The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 67
Art. XLVI.—Polynesian Folk-lore.—Part II.: The Origin of Fire
Art. XLVI.—Polynesian Folk-lore.—Part II.: The Origin of Fire.
In my first paper on the subject of Polynesian Folk-lore,* I compared the stories treating of the adventures of Hina, the Sister of Maui. I will now attempt to compile the different Versions of the legend relating the procuring by Maui of fire for the use of man. This tradition is related everywhere in the Polynesian islands with wonderful faithfulness—wonderful when we consider how many centuries must have elapsed since the dispersion of the Maori tribes in the Pacific. I believe that a vast extent of time lies between the parting of New Zealander and Samoan, of Tahitian and Hawaiian; but if the opinions of some scholars (Hale, the American philologist, notably) should be verified concerning the comparatively late departure of the New Zealanders from some South Sea island, still the lapse of Sears necessary to account for the widely differing customs kingship, idols, tattooing, tapu, etc.) and the divergence of dialect, must be very great. The more I become conversant with he Polynesian languages, the more thoroughly I feel assured of very ancient branchings in the meaning of expressions common to all; and that it is only those investigators who are satisfied with comparing the most common and vital words (such as whose for fire, water, etc.) who can consider the dispersion or [unclear: nigration] as recent.
* "Trans. N.Z. Inst.," vol. six., p. 486.
† See "Trans. N.Z. Inst.," vol. xix., p. 502.
"His brothers felt quite surprised and pleased [unclear: with] little brother when they heard him talk in this way; aud [unclear: w] after a little time they had recovered from their [unclear: amazem] they told him to try and find their father and mother. [unclear: S] said he would go. It was a long time ago that he had finish his first labour, for when he first appeared to his relatives their house of singing and dancing, he had on that [unclear: occas] transformed himself into the likeness of all manner of birds every bird in the world, and yet no single form that [unclear: he] assumed had pleased his brothers: but now when he [unclear: sho] himself to them, transformed into the semblance of a [unclear: pig] his brothers said: 'Ah, now indeed, oh brother, you [unclear: do] very well indeed, very beautiful, very beautiful, [unclear: much] beautiful than you looked in any of the other forms [unclear: which] assumed, and then changed from, when you first discovered [unclear: y] self to us.' What made him now look so well in the [unclear: shap] assumed was the belt of his mother, and her apron, which had stolen from her while she was asleep in the house: [unclear: for] very thing which looked so white upon the breast of the [unclear: pie] was his mother's broad belt, and he also had on her little [unclear: a] of burnished hair from the tail of a dog; and the fastening [unclear: of] belt was what formed the beautiful black feathers on his [unclear: thr] He had once changed himself into this form a long [unclear: time] and now that he was going to look for his father and [unclear: mot] and had quitted his brother to transform himself into the [unclear: ness] of a pigeon, he assumed exactly the same form as [unclear: on] previous occasion; and when his brothers saw him thus [unclear: a] they said, 'Oh brother! oh brother! you do look [unclear: really] indeed;' and when he sat upon the bough of a tree, oh [unclear: dear] never moved or jumped about from spray to spray, [unclear: but] quite still, cooing to himself, so that no one who had [unclear: seen] could have helped thinking of the proverb, 'A stupid [unclear: pigeon] on one bough, and jumps not from spray to spray.' [unclear: E] the next morning, he said to his brothers, as was first [unclear: sts] 'Now do you remain here, and you will hear something [unclear: of] after I am gone; it is my great love for my parents that [unclear: le] me to search for them : now listen to me, and then say [unclear: whe] or not my recent feats were not remarkable. For the [unclear: fac] transforming oneself into birds can only be [unclear: accomplished] man who is skilled in magic, and yet here I, the youngest [unclear: of] all, have assumed the form of all birds; and now, [unclear: perhaps,] all, I shall quite lose my art, and become old and weakened the long journey to the place where I am going.' His brother answered him thus: 'That might be, indeed, if you were [unclear: g] on a warlike expedition, but, in truth, you are only going [unclear: to] for those parents who we all so long to see; and if they are [unclear: f] by you, we shall ever after all dwell happily, our present [unclear: so] will be ended, and we shall continually pass [unclear: backwards] page 371 forwards between our dwelling-place and theirs, paying them happy visits.'
"He answered them, 'It is certainly a very good cause which leads me to undertake this journey, and if, when reaching the place I am going to, I find everything agreeable and nice, then I shall perhaps be pleased with it; but if I find it a bad disagreeable place, I shall be disgusted with it.' They replied to him,' What you say is exceedingly true, depart then upon your journey, with your great knowledge and skill in magic.' Then their brother went into the wood, and came back to them again, looking just as if he were a real pigeon. His brothers were quite delighted, and they had no power left to do anything but admire him.
"Then off he flew, until he came to the cave which his mother had run down into, and he lifted up the tuft of rushes. Then down he went, and disappeared in the cave, and shut up its mouth again so as to hide the entrance. Away he flew very last indeed, and twice he dipped his wing, because the cave was so narrow. Soon he reached nearly to the bottom of the cave, and flew along it; and again, because the cave was so narrow, he dips first one wing and then the other, but the cave now widened, and he dashed straight on."At last he saw a party of people coming along under a grove of trees; they were manapau trees,* and flying on, he perched upon the top of one of these trees, under which the people had seated themselves; and when he saw his mother lying down upon the grass by the side of her husband, he guessed at once who they were, and he thought, 'Ah, there sit my father and mother right under me,' and he soon heard their names as they were called to by their friends, who were sitting with them. Then the pigeon hopped down, and perched on another spray a little lower, and it pecked off one of the berries off the tree and dropped it gently down, and hit the father with it gently on the forehead; and some of the party said, 'Was it a bird that threw that down?' but the father said, 'Oh no, it was only a berry that fell by chance.' Then the pigeon again pecked off some of the berries from the tree, and threw them down with all its force, and struck both father and mother so that he really hurt them. Then they cried out, and the whole party jumped up and looked into the tree, and as the pigeon began to coo, they soon found out from the noise where it was sitting among the leaves and branches, and the whole of them, the chiefs and common people alike, caught up stones to pelt the pigeon with, but they threw for a very long time without hitting it. At last the father tried to throw up at it. Ah! he struck it; but Mauipage 372 had himself contrived that he should be struck by the [unclear: stone] father threw; for, hut by his own choice, no one could [unclear: have] him. He was struck exactly upon his left leg, and [unclear: down] fell, and as he lay fluttering and struggling upon the ground they all ran to catch him, but lo, the pigeon had turned [unclear: in] man!
