The Far Lands

For thirty years James Norman Hall has made his home in the South Seas. Over the years his imagination has continually been challenged by the question of hou the Polynesians ever came to these peaceful but remote islands. From his knowledge of the natives and their legends, he has recreated the epic story of the Tongon Clan, who were lovers of peace and who had gone to sea in their great outrigger canoes in search of the Far Lands promised them by Tané, the god they worshiped. After storm and starvation a remnant of the clan was driven ashore on Kurapo, an island peopled by the Koros, a clan who worshiped war and who would hare massacred the survivors were it not for the intervention of their high chief, Vaitangi, who gave the enfeebled strangers sanctuary on the eastern side of the island.



WHEN Maui opened his eyes he found himself lying where he had fallen. Four of Puaka’s warriors were standing at the doorways, apparently waiting for him to regain consciousness. Vaitangi sat at the farther end of the room, gazing at vacancy. As Maui rose to a sitting position Hina appeared at the doorway followed by two women servants. She gave an inward gasp of astonishment and dismay upon seeing Maui, but her face immediately assumed a blank expression and Maui himself gave no sign of recognition as he looked at her.

Ilina went to her grandfather, kneeling beside him for a moment, speaking in a low voice and smoothing his hair as she did so. Vaitangi gave no sign that he recognized her. As she passed Maui again on her way to the door, she gave him another glance that seemed to express complete indifference; then she left the room, followed by her servants.

Maui got slowly to his feet, and two of the soldiers, taking him by the arms, escorted him to the assembly ground. He was surprised to find that it was now late afternoon. A path was cleared through the crowd and Maui was led across the full width of the assembly ground to the pavilion where Puaka sat with his ariki.

With a brusque gesture Puaka motioned Maui to turn toward the crowd. As he stood there, the loud murmur of voices died away to silence. Puaka then spoke, his harsh and powerful voice carrying to the limits of the assembly ground.

“People of Koro,”he began, in a mocking voice, “you see here Maui, son of Téaro, and now high chief of the Tongan Clan. You will remember how this young man, in his boyhood, came to visit me at the temple of Koro. He has had reason, since, to repent of that visit, and his people with him. Now he has come again, to tell me that he wishes to renounce the worship of Tané. His people will destroy their temple with their own hands and place themselves at the mercy of Koro and his priest. How that mercy shall be expressed remains to be seen. But Koro commands me to tell you that he will accept this young man. He further commands me to provide him with a wife, for he is of marriageable age. I have, therefore, selected three beautiful virgins for him to choose from. Gather more closely while these maidens vie with one another in dancing before him, for the one he favors shall have the honor to be his bride.”

Maui was then made to sit on a bench in full view of the people who formed a wide circle around him and the band of musicians with their drums who look places nearby. Now came the three dancers, their faces and their figures completely hidden by mantles that reached to the ground. As the drums sounded, the dancers threw aside the mantles, revealing three hideous old women who struck alidades before Maui. They were naked save for kirtles of grass that concealed their middle parts. One, who was a monster of flesh, turned her back to Maui and bent over as far as she could, her hands behind her. flipped up her kirtle almost in his face, as a gesture of greeting. The second, a withered hag with pendant breasts hanging almost to her waist, took them in her hands and held them toward Maui with an air of appeal as though begging him to accept these, her greatest charms. The third was little more than a bundle of skin and bones with wisps of thin hair hanging over her face. She pretended to be having difficulty in keeping her grass mantle securely fastened over her bony hips, and she was so thin that there was little need for pretense. Of a sudden, the mantle slipped to her feet, leaving her naked. She turned her back to Maui, glancing coyly over her shoulder.

Now a girl of about twenty appeared and a ripple of laughter went through the crowd as they recognized her. She had a bold, coarse face, but a beautiful body which was concealed only by the customary short kirtle of dyed grasses so scantily made that her thighs were clearly revealed as she approached the place where Maui sat.

The drums struck into the slow stalely tempo of the nuptial dance, and the girl, with an air of shyness and modesty, went through the movements of this dance with such grace and beauty that, except for her scant costume, she might indeed have been a virgin of noble blood dancing before her lover on the eve of marriage. Suddenly the tempo changed to that of one of the erotic dances, designed to arouse passion, in which little is left to the imagination insofar as gestures and postures are concerned. She kept her eyes fixed upon Maui’s, with the air of a woman all but swooning for love. Then, as the drums ceased, she stepped forward and spat in his face.


MAUL was taken back to the house of Vaitangi and left there, under guard. Vaitangi remained as before, staring at the mat, unaware of his surroundings. The guards remained outside; there was no one in the room save Maui and Vaitangi. Presently a woman servant entered with some baked lish and breadfruit on a green leaf which she placed before Maui. As she did so she whispered: ” Hina’s ranoe is hidden by the great hotu tree, a mile south from the sheds where the ships are. Tonight is your only chance. Try very late. She will come if she can.”

Slowly, with an effort, Maui ate the food that had been placed before him. It might well be his last meal; but if, with Tané’s help, he should be able to escape, he would need all of his strength for the events to follow. When he had finished he prayed in silence, his hand clasped around the coral pebble which hung on his breast.

