The Last Battle - Part III

Part III: Mercy To An Enemy/Mercy To A Cousin

When the Taku people heard that their friends, the Kirimiro people, had been attacked they prepared for war. In the early morning the Taku warriors advanced along the coast line towards Kirimiro where the Rikitea warriors were sleeping.

One of the Rikitea warriors was awake and he heard the sound of the advancing enemy and he called out to his companions to wake them. They awoke and for fear of a surprise they ran up the hill where they could defend themselves against the advance of the Taku warriors.

When the Rikitea warriors reached a safe height on the hill, the chief, Apeiti, realized that two of his sons had not been awoken by the warning that had been given. They were still sleeping below.

So Apeiti called down the hill to his cousin, Tupou-eriki, who was the leader of the Taku warriors and asked him, “Save my sons!” The Taku warriors reached the place where the two sons of sleeping.

In the early morning darkness, the son of Tupou-eriki, Te Ma-Tupou, squeezed the arms of the older son who was still sleeping. He felt how hard the muscles were. Te Ma-Tupou said, “This one is strong!” Then Te Ma-Tupou squeezed the arms of the other sleeping brother and felt that his muscles were soft. Te Ma-Tupou said, “This one is weak!” Then the Taku warriors let those two sons run up the hill to their waiting comrades.

These two sons were cousins with Te Ma-Tupou who felt their muscles. Even though they were enemies, they were still relatives.

from Ethnology of Mangareva by Te Rangi Hiroa [Peter H. Buck].

Revised: March 26, 1997

Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff