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A time came when Ma-ui, returning to his home, said to his father, "Who now can vanquish me? I have won fire for men; I have made the sun go more slowly across the heavens; I have fished up the islands from the bottom of the sea. What thing in the world can vanquish me?" His father showed Ma-ui where the sky and the horizon met. Flashes were to be seen there. "They are from the teeth of the Goblin Goddess, Great-Hina-of-the-Night," he told Ma-ui. "She is your great ancestress. She vanquishes all creatures, for she brings all creatures to death. She will vanquish you, my child." Then Ma-ui said, "Let us both go to her fearlessly; let us take the heart out of her body, and so end her power of bringing death to all creatures." But his father would not go to where Great-Hina-of-the-Night was.

Ma-ui called for companions, and the little birds of every kind assembled to go with him--the robin and the lesser robin, the thrush and the yellow-hammer and the water-wagtail. With the little birds Ma-ui went towards where the sky and the horizon met. They went in the evening, and as they went they saw the flashing of the teeth of the Goblin Goddess. Her teeth were of volcanic glass. Her mouth was wide-shaped, like the mouth of a fish. Her hair floated all around her as sea-weed floats in the sea. Her eyes shone through the distances.

He saw her and was afraid; even great Ma-ui was made afraid by the Goblin Goddess, Great-Hina-of-the-Night. But he remembered that he had told his companions that he would find a way of giving everlasting life to men and to all creatures. He thought and thought on how he could come to her and take the heart out of her body.

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She was sleeping, and Ma-ui prepared to enter her terrible open mouth and take the heart out of her body and give her heart to all the creatures of the earth to eat.

Then he said to the birds, "O my little companions, do not laugh, do not make a sound, when you see me go into the mouth of this Goblin Goddess. Laugh, make sounds if you will when you see me come out bearing the heart of my ancestress, Great-Hina-of-the-Night." The little birds that gathered around him, shivering, said, "Oh, our brave master, we will not laugh, we will not make a sound. But, oh, take care of yourself, Master."

Ma-ui twisted the string of his weapon around his waist. He stripped his clothes off. The skin of his legs and hips was mottled like that of a mackerel from the tattoo-marks that had been cut upon it by the chisel of Uetonga. He stood there naked, and then he went within the jaws of Great-Hina-of-the-Night. He passed the fearful teeth that were sharp like volcanic glass. He went down into her stomach. He seized upon her heart. He drew it out, and he came back as far as her jaws. He saw the sky beyond her jaws.

A little bird that often laughed tried hard not to laugh when it saw him go within the jaws of the Goblin Goddess. It twisted up its mouth to prevent its laughing. And then it laughed--little Ti-waka-waka, the water-wagtail--laughed its merry note. The Goblin Goddess opened her eyes. She started up. She caught Ma-ui between her fearful teeth, and she tore him across. There was darkness then, and the crying of all the birds. Thus died Ma-ui with the Meat of Immortality in his hands. And since his death no one has ventured near the lair of Hina-nui-te-po, the Goblin Goddess.

Next: Pe-le, Hawaii's Goddess Of Volcanic Fire, Part I