Maori Tales And Legends by Kate McCosh Clark

Maori Tales And Legends

By Kate McCosh Clark

  • Release Date: 2013-04-16
  • Genre: Social Science
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The following tales are an outcome of a long residence in New Zealand, and of many opportunities whilst travelling amongst the Maoris of becoming acquainted with their folk-lore, superstitions, and customs. From a vast mass of legendary tales, rich in variants, and recorded often in a fragmentary manner, I have chosen those in this little volume as the oldest and best known amongst the natives. I have endeavoured to adhere to the true spirit of the tales themselves, and to give them the form, expression, and speech characteristic of the country and clever native race. The Maoris, as a rule, are eloquent, and their language is full of metaphor and poetical allusion, and musical with open vowels. Every syllable ends with a vowel, every vowel is sounded, and that according to the Italian method. Though the Maori practice of cannibalism in times past is revolting to a higher civilisation, it may, to a certain extent, have been due to the entire absence of any quadrupeds larger than a rat, and to the craving for flesh food so well described in Stanleys accounts of some of the races in Central Africa. The Maoris are a strong race both physically and mentally. Revengeful and cruel to their enemies, they were passionate in love and ever fearless in war. Religious, they venerated their gods, and believed in an atzkn, or spiritual essence, their deities being rarely represented by any image. Their priests were consulted on all great occasions and their mandates obeyed, especially when they spoke as the oracle making known to the people the will of the gods. Whence came the race, with their strange superstitions their worship of Tane, the creation-god, of the sun-god. I must leave for others to discuss. But it is an accepted fact that the natives of New Zealand, and of some of the groups of Pacific Islands, in many respects show evidence of a common origin for instance, their general appearance, long straight hair, ignorance of bows and arrows, of the art of pottery, and...