left by currents of melted lava are the passages
into the home of departed spirits. In Samoa there are two circular holes
among the rocks at the west end of the island Savaii. These are the
entrances to the under-world for chiefs and people. The spirits of those
who die on the other islands leap into the sea and swim around the land
from island to island until they reach Savaii. Then they plunge down
into their heaven or their hades.

The Tongans had a spirit island for the home of the dead. They said that
some natives once sailed far away in a canoe and found this island. It
was covered with all manner of beautiful fruits, among which rare birds
sported. They landed, but the trees were shadows. They grasped but could
not hold them. The fruits and the birds were shadows. The men ate, but
swallowed nothing substantial. It was shadow-land. They walked through
all the delights their eyes looked upon, but found no substance. They
returned home, but ever seemed to listen to spirits calling them back to
the island. In a short time all the voyagers were dead.

There is no escape from death. The natives of New Zealand say: "Man
may have descendants, but the daughters of the night strangle his
offspring"; and again: "Men make heroes, but death carries them away."

There are very few legends among the Polynesians concerning the death of
Maui. And these are usually fragmentary, except among the Maoris of New

The Hawaiian legend of the death of Maui is to the effect that he
offended some of the greater gods living in Waipio valley on the Island
of Hawaii. Kanaloa, one of the four greatest gods of Hawaii, seized him
and dashed him against the rocks. His blood burst from the body and
colored the earth red in the upper part of the valley. The Hawaiians in
another legend say that Maui was chasing a boy and girl in Honolii
gulch, Hawaii. The girl climbed a breadfruit tree. Maui changed himself
into an eel and stretched himself along the side of the trunk of the
tree. The tree stretched itself upward and Maui failed to reach the
girl. A priest came along and struck the eel and killed it, and so Maui
died. This is evidently a changed form of the legend of Maui and the
long eel. Another Hawaiian fragment approaches very near to the
beautiful New Zealand myth. The Hawaiians said that Maui attempted to
tear a mountain apart. He wrenched a great hole in the side. Then the
elepaio bird sang and the charm was broken. The cleft in the mountain
could not be enlarged. If the story could be completed it would not be
strange if the death of Maui came with this failure to open the path
through the mountain.

The Hervey Islands say that after Maui fished up the islands his hook
was thrown into the heavens and became the curved tail of the
constellation of stars which we know as "The Scorpion." Then the people
became angry with Maui and threw him up into the sky and his body is
still thought to be hanging among the stars of the scorpion.

The Samoans, according to Turner, say that Maui went fishing and tried
to catch the land under the seas and pull it to the surface. Finally an
island appeared, but the people living on it were angry with Maui and
drove him away into the heavens.

As he leaped from the island it separated into two parts. Thus the
Samoans account for the origin of two of their islands and also for the
passing away of Maui from the earth.

The natives of New Zealand have many myths concerning the death of Maui.
Each tribe tells the story with such variations as would be expected
when the fact is noted that these tribes have preserved their
individuality through many generations. The substance of the myth,
however, is the same.

In Maui's last days he longed for the victory over death. His innate
love of life led him to face the possibility of escaping and
overcoming the relentless enemy of mankind and thus bestow the boon of
deathlessness upon his fellow-men. He had been successful over and over
again in his contests with both gods and men. When man was created, he
stood erect, but, according to an Hawaiian myth, had jointless arms and
limbs. A web of skin connected and fastened tightly the arms to the body
and the legs to each other. "Maui was angry at this motionless statue
and took him and broke his legs at ankle, knee and hip and then, tearing
them and the arms from the body, destroyed the web. Then he broke the
arms at the elbow and shoulder. Then man could move from place to place,
but he had neither fingers or toes." Here comes the most ancient
Polynesian statement of the theory of evolution: "Hunger impelled man to
seek his food in the mountains, where his toes were cut out by the
brambles in climbing, and his fingers were also formed by the sharp
splinters of the bamboo while searching with his arms for food in the

It was not strange that Maui should feel self-confident when considering
the struggle for immortality as a gift to be bestowed upon mankind. And
yet his father warned him that his time of failure would surely come.

White, who has collected many of the myths and legends of New Zealand,
states that after Maui had ill-treated Mahu-ika, his grandmother, the
goddess and guardian of fire in the under-world, his father and mother
tried to teach him to do differently. But he refused to listen. Then the
father said:

"You heard our instructions, but please yourself and persist for life or

Maui replied: "What do I care? Do you think I shall cease? Rather I will
persist forever and ever."

Then his father said: "There is one so powerful that no tricks can be of
any avail."

Maui asked: "By what shall I be overcome?" The answer was that one of
his ancestors, Hine-nui-te-po (Great Hine of the night), the guardian of
life, would overcome him.

When Maui fished islands out of the deep seas, it was said that Hine
made her home on the outer edge of one of the outermost islands. There
the glow of the setting sun lighted the thatch of her house and covered
it with glorious colors. There Great Hine herself stood flashing and
sparkling on the edge of the horizon.

Maui, in these last days of his life, looked toward the west and said:
"Let us investigate this matter and learn whether life or death shall

The father replied: "There is evil hanging over you. When I chanted the
invocation of your childhood, when you were made sacred and guarded by
charms, I forgot a part of the ceremony. And for this you are to die."

Then Maui said, "Will this be by Hine-nui-te-po? What is she like?"

The father said that the flashing eyes they could see in the distance
were dark as greenstone, the teeth were as sharp as volcanic glass, her
mouth was large like a fish, and her hair was floating in the air like

One of the legends of New Zealand says that Maui and his brothers went
toward the west, to the edge of the horizon, where they saw the goddess
of the night. Light was flashing from her body. Here they found a great
pit--the home of night. Maui entered the pit--telling his brothers not
to laugh. He passed through and turning about started to return. The
brothers laughed and the walls of night closed in around him and held
him till he died.

The longer legend tells how Maui after his conversation with his father,
remembered his conflict with the moon. He had tied her so that she could
not escape, but was compelled to bathe in the waters of life and return
night after night lest men should be in darkness when evening came.

Maui said to the goddess of the moon: "Let death be short. As the moon
dies and returns with new strength, so let men die and revive again."

But she replied: "Let death be very long, that man may sigh and sorrow.
When man dies, let him go into darkness, become like earth, that those
he leaves behind may weep and wail and mourn."

Maui did not lay aside his purpose, but, according to the New Zealand
story, "did not wish men to die, but to live forever. Death appeared
degrading and an insult to the dignity of man. Man ought to die like the
moon, which dips in the life-giving waters of Kane and is renewed again,
or like the sun, which daily sinks into the pit of night and with
renewed strength rises in the morning."

Maui sought the home of Hine-nui-te-po--the guardian of life. He heard
her order her attendants to watch for any one approaching and capture
all who came walking upright as a man. He crept past the attendants on
hands and feet, found the place of life, stole some of the food of the
goddess and returned home. He showed the food to his brothers and
persuaded them to go with him into the darkness of the night of death.
On the way he changed them into the form of birds. In the evening they
came to the house of the goddess on the island long before fished up
from the seas.

