The Far Lands

JAMES NORMAN HALL has made his home in the South Seas since 1920. Together with his dearest friend, Charles Nordhoff, both veterans of the Lafayette Escadrille, he migrated to Tahiti in search of a quiet place to write, and there their literary partnership took root and flourished. As he learned the language and came to know the natives, Hall’s imagination was challenged by these questions: Where did the Polynesians come from? How, in the dawn of history, had they ever traversed the enormous spaces of the Pacific to find these remote and peaceful atolls? From the legends and folklore and from his thirty years’ experience in Papeete, Hall has re-created this great adventure in a novel, the main episodes of which are to be serialized in the Atlantic.

IN the austral summer of the year 1921, I was voyaging in a sixty-ton trading schooner amongst “The Cloud of Islands,” more commonly known as the Tuamotu Archipelago: seventy-four lagoon islands scattered over a thousand miles of the eastern Pacific below the equator; the most distant from any continent of all the islands on the globe. I was then a newcomer in the Pacific and fell under an island enchantment thatremains to this day.

On the occasion mentioned it was my good fortune to be traveling with Captain Winnie Brander, whose father’s establishment, the House of Brander, had once been the only important commercial and trading company in the eastern Pacific, with interests extending as far as Rapa-Nui, the Easter Island of the mysterious stone images.

“Captain Winnie,”as everyone called him, was a true Polynesian in character, although in appearance he looked more like a European than an islander. He must have received a greater share of his mother’s island blood: that of the old ariki, the class of chiefs and kings. The remnants of the Brander fortune had long since vanished and he earned a modest living as an independent trader whose home was the broad-beamed, weatherbeaten little vessel in which I was traveling.

On this particular afternoon we were beating up against a fresh southeast wind toward a lagoon island, the tops of its coconut palms barely visible above the horizon. The schooner was equipped with an ancient Fairbanks-Morse engine, but Captain Winnie was compelled to be frugal with gasoline and the engine was used only for entering or leaving the lagoons of those islands that had a passage to the sea, or for standing off and on beyond the reefs of those which had not. The island we were approaching had such a pass, but Winnie told me that because of several coral shoals above the surface of the water it was a difficult one to enter at night. “But they will have seen us coming,”he added. “The chief will have men alongshore to light us in.”

The breeze died away after sunset when we were still some distance out, and as we closed with the land, the passage could be clearly seen a wide strip of starlit water. A moment later came bursts of flame from either side, revealing men, naked save for their loincloths, holding flares of dry palm fronds above their heads. The ruddy light was reflected with spectacular effect from the surf piling over the reefs, the quiet water of the passage, and from their brown bodies which stood out in clear relief against the dark background of the land. No hail was given either from the schooner or the men on shore as we entered the passage, and as soon as we were safely through, the torches were extinguished and the men holding them vanished, as though they had been given reality for the moment only, and for that particular service.

Copyright 1950, by The Atlantic Monthly Company, Boston 16, Mass. All rights reserved.

The thunder of the surf along the outer reefs seemed only to deepen the silence which the land enclosed; it could not disturb the peace within them, as flawless as the surface of the lagoon, bright with the reflections of the stars. The anchor —at the end of a rope, not a chain — splashed into the lagoon and the ripples moved outward in circles of white fire. A moment later the deck chair alongside my own creaked faintly as Captain Winnie lowered himself into it with a sigh of content. Barefoot, he moved as silently as a shadow about the decks of his little ship; often the slight creaking of his chair gave me the first intimation of his presence.

“All snug, now,” he remarked. “I love this place. I don’t care how long we lie here.”

Presently the stillness of the night was broken by a clear lonely call that seemed to come from horizons beyond horizons. The peace and beauty of mid-ocean had been given a human voice . . . But no; it seemed rather to be that of some wandering spirit of the sea itself, giving a listener, if there should be one, a means to measure infinite silence by. It sent little shivers running up and down my spine.

I turned to the captain. “What in the world was that ? ” I asked.

“Some fisherman out there,”he replied. “He’s made a good catch, very likely.”

“ What was it ?”

“ The fish?” said Winnie. “How should I know?”

“Not that,” I replied. “The call. What’s the meaning of it ?

Winnie sat up in his chair, turned to peer briefly at me, and leaned back once more without replying. Then he said: “Hall, many thanks.”

“ For what ?” I asked.

“For having been stirred by the call we heard just now. For giving me a whiff of the emotion I used to feel upon hearing it years ago. I shouldn’t wonder if it’s as old as the Polynesian race,” he continued. “One still hears it in some of the songs handed down from the times of their remote ancestors. It may have been heard all of a thousand years ago when they were making their great voyages eastward, pushing farther and farther into the Pacific in search for new lands.”

“Where did the Polynesians come from in the first place?” I asked.

Winnie was silent for some time. Presently he said: “I’ve spent many a day on many an island dreaming out for myself the history, in its barest outlines, of the Polynesians of centuries ago. I begin to see them, to my own satisfaction at least, as a hardy, intelligent, adventurous folk who, having been landsmen, eventually become seamen. I picture them as they first venture out from the Asiatic mainland, and hear the slow ticking of the centuries as they pass through and beyond the archipelagos and island continents of the western Pacific—the crude little craft of their ancestors are in the process of becoming the great outrigger and double-hulled sailing ships, miscalled ‘canoes,’ in which they push farther and farther eastward into the unknown sea. I see them in clans and fragments of clans — men, women, and children crowded into the ships together, with their pigs and fowls and dogs, with food-bearing plants and young trees carefully preserved to be set out in lands they hope to find. I hear them singing their ancient songs to give them heart and hope as they ‘lift up the sky’ horizon beyond horizon. Some find the empty sea before them . . . until the last one has perished. Others reach lands where they remain, for greater or lesser periods — building up their numbers once more, leaving scattered colonies of their blood behind them, but the more hardy and adventurous still sailing on in the direction of the rising sun. Guided by the sun by day, the moon and the stars at night —sailing close-hauled when needs must, or running free before the westerly winds that blow during the austral summer — they pass far beyond the limits of the world known to men of their time; until, centuries before Magellan was born, they had discovered and peopled the remotest islands and archipelagos of the eastern Pacific.”

Captain Winnie was deeply stirred while telling me this.

“What men they must have been!” I said. “What splendid seamen!”

“Perhaps I should not say this, being half Polynesian myself,” Winnie replied; “but in my opinion they were the greatest race of seafaring folk known in the long annals of the sea. If given their due, Pacific would be called by one of their own ancient names for it; Te-Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa, perhaps— the Great Sea of kiwa. It was their sea long before it was ours.”

“What could have impelled them fo make such voyages?” I asked. “The mere hope of finding lands ? Or did war have something to do with it ? ”

“ Undoubtedly,”said Winnie. “The ancient Polynesians were akin to other races in their love of war. Powerful clans amongst them worshiped the god of war in one form or another. Among these was Koro, or Oro, so powerful throughout eastern Polynesia when the islands were discovered by Europeans. And then, aside from war but often the cause of it, was the smallness of many of the lands found and the resulting scarcity of food for increasing populations. Some were compelled to go elsewhere in search for new lands, and it was not always or necessarily the weaker. As I have said, they were a great seafaring folk; the love of exploration was in their bones and blood.”