As time dragged by he lay back on the mat and fell into a troubled sleep in which he dreamed that he was a boy again, in the tree which overlooked the temple of Koro. He leaped to the temple platform, but instead of escaping he felt the huge hand of Puaka seize him by the shoulder. Awaking from this frightful dream he found that one of the guards had thus grasped him. “Come,” the man said.

His guards closed around him, two walking in front, two behind. It was a late hour but the festivities were still in progress on the assemble ground and most of the houses were deserted. Before long they turned into the path that Maui remembered so well, leading to the temple of Koro. They halted at the foot of the staircase leading to the summit of the marae and a voice said “Go!” to Maui.

Slowly he mounted the staircase and upon reaching the summit he thought for a moment that the place was deserted save for the huge figure of Koro, lighted by tapers on either side. The war god appeared to be staring directly toward him and Maui was conscious of the old feeling of horror and despair that had seized him in boyhood. He then saw two figures seated upon a stone bench to the left of the image. They were Puaka and his nephew.

Uri. Maui crossed the platform and stood before them.

“Son of Team,” the priest said, “let no word be spoken by you, for you stand in the very presence of Koro. When as a boy you desecrated his temple by your presence, death would have been your punishment save that Koro willed otherwise. He was content to wait until you were a man grown and your people bad increased in numbers so that his revenge might be more in keeping with the foulness of your crime. Well you know the power of Koro and the terror of that power, for it was planted in your heart in childhood. He now demands the blood of all your people, and yours is to be spilled first to honor the marriage of my nephew. Puaka rose from his seat. “You shall have this night to think of the doom of your people and this shall be the manner of it. Your priest, your anki, and all the men of your elan shall destroy the temple of Tune with their own hands; then they shall be slain there. My warriors, stirred to frenzy by blood lust. shall then be given a day and a night to take their pleasure of the Tongan women, your mother and sister among them. Then the women and children shall be slain, and their bodies left to rot in the sun with the others.” The priest was silent for a moment and then added: “It is Koro’s will that you be left here unguarded save by the terror of his presence, but my nephew is permitted to bear you company. You shall stand where you are. If you speak, my nephew will slay you at once.” The priest then crossed the temple platform and descended the staircase.

Maui stood about ten paces from the bench where Uri was seated. The latter was armed with a spear and a short war club. Unconsciously, Maui clasped his hands over his breast and his fingers touched the coral pebble. Of a sudden horror left him. He felt a sense of peace as though he stood in Tané’s temple, with Métua at his side. No longer was he compelled to look at the image of Koro. Courage filled his heart and a sense of power far beyond his own seemed to be flowing into his body as though from an inexhaustible source. He remembered Métua’s words: “Maui, the mana, the spirit of the noblest of our ancestors, has gone into the golden pebble which you wear.”He realized that it was their combined strength that he felt, and the assurance of it filled him with joy and sacred power. He turned quickly to Uri. “I defeated you in boyhood,” he said. “I will defeat you again, here in the very presence of your god.”

Uri stared, unable to believe for a moment that Maui had spoken; then he grasped his war club and rushed at him, aiming a blow at his head. Maui leaped aside, seized Uri‘s arm, and brought it down backward over his shoulder, breaking it at the elbow. The war club fell from Uri’s grasp and before he could recover Maui seized him by the waist and threw him over his shoulder. Lri fell heavily, his head striking the stone floor, He rose dizzily to his knees, but before he could regain his feet Maui leaped upon him, and taking Uri’s head between his hands he dashed it against the floor with such force that Uri lay unconscious.

Leaping to his feet, Maui glanced quickly around him. At one end of the marae was a house in which were kept the robes of the priests and the sacred emblems pertaining to the worship of Koro and the lesser gods. The house was lightly built, with roof and walls of thatch. Putting his shoulder to one of the doorposts, he pushed over this structure. He threw aside the thatch and uncovered the carved wooden chests in which the most sacred articles pertaining to the worship of Koro were kept. Seizing Uri’s war club he broke open the chests and tore their contents to bits, scattering and stamping upon them. Among these were the most prized possessions of the Koros: the banners flown from their war canoes when they went into battle. These, too, Maui tore to shreds, heaping the remains before the image of Koro which stood at the very edge of the upper platform. Maui stood for a moment, breathing fast, gazing unflinchingly into the face of the god. The last vestige of his fear was gone. He put his shoulder against the huge figure of Koro and struggled with all his power to topple it from the temple platform. He tilted it slightly but it came back to its original position. Halting briefly to gather up his strength he tried again, and again moved it. Newer relaxing his pressure, he increased his advantage and a moment later the great image went crashing down the stone terraces of the temple to the broad walk that encircled it at the foot.

As he stood looking down from the upper platform he became aware that the sky to seaward was filled with a lurid glare becoming brighter even as he looked, lie ran down the staircase and had no more than reached the bottom when Hina appeared around the corner of the temple. She rushed into his arms and clung to him for a moment unable to speak, and then she could do no more than gasp his name. Seizing his hand she ran with him around the walk encircling the marae, and they came upon the image of Koro lying there. The head had broken from the body and lay at a distance; but protruding from under the huge torso which blocked their path they saw the head and shoulders of Puaka lying on his back, his face hideous in death.

