Art. LXV.—Polynesian Folk-lore.
“Hina's Voyage to the Sacred Isle.”
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 8th September, 1886.]
In venturing to commence a paper on the subject of Polynesian Folk-lore from the comparative mythologist's point of view, I do so with great diffidence, as the field is so enormous as to extend itself beyond any mental vision. But in this vast area are mines so rich that some reward is sure to fall to the lot of the diligent worker, however clumsy he may be; and if he is not gifted with the ability to discover truth, he may assist in its elucidation by others. Those who have made it their pleasure and business to collect all the procurable myths and folk-tales of these islands, in a generation from which the knowledge is fast passing away, and dying with its elder men, have done an incalculable service to Science: for the student of a century hence, however earnestly he may seek to gather such traditions, will search in vain for stories, lost, (as the Maori proverb says) “like the losing of the moa;” and, moreover, could such tales be collected, they would be tainted with the suspicion of European influence. Enough has already been done to give us much instructive material to work upon; and I think that the direction to be taken first is to widen the field of Maori legend by lifting it above locality, and by showing that most of the New Zealand stories are not of New Zealand, the Tongan not of Tonga, the Samoan not of Samoa, etc., etc. For this purpose I will first take a fairly representative tradition, that of the “Voyage of Hina to the Sacred Island,”* leaving out those portions of the story which do not perceptibly bear in any way on the main body of the legend.
“Maui had a young sister named Hinauri, who was exceedingly beautiful; she married Irawaru. One day Maui and his brother-in-law went down to the sea to fish. Maui caught not a single fish with his hook, which had no barb to it, but as long as they went on fishing Maui observed that Irawaru continued
[Footnote] * “Polynesian Mythology,” Grey.
catching plenty of fish. So he thought to himself, ‘Well, how is this? How does that fellow catch so many whilst I cannot catch one?’ Just as he thought this, Irawaru had another bite, and up he pulls his line in haste, but it had got entangled with that of Maui, and Maui thinking he felt a fish pulling at his own line, drew it in quite delighted; but when he had hauled up a good deal of it, there were himself and his brother-in-law pulling in their lines in different directions, one drawing the line towards the bow of the canoe, the other towards the stern. Maui, who was already provoked at his own ill-luck, and the good luck of his brother-in-law, now called out quite angrily, ‘Come, let go my line, the fish is on my hook.’ But Irawaru answered, ‘No, it is not, it is on mine.’ Maui again called out very angrily, ‘Come, let go, I tell you it is on mine.’ Irawaru then slacked out his line, and let Maui pull in the fish; and as soon as he had hauled it into the canoe, Maui found that Irawaru was right, and that the fish was on his hook; when Irawaru saw this too, he called out, ‘Come now, let go my line and hook.’ Maui answered him, ‘Cannot you wait a minute, until I get the hook out of the fish.’
“As soon as he got the hook out of the fish's mouth, he looked at it, and saw that it was barbed; Maui, who was already exceedingly wrath with his brother-in-law, on observing this, thought he had no chance with his barbless hook of catching as many fish as his brother-in-law, so he said, ‘Don't you think we had better go on shore now?’ Irawaru answered, ‘Very well, let us return to the land again.’
“So they paddled back towards the land, and when they reached it, and were going to haul the canoe on the beach, Maui said to his brother-in-law, ‘Do you get under the outrigger of the canoe, and lift it up with your back.’ So he got under it, and as soon as he had done so Maui jumped on it, and pressed the whole weight of the canoe down upon him, and almost killed Irawaru. When he was on the point of death, Maui trampled on his body, and lengthened his backbone, and by his enchantments drew it out into the form of a tail, and he transformed Irawaru into a dog. As soon as he had done this, Maui went back to his place of abode, just as if nothing unusual had taken place; and his young sister, who was watching for the return of her husband, as soon as she saw Maui coming, ran to him and asked him, saying, ‘Maui, where is your brother-in-law?’ Maui answered, ‘I left him at the canoe.’ But his young sister said, ‘Why did not you both come home together?’ and Maui answered, ‘He desired me to tell you that he wanted you to go down to the beach to help him carry up the fish: you had better go, therefore; and if you do not see him, just call out; and if he does not answer you, why then call out in this way: Mo-i, mo-i, mo-i.’ Upon learning this, Hinauri hurried
down to the beach as fast as she could, and not seeing her husband, she went about calling out his name, but no answer was made to her; she then called out as Maui had told her, ‘Mo-i, mo-i, mo-i. ‘Then Irawaru, who was running about in the bushes near there in the form of a dog, at once recognised the voice of Hinauri, and answered, ‘Ao! ao! ao! ao-ao-o!’ howling like a dog, and he followed her back to the village, frisking along and wagging his tail with pleasure at seeing her; and from him sprang all dogs, so that he is regarded as their progenitor, and all New Zealanders still call their dogs to them by the words, ‘Moi, moi, moi.’
