Tawhaki

At an early age Tawhaki showed that he inherited from his mother supernatural powers and that he was in touch with the gods; the elder brother was simply an earthly chief and was obscured by his illustrious brother.

The early childhood of the two boys was pleasantly spent with their cousins and other children playing games.

As all the children grew, new games were invented and Tawhaki always asked his mother how to win at the games thus winning all the games his cousins would play.

One day after a long losing streak his cousins were so vexed and jealous that they fell upon him and stunned him, so that they thought he was dead, and buried him in the sand.

But his mother, knowing at once what had happened went to the spot where he lay and resuscitated him.

When questioned about the matter he tried to screen his cousins.

So, it happened that as Tawhaki grew up he excelled in everything he did; and that out of spite and jealousy his cousins often used violence upon his person and left him as dead just as often his mother rescued him and restored him to life and he never complained.

When Tawhaki was still a youth, his mother imparted to him all her magikal powers which he received by opening his mouth over the crown of her head, and then he felt prompted to do great deeds and travel, which his mother let him do with suitable men.

At length Tawhaki reached man's estate.

A great red man was he modelled by the gods.

He had bright curly auburn hair, his head and shoulders towered above all other men in Tahiti, his hands were large and strong and his fingernails were long and pointed.

He became famous throughout the land for his wisdom and skill in all he did.

Without tuition he excelled in every art of his time, and his bravery and generosity won for him the respect and love of all in Tahiti, so that he was elected Toa Upo’o Tu –chief warrior- by all the warrior chief's contemporary with him.

Some years had elapsed after the travels of Tawhaki when the fame reached Tahiti of Te ‘ura i te rai -redness of the sky-, a beautiful princess in south Havai’i, who was to be obtained as a wife only by some valiant hero.

The cousins of Tawhaki and the five sons of his uncle Pu a’a ri’i tahi, decided to go as aspirants for her hand, so they prepared a double Waka for that purpose.

Tawhaki told his mother that he wanted to go also, and so she took a coconut blossom sheath and laid it upon the sea, and it developed into a beautiful single Waka, which they named Niu, and which was soon made ready for the voyage.

His mother told him that his ancestral shark, Tere Mahia Ma Hiva -speedy travelling with fleet-, would accompany him, and that he should address it as his guardian ancestor, which he agreed to do.

The two Waka set out together.

The double one was well manned with crew, and the single one had Tawhaki alone, escorted by the faithful shark, and it soon went on ahead of the others.

Finally, when the five brothers approached the shores of Havai’i they saw awaiting them their cousin Tawhaki who was the first to greet them on landing.

The royal family of south Havai’i was soon apprised of the arrival of the young chiefs who had come to offer themselves to the princess, and they were well received by them.

In the course of a few days the prowess of the young Tahitians was put to the test, and the beautiful princess was herself chosen to be umpire for them.

They were all girded and armed with spears for the encounter.

First, they were told to pull up by the roots an ‘awa tree which was possessed by a demon, and which had caused the death of all who had attempted to disturb it.

Each man was to come forward according to his age.

Beginning with the eldest, Te ura i te rai said: “O Arihi nui apua o Tahiti, come and pull up this ‘awa, and chew it to drink and intoxicate Havai’i”.

He went forward and thrust his spear in the stump of the tree, which like a living thing immediately darted forth its roots like a spear piercing and killing him.

Then came forth the second brother, Taoeapua, who met with the same fate, and so it was with the three older brothers, Orooro i pua, Temata tauia ia ro’o, and Temata a’ara’i.

Seeing that they were all dead, the princess said to her parents; “That will do perhaps?”

But the parents replied that the last man must try.

Then it was the turn of Tawhaki and the princess said; “O Tawhaki pause!"

"Tawhaki with red skin, who raised up Hawai’i, born to Hema, my sympathies! Come and pull up this ‘awa, and chew it to drink and intoxicate Havai’i.”

The noble red giant advanced undaunted and thrust his spear at arm's length into the stump of the ‘awa.

As the roots moved forward to pierce him, he held tight the end of his spear, and they twisted around it like the arms of a devil fish, while he pushed the spear farther and farther into the taproot until the whole plant yielded.

