Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Mahuika's Tales No. 26 Ahuahu tells of the Rat and the Octopus

                                 Octopus inking

Hekeheke was getting more advanced in her pregnancy and instead of going to visit Mahuika at Gannet Island, Mahuika now came to visit her. When she came she sometimes stayed with Hekeheke and Maui but more often Ahuahu would insist, as the widow of his former friend Ruaimoko and chief of Rocky Outcrop, she should stay with him and his family.
This worked out well for Hekeheke as she and Maui would then be invited to spend time with Ahuahu’s family as honored guests as well, which was great privilege for them.
In the evenings after their meal they would relax and one or other of them would tell stories. One evening Ahu, Ahuahu’s first wife said to him “You never tell us stories from the island where you were born. Do you not remember them?”
Ahuahu laughed and said “Would you want to hear the stories that I remember from the time I was but seven or eight years old? Surely I could only tell them as a child would?”
They all insisted, so Ahuahu said, "Young boys remember the silliest things and the first story I will tell will illustrate this. It is the tale of the rat and the octopus."

“Rats as you know are great seafarers. Somehow they have colonized all the islands in our mighty ocean that the white men call The Pacific. How contrary that description is as we all know that the sea is not to be trusted but should be respected and by doing so we might survive its terrors."
One day a rat boarded a canoe on his travels to find a new home in Rarotonga where I was born so many weeks journey to the north east of us here. However the canoe was caught in a storm. All the human occupants were drowned when it capsized but the rat undaunted as they are, swam around trying to find something to cling on to and quite by chance scrabbled on to the head of an octopus.
“Please Octopus, take me to dry land and I will reward you,” the rat said and the octopus being a bit soft agreed. So for several days the octopus swam toward land and finally approaching an island. When the rat saw land he knew he could swim the rest of the way and jumped off and started off for shore.
“What about my reward” cried the octopus.
“I left it on your head,” said the rat as he swam rapidly away.
The Octopus reached up with one of eight tentacles to see what the rat had left him and found only a black slimy mess of rat droppings. The octopus was most upset but learned his lesson. From that day on octopus all over the world when they are approached and feel threatened will exude a great blob of black ink inherited from their ancestors to confuse the interloper and swim away under cover lest it be another tricky rat that wants a lift.”

Everybody in the whare was laughing so much that they were almost crying. Hatiti slapped Ahu on the arm and said “Now all the children will be telling that story to each other.”
Ahuahu laughing too, then said “All right then, I will tell you a different story”.
“Will it be a love story?” asked Hekeheke, “One that I could tell”.
“Perhaps, Hekeheke.” He replied smiling at her, bending over and touching her gently on the shoulder.
Ahuahu’s second story will be published next week


  1. Ahuahu telling stories?! I love it!

    I can see why the boys would all love this one. :)

  2. I truly love the story. I wish I can write such fairy tale or folk lore. I tried with my Turtle story but it didn't work much, I am afraid