Hawaiian Mythology
by Martha Beckwith 1940

     
 

MU AND MENEHUNE PEOPLE

Lua-Nu'u (Second Nu‘u, or cycle of time), called also Kane-hoa-lani, Lalo-kona, Pua-Nawao, Ku-ma-menehune, Ku-hooia, Ku-iiki, is placed as the twelfth name from Nu‘u on the Kumuhonua genealogical line. Laka (Kupulupulu) and Pili are his sons. Maui, Kanaloa and Kaneapua, Waha-nui, and Makali‘i are the mythical names belonging to his period. The names Pua-Nawao and Ku-ma-menehune refer to him as ancestor of the Nawao and Menehune people. Ho-oia is an epithet applied to one who confirms the truth (oiai‘o), i-ike to one who is keen-witted (ike). The name of Lalo-kona and the wife's of Honua-po-ilalo are said to be derived from his migration "to a remote country called Honua-ilalo to the south." The name Kane-hoa-lani, Malo equates with Kane-wahi-lani and calls him a god who rules the heavens. It is the name given to the phallic stones called "stones of Kane" set up at the place of family worship, where prayer and sacrifice are offered to an ancestral deity for help in time of need. A legend is told of Lua-nu‘u to explain why the highest peak rising cone-shaped from the ridge back of Kualoa on the north side of Oahu has the name of Kane-hoa-lani and the two lower peaks those of Ku-pulupulu and Pili-lua-nu‘u.

The god Kane orders Lua-nu‘u to perform a sacrifice, and as he finds no suitable place for this offering in the mountains of Kahiki-ku where he is then living, he is told to travel eastward until he finds "a sharp-pointed hill projecting precipitately into the ocean." He sails in his canoe with "his son Ku-pulupulu and his servant Pili" to the ridge back of Kualoa on Oahu and here performs the sacrifice. 

On the Kumuhonua genealogy Lua-nu‘u becomes the father by a slave wife of the Nawao (The wild people), a Mu race living on bananas in the forest (ka-lahui-mu-ai-maia-a-laau-haeleele), and described by Fornander as "a people of large size, wild, [who] did not associate with kanakas (men). . . . Hunting people (lahui alualu holoholona). . . numerous in former times, but now . . . disappeared." The Nawao are ancestors of the Mu (silent) and Wa (shouting) people listed as Namu and Nawa among the aumakua, and all three are invoked as Ku-a-mu, Ku-a-wa, Ku-a-wao by those who go to the upland forest for tree felling and by the multitude at the ohia-ku procession when bringing down a tree for the god of a newly dedicated heiau. Any man who comes into the path of such a procession may be seized for sacrifice. A sorcerer's invocation to such an aumakua runs:

O Ku-a-mu, go thou to [name of victim],
Enter him, head and tail,
Let him become your bread and meat,
Return not again until he is devoured of worms. 

By his chiefess wife Mee-haku-lani (Mee heavenly lord) or Mee-hiwa (-black), Lua-nu‘u becomes the father of the Menehune people, "a numerous and powerful race from whom the present race of Hawaiians is descended." The older branch of the Menehune are descended from Aholoholo, a wanderer, the younger branch from a son called Ka-imi-puku-ku or Kinilau-a-Mano (Many descendants of Mano). There are twelve "sons" in all of whom Luanu‘u becomes ancestor (equated by Fornander with the twelve sons of Toho [Toko] in Marquesan legends 7 from two of whom, Atea and Tane, the Marquesans count descent). From one of these twelve descends Hawaii-loa the navigator.

It is evident that we have here to do, in the legend of Luanu‘u and his forest-dwelling, banana-eating progeny, with that period of early settlement noted in the chant of Kumulipo as directly following the dawn of day (ao) and the appearance of Kane, Ki‘i, and Kanaloa, when the ancestors dwelt in the uplands on the edge of the damp forests favorable to the planting of bananas, which were their principal food--the period expressed in the names "Vast expanse of forest" (Moanaliha-i-ka-waokele) and "Dwelling in cold uplands of the first chiefs of the dim past" (Ku-polo-liili-ali‘i-mua-o-lo‘i-po). During this period and under Lua-nu‘u, according to Fornander, the use of incision was introduced, and from such a reference to the rite as occurs in the Palila legend it is at least possible to infer that incision began during this time to distinguish the Kane people from the "wild" and was regarded as a necessary step to becoming a marriageable member of the ancestral stock. Ku-pulupulu, the son of Lua-nu‘u, is Kolo-i-ke-ao or Laka on the Kumuhonua genealogy and the name itself refers to the wild fern growth of those damp forests of which Laka is patron. The word pili is a term applied to an indirect relation, a sort of hanger-on. The Kumuhonua genealogy descends from Pili to Papa, the Kumuuli from Laka to Wakea, husband of Papa.

