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The Autobiography of a Maori

My Dog Fights an Octopus

My Dog Fights an Octopus

I must relate the battle that was fought between my dog, Taake, and, of all enemies of a dog, a young octopus. (By the way, I have already written in the present volume two stories about octopuses) I had been sailing my little boat in a pool in the rocks when I saw an octopus in a small round pool. Its eyes were almost dropping out of its ugly head with fright. The creature looked so hideous that I felt a very strong repugnance to it. With delight I set my dog on to it. The dog seemed to share my animosity for the octopus, for it leaped on the enemy, his and mine. There was a battle royal and I was the sole eyewitness. As the octopus entwined the dog with its tentacles, the latter became more furious and began tearing the body of the octopus until the water of the pool became discoloured with matter from its torn body. Taake was conqueror, and he was lucky the octopus was no bigger than it was or it would have gone hard with him.

My grandfather left for Wellington to take his seat in the Legislative Council in 1872. I was too young, of course, to remember the occasion of his departure. The Government steamer Luna picked him up, otherwise, I do not know how he could have got to Wellington. When I was a little older, I remember standing on the beach and gazing seawards at a small steamer coming in. The vessel was the Luna, bringing back my grandfather. The arrival of the boat always excited the people for it not only brought back my grandfather, but also, with him, a large quantity of flour, biscuits and sugar, much of which was given by the Government under Sir George Grey's scheme.