The turtle was back from the sea, up the river, and at the spring, very early in the morning. The fowl thought there was no need to hurry, as she could with one bound on her wings be at the rock; and so she roosted till the sun was rising, and then flew over to the rock, but there was the turtle before her! “You are there, I see,” said the fowl. “Yes, I am,” replied the turtle, “and the spring is mine.” And hence the proverb applied to the lazy and the late: “Here comes the fowl, the turtle is before you!”
7. Here is another of these fabulous stories:—There were three friends, a rat, a snipe, and a crab. They thought they would like to look about them on the sea, and so decided to build a canoe and go out on a short cruise. They did so, and when the canoe was ready off they went. The snipe pulled the first paddle, the crab the second, and the rat steered. A squall came on, and the canoe upset. The snipe flew to the shore, the crab sank and escaped to the bottom, and the rat swam. The rat was soon fatigued, but an octopus came along, and from it the rat implored help. “Come on my back,” said the octopus. The rat was only too happy to do so. By-and-by the octopus said: “How heavy you are! my back is getting painful.” “Yes,” said the rat, “I drank too much salt water when I was swimming there; but bear it a little longer, we shall soon be at the shore.”
When the octopus reached the shore off ran the rat into the bush. The octopus felt the pain still, however, and now discovered that the rat had been gnawing at the back of its neck. The octopus was enraged, called all his friends among the owls to assemble, and begged them to pursue and destroy the rat. They did so, caught it, killed it, and ate it, but there was hardly a morsel for each, they were so many. And hence the proverb in exhorting not to return evil for good:—“Do not be like the rat with the octopus, evil will overtake you if you do.”
8. Here is a story of Toa and Pale, or Hero and Helper.
The King of Fiji was a savage cannibal, and the people were melting away under him. Toa and Pale were brothers, they wished to escape being killed for the oven, and so fled to the bush and became trees. It was only the day before a party were to go to the woods to search for a straight tree from which to make the keel of a new canoe for the king. They knew this, and so Pale changed himself into a crooked stick overrun with creepers, that he might not be cut by the king’s carpenters, and advised Toa to do the same. He declined, however, and preferred standing erect as a handsome straight tree.