He drew it out, raised it still attached to the spear, beat and bruised the roots until they became powerless, and laid it down.

Then he turned to his cousins lying lifeless upon the ground, and to the amazement of all the spectators he restored them to life.

Soon the Tahitians were ready to make the drink from the ‘awa roots, and as it was customary to have a feast on such an occasion, they asked for a pig and necessary accompaniments.

To this the royal family willingly agreed, and a pig they were to have was the renowned Mo’iri, a monster that swallowed live things whole and whose fame had long ago reached Tahiti.

They slaying of this monster was to be the last test of dexterity the young men were to be put; and they were to advance again according to their ages.

So, the young men, girded for the encounter, stood with their spears, and with sennit in their hands to tie the pig.

The princess called out: “O Mo’iri, be sennit bound!”

Then rushing out of the woods, amid a cloud of dust, came the terrible snorting and grunting monster.

As the first champion dashed forward to catch the feet and throw the pig down, he was swallowed whole, and one after the other his brothers shared the same fate, their spears making no impression upon the thick hide of the animal.

But as Tawhaki advanced, he thrust his spear down into the throat of the pig as it opened its great jaws to swallow him.

The pig was slain, and immediately Tawhaki caused it to render up his cousins, whom he once more restored to life.

A great shout of applause rent the air, and Tawhaki was unanimously acknowledged to be the greatest hero the Havai’i’a had ever seen.

The pig was the principle feature of the great feast that followed, and all ate of it.

The ‘awa that the Tahitians made was pronounced as excellent and it rejoiced the hearts of the drinkers.

Finally, the time came for the hero of the day to claim his bride.

The king and queen looked expectantly at Tawhaki and the princess, who had conceived great admiration for him and was willing to give him his hand.

But what was their surprise when in the name of himself and his cousins he bade them all farewell, saying: “Now fare you well, we are returning to our own land.”

The Havai’i people realised that they had offended the Tahitians by their rigid treatment, and they could not prevail upon their visitors to change their purpose.

Soon the Tahitians departed the same way they had come. When they returned home after their fruitless errand the Tahitians no longer aspired to seeking famed beauties of other lands, but took suitable wives from among their own country woman.

Tawhaki married a fine young high-ranking woman of North Tahiti named Hine Maikuku Makaha Piri Piri, famed for her beautiful raven hair, which when let loose, flowed down in waves to her feet and covered her graceful form; and their attachment for each other was strong and lasting.

One day Tawhaki went with his four brothers in law to fish from a flat reef of rocks which ran far out into the sea; when two of his in laws tired from fishing returned towards their village he went with them; when they drew near the village, they attempted to murder him, and thinking they had slain him, buried him; they then went on their way to the village where their young sister asked after her husband, and they replied he was still fishing.

Hine waited until the other brothers came back and she asked after Tawhaki and they informed her he had come home long since with the other brothers.

Hine suspected that they had killed her husband, and ran off at once to search for him; and she found where he had been buried, and on examining him ascertained that he had only been knocked insensible and was not quite dead; then with great difficulty she got him upon her back, and carried him home to their house, and carefully washed his wounds, and staunched the bleeding.

Tawhaki, when he had a little recovered, said to her; “fetch some wood, and light a fire for me;” and as Hine was going to do this, he said to her; “if you see any tall tree growing near you, fell it, and bring that with you for the fire.”

Hine went and saw a tree growing such as her husband spoke of; so, she felled it and put it upon her shoulder and brought it along with her.

When she reached the house, she put the whole tree upon the fire without chopping it into pieces; and it was this circumstance that led her to give the name of Wahieroa –long log of wood for fire- to their first son, for Tawhaki had told her to bring this log of wood home, and to call the child after it, that the duty of avenging his father's wrongs might often be called to his mind.

As soon as Tawhaki had recovered from his wounds, he left the place where his faithless brothers in law lived, and went away taking all his own warriors and their families with him, and built a fortified village upon the top of a very lofty mountain where he could easily protect himself.

