« PreviousContinue »
THE KING'S INJUSTICE.
care for the message they brought. Manemane soon observed, "You give us plenty of the good word, but very little of other things."
The king was very anxious that the blacksmith's shop should be built, for he wanted to have iron tools made for him. One day he and the queen came to the missionaries with a large present of hogs and fruit, and begged them to receive him and his wife as their children. No doubt they thought they should get more things by this means.
The missionaries wanted many planks to make the shop with. The natives were astonished to see them saw the trees into several planks, for they could only split them in two. When the king found the shop did not go on as fast as he wished for want of more planks being prepared, he said to Mr. Puckey, the carpenter, "Come along with me." Mr. Puckey followed the king and six men who were with him, not knowing where he was going to be taken, He was surprised to see the king go to every house, and desire his men to search it for planks. Many of the people did not like to give up their planks, but the king insisted. on having them, Puckey told him that he was a thief, but he only replied that it was the custom. It was too true that all sort of wickedness was the custom, but that was no
In the course of this walk, the king came to some of his own land, upon which he got off his bearer's shoulders, and began to walk proudly along, saying, "Puckey, is this the way King George walks?" Thus he showed the pride of his heart.
When the blacksmith's shop was finished, the missionaries Hodges and Hassel began to work in it: the natives crowded round them, but when they saw the sparks fly from the iron and heard the water hiss, they were frightened and ran away: however, when their fright was over, they returned. Pomare was so delighted with the bellows and forge, that he caught the blacksmith (all dirty as he was) in his arms, and rubbed noses with him, which was the way of showing affection in Tahiti.
The missionaries had a cuckoo clock, which terrified the natives when they first heard it strike. One man brought some bread-fruit to feed the wooden bird with.
The missionaries smiled at these little circumstances: they did not smile, however, but were ready to weep, at the folly of the people respecting their idols. Their favourite god Oro was nothing more than a great log of wood about the size of He was kept in a little shed amongst trees surrounded by stone walls. In this place there were altars, (which were like high tables,) and on these lay a quantity of dead pigs, that
THE DECEITS OF THE PRIESTS.
remained there for months, and filled the air with a horrible odour. This place was called a Marae. Dreadful deeds of cruelty were done in it. Men were sacrificed, and hung in large baskets on the trees around, till their flesh was decayed. It was horrible to see a marae, or come near it. No woman was allowed to approach, as she was not reckoned worthy of the honour: neither was she considered worthy of being a sacrifice.
The priests wished the people to give many things to Oro, because they themselves got all that was given; so they told the priest that the gods would get into their food and kill them, if they did not do all they wished. The priests used to speak instead of the gods : they would sometimes take a great bundle of cloth and roll it up like a ball, and get into it, and then say in a squeaking voice, "I am angry, fetch the hogs, kill a man, and my anger will be over." The people knew that the priest was inside the cloth, and yet they were afraid of the god's anger.
They thought that their gods had made the world, and that one of them had stuck the stars in the sky, and that another very strong god held the sun with ropes, and would not let him go faster than he pleased.
They kept some gods in their houses; in one house the missionaries saw a great many images,
each with a sword or hammer in his hand, and they were told by the priest that those gods would kill any one that offended them with their weapons, unless the offender offered some sacrifice for his crime.
THE GOD. HIRO.
The people fancied their gods were like themselves in disposition. There was one god called Hiro, who, they thought, protected thieves; and when they were going to steal, they often promised to give him part of what they should get. A man who had been stealing a pig in the night, would bring a piece of its tail next morning to Hiro, and say, "Here is a piece of the pig I stole last night; but don't you tell." There was a large stone in the island, behind which they said Hiro hid himself when he was caught stealing, and was ashamed.
The missionaries found to their cost how much the natives resembled the god Hiro. One day a man stole a box for the sake of the nails that fastened it together; he was caught, and shut up by the missionaries for three hours, and was threatened with a worse punishment another time. Pomare, hearing of it, brought a pig to prevent the missionaries being angry, but of course it was not accepted. No wonder Pomare thought that the missionaries were as covetous as their gods.
The missionaries hired three men as servants
to take care of their hogs, (for they had now seventy,) and to help in cooking. These servants soon began to pilfer. One of them, whom they had nursed when he was ill, stole many things, and then left their service. After he was gone, they found out what he had done, and they sent after him, and caught him. They reminded him of the kindness they had shown him, and of his behaviour in return: his conscience told him it was wrong to be ungrateful, for tears came in his eyes, and he said, “I am a very bad man."*
Another day, while Dr. Gillham bathing, a native stole his clothes; the other missionaries pursued him, and hearing the sound of a drum, thought that he might be dancing, which was the case. A hundred people were with him, who fled when they saw the missionaries. The thief was brought to their house, and chained to a pillar with a padlock; but he not only contrived to get away, but to steal the padlock.
The king one day sent a message to the missionaries, advising them to discharge their servants because they were thieves, and recommending them to take some of his; but the missionaries knew too well that the king's servants were greater thieves than any others,
* Rom. ii. 15.