Volume 16 1907 > Volume 16, No. 2 > Hawaiian folk-tales p 105
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- 105

WE desire to call Members' attention to the above book, published by A. C. McClug and Co., Chicago. This is a compilation by Mr. Thos. G. Thrum, of Honolulu, from various sources, and in doing so, Mr. Thrum has conferred a favour on all Polynesian scholars. Many of these tales and traditions have the true Polynesian ring about them. In others, the translator's hand is visible in the elaboration of the original crude matter—not that this detracts from their value, for it illustrates the possibilities of Polynesian stories when worked out in an agreeable manner, whilst not deviating too much from the Polynesian order of mind. This is well illustrated in the charming story of “Kaala and Kaaialii, by W. M. Gibson. Just here, we will put it to our Hawaiian fellow-workers, that we think it a great pity they do not make a stand against the common practice of joining the definite article on to the noun. It is not done in any other language we are acquainted with, and, moreover, it makes the identification of names in other dialects often very difficult. The above story illustrates this: Kaala is the Maori Te Kakara (in which the Maori adds another syllable, or, should not the original be Ka-'a'ala? the “k” being always deficient in Hawaiian where it is still sounded in many other dialects of Polynesian). Some of the tales here given are the common property of the Polynesian race, and are not peculiar to Hawaii, although, as so often happens, they are there localized. Take the story of “Hiku and Kawelu” (in Maori, Whitu and Te Weru) which is almost identical with the Maori story Te Tatau-o-te-Po (see this Journal Vol. VIII., p. 59), and with the note (Vol. V, p. 118) to “Te Tangi a Te Rangi-mauri.” The “Exploits of Maui” are of course the property of all Polynesians, and the “Adventures of Laka” (Maori Rata) are almost identical word for word with the Maori and Rarotongan account of that hero. These legends belong to a very ancient period in the history of the Race, long before the separate branches took up their quarters in Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, or other parts.

Our word to Mr. Thrum is wela ka hao, and we express the hope that he and his collaborators will follow up this volume with others on the same lines, for by so doing he will give great pleasure to Polynesian scholars.—Editor.