On the side of mythology, Stokes thinks that Wakea's infidelity to Papa in the affair of Ho‘ohoku is a misplaced episode belonging to Tiki in the south islands and should be related of Ki‘i, who appears twelve generations down the line on the Wakea genealogy as father of Ulu and Nana-ulu from whom descend the high chiefs of the Hawaiian group. It is in fact likely that the whole Kumuhonua line down to Wakea is a mere threefold duplication of the Wakea line down to Ki‘i. Kolo-i-ka-po and Kolo-i-ke-ao, born to Kumuhonua's wife after the two were driven out of their home by Kane's bird, duplicate Haloa the taro plant and Haloa the son, born from the unfortunate affair of Wakea with Ho‘ohoku, from which, however, sprung the line of ruling chiefs. If Kumu-honua as the fallen chief who brought death into the world is the equivalent of Wakea, then the "death" for which he was responsible is not natural death, which to a Hawaiian could occur only in extreme old age when a man "withered up and flattened out like a lauhala mat," as they express it, but to premature death as a punishment for transgression against a law of the aumakua. Wakea's sin was not one of incest, but of breaking the tapu upon intercourse with women during the tapu of the god. This it was that caused Kane's anger and drove the race down to death. This may be the explanation of the "excellent laws" made by Kumuhonua, alluded to by Kamakau, which were the cause of his being driven out of the land. They were laws of Kane and as such any infringement was punishable by death.

Stories of the Mu and Menehune forest livers, who are placed by genealogists among the early generations of Kumuhonua's offspring, also include a legend of migration, but generally not pictured as compulsory, away from their home on this group to some mysterious other world of the gods. Besides this tradition of migration there have gathered a number of traditions about these Mu and Menehune people, most of them from Kauai and Oahu, all of which represent the two (or three) groups as former inhabitants of the islands, sometimes as aborigines but more often as introduced from abroad and living in upland forests. The Menehune are called "human" as distinguished from the "wild" Nawao people, most of whom they are said to have exterminated. To the Menehune, or sometimes to the Mu, is ascribed the building of old heiaus, fishponds, and other stonework found about the island. The legend of the Kauai chief Ola is connected with these people, and that of the Oahu chief Ka-hanai-o-ke-akua, the ward of Kane and Kanaloa at Waolani.

It is hazardous to attempt to untangle from these legends the actual interweaving of fancy and fact which has gone to their shaping. The "wao" is that part of the mountainside inhabited by spirits alone and it is tempting to regard the Mu and Wa of the Nawao family as nature spirits represented in the silent and noisy living creatures who dwell there, like the rat and the gecko (mo‘o) who play so important a part in Hawaiian aumakua legends. But these aumakua creatures had their human offspring as well from whom Hawaiian families count descent, and it is possible that certain short, stocky family types of very primitive culture were referred to such ancestry. Hawaiian families count the Menehune as their ancestral spirits and helpers, and these little people play the part of benevolent godparents to their descendants. On the other hand, Hawaiians speak of eepa spirits who are tricky rather than helpful to mankind. A family story told in Kau district on Hawaii illustrates the benevolent activities of the Menehune spirits and many examples occur in old legends like those of Laka, Hainakolo, and Kawelo.

STORY OF KEAHIALOA

Ke-ahi-aloa (Eternal fire) is adopted by an older sister of her mother and taken to Kauai, where she is neglected, until finally she is taken in by an aged couple who find her nibbling raw potatoes in their garden patch and pity her starving condition. When she arrives at marriageable age her parents in Kau are made aware of her aunt's neglect and the father goes to seek his child, encouraged by a propitious dream in the form of his guardian shark who assures him of protection. Meanwhile the land agent of the district has chanced to see the beautiful girl and fallen in love with her. The night before the marriage mysterious sounds are heard. The Menehune people, her family gods, are preparing a sumptuous marriage feast. Her father arrives in time to give his blessing, and she decrees that never again shall an older sister be allowed to adopt a niece, but only a younger sister, and this rule is observed in the family to this day. 

