Jungian Therapy, Jungian Analysis, New York

Tahaki of the red skin.

Legend: Legends of the South Seas, Copyright Antony Alpers 1964. Thomas Y. Crowell, New York; Johnson and Alcock, London.
Jungian analysis jungian therapy jungian analysis new york city carl jung analysis jungian therapist South seas: pp 123-129. An assignment for a class on symbols and their use in Jungian therapy.


Tahaki of the Red Skin: to be analyzed using Jungian principles

Great Tahaki, son of Hema here is spoken of. This auburn chief was noble - all of a chief. His cousin Karhiri was a common person. Yet they-two journeyed to the world below to avenge the shame of Hema, who was degraded there.

Hina remained with No'a in his house. When a certain time had arrived she bore a son, and they-two named their first child Punga. After that Hina had another son whose name was Hema, and no more children were born to them.

Those sons of Hina grew well, they became expert surf-riders. One day when the surf was good and they-two were leaving for the reef, Hina asked her first-born son to pick her head-lice for her. But Punga grumbled, and refused. Then said Hina: 'Your wife will not be anyone of note.'

She therefore asked Hema to delouse her hair, and Hema put his surfboard down and did that service for her. And his mother said: 'Your wife, O Hema, will be a woman of quality.'

Afterwards Punga took a wife, who was no one in particular, and she bore him five sons. The first-born son was Karihi nui apua, and he and his brothers were common persons. But Hema, helped by Hina, found a wife who was connected with the gods. It happened in this manner:

One day Hema's mother told him: 'Go, my son, in the coolness of early morning, to the east bank of the Vai po'o po'o. You must dig a hole beside that stream and hide yourself, and then a beautiful young woman will come there from the world below to bathe. You will find her very strong, but she has long hair, so you must catch her from behind by that. You will need to carry her past four houses on the road before you put her down: then she will come.'

Hema therefore did this in the way his mother said. He dug his hiding-place beside the stream, and as soon as it was light a young woman of great beauty came up from an opening in the earth, her name was Huauri. Before she entered the pool to bathe she squatted to relieve herself, and Hema watched her from his pit; and the jerks in his ure were strong to have that woman.

Then she dived into the pool and swam about, and rinsed her long black hair, and Hema waited for his chance. Then Huauri came out on the bank and wrung her hair, and Hema sprang. He took a twist of Huauri's hair around his hand, he grabbed her in his arms and carried her away, she kicked her legs.

When they had passed two houses on the road, Huauri stopped her kicking. She said to Hema, 'Put me down, then I will walk.' He therefore did so, and she rushed away--she darted to her opening in the earth, it opened for her, she was gone.

When Hema told his mother this she frowned and said, 'But I told you: you must carry her past four houses on the road, my son. Then she will come.'

Therefore Hema went next morning to the same place, and Huauri came to bathe. He seized her by the hair once more, and he carried her past four houses, and all the way to his house.

It was because people of this world had seen her in Hema's arms and therefore looked upon her as his wife that that spirit-woman consented to remain.

Huauri bore a son to Hema, and when this son was born she found that he was ehu, auburn-haired, and that his skin was the color of kura. Therefore she named him Tahaki kirikura.

Tahaki played in childhood with Karihi his elder cousin, and with those other sons of Punga. They played at flying kites and spinning tops, at sailing toy canoes and riding surfboards on the reef; they also played at offering a person to the gods, they used the man-long stem of a banana tree, and fire. After a time Tahaki and Karihi lived as brothers, for Hema and Huauri became Karihi's feeding-parents.

One day Tahaki's cousins made round balls of sun-dried clay and bowled them fast on level ground. The ball that lasts the longest is the one that wins this game, the first that cracks is out. Huauri showed Tahaki how to mix fine sand with his clay to make it even, in the manner of her people of the world below, and when Tahaki had made his ball he ran to join his cousins. They had begun their game but when they saw his ball they cried, 'Come on, Tahaki, have a throw!' He replied, 'Not so, I will wait my turn. The first must be first, and last must come in last.' So they played by the rules, and young Tahaki won the game. His well-made ball outlasted all the rest, and there was jealousy of him.

At the season of the south-east winds those cousins played totoie; they made toy canoes of sharpened sticks, with sails of plaited leaf and leaflet rudders at the stern. Then they ran down to the cool lagoon to make them race. They swam them to the starting place, then they let them go and shouted all the chants they knew, to make them race more quickly to the beach.

Tahaki's mother showed him how to make totoie from a pithy stem. Its lightness made it fly before the wind and so Tahaki won--he played correctly, and he won. One day therefore his cousins grabbed Tahaki and they beat him up. He lay quite still, so they left him buried in the sand, they thought him dead. But Huauri knew; by her magic powers she knew what had been done to him. She therefore dug him out and brought him back to life--and this occurred again. At other times those cousins did the same.

Because of the unkindness of those cousins toward Tahaki, Hema his father became deeply aggrieved and he left this world. From deepest shame he went below to live; he descended to the Po, and was degraded by the gods. They put him in the dunny where they went to squat, and he lived in that place. But Huauri remained, she continued dwelling in this world of light.

Tahaki excelled in all he did because his mother imparted to him her knowledge from the world below. In a secret place where none could see she made Tahaki open his mouth above the crown of her head, and breathe. Then her iho entered into him, and he felt great workings in his heart. Then lightening flashed from Tahaki's armpits, and those who saw this knew that he was of the gods.