“Hinauri, when she saw that her husband had been changed into a dog, was quite distracted with grief, and wept bitterly the whole way as she went back to the village; and as soon as ever she got into her house she caught up an enchanted girdle which she had, and ran back to the sea with it, determined to destroy herself by throwing herself into the ocean, so that the dragons and monsters of the deep might devour her. When she reached the sea-shore, she sat down upon the rocks at the water's very edge; and as she sat there she first lamented aloud her cruel fate, and repeated an incantation, and then threw herself into the sea, and the tide swept her off from the shore…. For many months she floated through the sea, and was at last thrown up by the surf on the beach at a place named Wairarawa. She was there found, lying as if dead, upon the sandy shore, by two brothers named Ihuatamai and Ihuwareware. Her body was in many parts overgrown with seaweed and barnacles, from the length of time she had been in the water, but they could still see some traces of her beauty, and pitying the young girl, they lifted her up in their arms and carried her home to their house, and laid her down carefully by the side of a fire, and scraped off very gently the seaweed and barnacles from her body, and thus by degrees restored her. When she had quite recovered, Ihuatamai and Ihuwareware looked upon her with pleasure, and took her as a wife between them both. They then asked her to tell them who she was, and what was her name. This she did not disclose to them, but she changed her name and called herself Ihungarupaea, or the ‘Stranded-log-of-timber.’ After she had lived with these two brothers for a long time, Ihuwareware went to pay a visit to his superior chief, Tinirau, and to relate the adventures which had happened; and when Tinirau heard all that had taken place, he went to bring away the young stranger as a wife for himself, and she was given up to him; but, before she was so given to him, she had conceived a child by Ihuatamai, and when she went to live with Tinirau it was near the time when the child should be born.
“Tinirau took her home with him to his residence on an island called Motutapu: he had two other wives living there;
they were daughters of Mangamanga-i-Atua, and their names were Harataunga and Horotata. Now, when these two women saw the young stranger coming along in their husband's company, as if she was his wife, they could not endure it, and they abused Hinauri on account of her conduct with their husband; at last they proceeded so far as to attempt to strike her and to kill her, and they cursed her bitterly. When they treated her in this manner the heart of Hinauri became gloomy with grief and mortification, so she began to utter incantations against them, and repeated one so powerful that hardly had she finished it when the two women fell flat on the ground, with the soles of their feet projecting upwards, and lay quite dead upon the earth, and her husband was thus left free for her alone. All this time Hinauri was lost to her friends and home, and her younger brother, Mauimua, afterwards called Rupe, could do nothing but think of her; and excessive love for his sister, and sorrow at her departure so harassed him, that he said he could no longer remain at rest but that he must go and seek his sister.
“So he departed upon this undertaking, and visited every place he could think of without missing one of them, yet he could nowhere find his sister; at last Rupe thought he would ascend to the heavens to consult his great ancestor Rehua, who dwelt there at a place called Te Putahi-nui-o-Rehua, and in fulfilment of this design he began his ascent to the heavenly regions. Rupe continued his ascent, seeking everywhere hastily for Rehua; at last he reached a place where people were dwelling, and, when he saw them, he spoke to them, saying ‘Are the heavens above this inhabited?’ and the people dwelling there answered him, ‘They are inhabited.’ And he asked them, ‘Can I reach those heavens?’ and they replied, ‘You cannot reach them; the heavens above these are those the boundaries of which were fixed by Tane.’ But Rupe forced a way up through those heavens, and got above them, and found an inhabited place; and he asked the inhabitants of it, saying, “Are the heavens above these inhabited?’ and the people answered him, ‘They are inhabited.’ And he again asked, ‘Do you think I can reach them?’ and they replied, ‘No, you will not be able to reach them; those heavens were fixed there by Tane.’ Rupe, however, forced a way through those heavens too; and this he continued to do until he reached the tenth heaven, and there he found the abode of Rehua. When Rehua saw a stranger approaching, he went forward and gave him the usual welcome, lamenting over him: Rehua made his lamentation without knowing who the stranger was, but Rupe in his lament made use of prayers by which he enabled Rehua to guess who he was.
“When they had each ended his lamentation, Rehua called to his servants, ‘Light a fire, and get everything ready for
cooking food.’ The slaves soon made the fire burn up brightly, and brought hollow calabashes, all ready to have food placed in them, and laid them down before Rehua. All this time Rupe was wondering whence the food was to come from with which the calabashes which the slaves had brought were to be filled; but presently he observed that Rehua was slowly loosening the thick bands which enveloped his locks around and upon the top of his head; and when his long locks all floated loosely, he shook the dense masses of his hair, and forth from them came flying flocks of the tui birds, which had been nestling there; and as they flew forth, the slaves caught and killed them, and filled the calabashes with them, and took them to the fire, and put them on to cook; and when they were done, they carried them and laid them before Rupe as a present, and then placed them beside him that he might eat, and Rehua requested him to eat food; but Rupe answered him, ‘Nay, but I cannot eat this food; I saw these birds loosened and take wing from thy locks; who would dare to eat food that had rested in thy sacred head?”* For the reasons he thus stated, Rupe feared that man of ancient days; and the calabashes still stood near him untouched. At last Rupe ventured to ask Rehua, saying: ‘O! Rehua, has a confused murmur of voices from the world below reached you upon any subject regarding which I am interested?’ And Rehua answered him: ‘Yes; such a murmuring of distant voices has reached me from the Island of Motutapu, in the world below these.’ When Rupe heard this, he immediately, by his enchantments, changed himself into a pigeon, and took flight downwards towards the Island of Motutapu. On, on he flew, until he reached the island, and the dwelling of Tinirau; and then he alighted right upon the window-sill of his house. Some of Tinirau's people saw him, and exclaimed: ‘Ha! ha! there's a bird; there's a bird;’ whilst some called out, ‘Make haste, spear him; spear him.’ And one threw a spear at him; but he turned it aside with his bill, and it passed on one side of him and struck the piece of wood on which he was sitting, and the spear was broken. Then they saw it was no use to try to spear the bird; so they made a noose, and endeavoured to slip it gently over his head; but he turned his head on one side, and they found that they could not
[Footnote] * The meaning of the birds nestling in and flying from the hair of Rehua is apparently to be understood only by a word preserved in Hawaiian, but lost in Maori: rehua (lehua) being there the ancient name for a forest. We find in “The Chant of Kualii” (Tu-ariki) the following lines:—
“The younger children of the rain,
Are raining on the lehua (forest).”
