Myths and Songs from the South Pacific

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H. S. King & Company, 1876 - Legends - 328 pages
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Page ii - WORLD : a Simple Account of Man in Early Times. Sixth Edition. Crown 8vo. price y. A Special Edition for Schools. Price is. THE CHILDHOOD OF RELIGIONS. Including a Simple Account of the Birth and Growth of Myths and Legends.
Page v - Myths and Songs from the South Pacific:' — If new minerals, plants, or animals are discovered, if strange petrifactions are brought to light, if flints or other stone weapons are dredged up, or works of art disinterred, even if a hitherto unknown language is rendered accessible for the first time, no one, I think, who is acquainted with the scientific problems of our age, would ask what their importance consists in, or what they are good for. Whether they are products of nature or works of man,...
Page 56 - Fearless," quietly awaited his return. His first care was to restore the tail of the bird, so as to avoid the anger of Tane. There was no time to be lost, for the flames were rapidly spreading. He re-entered the pigeon, which carried his fire-sticks one in each claw, and flew to the lower entrance of the chasm. Once more pronouncing the words he learnt from Buataranga, the rocks parted, and he safely got back to this upper world.
Page 57 - Mokoiro trembled for their land ; for it seemed as if everything would e destroyed by the devouring flames. To save Mangaia from utter destruction, they exerted themselves to the utmost, and finally succeeded in putting out the fire. Rangi thenceforth adopted the new name of Matamea, or Watery-eyes, to commemorate his sufferings ; and Mokoiro was ever after called Anai, or Smoke.
Page v - Miiller, who introduces the work with a preface — one of those brief, thoughtful discourses on a great subject which the world is always ready to listen to from him. His remark on the real importance of the collection touches the key-note of the whole subject : — ' I confess it seemed strange to me that its importance should be questioned. If new minerals, plants, or animals are discovered, if strange petrifactions are brought to light, if flints or other stone weapons are dredged up, or works...
Page 59 - Force up the sky, O Ru, And let the space be clear!' "One day when the old man was surveying his work, his graceless son Maui contemptuously asked him what he was doing there. Ru replied: 'Who told youngsters to talk? Take care of yourself, or I will hurl you out of existence.' '"Do it, then,' shouted Maui. "Ru was as good as his word, and forthwith seized Maui, who was small of stature, and threw him to a great height. In falling Maui assumed the form of a bird, and lightly touched the ground, perfectly...
Page 51 - To Ru and Buataranga was born a famous son, Mani. At an early age, Mani was appointed one of the guardians of this upper world where mortals live. Like the rest of the inhabitants of the world, he subsisted on uncooked food. The mother, Buataranga, occasionally visited her son, but always ate her food apart, out of a basket brought with her from nether-land. One day, when she was asleep, Mani peeped into her basket, and discovered cooked food. Upon tasting it, he was decidedly of opinion that it...
Page 56 - Utter a prayer to (the spirit of) The banyan tree ! Kindle a fire for Manike Of the dust of the banyan tree ! By the time this song was completed Mani, to his great joy, perceived a faint smoke arising out of the fine dust produced by the friction of one stick upon another. As they persevered in their work the smoke increased, and...
Page xvii - ... can be explained as a disease of language, try his hand on this short account of the beliefs and traditions of Mangaia ; and if he finds that he fails to bring even so small a segment of the world's religion and mythology into the narrow circle of his own system, let him pause before he ventures to lay down rules as to how man, on ascending from a lower or descending from a higher state, must have spoken, must have believed, must have worshipped. If Mr. Gill's book were to produce no other effect...
Page 54 - Mani some of them on a piece of dry wood. These live coals were thrown into the stream as the former lighted sticks had been. Mani correctly thought that a fire-brand would be of little use, unless he could obtain the secret of fire. The brand would eventually go out; but how to reproduce the fire? His object, therefore, was to pick a quarrel with the fire-god, and compel him, by sheer violence, to yield up the invaluable secret, as yet known to none but himself. On the other hand, the fire-god,...

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