LEGEND OF THE MU PEOPLE

(a) Rice (Kauai) version. After the deluge there were left three peoples who made their home on Kauai, the Mu (Rena-mu), the Wa (Ke-na-wa), and the Menehune. Kualu-nui-kini-akua (Kualu of the little gods) and his son Kualu-nui-pauku-mokumoku (Kualu of the broken rope) are chiefs of the Mu people in Kahiki. They travel from Ka-paia-ha‘a (New Zealand) to Ka-ma-wae-lua-lani (Kauai) and there Ola is born. The Menehune are then summoned back from Ka-paia-ha‘a to serve Ola. They live for some time at Lumahai, then at Wainiha, then at Lanihuli, then they migrate in order to preserve the purity of the race, because the people are found to be inter-marrying with the "Hawaiians." 

(b) Kanehunamoku (Oahu) version. The Mu are banana-eating people of Kuaihelani, one of the divisions of the floating land of Kane-huna-moku. They are sent for to Kauai to help Ola with his building. A few of them divide from the Menehune at Pele-i-holani on Kauai and travel over the ridges to a rocky gulch called Laau in the mountains of Wainiha where they live with their wives and find water in abundance and till the soil of the uplands. They are dwarf people, banana planters and hairy, with round stomachs as distinguished from the Menehune, who are smooth people with distended stomachs. After the work is completed for their chief Ola, all return to the floating land of Kueihelani and never return, but two Mu are left asleep under banana leaves. 

(c) Green version. When Paao comes to Hawaii he first visits Kahiki and brings thence the Manahune-nuku-mu-ai-maia (Bug-mouthed Menehune banana eaters), so called because of their small mouths, and they land in Puna. 

(d) Lydgate version. The Mu-ai-maia (Banana-eating people) are aborigines of Kauai, already there when "the first people" come to the island. They are a short stocky race with bushy hair, beards, and eyebrows, active runners, and with a guttural way of talking different from the Hawaiian. They know nothing of cooking food and live on wild plants. They live at Laau at the headwaters of the Wainiha where the wild bananas still grow which were their food. Campers must be on their guard lest these little people steal up and make off with food that is cooking by piercing it with sharp sticks. Hawaiians still fear to camp on the small plateau above the valley where the Mu made their home, believing it to be still haunted by their spirits. 

LEGEND OF THE MENEHUNE PEOPLE

(a) Rice (Kauai) version. Menehune are a pygmy people "about two feet in height." Their food is a pudding of the starch plant (haupia), squash (pala-ai) made from a wild plant in the forest, sweet-potato pudding (koele-palau), and cooked taro leaves (luau). They live in caves. Their trails along the Kauai cliffs can still be seen and the hollows where they planted.

The sports in which they indulge are top spinning (olo-hu), quoits (maika), shooting arrows (ke‘a-pua), hide-the-thimble (puhenehene), foot races, sled races, hand wrestling (uma or kulakulai), and diving off a cliff. Kahunas, soothsayers, astrologers belong to the company of the chief. "Story-tellers, fun-makers, minstrels, and musicians" furnish him amusement. The nose-flute and the ti-leaf trumpet, the ukeke stringed instrument, and the shark-skin drum are their accompaniments.

The Menehune migrate under their chief Maoli-ku-laiakea with Hema to New Zealand, hence the name Maori for the New Zealanders, and Raiatea for a place there. They are accompanied by the chief Aliikiola and his wife Lepoa. They return to Kauai to serve Ola as expert builders and craftsmen when he becomes ruling chief in Waimea, and increase in such numbers that the grown men can form two rows from Makaweli to Wailua. Papa-enaena is the guard who lays out the work required by the chiefs. A "bow-legged, deep-voiced" Menehune named Weli is sheriff for the chief and planted the breadfruit trees on the plain of Lumahai. A Menehune named Maliu once lingered in a Hawaiian house and was missed from work, but escaped punishment because he was able to report the discovery of a new spring of fresh water.