[Footnote] And perhaps a sister allusion is made to the incident of the slaves catching birds in the hair of Rehua, in the lines:—
“The child catching birds—e—
Reaching up the bird-catching pole on Lehua.”
snare him. His young sister now suspected something; so she said to the people who were trying to kill or snare the bird: ‘Leave the bird quiet for a minute until I look at it.’ And when she had looked well at it she knew it was her brother; so she asked him, saying: ‘What is the cause which has made you thus come here?’ And the pigeon immediately began to open and shut its little bill, as if it was trying to speak. His young sister now called out to Tinirau: ‘Oh, husband; here is your brother-in-law.’ And her husband said in reply: ‘What is his name?’ and she answered, ‘It is my brother Rupe.’ It happened that upon this very day Hinauri's little child was born; then Rupe repeated this form of greeting to his sister, the name of which is ‘Toetoetu’:—
Hinauri is the sister,
And Rupe is her brother,
But how came he here?
Came he by travelling on the earth,
Or came he through the air?
Let your path be through the air.’
“As soon as Rupe had ceased his lamentation of welcome to his sister, she commenced hers, and answered him, saying:—
‘Rupe is the brother,
And Hina is his young sister,
But how came he here?
Came he by travelling on the earth,
Or came he through the air?
Let your path be now upwards through the air
“Hardly had his young sister finished repeating this poem before Rupe had caught her up with her new-born baby: in a moment they were gone.”
Thus far the New Zealand story. We will now turn to the sister legend, as told at Mangaia by the Rev. Mr. Gill.* The first reference we find is in the version related at that island concerning the myth of Maui catching the sun in ropes for the purpose of making him go slower, a story which is identical with the New Zealand tale. Here we find it mentioned that when Maui tried cocoanut fibre ropes for his snares they would not hold. He then cut off the hair of his lovely sister Ina-ika, and plaited it into a rope, which had the necessary strength. Here it will be noticed that Maui is called Hina's brother, as in the Maori story. The name “ika’ (fish) is explained by her further adventures. The Mangaian tradition is as follows:—
“The only daughter of Vaitoorunga and Ngaetua is Ina, whose brothers were Tangi-kuku and Rupe. The parents of
[Footnote] * “Myths and Songs.”
Ina were the wealthiest people in the land of Nukutere, boasting, as they did, of a rich breast ornament, abundance of finely braided hair, beautiful white shells worn on the arms, and, more precious than all these, a gorgeous head-dress, ornamented with scarlet and black feathers, with a frontlet of berries of the brightest red. Early one morning the parents for the first time left their home in the care of Ina, the mother charging her to put these treasures out to air; but, should the sun be clouded, be sure to take them back into the house. For Ngaetua knew well that in the bright beams of the sun the arch-thief Ngana would not dare to come; but, if exposed on a lowering cloudy day, the envious foe would not fail to try his luck. In a short time the sun shone brightly, not a cloud could anywhere be seen. The obedient Ina carefully spread out these treasures on a piece of the purest white native cloth. But the arch-foe Ngana was on the watch. Very cautiously did he approach through the neighbouring bushes, in order to get a sight of the much-coveted articles. He forthwith used an incantation, so that the sun became suddenly obscured. Ngana now fearlessly emerged from the thicket, and endeavoured to grab the long-wished-for ornaments. But Ina was too quick in her movements to permit this. Ngana now, with affected humility, begged permission to admire and try on the various ornaments for her to see how he would look in them. Ina was very loth, but, after great persuasion, consented that Ngana should put them on inside the house. To prevent the possibility of his taking away any of these treasures, she closed the doors. The crafty Ngana now arrayed himself in these gorgeous adornments, excepting the head-dress, which Ina still held in her hand. Ngana, by his soft words, at length induced her to give that up too. Thus completely arrayed be began to dance with delight, and contrived to make the entire circuit of the house, careering round and round in hope of seeing some loophole through which he might escape with his spoil. At last he espied a little hole at the gable-end a few inches wide, through which at a single bound he took his flight, and for ever disappeared with the treasures. Ina at first had been delighted with the dancing of her visitor, but was in utter despair as she witnessed his flight, and heard the parting words—
‘Beware of listening to vain words,
O Ina, the fair and well-meaning.’
“Not long afterwards the parents of Ina came back in great haste, for they had seen the arch-thief passing swiftly and proudly through the skies, magnificently attired. A fear crept over them that all was not right with their own treasures. They asked the weeping girl the cause of her tears. She said, ‘Your choicest possessions are gone.’ ‘But is there nothing left?’ demanded the parents. ‘Nothing whatever,’ said the still weeping girl. The enraged mother now broke off a green cocoa-
nut branch, and broke it to pieces on the back of the unfortunate girl. Again and again Ngaetua fetched new cocoanut branches and cruelly beat Ina. The father now took his turn in be labouring the girl, until a divine spirit (manu) entered and took possession of Ina, and in a strange voice ominously said—
‘Most sacred is my person,
Untouched has been my person,
I will go to the Sacred Isle,
That Tinirau alone may strike it.’