* "The manapau was a species of tree peculiar to the country whence the people came, where the priests say it was known by this name."—Grey.
The manapau is a tree of Samoa.—Tregear.
"Then all those who saw him were frightened at his [unclear: fie] glaring eyes, which were red, as if painted with red [unclear: ochre,] they said : 'Oh, it is now no wonder that he so long sat [unclear: still] in the tree; had he been a bird he would have flown off [unclear: la] before, but he is a man and some of them said, 'No, [unclear: ind] rather a god—just look at his form and appearance, the [unclear: like] never been seen before, since Rangi and Papa-tu-a-nuku [unclear: w] torn apart.' Then Taranga said, 'I used to see one who [unclear: loo] like this person every night when I went to visit my [unclear: children,] what I saw then excelled what I see now : just listen [unclear: to] Once as I was wandering upon the sea-shore, I premature gave birth to one of my children, and I cut off the long [unclear: tres] of my hair and bound him up in them, and threw him [unclear: into] foam of the sea, and after that he was found by his great [unclear: ances] Tama-nui-ki-te-Rangi;' and then she told his story [unclear: nearly] the same words that Maui-the-infant had told it to [unclear: herself] his brothers in their house, and, having finished his history Taranga ended her discourse to her husband and his friends.
"Then his mother asked Maui, who was sitting [unclear: near] 'Where do you come from? from the westward?' [unclear: and] answered, 'No.' 'From the north-east, then?' [unclear: 'N] 'From the south-east, then?' 'No.' 'From the south, [unclear: the] 'No.' 'Was it the wind which blows upon me, which [unclear: bro] you here to me, then?' When she asked this, he [unclear: opened] mouth and answered, 'Yes.' And she cried out, 'Oh, [unclear: th] this is indeed my child,' and she said 'Are you [unclear: Maui-ta] He answered, 'No.' Then said she, 'Are you Maui-tikitiki Taranga?' and he answered 'Yes.' And she cried [unclear: alo] 'This is indeed my child. By the winds and storms and [unclear: was] uplifting gales he was fashioned and became a human being welcome, oh my child, welcome! by you shall [unclear: hereafter] climbed the threshold of the house of your great [unclear: ances] Hine-nui-te-po, and death shall henceforth have no power man.'"
I now pass over the parts of the legend treating [unclear: of] wonderful feats performed by Maui, and take up the [unclear: thread] the tradition concerning the search for fire.
"The hero now thought that he would [unclear: extinguish] destroy the fires of his ancestress Maliu-ika. So he got [unclear: up] the night, and put out the fires left in the cooking-houses of [unclear: ea] family in the village: then, quite early in the morning, he [unclear: cal] page 373 aloud to the servants, 'I hunger, I hunger; quick, cook some food for me.' One of the servants thereupon ran as fast as he could to make up the fire to cook some food, but the fire was out; and as he ran round from house to house in the village to get a light, he found every fire quite out—he could nowhere get a light. When Maui's mother heard this, she called out to the servants and said, 'Some of you repair to my great ancestress Mahu-ika: tell her that fire has been lost upon earth, and ask her to give some to the world again.' But the slaves were alarmed, and refused to obey the commands which their masters, the sacred old people, gave them; and they persisted in refusing to go, notwithstanding the old people repeatedly ordered them to do so.
"At last Maui said to his mother : 'Well, then, I will fetch down fire for the world; but which is the path by which I must go?' And his parents, who knew the country well, said to him: 'If you will go, follow that broad path that lies before you there, and you will reach at last the dwelling of an ancestress of yours; and if she asks you who you are, you had better call out your name to her, then she will know you are a descendant of hers; but be cautious and do not play any tricks with her, because we have heard that your deeds are greater than the deeds of men, and that you are fond of deceiving and injuring others, and perhaps you even now intend in many ways to deceive this old ancestress of yours; but pray be cautious not to do so.'
"But Maui said: 'No; 1 only want to bring fire away for men, that is all, and I will return again as soon as I can do that.' Then he went, and reached the abode of the goddess of fire; and he was so filled with wonder at what he saw, that for a long time he could say nothing. At last he said : 'Oh, lady! would you rise up? Where is your fire kept? I have come to beg some from you.' Then the old lady rose right up, and said: 'Au-e! who can this mortal be?' And he answered, It's I.' 'Where do you come from?' said she; and he answered, 'I belong to this country.' 'You are not from this country,' said she, 'your appearance is not like that of the inhabitants of this country. Do you come from the northeast?' He replied, 'No.' 'Do you come from the southeast?' He replied, 'No.' 'Are you from the south?' He replied, 'No.' 'Are you from the westward?' He answered, 'No.' 'Come you then from the direction of the wind, which blows right upon me?' and he said: 'I do.' 'Oh, then,' Cried she, 'you are my grandchild! What do you want here?' He answered, 'I am come to beg fire from you.' She replied : 'Welcome, welcome! here, then, is fire for you.'