Captain Winnie fell silent for a time. Presently he said: “Once, while trying to piece together some shards, so to speak, of our ancient history, I caught a glimpse through the mists that stirred me profoundly. It was a saying, or proverb; it might well have been a fragment of ancient belief: ‘Life is sacred to Tané. Men shall not kill.’”

“I don’t wonder that you were stirred,” I said. “Do you think it possible that some of the ancient Polynesians were lovers of peace?”

“Why not?” Winnie replied. “In every age there have been men who loathed war. The Polynesians could not have been exceptional in this respect. I believe that some of their great voyages eastward over the Sea of Kiwa were led by men who, with their followers, were lovers of peace, searching for lands where they and their descendants might live, forever beyond the reach of Koro and of those who worshiped him. Unlike the search for peace in our day in a world completely known and exploited, their quest would have been one in terms of space, for the Great Sea of Kiwa was supposed to be measureless.”

“That is a fascinating possibility,”I said. “If there were such lovers of peace do you think it possible that some of them could have reached lands where they were able to enjoy it in complete security, and their descendants after them?”

“I will tell you the story of such a clan,” Winnie replied. “But you are not to question me too closely as to how I succeeded in piecing together the fragments of legend and folklore to make a connected tale of them. Imagine that you are hearing the tale from some present-day descendant of the clan concerned in it. For anything I know to the contrary I may be one. I belong to the Teva Clan, but I will call these folk the Tongans.”


AS FAR back as memory goes the Tongans had sailed in the direction of the rising sun, searching for the Far Lands of Maui; for they were lovers of peace and those lands had been promised them by Tane, the god whom they worshiped. At the time of this story the search had brought them to the Land of Kurapo. Of the voyage which ended there nothing is known except that they sailed trom a land far to the west, in nine ships carrying more than eight hundred persons. Three of these ships were lost on the voyage. Two others, whether lost or not, became separated from the fleet and were seen no more. In the four ships that reached Kurapo were four hundred and twenty persons.

These few in the four ships approached the land but could not reach it because their last strength was gone. Not a score of them could stand and they, half crazed by thirst, doubted that land was there. It is told how Tearo, high chief of the Tongans, clung to the mast of his ship to view the faint blue outlines against the eastern horizon; then, even as he looked, the land blurred and faded before his eyes,

Téaro remembered nothing more until it was deep night. The land heaved and rocked beneath him, but it was land, not the sea. He lay on a mat and his people near him, many at the point of death, and some of the weakest did not live through the night. By the light of fires on the beach and torches that seemed to be moving of themselves from place to place, Téaro saw his ships riding at anchor in the lagoon. A great crowd was gathered there; he heard the murmur of voices and felt cool sweet water poured between his lips and spilling over his bare chest. When once more he opened his eyes it was the afternoon of the following day.

So it was that these Tongans reached Kurapo, as their ancestors, sailing eastward over the Sea of Kiwa, had found other lands; and here, as had happened before, they were not the first to reach it. The people of Kurapo were a clan called the Koros because they worshiped Koro, the god of war. Their numbers were above three thousand; they had lived long in this land, and their villages were in two valleys that opened upon the lagoons of the western side. Vaitangi was their high chief, and the priest of Koro was named Puaka.

The Tongan chiefs who lived to reach Kurapo were Téaro, the high chief; Rata, his brother; Métua, the priest of Tané; and three others. Alaeva, wife of Tearo, survived, but they had lost two of their children; there remained Tauhéré, a daughter of eight years, and their small son, Maui. Maui was an infant of two years, and, with his mother, was near to death when the ships were brought to land by the Koros. His life was saved by the daughter-in-law of Vaitangi, high chief of the Koros: she suckled Maui with an infant daughter of her own, then three months old. This child was named Hina.

Ten days passed while the Tongans recovered their strength. They were lodged in the House of Strangers, and Vaitangi showed them nothing but kindness. Thanks to the care of Hina’s mother, who had fed him at her breast, Maui was soon strong and full of health; but his own mother recovered slowly. The Tongans were deeply grateful, but their hearts were troubled, not knowing how matters would go with them when the time came for telling who they were.

Now came the meeting of ceremony between Vaitangi and Téaro, when the first questions are asked of strangers and the answers given. The assembly ground of the Koros lay by the river. It was three hundred paces long by one hundred wide. The council house of the ariki was there, but this meeting was held in the open. Vaitangi, with Puaka, priest of Koro, and all the lesser chiefs of the Koros, awaited the coming of Téaro.

Vaitangi was sixty years old at this time. He was a man of great dignity, courteous in manner and slow to anger. Puaka was forty-five; huge in stature, with an evil face, and the arrogance common to priests of Koro whose power is great by reason of their office, sometimes exceeding that of the high chief himself. The older chiefs of the Koros were loyal to Vaitangi, but the younger ones, the warriors, looked to Puaka for leadership. Around three sides of the assembly ground thronged the people of the Koro Clan. At the far end stood the Tongans, so small a group in that great company.

Now came Téaro with Métua, priest of Tané, and the four lesser chiefs of the Tongans. They walked the full length of the assembly ground, while the Koros enclosing it looked on in silence. They halted before the Koro chiefs, and when the greetings were ended Vaitangi rose from his seat and stood facing Téaro. He said: “Whence do you come? What is your lineage, and where is the marae of your ancestors?”

Then Téaro spoke. Step by step, generation by generation, he followed the road back to the far source of his blood. Long was the telling, but Vaitangi and his chiefs listened with deep attention; for when clans of our race chanced to meet after long separation from the time when we became a scattered people, it was a matter of great importance to know from what ancestors their chiefs were descended.

Then Vaitangi said: “Long has it been since any word has come of the Tongans. It was believed that the last of your clan had perished.”

Téaro said: “We Tongans shall never perish.”

“And you still seek the Far Lands of Maui?”

“We do,” said Téaro.

Vaitangi let his glance rest upon Métua. “This chief and no other must be your priest of Tane.” Métua inclined his head, without speaking. He was even then an old man, but with undiminished vigor of body and mind. He was tall and spare of frame, and in the sunlight his white hair seemed to radiate a faint light. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had been priests of Tané, leaders and teachers of the Tongans — men of serene courage and unshakable faith.

“You seem to me a brave but foolish people who learn nothing by experience,” said Vaitangi. “What would you do now?”

“If there is room for us we would gladly stay in this land,” Téaro replied. “We would build up our strength and our numbers before proceeding once more on our quest.”

“We have land here and to spare,” said Vaitangi.

Puaka, priest of Koro, now spoke. “We have land in good measure, but none for the worshipers of Tané.”

Vaitangi glanced quietly at his priest. “Do you think Koro so weak that he need fear Tané and these few who worship him? They shall stay here as I have said.”

“Then they shall first acknowledge that the power of Tané is nothing, compared with that of Koro,” said Puaka.

