It was now night, but early in the morning Taranga rose up, and suddenly, in a moment of time, she was gone from the house where her children were. As soon as they woke up they looked all about to no purpose, as they could not see her. The elder brothers knew she had left them, and were accustomed to it, but the little child was exceedingly vexed; yet he thought, I cannot see her, ´tis true, but perhaps she has only gone to prepare some food for us. No--no--she was off, far, far away.
Now at nightfall when their mother came back to them, her children were dancing and singing as usual.
As soon as they had finished, she called to her last born: ´Come here, my child, let us sleep together´ so they slept together, but as soon as day dawned, she disappeared again.
Maui Tikitiki a Taranga now felt quite suspicious at such strange proceedings on the part of his mother every morning. But at last, upon another night, as he slept again with his mother, the rest of his brothers that night also sleeping with them, he crept out in the night and stole his mother´s apron, her belt, and clothes, and hid them. Then he went and stopped up every crevice in the wooden window, and in the doorway, so that the light of the dawn might not shine into the house, and make his mother hurry to get up. But after he had done this, his little heart still felt very anxious and uneasy lest his mother should, in her impatience, rise in the darkness and defeat his plans.
But the night dragged its slow length along without his mother moving; at last there came the faint light of early mom, so that at one end of a long house you could see the legs of the people sleeping at the other end of it, but his mother still slept on; then the sun rose up, and mounted far up above the horizon; now at last his mother moved, and began to think to herself, ´What kind of night can this be, to last so long? and having thought thus, she dropped asleep again.
Again she woke, and began to think to herself, but could not tell that it was broad daylight outside, as the window and every chink in the house were stopped closely up.
At last up she jumped; and finding herself quite naked, began to look for her clothes, and apron, but could find neither; then she ran and pulled out the things with which the chinks in the windows and doors were stopped up, and whilst doing so, oh , dear! oh, dear! there she saw the sun high up in the heavens; then she snatched up, as she ran off, the old clout of a flax cloak, with which the door of the house had been stopped up, and carried it off as her only covering; getting, at last, outside the house, she hurried away, and ran crying at the thought of having been so badly treated by her own children.
As soon as his mother got outside the house, Maui jumped up, and kneeling upon his hands and knees peeped after her though the doorway into the bright light. Whilst he was watching her, the old woman reached down to a tuft of rushes, and snatching it up from the ground, dropped into a hole underneath it, and clapping the tuft of rushes in the hole again, as if it were its covering, so disappeared.
Maui then jumped on his feet, and, as hard as he could go, ran out of the house, pulled up the tuft of rushes, and peeping down, discovered a beautiful open cave running quite deep into the earth.
He covered up the hole again and returned to the house, and waking up his brothers who were still sleeping, said: ´Come, come, my brothers, rouse up, you have slept long enough; come, get up; here we are again cajoled by our mother.´
Then his brothers made haste and got up; alas! alas! the sun was quite high up in the heavens.
Maui now asked his brothers again: ´Where do you think the place is where our father and mother dwell?
They answered: ´How should we know, we have never seen it; although we are Maui-taha, and Maui-roto, and Maui-pae, and Maui-waho, we have never seen the place; and do you think you can find that place which you are so anxious to see? What does it signify to you? Cannot you stop quietly with us? What do we care about our father, or about our mother? Did she feed us with food till we grew up to be men?--not a bit of it. Why, without doubt, Rangi, or the heaven, is our father, who kindly sent his offspring down to us; Hau-whenua, or gentle breezes, to cool the earth and young plants; and Hau-ma-ringiringi, or mists, to moisten them; and Hau-ma-roto-roto, or fine weather, to make them grow; and Touarangi, or rain, to water them; and Tomairangi, or dews, to nourish them: he gave these his offspring to cause our food to grow, and then Papa-tu-a-nuku, or the earth, made her seeds to spring, and grow forth, and provide sustenance for her children in this long-continuing world.´
Maui then answered: ´What you say is truly quite correct; but such thoughts and sayings would better become me than you, for in the foaming bubbles of the sea I was nursed and fed: it would please me better if you would think over and remember the time when you were nursed at your mother´s breast; it could not have been until after you had ceased to be nourished by her milk that you could have eaten the kinds of food you have mentioned; as for me, oh! my brothers, I have never partaken either of her milk or of her food; yet I love her, for this single reason alone--that I lay in her womb; and because I love her, I wish to know where is the place where she and my father dwell.´
His brothers felt quite surprised and pleased with their little brother when they heard him talk in this way, and when after a little time they had recovered from their amazement, they told him to try and find their father and mother. So he said he would go.
It was a long time ago that he had finished his first labour, for when he first appeared to his relatives in their house of singing and dancing, he had on that occasion transformed himself into the likeness of all manner of birds, of every bird in the world, and yet no single form that he then assumed had pleased his brothers; but now when he showed himself to them, he had transformed into the semblance of a pigeon.
His brothers said: ´Ah! now indeed, oh, brother, you do look very well indeed, very beautiful, very beautiful, much more beautiful than you looked in any of the other forms which you assumed, and then changed from, when you first discovered yourself to us.´
What made him now look so well in the shape he had assumed was the belt of his mother, and her apron, which he had stolen from her while she was asleep in the house; for the very thing which looked so white upon the breast of the pigeon was his mother´s broad belt, and he also had on her little apron of burnished hair from the tail of a dog, and the fastening of her belt was what formed the beautiful black feathers on his throat.