After living some time in the Lanihuli valley the Menehune are commanded to migrate because they are being troubled by thieving and the men are taking wives among the Hawaiians and destroying the purity of the race. Not a single expert craftsman is allowed to remain behind. Along the route they traveled, offerings of leaves are still made to certain rocks which mark the petrified body of one or another of their number who was so changed because of disobedience or folly, and who is still supposed to have control over the weather. 

(b) Fornander (Oahu) version. Mewa-lani (Lewa-lani, Heavenly space) has two sons, Lonohoonewa, father of Paumakua, and Kahano-a-Newa, Paumakua's uncle. Kahano introduces the Menehune people from Kahiki and establishes them on Oahu as laborers at Kailua in Koolau, and at Pauoa and Puowaina in Kona as servants for his mistress Kahihi-ku-o-ka-lani (identified by Fornander with Kahihi-o-ka-lani, wife of Nanakaoka and mother of Kapawa [or Hele-ipawa]). He "stretched out his hands to the farthest bounds of Kahiki and on them came the Menehune people to Oahu," and "when the sun vanished and the earth became dark Kahano brought the sun back again. . . ." Ku-leo-nui (Ku loud voice) is their leader "whose voice was heard all over the island" summoning them to work. 

(c) Migration (Oahu) legend. (1). Waha-nui, ruling chief of Honua-ilalo, oppresses the Menehune, and their god Kane sends Kanaloa and Kaneapua to lead them away from Kapakapaua-a-Kane, the place where Kumuhonua's sons Laka and Pili have taken refuge, to the Aina-momona-a-Kane (Fat land of Kane), or Ka-one-lauena-a-Kane, or Ka-aina-i-ka-houpo-a-Kane, the original continent which once connected all the island groups before it was overwhelmed and broken up by inundation. The four Ku days are to be kept as a memorial of this deliverance. 

(2). The Menehune have a heiau at Kukaoo. The "owl god" at Pu‘u-pueo (Owl hill) summons the owls of Kauai and drives the Menehune out of the valley (or Kuali‘i the great chief of Oahu is their persecutor). 

OLA LEGEND

(a) Rice version. Ola is the son of Kualu-nui-pauku-mokumoku (a chief of the Mu people) and the chiefess Kuhapu-ola from Pe‘ape‘a on the Waimea side above Hanapepe, whom the chief meets clandestinely. His name Ola is given when he is recognized by his father and thus "saved from death" (ola) for breaking the chief's tapu. He succeeds his father in the rule over the Waimea district. Desiring to bring water to the taro patches of the Waimea flats, he is advised by his kahuna Pi to proclaim a tapu and summon the Menehune people to his aid. Each brings a stone and the watercourse (Kiki-a-Ola) is laid in a single night. These people also build the heiau of Hauola named "after the famous city of refuge of his father at Kekaha." They camp on the flats above called Kanaloa-huluhulu, plant taro (which is still growing on the cliffs of Kalalau), and build a big oven (Kapuahi-a-Ola) between Kalalau and Waimea. They also make a road of sticks (Kiki papa a Ola) through the swamps of Alakai to the height above Wainiha. 

(b) Knudsen version. The chief priest of Ola's father's time is a powerful and designing man who causes any nominee from the chief's party to be assassinated. Ola is therefore brought up in retirement as if under the displeasure of his father and only at the age of twenty-four when he is able to defend himself by warlike skill is he publicly elected for the succession. The chief priest recognizes the youth as he appears before the people and hurls at him the sacred javelin, but Ola wards it off and the priest takes his own life. It is because of this event that the heiau at Waiawa on Kauai is called Hau-ola (Stricken with a spear). 

(c) Thrum version. Pi is the chief of Waimea who gets the Menehune to construct for him a dam across the Waimea river and a watercourse leading from it to a place above Kiki-a-ola. The Menehune are brought from the mountains of Pu‘u-ka-pele and the sound ("hum") of their voices gives rise to the saying, "Wawa ka Menehune i Pu‘u-ka-pele ma Kauai, puoho ka manu o ka loko o Kawainui ma Koolauloa, Oahu" (The noise of the Menehune at Pu‘ukapele on Kauai startles the birds on the fish-pond of Kawainui at Koolauloa, Oahu). It is Ola who builds the three-stepped heiau called Ahu-loulu at the foot of Pu‘u-ka-pele crater cone on Kauai.