“That we cannot do,”Téaro said, and now was the moment he feared, for this was a bold and trouble-stirring thing to have said. A murmur of anger was heard among the younger of the Koro chiefs; but as no one spoke, Téaro added: “If you tell us that we must go, we ask only that we may be allowed to go peaceably, with time given us to repair and provision our ships.”

“You would sail on eastward?” Vaitangi asked.

“If we must go — yes.”

“There are no lands eastward,” said Vaitangi. “We ourselves have sailed six days in that direction and found only the empty sea.”

“A short way was that to the distance we shall go,” said Téaro.

Puaka sprang to his feet, grasping the haft of his great war club. “Then go you shall, and quickly!” he thundered, harshly, “For food you shall have such shellfish as you find for yourselves on the reefs! If more is needed beg Tané for it! You shall have none from us!”

As though Puaka had not spoken, Vaitangi rose and with great courtesy dismissed the Tongan chiefs, thus quietly shaming the priest of Koro before them all for his breach of the sacred law of hospitality. He then went with his ariki to the council house, where they spoke further of this matter. The younger ariki sided with Puaka because Téaro had refused to acknowledge the greater power of Koro, but the older ones agreed with the high chief.

Vaitangi said: “To us who know Koro’s greater power what does it matter that this handful of Wanderers hold fast to their own belief? They would be less than men if they did not. Furthermore, we can make use of them. You have seen their ships; they are the work of master craftsmen. We have no such shipwrights among ourselves. Though lovers of peace, they shall build our war canoes in payment for the land we shall give for their use.” It was then decided that the Tongans should stay. Puaka held out against this for a time, but at last he too agreed, though sullenly.


VAITANGI went to the House of Strangers where the Tongans waited to learn their fate.

“You shall stay here on these terms,” he said to Téaro. “First, the ships in which you came here shall be converted to war canoes for our use, and as long as you remain on Kurapo your shipwrights shall build and keep in repair the vessels of our war fleet.”

This was a hard condition for the Tongans but they were forced to accept it. “There are few of us left,” said Téaro, “but we will do what we can. You have enemies hereabout?”

Vaitangi then told him that at a distance of five days’ sail to the north were two islands whose people worshiped a god of war that was opposed to Koro and his followers. The Koros were the stronger but they had not been able to conquer those people, though they raided them often, bringing home prisoners who were used for sacrifice.

“The second term is this,” said Vaitangi. “Our valleys on the western side of Kurapo shall be tabu to your people. I make this condition for your own sakes, lest some small trouble grow to a great one and you suffer heavily for it.”

“To this I gladly agree,”said Téaro.

They waited for the third condition which they feared was now to be told. The worship of Koro required many human sacrifices throughout the year. In other lands where they had lived the Tongans were forced to pay this endless tribute of blood and they expected no less a condition on Kurapo. But Vaitangi told them that, as a return for building the war canoes, no Tongan man would be taken for sacrifice as long as the Koros were able to secure victims from their enemies on the islands to the north. “This promise I shall hold fast to,” said Vaitangi; “but if any of your people break the tabu spoken of, then it shall fall.”

Then followed a time of deep content for the Tongans. They cleared the jungle, planting as they cleared and leaving many of the trees cherished for their fruits and fragrant blossoms, and those most ancient ones that dappled the river with their shade. Through the lower part of the valley, one third of the distance from the lagoon to the head wall, the river flowed quietly; canoes could ascend it to the place where Téaro’s dwelling and the council house of the ariki were built. Here too was the assembly ground, like that of the Koros though not so large. Some of the houses bordered the river; others lay up the slopes and paths led down from them to the main path, which followed the river for the most part, from the lagoon beach inland.

When the valley had been cleared and the people settled in their dwellings, they were required to widen and improve the path leading to the valleys of the Koros. In loops and turns it climbed the head wall of the Tongan valley to the open lands above. It followed fern-covered ridges, crossed grassy plateaus, and entered the forests farther inland. In some places it skirted deep shadow-filled gorges where tree ferns of great beauty throve in the cool moist air; at others it lay along the brink of towering cliffs that fell sheer to the sea along the northern coast of the land. From there it turned inland once more, descending the long slopes that led to the main valley of the Koros. A sturdy man, taking no rest, could leave the valley of the Tongans at dawn and reach that of the Koros by midafternoon.

When the Tongans had finished work on the path the tabu was established. A great tree bordering the path was marked by the tabu sign. The Tongans could go no farther, but the Koro chiefs were free to come and go as they chose, though few among them visited the Tongans save Vaitangi, who came often to watch the shipwrights building canoes for his war fleet, He held them fast to their agreement, nor did he fail in his promise that no man of the Tongans should be taken for sacrifice. Never did Puaka come with him on these visits. Téaro and his chiefs well knew his ill will toward them, but as he never displayed it openly their minds became easier as time passed. The lives of the Tongans were so little troubled that many of them thought no more of the quest for the Far Lands of Maui.


MAUI, son of Téaro, now in his tenth year, was a lad of great promise, sturdy of body and showing early those qualities of mind and spirit expected of the son of the high chief. But he was a boy first of all, quick of temper and impatient of restraint, and the time had come when the freedom of childhood was to be curbed a little. With other sons of chiefs he was required to attend the priest’s school to begin the long and tedious study required only of the sons of ariki.

The story tells of a day at the school when Maui was given the coral pebble to suck, He would have gone into the hills with two of his friends, Ru and Ma’o, to hunt for wild cocks, but when morning came he remembered that it was a day for school and Hapai, the master, gathered him in with the others. Maui told him of the plans he had made for the day and begged his freedom. Hapai would not consent, and Maui watched with a bitter heart as Ru and Ma’o set off for the hills without him.

The schoolhouse stood near the temple of Tané; it was a pleasant airy house open at the sides and surrounded by a balustrade of plaited bamboo. Hapai was the teacher of the small sons of the chiefs; the older ones were under Métua, the priest. They were taught to repeat the genealogies of the ariki, the chants and rituals connected with the building of ships, the gathering of food, fishing, and all the sacred ceremonies held at the marae. It was tedious heavy work for small boys, but this was the price they paid for being the sons of chiefs.

The lessons began and Maui was asked to recite one of the chants spoken at the temple after the birth of the son of a high chief. Maui knew this well, but in his anger at being compelled to go to school that day he purposely made mistake after mistake. Hapai halted him and called upon Pohi, the son of Rata. Pohi recited without fault and Maui was again called upon. The errors he made were even more than at first.

“You are not trying,” the master said. “You will be given another chance later. When I call upon you again, see that you behave like the son of your father.”

Hapai went on hearing the lessons of the other boys. It was his custom to sit with his eyes closed as he listened, for his full attention was required that he might detect the slightest error in these recitations. Maui kept his eyes fixed upon Hapai, and thinking he had a chance to escape he got slowly to his feet and was climbing over the balustrade when the master saw him.

“Maui!” he called.

The other boys grinned with delight as he motioned Maui to come forward. On the mat beside him was a carved wooden bowl filled with stones of various sizes. From it he took a smooth coral pebble, perfectly round and of a golden color. Maui knelt before him and opened his mouth. Hapai placed the pebble in it; then he said: “Confess your shame.”