As they emerged from the small valley where the temple of Koro stood, Maui halted to look toward the beach, six hundred yards distant, where the great sheds for the war fleet had been. These were now a mass of flame revealing the beach far and wide and the throng of people gathered there. “I set them afire,” Hina said. “Maui, come quickly!” she added in an anguished voice. She ran before him keeping within the concealment of the groves. When they reached the place where her canoe was hidden the sheds were still burning fiercely, They carried the little canoe to the waiter’s edge and a few moments later, both paddling hard, they had disappeared around a point of land extending out into the lagoon.


ON THIS same night, as soon as darkness fell, the Tongans carried the last of their supplies from the village. Such pigs and fowls as could not be taken with them were loosed, to fend for themselves. The ships were moored in a single fine in the shallows of the lagoon. Men, women, and children gathered by the ships in which they were to embark, and the captains of the ships called their names in muffled voices to be certain that all were present. Shadowy figures were wading through the shallows, to and from the ships, carrying baskets of provisions, clusters of ripe coconuts strung together, pigs, crates of fowls, dogs, bunches of green plantains, handing these to others, who were stowing them within the ships. Some of the old women squatting on the beach cried softly to themselves.

Now the people embarked, the women and children first, the men afterward. When all were aboard, Tuahu, who was in general charge of this work, called the ships’ captains together.

“You have your instructions,” he said. “You will leave the lagoon in the order in which you are moored. Men at the paddles until you are well offshore beyond the shelter of the land. . . . There is a fresh breeze blowing from the northwest; hoist sails and take full advantage of it, through the rest of this night and, if the breeze holds, until tomorrow at sunset; then sail is to be taken in, and you are to drift, keeping well together, until Itatae joins us. Proceed, now, and good go with you all!”

The captains then boarded their ships and in deep silence they moved across the lagoon and through the passage to meet the long swell of the open sea. As the ships left the beach, not a sound was to be heard save the faint tinkle of drops of water as they fell from the blades of the paddles.

At dawn the following morning the seven ships were moving in line abreast, at intervals of about a quarter mile. The breeze was growing lighter, and shortly after sunrise it fell calm. Kurapo was still in view and it now had the appearance of two islands, with a space of open spa between them. Before long, even the cat’s-paws of the dying breeze disappeared and the sea was like a mirror.

A conch shell was blown from Kiwa in the center of the line, and the men in the other ships took their paddles and converged upon it. . . . Tuahu, in general charge of the fleet, was in this ship, with Métua. .The other ships gathered closely around, and Tuahu said: —

“We are now twenty leagues from the land, and whether this calm is one of good or ill fortune we shall soon know. We must prepare to defend ourselves as best we can, in case our escape has been discovered and Puaka is in pursuit. The women and children will shift into Kiwa, Te-Ava-Roa, Iriatai, and Anuanua, and the men from those ships come into the others. Make haste, for if the Koros are already at sea we shall soon be sighted.”

Immediately the women and children sprang into the sea and swam to the ships indicated, the women carrying their infants on their backs, and the men took their places in the ships to be prepared for defense. When these changes had been made Tuahu said: “Now the women will paddle eastward to a distance of two or three miles and rest there. Before this day is ended, we will know what our fortunes are to be.”

As the ships moved apart the men stood, grimfaced and silent, watching them go; they then set. to work preparing Kotaha, Tokérau, and Éata for defense. When all had been done that could be done, the ships were moved into line, one behind the other, facing west. The paddlers took their places on the thwarts, their weapons at hand; the others occupied the free space on the platforms where the houses were, on the small platforms bow and stern and along the sides of the hulls. Few words were spoken; the eyes of all were turned westward where nothing could be seen save the seafowl coming out from the distant land for their day’s fishing. An hour passed, two hours, and still they waited.

At last a youth clinging to the top of the mast of the foremost ship called out: “A Hio! Téra/” — his arm outstretched, pointing southwest. Presently, an object so small as to be scarcely discernible appeared against the horizon line. All eyes were fixed upon it but no one spoke until the boy at the masthead gave a jubilant shout. “Au-é!” he cried. “Itatae! Itatae!” He slid down the mast, his face radiant with joy. The others in that ship crowded around him scarcely able to believe.

Soon all could see that the approaching ship was, indeed, Maui’s. The blades of the paddles flashed as one in the sunlight, first on the side of the great outrigger, then on the opposite side. The ship came on fast, and soon they could make out Maui’s figure standing on the platform in the bow. At the signal, the men lifted their blades from the water and held them upright on the thwarts where they sat. Itatae came on under its own momentum and as it passed the others Maui called: “We are safe! Puaka’s ships have been burned in their sheds! Not one remains.”

One of the women in Maui’s ship was his grandmother, Hotu, a woman of great force of character, loved and respected by all the Tongans. The others saw seated beside her a beautiful girl unknown to them. She was not a Tongan; therefore she must be of the Koro Clan, or, perhaps, a young woman seized by the Koros from amongst their enemies on the islands to the north.

Taio said: “Do none of you recognize her? It is Hina, granddaughter of Yaitangi; it can be no other.” Some believed and some doubted; when Métua was asked he replied, “Maui himself will tell you in his own good time. It is enough at the moment to know that Puaka’s ships have been destroyed and that we are safe from pursuit.”


Now the Tongans were like another people. The heavy burden of uncertainty and dread they had carried for so long was lifted from their hearts, and old and young were like children together. Maui’s own heart was filled with joy and gratitude to Tané. All of his people were there: not one had been lost.