(d) Kanehunamoku version. Kiki-a-ola is the chief of Waimea. Hulukuamauna the priest hears from Kane that only through Kanehunamoku and his people can the dam and water-course of Waimea be constructed. The chief seems to be the sacrifice to be offered at its completion. The services of the little people are requested. Kanehunamoku receives from Kane a branch of red fruit as a token of the god's consent and grants the request. The Waimea chief also asks for the sacred chiefess Namaka-o-ka-hai for his wife, but this request is refused. After the completion of the work, Namaka and Kanehunamoku depart with the Menehune and the Mu from Laau to the floating land of Kueihelani and never return. 

A curious resemblance between some of the incidents in these Kauai stories and episodes in the legend of Umi on Hawaii may be merely fortuitous or may point to interchange of legends between the two islands. The story of the birth of Umi, although more fully elaborated, resembles that of Ola.

UMI STORY

On a journey into the country, Liloa finds a beautiful woman at her bathing pool and makes her his wife. He gives her his loincloth, whale-tooth necklace, and war club as tokens for the child. Umi becomes a nuisance to his supposed father because he gives away food lavishly, and his mother sends him to Liloa wearing the tokens. The chief makes him a favorite and eventually Umi usurps the place of the legitimate heir. 

OLA STORY

Ola's father has an affair with a chiefess from Pe‘ape‘a on the Waimea side above Hanapepe and leaves his malo and whale-tooth necklace for the child who is to be born. The child grows up mischievous and the mother sends him to the father living in Waimea. She follows with the tokens, tossing and catching nuts as she walks, according to the kahuna's instructions, and since none falls she is successful in freeing her child, whom she finds bound and about to be sacrificed for breaking the chief's tapu, and later she secures his succession to the ruling power. 

An incident in Rice's story of the "Bird-man of Wainiha" who handles invaders at a narrow pass resembles the account of how Nau held back Umi when he came to invade Hilo.

UMI STORY

Seeing the water muddied as it flows into the sea, Nau goes up into the hills to investigate. There he hides at the defile and thrusts each man with his spear until Pi‘imaiwa‘a leaps down from above and kills him. 

WAINIHA STORY

Lahi and his uncle Kane-alohi live in the Wainiha valley and go up to Kilohana to catch uwa‘u birds for food, a kind of bird that seeks its nest in the cliffs by day, blinded by the light. Their first enemy is a "giant" whom they lure into a hole and kill. Their next is the chief with "four hundred" soldiers who objects to the depredations among the birds. They sit on a rock eating birds and watch the rippling of the water below for men approaching [hence a popular proverb]. The boy hides at the pass and throws all four hundred men over the cliff. The chief comes last and, recognizing Lahi as his own son, invites him to the village. He prepares a trap, but this the boy discovers and, burning down the house with his treacherous father and followers within, takes over the rule of the land. 

LEGEND OF THE TRAPPED WIFE

(a) Lydgate version. A band of banana eaters settle above the Wainiha Valley. A bird catcher from the village below becomes friendly with them and marries a pretty banana eater. Their beautiful daughter is sought as wife by the chief from her father's village, but is too wild to consent to leave her old home. The chief organizes a boar hunt. At Ipu-wai-nui he bids his followers approach silently as he hears the sound of tapa beating. Her father, who desires the match, conceals the chief in the house, rolled up in a mat. When the girl enters she is caught by both father and lover, bound, and conveyed to the sea in a litter (manele). She becomes the chief's wife and mother of a beautiful daughter. 

(b) Rice version. In a cave below a waterfall at Holua-manu in the mountains above Makaweli lives a mo‘o. A child of the family is fretful and is told to "Go to the mo‘o and live with her." She obeys, the mo‘o treats her kindly and the girl is happy. The family however wish to recover her and succeed in trapping her in a net. She is carried to Waimea where she becomes gradually reconciled, grows into a beautiful woman, and marries the ruling chief. 

OAHU CANOE LEGENDS

(a) Kahanai-o-ke-akua (Adopted by the gods) is brought from a foreign land and reared by the gods Kane and Kanaloa who live at Waolani heiau, Kahanai lives at the heiau of Kaheiki built by the Menehune and presided over by the kahuna who founded the priesthood called Mo‘o-kahuna.

