Maui Pulls Up the Islands
One day Maui said to his four brothers, “Come fishing with me today! Let’s go far out to sea. The fish are much bigger and better there, than they are close to land.”
“Okay!” said his brothers. They were good fishermen and wanted those big fish. The four brothers and Maui jumped into their canoe and started to row. When they got far out to sea and could no longer see land, Maui jumped onto the end of the canoe. He drew out his magical fishing hook. When his brothers were looking ahead, he cast the hook over the side of the canoe. The hook sunk down deep into the blue water.
Soon, the magical hook stuck fast to the bottom of the sea. Maui pulled the fishing line tight. He called out, “See that tug? I must have hooked a giant fish!”
“Wow, I see that!” said one brother.
“That is some fish you caught!” said another.
“My brothers!” Maui called out. “Paddle hard so we can bring up this great fish!”
The brothers paddled with all their might. They paddled so hard they did not see that the hook was pulling up the land from the bottom of the sea. Behind them, one island after another rose from the sea!
Legend says that is how Maui made the islands, where the people now live.
Maui Catches the Sun
One day, Maui wanted to see how life was for the people who lived on the islands. But what he saw there made his heart skip a beat. Life was very hard for them. And he could see why – the days were just too short! There was not time in a day for people to do what they needed to do, like making and cooking food. If they laid out a wet blanket on the sand, the blanket would still be wet the next day. There was not even time for the fruit in the trees to get ripe.
“It is that Sun!” said Maui. “He is racing too fast across the sky! He is not thinking about the people who live down below, on the islands.”
Maui knew it was up to him, a demi-god, to slow down the Sun. But how? He asked his brothers. He asked his sister Hina. He asked still others that he knew.
“Who do you think you are, Maui?” said one. “No one can catch the Sun!”
“Even if you are a demi-god,” said another, “you know very well the Sun is too big and bright for anyone to stop.”
But Maui’s sister Hina did not say these sorts of things. She cut off her long hair. She tied the hair into ropes and gave the ropes to Maui. From those ropes, Maui made a giant lasso.
That night, Maui took his lasso up to the very tallest mountain on the islands of Hawaii. The mountain had once been an active volcano. Years ago it had sent out waves of hot lava. When the volcano was over, a big crater was left at the top of the mountain. And that crater is where Maui planned to catch the Sun.
By the crater Maui waited, very still. He hid the lasso behind him, out of view. When the Sun rose at dawn, it started to race across the sky very fast. Soon that Sun was flying over the mountaintop. Brave Maui flung the lasso over his head. The ropes caught! The Sun tried and tried to move, but was trapped!
“Get me out of here!” shouted the Sun.
“Not yet!” said Maui. “You are moving too fast across the sky. It makes the days too short for the humans who live down below.”
“So I like to go fast!” said the Sun. “Who cares? Let me out of here!”
“No!” said Maui in a big voice. “I care! You have to stay here, in this crater!” He pulled the lasso tight. But in his heart, Maui did not feel brave. He did not know how much longer he could hold on. True, his lasso was stronger than any other rope in all the land. But he did not know how long even a lasso made from his sister’s hair could last before the hot rays of the Sun would burn it up.
The Sun tried to move again, but could not. “Oh, very well!” the Sun said, at last. You can be sure Maui was very glad to hear that! “I suppose I could slow down a little,” said the Sun. “But only for part of the year.”
So Maui and the Sun worked out a deal. For half the year, the Sun would move at a slow pace. Those days would be long, and that would be the summer. For the other half of the year, the sun could run as fast as it wanted to do. Those days would be short, and that would be the winter.
This is how Maui made the days longer for the people of the islands. At last, they could do the tasks they needed. They could have a full dinner and rest after. And the fruits on the trees grew big and sweet.