In leaving Kurapo, time had been lacking for the proper distribution of the sea stores; and now this matter was attended to. The women and children leaped into the sea to make room, while the men redistributed the supplies so that each ship would have the proper amount of food and water for the number of people carried. The squealing of pigs, the crowing of cocks, the happy shouts of the children in the water, the orders passed back and forth from ship to ship, and the hum of talk sounded strangely in the wide air of the lonely sea. As the sun climbed toward the zenith the heat became intense and some of the younger children began calling for water. Their mothers quieted them as best they could. What would Maui think of them, begging for water so soon? They were no longer free to drink all they pleased. Hush, now! When the rains came they would have all they wanted.

By late afternoon the task of getting the ships in order had been completed. The most important undertaking had been the careful examination of the lashings of the crossbeams holding the twin hulls of each ship together, for their greatest danger was that these lashings might work loose in heavy seas certain to be met with as they proceeded on the voyage. Men labored throughout the day on Te-Ara-Roa, the last ship to be built, and finally it was ready to embark its people once more.

As evening drew on, the ships gathered closely around Itatae, rising and falling gently as the long glassy swells passed beneath them. This was the time the people had been waiting for They were eager to hear of their deliverance. They knew nothing of what had happened in the Koro village the day before, and only the chief’s were aware that Maui had gone there in answer to Puaka’s summons. They listened with deep attention while Maui told them, first, of all that pertained to Hina: of their meetings at the lake, of the news she had brought of the approaching death of Vaitangi, and of her betrothal to Uri. He went on to speak of what they all knew, of the childhood friendship between Hina and himself, how it had ended at the time when he had broken the tabu of Vaitangi, and how friendship had become deep love from the day when he had met Hina again.

“I appeal now to you, Tané’s people, my people,” he then said, “I ask you to take Hina to your hearts as you did when she was a child, for she is a Koro in name only and by the chance of birth. She belongs to us, and she belongs to me, now your leader in my father’s place. I have only this, more, to tell you. It was Hina who, at the risk of her life, and at a moment when she believed me dead, set fire to the sheds housing the Koro ships, destroying them all that you others might escape from Puaka and his warriors.”

There was a moment of silence, followed by a deep murmur of approval which passed from ship to ship. Hina’s eyes filled with tears as she saw the friendly glances directed toward her from all sides.

Tuahu said: “Maui, I speak for all when I say that Hina is welcome among us. She will find here none but loving hearts.”

Then Métua spoke, reminding the people how, when the Tongans reached kurapo — so many at the point of death by thirst and starvation– Vaitangi had welcomed them, and Hina’s mother had saved Maui’s life by suckling him at her breast with Hina, her infant daughter. “I knew then,” he said, “that those children were destined for each other; that, when the time came, it was Tune’s will that their lives should be joined together. So it has come to pass. I will say this, further: the union of Maui and Hina will be a blessing, not only to themselves and their children, but to the Tongan Clan for generations to come.'

Rata, a chief much given to doubt, spoke up: “Maui, we Tongans know, as our ancestors before us have known, the mighty power of Koro. How, then, were you able to escape from his temple?”

“I have told you,” Maui replied. “I was left unguarded there save by Puaka’s nephew, Uri. I fought with l ri, and left him lying senseless before the great image of Koro.”

“And Koro himself lacked the power to hold you


“ You see me, Rata. I am no ghost, but flesh and blood. It must have been so. Do you believe that the power of Koro is greater than that of Tané?”

“No, said Rata; “but never before in our history has a Tongan escaped alive from the temple of Koro.”

“There is always a first time for every happening,” Marama said. “Why should you wonder that Maui has been spared? It may be Tané’s purpose that, under Maui’s leadership, we shall reach the Homeland. Could you believe that?”

“Our ancestors have been seeking it for twenty generations,” Kata replied; “but it could be” and he said no more.

Now was held the most sacred of all ceremonies connected with their worship, which would have taken place on the beach at Kurapo when they were ready to embark, had circumstances permitted. The ships were brought closely together so that the chiefs in each one could cross to Kiwa where Metua, their priest, stood with one of his temple assistants, holding in his hands the casket containing the four sacred stones from their ancestral marae. Again there was deep silence, no one speaking save the priest himself, the chiefs gathered around him. .Métua raised the lid of the casket and took from il the sacred stones, one by one, passing them first to Maui, who passed them on until each of the chiefs had handled the stones that had been touched by their ancestors since the time when the quest for the Far Lands of Maui had begun. The mana of the noblest Tongans through all the centuries past had thus gone into the stones, to be added to by those who took up the quest in their turn. As each, stone was received again by Métua, he placed it in a strong, closely woven mesh bag. The top was drawn together, securely fastened.

and Métua leaned ovor the side of the ship to dip it in the sea, saying as he did so: —

“Measureless Sea of Kiwa that has carried us so far in the direction of the rising sun: may it be that we Tongans of this generation shall reach the Homeland hidden in Thy solitudes.” When the four stones had been thus dipped, Métua took each of them in turn and held it toward the sky, saying: “Eternal heaven of Tané: I name the four stars that guide us toward the Far Lands of Maui.”As he returned the stones to the casket, he named the four guiding stars the Tongans followed.

