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A mythical race of pygmies. The Hawaiians believed that they were ‘about two feet in height’. Their ‘bow-legged’ forms were encountered in the forests, where travellers needed to be on guard. They shot tiny arrows at the careless or the inquisitive, but left alone they lived happily in caves.

The Menehune later migrated to New Zealand and became mixed up in the minds of the Hawaiians with the Maoris. Traditions of little men are found throughout the Pacific Ocean. While in distant Java they were credited with the construction of temples, in Tonga they acted as foresters, planting whole islands ‘in a single night’, and in Fiji invisible dwarfs with ‘fuzzy mops of hair’ taught the people how to sing and dance.

Subjects: Religion.

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