Kahanai wants canoes to visit his former home. Both Mu and Menehune set to work to furnish them. The Menehune get the work done first, hence the Na-mu-na-wa leave their canoes in the ditch, where they long remain. On his return, both classes of little people welcome him with shouts, the eepa in the uplands, the Menehune at the shore to lift the travelers from the canoe and later to prepare them houses. When the fish tree Makalei is brought to Oahu the little people shout so loud that the tree falls where it stands and cannot be brought up to Waolani. Hence the Menehune and eepa people (Na-mu-na-wa) are banished from Waolani. 

(b) Kakae's wife wants a canoe to go in search of her brother and Kakae sends Ke-kupua to find a suitable koa tree for the purpose. Since Kakae is a descendant of the Menehune, the little people set to work to make the canoe, but day breaks before they can get it dragged down to the shore and it is left in the ditch at Kaalaa near Wai-ka-halulu where it goes by the name of Ka-wa‘a-kekupua (The canoe of the kupua). 

The Kahanai story may be compared with a similar situation in a Samoan boat-building legend:

Mata-iteite comes seeking a husband and finally finds one to her liking. She begs to have a boat built and asks Tagaloa to send her boat builders. They work in the woods and are to be fed daily without being seen. One day the women, when they bring them food, slip in upon them secretly and they fly back to heaven. They are naked and have no axes but work with their teeth. 

Heiau said to be "built by the Menehune" are to be found among the oldest temple structures on each island. On Molokai they built a heiau on the cliff at Waikolu valley near Kalaupapa which no one has been able to reach either from above or below, and the Luakini heiau of Pakui between Ualapue and Manawai, said to be dedicated to Hina. On Maui the Pihana heiau at Wailuku was built by the Menehune "in a single night" from stones brought from Paukukalo beach. Hale-o-kane and Pu‘u-kini are other Maui heiaus built by the Menehune. It is said that in constructing a heiau it was the custom for a chief over a large district to line up all the men under him and pass the stones from hand to hand until all was in place, much like our own barn raisings in pioneer life. The time element is important in these Menehune structures, especially as the workers themselves become purely mythical beings and night is the time of their activity. Raffles reports a similar tradition from Java where, he says, "The temples themselves were conceived to have been the work of a divinity, and to have been constructed in one night." In Tonga a space between what was once two islands is filled in and trees are planted "in a single night." 

A Menehune class is known in other groups, especially in Tahiti, where the first migration from "Havai‘i" (Ra‘iatea) which settled Tahiti was composed of commoners alone and hence the island was known as Tahiti-manahune. Those manahune who remained agriculturists later formed the lowest social class of plebeians and were used for sacrifice. The warriors became chiefs and their families intermarried with the royal family of Opoa in Ra‘iatea. Archaeological remains preserve the records of these changes in population. Two types of marae exist: the inland belonging to an earlier culture and represented on Necker island and occasionally on Hawaii by the platform structure; the later, the walled marae, common on coastal Tahiti and introduced there from Ra‘iatea "by the lath or 13th century" and from Tahiti into Hawaii between 1100 and 1400 when the great migrations took place which introduced the culture that prevailed in the Hawaiian group at the time of its discovery by Cook. In the western Tuamotus the "Manahune" are known as ancient people of Tahiti, and former adversaries of the Tuamotuans, say the eastern Tuamotuans. They are sometimes spoken of as giants, as at Tatakoto and Vahitahi, but in Tatakoto as friendly giants. In Rarotonga, among the clans of Tangiia's people over whom he makes Iro chief are the Mana-une, said to be found also in Mangaia and "known traditionally to the Maoris." 