Always when the Tongans, of whatever generation, sot out to continue the quest for the Far Lands, it was Tané’s will that all of his people the chiefs, the raatira, and the commoners alike — should hear the call of Maui-the-Peaceful so that their hearts might be filled with hope and courage and faith in his promise that their Homeland would surely be found. Even the doubters and the faint of heart were permitted to hear it at such times; but, thereafter, only the noblest among them — men and women of unshakable faith — would hear.

Now, when the solemn service of the dipping of the sacred stones and the naming of the four guiding stars was ended and the stones returned to the casket, the moment had come. Of the six hundred people there waiting, only the older ones who had survived to reach Kurapo on the previous voyage had heard the call. All of the younger folk, too small to remember the earlier time, or who had been born on Kurapo, had accepted the word of their elders or doubted it, according to their natures. But now, as they saw Métua making his way forward amongst the people in Kiwa to the small platform in the bow of the ship, their hearts were filled with awe and wonder, for they knew his purpose in going there. The hush that fell upon the voyagers was like that over the great sea in which they floated.

As Métua mounted to the platform he looked to the west where the sun had just set behind the peaks of the two highest mountains of Kurapo clearly outlined against the horizon. Then he turned to the east and said, quietly, in a voice that all could hear:—*

“Tané, our Loving Father — we await now the summons of Thy servant and our guide, Maui-thePeaceful.

The afterglow died away in the west and twilight deepened. No sound was heard save the voice of a fretful child whose mother immediately hushed it by giving it her breast. To the east the sky was lightening with the coming of the moon. Still they waited. The upper rim appeared above the horizon line, sending a faint path of light across the sea, growing in splendor until the full orb rose clear, and the glory of its light fell upon the ships and the people gazing toward it. Then, ns though coming with the light itself, from beyond the horizon, they heard the call; and a moment later it came again, but starry-faint the second time, as though from lands infinitely remote, hidden in the farthermost solitudes of the Great. Sea of Kiwa.

The hearts of all were so filled with awe, and reverence, and wonder that, at first, none could speak. They stood or sat, their attitudes the same, gazing eastward along the path of light made by the moon — waiting,, hoping to hear the call once more; but it was not repeated. Then the spell was broken and they stared at one another. There were faces radiant with joy and assurance; others looked at them for confirmation, as though not daring to believe what they had heard. As they found their voices once more the hum of talk increased, and presently was heard a shout: ’Matai! Matai!— The wind!" The attention of all was drawn westward as they felt upon their cheeks the first faint tremors of the breeze. The glassy sea was darkening with cat’s-paws of wind moving toward them.

“Get sail on the ships!” Maui called. “Here comes the favoring wind of Tané!”

The captains of the ships had received their instructions: from Maui in advance. The sea to the east of Kurapo had already been explored for a distance of six days’ sailing and no land found; nor did the Tungans wish to find land, even for a temporary resting place, so near to Kurapo. They looked back, watching the mountain peaks of Kurapo sink lower and lower until they had vanished below the western horizon. The sky had closed behind them, and the empty sea to the west filled their hearts with peace and deep content.


DAY after day good fortune followed them. Although the wind slackened somewhat, it never failed them by day or by night: the lightest of whitecaps were always to be seen on the wind-wrinkled sea.

Their food was measured out twice daily, at midmorning and late in the afternoon. At first they ale the rams and taro root that had been cooked on Kurapo, and each person had a portion of plantain. No distinction was made between children and adults; all received the same portions, but the older people ate sparingly so that the children might have more. Each person had a small bamboo drinking-cup, of the same size, and the ration of water was three cups daily, but mothers with infants at breast received an extra cup. The livestock fared even better than the people themselves, for the Tongans fully realized the value of their fowls and pigs and dogs. A great sow heavy with young had been embarked in Anuanua. She took up room sorely needed, and was generously fed and watered, the older people often saving a part of their own food for her. The weather being fine and the sea smooth, the fowls were taken from their crates in the daytime and perched along the gunwales with tethers of bark attached to their legs and fastened to the cleats just below the gunwales.

Except for the middle hours of the day there was always a stirring-about amongst the people. With cords of sinnet the fathers made harnesses for the small children. With these securely fastened upon them they dipped the children into the sea, letting them ride there, heads just above the surface, while the cool water laved their naked bodies. And they would lift them high, to let them splash again. The parents tired of this pastime long before the children did.

Young and old amused themselves for hours at a time making string patterns. This was an art with them, handed down and perfected from generation to generation. Many of the patterns were of beautiful and intricate designs, requiring a full half-hour to complete. Others were made to move when completed, showing figures representing birds in flight, waves rising and falling, men fishing, and the like; and always they were inventing new ones.

On the morning of the fifth day Maui believed that they had sailed beyond the farthest point eastward ever reached by the Kotos. Now the practice of their ancestors was followed that they might cover as wide an area of sea as possible. The ships moved apart to form an are of from fifteen to twenty miles, the distance depending upon the clearness of the air and the condition of the weather. So they would sail through the daylight hours until late afternoon when they closed in for the night. On moonlight nights, with a calm sea, they sailed at intervals of a mile; on starry nights, of half a mile. In cloudy weather they were no more than two or three hundred yards apart. It was the duty of the steersmen to keep at the proper distance from the ship on the left. Throughout the night signals by conch shell were sent from ship to ship, from left to right, and back again from right to left. So they kept in touch.