Tahaki the son of Hema grew to chiefly greatness to his mother's care. All about him was sacred, wherefore his name is told to all who are of rand and would excel.

A giant chief he was, his shoulders were above the heads of other men, and when he walked the earth his tread left footprints in the rock.

Kura, the sacred color--that is the color of Tahaki of the Golden Skin. All those birds and flowers and fish that have red parts have them from him.

Tahaki's first great deed for this land was the cutting of the sinews of the fish.

Tahiti the fish was moving no more, it was turned into land. But men to cut the sinews were required, so that Tahiti nui might remain for ever stable in the world.

No mortal men came forward who could do this work. No gods there were who would assist! But then Tahaki took the adze, he took up the immense adze called Te pa hurunui.

Haapapura' a whenua was the ceremony!

Te pa hurunui was the adze!

Tahaki was the chief!

Immense Tahaki took the adze in his hands and said: 'This is the adze Te pa hurunui, for the ceremony of Tinorua Lord of Ocean, to cut the sinews of this great fish Tahiti. The sinews must be cut, well cut! That the growth of the land might find room, that the lowering blackness might pass through, that the wind-with-clouds might pass through, that the wind might sweep around the mountains, that the mountains might be walked upon by man--all for heralds of the awe-inspiring sky!'

Then the adze became possessed, it became light in Tahaki's hands and he chopped the land, he chopped the sinews of the fish.

Then all the warriors who were with Tahaki did not cease their chopping until the sinews of the throat were severed. Then the head of the fish was drawn far back and there remained still land, unmoving plain, between the two great mountain-ranges of Tahiti nui mare'are'a--yes, of Great Tahiti of the Golden Haze.

So was formed Tara vao, that narrow part of land which joins Tahiti and Taiarapu. So was completed the cutting of the sinews of the fish, that Great Tahiti of the Golden Haze might be forever firm, that it might have fixedness in the world.

Afterwards Tahaki crossed the sea and rendered stable other lands. He took his shoulder-spear, the spear no other man could lift; he took his paddle which no other man could wield, and many wooden fish-hooks also which were magic at his touch; and in the great canoe named Rainbow he sailed with warriors north-west to Mo' orea, and he cut the sinews of that land also, that it might remain forever firm.

And they did the same at Maia' o iti, and at Tetiaroa. Then eastward they sailed toward the Shaven Sea, and there from beneath the foaming breakers of Reef-that-extends they hauled up all the islands of the Tuamotu. These have ever since remained.

Tahaki also drew up Mangareva, and Hiti au rereva, and other islands in the eastern sea.

After these acts were complete Tahaki determined to go in search of his father Hema, to restore him to this world of light. He therefore asked his mother, 'Which is the way to the world below?' and she promised to tell him as soon as he was ready to depart.

Then Karihi asked that he might go as well, and Tahaki gave consent. And Huauri, when the time was propitious, caused the earth to open for them. They went down through that hole, those cousins, and they travelled many days through the long damp caves that lead toward the Po.

At last they reached an open space and there they saw a house, it was the house of their ancestor, an old blind woman named Kuhi.

Kuhi was sitting on the ground counting yams, she was talking to herself.

Then Karihi as a mortal felt great hunger for that food, for his journey had been long. When Kuhi had counted ten yams they took one away, and Kuhi, finding there were only nine, exclaimed, 'Who is this little maggot who has come here to the Po?'

Then Tahaki feared for his brother, and he answered in his chiefly voice, 'It is I, Tahaki,' and the old ancestor said, 'Oh then, be seated properly.'

Then Kuhi drew out a splendid fish-hook, it was dressed with finest kura and its line had magic strength. Tahaki warned Karihi by a sign that he should never touch that hook, but Karihi did so, he could not resist its golden sheen.

Then Kuhi had that common person on her hook!

'Aha, my food!' old Kuhi cried, and Karihi tried in vain to run from her, he feared her open mouth and her distending belly. But he only ran in circles while she pulled on the line with all her strength.

Cried great Tahaki then: 'O Kuhi, set aside your fish, lest the Great Shark come for you!' But Kuhi answered, 'He shall not escape. This is the fish-hook Puru i te maumau! He is my food!'

Therefore Tahaki seized the line, and saved his cousin from that old blind woman. And finding that her hook was loose, she cried, 'Aha! There is a personage of note beside me here! Can you restore my sight?'

Tahaki replied, 'E ora ho' i ia ia'u.'--'I can restore it.' And he took a piece of coconut and cast it in her eyes, and that old woman saw.

Then Kuhi looked admiringly upon her grandsons, and she asked what service she might do for them.

'Please tell us where my father is,' Tahaki said.

'He lives further on along your road,' that woman said. 'You will find him in a certain forest where the gods throw all their filth and where they squat. They have torn out his eyes and given them as lights to the girls who weave mats for the orators. The sockets they have filled with shit of birds.'

Then Kuhi called two children to direct those brothers to their father's place, and when they reached the god's dunny Tahaki snatched up filthy Hema in his arms. Before the gods found out, Tahaki and Karihi had restored their father to the world of light. They also snatched his eyes as they departed from that place.

Then Hema was scraped, the hard-caked filth was picked out from the sockets of his eyes and he was washed, and they restored his eyes. Hema was happy to be with his wife and sons again, and they all dwelt quietly together in that place.

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