3. Some curious stories are told about the sun. A woman called Mangamangai became pregnant by looking at the rising sun. Her son grew and was named “Child of the Sun.” At his marriage he applied to his mother for a dowry. She sent him to his father, the sun, to beg from him, and told him how to go. Following her directions he went one morning with a long vine from the bush—which is the convenient substitute for a rope—climbed a tree, threw his rope with a noose at the end of it, and caught the sun. He made known his message, and (Pandora-like) got a present for his bride. The sun first asked him what was his choice—blessings or calamities? “Blessings,” was his reply, and he came down with a store of them done up in a basket. There is another tale told about this Samoan Phaethon similar to what is related of the Hawaiian Maui. He and his mother were annoyed at the rapidity of the sun’s course in those days—it rose, reached the meridian, and set, “before they could get their mats aired.” He determined to make it go slower. He climbed a tree in the early morning, and with a rope and noose threw again and caught the sun as it emerged from the horizon. The sun struggled to get clear, but in vain. Then fearing lest he should be strangled he called out: “Have mercy on me—spare my life—what do you want?” “We wish you to go slower,” was the reply, “we can get no work done.” “Very well, let me go; for the future I will walk slowly.” He let go the rope, and ever since the sun has gone slowly and given longer days.
The sun was the usual timekeeper of the day. The night was divided into three parts—midnight, and the first and second cock-crowing. Then came the sun. There was the rising—the half-way up—the standing straight overhead—turning over—making to go down—and, last of all, sinking. They thought the blazing sun went down into the ocean, passed through and came up next morning on the other side. The commotion among the waves at the horizon as he went down was supposed to be very great, and it was one of the worst curses to wish a person to sink in the ocean and the sun to go blazing down on the top of him.
Human sacrifices to the sun are spoken of in some of the more remote traditions. In this connection Papatea in the Eastward again comes up as the place where the sacrifices were offered. When the sun rose he called for a victim, and the same when he set. This continued for eighty days, and the population of the island was fast passing away. A lady called Ui, and her brother Luamaa, fled from Papatea and reached Manu’a, but alas! the sun there too was demanding his daily victims. It went the round of the houses, and when all had given up one of their number it was again the turn of the first house to supply an offering. The body was laid out on a Pandanus tree, and there the sun devoured it. It came to the turn of Luamaa to be offered, but his sister Ui compassionated him, and insisted