THE sun was near to setting one evening when the breeze died away. The ships were still far scattered but all were now within view. Sails were lowered, the paddles gotten out, and they moved toward Maui’s ship. Masses of white cumulus cloud floated motionless above their reflections in the calm sea, and as the sun vanished below the horizon line they caught the colors of the afterglow, growing in splendor from moment to moment. The light from the clouds and their reflections cast upon the sea transformed with an effect of magic the moving ships and the faces of the people in them. Ripples at the bows moved out in widening arcs of crimson and gold to meet with others, the light and color mingling and changing in an element that appeared to be neither sea nor air nor cloud but a fusion of all three.

All the people were sensible of the glory, the peculiar grandeur, of that end of day. Maui stood with Hina in the bow of his ship as the others drew near. Marama waved to them but gave no hail, as though reluctant to break the spell that seemed to have descended upon them at the moment, but as the ships closed to within speaking distance, he said, in an awed voice: “Maui, never before have I seen such a sky, and the sea is no common sea. Surely, we are now in the far solitudes of the Sea of Kiwa, and with this beauty she tells us.”

The spell of silence was broken as the ships came to rest. The children leaped into the water with shouts of joy. Their parents quickly followed, and soon all of the clan save a few of the old folk were in the sea that shimmered with mingled light and color as though the great Rainbow of Tané had been shattered upon its surface. The merry shouts of the children and the happy talk of their elders in the water, reunited once more after the long passage from Kurapo, gave evidence of the peace in the hearts of these children of the sea, and their unspoken gratitude to Tané who had brought them so far and so happily in the wished-for direction.

There were no laments at the failing of the wind. This pause in their voyage after many days of serene and uneventful sailing was, surely, a destined pause, to give them rest and refreshment, a chance for briefly reuniting families, for giving thanks to ’Lane for his watchful care. Thus far they had but. one cause for anxiety: the water supply. No rain had fallen since they left Kurapo. But they were not greatly troubled. The wind from the west that had carried them so far was Tanés wind, not the true westerly. That would soon come, for the austral summer was at hand; the scattered masses of piled-up cloud were a promise of it. Soon there would be rain in abundance.

When morning came the ships were lying in nearly the same positions they had taken for the night, and the masses of cloud floating above them appeared to be those they had seen the evening before. Once again they glowed and flamed in the increasing light, but as the sun rose the splendor faded In the pure white of cloud masses having in them no promise of rain.

No sooner had day come than all was hustle and activity in the fleet. The ships were brought closely together. Most of the people were again in the sea to make room for the cleaning and scouring of the vessels. Masts, rigging, sails, and crossbeam lashings were carefully examined and such repairs made as were necessary, but, with the exception of Te-Ava-Roa, there was little to be done. In the latter ship the seams along the upper part of the hulls were recalked and the work of relashing the crossbeams was done over again. Two days were spent in cleaning and repairing the ships.

Families were reunited at this time, during the daylight hours, and Maeva, Maui’s mother, and his married sister, Tauhéré, joined him in his ship. They had seen nothing of Hina during the voyage; now they made the most of their opportunity to be with her and to show her the deep affection in their warm and loving hearts. Maéva urged upon her son that the opportunity offered be taken to solemnize his marriage with Hina. “Never have I forgotten my debt to Hina s mother, she said. I long to take Hina to my heart, in her dead mothers place, and make her my daughter.”

“I had thought to wait,” Maui said, “until we reach some land where our marriage could be celebrated in a fitting manner.”

“My son,” Maéva said, “what could be more fitting than that the high chief of the Tongans should be married at sea? That you are already married in truth, I know, for Hina has told me, and that she now carries your child in her body; but I long to welcome her as my daughter, and your wile in very truth, and that cannot be until the sacred rites have been performed by Métua, in the presence of our people. Let nothing be left to chance. If anything should happen to you which Tané forbid!—before the marriage takes place, Hina would not and could not be recognized by our people. Her standing would be that only of a girl of noble blood whom you had gotten with child.

“It shall be as you wish,” Maui replied.

And so, on the afternoon of this day, the marriage look place on Kiwa, the other ships gathered closely around and their people looking on. Mam and Hina sat facing each other, and between them Métua placed the casket containing the sacred stones. Upon the lid of the casket was spread a small square of white tapa cloth, and when the chants had been sung and the prayers said, Métua drew a few drops of blood from Maui’s forefinger and then from Hina’s and the blood was mingled on the cloth to indicate the sacredness of their union.


Now everything was in readiness for continuing the voyage, but the calm held, and on the following day the sky was again cloudless. Faint breaths of air darkened the surface of the sea at moments and then died away. As the sun climbed toward the zenith the people lay in the ships, gasping for air, protecting themselves as well as they could with mats from the intense glare of the sun and its reflection upon the glassy water.

So five days passed. The ration of water was reduced from three cups daily to two, and then to one, and real suffering began. The voices of small children could be heard begging for water, and the older people denied themselves a part of their own scant ration to lessen a little the torment during the heat of the day of their small sons and daughters. The older ones had been schooled to endure thirst with fortitude. On Kurapo, as on other lands where the Tongans had lived, boys and girls, as soon as they entered their teens, were taught to accustom themselves to thirst for periods of from two to three days, so that suffering from this cause might not be wholly strange to them; nor was there danger of any of them being tempted to drink sea water, for they knew that death would surely follow. They bathed in the sea four or live times daily, to take what little water they could through the pores of their skin, but soon the older people were too weak to do more than lie in the water alongside the ships for a few moments, and were then lifted in.

