Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Autobiography of a Maori

Meat and Grace

Meat and Grace

Old Taipene, a big man, was known to have a healthy appetite. He and a number of boys had a scrub-cutting contract somewhere in the Waiapu Valley. Harmony reigned in the camp except on the question of sharing the tucker for the boys thought that the old man took more than his share out of the common dish, particularly in regard to the meat. At the end of the day the gang retired to their camp where awaiting them was a simple meal consisting of potatoes, kumaras, puha and meat, all served out in one large dish from which each was to help himself. The boys noticed that Taipene ate the meat at such a speed that, before they had received their fair share of it, it was all gone. This went on for a few days until the boys could not stand it any longer. They therefore thought that while the elder closed his eyes when saying grace, each of them would pick out how much he thought he should have. At meal-time the plan went off without a hitch, but the old man viewed the matter grimly and one night, when pork was the meat, Taipene made up his mind that he would not be cheated out of a good share of the tasty pork. As usual, the old man was asked to say grace. But, instead of bending his head, he stood up and, lifting the dish of food high over his head, out of the reach of the youngsters, said, "For what we are about to receive," and so on. Instead of responding with "amen" the boys, amused by the ludicrous sight, burst out laughing.