“The astonished father desisted; her younger brother Rupe cried over his beloved sister. After a while Ina got up, as if merely to saunter about, but no sooner had she eluded the eyes of her parents than she ran as fast as her legs could carry her to the sandy beach. When nearly there, she fell in with her elder brother Tangikuku, who naturally asked her where she was going. She gave an evasive answer; but, fearing lest he should inform her parents of her flight, she snatched his bamboo fishing-rod, broke it to pieces with her foot, and selected one of the fragments as a knife. She now said to her brother, ‘Put out your tongue.’ In an instant she cut off its tip. Tangikuku vainly essayed to speak; so that Ina was certain that he could not reveal the secret of her sudden departure. She kissed her maimed brother, and pressed on to the shore, where she gazed long and wistfully towards the setting sun, where the Sacred Isle is. Looking about for some means of transit, she noticed at her feet a small fish named the avini. Knowing that all fishes were subjects to the royal Tinirau, she thus addressed the little avini that gazed at the disconsolate girl:—
‘Ah, little fish, art thou a shore-loving avini?
Ah, little fish, art thou an ocean-loving avini?
Come, bear me on thy back
To my royal husband Tinirau,
With him to live and die.’
“The little fish intimated its consent by touching her feet. Ina mounted on its narrow back; but when only half-way to the edge of the reef, unable any longer to bear so unaccustomed a burden, it turned over, and Ina fell into the shallow water. Angry at this wetting, she repeatedly struck the avini: hence the beautiful stripes on the sides of that fish to this day, called ‘Ina's tattooing.’ The disappointed girl returned to the sandy beach to seek for some other means of transit to the Sacred Isle. A fish named the paoro, larger than the avini, approached Ina. The intended bride of the god Tinirau addressed this fish just as she had the little avini; and then mounted on its back, and started a second time on her voyage. But, like its predecessors, the paoro was unable long to endure the burden, and dropping Ina in shallow water sped on its way. Ina struck the paoro in her anger, producing for the first time
those beautiful blue marks which have ever since been the glory of this fish. Ina next tried the api, which was originally white; but for upsetting Ina at the outer edge of the reef was rendered intensely black, to mark her disgust at the third wetting. She now tried the sole, and was successfully borne to the edge of the breakers, where Ina experienced a fourth mishap. Wild with rage, the girl stamped on the head of the unfortunate fish with such energy that the underneath eye was removed to the upper side. Hence it is that, unlike other fish, it is constrained now to swim flatwise, one side of the fish having no eye. At the margin of the ocean a shark came in sight. Addressing the shark in words very like those formerly used, to her great delight the huge fish came to her feet, and Ina mounted triumphantly on its broad back, carrying in her hand two cocoanuts to eat. When half-way on the dangerous voyage to the Sacred Isle, Ina felt very thirsty, and told the shark so. The obedient fish immediately erected its dorsal-fin (rara-tua), on which Ina pierced the eye of one of the nuts. After a time she again asked the shark for help. This time the shark lifted its head, and Ina forthwith cracked the hard shell on its forehead. The shark, smarting from the blow, dived into the depths of the ocean, leaving the girl to float as best she could. From that day there has been a marked protuberance on the forehead of all sharks, called ‘Ina's bump.’ The King of Sharks, named Tekea the Great, now made his appearance. Ina got on his wide back, and continued her voyage. She soon espied what seemed to be eight canoes in a line rapidly approaching her. When near, they proved to be eight sharks resolved to devour Ina. Ina, in agony, cried to her guardian shark, ‘O Tekea; O Tekea!’ ‘What is it?’ inquired the shark. ‘See, the canoes!’ said the girl. ‘How many are they?’ ‘Eight,’ replied Ina. Said her guardian shark, ‘Say to them, Get away, or you will be torn to shreds by Tekea the Great.’ As soon as Ina had uttered those words, the eight monstrous sharks made off. Delivered from this peril, Ina again went on her long voyage to the Sacred Isle. At length the brave girl reached the long sought for island, and Tekea the Great returned to his home in mid-ocean. Upon going ashore, and cautiously surveying her new home, she was astonished at the salt-water pools, full of all sorts of fish, everywhere to be seen. Entering the dwelling of Tinirau, (Innumerable), the lord of all fish, she found one noble fish-preserve inside. But strangely enough the owner was nowhere visible. In another part of the house she was pleased to find a great wooden drum, and sticks for beating it by the side. Wishing to test her skill, she gently beat the drum, and even to her astonishment the sweet notes filled the whole land, and even reached to Pa-enua-kore, (No-land-at-all), where the god Tinirau was staying that day. The king of all
fish returned to his islet-dwelling to discover who was beating his great drum. Ina saw him approaching, and in fear ran to hide herself behind a curtain. Tinirau entered, and found the drum and sticks all right, but for a time could not discover the fair drummer. He left the house, and was on his way back to ‘No-land-at-all,’ when the coy girl, unwilling to lose so noble a husband, again beat the wonderful drum. Tinirau came back and found the blushing girl, who became his cherished wife. Ina now discovered that it was the might of Tinirau that inspired her with a manu, or strange spirit, and then provided for her safety in voyaging to his home in the Sacred Isle. In the course of time Ina gave birth to the famous Koromauariki, commonly called Koro. Besides this boy, she had a girl named Ature. Her younger brother Rupe wished much to see his sister Ina, who had long ago disappeared. Rupe asked a pretty karaurau (a bird of the linnet species) kindly to convey him where Ina lived. The bird consented, and Rupe, entering the linnet, fled over the deep blue ocean in search of the Sacred Isle where his beloved sister had her home. It happened one morning that Ina noticed on a bush near her dwelling a pretty linnet, just such a one as she used to see in her old home. As she complacently gazed upon it, the bird changed into a human form. It was Rupe himself! Great was Ina's delight; but, after a brief stay, Rupe insisted on going back to tell his parents of the welfare of Ina. They were rejoiced to hear of their daughter, for whom they had long grieved. A feast was made, and the finest cloth prepared for Ina and her children. Mother and son now entered the obliging linnets, and, laden with all these good things, flew off over the ocean in search for Ina. Arrived safely at the Sacred Isle, mother and daughter embraced each other tenderly; the past was forgiven. Three whole days were spent in festivities on account of Koro and Ature, the children of Ina. The visitors returned to their home over the sea, and Ina was left happy with Tinirau, the king of all fish.”
