“Red Robe of Heaven,” A Maori Legend

Our new legend is one of my favorites, and is a story from the Maoris of New Zealand. The story was found in the book, Tales Told in Hawaii. Next time you are enjoying the sunrise or sunset, think of this story…

The Red Robe of Heaven

After Kane had kicked his Father Heaven into the sky, Mother Earth was very lonely and she begged Kane to kick her up there too.

“I cannot. You are below me,” Kane said. He was sorry for his mother. “Don’t weep, Mother. Dry your eyes and look at the new dress my plants have made for you. Father will be dizzy with your sweet perfume.”

Mother Earth was so beautiful in her new dress of flowers that Kane thought he saw Father Heaven lean down and caress Mother Earth at the far horizon. For a time Mother Earth was happy.

One day she looked from her own flowered gown to the colorless robe of heaven. “My son, your father is so poorly clad,” she said.

Kane searched and found a red garment, which was so sacred that only the gods know where it came from. He wrapped it around Father Heaven. “Now you are better clad,” he said.

Father Heaven was well pleased with his red robe, which can be seen to this day at sunrise and sunset. But he still mourns for his dear wife and in the long nights his tears fall upon her bosom in what men call dewdrops. The warm sighs of Mother Earth rise in what men call mists.

Red Robe of Heaven (New Zealand)

“The Red Robe of Heaven,” illustration by Tara Bonvillain, Copyright 2023.

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