Maui a Trickster Demi God Life Story
Maui is a trickster demigod raised by the divine and here on earth to live his best life, and what a life he’s lived through. Sometimes known for being mischievous, Maui also has a deep desire to do good and to honor his family.
So today, we’ll tell you how he made the days longer, brought fire to humanity, and even created the islands themselves.
Maui was the youngest of five sons; his parents were Akalana, the immortal, and the goddess Hina. Still, out of all the brothers, only Maui had inherited divine powers; each day, their mother, Hina, labored for hours making tapa cloth out of bark and lauhala mats used for rugs and sails.
However, her work never had time to dry because, back then, there were only a few hours of sunlight a day. This was due to the unruly sun, which wheeled and whirled across the sky briefly and left everyone in the cold darkness for what felt like an eternity, meaning everyone suffered wearing damp clothes and sailing ships with rotting sails.
After witnessing this difficulty daily, Maui knew he had to help his mother and, of course, the other helpless humans. So he formed a plan and approached his brothers for help. He suggested that they catch the sun in a lasso; so they could hold him back and convince him to move more slowly.
But his brothers doubted him. The sun was too hot for even a demigod to handle, but Maui flexed his demigod’s muscles, and they decided to take a chance on him, so they began to twist ropes together to make a lasso to trap the sun.
Once finished, they all walked east and hit the road, waiting to catch the sun by surprise when it rose. Then, as the sun peeked over the horizon, they threw the great snare. The sun struggled, flared, and tried to break free, but it was all in vain.
They held him down and only released him once he promised to move more slowly, giving the gods and humans more time in the sun each day.
We had more time in the sun, which was great, but the cold nights eventually came. Since the humans hadn’t discovered fire yet, Maui would occasionally hike for miles across the corals to fetch embers from volcanic eruptions to keep them warm and light their homes, but this was exhausting and boring, plus he was tired of eating raw fish all the time, and being cold at night himself so desiring a hot meal warmth and of course to help those helpless humans.
He set to work, knowing just where to start looking for a solution, for on occasion, he’d seen small plumes of smoke while out along the shore, so that day, he followed one of them to its source, and there he found a hen stamping out a fire and attempting to hide it.
Maui bid the bird farewell and went and found a hiding place. Then, once she thought Maui was gone, the bird took out two sticks and began rubbing them together, and they began to smoke. Overcome with excitement, Maui rushed from his hiding spot and grabbed the bird, demanding she teach him how to make fire himself, but the hen was stubborn and wasn’t going to give up her secret so easily.
She wanted to keep that warm, fiery goodness all to herself, so she tried to fool Maui by first telling him to rub some seaweed together or even wet twigs, which, of course, didn’t work; after being thoroughly frustrated by this, Maui grabbed the hen by the neck. Then, finding this very persuasive, she finally gave him the secret: rub a dry stick onto bark and tree fiber until a flame appears.
Maui was overjoyed to have discovered the secret of fire, but he was also irritated with the hen for attempting to trick him. He decided that the perfect punishment for her for stringing him along so much was to burn a crest into her head, which is why hens have red crests today, and then his work and revenge would be done.
Maui was the best hero ever, but while he was great at many things, and I mean a ton of things, one thing he could never get the hang of was fishing, and his brothers always made fun of him for it, which Maui despised.
He wanted to get back at his brothers and, you know, get as good at fishing as they were; of course, he remembered that his family had an ancient heirloom, a magical fishing hook made from the bones of his ancestors. Because of his demigod powers, he and he alone could handle it.
He was sure to catch something unique now, but the next time his brothers all went fishing, they still wouldn’t even let him on their boat and sailed away without him, leaving a sad Maui on the shore. Then, when they returned from their fun family fishing trip, they showed off the considerable shark they had caught.
Maui, now doubly angry, pretended to be unimpressed, saying that if they had taken him with them, he could have shown them a much better fishing spot, and they would have caught much more than just that tiny thing.
Maui is eager to correct their younger brother and laugh at his little catches again.
The next time they went out, they took Maui with them. Once, they arrived at Maui’s fishing spot; his brothers egged him on to show them how it was done. So Maui cast his great hook into the sea, and when he did, the ocean floor began to shake while huge waves rocked the boat. This was the big one. Maui told his brothers to paddle quickly. They must stay ahead of all the fish making these great waves, or they will surely never catch any. So the brothers paddled and paddled and paddled, with Maui insisting they keep going and not look back if they did.
The fish would be scared away, so they kept at it for a long while until one was genuinely exhausted.
Finally, he looked back; rather than fish, Maui had hooked great islands, and they had dragged them from the bottom of the sea to the surface with his hook. So that day, Maui had gotten revenge on his teasing brothers for leaving him out and inadvertently helped humanity by bringing to the surface more land they could live on.
Maui can often be misconstrued as just a mischievous god that toyed with humans, but you know, after looking at all of the wondrous and helpful things he brought us, I’m betting if we were to let him know just how thankful we were for all he did.
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