By Roland B. Dixon
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Additional resources for Oceanic Mythology
In the Cook Group, the raiser of the heavens was Ru. Originally the heavens were low, so low that they rested on the broad leaves of certain plants, and in this narrow space all the people of this world were pent up, but Ru sent for the gods of night and the gods of day to assist him in his work of raising the sky. " And when they came in answer to his call, he chanted the following song: "O Son! O Son! Raise my son Raise my son! Lift the Universe! Lift the Heavens! The Heavens are lifted, It is moving!
The fire being out, his mother was about to send a servant to secure some, when Maui volunteered to bring it and accordingly went to the house of his ancestor Mafuike, an old woman who was the owner and guardian of fire. Of her he begged a brand, and she gave him one of her fingers, in which fire was concealed. He started away, but when out of sight, quenched it in a stream and returned for more. She gave him another finger, which he extinguished in a similar manner, and thus got from her in succession all her fingers and toes, except the last, with which, in anger, she set the world afire.
When Rata had grown up, he asked his mother about his father and learned from her how he had been killed in a distant land, so he resolved to be avenged and accordingly set about building a canoe. Selecting a great tree, he cut it down, but was amazed the next day, on coming to continue his work, to find the tree again erect and quite unharmed. A second time he cut it down, only to discover it intact and standing when he returned. A third time he felled the tree and then hid himself to observe what happened.