The pebble was so large that he could scarcely close his lips over it, but he was compelled to say as best he could; “I, Maui, son of Téaro, am deeply at fault and I willingly suck this pebble.” The attempt to speak was so ludicrous that the other boys shouted with laughter. The master indulged them for a moment, then he sternly commanded: “Silence!” . . . “Return to your place,” he said to Maui, and the lessons continued. Half an hour later the other boys were excused. “You will remain here,” said Hapai; then he, too, left.

Maui was long in the schoolhouse. His jaws ached, and he was still angry because he had not been allowed to do as he pleased. Presently he saw Métua, priest of Tané, coming along the path from the marae.

The Tongans loved and venerated their priest. The power of his spirit was so great that it could be felt at once by those in his presence, He had the gift of foreknowledge and this increased the awe with which he was regarded by the people.

Métua entered the schoolhouse, but Maui dared not look up; he could see only the priest’s feet and the hem of his mantle of tapa cloth. Métua sat facing him saying nothing. Presently he lifted the boy’s chin so that he was compelled to look into his face. Maui was frightened by the stern expression he saw there. Métua held out his hand and Maui placed the pebble in it. It was a great relief to have it out of his mouth.

“Who are you?” the priest demanded.

The boy glanced up and quickly lowered his eyes again. “Maui,” he said.

“ Son of whom?”


“Son of whom?” the priest repeated, sternly.

“Of Téaro-a-Ataranga, high chief of the Tongans.”

“Named for whom?”

“The great hero, Maui-the-Peaceful.”

The story tells of the talk the priest then had with Maui, one which the boy never forgot. He was made to understand for the first time the sacredness of the knowledge handed on from generation to generation. The chiefs and the priests were the bearers of this knowledge, and the sons of chiefs must so train their memories that they could carry it on in turn to their own children.

Métua returned the coral pebble to Maui and the boy said: “What shall I do with it?”

“Make a little net for it of bark thread,” said the priest, “and hang it around your neck for this day. Before evening comes hide it in a secret place.”


MAUI made the net and hung the pebble around his neck. The morning was then only half gone and he hurried up the valley hoping to find Ru and Ma’o and to catch a wild cock for himself. He was both angry and ashamed, but as he climbed the path up the head wall of the valley he forgot the pebble and thought only of finding his friends.

He left the path and went into the forest lands where he flushed a cock so beautiful that he was bound to have it; but it was strong in flight and led him on and on for a great distance. At last he came to the highest part of the land, where the path began to descend toward the valleys of the Koros. At that spot was a tall tree standing alone. From a lower limb stretching across the path was hung a streamer of tapa cloth marked with a design sacred to the family of Vaitangi, high chief of the Koros: three broad lines of red, crossed diagonally by one of blue. It was the tabu placed there by Vaitangi’s orders. People of the Tongan Clan could go no farther.

Maui stood looking at this sign. He had heard of it all through childhood and now he saw it for the first time, He glanced around hastily, then boldly walked past the tabu tree and stood on the forbidden land of the Koros. Their valleys were hidden below the hills, but he could see the lagoons along the western coast. He went back to walk a second time into the Koro lands, glancing defiantly at the tabu sign as he did so. When a dozen paces beyond it he looked quickly over his shoulder, but the streamer hung limp above the path, swaying gently in the light breeze. He returned and stood with his arms folded, gazing up at it.

“I am Maui, son of Téaro,” he said. “I will come here whenever I please and do it again.” Then he started homeward.

Well within the Tongan lands, on the eastern side of the central mountain, was a small lake, rarely visited, which lay directly below two high crags whose weathered pinnacles were nesting places for tropic birds and itatae, the small white ghost terns, most beautiful of seafowl. Maui passed that way in chase of another wild cock, which escaped him by flying across the lake. Determined to follow, the boy flung off his waistcloth and plunged into the lake, but as he swam toward the far side the cool water was so refreshing that he gave up the pursuit to lie at ease, on his back, watching the seafowl soaring high over the crags. Then he swam lazily, face down in the water, along the farther side where he could see the bases of the crags falling steeply toward the bottom of the lake.

While swimming slowly along he came to a place where a patch of deep shadow marked a break in the wall about two fathoms down. He would have passed on, but as he looked a misty radiance appeared at that spot, growing steadily brighter. It was sunlight; it could be nothing else. Glancing up he saw that the sun was now hidden by the crags above him; the light was coming through some opening on the western side. Breathing deeply for a moment the boy dived toward the place where this light emerged. The walls of a passageway were now clearly seen. Without pausing to reflect he entered it and was all but famished for breath when his head broke water in a cavern that appeared to be under the crag itself. The sunlight was streaming through an opening in the vaulted roof. A ledge of rock a little above the surface of the water bordered the far side. Maui drew himself up on it, his body trembling from the excitement of the risk he had taken. As he sat there recovering his breath the light slowly faded, for the sun had passed the opening. Presently he seemed to be in complete darkness, but as his eyes became accustomed to it he could see the passage through which he had come dimly outlined in the faint light that came from the lake. Thus assured that he could find his way out again, he tasted the happiness that comes to a boy who has discovered by chance, and at the risk of life, a secret place known only to himself. Of a sudden he remembered the coral pebble hanging around his neck. Métua had told him to hide it, and what better place could be found? Perhaps the priest had directed him. Taking the pebble in its bark net from around his neck the boy groped along the wall until he found a niche where he placed it. He was full of courage now, feeling that it was, indeed, Métua who had guided him to this place. Breathing slowly and deeply for a moment he dived toward the entrance to the cavern and came out once more on the surface of the lake.

The shadows of the mountains stretched far down the eastern slopes as he made his way across them toward the path leading to the Tongan valley. When halfway there he heard the startled clucking of a wild cock from somewhere below; then he saw the bird take to the air and fly directly toward him. Crouching in the fern he watched its flight which ended so near to him that he had it in his grasp the moment it touched the ground. It was a beautiful bird; he could scarcely believe his luck. Far below he caught sight of Ru and Ma’o. Giving a shrill hail he started at a run through waist-high fern, but the land sloped steeply down and he leaped over the highest clumps.

“Aué, Maui!” said Ru. “You caught him, and we were chasing him for you!” Each of his friends had a cock of his own.

“He flew straight into my arms,” said Maui. “I flushed two fine cocks but both got away. I searched for you everywhere.”

“Where did you go?” Ma’o asked.

Maui told them of his visit to the lake but said nothing of the secret cavern.


WHEN Maui was twelve the Koro war fleet sailed on a new expedition against their enemies on the islands to the north. Not long after they had gone, the Tongans prepared for the marriage of Tauhéré, Maui’s sister, with Nihau, one of the younger chiefs, the son of Tavaké. Tauhéré was now a beautiful girl of eighteen; she was to be married at the same time with several other daughters of the Tongan ariki and great preparations were made for this event. An invitation to attend the ceremonies was sent to Vaitangi and whatever other Koro chiefs he might wish to bring with him.

Many pigs and fowls were killed; great quantities of fish were caught, and on the night before Vaitangi’s arrival the lagoon was lighted far and wide by torches along the reef where women and children were gathering shellfish to be added to the feast to come. The earth ovens were prepared and the fires in them lighted to burn through the night so that the logs beneath the stones would be reduced to beds of coals and the stones white-hot and ready for the cooking of the food.

On the morning of that day Téaro and his ariki were on the beach surrounded by their people, awaiting the arrival of Vaitangi. He came in his pleasure ship built for him by the Tongues. It was double-hulled, the high prows and sterns decorated with banners and streamers. There was a platform across the hulls, forward of the mast, protected by a roof of pandanus leaf thatch supported on slender posts, beautifully carved, of tou wood. Beneath it sat Vaitangi; his son’s wife, with Hina, her daughter; and Uri, who was the nephew of Puaka, priest of Koro. Hina was a child of ten years at this time, and Uri was fourteen. Vaitangi also brought with him some of the older Koro chiefs who had not gone with Puaka and his warriors. With the household servants and the paddlers the ship carried sixty persons. It approached far out on the lagoon and when opposite the place where the Tongans waited a sweeping turn was made. The ship came seething in and the bows slid well up the beach where Téaro and his ariki stood to welcome their guests.

While the greetings of ceremony between Téaro and Vaitangi were taking place, Rata, Maui’s uncle, came to Maui who stood with a group of his friends near Vaitangi’s ship.

“Maui,” he said, “the young chief yonder is Uri, nephew of Puaka. Never before has he come to our valley. Go to him and greet him well in your father’s name.”

Maui had little liking for this task but did as directed. Uri stood apart, his arms folded, looking around him with an air of pride, of insolence, as though he considered the Tongans not worthy of his notice. Maui approached him and said: “I am Maui, son ol Téaro. I have been asked to welcome you here in my father’s name.”

Uri looked him up and down without replying, He then turned his back and spoke to the boat steerer of Vaitangi’s ship who stood in front of it. The paddlers stood in the shallows on either side. “Carry the ship up the beach into the shade,” he commanded. “Quickly !”

Rollers had been placed near-by for that purpose and the boatmen sprang to obey. Maui waited for a moment, but as Uri paid no further attention he turned and left, hot with anger at this insult. He was joined by other young sons of the chiefs, who had witnessed it. Rata observed them walking away from Uri and halted them. “Maui, you dare behave in this manner to the nephew of Puaka and our guest?” he said.

“He would not speak to me,” Maui replied.

“ Let him be your guest., Rata,” one of the boys said. “We will have nothing to do with him after the shame he has put upon Maui!” — and the boys went on into the valley.

Near the river, on the opposite side of the assembly ground from Téaro’s dwelling, was the house reserved for Vaitangi’s use during his visits to the Tongan valley. The floor was deeply covered with sweet fern overlaid with mats. Vaitangi was now seated here with Téaro and Métua; he leaned back against a great roll of tapa cloth provided for his comfort. Servants brought refreshments: green drinking coconuts, fruits, and the greatest delicacies in the way of shellfish prepared in various ways, meant to stay the appetite; or, rather, to sharpen it in preparation for the feast to beheld at midday. Vaitangi, whose huge body required a store of food, ate with keen relish, but at last he leaned back, shaking his head reluctantly as more food was urged upon him.

“Paia vau, he said. “Room must be left for what is to come. I shall be fit for nothing but sleep when the feast is ended.” Servants then brought bowls of water and the napkins with which the chiefs rinsed and dried their lips and fingers. “Téaro, you make me feel at home here. I look forward to these visits.”

“Why should you not feel at home in your own lands?” Téaro replied. “We repay as best we can a little of the hospitality bestowed upon us since the day when you gave us refuge here. It is beyond anything we had reason to expect.”

Vaitangi smiled. “From the high chief of a Koroworshiping clan?” he said. “Even one of these may have moments of forgetfulness and show humanity in spite of himself.”

Métua said: “It is a long moment that extends itself to ten years.”

“Métua, there has been no strangeness between us in all that time,”Vaitangi replied. “How is this to be explained ?

“ Because you remember the time long past when your own forefathers were lovers of peace,” said the priest. “ Because you are half Tongan at heart. Would that we might make you a whole one!”

“That you may do when Tané is able to change human nature,” Vaitangi replied. “I have great respect for you, my friend, but none whatever for your belief. As for the Far Lands of Maui . . .”He shook his head. “ How is it possible to hold such faith generation after generation in the face of endless disappointment, in view of all that has happened to your people? In proportion to your numbers, far more lives are lost on this quest for a Homeland than with us who are followers of Koro and lovers of war! Well, you must go to your doom, which is certain.”

“Whether to our doom or not, we would go in peace,” said Métua. He was silent for a moment and then added: “Vaitangi, both of our clans are fast increasing in numbers. The time may come within this generation when the valleys on this side of Kurapo will be needed for your own people.”

“ That is more than likely,” Vaitangi replied. “You may then go in peace insofar as I am concerned.”

“We have no ships,” said Téaro.

“But great skill in building them,” Vaitangi replied.

“That would be permitted?” Métua asked.

Vaitangi gave him a steady glance. “Métua, neither of us is young. Who can say when our time will come? When I am gone my son, Tomai, will reign in my stead ...”

“He is a stranger to us, as you know,” said Téaro. “We would gladly have welcomed him here but he has never come. What is his feeling toward us?”

“It is one of neither good will nor ill will,” Vaitangi replied. “If I may say so without offense, it is, rather, one of surprise and contempt that you should be lovers of peace. His time and interest are wholly given to the training and leading of our young warriors now with Puaka. If I should die and my son be killed in battle . . .”

“A woeful day that would be for us Tongans,” said Téaro, grimly.

“You say nothing but truth,” Vaitangi replied; “so look to yourselves in good times. Lay your plans well in advance against the hazards of the future.” Vaitangi laid a hand on Téaro’s knee. “What kind of talk is this for a day of festival? Tell me now what sports and games I am to see.”

The midday feast was long in progress. Vaitangi and his chiefs sat with the Tongan ariki, and at a little distance were the sons of the chiefs, each with his food baskets arranged before him. Rata, knowing how matters stood between Maui and Uri, had assigned his son, Pohi, to sit with the latter. Pohi, in part because of the awe he felt in the presence of the nephew of the dreaded priest of Koro, in part because of the commands of his father, treated Uri with great deference, which added to Uri’s selfesteem and the mean opinion he held of the Tongans. He spoke loudly so that the others might hear, boasting of the skill of the Koro youth in all games and sports; of his own leadership in such games, and of the great strength of his uncle, Puaka, whose war club was so huge that none but himself could wield it. Pohi encouraged him in this talk, for his father was watching from a distance.

Vaitangi had eaten so well at the feast that he spent the rest of the afternoon in sleep. At dusk his servants wakened him. He bathed and refreshed himself in the river and as night came on Téaro arrived to conduct him to the assembly ground. The people were already gathered there, waiting in the darkness. Upon the arrival of the chiefs, torches held by young men stationed around three sides of the assembly ground were set aflame, lighting the full extent of it and sending streamers of light through the gloom of the groves beyond. A pavilion beautifully decorated with ferns and flowers had been erected for the stately ceremonies connected with the marriage rites. When the chiefs were seated, these began.