Maui warned the birds to refrain from making any noise while he made the
supreme effort of his life. He was about to enter upon his struggle for
immortality. He said to the birds: "If I go into the stomach of this
woman, do not laugh until I have gone through her, and come out again
at her mouth; then you can laugh at me."

His friends said: "You will be killed." Maui replied: "If you laugh at
me when I have only entered her stomach I shall be killed, but if I have
passed through her and come out of her mouth I shall escape and
Hine-nui-te-po will die."

His friends called out to him: "Go then. The decision is with you."

Hine was sleeping soundly. The flashes of lightning had all ceased. The
sunlight had almost passed away and the house lay in quiet gloom. Maui
came near to the sleeping goddess. Her large, fish-like mouth was open
wide. He put off his clothing and prepared to pass through the ordeal of
going to the hidden source of life, to tear it out of the body of its
guardian and carry it back with him to mankind. He stood in all the
glory of savage manhood. His body was splendidly marked by the
tattoo-bones, and now well oiled shone and sparkled in the last rays of
the setting sun.

He leaped through the mouth of the enchanted one and entered her
stomach, weapon in hand, to take out her heart, the vital principle
which he knew had its home somewhere within her being. He found
immortality on the other side of death. He turned to come back again
into life when suddenly a little bird (the Pata-tai) laughed in a clear,
shrill tone, and Great Hine, through whose mouth Maui was passing,
awoke. Her sharp, obsidian teeth closed with a snap upon Maui, cutting
his body in the center. Thus Maui entered the gates of death, but was
unable to return, and death has ever since been victor over rebellious
men. The natives have the saying:

"If Maui had not died, he could have restored to life all who had gone
before him, and thus succeeded in destroying death."

Maui's brothers took the dismembered body and buried it in a cave called
Te-ana-i-hana, "The cave dug out," possibly a prepared burial place.

Maui's wife made war upon the spirits, the gods, and killed as many as
she could to avenge her husband's death. One of the old native poets of
New Zealand, in chanting the story to Mr. White, said: "But though Maui
was killed, his offspring survived. Some of these are at Hawa-i-i-ki and
some at Aotea-roa (New Zealand), but the greater part of them remained
at Hawa-i-ki. This history was handed down by the generations of our
ancestors of ancient times, and we continue to rehearse it to our
children, with our incantations and genealogies, and all other matters
relating to our race."

  "But death is nothing new,
  Death is, and has been ever since old Maui died.
  Then Pata-tai laughed loud
  And woke the goblin-god,
  Who severed him in two, and shut him in,
  So dusk of eve came on."

  --Maori death chant, New Zealand.



Hina is not an uncommon name in Hawaiian genealogies. It is usually
accompanied by some adjective which explains or identifies the person to
whom the name is given. In Hawaii the name Hina is feminine. This is
also true throughout all Polynesia except in a few cases where Hina is
reckoned as a man with supernatural attributes. Even in these cases it
is apparent that the legend has been changed from its original form as
it has been carried to small islands by comparatively ignorant people
when moving away from their former homes.

Hina is a Polynesian goddess whose story is very interesting--one worthy
of study when comparing the legends of the island groups of the Pacific.
The Hina of Hilo is the same as the goddess of that name most widely
known throughout Polynesia--and yet her legends are located by the
ancient Hawaiians in Hilo, as if that place were her only home. The
legends are so old that the Hawaiians have forgotten their origin in
other lands. The stories were brought with the immigrants who settled on
the Hilo coast. Thus the stories found their final location with the
families who brought them. There are three Hawaiian Hinas practically
distinct from each other, although a supernatural element is connected
with each one. Hina who was stolen from Hawaii by a chief of the Island
of Molokai was an historical character, although surrounded by mythical
stories. Another Hina, who was the wife of Kuula, the fish god, was
pre-eminently a local deity, having no real connection with the legends
of the other islands of the Pacific, although sometimes the stories told
concerning her have not been kept entirely distinct from the legends of
the Hina of Hilo.

The Hilo Hina was the true legendary character closely connected with
all Polynesia. The stories about her are of value not simply as legends,
but as traditions closely uniting the Hawaiian Islands with the island
groups thousands of miles distant. The Wailuku river, which flows
through the town of Hilo, has its own peculiar and weird beauty. For
miles it is a series of waterfalls and rapids. It follows the course of
an ancient lava flow, sometimes forcing its way under bridges of lava,
thus forming what are called boiling pots, and sometimes pouring in
massive sheets over the edges of precipices which never disintegrate.
By the side of this river Hina's son Maui had his lands. In the very bed
of the river, in a cave under one of the largest falls, Hina made her
own home, concealed from the world by the silver veil of falling water
and lulled to sleep by the continual roar of the flood falling into the
deep pool below. By the side of this river, the legends say, she pounded
her tapa and prepared her food. Here were the small, graceful mamake and
the coarser wauke trees, from which the bark was stripped with which she
made tapa cloth. Branches were cut or broken from these and other trees
whose bark was fit for the purpose. These branches were well soaked
until the bark was removed easily. Then the outer bark was scraped off,
leaving only the pliable inner bark. The days were very short and there
was no time for rest while making tapa cloth. Therefore, as soon as the
morning light reddened the clouds, Hina would take her calabash filled
with water to pour upon the bark, and her little bundle of round clubs
(the hohoa) and her four-sided mallets (the i-e-kuku) and hasten to the
sacred spot where, with chants and incantations, the tapa was made.

The bark was well soaked in the water all the days of the process of
tapa making. Hina took small bundles of the wet inner bark and laid them
on the kua or heavy tapa board, pounding them together into a pulpy mass
with her round clubs. Then using the four-sided mallets, she beat this
pulp into thin sheets. Beautiful tapa, soft as silk, was made by adding
pulpy mass to pulpy mass and beating it day after day until the fibres
were lost and a sheet of close-woven bark cloth was formed. Although
Hina was a goddess and had a family possessing miraculous power, it
never entered the mind of the Hawaiian legend tellers to endow her with
ease in producing wonderful results. The legends of the Southern Pacific
Islands show more imagination. They say that Ina (Hina) was such a
wonderful artist in making beautiful tapas that she was placed in the
skies, where she beat out glistening fine tapas, the white and glorious
clouds. When she stretches these cloud sheets out to dry, she places
stones along the edges, so that the fierce winds of the heavens shall
not blow them away. When she throws these stones aside, the skies
reverberate with thunder. When she rolls her cloud sheets of tapa
together, the folds glisten with flashes of light and lightning leaps
from sheet to sheet.

The Hina of Hilo was grieved as she toiled because after she had pounded
the sheets out so thin that they were ready to be dried, she found it
almost impossible to secure the necessary aid of the sun in the drying
process. She would rise as soon as she could see and hasten to spread
out the tapa made the day before. But the sun always hurried so fast
that the sheets could not dry. He leaped from the ocean waters in the
earth, rushed across the heavens and plunged into the dark waters again
on the other side of the island before she could even turn her tapas so
that they might dry evenly. This legend of very short days is strange
because of its place not only among the myths of Hawaii but also because
it belongs to practically all the tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean.
In Tahiti the legends said that the sun rushed across the sky very
rapidly. The days were too short for fruits to ripen or for work to be
finished. In Samoa the "mats" made by Sina had no time to dry. The
ancestors of the Polynesians sometime somewhere must have been in the
region of short days and long nights. Hina found that her incantations
had no influence with the sun. She could not prevail upon him to go
slower and give her more time for the completion of her task. Then she
called on her powerful son, Maui-ki-i-ki-i, for aid.