"Then the aged woman pulled out her nail; and, as she pulled it out, fire flowed from it, and she gave it to him. And when Maui saw she had drawn out her nail to produce fire for page 374 him, he thought it a most wonderful thing! Then he [unclear: we] short distance off, and, when not very far from her, he put fire out, quite out; and returning to her again, [unclear: said:] light you gave me has gone out; give me another.' [unclear: Then] caught hold of another nail, and pulled it out as a [unclear: light] him; and he left her, and went a little on one side, and that light out also; then he went back to her again, [unclear: and] 'Oh, lady, give me, I pray you, another light, for the [unclear: last] has also gone out.' And thus he went on and on, until [unclear: she] pulled out all the nails of the fingers of one of her [unclear: hands;] then she began with the other hand, until she had pulled [unclear: all] finger-nails out of that hand too; and then she commenced the nails of her feet, and pulled them also out in the [unclear: sa] manner, except the nail of one of her big toes. [unclear: Then] aged woman said to herself at last: 'This fellow is [unclear: su] playing tricks with me.'
"Then out she pulled the one toe-nail that she had [unclear: left,)], too, became fire, and as she dashed it down on the [unclear: gro] the whole place caught fire. And she cried out to Maui, [unclear: 'Th] you have it all now!' And Maui ran off, and made a [unclear: rush] escape; but the fire followed hard after him, close behind [unclear: hi] so he changed himself into a fleet-winged eagle, and flew [unclear: w] rapid flight; but the fire pursued, and almost caught him [unclear: as] flew. Then the eagle dashed down into a pool of water; [unclear: be] when he got into the water he found that almost [unclear: boiling.] forests just then also caught fire, so that he could not [unclear: ali] anywhere; and the earth and the sea both caught fire [unclear: too,] Maui was very near perishing in the flames.
"Then he called on his ancestors, Tawhiri-matea and [unclear: W] tiri-matakataka, to send down an abundant supply of [unclear: wate] and he cried aloud, 'Oh! let water be given to me to [unclear: que] this fire which pursues after me;' and, lo! then [unclear: appea] squalls and gales, and Tawhiri-matea sent heavy, lasting [unclear: rai] and the fire was quenched; and before Mahuika could [unclear: reach] place of shelter she almost perished in the rain, and her [unclear: shri] and screams became as loud as those of Maui had been [unclear: when] was scorched by the pursuing fire: thus Maui ended this proceeding. In this manner was extinguished the fire of [unclear: Mahui] the goddess of fire; but before it was all lost she saved a [unclear: f] sparks which she threw, to protect them, into the kaikomako [unclear: a] a few other trees, where they are still cherished; hence [unclear: men] use portions of the wood of these trees for fire when [unclear: th] require a light."
* "Te Ika a Maui," Rev. Richard Taylor, ed. 1870, p. 130.
* "Trans. N.Z. Inst.," vol. vii., pp. 7 and 38.
† The' of Samoa is a soft catch of the breath, denoting a lost k; thus Ti'iti'i is the the New Zealand Tikitiki. The g is ng of Maori.
The Bowditch Islanders (Tokelau Islands) also [unclear: knew] legend, and called the fire-goddess Mafuike; but she was [unclear: bla] a fact coincident with other versions related further on.
In the Hervey Islands the legend is (at Mangaia) [unclear: as] lows:—
* "Samoa, a Hundred Years ago," G. Turner, LL.D., p. 209.
'Buataranga, descend thou bodily through this chasm.
The rainbow-like must be obeyed.
As two clouds parting at dawn,
Open, open up my road to nether-world, ye fierce ones!'
* The Hervey Islanders drop h; hence Avaiki—Maori Hawaiki.
"Arrived at nether-land, Maui sought for the home [unclear: of] mother. It was the first house he saw : he was guided to [unclear: it] the sound of her cloth-flail. The red pigeon alighted on [unclear: an] house, opposite to the open shed where Buataranga was [unclear: bea] out cloth. She stopped her work to gaze at the red [unclear: pig] which she guessed to be a visitor from the upper world, [unclear: as] of the pigeons in the shades were red. Buataranga said [unclear: to] bird, 'Are you not come from "daylight?" 'The pigeon [unclear: no] assent. 'Are you not my son Maui?' inquired the old woman Again the pigeon nodded. At this, Buataranga [unclear: entered] dwelling, and the bird flew to a bread-fruit tree. Maui [unclear: resu] his proper human form, and went to embrace his [unclear: mother,] inquired how he had descended to nether-world, and the [unclear: ob] of his visit. Maui avowed that he had come to learn the [unclear: se] of fire. Buataranga said, 'This secret rests with the [unclear: fire-] Mauike. When I wish to cook an oven, I ask your father [unclear: R] beg a lighted stick from Mauike.' Maui inquired [unclear: where] fire-god lived. His mother pointed out the direction, [unclear: and] it was called Are-aoa = house of banyan-sticks. She [unclear: entre] Maui to be careful 'for the fire-god is a terrible fellow, of [unclear: a] uncertain temper.' Maui now walked up boldly towards the [unclear: ho] of the fire-god, guided by the curling column of smoke. [unclear: Mau] who happened at the moment to be cooking an oven of [unclear: f] stopped his work, and demanded what the stranger [unclear: war] Maui replied, 'A fire-brand.' The fire-brand was given. [unclear: M] carried it to a stream running past the bread-fruit tree, and [unclear: t] extinguished it. He now returned to Mauike, and obtained second fire-brand, which he also extinguished in the [unclear: stream,] third time a lighted stick was demanded of the fire-god; [unclear: he] beside himself with rage. Baking the ashes of his [unclear: over,] gave the daring Maui some of them on a piece of dry [unclear: w] These live coals were thrown into the stream, as the [unclear: for] lighted sticks had been.