Three young daughters of chiefs were to be married at the same time as Tauhéré, Téaro’s daughter. They now appeared together, and, in the presence of the bridegrooms, performed the beautiful ritualistic dances connected with the rites of marriage. These occupied the early part of the evening. When they had ended, the brides retired to the House of Virgins to await the wedding solemnities which would take place the following morning.

When they had gone, all of the people — men, women and children — seated themselves before the pavilion to sing the ancient songs of the Tongans, telling of their history for generations past during the quest for the Far Lands of Maui. After this came boxing and wrestling contests which were favorite sports of the Tongan youth. Following these, when the children were sleeping, stretched out on the grass or with their heads on their mothers’ laps, came the time for gaiety and abandonment.

Tamuri, with his company of clowns, performed pantomimes and dances that kept his audience shouting with laughter. Vaitangi’s huge body shook with merriment, and seeing how well he was entertained, Tamuri and his clowns outdid themselves. The night was far advanced when Tamuri halted before the high chief of the Koros and said:—

“Vaitangi: here you see me and my old woman, a pair of dry forked sticks. There is no more sap left in us than in a dead purau tree. Nevertheless, we wish to honor you as best we can.”

The drums began to beat, and Tamuri and his old woman danced with such bone-stiff gestures and movements that Vaitangi laughed until the tears came into his eyes. Of a sudden, at a word of command from Tamuri, five young men and five lovely girls stepped forward dressed in kirtles of colored grasses reaching to their knees, with wreaths of flowers pressed down over their dark hair, and necklaces of fragrant blossoms half concealing their bare bosoms. As the drums beat in quickening tempo all the stiffness left the limbs of Tamuri and the old woman. They leaped to either side of the line of young men and women, dancing with a loose-jointed ease in the widest possible contrast to their movements of a moment before. The girls, having advanced to within a few feet of Vaitangi, danced with all the abandon of youth, eyes alight, lips parted, with gestures so appealing, so gaily wanton and provocative that Vaitangi could not resist them. Ponderously he heaved himself to his feet and joined them, forgetting the dignity of his years and his position as high chief of the Koros, while the Tongans shouted their approval. The drums beat faster and faster and the girls who had formed a circle around him gave him no rest, vying with one another for the honor of dancing directly before him. At last Vaitangi, losing his balance, sat down with a heavy thud, breathing hard, his face and body streaming with sweat.

So ended the events of the evening. The people, Tongans and Koros together, dispersed reluctantly, as though they had been members of one clan.


ON the following morning came the sacred ceremonies when Tauhéré and her husband, Nihau, were united in marriage, and the other young chiefs and their brides. In the afternoon there were spearthrowing and archery contests by the Tongan youth, and water sports and games in which both men and women took part. These I pass over to speak of Maui and the boys of his age, who were to match their skill at stone slinging. All the people were now gathered on the beach where the contest, was to take place. A plantain stalk had been set up at a distance of sixty paces, and the people lined either side of the course. Téaro and Vaitangi stood near the boys who were to try their skill. Faanui was the first contestant; others followed until it came to Maui’s turn. As he stepped into the circle marked in the sand, Uri came forward and, with a commanding gesture, held out his hand for Maui’s sling. Maui glanced questioningly at Rata, who was judge of the contest, and his uncle said: “ Maui, your father’s guest and yours wishes to honor us by taking part in this match. Will you let him have your sling?" Maui did so, and stepped back among the other contestants.

With an air of insolence and pride Uri went to the pile of slingstones and carefully selected three. Placing the first one in the sling he whirled it around his head and let go. He struck the target squarely. The second stone barely grazed the plantain stalk. The third was a miss.

Maui then took his turn, He saw his mother standing with Hina and her mother near-by. He saw Rangi, one of the shipwrights, teacher of the apprentices and father of his friend, Ma’o, regarding him with an air of confidence. In his heart he made a little prayer to Tané that he might humble the pride of this nephew of the high priest of Koro. He made two direct hits; the third stone glanced from the plantain stalk but was nearer than Uri’s grazing hit. As he gave the sling to Uri for his second try, he heard the loud murmur of pleasure that came from the throng of spectators. In ihe second throwing they were equal, with two hits and one miss each. Uri’s face was sullen with anger that this son of a Tongan chief, two years younger than himself, should have the lead.

Vaitangi now spoke: “You will try again, Uri?”

The boy nodded. “ I misjudged the weight of the stones,” he replied.

“Then see to it that you choose carefully this time lest you shame the Koros,”Vaitangi said, with a grim smile.

There was deep silence as Uri stooped to select his stones. He threw many aside before making his choice, and the result of that throwing was again two hits and one miss. He scowled as he handed Maui the sling. Without hesitating in his choice Maui took up at random three of the stones that Uri had rejected, and he made three hits in the center of the target. The murmur of approval from the spectators was even louder than before, and Rangi could scarcely contain his joy. The crowd then moved farther along the beach where a tall coconut palm leaned out over the lagoon. A boy perched in the nest of fronds let down a new target: a log of dry wood attached to a long cord, which he set swinging in a wide are.

“What is this — a further trial?” Vaitangi asked.

“It is the custom of our boys to end the contest in this manner,” Rata replied; “but . . .”

“Then so it shall end,” said Vaitangi, “unless Uri is willing to accept defeat.”

The boy made no reply but took the sling once more and turned to face this last, more difficult target. The boy in the tree set it swinging at a level a little above the heads of the contestants, Uri waited long before each throw but failed in all. Maui failed in his first try, set the light wood to spinning at his second, and while it was thus spinning, struck it again.

Now the crowd cheered wildly, and Rangi’s joy was so great that he ran to where Uri was standing and danced in derision before him, shouting, “ Aita faufaa, Uri! Aita faufaa, Uri!” (“ Worthless is Uri!”) Rata stepped forward quickly, seized him by the arm and put his hand over Rangi’s mouth. It was only then that Rangi realized what he had done. It was a serious matter for a man of common blood to mock one of the ariki, and to have publicly shamed the nephew of the high priest of Koro was an offense not to be forgiven. The crowd dispersed in silence, casting sober glances at the place where Téaro stood with Vaitangi.

“It shall be forgiven, by me, at least,” Vaitangi said, with a grim smile. “Uri has only himself to blame. But . . . what is the name of the man who mocked him?”

“Rangi,” Téaro replied. “He worships my son. No other excuse can be found for him.”

“That is excuse enough,”said Vaitangi. “But have a care for him! And let him have a care for himself; for what he has done will be known to Puaka as soon as he returns, He will never forgive it.”

So great was Uri’s shame and anger in his defeat that he would stay no longer in the Tongan valley. Without speaking to Vaitangi of his intention he returned home that same afternoon with two of his uncle’s servants. Vaitangi’s visit ended the following day, but at the request of Maui’s parents, Hina and her mother were permitted to remain for a longer time. Maéva, Maui’s mother, had never forgotten that she owed the life of her son to Hina’s mother who had suckled him at her breast at the time when the Tongans first came to kurapo. There had been warm friendship between the two women from that day.


Now Hina comes into the story, and it is told how those children, destined for one another, began their friendship. It was a vexing task Maui’s mother had given her son: that of entertaining the small granddaughter of Vaitangi. Maui was at an age when all of his interests were centered in the sports and games of boys, and he protested strongly to his mother, Why should he be asked to amuse this child of ten years? Let that be done by a daughter of one of the chiefs, a girl of Hina’s age. And his mother had said: “Maui, she is the granddaughter of Vaitangi, and she wishes to be with you. Say no more but do as I bid you.”

Now the boy stood before his father’s house, Hina waiting beside him. A score of his friends were engaged in a stilt battle on the assembly ground. Maui watched longingly the swift thrusts and parries as the boys of one side tried to overset those of the other. Presently, with an impatient sigh he turned to the child beside him.

“Would you like to see my tame frigate birds?” he asked. The child nodded and he led the way to the beach. He had a perch for the birds beneath one of the great trees there. Taking a small dip-net from a crotch of the tree, he said to Hina, “Wait here.” He waded through the shallows of the lagoon to a mushroom of coral a little distance out. Mounting this, he dipped up some of the small fish that hovered around it. Beckoning to Hina he then returned to the beach. Scores of kotaha were soaring overhead, some of them so high in the air as to be scarcely visible. Maui called, and called again. Two of the birds dropped through the air like small black meteors; then, spreading their wings they checked their fall and swooped low to catch in their claws the small fish that Maui tossed up to them. A moment later they fluttered down to rest on his outstretched arm. He carried them to the perch under the tree and they hopped from his arm to the pole. Maui was a little annoyed that Hina was not more impressed by his mastery over the birds which he had reared and tamed himself.

“Well, what would you like to do next?" Maui asked, impatiently.

“Whatever you wish.”

“But . . . don’t you know what you want to do?”

“I am your guest. It is for you to tell me what there is to do.”

Maui replaced the dip-net in the crotch of the tree and looked at her with the same air of annoyance. “There is a lake I could show you but it is high in the mountains. It would be too far for you to walk.”

Hina shook her head. “I should like to see it.”

“Come, then,” said the boy, curtly, and he set out at a fast pace along the path leading into the valley. When he reached the steep trail leading up the head wall of the valley he waited until Hina had caught up with him. “You still wish to see the lake?” he asked. “It is a long way.”

“So you told me,” Hina replied. “There was no need for you to say it a second time.”

Without replying, Maui began climbing swiftly, never pausing to look back. When he had reached the flat-topped rock at the summit he saw Hina on the path far below. When at last she had reached the rock she sat near-by, her back toward him.

“You climbed well,” Maui said.

She glanced toward him and there were tears of anger in her eyes. Presently she got to her feet. “I am ready to go on now.”

“Hina, I was angry because you had not gone home with your grandfather. I left the anger on the path up the valley wall.”

“I found it there,” she said. “It is mine, now.”

“You wish to keep it ?”

She was long in replying; then, turning toward him she shook her head, smiling faintly. “But you should have shown more courtesy. You are a boy, stronger, and two years older. But I am here, as you see.”

It was at this moment that the friendship between these children began. It came of itself, unquestioned, unexplained. They sat side by side on the rock, their feet swinging below the edge of it. All the eastern lands lay outspread beneath them, golden in the early-morning sunlight.

At last Hina said: “Maui, I want to see the lake you were going to show me.”

They followed the path which rose gently before them, along fern-covered ridges and through wide stretches of woodland until it turned seaward once more and came into the open along the high cliffs bordering the northern coast. They halted now and then to peer over the walls of rock that fell sheer to the sea, a thousand feet below. Hina showed no signs of weariness now. Though he said nothing Maui was impressed by her sturdiness, and she was as sure-footed as himself. As they were resting for a moment, Maui said: “ I want to show you something else before we go to the lake. Have you seen the tabu tree? That is as far as we Tongans can go.”

Hina shook her head. “I don’t care to see it. I wish there was no tabu so that you could come to our valley whenever you wanted to.”

“We’re nearly there,” Maui insisted, “and I want you to see it.” He went on, Hina following, until they saw the tree clearly outlined against the sky. When they reached it they stood for a moment, gazing at the tabu sign fluttering in the breeze and directly over the path.

“We’ll rest here,” said Maui. “It’s getting warm in the sun. I’ll get some fern to make wreaths for our heads.” He then walked with an air of proud indifference past the tabu sign, into the forbidden lands of the Koros, plucked an armful of fern, and returned.

“Is that why you brought me here, to show me how brave you are?” Hina said.

Maui felt a flush of shame. It was as though they had changed ages and he were a little boy, much younger than Hina. And he felt even more foolish when he replied, as though against his will; “I’ ve walked past it several times, and I will do it whenever I please.”

“Because you know I would never speak of it.”

“How could I know? You belong to the Koros.”

“Why do you tell me that so often?” Hina said. “I don’t think of your family or my family as Tongans or Koros. But be careful of Uri! He is a Koro and nothing else, like his uncle, Puaka.”

Maui flushed at the mention of Uri’s name. “You saw what he did when I spoke to him, the morning you came?”

“You paid him well for that,” Hina said. “I was happy when you beat him in the stone-slinging match.”

Maui gazed soberly at her. “You wanted me to?”

“Why not? 1 hate him and I hate his uncle! But remember, Maui! Uri will never forgive you for winning. He will wait for a chance to do you harm — real harm. . . . Let’s not speak of him any more. Now I want to see the lake.”

On their way inland Maui spied a jungle hen on her nest. Motioning Hina to wait he crept slowly through the underbrush and seized the bird. There was only one egg beneath her. He felt the legs and breast of the hen.

“She’s fat,” he said. “Are you hungry? . . . Then we’ll cook it. There is a place a little farther along where we can get some fei to eat with it.”

They came to a sunny glade where a pool of clear cold water was fed by a small stream from above. Here they halted and Maui removed a sharkskin wallet attached to the belt of his waist mat. In it were his (ire stick, his sling, and a bamboo knife. He slit the fowl’s throat and laid it in a clump of fern. “We’ll have a fine meal,” he said. “Now I’ll get the fei.” He returned presently with half a dozen mountain plantains and the dead limb of a purau tree. Seating himself on a boulder he broke off the butt end of the branch and placed it between his knees. “I’m ready,” he said. “Get some leaves and twigs.”

Hina gathered these and knelt beside him. Placing the sharp end of his fire stick against the soft bone-dry wood, Maui began slowly until he had it well grooved. He then worked with rapidly increasing strokes until a faint wisp of smoke appeared in the wood dust at the end of the groove. Hina bent down, breathing gently upon it, and when the spark of fire appeared she fed it with crumbled leaves, twigs, and larger sticks until a good fire was burning briskly. Maui singed off the feathers of the fowl, split it apart and cleaned it in the stream, while Hina laid the plantains on the coals to roast, turning them as Maui broiled the fowl. The juices sizzling down upon the glowing coals sent up a tantalizing fragrance. When the food was ready they let it cool for a time and then ate ravenously.