Some of the legends of the Island Maui say that Hina dwelt by the sea
coast of that island near the high hill Kauwiki at the foot of the great
mountain Haleakala, House of the Sun, and that there, facing the
southern skies under the most favorable conditions for making tapa, she
found the days too short for the tapa to dry. At the present time the
Hawaiians point out a long, narrow stone not far from the surf and
almost below the caves in which the great queen Kaahumanu spent the
earliest days of her childhood. This stone is said to be the kua or
tapa board on which Hina pounded the bark for her cloth. Other legends
of that same island locate Hina's home on the northeast coast near

The Hilo legends, however, do not deem it necessary that Hina and Maui
should have their home across the wide channel which divides the Island
Hawaii from the Island Maui in order to wage war successfully with the
inconsiderate sun. Hina remained in her home by the Wailuku river,
sometimes resting in her cave under Rainbow Falls, and sometimes working
on the river bank, trusting her powerful son Maui to make the
swiftly-passing lord of day go more slowly.

Maui possessed many supernatural powers. He could assume the form of
birds or insects. He could call on the winds to do his will, or he
could, if he wished, traverse miles with a single stride. It is
interesting to note that the Hilo legends differ as to the way in which
Ma-ui the man passed over to Mau-i the island. One legend says that he
crossed the channel, miles wide, with a single step. Another says that
he launched his canoe and with a breath the god of the winds placed him
on the opposite coast, while another story says that Maui assumed the
form of a white chicken, which flew over the waters to Haleakala. Here
he took ropes made from the fibre of trees and vines and lassoed the sun
while it climbed the side of the mountain and entered the great crater
which hollows out the summit. The sun came through a large gap in the
eastern side of the crater, rushing along as rapidly as possible. Then
Maui threw his lassoes one after the other over the sun's legs (the rays
of light), holding him fast and breaking off some of them. With a magic
club Maui struck the face of the sun again and again. At last, wounded
and weary, and also limping on its broken legs, the sun promised Maui to
go slowly forevermore.

"La" among the Polynesians, like the word "Ra" among the Egyptians,
means "sun" or "day" or "sun-god"--and the mountain where the son of
Hina won his victory over the monster of the heavens has long borne the
name Hale-a-ka-la, or House of the Sun.

Hina of Hilo soon realized the wonderful deed which Maui had done. She
spread out her fine tapas with songs of joy and cheerily performed the
task which filled the hours of the day. The comfort of sunshine and
cooling winds came with great power into Hina's life, bringing to her
renewed joy and beauty.



There are two rivers of rushing, tumbling rapids and waterfalls in the
Hawaiian Islands, both bearing the name of Wailuku. One is on the Island
of Maui, flowing out of a deep gorge in the side of the extinct volcano
Iao. Yosemite-like precipices surround this majestically-walled crater.
The name Iao means "asking for clouds." The head of the crater-valley is
almost always covered with great masses of heavy rain clouds. Out of the
crater the massed waters rush in a swift-flowing stream of only four or
five miles, emptying into Kahului harbor. The other Wailuku river is on
the Island of Hawaii. The snows melt on the summits of the two great
mountains, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The water seeps through the porous
lava from the eastern slope of Mauna Loa and the southern slope of Mauna
Kea, meeting where the lava flows of centuries from each mountain have
piled up against each other. Through the fragments of these volcanic
battles the waters creep down the mountain side toward the sea.

[Illustration: Rainbow Falls, Hina's Home.]

At one place, a number of miles above the city of Hilo, the waters were
heard gurgling and splashing far below the surface. Water was needed for
the sugar plantations, which modern energy has established all along the
eastern coast of the large island. A tunnel was cut into the lava, the
underground stream was tapped--and an abundant supply of water secured
and sluiced down to the large plantations below. The head waters of the
Wailuku river gathered from the melting snow of the mountains found
these channels, which centered at last in the bed of a very ancient and
very interesting lava flow. Sometimes breaking forth in a large,
turbulent flood, the stream forces its way over and around the huge
blocks of lava which mark the course of the eruption of long ago.
Sometimes it courses in a tunnel left by the flowing lava and comes up
from below in a series of boiling pools. Then again it falls in majestic
sheets over high walls of worn precipices. Several large falls and some
very picturesque smaller cascades interspersed with rapids and natural
bridges give to this river a beauty peculiarly its own. The most weird
of all the rough places through which the Wailuku river flows is that
known as the basin of Rainbow Falls near Hilo. Here Hina, the moon
goddess of the Polynesians, lived in a great open cave, over which the
falls hung their misty, rainbow-tinted veil. Her son Maui, the mighty
demi-god of Polynesia, supposed by some writers to be the sun-god of the
Polynesians, had extensive lands along the northern bank of the river.
Here among his cultivated fields he had his home, from which he went
forth to accomplish the wonders attributed to him in the legends of the

Below the cave in which Hina dwelt the river fought its way through a
narrow gorge and then, in a series of many small falls, descended to the
little bay, where its waters mingled with the surf of the salt sea. Far
above the cave, in the bed of the river, dwelt Kuna. The district
through which that portion of the river runs bears to this day the name
"Wai-kuna" or "Kuna's river." When the writer was talking with the
natives concerning this part of the old legend, they said "Kuna is not a
Hawaiian word. It means something like a snake or a dragon, something we
do not have in these islands." This, they thought, made the connection
with the Hina legend valueless until they were shown that Tuna (or kuna)
was the New Zealand name of a reptile which attacked Hina and struck her
with his tail like a crocodile, for which Maui killed him. When this was
understood, the Hawaiians were greatly interested to give the remainder
of this legend and compare it with the New Zealand story. In New Zealand
there are several statements concerning Tuna's dwelling place. He is
sometimes represented as coming from a pool to attack Hina and sometimes
from a distant stream, and sometimes from the river by which Hina dwelt.
The Hawaiians told of the annoyances which Hina endured from Kuna while
he lived above her home in the Wailuku. He would stop up the river and
fill it with dirt as when the freshets brought down the debris of the
storms from the mountain sides. He would throw logs and rolling stones
into the stream that they might be carried over the falls and drive Hina
from her cave. He had sought Hina in many ways and had been repulsed
again and again until at last hatred took the place of all more kindly
feelings and he determined to destroy the divine chiefess.

Hina was frequently left with but little protection, and yet from her
home in the cave feared nothing that Kuna could do. Precipices guarded
the cave on either side, and any approach of an enemy through the
falling water could be easily thwarted. So her chants rang out through
the river valley even while floods swirled around her, and Kuna's
missiles were falling over the rocky bed of the stream toward her. Kuna
became very angry and, uttering great curses and calling upon all his
magic forces to aid him, caught a great stone and at night hurled it
into the gorge of the river below Hina's home, filling the river bed
from bank to bank. "Ah, Hina! Now is the danger, for the river rises.
The water cannot flow away. Awake! Awake!"