"Maui correctly thought that a fire-brand would be of [unclear: l] use unless he could obtain the secret of fire. The brand [unclear: w] eventually go out; but how to reproduce the fire? His [unclear: ob] therefore, was to pick a quarrel with the fire-god, and [unclear: com] him by sheer violence to yield up the invaluable secret, [unclear: as] known to none but himself. On the other hand, the [unclear: fire-] confident in his own prodigious strength, resolved to [unclear: des] this insolent intruder into his secret. Maui, for the [unclear: fourth] demanded fire of the enraged fire-god. Mauike [unclear: ordered] away under pain of being tossed into the air, for Maui was [unclear: s] page 379 of stature. But the visitor said he should enjoy nothing better than a trial of strength with the fire-god. Mauike entered his dwelling to put on bis war girdle (ume i tona maro); but on returning found that Maui had swelled himself to an enormous size. Nothing daunted at this, Mauike boldly seized him with both hands, and hurled him to the height of a cocoanut-tree. Maui contrived in falling to make himself so light that he was in no degree hurt by his adventure. Mauike, maddened that his adversary should yet breathe, exerted his full strength, and next time hurled him far higher than the highest cocoanut-tree that ever grew. Yet Maui was uninjured by his fall; whilst the fire-god lay panting for breath. It was now Maui's turn. Seizing the fire-god, he threw him up to a dizzy height, and caught him like a ball with his hands. Assured that this was but a preparation for a final toss, which would seal his fate, the panting and thoroughly exhausted Mauike entreated Maui to stop and to spare his life. Whatever he desired should be his.
The Fire-God's Song.
'Grant, oh, grant me thy hidden fire,
Thou banyan tree!
Perform an incantation;
Utter a prayer to (the spirit of)
The banyan tree!
Kindle a fire for Mauike,
Of the dust of the banyan tree.'
'The rocks at Orovaru (in the shades) are burning.'*
"Ere leaving the land of ghosts, Maui carefully [unclear: pick] the two fire-sticks, once the property of Mauike, and [unclear: hast] to the bread-fruit tree, where the red pigeon, 'Fearless,' [unclear: qu] awaited his return. His first care was to restore the [unclear: tail] bird, so as to avoid the anger of Tane. There was no [unclear: ti] be lost, for the flames were rapidly spreading. He [unclear: re-en] the pigeon, which carried his fire-sticks one in each [unclear: clav] flew to the lower entrance of the chasm. Once more nouncing the words he learnt from Buataranga, [unclear: the] parted, and he got safely back to this upper world. [unclear: Thr] the good offices of his mother, the pigeon met with no [unclear: opption] from the fierce guardians of the road to the [unclear: shades.] again entering into light, the red pigeon took a long [unclear: s] alighting eventually in a lovely, secluded valley, which thenceforth named Rupe-tau, or "the pigeon's [unclear: resting-pl] Maui now resumed his original human form, and [unclear: hasten] carry back the pet bird of Tane.
* Equivalent to saying: "The foundations of the world are on fire."
Manihiki is an island situated about 600 miles north of Rarotonga. They possess the fire-gaining legend, with some difference of detail. It runs as follows:—
'Oh, pillar! open, open up,
That Manuahifare may enter and descend to nether-world' (Avaiki).
* "Myths and Songs from the South Pacific," Rev. W. W. Gill, B.A., p. 51, et seq.
† See "Hina's Voyage to the Sacred Isle," Tregear, "Trans. N.Z. Inst.," vol. xix, p. 486.
"Maui the Third went on an exploring tour through [unclear: th] unknown subterranean regions, the entrance to which [unclear: he] lucidly discovered. Amongst other wonderful things, he [unclear: fell] with a blind old woman bending over a fire, where her [unclear: food] being cooked. In her hand she held a pair of tongs (i.e green cocoanut mid-rib, split open). Every now and [unclear: then] carefully took up a live coal and placed it on one side, [unclear: suppo] it to be food, whilst the real food was left to burn to [unclear: cinder] the fire! Maui inquired her name, and to his surprise [unclear: found] was Inaporari, (or Ina-the-Blind,) his own grandmother! [unclear: T] clever grandson heartily pitied the condition of the [unclear: poor] creature, but would not reveal his own name. Close to [unclear: wh] he stood watching the futile cooking of Ina-the-Blind grew [unclear: fo] nono trees (Morindo citrifolia). Taking up a stick, he [unclear: ge] struck the nearest of the four trees. Ina-the-Blind [unclear: ang] said: 'Who is that meddling with the nono belonging to [unclear: M] the Elder?' The bold visitor to nether-world then walked to the next tree and tapped it gently. Again the ire of [unclear: Ina-th] Blind was excited, and she shouted: 'Who is this meddling with the nono of Maui the Second?' The audacious boy [unclear: str] a third tree, and found it belonged to his sister, [unclear: Inaika.] now exultingly tapped the fourth and last nono tree, and [unclear: hes] his old grandmother ask: 'Who is this meddling with [unclear: the] of Maui the Third?' 'I am Maui the Third,' said the [unclear: visito] 'Then,' said she, 'you are my grandson, and this is your tret
