The Tahiti Traveler

Legend of the coconut tree

The coconut tree, an asset for the Polynesians:

When you think coconut tree , you always think holyday, travel, paradise, island, get some rest under the sun and maybe on a hamock in between two coconut tree.
Far from these idylic ideas, the coconuts tree mean so much more to the polynesian cultur.

The coconut tree also named « Tumu Haari » in Tahitien is a treasure, Maohi people knew how to take advantage of every single part of it.  They used the coconut on meal and drink like milk or just fresh water. They also use it, to make oil that women usually put on their skin or hair. With the palm they made roof or wall-like, and of course, to made their beautifull traditional dance costumes.

 

It’s a big part of polynesian cultur, and a lot of legends was told about it. Here is one version of it.

The Legend of the coconut tree:

A long time ago, the leader of an island district and his wife had a daughter. This young girl was a beauty without equal anywhere else. She had a sun kissed skin, deep black eyes and long silky hair. And She was named Hina.

At the age of sixteen, her parents decided to marry her, to a prince. When she finaly met him, she was frightened by the physique of her suitor, because he was the eels prince. He had a gigantic body and an enormous head. When she realized that , Hina ran away and found refuge in the house of the God Hiro, the fishing God.

First of all, Hiro was impressed by the beauty of the young women, but he also understood that he had to protect her.

But the Eels Prince, still in pursuit his future bride, he was not far and was coming by the sea.

 

So Hiro took one of the Hina’s hairs and with it he fished the approaching eel. The God fishing cut up the prince of eels in three part and wrapped his head in leaves.

Before dying, the head of the monster said to Hina:

“of all the Men who hate me, including you Hina, you will one day kiss me to thank me. I will die, but my prediction is eternal.”

Hiro entrusted the head of the eel to Hina and then advised her:

“Hina, girl of beauty, you can return to your family and there, you will destroy this head. But throughout your journey do not put it on the ground because then the curse of the eel will come true.”

On her way back, in sweltering heat, Hina and her followers who accompanied her, decided to stop and take a bath in the river.

Ignoring the Hiro’s warning, she placed the head of the eel on the ground. At this moment , the monster head penetrated the earth, and at this location grew a huge tree. A long trunk just like an immense eel, and with foliage similar to Hina’s hair. And that’s how the first coconut tree had just been born.

Hina was then condemned by the Gods to remain close to this river because the tree had become taboo…

Years later, a terrible dryness struck the lands and only the coconut resisted the sun. Despite of the God’s prohibition to touch this tree, the thirst overcame men which plucked the fruits of the coconut tree. Each fruit was marked with 3 dark spots laid out like two eyes and a mouth. A mouth which the men put their lips in order to drink the coconut water…. And Hina did the same thing ….. And so, the prophecy of the prince of eels had just come true.