He had once changed himself into this form a long time ago, and now that he was going to look for his father and mother, and had quitted his brothers to transform himself into the likeness of a pigeon, he assumed exactly the same form as on the previous occasion, and when his brothers saw him thus again, they said: ´Oh, brother, oh, brother! you do really look well indeed´
When he sat upon the bough of a tree, oh, dear! he never moved, or jumped about from spray to spray, but sat quite still, cooing to himself, so that no one who had seen him could have helped thinking of the proverb: ´A stupid pigeon sits on one bough, and jumps not from spray to spray´.
Early the next morning, he said to his brothers, as was first stated: ´Now do you remain here, and you will hear something of me after I am gone; it is my great love for my parents that leads me to search for them; now listen to me, and then say whether or not my recent feats were not remarkable. For the feat of transforming oneself into birds can only be accomplished by a man who is skilled in magic, and yet here I, the youngest of you all, have assumed the form of all birds, and now, perhaps, after all, I shall quite lose my art and become old and weakened in the long journey to the place where I am going.´
His brothers answered him, ´That might be indeed, if you were going upon a warlike expedition, but, in truth, you are only going to look for those parents whom we all so long to see, and if they are found by you, we shall ever after all dwell happily, our present sorrow will be ended, and we shall continually pass backwards and forwards between our dwelling-place and theirs, paying them happy visits.´
Maui replied, ´It is certainly a very good cause which leads me to undertake this journey, and if, when reaching the place I am going to, I find everything agreeable and nice, then I shall, perhaps, be pleased with it, but if I find it a bad, disagreeable place, I shall be disgusted with it.´
They replied to him: ´What you say is exceedingly true, depart then upon your journey, with your great knowledge and skill in magic.´
Then their brother went into the wood, and came back to them again, looking just as if he were a real pigeon. His brothers were quite delighted, and they had no power left to do anything but admire him.
Off he flew, until he came to the cave, which his mother had run down into, and he lifted up the tuft of rushes. Down he went and disappeared in the cave, and shut up its mouth again so as to hide the entrance. Away he flew very fast indeed, and twice he dipped his wing, because the cave was narrow. Soon he reached nearly to the bottom of the cave, and flew along it; and again, because the cave was so narrow, he dipped first one wing and then the other, but the cave now widened, and he dashed straight on.
At last he saw a party of people coming along under a grove of trees, they were manapau trees, and flying on, he perched upon the top of one of these trees, under which the people had seated themselves.
When he saw his mother lying down on the grass by the side of her husband, he guessed at once who they were, and he thought: ´Ah! there sits my father and mother right under me´.
He soon heard their names, as their friends who were sitting with them called to them. Then the pigeon hopped down, and perched on another spray a little lower, and it pecked off one of the berries of the tree and dropped it gently down, and hit the father with it on the forehead.
Some of the party said: ´Was it a bird, which threw that down?’
But the father said: ´Oh no, it was only a berry that fell by chance.´
Then the pigeon again pecked off some of the berries from the tree, and threw them down with all its force, and struck both father and mother, so that he really hurt them.
They cried out, and the whole party jumped up and looked into the tree, and as the pigeon began to coo, they soon found out from the noise, where it was sitting amongst the leaves and branches. All of them, the chiefs and common people alike, caught up stones to pelt the pigeon with, but they threw for a very long time, without hitting it.
At last the father tried to throw up at it; ah, he struck it, but Maui had himself contrived that he should be struck by the stone which his father threw; for, but by his own choice, no one could have bit him.
He was struck exactly upon his left leg, and down he fell, and as he lay fluttering and struggling upon the ground, they all ran to catch him, but lo, the pigeon had turned into a man.
Then all those who saw him were frightened at his fierce glaring eyes, which were red as if painted with red ochre, and they said: ´Oh, it is now no wonder that he so long sat still up in the tree; had he been a bird he would have flown off long before, but he is a man´
Some of them said: ´No, indeed, rather a god--just look at his form and appearance, the like has never been seen before, since Rangi and Papa-tu-a-nuku were torn apart.´
Then Taranga said, ´I used to see one who looked like this person every night when I went to visit my children, but what I saw then excelled what I see now; just listen to me.
Once as I was wandering upon the sea-shore, I prematurely gave birth to one of my children, and I cut off the long tresses of my hair, and bound him up in them, and threw him into the foam of the sea, and after that be was found by his ancestor Tama-nui-ki-te-Rangi´; and then she told his history nearly in the same words that Maui-the-infant had told it to herself and his brothers in their house, and having finished his history, Taranga ended her discourse to her husband and his friends.
Then his mother asked Maui, who was sitting near her, ´Where do you come from? from the westward?’
He answered: ´No.´
´From the north-east then? ´
´From the south-east then? ´
´From the south then?´
´Was it the wind which blows upon me, which brought you here to me then?´
Wwhen she asked this, he opened his mouth and answered ´Yes.´
And she cried out: ´Oh, this then is indeed my child´; and she said: ´Are you Maui-taha?´
He answered, ´No.´
Then said she: ´Are you Maui-tikitiki-o-Taranga?´
And he answered ´Yes.´
She cried aloud: ´This is, indeed, my child. By the winds and storms and wave-uplifting gales he was fashioned and became a human being; welcome, oh my child, welcome; you shall climb the threshold of the house of your great ancestor Hine-nui-te-po, and death shall thenceforth have no power over man.´
Then the lad was taken by his father to the water, to be baptized, and after the ceremony prayers were offered to make him sacred, and clean from all impurities; but when it was completed, his father Makea-tu-tara felt greatly alarmed, because he remembered that he had, from mistake, hurriedly skipped over part of the prayers of the baptismal service, and of the services to purify Maui; he knew that the gods would be certain to punish this fault, by causing Maui to die, and his alarm and anxiety were therefore extreme.
At nightfall they all went into his house.
Maui, after these things, returned to his brothers to tell them that he had found his parents, and to explain to them where they dwelt.