"Now when Maui first looked at his own nono-tree, [unclear: it] entirely destitute of leaves and fruit: but after Ina-the-B had spoken to him, he again looked, and was surprised to see covered with glossy leaves and fine apples—though not [unclear: rip] Maui climbed up into the tree and plucked one of the apple Biting off a piece of it, he stepped up to his grandmother [unclear: a] threw it into one of her blind eyes. The pain was excruciating but sight was at once restored to the eye which had so long [unclear: bee] blind. Maui plucked another apple, and, biting off a [unclear: piece] it, threw it into the other eye of his grandmother: and lo! sigh again was restored to it also. Ina-the-Blind was [unclear: delighted] see again, and, in gratitude, said to her grandson, 'All above and all below (=All on earth and all in spirit-land) are subject to thee, and to thee only.' Ina, once called 'the Blind,' a instructed Maui in all things found within her territory: [unclear: th] as there were four species of nono, so there are four [unclear: varieties] cocoanuts and four of taro in Avaiki—i.e., one for each [unclear: child] page 383 Manuahifare. Maui asked Iua, 'Who is lord of fire?' She replied, 'Thy grandfather, Tangaroa-tui-mata' (or Tangaroa-of-the-tattooed-face). 'Where is he?' inquired Maui. 'Yonder,' rejoined his grandmother; 'but do not go to him. He is a terribly irritable fellow; you will surely perish.' But as Maui persisted, the grateful goddess Ina said, 'There are two roads to his dwelling. One of these is the path of death; whoever unwittingly approaches the Great Tangaroa by this path, dies: he other is the common (or "safe," noa) road.' Maui disdained to tread the path of safety. Knowing his own prowess, he boldly trod the path of death. Tangaroa-of-the-tattooed-face, seeing Maui advancing, raised his right hand to kill him—that hand which as yet had never failed to destroy its victim. But Maui, nothing daunted, lifted his right hand. At this, Tangaroa, not liking the aspect of Maui, raised his right foot, for the purpose of kicking to death the luckless intruder. But Maui was prepared to do the same to the Lord of Fire with his right foot. Astounded at this piece of audacity, Tangaroa demanded his name. The visitor replied, 'I am Maui the Younger.' The god now knew it to be his own grandson. 'What did you come for?' 'To get fire,' was the response of Maui. Tanga-roa-of-the-tattooed face gave him a lighted stick, and sent him away. Maui walked to a short distance, and finding some water, like that dividing the two islets collectively called Mani-hiki, extinguished the lighted stick. Three times this process was repeated. The fourth time all the firebrands were gone, and Tangaroa had to fetch two dry sticks to rub together, in order to produce fire. Maui held the under one for his grandfather : but just as the fine dust in the groove was igniting, the impudent Maui blew it all away. Tangaroa, justly irritated at this, drove Maui away, and summoned a kakaia (or 'tern,') to come to his assistance, to hold down the lower piece of wood, whilst Tangaroa diligently worked away with the other stick. At last, to the infinite joy of Maui, fire was obtained. It was no longer a mystery. Maui suddenly snatched the upper stick, one end of which was burning, out of the hand of Tangaroa. The patient bird of white plumage still firmly clutched with her claws the under fire-stick, when Maui purposely burnt either side of the eye of the bird. The indignant tern, smarting at this ill-requital, fled away for ever. Hence the black marks, resembling a pair of eyebrows, on either side of the eye of this beautiful bird to this day. Tangaroa reproached his grandson with having thus wantonly deprived him of the valuable services of his favourite bird. Maui deceitfully said, 'Your bird will come back.' Maui next proposed to Tangaroa that they should both fly up to daylight, through the hole by which the bird had escaped. The god inquired how this could be accomplished. Maui at once volunteered to show the way, and actually flew to page 384 a considerable height like a bird. Tangaroa-of-the-tattooed-face was greatly delighted. Maui came down to the ground, and urged his grandfather to imitate his example. 'Nothing,' said Maui, 'is easier than to fly.' At his grandson's suggestion, Tangaroa put on his glorious girdle, by mortals called the rainbow, and, to his immense delight, succeeded in rising above the loftiest cocoanut tree. The crafty Maui took care to fly lower than Tangaroa, and getting hold of one end of the old man's girdle, he gave it a smart pull, which brought down poor Tangaroa from his giddy elevation. The fall killed Great Tangaroa.
'O pillar! open, open up,
That we may all enter, and descend to nether world.'
At these words the wonderful pillar at once opened, and all four descended. Maui showed them all the wonders of spirit world; and when at length their curiosity was perfectly satisfied, he conducted them back to the upper world of light, to which they all properly belonged."*
The last version of the story to be compared is that from the Marquesas. It is, in composition, extremely rough and primitive.†
* "Myths and Songs," page 63, et seq.
† I present the following lines as an example, with a literal interlinear translation:—
"Aitu mea ma to Maui kite te kui heke i Havaiki. [Hawaiki.
"The breaking-tapu affair by which Maui saw his mother descend to
To Maui tata i te kui,
Maui near his mother.
To te kui kite—uaua to ue i te tama i te oioi.
The mother looked—poured out tears on the child who slept.
Te tama tivava te hiamoe.
The child lied (pretended) sleep.
Tekao i te tama, Maui?" Te tama aoe tekao : hiamoe tivava.
Said to the child, "Maui?" The child did not speak: shammed sleep.
Te vahine tekao i te vahana, Aue! hakavaa.
The woman said to her husband, "Alas! he wakes!"
To te vahine tekao, Aue! taa au!
The woman said, "Alas! he sees me!"
Vahana tekao, "Aoe; Maui hiamoe."
Husband says, "No; Maui sleeps."
To te vahana tekao i te vahine, "Amai."
The husband says to his wife, "Let us go."
To te kui me te metua putamai aanui mea oa.
The mother, with the father, went towards the road—a distant thing.
Te kui kukamai veinehae to te kui to ia."
The mother thought spectre of her mother." Etc., etc.
* This is the only tree in Nukuhiva the wood of which does not ignite by friction.
