The Ancient History of the Maori

John White

Editore: Forgotten Books
Formato: PDF
Testo in en
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Dimensioni: 29,56 MB
  • EAN: 9780259618416
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The histories of other peeples are based upon monuments, inscriptions in wood or stone, or upon other records: the Maori had not reached this state of advancement, and, though he valued know ledge in the very highest degree, it was entirely preserved in memory and transmitted orally. He had for ages held tenaciously to the mode of life imposed upon him by the laws and customs of his mythology, and he held his sacred knowledge in such awe that to divulge it to those not of his own race, or even to the junior branches of his own people, was to incur the penalty of death. So thoroughly was he imbued with the principles of his early teaching that, even after he had been taught and had adopted the tenets of the Christian faith, his priests would not dare to disclose some of their secrets. When reciting the history of the Taki-tumu, a priest gave certain portions, and left other parts untold; and when asked to fill up the omission he replied, The parts I have not related are so sacred that I withhold them in dread of sudden death. Nor could any logic or persuasion rid him of that fear, or prompt him to give the information. In the history of te-arawa, the priest acted in a similar manner, and excused himself by saying, I cannot give some of our sacred history, as not an old priest now remains alive who has the power to perform the ceremonies to save me from the penalty of divulging the sacred words of the gods.