It was not long before Tawhaki and his eldest brother Arihi Nui Apua went to seek revenge for the death of their father and the kidnapping of their mother.

It was the Ponaturi race whom had carried out these deeds.

The country they inhabited was underneath the waters, but they had a large house on the dry land to which they resorted to sleep at night; the name of that house was Manawa Taane.

Tawhaki and Arihi went upon their way to seek out that place and to revenge themselves upon them.

At length they reached a place from whence they could see the house called Manawa Taane.

At the time they arrived near the house there was no one there but their mother who was sitting near the door; but the bones of their father were hung up inside the house under its high sloping roof.

The whole tribe of the Ponaturi were at the time in their country under the waters, but at the approach of night they would return to their house, to Manawa Taane.

Whilst Tawhaki and Arihi were coming along still at a great distance from the house, Tawhaki began to repeat an incantation, and the bones of his father felt the influence of this, and rattled loudly together where they hung for gladness, for they knew that the hour of revenge had now come.

As the brothers drew nearer, their mother heard the voice of Tawhaki, and she wept for gladness in front of her children, who came repeating incantations upon their way.

When they reached at length the house, they wept over their mother.

When they had ended weeping, their mother said to them: “my children hasten to return hence, or you will certainly perish”.

“The people here are a fierce and savage race.”

Arihi said to her: “How long will the sun have descended when those you speak of return home?”

And she replied: “They will return here when the sun sinks beneath the ocean.”

Then Arihi asked her: “What did they keep you alive for?”

And she answered: “they keep me alive that I might watch for the rising of dawn; they make me ever sit watching here at the door of the house, hence this people have named me Tatau -door-; and they keep on throughout the night calling out to me; Ho Tatau there! Is it dawn yet?”

And then I will call out in answer: “no, no, it is deep night, it is lasting night, it is still night; compose yourselves to sleep, sleep on.”

Arihi then said to his mother; “Cannot we hide ourselves somewhere here?”

Their mother answered: “You had better return; you cannot hide yourselves here, the scent of you will be perceived by them.”

But Arihi said, “We will hide ourselves away in the thick thatch of the house.”

Their mother however answered; “Tis of no use, you cannot hide yourselves there.”

All this time Tawhaki sat quite silent; but Arihi said, “We will hide ourselves here, for we know incantations which will render us invisible to all.”

On hearing this, their mother consented to their remaining, and attempting to avenge their father’s death.

So they climbed up to the ridge pole of the house, upon the outside of the roof, and made holes in the thick layers of reeds which formed the thatch of the roof, and crept into them and covered themselves up; and their mother called to them, saying; “when it draws near dawn, come down again and stop up every chink in the house, so that no single ray of light may shine in.”

At length the day closed, and the sun sunk below the horizon, and the whole of that strange tribe left the water in a body, and ascended to the dry land; and, in according to their custom from time immemorial, they sent one of their number in front of them, that he might carefully examine the road, and see that there were no hidden foes lying in wait for them either on the way or in the house.

As soon as this scout arrived at the threshold of the house, he perceived the scent of Tawhaki and Arihi; so, he lifted up his nose and turned sniffing all-round the inside of the house.

As he turned about, he was on the point of discovering that strangers were hidden there, when the rest of the tribe -whom long security had made careless- came hurrying on and crowding into the house in thousands, so that from the denseness of the crowd the scent of the strange men was quite lost.

The Ponaturi then stowed themselves away in the house until it was entirely filled up with them, and by degrees they arranged themselves in convenient places, and at length all fell fast asleep.

At midnight, Tawhaki and Arihi stole down from the roof of the house and found their mother had crept out the door to meet them, so they sat just outside whispering together.

Arihi then asked his mother: “which was the best way for us to destroy these people?” and their mother replied;“you had better let the sun kill them; its rays will destroy them.”

Having said this Tatau crept into the house again; presently an old man called out to her: “ho Tatau, Tatau, there; is it dawn yet?” and she answered; “No, no, it is deep night, it is lasting night; ‘tis still night; sleep soundly on.”

When it was very near dawn, Tatau whispered to her children: “see that every chink in the doorway and window is stopped, so that not a ray of light can penetrate here.”