These are the principal legends I have been able to procure on the subject of the origin of fire, or the art of procuring it. These traditions share in a general groundwork, and in the most important points of interest. The scene is laid in Hawaiki, and the path downward shows that this Hawaiki is no earthly locality, but the dim under-world of shadowy myth. There is, however, one very important difference between the New Zealand legends and those of the other islands: in the New Zealand story, fire is already in the dwellings of men; it is only when that fire becomes extinguished by accident (or, as in Maui's case, wilfully,) that it becomes necessary for one to proceed into the bowels of the earth in order to procure a new supply; and Maui's gift to man is not of fire whereby food may be cooked, but of the knowledge concerning the ignition of wood by friction. It would seem consistent, not only with the legend but with commonsense, that in the primitive days of the human race fire was already to be seen in the dwellings of men, ages before the art of procuring fire by friction of wood or by percussion of flint had been discovered. In very many parts of the world fire is to be found, not only during violent outbreaks of pent-up energy, as in volcanic eruptions, but issuing from rifts and fissures in the ground, and burning with steady and page 388 long-continued action. It would be easy to procure from such natural agencies sufficient fire to become the source of warmth to the body, and to ignite fuel for cooking food. This, too, may explain why it was necessary to go downward to regain the lost element; below was the great fire-source, plain to the sense of the primitive man as to our perceptions.* Whether the Maori race had its cradle in some land where such natural fires were procurable, has yet to be proven; but we must not forget that one of the most learned of our Polynesian scholars expressly affirms his opinion, that the Hawaiki of the Polynesian race (whether as source, or as temporary resting-place,) was a land near a great volcano. Judge Fornander, of Hawaii, considers that Hawa-iki was a name of Java (Hawa), translating iki in its South Marquesan sense, as "raging, furious with heat;" and then the author quotes from an ancient Marquesan song concerning this Hawaii, or Hawaiki: "Tai mamao, uta oa tu te ii"—"a distant sea (or far-off region), away inland stands the volcano."†
The Island of Hawaii (Sandwich Islands) may also have been thus named, after the prior locality, by reason of its great volcano, Kilauea.
* cf. Tongan mofuike, "earthquake," with Mafuie, "the fire-goddess."
† "Polynesian Races," vol. i., p. 6. I, however, think ii is equivalent to Maori riri, "angry," the Marquesans dropping the r, but not k; ii, then, is not iki..
‡ "Juventus Mundi," by the Eight Hon. W. E. Gladstone, p. 208.
"Hid in a hollow cane the fount of fire
I privately conveyed, of every art
Productive, and the noblest gift to man."
Æschylus.—" Prometheus Bound.'
† In New Zealand, Ru is the earthquake-god. In Tahiti, Ru is the brother of Hina, and is either Rupe or Maui himself.
‡ Fornander, loc. cit., page 191.
* See "Les Polynesiens," Lesson, p. 294.
† It would also seem that, in comparison with the New Zealand words: tiki, "a deity;" tikitiki, "a top-knot," etc., we should consider as a variant our tiketik", "high, lofty:" the Samoan ti'eti'e, "to be seated on high;" the Hawaiian kiekie, "high, lofty, exalted, holy;" the Tahitian faa-tietie, "glory, honour, to boast," etc.; this concurrence appearing to show a radical (✓Tik) implying a supreme chief and leader. As a possible explanation, I therefore offer a suggestion (and a suggestion only) that Maui's title implies that he was the leader of the Polynesian expedition into the Pacific. Ka is Hawaiian for the definite article "the" (which in Maori letters would be ta, perhaps an old form of te); thus, Maui-Tikitiki-a-ta-ranga would mean "Maui, Chief of the Fleet." In Sanscrit, taranga means "a waving, a motion to and fro;" tarana, "a raft or boat"—both these evidently connected with tara, "who or what passes over or beyond; passing over; a crossing; a passage"—thus giving an Asiatic value to this word as signifying "migration." I offer this idea to those of the realistic school who abhor the solar myth theory; the "Euhemerists." (See "Primitive Culture," Tylor, vol. i., p. 252.) On the other hand, to their opponents, I offer a possible explanation of Maui's name as perhaps meaning "Light-seeker," Ma-ui; ma, or mah, being a very widely-spread name for "light" in the ancient world, and ui meaning "to inquire." It would be a most appropriate name for our fire-seeking hero.
‡ Fornander, loe. cit, p. 23.
A remarkable variation of the parent-name is given in the Manihiki legend, in which Maui's father is called Manuahifare. Literally, the name means "Bird-fire-house," and this gives a wonderfully succinct and abbreviated précis of the whole story. But manu means not only "a bird," but something of far greater consequence: it means "a spirit"—sometimes a spirit incarnate in the bird, but also sometimes a spirit in its invisible possession,†
Thus, in the Mangaian story of Ina,‡ "a divine spirit (manu) entered and took possession of Ina;" and again, "it was the might of Tinirau that inspired her with a manu, or strange spirit."§ Maui became either a dove or a hawk when on this adventure in search of fire. In Mr. Wohlers' fire-getting tradition (before spoken of), Maui is a dove when seeking the fire, and a hawk when returning; and Mr. White especially notices that the hawk was the child of Mahuika (as Maui was), and itself the god of fire. We must look to very ancient beliefs for explanation, if we wish to find out why Maui assumed the bird-dress when descending to the bowels of the earth, and why this bird-dress was that of the dove. I have already called attention, in the story of Hina, to the similarity between the transformation of Maui and his brother Rupe into doves having Aryan affinities in the Teutonic stories of swan-maidens, dove-maidens, etc.‖
* "Ancient History of the Maori," vol. i., Appendix,
† The Polynesian use of the word "manu" as any animal, beast, reptile, insect, etc., appears to be generally a modern corruption. The primal meaning, "to float," shows its inapplicability to any such bestowal.
‡ See "Hina's Voyage to the Sacred Isle," "Trans. N.Z. Inst.," vol. xix., p. 493.
§ loc. cit., p. 495.