Hina is not aware of this evil which is so near. The water rises and
rises, higher and higher. "Auwe! Auwe! Alas, alas, Hina must perish!"
The water entered the opening of the cave and began to creep along the
floor. Hina cannot fly, except into the very arms of her great enemy,
who is waiting to destroy her. Then Hina called for Maui. Again and
again her voice went out from the cave. It pierced through the storms
and the clouds which attended Kuna's attack upon her. It swept along the
side of the great mountain. It crossed the channel between the islands
of Hawaii and Maui. Its anguish smote the side of the great mountain
Haleakala, where Maui had been throwing his lassoes around the sun and
compelling him to go more slowly. When Maui heard Hina's cry for help
echoing from cliff to cliff and through the ravines, he leaped at once
to rush to her assistance.

Some say that Hina, the goddess, had a cloud servant, the "ao-opua," the
"warning cloud," which rose swiftly above the falls when Hina cried for
aid and then, assuming a peculiar shape, stood high above the hills that
Maui might see it. Down the mountain he leaped to his magic canoe.
Pushing it into the sea with two mighty strokes of his paddle he crossed
the sea to the mouth of the Wailuku river. Here even to the present day
lies a long double rock, surrounded by the waters of the bay, which
the natives call Ka waa o Maui, "The canoe of Maui." It represents to
Hawaiian thought the magic canoe with which Maui always sailed over the
ocean more swiftly than any winds could carry him. Leaving his canoe,
Maui seized the magic club with which he had conquered the sun after
lassoing him, and rushed along the dry bed of the river to the place of
danger. Swinging the club swiftly around his head, he struck the dam
holding back the water of the rapidly-rising river.

[Illustration: Wailuku River, the Home of Kuna.]

"Ah! Nothing can withstand the magic club. The bank around one end of
the dam gives way. The imprisoned waters leap into the new channel. Safe
is Hina the goddess."

Kuna heard the crash of the club against the stones of the river bank
and fled up the river to his home in the hidden caves by the pools in
the river bed. Maui rushed up the river to punish Kuna-mo-o for the
trouble he had caused Hina. When he came to the place where the dragon
was hidden under deep waters, he took his magic spear and thrust it
through the dirt and lava rocks along one side of the river, making a
long hole, through which the waters rushed, revealing Kuna-mo-o's hiding
place. This place of the spear thrust is known among the Hawaiians as Ka
puka a Maui, "the door made by Maui." It is also known as "The natural
bridge of the Wailuku river."

Kuna-mo-o fled to his different hiding places, but Maui broke up the
river bed and drove the dragon out from every one, following him from
place to place as he fled down the river. Apparently this is a legendary
account of earthquakes. At last Kuna-mo-o found what seemed to be a safe
hiding place in a series of deep pools, but Maui poured a lava flow into
the river. He threw red-hot burning stones into the water until the
pools were boiling and the steam was rising in clouds. Kuna uttered
incantation after incantation, but the water scalded and burned him.
Dragon as he was, his hard, tough skin was of no avail. The pain was
becoming unbearable. With cries to his gods he leaped from the pools and
fled down the river. The waters of the pools are no longer scalding, but
they have never lost the tumbling, tossing, foaming, boiling swirl which
Maui gave to them when he threw into them the red-hot stones with which
he hoped to destroy Kuna, and they are known today as "The Boiling

Some versions of the legend say that Maui poured boiling water in the
river and sent it in swift pursuit of Kuna, driving him from point to
point and scalding his life out of him. Others say that Maui chased the
dragon, striking him again and again with his consecrated weapons,
following Kuna down from falls to falls until he came to the place where
Hina dwelt. Then, feeling that there was little use in flight, Kuna
battled with Maui. His struggles were of no avail. He was forced over
the falls into the stream below. Hina and her women encouraged Maui by
their chants and strengthened him by the most powerful incantations with
which they were acquainted. Great was their joy when they beheld Kuna's
ponderous body hurled over the falls. Eagerly they watched the dragon as
the swift waters swept him against the dam with which he had hoped to
destroy Hina; and when the whirling waves caught him and dashed him
through the new channel made by Maui's magic club, they rejoiced and
sang the praise of the mighty warrior who had saved them. Maui had
rushed along the bank of the river with tremendous strides overtaking
the dragon as he was rolled over and over among the small waterfalls
near the mouth of the river. Here Maui again attacked Kuna, at last
beating the life out of his body. "Moo-Kuna" was the name given by the
Hawaiians to the dragon. "Moo" means anything in lizard shape, but Kuna
was unlike any lizard known in the Hawaiian Islands. Moo Kuna is the
name sometimes given to a long black stone lying like an island in the
waters between the small falls of the river. As one who calls attention
to this legendary black stone says: "As if he were not dead enough
already, every big freshet in the stream beats him and pounds him and
drowns him over and over as he would have drowned Hina." A New Zealand
legend relates a conflict of incantations, somewhat like the filling in
of the Wailuku river by Kuna, and the cleaving of a new channel by Maui
with the different use of means. In New Zealand the river is closed by
the use of powerful incantations and charms and reopened by the use of
those more powerful.

In the Hervey Islands, Tuna, the god of eels, loved Ina (Hina) and
finally died for her, giving his head to be buried. From this head
sprang two cocoanut trees, bearing fruit marked with Tuna's eyes and

In Samoa the battle was between an owl and a serpent. The owl conquered
by calling in the aid of a friend.

This story of Hina apparently goes far back in the traditions of
Polynesians, even to their ancient home in Hawaiki, from which it was
taken by one branch of the family to New Zealand and by another to the
Hawaiian Islands and other groups in the Pacific Ocean. The dragon may
even be a remembrance of the days when the Polynesians were supposed to
dwell by the banks of the River Ganges in India, when crocodiles were
dangerous enemies and heroes saved families from their destructive



The legends about Hina and her famous son Maui and her less widely known
daughters are common property among the natives of the beautiful little
city of Hilo. One of these legends of more than ordinary interest finds
its location in the three small hills back of Hilo toward the mountains.

These hills are small craters connected with some ancient lava flow of
unusual violence. The eruption must have started far up on the slopes of
Mauna Loa. As it sped down toward the sea it met some obstruction which,
although overwhelmed, checked the flow and caused a great mass of
cinders and ashes to be thrown out until a large hill with a hollow
crater was built up, covering many acres of ground.

Soon the lava found another vent and then another obstruction and a
second and then a third hill were formed nearer the sea. These hills or
extinct craters bear the names Halai, Opeapea and Puu Honu. They are
not far from the Wailuku river, famous for its picturesque waterfalls
and also for the legends which are told along its banks. Here Maui had
his lands overlooking the steep bluffs. Here in a cave under the Rainbow
Falls was the home of Hina, the mother of Maui, according to the
Hawaiian stories. Other parts of the Pacific sometimes make Hina Maui's
wife, and sometimes a goddess from whom he descended. In the South Sea
legends Hina was thought to have married the moon. Her home was in the
skies, where she wove beautiful tapa cloths (the clouds), which were
bright and glistening, so that when she rolled them up flashes of light
(cloud lightning) could be seen on the earth. She laid heavy stones on
the corners of these tapas, but sometimes the stones rolled off and made
the thunder. Hina of the Rainbow Falls was a famous tapa maker whose
tapa was the cause of Maui's conflict with the sun.