Presently another old man of the Ponaturi called out again: “ho Tatau there, is it not near dawn yet?” and she replied: “No, no, it is deep night, it is lasting night; ‘tis still night; sleep soundly, sleep on."

This was the second time that Tatau had thus called out to them.

At last dawn had broken and the sun shone brightly upon the earth and rose high in the heavens; and the old man again called out: “ho Tatau there; is it not dawn yet?” and she answered; “yes!” and then she called out to her children; “Be quick, pull out the things with which you have stopped up the window and the door!”

So they pulled them out, and the bright rays of the sun came streaming into the house, and the whole of the Ponaturi perished before the light; they perished not by the hand of man, but withered before the sun's rays.

When the Ponaturi had been all destroyed, Arihi and Tawhaki carefully took down their father's bones from the roof of the house, and burnt them with fire, the bodies of their enemies were also burnt inside the house of Manawa Taane; they then returned again to their own country, taking with them their mother and carefully carrying the bones of their father.

On returning home Tawhaki found to his great grief that Hine was dead.

She had just suddenly died, and her body, still warm, was lying in a state upon an altar in the ancestral Marae, guarded by the priests and elders of the family.

Soon, in his sorrow, he determined to contend for her even with the gods!

So, he enquired of the priest whither her spirit had fled, and he told Tawhaki that it had left their sacred precincts and was now with the spirits of other departed ones at Tataa about twenty miles west of ‘Uporu, which was their rendezvous on Tahiti before taking flight for Paradise or Rarohenga in Havai’i.

Tawhaki lost no time in seizing his great paddle and launching out into the sea his Waka Niu; and then he swiftly darted over the smooth water within the friendly reef and arrived at Pa’ea just at dusk, the right time to meet the souls departing.

There he found his wife’s spirit had left some time before for Mount Rotui on Mo’orea, whither the spirits went to take their final departure for Te Mehanui in Havai’i, which was the last place whence they could return to this world.

Onwards he sped across the channel to Mount Rotui, towering steep and high into the clouds, and soon he was upon its summit.

But there too he found that his lost Hine had gone on some time before!

With unshakeable purpose, Tawhaki descended the mountain and again took to his Waka, and in the dim light of the waning moon, aided by a favourable breeze, he made his Waka almost fly across the wide channel that separates the windward islands from the leeward group.

Then he took the shortest route up to Te Mehanui and he did not stop until he arrived at the spot on the mountain plateau where the roads radiated, one to the cliff on the right called the ‘stone of life’, from which spirits ascended to Rohutu No’ano’a, somewhere up in cloudland above the highest mountains of Ra’iatea and the other to the cone on the left, from which then descended down in the yawning crater of Te Mehanui, which led to Te Poo.

The moon was almost setting and the morning star was heralding the day when Tawhaki arrived at that place and was met by the God Tutahoroa -stand to permit-, who guarded the roads.

Tawhaki inquired if Hine, his wife had passed by and to his great relief the God replied that she had not yet come.

But he told Tawhaki to be quick and conceal himself in the bushes in a precipitous nook close by and that he must rest to gain strength for his undertaking to capture her in flight, as that was the last place whence spirits could be recalled to this world.

Breathlessly Tawhaki seated himself in his hiding place, and just as he recovered breath from his last exertions, he heard leaves rustling a little way off, and the God told him to be ready, as Hine had just arrived.

Soon Tawhaki perceived the tall, familiar form of his wife with her hair streaming down her back, and as she arrived upon the ridge of the rock by which he stood, she drew back as she scented a human being.

Just as she was about to ascend into the air to fly to the stone of life, where she would have escaped him, he made a desperate leap up onto the ledge and into the air catching her flowing hair with his long fingernails.

Hine struggled to be released, as she was intent on going to the spirit world, but her husband held her fast, and when Tutahoroa told her that her time had not yet come to leave this world, she was prevailed upon to remain longer with her husband.

So, they returned to ‘Uporu, and as soon as Hine re-entered her body, which was still well preserved, and opened her mortal eyes, there was great rejoicing in their home and in all the district over for the safe return of Tawhaki and Hine from the border of the spirit world.