‖ Philological.—The word rupe, a general Polynesian word for the pigeon is probably connected radically with the corresponding Aryan words. The old English words cushat, "a wood pigeon," and cooscot, "the wood-pigeon," ("Obs. and Archaic Diet.," Wright, vol. i., p. 339) seem mere sound words, like the Cumberland coo, "to call," and are probably connected with the pigeon's note, as are the Hawaiian kuhukuhu, "a dove," and manuku(manu-ku), "a dove;" the Samoan 'u 'u (kuku), "to cry as a child;" Tongan kulukulu, "a small kind of dove," etc. The English word "dove" (Ang. Sax. dufa) is from the Old Saxon duva; Old High German tuba, the German taube "a dove" (Skeat, "Ety. Diet."); the original sense meaning "to dive" (dufan), from the bird's habit of ducking its head. This would show the reason philologists have for associating the Latin columba, "a dove," with the Greek kolumbao (κoλνμβάω), "I dive." It may, perhaps, be worthy of attention to consider whether another Latin word for dove, palumba, or palumbe, if placed beside columba, does not show that the original part of each word is lumba (pa-lumba, co-lumba). In Aryan languages m and p, or m and v, or m and b, interchange continually: the Celtic mor and vor, "great;" Welsh moel and foel, "a hill;" Irish mean and bean, "a woman;" Latin tumeo and tubeo, glomus and globus; as familiar examples in English, Molly and Polly, Meg and Peg. But this interchange points to a probable indistinct, primitive, double consonant mb or mp: sounds so often found in simple languages, where, instead of getting distinct letter-sounds, we have highly complicated ones, like the Hottentot clicks, etc., the tch, ng, mb, etc. The Fijians (Melanesians) have this ancient compound consonant mb; every b is mb; thus the word we write Bau is pronounced Mbau, Bulotu is Mbulotu, etc. In the Polynesian dialects the s and v or m and p constantly interchange (mavete, wewete; mafao, fafae; malemo, paremo; milo, wilo, etc.), though they cannot say mb. If, in the case of the "dove" word, the Latin has kept this ancient consonant, thee pa-lumbe and co-lumba become pa-lube and co-luba; this lube equalling the Tongan lube, the Samoan lupe, the Tahitian rupe, i.e. "pigeon." If, on the other hand, this derivation or comparison is not upheld on further investigation; should it be made certain that columba means "the diver," as κoλνμβάω (palumba remaining unaccounted for), then this side of the meaning shows itself also in the Maori languages. The German taube, "a dove," with its meaning "to dive and duck the head," (See Kluge, "Etymologisches Wörterbuch,") is in Maori taupe, "to bend down," "bending the head," variable; in Tahitian, taupe, "to bend down," applied to the head: in Tongan, taube, "to bend down;" in Samoan, taupe, "to swing." And this meaning of swinging, bowing or bending the head, is plainly connected with the lube (rupe) pigeon-word; for while in Tongan lube means "pigeon," lubelube is "to swing, or swag," as in carrying anything along.
But the choice of this form for a deity or demi-god, especially in the fire-gaining story, goes deeper still:—
(Egypt.)—The spirits wore the forms of human-headed birds. The bird was an emblem of breath, or soul. The breath was the mover to and fro in the body; and in death, its types—the bird and the feather—were clung to as emblematical of the spirit. . . . The dove was retained in Israel as the bird of breath, the type of the soul. In the Osirian cult, the hawk was the symbol of the soul. The sun was depicted with the hawk-head, but in the 12th chapter of the 'Metamorphoses,' Ritual 76-88, the turtle-dove is one of the types into which Osiris, the deceased, makes his transformation."*
I think it, therefore, by no means a mere story-teller's fancy that gave to Maui first the dove-shape, then that of the "hawi of soul," or fire.
* "Book of the Beginnings," Massey, vol. ii., pp. 92, 93. See also former paper, "Polynesian Alphabets," Tregear (p. 353, ante).
"Just as the plough-irons were becoming red-hot, someone tried the latch of the door, and immediately they saw the face of the witch outside the window. 'What do you want, good woman?' 'The seed of the fire, and I want to help you at the churning,'" etc. (p. 152.) Again, "But every Holy Eve during their lives they threw the water out as soon as their feet were washed, unhanded the wheel, swept up the house, and covered the big coal to have the seed of fire next morning" (p. 165).
* Mura, mumura, etc., "to blaze," is the m to p (the mb or mp) variant.
Mr. Robert Brown, F.S.A., in his learned and interesting treatise, "The Myth of Kirkê,"† remarks: "The links between gold and solar divinities are endless, and the circumstances supplied a natural basis for the commercial value of the metal." Elsewhere the same writer observes:‡ "The bright solar divinities are, of course, rich in gold, a metal originally owing its importance to its yellow (sun) colour, which made it at once semi-sacred and symbolic long ere it received an artificial commercial value."§
None of the radicals in classic languages show the etymological relation between sun and gold, but the Maori ura, "to glow," discloses the ra of Ra, "the sun," with the ur, "shining, glowing," word. I do not by this mean to imply that the Polynesians were acquainted with gold (though no one can disprove even this), but I think that there is a high probability that the word, in its Polynesian form, was applied to that metal when discovered and used by men in Central Asia.
* Pind. Isthm., iv., 1.
† Page 159 (Note).
‡ "Eridanus," p. 49 (Note 4).
§ "Gold-worship," Dr. F. A. Paley, "Contemp. Review," Aug., 1884, p. 271.
‖ "Lost Histories of America," p. 104.
¶ "The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament," Eberhard Schrader, p. 25.
The ura word descended from antiquity into the most common of those Aryan myths which have given us such lovely stories as the bases of classic poetry. If the theory of the solar mycologists is correct, the myths of the Dawn, and of the Sun chasing the Dawn and conquering the Darkness, are the foundations of the greater part of our pre-historic legends. Max Müller says : "Hence we find that names beginning with uru in Sanscrit and with ϵυρυ in Greek are almost invariably names of the Dawn, or Twilight.† Names of the Dawn are Euryphaessa, the mother of Helios; Eurykyde, or Eurypyle, the daughter of Endymion; Eurymede, the wife of Glaucus; Eurynome, the mother of the Charites; and Eurydike, the wife of Orpheus."‡
But side by side with the polished versions deifying the shining light, existed an actual worship of the sun and fire deities which we are not accustomed to consider as descending to almost modern days. We are apt to forget that the Romans, though acknowledging a whole pantheon of deities, (and not absolutely fire-worshippers in the sense in which the Parsees are thus to be considered,) paid the very greatest respect to those fire-deities having charge of the domestic hearth—the Vesta, or Hestia worship; the devotion to the Lares. It may be urged that the Lar-worship was entirely a worship of the spirits of ancestors, however cloaked under differing names—as the Genius, Lares, Penates, Vesta, or Manes. The pitris, or "fathers," were worshiped by the Sanscrit-speaking peoples, the Sama-Veda being devoted to the ceremonial directions. The old Slavonians also paid their devotion to the ancestral spirits: "There is no doubt as to their belief that the souls of the fathers watched over their children, and their children's children; and that, therefore, departed spirits, and especially those of ancestors, ought always to be regarded with pious veneration, and sometimes solaced by prayer and sacrifice."§
* "Tree and Serpent Worship," Fergusson, p. 115.