Nightly, Métua offered prayers for rain, and on the morning of the sixth calm day the sky was again partly covered with heaped-up masses of cloud, widely scattered, some with dark cores at the centers, giving at least die promise of rain. Maui now ordered the ships to separate, each of them to follow a cloud in the hope that showers would fall. The strongest men took the paddles and pulled wearily toward the cloud masses drifting slowly overhead, some of them far distant. Soon the ships were widely separated. The people in each watched, with mingled hope and despair, the cloud they themselves were trying to reach and those followed by the other ships. Light curtains of rain were seen to fall here and there, but the ships were now so far apart that the people in one could not know whether the ships nearest to the showers had succeeded in reaching them or not.

The glances of the stronger ones who had best endured the torment of thirst were turned upon those lying in the hulls, old people, their eyes glazed with suffering, their parched lips open, gasping feebly. Manu pointed in silence to a woman lying in the hull on his side of the ship, with a small child sucking at her dry breast.

Another of the paddlers, dipping his finger in the sea that he might moisten his dry lips, said: ” .There are some here who will not survive the night without relief.”

“They must have it. There is no choice,”another said.

“If one is to have it, all shall have it, Rata said. He motioned to a man who was seated nearest the place where the bamboo containers for water were stored. The man passed him one of these, and a cup. A swallow of water was poured into the cup, and this was given to the woman who had tried to relieve the torment of her child. When the cup was placed to her lips she shook her head, feebly. “’The child,” she said; nor would she swallow the meager taste of water until her little son had been served.

The old were served first, and the women and small children. The young men and women and the older boys and girls showed the greatest compasssion and self-rest raint in ministering to the others, and care was taken in pouring out the water so that each person had exactly the same amount. Although some of the young people, when their turn came, drank their portion, many of them, having rinsed their mouths, spit it back into the cup so that others might have it. Rata did the like, as well as many of the paddlers, although these latter were in all but desperate need of the little refreshment they might well have claimed for their own. One bamboo container holding no more than two quarts served eighty people. 30

MAUI’s ship was slowly approaching Eata, whose captain was Taio. As they drew near, Maui saw that Taio was distributing water to his people.

You caught rain, Taio?” he called.

Taio shook his head. “We shall have rain and to spare before nightfall,” he replied. “I am serving what little we have left to those in greatest need. Do you the same, Maui.”

Maui stared overhead, around the circle of the horizon, and again at Taio. “Are you mad?” he called. “What promise of rain do you see in this sky?” Maui knew that of all the Tongans there was no one so weather-wise as Taio, but now he feared that the torment of thirst had unhinged his judgment.

“You trust me, Maui?” Taio replied. “If you do, call the ships together. Before the farthest of them can reach us the sky will be black with cloud. Waste no time, for there will be wind behind.”

Scarcely daring to believe, Maui nevertheless signaled the ships again and again until all had heard and were slowly moving toward Itatae and Eata. And now, as though Tané were, indeed, answering the prayers of Métua, clouds that grew denser and blacker from moment to moment formed in a sky that had been all but cloudless only a little time before. As the ships drew in, the people who were able to stir got to their feet and clung to the gunwales, staring at the darkening sky as though not able to believe what their eyes beheld. In Kotaha the paddlers, their eyes alight with joy, were pulling with vigorous strokes.

As the ships were drawing together the little water they had left was quickly served out to the greatest sufferers, and a few of the older people were, indeed, almost at the point of death. Clouds were fast covering the sky but a few shafts of late afternoon sunshine pierced through widely scattered rifts amongst them and fell upon the gray sea in pools of silver. Soon these vanished, and by the time that all the ships had reached Itatae, the canopy of blackening cloud was unbroken from horizon to horizon.

There was no need for orders from Maui. In every ship mats had been rigged for catching water and the empty containers stacked beside them. There was little talk, for the torment of thirst was still with them. The helpless ones had been placed in the huts on the platforms. The faces of all the others were turned toward the sky as they waited for the rain to fall. Moments were like hours to the people so desperately in need of relief. A man in Tokérau stood on one of the thwarts and raised hisarms in a gesture of pathetic appeal, “Haéré mai, te ua! Haéré mai!” he said, and a moment later, rain began to fall.

Harder it came, and harder. Although the ships lay closely together, at moments they were all but hidden from view, one from the other. Faces upturned, their mouths open, their bodies streaming with rain, the people drank the cool sweet water from the air itself. The older folk were lifted to their feet; mothers held their small children aloft in their arms that they might catch the full effect of the downpour. Men and boys filled the bamboo water containers at the broad streams that poured from the mats. Harder still it came, an aweinspiring deluge that blotted the ships from view, but, above the roar and hiss of this horizon-wide cataract falling into the sea, faint joyous shouts were heard. After a little time these were changed to cries of warning and alarm. Rain, so desperately longed for and prayed for, was now falling at such an appalling rate that it became, for the moment at least, their enemy. The hulls of the ships were filling with it faster than they could be bailed out. As they sank deeper and deeper with the weight of it, women and children and many of the men leaped into the sea to lighten the ships and give room to the bailers, who worked with desperate haste lest their fowls and pigs be drowned. They baited with their scoops, with their cupped hands, but the mats were of the greatest use. Four men to each, they dipped and tilted them, pouring water over the side gallons at a time.