The fame of Tawhaki, and a report on his manly beauty, chanced to reach the ears of a young maiden of the heavenly race who lived high 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 separated from Hine lying sound asleep, and after gazing on him for some time, she stole to his side and laid herself down by him.

He when disturbed by her, thought that it was only some female of this lower world, and slept again; but before dawn, the young maiden 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, but in vain, he could nowhere find the young maiden.

From that time Tangotango, the maiden 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 his world with him, deserting for his sake, her friends and family above; and he discovered that she who had so loved him belonged to the race whose home is in the heavens.

Whilst living with him, this maiden of the heavenly race, his second wife, said to him: “Oh Tawhaki, if our child so shortly now to be born, should prove a son, I will wash the little thing before it is baptised; but if it should prove a girl, then you shall wash her.”

When the time come Tangotango had a little girl, and before she was baptised Tawhaki took her to a spring to wash her, and afterwards held it away from him as if she smelt badly and said; “Faugh, how badly the little thing smells”.

Then Tangotango, when she heard this said of her own dear little baby, 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 moment 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.” Tangotango replied: “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 it fibers into the earth.

“Then she floated up into the air, and vanished from 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 elder brother Arihi saying: ‘Oh brother, shall we go search for my little girl?” and Arihi consented, saying: “Yes, let us go.”

So, they departed, taking two slaves with them.

When they reached the pathway along which they intended to travel, Tawhaki said to the two slaves who were accompanying himself and his brother: “you two being un-consecrated persons must be careful when we come to the place where the road passes the fortress of Tongameha, not to look up at it, for it is enchanted, and some evil will befall you if you do.”

They then went along the road, and when they came to the place mentioned by Tawhaki, one of the slaves looked up at the fortress, and his eye was immediately torn out by the magikal arts of Tongameha and he perished.

Tawhaki and Arihi then went upon the road accompanied by only one salve.

They at last reached the spot where the ends of the vines which hung down from heaven reached the earth, and they there found an old woman who was quite blind.

She was appointed to take care of the vines and she sat at the place where they touched the earth, and held the ends of one of them in her hands.

This old lady was at the moment employed in counting some Taro roots, which she was about to have cooked, and as she was blind, she was not aware of the strangers who stole quietly and silently up to her.

There were ten Taro roots lying in a heap before her. She began to count them, "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine."

Just at this moment Tawhaki quietly slipped away the tenth, the old lady felt everywhere for it, but she could not find it.

She thought she must have made some mistake, and so began to count her roots over again very carefully.

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight."

Just then Tawhaki slipped away the ninth.

She was now quite surprised so she counted them over again quite slowly, "one, two, three, four, five, six , seven, eight;" and as she could not find the two that were missing, she at last guessed that somebody was playing a trick upon her, so she pulled her weapon out, which she always sat upon to keep it safe, and standing up turned round, feeling about her as she moved, to try if she could find Tawhaki and Arihi; but they very gently stooped down to the ground and lay close there, so that the weapon passed over them, and she could not feel anybody; when she had thus swept her weapon all round her, she sat down put it under her again.

Arihi then struck her a blow upon the face, and she, quite frightened, threw her hands to her face, pressing them on the place where she had been struck, and crying out: “oh!"

"Who did that?”

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.

When the old lady had finished weeping over them, she asked; “Where are you going to?” and Tawhaki answered; “I go to seek my little girl.”

Then she replied; “But what made her go up there to the skies?” and Tawhaki answered: “Her mother came from heaven."

"She was the daughter of Whatitiri Matakataka.”

The old lady pointed to the vines and said to them; “Up there, then, lies your road; but do not begin the ascent so late in the day, wait until tomorrow, for the morning, and then commence to climb up.”

Tawhaki consented to follow this good advice, and called out to his slave: “Cook some food for us.”

The slave began at once to cook food, and when it was dressed, they all partook of it and slept there that night.

At first peep of dawn Tawhaki called out to his slave; “Cook some food for us, that we may have strength to undergo the fatigues of this great journey.”

