Many babies are born but few survive. It is as though the gods tease man showing him that they can create life but humans are always at the gods’ mercy who may snatch their creation away. Ahu knew this and tried not to show too much pleasure that she and Ahuahu had got their girl child. They thanked their favourite gods and much thanks went to Tangaroa the god of the sea for allowing them to eat every day.
They did not say how beautiful their daughter was, and even Hoata who came to see Ahu after the birth said “Girls are such trouble.”
The gods must have been pleased that Ahu and Ahuahu respected them as the little girl was healthy. So they called her Hekehoru or fairy spirit in the hope that the gods would think on her as one of them.
At first Hatiti would come round every day to help Ahu but after a little while Ahu had to breach the subject of her closeness to Ahuahu. Ahu said to her. “Hatiti, you have been a great help to me. But the time has come for your father to find you a husband. You must not be here now that Ahuahu may not touch me. You must find your own husband to love.”
Hatiti burst into tears, and said, “Where do you find a husband like Ahuahu? Show me where.”
Ahu finished feeding her baby Hekehoru and handed her to Hatiti to hold. “Ahuahu and I were told to marry, it was a joke for the people of the Gannet Island village to have the two orphans marry. Much happiness came out of our sadness. You too can find happiness but do not think that the gods will not play with you too before you find a husband to love you. It is better to have sadness first before happiness.”
“I am sad now, Ahu” replied Hatiti.
“Why don’t you go to the hot springs and look sad then,” said Ahu. “There is a man there who is not married and would like a beautiful wife I am sure.”
“You do not mean Kaihutu? But he has a broken nose, and he has lost some of his teeth.”
Ahu laughed, “Ahuahu has a terrible scar on his cheek and your father has lost some teeth. Are they ugly?”
“No, you are right Ahu, they are both handsome and I love them both. It is funny I never notice that Ahuahu has a scar when I talk to him.”
“Stop talking to Ahuahu and start talking to Kaihutu,” replied Ahu. “I do not want you as his second wife. We would fight all the time. It is time you had babies of your own. They will not have broken noses and missing teeth.”
Then thinking about what she had said, Ahu laughed out loud, “I was wrong, babies don’t have teeth. Go up to the springs this afternoon with Hoata, she will be able to talk to him and persuade him to speak to Kamaka your father.”
The next day Hatiti came to see Ahu again. She was smiling happily. She told Ahu that while Hoata was combing Hatiti’s hair by the side of a pool, Kaihutu and his mother approached them and spoke to Hoata and asked if Hatiti was now recovered from her ordeal when the sea flooded the village. They did not stay long but Kaihutu could not take his eyes off Hatiti all the time the two mothers spoke.
“I like the way his nose looks,” said Hatiti, “It makes him look very strong.”
Ahu breathed a sigh of relief.
A few days later as Ahu was feeding Hekehoru and Ahuahu was playing with Tangaroa she spoke to him.
“Hatiti now has a friend, Hoata is pleased. She will probably spend less time with us now.”
Ahuahu thought about what she had said. He had to be careful not to show disappointment that Hatiti had a suitor but he should show disappointment that Hatiti would not help Ahu anymore. Ahu could see him struggling to say something other than the grunt he made when she told him. So Ahu spoke again.
“It is Kaihutu, the one with the broken nose.”
“He is lucky to have found her,” he replied tentatively poking the embers of the fire with a stick.
“Now you have only me to look after. It is said when you save somebody's life you are responsible for them. He will take that job from you.”
“I want to look after only you.”“That is what I want too.” said Ahu as she removed Hekehoru from her breast. She glanced up and saw him look at her body with desire and the tiniest of smiles came to her face.