adapted from Hawaiian Myths of Earth, Sea, and Sky by Vivian L. Thompson, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1966.
Maui was a demigod of strength and courage. Once, his grandmother had given him a magical club and canoe paddle.
His mom, Hina , whom he loved dearly, was a goddess. Hina was known throughout the islands for the beautiful kapa cloth she made. From the time the sun came up in the east until he left in the west, Hina worked at making her kapa cloth.
One day while Maui was watching his mom, he said, "You spend all your days making kapa!"
Hina laid down her supplies and said sadly, "For those who make kapa, the day is never long enough. This piece is ready to dry, but already Sun has turned toward the west. It will still be wet when Evening Star hangs in the sky."
"This is Sun's fault," Maui said angrily. "He travels too fast. I will find him and tell him to slow down."
"Oh Maui, Sun is a great god! No one has gone near him and lived," Hina warned.
"Then, I shall be the first!" Maui boasted. "I shall make him promise to go more slowly."
Hina told him to be sure and take his magic club and paddle, for he would need all the powers he had to beat Sun.
First, Maui went and made snares from coconut fiber. Then, when Evening Star appeared, he got in his canoe and with two strokes of his magic paddle, rode to the island where Sun made his home. When Maui got there, he set up his trap and waited until morning.
When the first leg of the sun climbed over the mountain, it stepped into Maui's snare. Maui pulled the cord tight and tied Sun's leg to a rock. Three more legs came over the mountain and he trapped each one.
"What is this about?" Sun roared when he realized what was happening.
"You are my prisoner!"said Maui.
"Let me go! I have to travel a long way!" cried Sun.
"I won't let you go until you promise to travel slower. My mother needs time to dry her kapa," Maui said.
"Kapa! I have no time for such things! Now, let me go!" said Sun.
Maui took his magic club and broke off a piece of Sun's longest leg. Sun cried out in pain and anger. More of Sun's legs climbed over the mountain and Maui caught each one.
Sun was scared now. "You dare not kill me! All the plants would die, then so would your people!"
" Let's bargain," said Maui. "Sun, half of the year you must go more slowly. If you will promise to do so, I will release you."
Sun was angry, but he was trapped. He had to agree. " I promise," said Sun.
After that, for part of the year Sun traveled at his usual speed. The days were short and night came quickly. The rest of the year, Sun slowed down as he had promised. The days were long and filled with sunshine, and Hina was able to dry her kapa cloth . . .
. . . and that is why we have longer days in the summer.
Click here to find out the REAL story about Day Length and Shadows