† cf. Maori uru, "the west."—E.T.
‡ "Chips from a German Workshop," vol. ii., p. 112.
§ "Songs of Russia," Ralston, p. 126.
‖ "Maori Religion and Mythology," chap. i.
"'The true temples of the Etruscans,' it has been observed 'were the tombs' (Taylor's "Etruscan Researches," p. 49) practically, the real objects of their worship were the [unclear: Lares,] spirits of their ancestors. Each house had its lararium, [unclear: whe] the master of the household offered prayer and worship every morning, and sacrifice occasionally. In the Theodosian [unclear: code] was provided that no one should any longer worship his lar [unclear: wi] fire (nullus Larem igne veneretur)."§
"Men worshipped the house spirit on the hearth at a [unclear: ti] when they perfectly understood that Dyaus meant 'the [unclear: bl] sky,' and that Varuna, or Ouranos, was 'the arch of heaven Centuries after the common apartment of the primitive house had disappeared, and separate rooms were assigned in [unclear: spacio] mansions for the purpose of domestic life, the old altar, the symbol of the holy hearth, survived, as the houses of [unclear: Pompe] still show, undisturbed, in the atrium. All the [unclear: changes] thought and feeling which marked the rise of the empire [unclear: we] impotent against the Lar. Horace, Ovid, Petronius, ([unclear: See] "Cité Antique," p. 24) free-thinkers in principle and sensualist in practice, duly celebrated the worship of the hearth."‖
* Æneid, v., 743, and ix., 259.
† In lar, probably, the vowel sound ā lias been broadened [unclear: from] lar. If so, then compare Maori ra, Hawaiian la, Tongan laa, all meaning "the Sun;" also with penates, "the care-takers." (cf. the Maori [unclear: pena,] take care of," "to cherish.")
‡ "The Aryan Household," W. E. Hearn, p. 51.
§ "Religions of the Ancient World," G. Rawlinson, p. 194.
‖ Hearn, loc. cit., p. 56.
¶ "Deutsche Mythologie," vol. i., p. 468.
* Maja, Maia, or Maya. cf. the Tahitian maia, "a midwife," and : Maori maea, "to emerge."
* "Troy and its Remains," Schliemann, p. 103.
* The Malay, who has many Sanscrit words (most of late introduction with the Brahminical, Buddhistic, etc., religions), calls the thunder [unclear: g] This word is probably akin to the Tongan gulu, "to make a muttering grumbling sound;" in New Zealand Maori, nguru, "to rumble." [unclear: If] Malay guruh is akin to the Sanscrit gulu, "great," "extended," it [unclear: be] some relation to the ✓tan, "stretched out," which philologists say [unclear: is] origin of the thunder-words in Aryan. (See Skeat, "Ety. Dict.," p. 75 "Science of Thought," Max Müller, App.) Tangi, the Maori [unclear: word] wail, lament," is in the Tongan tagi, "to lament," but tagitagi is [unclear: "stret] out to the uttermost."
† "Man before Metals," p. 189.
If we consider this arani symbol as a fact, we shall find significance in the words of Sir H. Rawlinson,‡ when he says: "The primitive meaning of ar was 'fire.' . . . The Aryans generally appear to have been sun-or fire-worshippers, and probably they received their name from the fact. This would seem more probable than the ordinary derivation from the root ar, 'to plough;' and it would include the sense of 'noble' preferred by Mr. Peile, 'children of the sun' being usually a special title of the priestly or royal caste."
Can we find these Arani in Polynesia? I will take the evidence of the late M. Lesson.§ He, quoting P. A. Lesson in the "Voyage aux Iles Mangareva," says that it is idle to attempt to give a date for the establishment of the Polynesian race on these islands. They report themselves as "a colony of immigrants descended from a great people called Arani." Who were these Arani from whom the Polynesians were descended? Is it certain that there is no connection between them and the Aryan users of the Arani "fire-symbol?"
* I would direct the attention of Maori scholars to the fact (doubtless a very natural one) that the same idea of kindling the divine spark and of sexual reproduction obtains among the Maori races. Hika, the word meaning "to kindle fire by friction," also means "coitus," or did formerly possess this meaning. As an example, I may adduce the old legend of the arrival of the Tainui canoe in the Great Migration. [See Govt, pamphlet, G. 8,1880 : J. White.] The immigrant Maoris were unable to drag the canoe across the portage at Otahuhu, because the gods were angry on account of a sin committed by Marama, one of the chief women of the canoe, with her slave. The others did not know the cause of the canoe remaining immovable until the chieftainess chanted a song in which occurred the words: "Turuturu mai ra te wai o te hika o Marama," a phrase by which, says the native narrator (Hoani Nahe, M.H.R.), her offence became known. Compare also ahi, "fire," and ai, "coitus."
† It is acknowledged that there is no certain derivation for "swastika." If the Maori, as I believe, has kept more truly than any others to the old Aryan or pre-Aryan speech, the meaning may be as follows :—The Maori, like the Persians, do not use the sibilant: swastika, without the two s letters, would be whatika : that is, in Maori, whati, "bent at an angle, or elbow," and ka, "to kindle fire." The swastika was a fire-kindling cross, with ends bent at angles.
‡ "Jour. Anth. Soc.," vol. i., p. 366.
§ "Les Polynésiens," vol. ii., p. 268.