1. Introduction to Jungian interpretation - first week
Selections from the Maui cycle of legends (New Zealand)
First week's tales
Before the events that are related in this story, Maui possessed the power of changing his own shape, but commanded no enchantment over other thins or over nature. After he had obtained the jawbone of Muri ranga whenua he was able to perform great deeds for the benefit of man.
How Maui Obtained The Sacred JawboneSoon after he had found where his parents lived Maui carried off and slew his first victim. She was the daughter of Maru te whare aitu, and when he had dealt with her in a brutal fashion he dealt with her father also. By means of enchantments he caused this old man’s crops to wither, and they were all destroyed.
He then decided to make another visit to his parents, and this time he remained for a while in the country of the manapau trees. One day he noticed that some people were in the habit of carrying to a certain place some kono, or small baskets of food, for some old person.
‘Who is that food for? he asked them, and one of the people who were going with it answered: ‘It is for your ancestress Muri ranga whenua.”
‘Where does she live?’ he asked, and they answered, ‘Over there.’
‘All right,’ he said. ‘That will do now. Leave the kono here. I will take them to her myself.’
From that time on Maui himself carried the daily presents of food that were meant for that old woman. But he never gave them to her, he merely went towards the place where she lived and hid the food in the bushes, and this he did for many days.
At length the old chieftainess realised that there was some mischief going on, and the next time Maui came by she put her nose in the air and sniffed. She sniffed and sniffed, feeling sure that there was food not far away. By now she was greatly exasperated by her many days of hunger, and her stomach began to swell our, ready to eat up Maui as soon as he came within reach. Leaning on her stick the old woman turned towards the south, and sniffed the air, but no scent of food or man could she detect. She turned her nose round slowly to the east, and then to the north, sniffing carefully at every angle. Still no scent of food or man could she detect, and she would have devoured either, instantly. She almost thought she must have been mistaken, but then she turned to the west for one more try. From the west, the scent of a man came plainly to her nose, and she cried: ‘I know from the smell in this breeze that someone is close to me.’ As she began to feel about her with her stick Maui murmured something, and she knew at once that he was a descendent of hers. Her stomach, which had been distended to a great size, began to shrink again. This was fortunate for Maui. If his scent had not been carried to that old woman’s nose by the westerly breeze, she would certainly have eaten him up.