Stories of spirit races who have relations with human beings are reported from Polynesian groups. In New Zealand the Patu-paierehe (or -paiarehe) are a wild race of spirits who inhabit the mountains. When Maui fished up the south island of New Zealand he left Kui in charge. The Tutumai-ao people from the other side of the ocean annihilated his people. The Turehu, a fairy-like people, came over the ocean and annihilated the Tutu-mai-ao people. The descendants of Maui now came to the island and lived among the Turehu and after ten generations exterminated them and today they are the Patu-pai-a-rehe (wild men) dwelling in the mountains. They have reddish skin, hair with a golden tinge called uru-kehu (Hawaiian ehu), eyes black or blue. Pipi, wife of Ira the son of Uenuku, is famed as an urukehu. Albinos are considered the offspring of Maori women with fairy lovers. The Patu-paiarehe may be seen in the early morning. They are full-sized, dress in white, are not tattooed, and nurse children in their arms. They are a very numerous people, merry, cheerful, singing like crickets. They work at night and cease working when the sun rises. Their skin is light like that of a European. They do not bend down the reeds when they walk. Their canoe is a stem of flax. From them Kahukura learns to make netting for fish nets. They are a peaceful folk and have guardianship of the sacred places (wahi tapu). They use wooden and bone flutes called putorino and koauau. Their path is in the drifting clouds and the low-lying banks of cloud. Of the double rainbow, male and female, the upper, which is male, is called Turehu. 

Moorea in the Tahitian group is the island of "fairy folk" with golden hair. The little lizard called mo‘opuapua, which lives on flowers, is the shadow form of these spirits among the flowers. 

In Mangaia, "fairies" of the underworld associated with Miru come through special apertures from Avaiki to take part in a dance performed in honor of Miru's son Tautiti. They bathe at sunset in the stream Aupara in the northern part of the island or in the stream Vaipau or Vaikaute in the southern, and dress their hair on the height above. When they dance upon the fresh-cut banana leaves prepared for them at one end of the dance floor the leaves are not disturbed.

When the morning star arises they return to Avaiki. They are associated with the worship of Tane. The Tapairu or "peerless ones" are the four daughters of Miru, sisters of Tautiti. Four male fairies also appear. In the sky are other fairies of whom Ina is the most famous. Ngaru learned from the fairies of the underworld the art of ball playing which he taught in Mangaia. 

In Fiji, spirit people, invisible save to worshipers, pygmies with "fuzzy mops of hair" like themselves of former days in miniature, live in the woods and caves on wild bananas and kava. Akin to them are the Luve-ni-wai, who are "water spirits." Young people of Fiji formed a sect who were supposed to become votaries of these spirits and learn song and dance from them. At their dance places a votary would sweep the place with fans and hang garlands in hope of a vision. Miscarriages of women of rank were supposed to become such spirits. They were friendly folk skilled in conjuring. Maui was regarded as one of these little people. 

Two classes of spirits are described on San Cristoval, distinct but sometimes confused with each other. The Kakamora are said to be from six inches to three or four feet in height, from fair to dark, go naked with long straight hair to their knees, are strong as three or four men, and fond of dancing and singing. They do not use cooked food. They have a ruler, male or female. They are described as harmless but tricky, or as malicious and dangerous, and are differently named all along the coast. The Masi are strong and stupid, easily tricked, but otherwise like people. Their descendants are skilled craftsmen and canoe makers and carvers in stone. Their work may be left unfinished because the craftsmen are called away by some trivial matter. The stories strongly resemble Hawaiian Menehune traditions.

 
 

 

 
 

Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com

 
     
 

1. Coming of the Gods
2. Ku Gods
3. The God Lono
4. The Kane Worship
5. Kane and Kanaloa
6. Mythical Lands of the Gods
7. Lesser Gods
8. Sorcery Gods
9. Guardian Gods
10. The Soul after Death
11. The Pele Myth
12. The Pele Sisters
13. Pele Legends

14. Kamapua`a
15. Hina Myths
16. Maui The Trickster
17. Aikanaka-Kaha`iI
18. Wahieloa-Laka
19.  Haumea
20. Papa and Wakea
21. Genealogies
22. Era of Overturning
23. Mu and Menehune
24. Runners, Man-Eaters, Dog Men
25. Moikeha-la`a Migration
26. Hawaiiloa and Paao
27. Ruling Chiefs
28. Usurping Chiefs
29. Kapua Stories
30. Trickster Stories
31. Voyage to the Land of the Gods
32. Riddling Contests
33. The Kana Legends
34. The Stretching-Tree Kupua
35. Romance of the Swimmer
36. Romance of the Island of Virgins
37. Romances of Match-Making
38. Romances of the Dance
39. Wooing Romances
 

 

 


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