Hina had several daughters, four of whose names are given: Hina Ke Ahi,
Hina Ke Kai, Hina Mahuia, and Hina Kuluua. Each name marked the peculiar
"mana" or divine gift which Hina, the mother, had bestowed upon her

Hina Ke Ahi meant the Hina who had control of fire. This name is
sometimes given to Hina the mother. Hina Ke Kai was the daughter who had
power over the sea. She was said to have been in a canoe with her
brother Maui when he fished up Cocoanut Island, his line breaking
before he could pull it up to the mainland and make it fast. Hina Kuluua
was the mistress over the forces of rain. The winds and the storms were
supposed to obey her will. Hina Mahuia is peculiarly a name connected
with the legends of the other island groups of the Pacific. Mahuia or
Mafuie was a god or goddess of fire all through Polynesia.

The legend of the Hilo hills pertains especially to Hina Ke Ahi and Hina
Kuluua. Hina the mother gave the hill Halai to Hina Ke Ahi and the hill
Puu Honu to Hina Kuluua for their families and dependents.

The hills were of rich soil and there was much rain. Therefore, for a
long time, the two daughters had plenty of food for themselves and their
people, but at last the days were like fire and the sky had no rain in
it. The taro planted on the hillsides died. The bananas and sugar cane
and sweet potatoes withered and the fruit on the trees was blasted. The
people were faint because of hunger, and the shadow of death was over
the land. Hina Ke Ahi pitied her suffering friends and determined to
provide food for them. Slowly her people labored at her command. Over
they went to the banks of the river course, which was only the bed of an
ancient lava stream, over which no water was flowing; the famished
laborers toiled, gathering and carrying back whatever wood they could
find, then up the mountain side to the great koa and ohia forests,
gathering their burdens of fuel according to the wishes of their

Their sorcerers planted charms along the way and uttered incantations to
ward off the danger of failure. The priests offered sacrifices and
prayers for the safe and successful return of the burden-bearers. After
many days the great quantity of wood desired by the goddess was piled up
by the side of the Halai Hill.

Then came the days of digging out the hill and making a great imu or
cooking oven and preparing it with stones and wood. Large quantities of
wood were thrown into the place. Stones best fitted for retaining heat
were gathered and the fires kindled. When the stones were hot, Hina Ke
Ahi directed the people to arrange the imu in its proper order for
cooking the materials for a great feast. A place was made for sweet
potatoes, another for taro, another for pigs and another for dogs. All
the form of preparing the food for cooking was passed through, but no
real food was laid on the stones. Then Hina told them to make a place in
the imu for a human sacrifice. Probably out of every imu of the long ago
a small part of the food was offered to the gods, and there may have
been a special place in the imu for that part of the food to be cooked.
At any rate Hina had this oven so built that the people understood that
a remarkable sacrifice would be offered in it to the gods, who for some
reason had sent the famine upon the people.

Human sacrifices were frequently offered by the Hawaiians even after the
days of the coming of Captain Cook. A dead body was supposed to be
acceptable to the gods when a chief's house was built, when a chief's
new canoe was to be made or when temple walls were to be erected or
victories celebrated. The bodies of the people belonged to the will of
the chief. Therefore it was in quiet despair that the workmen obeyed
Hina Ke Ahi and prepared the place for sacrifice. It might mean their
own holocaust as an offering to the gods. At last Hina Ke Ahi bade the
laborers cease their work and stand by the side of the oven ready to
cover it with the dirt which had been thrown out and piled up by the
side. The people stood by, not knowing upon whom the blow might fall.

But Hina Ke Ahi was "Hina the kind," and although she stood before them
robed in royal majesty and power, still her face was full of pity and
love. Her voice melted the hearts of her retainers as she bade them
carefully follow her directions.

"O my people. Where are you? Will you obey and do as I command? This imu
is my imu. I shall lie down on its bed of burning stones. I shall sleep
under its cover. But deeply cover me or I may perish. Quickly throw the
dirt over my body. Fear not the fire. Watch for three days. A woman
will stand by the imu. Obey her will."

Hina Ke Ahi was very beautiful, and her eyes flashed light like fire as
she stepped into the great pit and lay down on the burning stones. A
great smoke arose and gathered over the imu. The men toiled rapidly,
placing the imu mats over their chiefess and throwing the dirt back into
the oven until it was all thoroughly covered and the smoke was quenched.

Then they waited for the strange, mysterious thing which must follow the
sacrifice of this divine chiefess.

Halai hill trembled and earthquakes shook the land round about. The
great heat of the fire in the imu withered the little life which was
still left from the famine. Meanwhile Hina Ke Ahi was carrying out her
plan for securing aid for her people. She could not be injured by the
heat for she was a goddess of fire. The waves of heat raged around her
as she sank down through the stones of the imu into the underground
paths which belonged to the spirit world. The legend says that Hina made
her appearance in the form of a gushing stream of water which would
always supply the want of her adherents. The second day passed. Hina was
still journeying underground, but this time she came to the surface as a
pool named Moe Waa (canoe sleep) much nearer the sea. The third day came
and Hina caused a great spring of sweet water to burst forth from the
sea shore in the very path of the ocean surf. This received the name
Auauwai. Here Hina washed away all traces of her journey through the
depths. This was the last of the series of earthquakes and the
appearance of new water springs. The people waited, feeling that some
more wonderful event must follow the remarkable experiences of the three
days. Soon a woman stood by the imu, who commanded the laborers to dig
away the dirt and remove the mats. When this was done, the hungry people
found a very great abundance of food, enough to supply their want until
the food plants should have time to ripen and the days of the famine
should be over.

The joy of the people was great when they knew that their chiefess had
escaped death and would still dwell among them in comfort. Many were the
songs sung and stories told about the great famine and the success of
the goddess of fire.

The second sister, Hina Kuluua, the goddess of rain, was always very
jealous of her beautiful sister Hina Ke Ahi, and many times sent rain to
put out fires which her sister tried to kindle. Hina Ke Ahi could not
stand the rain and so fled with her people to a home by the seaside.

Hina Kuluua (or Hina Kuliua as she was sometimes known among the
Hawaiians) could control rain and storms, but for some reason failed to
provide a food supply for her people, and the famine wrought havoc
among them. She thought of the stories told and songs sung about her
sister and wished for the same honor for herself. She commanded her
people to make a great imu for her in the hill Puu Honu. She knew that a
strange power belonged to her and yet, blinded by jealousy, forgot that
rain and fire could not work together. She planned to furnish a great
supply of food for her people in the same way in which her sister had

The oven was dug. Stones and wood were collected and the same ghostly
array of potatoes, taro, pig and dog prepared as had been done before by
her sister.

The kahunas or priests knew that Hina Kuluua was going out of her
province in trying to do as her sister had done, but there was no use in
attempting to change her plans. Jealousy is self-willed and obstinate
and no amount of reasoning from her dependents could have any influence
over her.

The ordinary incantations were observed, and Hina Kuluua gave the same
directions as those her sister had given. The imu was to be well heated.
The make-believe food was to be put in and a place left for her body. It
was the goddess of rain making ready to lie down on a bed prepared for
the goddess of fire. When all was ready, she lay down on the heated
stones and the oven mats were thrown over her and the ghostly
provisions. Then the covering of dirt was thrown back upon the mats and
heated stones, filling the pit which had been dug. The goddess of
rain was left to prepare a feast for her people as the goddess of fire
had done for her followers.

[Illustration: On Lava Beds.]

Some of the legends have introduced the demi-god Maui into this story.
The natives say that Maui came to "burn" or "cook the rain" and that he
made the oven very hot, but that the goddess of rain escaped and hung
over the hill in the form of a cloud. At least this is what the people
saw--not a cloud of smoke over the imu, but a rain cloud. They waited
and watched for such evidences of underground labor as attended the
passage of Hina Ke Ahi through the earth from the hill to the sea, but
the only strange appearance was the dark rain cloud. They waited three
days and looked for their chiefess to come in the form of a woman. They
waited another day and still another and no signs or wonders were
manifest. Meanwhile Maui, changing himself into a white bird, flew up
into the sky to catch the ghost of the goddess of rain which had escaped
from the burning oven. Having caught this spirit, he rolled it in some
kapa cloth which he kept for food to be placed in an oven and carried it
to a place in the forest on the mountain side where again the attempt
was made to "burn the rain," but a great drop escaped and sped upward
into the sky. Again Maui caught the ghost of the goddess and carried it
to a pali or precipice below the great volcano Kilauea, where he again
tried to destroy it in the heat of a great lava oven, but this time the
spirit escaped and found a safe refuge among kukui trees on the mountain
side, from which she sometimes rises in clouds which the natives say are
the sure sign of rain.

Whether this Maui legend has any real connection with the two Hinas and
the famine we do not surely know. The legend ordinarily told among the
Hawaiians says that after five days had passed the retainers decided on
their own responsibility to open the imu. No woman had appeared to give
them directions. Nothing but a mysterious rain cloud over the hill. In
doubt and fear, the dirt was thrown off and the mats removed. Nothing
was found but the ashes of Hina Kuluua. There was no food for her
followers and the goddess had lost all power of appearing as a chiefess.
Her bitter and thoughtless jealousy brought destruction upon herself and
her people. The ghosts of Hina Ke Ahi and Hina Kuluua sometimes draw
near to the old hills in the form of the fire of flowing lava or clouds
of rain while the old men and women tell the story of the Hinas, the
sisters of Maui, who were laid upon the burning stones of the imus of a



The Wailuku river has by its banks far up the mountain side some of the
most ancient of the various interesting picture rocks of the Hawaiian
Islands. The origin of the Hawaiian picture writing is a problem still
unsolved, but the picture rocks of the Wailuku river are called "na kii
o Maui," "the Maui pictures." Their antiquity is beyond question.

The most prominent figure cut in these rocks is that of the crescent
moon. The Hawaiian legends do not attempt any direct explanation of the
meaning of this picture writing. The traditions of the Polynesians both
concerning Hina and Maui look to Hina as the moon goddess of their
ancestors, and in some measure the Hawaiian stories confirm the
traditions of the other island groups of the Pacific.

Fornander, in his history of the Polynesian race, gives the Hawaiian
story of Hina's ascent to the moon, but applies it to a Hina the wife
of a chief called Aikanaka rather than to the Hina of Hilo, the wife of
Akalana, the father of Maui. However, Fornander evidently found some
difficulty in determining the status of the one to whom he refers the
legend, for he calls her "the mysterious wife of Aikanaka." In some of
the Hawaiian legends Hina, the mother of Maui, lived on the southeast
coast of the Island Maui at the foot of a hill famous in Hawaiian story
as Kauiki. Fornander says that this "mysterious wife" of Aikanaka bore
her children Puna and Huna, the latter a noted sea-rover among the
Polynesians, at the foot of this hill Kauiki. It can very easily be
supposed that a legend of the Hina connected with the demi-god Maui
might be given during the course of centuries to the other Hina, the
mother of Huna. The application of the legend would make no difference
to anyone were it not for the fact that the story of Hina and her ascent
to the moon has been handed down in different forms among the traditions
of Samoa, New Zealand, Tonga, Hervey Islands, Fate Islands, Nauru and
other Pacific island groups. The Polynesian name of the moon, Mahina or
Masina, is derived from Hina, the goddess mother of Maui. It is even
possible to trace the name back to "Sin," the moon god of the Assyrians.

The moon goddess of Ponape was Ina-maram. (Hawaiian Hina-malamalama),
"Hina giving light."

In the Paumotan Islands an eclipse of the sun is called Higa-higa-hana
(Hina-hiua-hana), "The act (hana) of Hina--the moon."

In New Zealand moonless nights were called "Dark Hina."

In Tahiti it is said there was war among the gods. They cursed the
stars. Hina saved them, although they lost a little light. Then they
cursed the sea, but Hina preserved the tides. They cursed the rivers,
but Hina saved the springs--the moving waters inland, like the tides in
the ocean.

The Hawaiians say that Hina and her maidens pounded out the softest,
finest kapa cloth on the long, thick kapa board at the foot of Kauiki.
Incessantly the restless sea dashed its spray over the picturesque
groups of splintered lava rocks which form the Kauiki headland. Here
above the reach of the surf still lies the long, black stone into which
the legends say Hina's kapa board was changed. Here Hina took the leaves
of the hala tree and, after the manner of the Hawaiian women of the ages
past, braided mats for the household to sleep upon, and from the nuts of
the kukui trees fashioned the torches which were burned around the homes
of those of high chief rank.

At last she became weary of her work among mortals. Her family had
become more and more troublesome. It was said that her sons were unruly
and her husband lazy and shiftless. She looked into the heavens and
determined to flee up the pathway of her rainbow through the clouds.

The Sun was very bright and Hina said, "I will go to the Sun." So she
left her home very early in the morning and climbed up, higher, higher,
until the heat of the rays of the sun beat strongly upon her and
weakened her so that she could scarcely crawl along her beautiful path.
Up a little higher and the clouds no longer gave her even the least
shadow. The heat from the sun was so great that she began to feel the
fire shriveling and torturing her. Quickly she slipped down into the
storms around her rainbow and then back to earth. As the day passed her
strength came back, and when the full moon rose through the shadows of
the night she said, "I will climb to the moon and there find rest."