When their meal was finished, Tawhaki took his slave, and presented him to the old woman, as an acknowledgement for her great kindness to them.

The old woman called out to him as he was starting; “there lies the ascent before you, lay fast hold of the vine with your hands, and climb on; but when you get midway between heaven and earth, take care not to look down upon this lower world again, lest you become charmed and giddy, and fall down.

Take care also that you do not by mistake lay hold of a vine which swings loose; but rather lay hold of the one which hanging down from above, has again firmly struck root into the earth.”

Just at that moment Arihi made a spring at the vines to catch them, and by mistake caught hold of a loose one, and away he swung to the very edge of the horizon, but a blast of wind blew forth from thence and drove him back to the other side of the skies; on reaching that point, another strong wind swept him right up heavenwards and down again he was blown again by currents of the air above; then just as he reached near the earth again, Tawhaki called out; “Now my brother, loose your hands: now is the time!” and he did so, and, lo, he stood upon the earth once more; and the two brothers wept together over his narrow escape from destruction.

And when they had ceased lamenting, Tawhaki, who was alarmed least any disaster should overtake his elder brother, said to him: “It is my desire that you should return home to take care of our families and our dependents.”

Thereupon Arihi at once returned to the village of their tribe, as his youngest brother directed him.

Tawhaki now began to climb the ascent to heaven, and his grandmother called out to him as he went up; “Hold fast my child; let your hands hold tight.”

And Tawhaki made use of and kept repeating a powerful Karakia as he climbed up to the heavens to preserve him from the dangers of that difficult and terrible road.

At length he reached the heavens and pulled himself up into them, and then by enchantments he disguised himself, and changed his handsome and noble appearance and assumed the likeness of a very ugly old man, and he followed the road he had first struck upon and entered a dense forest into which it ran, and still followed it until he came to a place in the forest where his brothers in law, with a party of their people, were hewing Waka from the trunks of trees; and they saw him, and little thinking who he was, called out: “Here’s an old fellow will make a nice slave for us.”

But Tawhaki went quietly on, and when he reached them, he sat down with the people who were working at the Waka.

It now drew near evening, and his brothers in law finished their work, and called out to him; “Ho! Old fellow, there! You just carry these heavy axes home for us will you!”

He at once consented to do this, and they gave him the axes.

The old man then said to them; “You go on in front, do not mind, I am old, heavy laden, I cannot travel fast.”

So, they started off, the old man following slowly behind.

When his brothers in law and their people were all out of sight, he turned back to the Waka, and taking an axe just adzed the Waka rapidly along from bow to the stern, and lo, one side of the Waka was finished.

Then he took the adze again, and run it rapidly along the other side of the Waka from bow to stern, and lo, that side also was finished.

He then walked quietly along the road again like an old man, carrying the axes with him, and went on for some time without seeing anything; but when he drew near the village, he found two woman from the village in the forest gathering firewood, and as soon as they saw him one of them observed to her companion; "I say here is a curious looking old fellow, is he not?” and her companion exclaimed; “He shall be our slave.”

To which the first answered: "make him carry the firewood for us then.”

So, they took Tawhaki, and laid a load of firewood upon his back, and made him carry that as well as the axes.

So was this mighty chief treated as a slave, even by the female slaves.

When they all reached the village, the two-woman called out: “We’ve caught us an old man for a slave.”

Then Tangotango exclaimed in reply: “That’s right bring him along with you then; he’ll do for us all.”

Little did his wife Tangotango think that he the slave they were so insulting and whom she was talking about in such a way, was her own husband Tawhaki.

When Tawhaki saw Tangotango sitting at the fire place near the upper end of the house with their little girl, he went straight up to the place, and all the persons present tried to stop him, calling out” “Ho! Ho! Take care what you are doing; do not go there; you will become Tapu from sitting near Tangotango.”

But the old man, without minding them, went rapidly straight on, and carried his load of fire wood right up to the very fire of Tangotango.

Then they all said; “There, the old fellow is Tapu, it is his own fault.”

But Tangotango had not the least idea that this was Tawhaki; and yet here they were, her husband and herself seated, the one upon the one side, the other upon the opposite side of the very same fire.

