Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the gods and myths of Bellona and Rennell Islands has proven very popular as a sub-category of Polynesian myths. (CLICK HERE )
TANGAHAU – In my opinion Tangahau is more like an Odysseus of Bellona and Rennell Islands than Takitaki (covered previously). However, Tangahau’s reputation as a wanderer originally from the Duff Islands seems to tip the balance to Takitaki. Here’s a brief look at Tangahau’s cycle of myths.
If there is enough interest I will do one of my exhaustively detailed examinations, like with Nayanazgeni in Navajo myths, Pele and Hi’iaka from Hawaiian myths, Mwindo from Africa or Baybayan from the Philippines and so many others that I’ve covered.
I) On Taumako Island, Tangahau, a sea captain renowned for his raids on many islands, was preparing for another voyage. The young bachelor’s mother was crying and rending her ears in sorrow since she knew every one of his dangerous journeys might be his last.
II) Tangahau and his crew, which included the priest Nasiu and his son, set out and eventually passed between two flaming islands which Nasiu warned were one of the entrances to the realm of the dead. (Rationalizations of the flaming islands of this tale attribute them to volcanic activity during the early stages of island formation.)
III) Next the voyagers spotted Rennell Island off in the distance. Like many ancient mariners they at first mistook it for an enormous whale. As they drew closer, they spotted Mount Gugha and realized their mistake. They determined to stop and mount a raid.
IV) Tangahau and his crew landed at Lughughi and drove away the inhabitants before plundering all the parrot fish they had been preparing for a meal. The raiders returned to their craft to enjoy the stolen food.
V) A Rennellese priest called upon the Bel-Ren gods to curse the vessel. The gods complied, filling the craft with a mind of its own, making it refuse to stop or move in the directions indicated by Tangahau and his men. The voyagers abandoned ship and swam to shore at Laghabaghi.
VI) While climbing the mountains along the coast in an effort to find a way back inland, some of Tangahau’s crew passed away from the exertion. First the elderly Pugou, then his wife and daughter, who did the cooking for Tangahau’s crew. The crew laid down arrows and buried the trio on them per the custom.
VII) At last reaching the top of the cliffs the voyagers traveled inland. Kaipua, a Rennellese man, decided to cook twenty yams to feed the surviving members of the raiders hoping to make peace with them. It worked and Tangahau decided he and his crew would stay on Rennell.
VIII) Over the years Tangahau married a Rennellese woman and had children. Three more members of his crew died in Rennell and a fourth – a slave descendant named Maaui – was permitted to return to Taumako Island so he could die at home.
IX) When Tangahau – who knew his death would be near when his arrows spontaneously caught fire and burned to ashes – at last died after many voyages on behalf of Rennell and Bellona Islands, he was buried at sea as he had requested. As he had foretold his body would not sink, even when weighted down with stones. The corpse floated all the way back to Taumako Island and was buried there. +++
FOR THE TOP 15 IROQUOIS DEITIES CLICK HERE – https://glitternight.com/2013/01/28/the-top-fifteen-deities-in-iroquois-mythology/
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