REPUBLIC OF KIRIBATI
There was a woman of Tebongiroro
named Nei Matamona, whose habit it was to bathe on the eastern beach at sunrise.
And when the sun rose, he saw her every day; so he loved her, and sent one of
his rays to her as she bathed. The ray entered between her thighs. And behold!
she was pregnant. These were the names of Nei Matamona's children by the Sun:
Tongea and Tangea, Nakianga and Maau-kitekite, and Bue and the youngest child a
girl, their sister Nei Te-raa-iti. These were the children of the Sun, but the
first four died, and only Bue with his sister Nei Te-raa-iti remained alive. The
Sun took Nei Te-raa-iti away, and built her an enclosrue of rock in the East.
Only Bue remained in Tebongiroro.
This was the manner of bue: he
desired to visit his father in the East, even the Sun. He told his mother that
thought of his, and she said, 'It is good. go, make thy canoe.' He made his
canoe of the shell of a coconut and named it Te Kuo-n-aine, then returned
to his mother and said, 'It is ready.' Then she gave him certain things to take
with him to the Sun, and these were the names of them: two smooth stones of red
coral, one fruit of the non-tree, and the old coconut; thou salt fan him
with the young leaf to make him cold; thou salt bind him with the strong green
So Bue set forth in his canoe Te
Kuo-n-aine and sped to the east side of heaven, for it was his thought to
catch his father as he rose above the sea. But first, he visited the rock in the
east where dwelt his sister Nei Te-raa-iti. He came to his sister, and she asked
him, 'Who art though?' He said, 'I am Bue, and I go to visit our father the
'And what dost thou carry with
'I carry six things: two stones of
red coral, one fruit of the non-tree, one old coconut, the first leaf of
a seed nut, and the strong green leaf of an old tree.'
Bue set forth. He came to the side
of Heaven where the Sun was about to rise. He arrived in the dark before dawn.
He waited. The Sun began to rise, and Bue smote him at his six
mounting-platforms (kai-ni-katoka), for there were three rocks upon which
he began to move up from the depths and three rocks upon which he climbed up
over the sea.
When the Sun reached his first rock
in the depths, his first ray sprang up to the sky: Bue saw it and hurled his
first stone of red coral, and the ray fell dead in the sea. And when the Sun
reached his second rock in the depths, his second ray sprang up to the sky: Bue
saw it, and hurled his second stone of red coral, and the ray fell dead in the
sea. The third ray he smote with the fruit of the non-tree, and the fourth ray
he smote with the old coconut. Then the Sun reached his fifth rock, which was a
rock above the sea: his face burned fiercely, and Bue was scorched in his fire.
But this man was not afraid; he ran forward and fanned his father's face with
the young coconut leaf, and when the wind of it came to the Sun he winced and
the heat died. Then he spoke to Bue, saying, 'Who art thou? Whence comest thou?'
Bue answered, 'I am indeed thy offspring, and Bue is my name.'
The Sun crawled up to his sixth
rock, the rock of his blazing (ati-ni-kanenea), but he was tired, and Bue
ran forward and caught him in the strong green coconut leaf. He floated on the
sea and Bue bound him with the leaf, saying, 'Thou art my father, and I beseech
thee.' The Sun said, 'Who is thy mother?' He answered, 'Nei Matamona is my
Then the Sun gave knowledge to Bue:
he gave him the building-craft (katei-bai): the building of the
maneaba of Kings, which is called Te Namakaina; and the building of
the maneaba called Te Tabanin; and the building of the long
maneaba which is called Maungatabu; and the building of the
maneaba whereof the breadth is greater than the length, called Te Ketoa.
And he gave him the magic for raising the wind, and stilling the wind, and
making the rain; and the magic that is done at the new moon, called Te
Kabueari, for the protection of children, and the health of men, and the
safety of the maneaba and skill in composing dance-chants. And he gave him the
manners of burying the dead - one manner for Kings and one manner for the people
and one manner which is called the grave of Bue.
All that knowledge bue learned in
the east. And before he left, his father gave him the white stick ringed with
black rings called Te Kai-ni-kamata, saying, 'Take this staff with thee
as a memorial of thy coming to me. It shall go with three always. Set it aloft
upon thy canoe-sail, and it shall be thy protection against death at sea.' And
Te Kai-ni-kamata, indeed, is the canoe=crest of the children of Bue to
this day, the canoe-crest of Ababou and Maerua. And the sun gave Bue the magic
called Te Tiri-kua (the slaying of the porpoise) by which fierce fish and
the waterspout are prevented at sea.
When Bue returned from the Sun, he
went first to the rock of his sister, Nei Te-raa-iti. She accompanied
him, and they set forth towards the west, but they did not mount upon their
canoe, for they swam in the sea beside it. And while they were swimming their
bodies met: they made love.
The Sun saw his children making love
and he was angry: he said to the porpoise, "Go, overturn their canoe.' The
porpoise overturned their canoe, and they sank down to the land of Mone in the
depths. There they met with ancestors. Nei Te-raa-iti was led away to the north
by two ancestors, but Bue followed the ancestor who went west, and he was led to
the enclosure of Nei-Bairara. There he hid himself, for he wished to steal the
magic of that old woman.
He waited until the sun came over
the west, and when his father was above the enclosure of Nei Bairaqra he was
lucky, for his father said to that woman, 'Repeat the spell for thy first wind.'
She repeated the spell, and Bue learned it. Then said the Sun again, 'Repeat the
spell for thy second wind.' So all the winds of that woman were stolen by Bue.
The Sun set, and Bue disclosed
himself to the old woman and when she saw that he had stolen all her winds, she
said, 'Stay. Await thy father.' But Bue feared his father and stayed not, he ran
away westwards until the trod the confines of Roro.
In Roro he met the old woman named
Nei Temaing (the-left-handed) who was the keeper of the rain and of the winds
that carry rain-clouds, so he stayed with her and learned her magic. There was
none of the magic of Nei Temaing that Bue did not learn, for he tricked that old
woman when the Sun went down over Roro, even as he had tricked Nei Bairara
When Bue was about to leave Nei
Temaing, he said to her, 'Woman, I go. With thou come with me?' She refused, so
he said, 'Give me, then, I beg thee, that uri tree of thine for making
fire-sticks, for I will use it as my canoe for sailing eastwards. She refused to
give him her uri tree, saying, 'Go upon thy own craft.' But this was the
manner of that uri tree: pieces of broken coral had been washed up by the
waves, and they had dug beneath the roots of the tree, so that it was loose. So
Bue took hold upon the tree and uprooted it and ran away.
Then Nei Temaing arose and ran after
Bue, and Bue knew that he would be caught for she ran faster than he, so he
thought how he might save himself. And behold! he raised the winds that the Sun
had given him: the Sun's winds blew but stayed her not. He raised the winds that
he had stolen from Nei Bairara: Nei Bairara's winds blew but stayed her not. He
raised the winds that he had stolen from Nei Temaing herself: the winds blew,
the rain fell, and behold! she was stayed by her own wind and rain. He escaped,
and he carried with him the uri tree for making fire-sticks that belonged
to Nei Temaing: its name was Te Uri-ni-kabuebue (the uri-to-make-burn).
So Bue sailed eastward until he came
to Tarawa, and behold! the man Riirongo of Tarawas received and fed him in the
midst of the sea. When Rii-rongo came to him, Bue said, 'Who is thy father?'
Riirongo answered, 'Iirataa is my father, and Nei Te-tauti (porcupine fish) is
my mother. I live in the sea on the west side of Tarawa. This is my place. Then
he left, and Bue went up to the land.
Bue on Tarawa
The sister of Bue, Nei Te-raa-iti,
had already arrived at Tarawa, for the ancestors had led her there when she
separated from her brother in Mone. She had become the wife of Kirataa-Tererei,
the second Kirataa, and her son was Kirataa the Third. She welcomed Bue, and her
husband, Kirataa, gave him the houseplace called Ababou. There he dwelt on
But there came a day when a
wonderful thing happened on Tarawa; for Bue walked about the land, and where he
walked the coconut trees and pandanus trees were withered: they were burned up.
Then Kirataa said to Nei Te-raa-iti 'Woman, can thy brother help us?' He knew
not that it was Bue himself who had sent the trees afire. She went and begged
her brother, so he called the rain, and the rain fell and the fire was quenched.
but the rain continued to fall when the fire was quenched: it ceased not, day
and night. So Kirataa said again to his wife 'Can thy brother help us?' She went
to him again, and he sayed the rain. After that, Kirataa called Bue to build
him a maneaba, and he built him the maneaba: Maunga-tabu, and the
maneaba Te Namakaina.
Then said Bue to his sister, 'Woman,
thou shalt make some string for me.' When that was done he made a dip-net for
catching flying-fish; and on a rainy day he went out to the place where he had
met Riirongo, to westward of the reef of Tarawa. When Riirongo appeared, Bue
caught him in the net and took him back to Tarawa. He led him ashore, he took
him into his house and dwelt with him: they lived as brothers (i-taritari).
First they dwelt together at Taratai,
on the north side of Tarawa, near Tebonobono; and then they went down to the
south end of the island, to dwell at Tabuki-n-tarawa, near Betio. Afterwards,
Bue and Riirongo, with Nei Tetauti, the mother of Riorongo, went in their canoes
Te Bakakai and Te Kai-ni-kamata to the islands of Beru and Nikunau. There remain
their children today, even the people of Ababou and Maerua, who are the builders
of the maneaba for the kings of Karongoa. And the boti (sitting place) of
Ababou in the maneaba of Maunga-tabu is under the middle rafter (kiaro-matua)
on the western side, face to face with Karongoa. That boti was accorded
to the children of Bue by the sun, when he gave Bue the building craft, and so
it is today.
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