The coincidences in these two stories are very remarkable, and are as instructive to students of comparative Mythology as the differences in the two accounts are. First, most of the names agree. In the Cook and Hervey Islands the h is not pronounced. For this reason those islanders have been called “thé cockneys of the Pacific;” Hina becomes Ina, by the regular phonetic loss. Tinirau is the name of the demi-god to whom she flies; Motu-tapu, “the Sacred Isle,” is the name of the island where she finds refuge; and Rupe the name of the affectionate brother who flies to her in the form of a bird. These points are quite sufficient to establish a common origin for the two stories. The main differences are as follows:—Hina is, in the New Zealand story, the sister of Maui-mua and of Maui the Great, the last being known both as Maui-potiki (Maui, the baby) and
Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga = Maui (born in) the top-knot of Taranga,* their mother being Taranga, and their father Makea-tu-tara. In the Mangaian tale, although elsewhere Ina is called Maui's sister, her parents are styled Vaitooringa and Ngaetua. In Mangaia, Ina has two brothers—Rupe and Tangi-kuku; both Rupe aud Tangi-kuku are pigeon names; Tangi-kuku doubtless meaning “cooing like a dove,” kuku and kukupa being the Maori words for pigeon. Rupe is not a modern Maori word for pigeon; but the form of a pigeon assumed by Rupe sufficiently shows that the pigeon was once known to them by that name, as it still exists in the Samoan lupe, Tahitian rupe, and Tongan lupe—all meaning “pigeon.” The Maoris have lost the incident of “the master-thief;” they assign a different reason for Hina's flight; they make Hina a married woman, instead of a maiden, and have no story of her adventures on her way to Motu-tapu. The Mangaians apparently know nothing about Ina's connection with Irawaru, or of his being changed into a dog; nor about her finding other wives of Tinirau on her arrival in the Sacred Isle; nor of Rupe's visit to Rehua in heaven; and they seem to have missed the meaning of Rupe's name being “pigeon” by giving him the form of a linnet.†
There are references in other legends which partially clear up, and partially darken the story. From far-off Nukuhiva, in the Marquesas Islands, comes a tradition as to “The origin of fire”—one of the most widely-spread of the many legends concerning Maui. In this myth, the name of Maui's mother is given as Kui; and although this may not seem to be her proper name, (kui in Maori being a term of address to any old woman, and in Marquesan meaning “mother” generally), yet that it was an especial name of Maui's mother is proved by a Mangaian story, that Kui gave to Tane her daughter Ina (Maui's sister), “Ina who rivals the dawn;” and again by another Mangaian myth, that “the eldest of Kui-the-blind's attractive daughters was named Ina; that Marama (the moon), who from afar had often admired her, became so enamoured of her charms that one night he descended from his place in the heavens to fetch her to be his wife.” But this blind old woman very probably appears
[Footnote] * Maui is the Prometheus who gained fire for men, in all the Pacific legends except that of Samoa. Here the Maui name is unknown, their hero being Ti'i Ti'i, whose mother was Talanga. How completely the comparative method vindicates itself, when we find that Maui was called Tikitiki-a-Taranga, because he was born in Taranga's top-knot—a name incomprehensible in Samoa without our New Zealand story.
[Footnote] † It is perhaps worthy of notice that Hina's house (as described in the Mangaian story) is utterly unlike a Samoan house, which is a large circular structure, like a bee-hive raised upon posts, open all round; mats are let down round the outside or from internal partitions when privacy is required. This is somewhat of evidence that if (as some think) the Mangaians came from Samoa, this part of the story was new.
