Tamangori

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The south sea island of Mangaia lies 110 miles south of Rarotonga. Legends of her people have survived through the years. This is the story of Tamangori, a giant whose name still striking fear in the hearts of the people of Mangaia.

In Mangaian mythology, Tamangori stood over nine feet tall. He always tied his long black hair in the traditional bun style of the people of Mangaia. What made him especially frightening was his ability to move silently. A person was never sure whether Tamangori was around the corner or not. Knowing that the giant hunted humans made him more frightening. When tamagori became hungry, he would leave his cave amongst the corals and make his way towards the village. He loved to eat humans, especially nice fat ones. Usually, Tamagori liked to choose his prey. Waiting beside the track leading from the village to the seaside, Tamangori would keep an eye out for the most delicious looking meat.

The people in the villages who did not like this cannibal's eating habits were also fearful of what might become of them and their families. They wanted to kill Tamangori. But even the best warriors who met the giant could not match his skill and strength.

Finding Tamangori was also not easy. So for many years the occasional fisherman or wandering villager was lost. many of them became part of Tamangori's menu.

On the other side of the island of Mangaia, in a village called Ivirua, lived two brothers called Pa and Pe. They both loved making traps of all kinds, using trees and branches. Usually the brothers caught birds and native rats. On one of their hunting excursions the boys remembered about Tamangori's love for rat meat. As they looked at their rats tied up in a heap, they decided to venture further than they had ever dared. The brothers walked a few more miles. Then they stopped to build a fire. They also placed a volcanic rock on the fire. As evening approached, Pa threw thr cleancd rats into the fire and carefully barbecued them. Pe went into the bushes to set some more traps. The smell of the cooking rats travelled through the evening air. It soon reached the nostrils of the giant, Tamangori. It was Tamangori's favorite food. The rumors were true. If there was anything he loved more than human meat, it was cooked rats. Tamangori followed the smell. It led him to the two brothers had made. In his enthusiasm the noise made by the giant, warned the waiting brothers. Pa and Pe quickly arranged the cooked rats in a neat pile and hid in the trees. Tamangori came and saw the rats.

"A ha," Tamangori shouted, "who owns this?"

Pa threw the "cleaned" rats into the fire and carefully barbecued them.

"You," came the answer from the bushes.

"Why me?" asked Tamangori.

"Because you are the king of the island." Tamangori smiled. Indeed he was a King. His attention returned to the food on the rocks. Quickly he devoured them all.

"More!" he shouted.

Pe came running out with more rats. He threw them on the fire and took out the cooked ones. Tamangori had already devoured over 40 rats. Soon Tamangori lay back against the rock and closed his eyes. The meal was too much. The giant dozed to sleep.

The brothers eyed each other and approached the giant. they worked quickly. As their volcanic rock heated up, a sharp thin stick was also silently prepared. Making sure that all was ready, Pe picked up the stick and drove it through the ears of tamangori. Simultaneously, Pa threw the hot rock onto the eyes of the giant.

Tamangori screamed and opened his eyes just as the rock hit them. the pain was too much. A momentous piercing scream bid farewell to the once proud giant. Tamangori fell and never stood again. The man-eating giant was no more.

[1]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Jon Jonassen, Cook Islands Legends, The Institute of Pacific Studies (1981) pp.15-19; ISBN 9789820201712

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