They all stopped in the house until the sun rose next morning; then at daybreak, his brothers in law called out to him; “Holla! old man, you bring the axes along, do you here.”

So, the old man took up the axes, and started with them, and they all went off together to the forest to work at dubbing out their Waka.

When they reached them, and the brothers in law saw the Waka which Tawhaki had worked at they looked at it with astonishment saying;“Why, the Waka is not as we left it; who can have been working on it?”

At last when their wonder was somewhat abated, they all sat down and set to work again to dub out another Waka, and worked until evening when they called out to the old man as on the previous one; “Holla! Old fellow, come here and carry the axes back to the village again.”

As before, he said yes, and when they started he remained behind and after the others were all out of sight he took an axe, and began again to adze away at the Waka they had been working at; and having finished his work he returned again to the village, and once more walked straight up to the fire of Tangotango and remained there until the sun rose upon the next morning.

When they were all going at early dawn to work at their Waka as usual, they again called out to Tawhaki; “Holla! Old man, just bring these axes along with you,” and the old man went patiently and silently along with them carrying the axes on his shoulder.

When they reached the Waka, they were about to work at, the brothers in law were quite astonished on seeing it and shouted out; “Why, here again, this Waka, too, is not at all as it was when we left it; who can have been at work at it?”

Having wondered at this for some time, they at length sat down and set to again dub out another Waka and labored away until evening, when a thought came into their minds that they would hide themselves in the forest, and wait to see who it was came every evening to work at their Waka; and Tawhaki overheard them arranging this plan.

They therefore started as if they were going home, and when they had got a little way, they turned off the path on one side and hid themselves in the thick clumps of bushes in a place from whence they could see the Waka.

Then Tawhaki, going a little way back into the forest stripped off his old cloaks, and threw them on one side, and then repeating the necessary Karakia he put off his disguise and took again his own appearance and made himself look noble and handsome, and commenced his work at the Waka.

Then his brothers in law, when they saw him so employed, said one to the other; “Ah, that must be the old man whom we made a slave of who is working away at our Waka.”

But again, they called on to another and said; “Come here, come here, just watch, why he is not in the least like that old man whom we made a slave of.”

Then they said among themselves; “This must be a Demi God;” and without showing themselves to him they ran off to the village, and as soon as they reached it they asked their sister Tangotango to describe her husband for them; and as she described his appearance as well as she could representing him just like the man they had seen; and they said to her; “Yes, that must be he; he is exactly like him you have described to us.”

Their sister replied: “Then that chief must certainly be your brother in law.”

Just at this moment Tawhaki reappeared at the village having again disguised himself and changed his appearance into that of an ugly old man.

But Tangotango immediately questioned him saying; “Now tell me who you are?”

Tawhaki made no reply, but walked straight on towards her.

She asked him again; “Tell me are you Tawhaki?”

He murmured humph in assent, still walking on until he reached the side of his wife, and then he snatched up his little daughter, and, holding her fast in his arms, pressed her to his heart.

The persons present all rushed out of the court yard of the house to the neighboring courtyards, for the whole place was made tapu by Tawhaki, and murmurs of gratification and surprise arose from the people upon every side at the splendor of his appearance, for in the days when he had been among them as an old man his figure was very different from the resplendent aspect which he presented on this day.

Then he decided to rest with his wife, and said to her; “I came here that our little daughter might be made to undergo the ceremonies usual for the children of nobles, to secure them good fortune and happiness in this life;” and Tangotango consented.

When the morning sun arose, they broke out an opening through the end of the house opposite to the door, that the little girls rank might be seen by her being carried out that way instead of through the usual entrance; and they repeated the prescribed karakia when she was carried through the wall out of the house.

The Karakia being finished, lightning’s flashed from the arm pits of Tawhaki, then they carried the little girl to the water and plunged her into it, and repeated a baptismal Karakia over her.

Tawhaki is said to still dwell in the heavens and thunder and lightning are said to be caused by his footsteps when he moves.

© Copyright 2007-2020 Auturoa - All Rights Reserved.