in another New Zealand tradition—that of Tawhaki. The glorious demi-god Tawhaki, before he ascended to heaven and became the god of thunder and lightning, (his mother was Whatitiri, the thunder, before him), met with the following adventure:—“The fame of Tawhaki's courage in thus destroying the race of the Ponaturi, and a report also of his manly beauty, chanced to reach the ears of a young maiden of the heavenly race who live above in the skies; so one night she descended from the heavens to visit Tawhaki, and to judge for herself whether these reports were true. She found him lying sound asleep, and, after gazing on him for some time, she stole herself to his side and laid herself down by him. He, when disturbed by her, thought it was only some female of this lower world, and slept again; but before dawn the young girl stole away again from his side, and ascended once more to the heavens. In the early morning Tawhaki awoke, and felt all over his sleeping-place with both his hands, but in vain, he could nowhere find the young girl. From that time Tango-tango, the girl of the heavenly race, stole every night to the side of Tawhaki, and lo, in the morning she was gone, until she found that she had conceived a child, who was afterwards named Arahuta; then, full of love for Tawhaki, she disclosed herself fully to him and lived constantly in this world with him, deserting for his sake her friends above; and he discovered that she who had so loved him belonged to the race whose home is in the heavens.” The legend then relates that the husband and wife quarrelled in a very foolish manner over the new baby. We resume:—“Then Tango-tango began to sob and cry bitterly, and at last rose up from her place with her child, and began to take flight towards the sky, but she paused for one minute with one foot resting upon the carved figure at the end of the ridge-pole of the house, above the door. Then Tawhaki rushed forward, and springing up, tried to catch hold of his young wife; but missing her, he entreatingly besought her, ‘Mother of my child, oh return once more to me!’ But she in reply called down to him, ‘No, no, I shall now never return to you again.’ Tawhaki once more called up to her, ‘At least, then, leave me some remembrance of you.’ Then his young wife called down to him, ‘These are my parting words of remembrance to you: Take care that you lay not hold with your hands of the loose root of the creeper, which dropping from aloft, sways to and fro in the air; but rather lay fast hold on that which, hanging down from on high, has again struck its fibres into the earth.’ Then she floated up into the air, and vanished from his sight. Tawhaki remained plunged in grief, for his heart was torn by regrets for his wife and his little girl. One moon had waned after her departure, when Tawhaki, unable longer to endure such sufferings, called out to his younger brother, to
Karihi, saying: ‘Oh, brother, shall we go and search for my little girl?’ And Karihi consented, saying, ‘Yes, let us go.’ … Tawhaki and Karihi then went upon the road, accompanied by only one slave. They at last reached the spot where the ends of the tendrils which hung down from heaven reached the earth, and they there found an old ancestress of theirs, who was quite blind, and whose name was Mata-kerepo (blind-eyes). She was appointed to take care of the tendrils, and she sat at the place where they touched the earth and held the end of one of them in her hands…. Tawhaki then touched both her eyes; and, lo! she was at once restored to sight, and saw quite plainly, and she knew her grandchildren and wept over them.”* Keeping in mind this singular Maori story of the heavenly maiden, let us read a brief legend from Atiu: “It is said that Ina took to her celestial abode a mortal husband. After living happily together for many years she said to him, ‘You are growing old and infirm. Death will soon claim you, for you are a native of earth. This fair home of mine must not be defiled with a corpse. We will therefore embrace and part. Return to earth, and there end your days.’ At this moment Ina caused a beautiful rainbow to span the heavens, by which the disconsolate aged husband descended to earth to die.” The mention of this rainbow connects itself with another myth which relates that the god Tangaloa (Tangaroa) fell in love with Ina, when she was bathing in a stream called Kapu-ue-rangi; hence one name of Ina is “Ina-ani-vai” (Ina-solicited-at-the-fountain). He unfastened his girdle, which mortals call the rainbow, and descended by this dazzling path to earth. Ina gave way to him, and had two children, Tarauri and Turi; both were fair like their parents (Tangaloa has golden hair). In Tahiti, Hina was supposed to have been the first creation of the great Taaroa (Tangaroa), and it was with her help that he made the heavens, earth, and sea. His two sons by her are called Oro-tetefa and Uru-tetefa. From the wife of the eldest of these sons arose the famous Areoi Society, the priest-freemasons of the Eastern Pacific. This Oro, afterwards a great god, was probably the Koro mentioned in Mangaian legend as Hina's son; the Tahitians regularly losing the k in their dialect. The islanders of Niue have an “underworld,” to which the spirits of the dead depart; it is called Maui: but their heaven is the bright “land of Sina,” in the skies, where night comes not, but day is everlasting. The Manahikians, in telling the story of “fishing up the land,” say that Sina, who was the sister of Maui Mua, Maui Loto, and Maui Muli (Maui, first, middle, and last), helped to fasten the great fish-hook: a tradition also believed in Hawaii (Sandwich Islands), where it
[Footnote] * “Polynesian Mythology,” Grey.
was Hina's own bird, the “Alae,” with which the hook was baited:—
“The great fish-hook of Maui,
Manaia-te-Rangi. * * *
The bait was the Alae of Hina,
Let down upon Hawaiki,
The sacred tangle, the painful death,
Seizing upon the foundations of the earth,
Floating it up to the surface of the sea.”
There are many fragments of the tradition to be found in Samoan song and legend. In the genealogy of the primitive gods are several Sinas, the first of whom, “Sina the tropic-bird,” is the wife of Pili, the son of Tangaloa. In one of their love songs it is related that—
“Sina longed to get Maluafiti,
He was her heart's desire, and long she had waited for him.
Maluafiti frowned and would return,
And off he went with his sisters.
Sina cried and screamed, and determined to follow swimming.
The sisters pleaded to save and bring her;
Maluafiti relented not, and she died on the ocean.”
But if this Sina was Sina the Swimmer, the Samoans know another bright Sina, “the woman in the moon.” “Sina (the white) was busy one evening with mallet in hand beating out on a board some of the bark of the paper mulberry, with which to make native cloth. It was during a time of famine. The moon was just rising, and reminded her of a great bread-fruit; looking up to it she said, ‘Why cannot you come down and let my child have a bit of you?’ The moon was indignant at the thought of being eaten, came down forthwith and took her up, child, board, mallet and all. At the full of the moon, young Samoa still looks up and traces the features of Sina.” Hina also finds her way into one of the ancient Deluge legends: as the daughter of Tangaloa she is sent down by her father in the form of a bird, turi (the snipe),* but after flying about for a long time, can find no resting-place—nothing but ocean; so she returns to heaven. Again sent down by Tangaloa, “she observed spray, then lumpy places, then water breaking, then land above the surface, and then a dry place where she could rest. She went back and told her father. He again sent her down; she reported extending surface of land, and then he sent her down with some earth and a creeping plant. The plant grew, and she continued to come down and visit it,” etc. In Hawaii, she seems also to be connected with the Deluge, as Hina-lele, generally called simply Hina; she is the goddess of fishes, and thus compares with the western Hina-ika, the wife of Tinirau, the fish-deity. There are genealogical evidences in Hawaiian legend as to the coincidence between the two Hinas,
[Footnote] * Turi is her son, in a legend above cited.
and reference is made to the story of Tawhaki, mentioning his brother Karihi, his father Hema, and his mother Hina:—
“The rainbow is the path of Tawhaki.
