Knowledge and Love
How One Brother Got Knowledge and the Other Got Love
In the Marquesas Islands in ancient times there was a song called ‘Te Vanana’ which spoke about how everything was created at the beginning of the world. The people who knew this song are all dead and they took that knowledge with them. But there is one story from this song. Everything was created by a husband and a wife and they had two sons, Atea and Tane. Atea had brown skin and was the ancestor of the Marquesans and the other Polynesians. Tane had white skin and he was the ancestor of the Europeans.
When the two parents of these boys were going to create everything they told their sons to cover their eyes. Both sons covered their eyes, however, Tane the white skinned one peeked through his fingers and saw his parents create everything. The old Marquesans said that the white people were smart because Tane peeked and saw the creation of everything.
But I think that this story has an ending that was forgotten a long time ago. When the parents saw that Tane had peeked and gained knowledge, they realized that they had to give something to Atea, the brown-skinned son, to balance what the white-skinned brother had gotten. So they gave the gift of ka’oha (love) to Atea. For that reason, the Polynesians have the gift of love, even until today.
These days, knowledge is everywhere and is for everyone. When you gain the knowledge remember to keep the ka’oha (love). When you move through the world of the ao’e (white people) keep your heart in the world of the enata (Polynesians).
‘Marquesan Legends’ by E. S. Craighill Handy
Revised: June 13, 1996
Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff