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How Maui Tamed The Sun

How Maui Tamed The Sun

How Maui tamed the Sun is a legend from Oceania.

When the Sun was younger, he rose more quickly and sped faster across the sky than he does now. He was definitely in a hurry all the time.

A boy called Maui heard his older brothers complain about how this meant there was not enough sunlight during the day. There was never enough light to hunt, fish and do jobs, no matter how early they got up.

Maui thought deeply about this. One night, his brothers sat around the fire, as usual complaining. Maui said, ‘I can tame the sun.’

They laughed at Maui.

‘Maui, don’t be daft!’ they replied. ‘You would be burnt to a cinder. He is too big and powerful. No one can tame the Sun.’

‘Listen,’ said Maui, ‘go with the women and collect as much flax as you possibly can. Then I will show you.’

His brothers were so curious that they collected a huge mound of flax. Maui showed them how to plait it into long strong ropes. He formed a gigantic net with these. He picked up his axe and said, ‘Follow me.’

For days they walked eastwards. After much search, they found the cave from which the Sun emerged every morning. They covered the entrance with their net. Then Maui made them plaster themselves in wet clay and hide.

Soon they spotted the first rays of light from the cave. Then they felt the scorching heat. The brothers trembled in fear as the full power of the sun’s heat fell upon them. But the clay kept them cool.

Then Maui bellowed at the top of his voice, ‘Pull!’

Slowly but surely, the mighty net entrapped the Sun.

The Sun was furious, and he struggled and roared. Maui ran towards the Sun with his axe held high.

The Sun roared even louder, ‘Why are you trying to kill me?’

‘I am not,’ said Maui, ‘but you must understand. You go too fast across the sky. It gets dark too fast. You need to give us more hours of light.’

‘Well,’ sighed the Sun, ‘with your net, you have made me so powerless that I can only go slowly now, I promise.’

Maui released the ropes and the Sun rose slowly into the sky. Maui’s brothers and the other tribesmen smiled at young Maui – they were proud of him.

To this day, the Sun crosses the sky at a slow pace, giving us time to do all our work.

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