Tawhaki arose, Tawhaki bestirred himself,
Tawhaki passed on, on the floating cloud of Tane.
Perplexed were the eyes of Karihi.
Tawhaki passed on, on the glancing light,
The glancing light on men and canoes.
Above was Hanaiakamalama;
That is the road to seek the father of Tawhaki.”
In a note commenting on this legend, Judge Fornander says: “Hanaiakamalama was the name of Hema's mother Hina. She is said to have been disgusted with her children Puna and Hema, and to have gone up to the moon to live.” This seems to show that, however distorted the legend had grown, Tawhaki's “heavenly maiden” was the Hina of the moon; the Hawaiian “Hanaiakamalama,” reading in Maori as “Hanaiate-marama,” or “Hana-i-a-te-marama,” doubtless originally signifying “Brightness of the moon,” or “Let the moon shine.” Hina's voyage is mentioned in a prayer to Lono (Rongo):—
“My god has assumed the shape of a shark
In the month of Hinaialeele,
May I be saved through my fullness of prayer!
Saved through my health-offering!
Saved through my devotion!
By you, O God!”
The conclusion which seems inevitable in considering this legend, and the broken-up remnants of it existing all over the Pacific, is, that it probably was the property of all the tribes before the separation. It may have travelled from one land to another, from one island to another, but it bears internal evidence of very high antiquity, and of primitive origin. The connection between Maui and Hina, through the old blind Kui and the heavenly race, seems at first sight to be very slight. I believe we must go not only outside New Zealand, but outside Polynesia, for an explanation, which will probably be found in its study as a lunar myth.
Professor Max Müller has already noted the story of Ina, as agreeing with the Greek legend of Tithonos and Eos, and quotes it as a singular coincidence; but I trust to be able to show in a series of papers that there are too many hundreds of such similarities in these folk-lore tales for them to be put aside with any such poor word as “coincidence.” I believe that in science there is no more “coincidence” than there is “chance,” or “luck;” that every idea, like every word, has its proper parentage: though, alas! all the searchings of the wise will long beat in vain in the effort of discovery against that dark blank wall which time and ignorance has built between us and the past. A lesser, but more exasperating, barrier is that of “localization.” Every story is localized; and it seems im-
possible to make men, who have thoroughly imbibed the idea of a tradition being a local one, ever get away from the notion that the incidents happened there, particularly there. In Polynesia, constantly we hear: “It was on that hill my ancester fought the monster;” “It was this island which was hauled up from the bottom of the sea by the fish-hook of Tangaloa or of Maui.” A good example is given at the end of the Mangaian myth: “Mangaia now for the first time emerged to the light of day, and became the centre of the universe. Its central hill was accordingly designated Rangimotia (“the centre of the heavens”). The inhabitants of Mangaia were veritable men and women, as contrasted with the natives of other outlying islands, who were only evil spirits in the guise of humanity.”
This is by no means confined to the Polynesians, it meets investigators everywhere. To take two examples at random: Mr. Kennedy* says that nearly every lake and hill in Ireland has its legend of the encounter of hero and monster; and Mr. Burnell† writes: “The localization of the events of the Mahabharata is endless; every few miles, in Southern India, one can find the place where some battle or other event occurred; and so it is also in Java. Such legends, therefore, are absolutely worthless, for they prove no more than that the Mahabharata and Ramayana are or were favourite stories over a large part of the East.” Of course, Mr. Burnell means worthless for fixing locality. Doubtless, dragons no more inhabited the hills of Ireland than they did the New Zealand plain of Kaingaroa; nor could Arjuna or Rama have fought the same battles in Java and in India. But the stories are useful, as showing a common fount of knowledge. Sir George Grey, in his “Polynesian Mythology,”† has compared two Maori legends with similar European tales: first, that of the dog of Whakaturia crying out from the belly of his eater, with the tradition of St. Patrick and the stolen sheep; and the other, one of our New Zealand dragon stories, with the dragon poem of Spenser. There can be no collusion here, and no interchange of myths, as between nations whose borders touch each other; the English poet and the Maori “ariki” were more favourably situated than any other persons in the world could be, if we wish to guard against interchange of ideas by personal communication; yet, word for word, line for line, the description of the animal pourtrayed by the one is a transcript of the mythical monster of the other; thus showing how deeply, not only the general idea, but the very details of the ancient marvel had sunk into the spirit of the primitive mind, and evolved similar products after centuries of separation.
In the tiny specimen of Polynesian folk-lore submitted in
[Footnote] * “Fictions of the Irish Celts.”
[Footnote] † “South Indian Palæography.”
[Footnote] ‡ Appendix, New Edition.
this paper, mention has been repeatedly made of incidents supposed to be Aryan, if not exclusively European. Most of us have read the old fairy stories about “swan maidens,” of whom Grimm* says: “Theirs is the power to fly or swim; they love to linger on the sea-shore…. When they bathe in the cooling flood, they lay down on the bank the swan-ring, the swan-shift…. The myth of Volundr we meet with again, in an Old-High-German poem, which puts doves in the place of swans: three doves fly to a fountain, but when they touch ground they turn into maidens.” So Maui stole his mother's feather-dress, and turned himself into a dove or pigeon; and Rupe performs the same feat. Again, the tendrils of the vine hanging from the heavens, and up which Tawhaki climbed, swung down for us also in our childhood's story of Jack and the Bean-stalk. But it is to two of the loveliest legends in classical literature that I wish to compare our shorter myths recited above. The heavenly maiden, coming secretly down to repose by the side of her mortal husband, is Selene, the Moon, stealing to the slumbers of Endymion: she—
“Kisses the closed eyes
Of him, who slumbering lies.”