Gradually the downpour slackened; the outlines of the ships began to emerge, and presently the rain ceased. A strange sight came to view in the clear rain-washed air. All the clan were in the sea save the men bailing out the hulls of the vessels and the boys who had remained aboard to save the livestock. Old women clung to the gunwales; the smallest children were on their mothers’ backs, clinging to their hair or with arms around their necks. Bedraggled crates of fowls were stacked on the crosshull platforms. The pigs, brought up from below, were festooned along the sides of the ships with their front legs over the gunwales as though hung up to dry, with a small boy steadying each one. Even the great sow that had farrowed in Anuanua had been heaved up in time to save her from drowning. Other small boys were perched wherever they could find room, out of the way of the bailers, holding puppies and baby pigs.

Male and female alike, children and adults, they were Te-Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa’s foster children. The experience of their ancestors through many generations had taught them how to meet the hazards of the sea, and now that they had survived without loss the most dreaded of them all —* for the time, at least —■ their hearts were again filled with hope and courage. As their food was in watertight containers they suffered no loss in this respect, and all of their vessels for water were again full, with the promise of more rain in abundance, so they might not need to use any of their precious supply for days to come. Now, with the ships bailed dry once more, they began to re-embark.

The ships were drawn into line while they were waiting for the wind. In the fading light the people waved to one another and parting messages were shouted from ship to ship. Itatae took her place in the center of the line, about fifty paces in advance of the others. The last gray light was fading to darkness when the wind came, it blew gently at first but with increasing strength from moment to moment, and it came, as had the Fair Wind of Tané, directly from the west. Soon the ships were seething along at their proper distances, their masts bending slightly to the wind.


WHAT distance the Tongan Clan sailed from the beginning to the end of their voyage cannot be definitely known, but this is certain: it was the greatest voyage ever made over the Sea of Kiwa by any clan of Polynesians. There are some who say that Kurapo was the ancient name of the island of Truk; others believe it was Ponape, but neither of those lands answers the description of Kurapo handed down by our ancestors. The voyage covered a period of fifty-one years. Maui was eighteen when the Tongans left Kurapo, and in his seventieth year when the Homeland was reached.

That many islands were found where they halted to rest and to build up their strength and their numbers once more cannot be doubted; but the names of those lands have been lost to us, nor is anything known of the time spent upon each one. None of them had ever before been seen by the eyes of men, and some were so rich and beautiful that the people half believed that they had reached the Homeland so long sought for. But always, sooner or later, Maui would hear the call of his great namesake, coming from beyond the horizons to the east, and they would prepare to follow. Only those who wished to go on did so. Some who despaired of the quest remained behind on various lands that were found, but the greater part sailed on with Maui.

’There were times when all went well with them for days and weeks together. At other times, when their sea stores were exhausted and no fish were caught, the Tongans were compelled to sacrifice most of their livestock. There were disasters which divided the fleet. Ma’o’s ship, the last to be completed and of green timber, was split apart in the dark of a storm. Maui went in search of her, and though he found only one survivor, Ma’o himself, it was months before be succeeded in rejoining the clan. The hurricane swept away another of their precious ships, drowning their beloved priest Métua and with him many of the elders who could not withstand the storm. But no matter what their suffering, they kept two pairs each of pigs and dogs and fowls in the hope of reaching land. Thirst was an ever present torment, and sometimes an agony. But at times when many had died of thirst and it seemed that all would do so, rain would fall. It was during the latter part of the voyage that rain was first called “the Tears of Tané,” weeping in pity for his children who never lost faith in him. It is known by that name to this day among the few remaining descendants of the Tongan Clan.

It was at night that Captain Minnie had begun his tale, and it was at night that he reached the end of it. The sky was cloudless and the air so clear that the great luminous path of the Milky Way was faintly reflected on the mirrorlike surface of the lagoon. As Winnie fell silent I waited, expecting to hear more. A moment later he said; “ Tirara. The story is finished.”

“But . . . where were the Far Lands of Maui.?” I asked. “You haven’t told me that.”

“I thought you might guess it,” he replied. “One lone mountain peak, Rano Raraku, is all that remains of them: the island of Rapa-Nui — Easier Island, to give il its modern name.”

“The island of the mysterious stone imagesC

“Some believe there is no mystery with respect to the images,” Winnie replied. “Rapa-Nui was the farthest outpost to the east reached by Polynesians, and the Tongans were the elan who found it. At that time there were three islands: the Homeland promised them by Tane. And there they lived in peace, untroubled, unmolested, for many general ions.”

“Do you think it possible that Koro may have overtaken them, in the end?”

Winnie was silent for a moment; then his deck chair creaked as he turned to peer toward me in the starlight.

“What do you think?” he asked. “ M hich power has triumphed down the ages? Tane, the god of Peace, or Koro, the god of War?”

This concludes the Atlantic abridgment of Mr. Hall’s narrative; contour though they cover less than half the detail of the novel, winch is to be published November under the Atlantic-Little, Brown imprint.