“Tell me about your father,” Maui said. “Why does he newer come to our valley ?

“I don’t know. It may be because Puaka doesn’t want him to. He’s away now with the war fleet.”

“Does he like Puaka?”

Hina shook her head. “But he honors him because he is so great a warrior.”

“Do you see them when they come home?”

“ The war fleet? Never. ”

“Why not?”

“No children see them. But the boys do when they are as old as you.”

“I would like to,” Maui said.

“No you wouldn’t! Not the day they come. It’s horrible!”

“How do you know if you haven’t seen them?”

“I know what they do. On the evening of that day they kill the first of the prisoners they bring home. They take the bodies to the marae to sacrifice to Koro.”

“Is your grandfather there?”

“Of course. He’s the high chief. My father, too.”

“I can’t think of your grandfather being there,”Maui said.

“He must be. Koro demands it. . . . Maui, don’t speak of it any more! Let’s go on now. I want to see the lake.”


IT WAS well past midday when they reached the borders of the lake. High above them ghost terns and tropic birds sailed back and forth, their reflections in the lake clear at one moment, blurred the next by flaws of wind sweeping across the water.

Hina gazed wonderingly about her. “What a beautiful place!”

“You see the holes high up on the crags?" Maui said. “That’s where the ghost terns nest. They are just beginning now. In another month the baby terns will be hatching.”

“Of all sea birds I love the ghost terns best,” Hina said.

“Better than kotaha, the birds of Koro?”

“Maui, they are not! Any more than ghost terns belong to Tané. They belong to themselves, and to the sky and the sea. Could you get me a pair of baby terns when they hatch?”

“How could I send them to you?”

Hina reflected for a moment. “I’ll come for them. Bring them as far as the tabu tree, but stay on your side! I’ll have to come with one of my mother’s servants. How long will it be?”

“Ten days from now will be the first night of the new moon. Could you come on the first day of the moon to follow that? The terns will be hatching well by then.”

‘Yes,” said Hina. “You won’t forget?”

“Tongans don’t forget their promises. I will be there early and wait till you come.”Maui glanced at the sun. “There is something else I want to show you.” he said, “but it isn’t time yet. While we’re waiting I’ll make some little boats.”

He gathered some small straight twigs, leaves from a hotu tree, and a length of smooth bark which he stripped down with his thumbnail for cordage. Hina watched, her hands clasped around her knees, as Maui shaped the bits of wood and smoothed them with a sharp-edged fragment of shell.

“How can you do it so fast?”

Maui gave her a quick glance as he worked. “Because I’m a Tongan,” he said. “Can’t the Koro boys make these little things?”

“Not as pretty as yours, and it takes them much longer.”

“Now, Hina, they’re ready. This one is for you. Be careful! Set it gently in the water. We’ll see which one sails best.”

The breeze was so light that it barely ruffled the surface of the water, but the tiny craft skimmed lightly over il until they were far out on the lake. Hina was delighted and Maui said: “Now I’ll make another kind, so light that even this little breeze will make them skip out of the water.”

“Where is the place you were going to show me? I’d like to see that first.”

“It isn’t time to go yet,”Maui said.

“ Why not ?”

“Because I say it isn’t.”

“You don’t want me to see it; that’s why.”

“ Listen, Hina! It’s a dangerous place to get into; the light must be just right when we start. Are you a good swimmer?”

“I can swim as well as any boy.”

“And dive, too?”

“Of course.”

“Show me,”Maui said. “Swim across the lake, and when you come back dive as far as you can.

The lake was little more than three hundred paces wide. Hina threw off her mantle. Loosening the kirtle beneath she wrapped it more tightly, bringing one end up between her legs, tucking it securely at the waist; then she plunged into the water. Maui watched closely, with increasing assurance, seeing how thoroughly at home she was. The rocky wall fell sheer on the far side of the lake. When she reached it Hina turned, gave a strong push with her legs and started back, swimming easily. When about fifty paces from the beach she dived and broke water in the shallows where Maui was sitting.

“You’re like a little porpoise,” Maui said as she threw herself on the sand beside him. He glaneed at the crags across the lake; the sun was now hidden behind them. “Soon we can go, but rest a little and get your breath.”

A few moments later he led the way across the lake until they had nearly reached the western wall. Maui said: “Swim now with your face in the water. You will see a dark place below a ledge in the cliff, keep wetching it.”

Presently Hina raised her head. “What is it, Maui? There’s light coming through!”

“That’s where we are going. Take some deep breaths. I’ll dive first. Follow right after me.”

As Maui’s head broke water inside the cavern he turned quickly and saw Hina rising to the surface just behind him. The shaft of sunlight coming through the rocky vault was growing brighter; it fell directly on the ledge of rock along the far side of the cavern. They swam there and pulled themselves up on it.

“Were you frightened?” Maui asked.

The child nodded. “I couldn’t have held my breath any longer.”

“Now you know why I wanted you to wait. You can see the way to come in only when the light is coming through that hole. Have you ever heard Koro boys speak of this place?”

Hina shook her head. “I don’t believe they ever come here.”

“I have many times, with my friends, but none of them know about this cave; I believe I was meant to find it. Métua, our priest . . .” He broke off, staring blankly at Hina.

“ What is it, Maui?”

“I forgot. I shouldn’t have brought you here.”

“ Why not ?”

“I have disobeyed our priest. He gave me something to hide in a secret place. I brought it here. And now you know!”

Hina glanced around the great cavern where the dark water seemed to stretch away into limitless recesses. “But I don’t know,”she replied. “I don’t know what it is or where it is. So you have done nothing wrong.”

Maui got to his feet. “I’m going to show you what it is,” he said. “Métua must have meant you to know. I couldn’t have brought you here without his consent.” Moving slowly along the ledge he searched along the wall until he found the coral pebble in its net of bark thread.

Hina examined it curiously. “What is it?" she asked. Maui told of his punishment at school; how he was made to suck the pebble. “And this is what I had to say when I first placed it in my mouth.”Then, as at school, the pebble in his mouth, he mumbled: “I, Maui, son of Téaro, am deeply at fault, and I willingly suck this pebble.”

Hina’s laughter made the walls ring. “Did you and e to suck it long?”

“It makes my jaws ache just to think of it.”

“You must tell your priest,”Hina said. ”I don’t believe he will mind your telling me, but if he does, then you can hide the pebble in some other place.”

Maui returned the pebble to its niche in the wall. “I think he will tell me first. Our priest knows everything.”

The sun had now passed the opening in the roof and the gloom was gradually deepening. “We’d better go now,” Hina said, anxiously. . . . “Maui, we must hurry! We won’t be able to find the way!

“Don’t be afraid. When it’s dark enough you will see the opening by the light that comes from the lake.” The gloom deepened until they could no longer see one another. A light much fainter than that by which they had entered now revealed the passage. “You see it, Hina?”

“ Yes,” the child replied. “I’m going, before I’m too scared to try it. Come right behind me!”

In the last faint light of day two weary children crossed the assembly ground to the house of Téaro.

“You were right, Maui,” Hina said. “It was a long way.”

(To be continued)