That the Moon, in the Mangaian myth, should not be a “maiden of heavenly race” but a male deity, is in accordance with a curious “twist” peculiar to Mangaian legends, many of the celebrated Polynesian personages there changing sex. The second story is that of the immortal wife seeing the mortal husband getting grey and old. Those who have read Tennyson's beautiful poem on the old Greek mythus will remember:—
“How can my nature longer mix with thine?
Coldly thy rosy shadows bathe me, cold
Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled feet
On all thy glimmering thresholds, when the steam
Floats up from those dim fields about the homes
Of happy men that have the power to die,
And grassy barrows of the happier dead.
Release me, and restore me to the ground;
Thou seest all things, thou wilt see my grave;
Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn;
I, earth in earth, forget these empty courts,
And thee returning on thy silver wheels.”
The Polynesian goddess was more kind, in giving the rainbow bridge down which the aged feet might pass back to the world; but this bridge of the rainbow is cherished in Scandinavian mythology as the Bifrost, the rainbow bridge along which the souls of the heroes pass to the breast of Odin.
Hina, or Sina, (the Natives of the extreme North of New Zealand pronounce this word as if written by an Englishman, “Sheenah,”) with the meaning of white or silvery, is found in most Polynesian dialects,† and is a part of the moon's name
[Footnote] * “Teutonic Mythology.”
[Footnote] † And probably in our own Teutonic speech as “sheen,” or “shine.”
in many of them. The Marquesan mahina, Tongan mahina, Mangaian maina, Samoan masina, and Hawaiian mahina all mean the moon: and, although in some of these languages (Maori and Tahitian, for example), this word is replaced by marama, yet the Sanscrit words mah, the moon, (√ ma, to measure), and rama, light, white; also, the connection of this word with Rama-Chandra (Moon-Rama), point clearly to a time when “Ma” was the Polynesian (as the Aryan) word for moon, in ma-rama and ma-sina, both phrases signifying “shining,” “bright,” moon, i.e., moonlight. And in those Polynesian dialects where hina does not mean “white” when standing alone, it means “white hair,” (in Maori and Hawaiian), which is explained by the Indian myth that Krishna was the black hair, and Rama the white hair, plucked from the head of Vishnu (as twins of Darkness and Light).
Somewhere in Europe or in Asia the name of Hina, or Sina, must have been cherished as a lunar name, since the sect of the Gnostics called the moon “Sin” (Sina) in their mystical language. In the great Mesopotamian valley the word lingered for ages. Sin, the moon-god, was worshipped by the Assyrians and Babylonians, and probably before the dispossession by those nations of the earlier Accadian people. On one of the Babylonian cylinders the king Nabonidus writes of “Sin, the illuminator of heaven and earth, the strengthener of all;” and in another place we find*: “As the emblem of the Sun-god was the solar orb, the emblem of Sin was the crescent moon.” “Sin was the patron-god of the City of Ur.” But this “Ur of the Chaldees” was named thus because they worshipped there the “bright illuminator;” and the root ur, to shine, is the common property of the world's languages. “Ur signifies light or fire, and is to be found in every dialect of the Celtic.”† So in the Hebrew or, to shine, and the Latin uro, to burn; but in none purer than the Maori ura, to glow. It is not an Aryan word only, but an Asiatic word, common to all races springing from the vagina gentium. In the opening verses of the Sanscrit “Hitopadesa,” where Siva is invoked under the name of “Dhurjati,” he is described as yad-murdhni sasinas kala, (literally, “on whose head the moon's sixteenth part,”) meaning crescent-crested. The word sasinas may be akin to the Polynesian Sina, although sasin, moon, is generally derived from sasa, a hare, as though the moon was called “the hare-marked.” Etymologists often alter their opinions as time goes on.
The connection or confusion between the lunar Hina, and Hina the fish-goddess, lies probably in the fact of Hina the swimmer being “Ina the bright, fair one,” and “Ina who rivals
[Footnote] * “Assyria, its Princes, Priests, and People.”—Sayce.
[Footnote] † “Gaelic Etymology.”—Mackay.
the dawn.” Ina being spoken of in one legend as having been given by Kui to Tane may perhaps be referred to the following cause:—Although the great deity Tane was, in Western Polynesia, the father of gods and men, the representative of the male generative power in the universe: and although tane is almost everywhere the common word for “male,” or “husband,” yet in Eastern Polynesia he was regarded as the “light principle,” and stands for “Light” in the ancient Hawaiian Trinity of “Kane, Ku, and Lono,” (“Tane, Tu, and Rongo”). Thus runs the sacred chant:—
“Tane, Lord of Night, Lord the Father,
Tu-te-pako, in the hot heavens,
Great Rongo with the flashing eyes;
Lightning-like lights has the Lord
Established in truth, O Tane, Master-worker,
The Lord Creator of mankind.”
Thus, that Hina, the bright fair one, should become either the bride of Tane, the Light, or of Ma-Rama (moonlight), seems mythologically inevitable, and the entanglement between this Hina and our “silver-footed goddess of the sea” is probably explained.