Hina

Goddess of Shark catching (uses chanting), goddess of the moon and tapa making.


"In Tahiti it is said there was war among the gods. They cursed the stars. Hina saved them, although they lost a little light. Then they cursed the sea, but Hina preserved the tides. They cursed the rivers, but Hina saved the springs-the moving waters inland, like the tides in the ocean.


The Hawaiians say that Hina and her maidens pounded out the softest, finest kapa cloth on the long, thick kapa board at the foot of Kauiki. Incessantly the restless sea dashed its spray over the picturesque groups of splintered lava rocks which form the Kauiki headland. Here above the reach of the surf still lies the long, black stone into which the legends say Hina's kapa board was changed. Here Hina took the leaves of the hala tree and, after the manner of the Hawaiian women of the ages past, braided mats for the household to sleep upon, and from the nuts of the kukui trees fashioned the torches which were burned around the homes of those of high chief rank.

At last she became weary of her work among mortals. Her family had become more and more troublesome. It was said that her sons were unruly and her husband lazy and shiftless. She looked into the heavens and determined to flee up the pathway of her rainbow through the clouds.

The Sun was very bright and Hina said, "I will go to the Sun." So she left her home very early in the morning and climbed up, higher, higher, until the heat of the rays of the sun beat strongly upon her and weakened her so that she could scarcely crawl along her beautiful path. Up a little higher and the clouds no longer gave her even the least shadow. The heat from the sun was so great that she began to feel the fire shriveling and torturing her. Quickly she slipped down into the storms around her rainbow and then back to earth. As the day passed her strength came back, and when the full moon rose through the shadows of the night she said, "I will climb to the moon and there find rest."


But when Hina began to go upward her husband saw her and called to her: "Do not go into the heavens." She answered him: `My mind is fixed; I will go to my new husband, the moon." And she climbed up higher and higher. Her husband ran toward her. She was almost out of reach, but he leaped and caught her foot. This did not deter Hina from her purpose. She shook off her husband, but as he fell he broke her leg so that the lower part came off in his hands. Hina went up through the stars, crying out the strongest incantations she could use. The powers of the night aided her. The mysterious hands of darkness lifted her, until she stood at the door of the moon. She had packed her calabash with her most priceless possessions and had carried it with her even when injured by her cruel husband. With her calabash she limped into the moon and found her abiding home. When the moon is full, the Hawaiians of the long ago, aye and even today, look into the quiet, silvery light and see the goddess in her celestial home, her calabash by her side."


Story of Hina and the Eel


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