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in the unhallowed sense in which men consecrate, upon the face of God's earth, temples and altars to idols and devils.—The great marae, so dedicated to Tani, stands superior among all these, being nearly a hundred feet by eighty in length and breadth, with walls in some parts nine feet thick. In the centre of this rude edifice, Tani's bed is seen, on which his idol was laid when prayers were offered to it, and near that another platform, which the dumb stock occupied on special occasions.
At the distance of thirty feet, in front of the marae, is the usual raised seat for the priest when he performed his devotions; and, near the same, what may be called the altar, consisting of a flat flag-stone and an upright one, on which the animals, offered in sacrifice, were formerly slaughtered; these were swine and fowls. But the altar on which the bodies of the victims, when slain, were presented, was a frame of wooden piles and planks, sixteen feet long, six wide, and ten high. On these occasions the fowls of the air had plenteous feasting. Near the spot were two large heaps of bones, principally the sculls of hogs. On the declivity, immediately below the marae, are two small terraces, raised to the height of twelve inches each from the ground, and on the lower side of these are stationed eight insulated stones, set up at some distance from one another, designating, by their position in reference to the temple, that part of it which particularly belonged to each of the eight districts of the island; and round which the inhabitants of the same, on public solemnities, congregated in tribes, as we were given to understand. On the north of the marae was Tani's house (now destroyed), a little wooden chamber, built on posts, twenty-five feet high, and to which there was no access except by climbing one of them. This was the sanctuary where the image was usually kept, and from and
to which it was always carried by our companion, Toumata, till the day when the idol, the sanctuary, and the worship of Tani were destroyed. We are told that when the people saw the flames ascending from the pile on which Tani was laid, by Hautia and his Christian warriors, they were powerfully affected—some with joy, others with sorrow, and not a few with apprehension that the god would speedily arise and inflict summary vengeance on his enemies, if not destroy the whole island and its inhabitants, for the indignity offered to his wooden proxy.
It ought to have been mentioned that on one side of Tani's house there is a remarkable stone, set on end, which (like the tree on the motu, formerly mentioned,) is said to have caught his long tail, when, from the top of it, he attempted to mount into the air on a journey
of mischief. This tail, it seems, was a grievous drawback to Tani, and various trees, in the boughs of which it had been entangled when he was taking his flight, have become sacred in consequence of being touched by it, though to his own bitter disappointment, when they caught him and prevented his aerial flight. The old people say that meteors were formerly much oftener seen from these islands than they are now. These, as well as comets, they imagined to be the tails of the gods, and, therefore, when they saw them streaming through the atmosphere they immediately threw off their upper garments and exclaimed, “a god! a god!” Tani's unlucky appendage, probably, was of celestial origin, in this respect; and, instead of being translated to the skies, like Berenice's locks, was attached to the popular image of his person, in commemoration of some magnificent meteor, whose train, in its flight, measured ninety or a hundred degrees.
Toumata tells us that, when he was a boy, the whole of this hill was covered with dwellings and gardens. Now
SACRIFICES TO TANI.
there are but three houses standing upon it, of which one only is inhabited. Similar evidences of decay and devastation meet our eyes every where on this tour. So fatal, indeed, were the effects of war, licentiousness, infanticide, and idolatry, towards the close of their reign, that the population of Huahine, in the course of a few years, was reduced from at least ten, some say twenty, thousand, to little more than as many hundreds.
When living animals were brought to be sacrificed to Tani, no blood was shed. They were laid upon the stone, and most cruelly, because most clumsily, strangled by the pressure of their necks between two pieces of wood. Not hogs and fowls only, but fishes, fruits, and intoxicating spirits were offered at this altar. Of these good things— though presented on the frame, before described, for Tani to feast upon, or rather to be consumed by the birds or perish by putrefaction—it was shrewdly suspected that few were consumed by so slow a process, the priests having found a much more convenient way of disposing of them. It is remarkable that among the contributions to Tani's service were first-fruits, according to the season of the year; a poor person was expected to bring two of the earliest gathered, of whatever kind, a raatira ten, and the chiefs and princes more, according to their rank and riches. These were thrown down upon the ground, at the marae, with the expression, “ Here, Tani, I have brought you something to eat.” In general, when hogs were presented, the heads only were laid upon his altar, the remainder being baked and devoured by the worshippers and the priests. Many kinds of fish, but neither sharks nor turtles, were thus offered. Human sacrifices were never slain or exposed here; these were all gibbetted at the enormous aoa tree, on the beach below. For Tani's bearer (our friend Toumata)
there was set apart, out of these gifts, a certain portion of food, which even the kings dared not to take away or touch. · At a marae, on the beach, we were shewn a precious relic. This was said to be a fragment of Tani's canoe, which, though a stone, could swim as well as if it had been timber. To prove this a man threw it into the water, and it actually floated! The fact and the solution of the puzzle were equally apparent; it was a large piece of pumice-stone. Whence this specimen came the people could not inform us, but they said that there were more pieces of the same substance at other places on the island, which, according to an old tradition, had been collected by some devout person, formed into a canoe, and presented to Tani. The priests, no doubt, knew well how to avail themselves of a natural circumstance to hold an ignorant and credulous people in delusion by the semblance of a miracle.
Jan. 9. This day we proceeded on our voyage in Hautia's double canoe. Along the coast we counted nine maraes in the space of a mile. Most of these were curiously, and, indeed, picturesquely, placed, on tongues of land projecting into the lagoon, and were “ monuments of piled stones," nearly as they came out of the quarry, which an earthquake may
have made in the rifted rocks on shore, or as they had been broken, by the fury of the surge, from the coral-reefs that shut out the main sea from beating upon these welldefended coasts. This chain of Moloch's posts, as they may be termed, extended to the foot of the Sacred Mountain, which, at this quarter, rises immediately from the water's edge with awful grandeur. We intended to have ascended its flanks, but the steepness and slipperiness of the ridges forbade the attempt. The scenery along this neighbourhood is of the boldest character, excelling, at once, in every feature of beauty and sublimity which can be found else
where. Description, after what we have already attempted, would be mere verbiage here. What most peculiarly strikes the eyes of European beholders, accustomed to associate nakedness and sterility with mountains of the highest order, is that the loftiest mountains of these islands are verdant to the very peaks, as though they were themselves masses of gigantic vegetation, springing, budding, branching, flowering, and bearing fruit, from the sea-beach upward to the firmament. Great quantities of rain having descended during the last few days, the waterfalls that came tumbling, in white volumes of foam, from the cliffs and through the ravines, added much of splendour and animation to the reposing magnificence of surrounding objects, which, from their nature, were for ever at rest. Motion is so intimately connected with life that the presence of water, even when not seeming to move, yet being known to be never entirely quiescent, is always exhilarating to the spirits as well as grateful
But in no form is this vital element more visibly and audibly alive than when it assumes the Protean character of cascades, perpetually changing shape, and breadth, and colour, and action, as they glide towards the verge, roll over the precipice, leap down the rocks, shoot the gulph below, and rebound through the atmosphere in vapour and spray, while the quivering rainbow, overarching the scene of turbulence, rises and falls, and brightens or fades, in air above, as the waters, in their ebullience, swell or subside, and the sun, in full splendour, or gleaming through mists, calls out of invisible space that apparition of beauty and emblem of peace.
At the foot of the amphitheatre of mountains are numberless trees, scattered and in groups, which, when viewed from the track of our voyage, appeared like diminutive shrubs in comparison with the stupendous eminences behind
to the eye.