But when Hina began to go upward her husband saw her and called to her:
"Do not go into the heavens." She answered him: "My mind is fixed; I
will go to my new husband, the moon." And she climbed up higher and
higher. Her husband ran toward her. She was almost out of reach, but he
leaped and caught her foot. This did not deter Hina from her purpose.
She shook off her husband, but as he fell he broke her leg so that the
lower part came off in his hands. Hina went up through the stars, crying
out the strongest incantations she could use. The powers of the night
aided her. The mysterious hands of darkness lifted her, until she stood
at the door of the moon. She had packed her calabash with her most
priceless possessions and had carried it with her even when injured by
her cruel husband. With her calabash she limped into the moon and found
her abiding home. When the moon is full, the Hawaiians of the long ago,
aye and even today, look into the quiet, silvery light and see the
goddess in her celestial home, her calabash by her side.

The natives call her now Lono-moku, "the crippled Lono." From this watch
tower in the heavens she pointed out to Kahai, one of her descendents,
the way to rise up into the skies. The ancient chant thus describes his

  "The rainbow is the path of Kahai.
  Kahai rose. Kahai bestirred himself.
  Kahai passed on the floating cloud of Kane.
  Perplexed were the eyes of Alihi.
  Kahai passed on on the glancing light.
  The glancing light on men and canoes.
  Above was Hanaiakamalama." (Hina).

Thus under the care of his ancestress Hina, Kahai, the great sea-rover,
made his ascent in quest of adventures among the immortals.

In the Tongan Islands the legends say that Hina remains in the moon
watching over the "fire-walkers" as their great protecting goddess.

The Hervey Island traditions say that the Moon (Marama) had often seen
Hina and admired her, and at last had come down and caught her up to
live with himself. The moonlight in its glory is called Ina-motea, "the
brightness of Ina."

The story as told on Atiu Island (one of the Society group) is that Hina
took her human husband with her to the moon, where they dwelt happily
for a time, but as he grew old she prepared a rainbow, down which he
descended to the earth to die, leaving Hina forevermore as "the woman in
the moon." The Savage Islanders worshiped the spirits of their
ancestors, saying that many of them went up to the land of Sina, the
always bright land in the skies. To the natives of Niue Island, Hina has
been the goddess ruling over all tapa making. They say that her home is
"Motu a Hina," "the island of Hina," the home of the dead in the skies.

The Samoans said that the Moon received Hina and a child, and also her
tapa board and mallet and material for the manufacture of tapa cloth.
Therefore, when the moon is shining in full splendor, they shade their
eyes and look for the goddess and the tools with which she fashions the
tapa clouds in the heavens.

The New Zealand legend says that the woman went after water in the
night. As she passed down the path to the spring the bright light of the
full moon made the way easy for her quick footsteps, but when she had
filled her calabash and started homeward, suddenly the bright light was
hidden by a passing cloud and she stumbled against a stone in the path
and fell to the ground, spilling the water she was carrying. Then she
became very angry and cursed the moon heartily. Then the moon became
angry and swiftly swept down upon her from the skies, grasping her and
lifting her up. In her terrible fight she caught a small tree with one
hand and her calabash with the other. But oh! the strong moon pulled her
up with the tree and the calabash and there in the full moon they can
all be traced when the nights are clear.

Pleasant or Nauru Island, in which a missionary from Central Union
Church, Honolulu, is laboring, tells the story of Gigu, a beautiful
young woman, who has many of the experiences of Hina. She opened the
eyes of the Mother of the Moon as Hina, in some of the Polynesian
legends, is represented to have opened the eyes of one of the great
goddesses, and in reward is married to Maraman, the Moon, with whom she
lives ever after, and in whose embrace she can always be seen when the
moon is full. Gigu is Hina under another and more guttural form of
speech. Maraman is the same as Malama, one of the Polynesian names for
the moon.



  Akea or Atea, see Wakea, 41

  Akalana, or Ataranga, 3, 4, 166

  Alae birds, 12, 18, 27, 62, 65, 120, 123

  Alae-Huapi, 120

  Alae-nui-a-Hina, 123

  Ao-tea-roa, 23, 93, 106, 108, 128, 137

  Aumakuas, 26

  Ava-iki, or Hawa-i-ki, 5, 37, 41, 52, 72, 137

  Awa, 8

  Axe, stone, 93, 94

  Bailing dish, 123

  Bananas, 45, 64

  Banyan, 56, 71

  Barbs, spears, 79, 101

  Birds, 85, 110, 112, 135, 144

  Bird-machine, 125

  Birds, painted, 85, 112

  Black rock, 32, 48

  Boiling pots, 100, 152

  Bones, fish hooks, 15, 83

  Brittany, 57

  Bua-Tarana-ga, 5

  Cain and Abel, 89

  Calabash, 19, 31, 84, 115

  Cannibalism, 91, 93

  Canoe, Maui's, 28, 118, 150

  Cats-cradle, 86

  Cloud, Maui's-ao-opua, 150

  Coco-nut Island, 19, 26

  Cook, Captain, 7

  Cooking the rain, 163

  Coral, 29

  Creation, 4, 80, 86

  Crocodile, 148

  Death, 25, 38, 67, 82, 137, 170

  Death chant, 138

  Dog, 80, 102

  Dragon, 97, 148, 153

  Earth twisted, 12, 15

  Eclipse, 42, 158

  Eel, 7, 33, 83, 94, 130

  Eel baskets, 79, 102

  Eight-eyed, 83, 124

  Ellis, William, 84

  Egypt, 44

  Evolution, 85, 103, 109, 132

  Fairies, 113

    Australia, 59
    Bowditch Islands, 76
    Chatham Islands, 75
    De Peysters Islands, 59
    Hawaii, 61, 120
    Hervey Islands, 67, 70
    Indians, 57
    New Zealand, 67, 74, 88
    Peruvians, 59
    Samoa, 67, 70
    Savage Islands, 67, 72
    Society Islands, 66, 72
    Tartary, 59
    Tokelau Island, 67

  First man, 89

  Fishing up islands--
    Hawaii, 14, 18, 26
    Hervey Islands, 26
    New Hebrides, 25
    New Zealand, 19, 88
    Samoa, 24
    Tonga, 24, 28

