Tafa'i towards the Po

The Polynesian hero Tafa'i accomplishes two great feats, the first of immobilizing the great fish Tahiti Nui and the second to explore the kingdom of darkness, the Po, to bring back his father Hema. Here is the story of Tafa'i towards the Po. Translated from legend Pouira a Teauna dit Teraupoo: Parau Tumo no Tafa'i by Edouard Ahnne.

Tafa'i towards the Po

The descent to the kingdom of darkness, Tafa'i towards the Po

Hina-tahutahu, Tafa'i's mother consented to show him the way to the Po. His brother Arihinuiapua wanted to accompany him despite the dangers, because he felt remorse thinking that he had pushed his father to leave this world. Hina-tahutahu forced the earth to open up to allow the audacious travelers to pass, and they descended through a narrow underground passage. After walking for a long time, the corridor widened into a vast square and they came to a house which was inhabited by an old blind woman named Uhi (Ufi, Yam).

Arihinuiapua being only a weak mortal suffered from fatigue and hunger; they quietly entered this house where they found Uhi preparing his meal while mumbling. She placed in front of her two pieces of uru (breadfruit), two portions of taro, two packets of pota (taro leaf), two bowls filled with coconut milk and two containers of water, then she began to eat.

But Arihinuiapua who was very hungry took a portion of each dish that was in front of her and ate it immediately. Also, when Uhi wanted to help herself a second time, she couldn't find anything and she exclaimed: “Who is this worm that came here, in the kingdom of darkness, the Po? »
– “It's me Tafa'i. »

– “Ah, sit down in a comfortable way” said the old woman and at the same time she offered them a seat covered with red feathers. But Tafa'i made a sign to his brother not to touch it, for it was a magic hook attached by an enchanted cord. Uhi then took the hook and threw it. Tafa'i avoided it, but Arihi fascinated by the beauty of this woman brought it back and when she pulled the rope it was hung under the arm. He resisted with all his might, running in a circle around the old woman who was pulling him towards her.

Moved with pity by seeing his brother in this sad situation, Tafa'i shouted: "Oh, Uhi, release your fish, for fear of the great shark!" There he is, his brother, in the sea! Because there were sharks and whales in the underground sea and a gigantic octopus that stood in a cave decorated with sea conchs.

But Uhi answered in a triumphant tone, “He won't move. The name of my hook is Puruitemaumau, as for my line it is the Requin du firmament (The Shark in the Milky Way). It's not Hina's (La Hina was young Mi, who gave her hair to her brother Maui to moor the sun)

Tafa'i then seized the line and freed the prisoner.

The old woman, feeling that her hook was loose, exclaimed: “Ah! There is a worthy man here, can he restore my sight? »
– "I can give it back to you" answered Tafa'i and taking a coconut he threw the contents into Uhi's eyes who instantly regained his sight. She was then able to see the young people and testified to them her joy and her gratitude, asking them what service she could render them, in exchange for her healing.

Tafa'i asked her what she knew of their father and where he was being held. Uhi told them that Hema was further away, in a forest where the gods threw their filth. They had plucked out his eyes and given them as playthings to the young girls who were weaving mats for the speakers. Then they filled his eye sockets with bird droppings. She instructed two of her little servants to accompany them to go in search of the poor man.

Tafa'i and his brother walked for a long time and finally arrived at a wooded area where after some research they found the unfortunate Hema. Wasting no time, Tafa'i grabbed him in his strong arms and carried him away with all the speed he could muster. And, before the gods could notice this abduction, the three fugitives left the subterranean regions and returned safe and sound to the light of the upper world. Tafa'i washed poor Hema, clothed and fed him and, although still blind, he lived a long time still, happily with his wife and children.