“Long ago,” said the old woman, “man was a simple creature with no art or culture to speak of. His shamans treated illness, made fire, and performed spells to aid the tribe in their every day lives. He had a peaceful attitude towards his fellow man, and a simple, intuitive belief in one God. However, when man began to grow food, make war, and explore the ocean, he sought the benevolence of other gods for each new enterprise.”
Of all the exploits of man, few compare to the Stone Age mariner on an ocean voyage. Mata-ora was born in the land called Aotea-roa, which means “Long-white-cloud.” The search for red feathers led Mata-ora and his crew on a voyage to Tahiti that might extend for years. When they encountered the little girl called Pikipikilauifi, the superstitious warriors held her to be a divine being of spontaneous origin that might intercede on their behalf. According to the girl, she grew up on an island under the sea. To Mata-ora, this tale suggested a life of dreamy seclusion in which she was reared for some religious duty that had not been disclosed to her.
The scenes and events revealed to those voyagers on their epic journey were of immense grandeur and extraordinary peril: female warriors, cannibal empires, fairy tribes, gods, monsters, and prisoners of the Underworld; and the ocean itself, sometimes dead calm under a blazing sun, at other times, running mountain high.
Pikipikilauifi: A Polynesian Odyssey by John Nelson will be available in trade paperback or Kindle from Amazon.com