  Fish hooks, 12, 15, 20, 26, 81, 118

  Fish nets, 81

  Flood, 25

  Flying machine, 125

  Forbes, Rev. A. O., 42

  Fornander, A., 83

  Ganges, 154

  Gilbert Islands, 34, 60

  Gill, W. W., 36

  Gray, Sir George, 7, 20, 23, 49, 101, 110

  Green stone, 110, 134

  Guardian of under-world, 4, 5, 17, 70

  Hades, 129

  Halai hills, 64, 155

  Hale-a-ka-la, 7, 13, 32, 43, 62, 143

  Hale-a-o-a, 76

  Hau tree, 102

  Hau spirit, Preface

  Haumia-Tiki-Tiki, 34

  Hawa-iki, 5, 35, 37, 137, 154

  Hawaii-loa, 29

  Hawke's bay, 28

  Hele-a-ka-la, 122

  Hercules, 53, 112

  Hervey Islands, 4, 5, 10

  Hide-and-seek, 10

  Hilo, 7, 19, 26, 64, 129, 147, 155

  Hina, 5, 7, 10, 12, 18, 45, 61, 64, 121, 139

  Hina-a-ke-ahi, 3, 27, 157

  Hina-a-ke-ka, 123

  Hina-a-te-lepo, 91

  Hina-Kulu-ua, 157, 161

  Hina-uri, 101

  Hine-nui-te-po, 23, 123, 133

  Hina's daughters, 156

  Horizon or heaven, 107

  Human sacrifices, 159

  Hump-back, 125

  Huna, 166

  Iao, 43

  Ie-ie, fiber, 125

  Iiwi, 113

  Ika-o-Maui, 23

  Ili-ahi, 66

  Immortality, Maui, 128

  Imu, oven, 159

  Ina, see Hina, 5, 66, 142

  India, 154

  Indians, fire-finding, 57

  Indians, snaring sun, 54

  Ira Waru, 101

  Kaahumanu, 143

  Ka-alae-huapi, 120

  Kahai chant, 169

  Ka-iwi-o-Pele, 18

  Kalakaua, 8

  Kalana-Kalanga, see Akalana, 3, 4, 60

  Kalau-hele-moa, 45

  Kamapuaa, 83

  Kanaloa, 5, 24, 29, 120

  Kane, 35, 119, 135

  Kane's cave, 119

  Kauai, 26

  Kauiki, or Kauwiki, 7, 12, 26, 143, 168

  Kaula Island, 26

  Kipahula, 18

  Ki-i-ki-i, 6, 32, 143

  Kite-flying, 87, 112, 128

  Ko, spade, 94

  Kohala, 28

  Koolau, 44

  Ku, 5

  Kualii, 12

  Kuna, see Tuna, 7, 99

  Ku-olo--Kele, 125

  Ku-ula, fish god, 140

  La, or Ra, 5, 44

  Langi, Lani, 34

  Lahaina, 32

  Lasso, 47, 51, 80, 144

  Lifting the sky--
    Ellice Islands, 33
    Gilbert Islands, 34
    Hawaii, 31
    Hervey Islands, 36
    Manahiki, 35
    New Zealand, 34
    Samoa, 32

  Liliuokalani chants, 3, 8, 17, 27, 40

  Long Eel, 92

  Lono, 34

  Ma-eli-eli hill, 120

  Magic fish hook, 82

  Mahui, Mahuika, Mafuia, 5, 60, 68, 73, 132

  Mahina, or Masina, 166

  Mamo bird, 114

  Manahiki Islands, 24, 80

  Maori, 28, 34

  Marama, or Malama, 166, 171

  Marshall Islands, 60

  Maru, 89

  Mauna Kea, 13

  Maui Akalana--
    Akamai, 78, 82
    baptized, 10, 133
    birth, 6
    bird or insect, 9, 10, 20, 24, 71, 114, 144
    brothers, 3, 6, 14, 22, 24, 78, 107
    canoes, 28
    children, 82, 93, 137
    creation, 4, 80
    death, 25, 26
    Hawaii, 130
    Hervey Islands, 131
    New Zealand, 137
    Samoa, 131
    eight-eyed, 83
    footprints, 25, 33
    god or demi-god, 4, 148
    home, 4, 7, 10, 31, 119
    hook, 12, 15, 19, 26, 28
    of the malo, Preface
    prophet, 84
    sister, 6
    the swift, 64, 117, 121
    uncles, 8

  Maui-Mua, or Rupe, 106, 125

  Maui Hope, 124

  Maui Waena, 3, 124

  Mercury, 11

  Moemoe, 48

  Mo-o, 41, 97, 99

  Moon, 41, 89, 134

  Moon, Hina the goddess, 147, 156, 165

  Motu, or Mokua Hina, 170

  Mudhen, 120

  Muri, 48, 50

  Nauru Islands, 171

  New Heavens, 107

  New Hebrides Islands, 25

  New Zealand, 4, 5, 7, 9

  Niu Islands, 33

  Oahu legends--
    Maui and the two gods, 119
    How they found fire, 120
    Maui catching the sun, 122
    Uniting the islands, 123
    Maui and Pea-pea, 124

  Obsidian, 109, 134

  Ohia trees, 80

  Olona, 81, 114, 117

  O-o, spade, 94

  O-o, bird, 114

  Paoa, 29

  Papa, 34

  Payton, 25

  Pea-pea, the eight-eyed, 124

  Pearl Harbor, 123

  Peruvians, 59

  Pictographs, 165

  Pigeon, 9

  Pimoe, 18

  Pohakunui, 64

  Prometheus, 57

  Puka-a-Maui, 151

  Pumice stone, 38

  Puna, 166

  Puu-o-hulu, 119, 123

  Ra or La, sun-god, 5, 44

  Rainbow Falls, 8, 26, 99, 147

  Raro Tonga, 6, 24

  Roko, 97

  Rongo, 34

  Ru, 5, 35

  Rupe, Maui-mua, 106, 125

  Samoa, 5, 24, 29

  Sandalwood, 66

  Savage Islands, 74

  Savaii, 29, 129

  Scorpion, 26

  Serpent, 33

  Sharks, 18, 123

  Short days, 143

  Sina, see Hina, 96, 143, 166, 171

  Snaring the sun--
    Fiji, 54
    Hawaii, 42, 122, 144
    Hervey Islands, 52
    Indians, 54
    New Zealand, 48
    Samoa, 143
    Society Islands, 41, 50, 53, 143
    Tonga, 40

  Snow, 89

  Society Islands, 5

  Spears, 81

  Spirits, islands of, 129

  Stone implements, 86, 93, 110

  Sun, created, 41

  Supporter of the Heavens, 37

  Tabu, 102, 126

  Tahiti, 76, 86

  Talanga or Kalana, 5, 68

  Tane, see Kane, 35

  Tangaroa or Kanaloa, 6, 24, 25, 34, 66

  Tapa, 11, 13, 42, 62, 116, 119, 122, 141

  Taro, 121

  Tattooing, 80, 104, 136

  Tawhiri, 35

  Te-ika-o-Maui, 23

  Ti leaves, 125

           }      Kii-Kii, 6, 25, 32, 34, 60, 68

  Tini-rau, 106, 108

  Tokelau Island, 67

  Tonga, 28, 40, 89, 129

  Tonga-iti, 41

  Tracey Islands, 33

  Tu or Ku, 35

  Tuna or Kuna, 91
    Fiji, 91
    Hawaii, 99, 148
    Hervey Islands, 154
    New Zealand, 92
    Samoa, 96

  Turner, 24

  Ulua, 12, 18

  Under-world, 4, 9, 15, 51, 68, 129

  Uniting the islands, 123

  Upolu, 25

  Vatea, or Wakea, 41

  Vatupu Islands, 33

  Waianae, 65, 119

  Waikuna, 100, 148

  Wailuku, 7, 26, 80, 140, 146

  Waipahu, 125

  Waipio, 115

  Wakea, Vatea, Atea, 4, 41

  Water of life, 134

  White, John, 87, 96, 101, 132

  Wife of Maui, 91, 124, 137, 156

  Wiliwili tree, 44

  Winds, 86, 115

  Woman in the Moon, 165

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Legends of Ma-ui—a demi god of Polynesia, and of his mother Hina" ***

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