The Pacific Legend-Maui

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The gods played an important part in the daily lives of Polynesian in early pacific islands. Perhaps the most deeply loved of Polynesian god is Maui. Although the legend of demi-god Maui is always be descript as the mischief maker or trickster god, but the Maui story probably has a larger number of unique and ancient myths than that of any other legendary character in the mythology of any nation. “There are three centers for these Maui legends, New Zealand in the south, Hawaii in the north, and the Tahitian group including the Hervey Islands in the east. (“LEGENDS OF MAUI” 2007) Following are versions of summary “THE GIANT EEL” told on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Summary of “The Giant eel” (from the book of “Maui Mischievous Hero” 1969) As Maui had grown to manhood, his mother went for a lengthy stay on the island of Hawaii. Maui began making the long trip to see his grandmother in Haleakala. Besides, there are always had good things to eat! Plenty of bananas, breadfruit, coconuts, poi, and fish of all kinds. Grandma said “what are grandmothers for, if not to look out for grandchildren who come to see them? ” One day a cloud hung suspended in the air like a misty pillar.

Like an omen that frightened him. Grandmother said “It’s a cry for help, be quick, Maui! That is the Ao-‘opua, the Warning Cloud. Your mother is in danger! ” He grabbed the magic axe ran so fast that he couldn’t stop, he reached the ocean and jumped into his canoe, paddle across the channel to save his mother. At last, he arrived his mother’s cave. He saw his mother’s enemy, the giant eel Kuna Loa. Kuna Loa had once asked Maui’s mother to marry him, and when she refused he was so angry that he swore he would get even with her. Maui throw the hot lava rocks into the river tried to scare the giant eel Kuna Loa away.

When he made his way back to the cave, he expressed the missing affection to his mother, and hope his mother can come back with him. However as grandmother said “Maui’s mother is a roving soul” As the result Maui’s mother refused to go back with Maui. Back on Maui own island, he heard a faint wailing sound that uttering a chant of fear, Maui’s mother is in trouble again. As swiftly as before, he journeyed to Hawaii Island again. This time Maui wasted no time he used the magical axe struck again and again, the giant eel was cut thousand pieces. It is said that these bits where they became the eels that are found in it today. Come, Mother” Maui held her still and asked again,” when are you coming home, where I can take proper care of you? ” “Some day, “she said lightly. “some day I’ll come. ” Conclusion “There are many Maui legends appear with variations throughout of the Pacific islands. The details of the stories also vary with different cultures but the underlying morals and role model remains much the same” (Dean Web1). In the legend of “The Giant Eel” its shows the Maui’s mixture of human and godlike qualities. The affection between his mother and his grandmother, reflected the family relationship in nowadays tribal society.

The parents are the “roving soul” trying to find a good job and leaving the hometown, and the grandparents are the next kin to taking care of their young children without doubt. As well the channel as the barrier that become generation gap in the family. At last, the giant eel symbolized temptations of modern society which are danger but cannot be avoided. However, every time an omen or sound of chant comes, Maui will be a hero to save his mother but every time his mother also refused to come back and offered an unachievable promise that seems to comfort Maui.

Therefore, in the end of story as godlike as Maui only can be desperately watching his mother as she went back toward her cave and helpless. Legends of Maui have been told and retold for so many centuries, and I believed the legends will reminiscence and encourage in very ways for the later generation. Also help us understand people who lived long ago.


  1. W. D. Westervelt (2009) “Legends of Maui”, a Demi-God of Polynesia. Preface.
  2. 9-11 2. Lyons, Barbara. (1969) “Maui :mischievous hero”. The Giant EEL. 25. summary.
  3.  Dean, n. d. Web. “Legends of Maui. ” Review. Web log post. Legends of Maui. .

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