THE HISTORY OF MANKIND
Prof. Friedrich Ratzel
The Races of Oceania
The Races of the Pacific and Their Migrations
In the world of Polynesian mythology and legend we constantly come across migrations undertaken from the most various motives. Everything important or peculiar has been brought over sea; the wide horizon of the ocean, no less than the narrow one of the island-world, gleams with a divine light upon these migration-legends; remoter islands are half-way stations between this world and the next. To quote Bastian:
"Once upon a time, after a long voyage, a ship was cast away upon a strange coast. It looked very strange to the new-comers, offering the appearance of an uncanny spectre-land: for they walked through trees and houses without feeling them. A figure met them and told them that they were in the realm of spirits. They followed his injunction to return home at once, and were driven along quickly by a favouring wind. But they had only time to relate how they had gone astray before they departed this life. Since then that deadly coast has been avoided."
On Raiatea it was told of Tangaroa that after peopling the world he changed himself into a canoe, which, after bringing men along, and preparing the red of the sky from their blood, furnished the model for the temple.
Bread-fruit tree (Artocarpus incisus): (a) inflorescence, (b) fruit.
Assistance in the erection of the islands was rendered by casual comers, which would give them an additional ground for a title to it. When Savage Island was raised out of the sea, two men who swam over from Tonga put it in order; and the steepness of its coast on one side is ascribed to the carelessness of the one who worked there. Others think that these helpers stamped the islands out of the sea.
The Hawaiian account is simpler:
When Hawaii had been hatched from the sea-bird's egg, some people came from Tahiti, a man and his wife, with a dog, a pig, and a hen in their canoe. Ulu introduced the bread-fruit which is named after him, and his brother the cloth made from the bast of the mulberry tree. The gods, who were originally the sole inhabitants of these islands, were approached to obtain leave to settle.
The mother-country, "Hawaiki," soon came to be regarded as a land of the other world - a spirit-land; what descended from it was hallowed.
Tamatekapua, the son of the Clouds, brought Rongomai to New Zealand as its tutelary god from the spirit-land; and there, too, was preserved the stone idol brought from Hawaiki, Matua-Tonga, the son of the south, as the Kumaras' god.
If we find tradition bringing white priests and their gods to Hawaii, we are led to see other relations, namely with the west, the direction of them being indicated by the casting away on these shores of people from Eastern Asia.
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