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But we shall have something more to say of his sources later; with his particular style we are not concerned.
The only reason for presenting the romance complete in all its original dullness and unmodified to foreign taste is with the definite object of showing as nearly as possible from the native angle the genuine Polynesian imagination at work upon its own material, reconstructing in this strange tale of the “Woman of the Twilight” its own objective world, the social interests which regulate its actions and desires, and by this means to portray the actual character of the Polynesian mind.
In face of these difficulties the translator has reluctantly foregone any effort to heighten the charm of the strange tale by using a fictitious idiom or by condensing and invigorating its deliberation.
Again, certain relations that the Polynesian conceives with exactness, like those of direction and the relation of the person addressed to the group referred to, are foreign to our own idiom; others, like that of time, which we have more fully developed, the Polynesian recognizes but feebly.The index to references includes all the Hawaiian material in available form essential to the study of romance, together with the more useful Polynesian material for comparative reference. 27): “We have seen that a Hawaiian Kaao or legend was composed ages ago, recited and kept in memory merely by repetition, until a short time since it was reduced to writing by a Hawaiian and printed, making a duodecimo volume of 220 pages, and that, too, with the poetical parts mostly left out.It by no means comprises a bibliography of the entire subject. It is said that this legend took six hours in the recital.” In prefacing his dictionary he says: “The Kaao of Laieikawai is almost the only specimen of that species of language which has been laid before the public.This exact thing has not before been done for Hawaiian story and I do not recall any considerable romance in a Polynesian tongue so rendered. Admirable collections of the folk tales of Hawaii have been gathered by Thrum, Remy, Daggett, Emerson, and Westervelt, to which should be added the manuscript tales collected by Fornander, translated by John Wise, and now edited by Thrum for the Bishop Museum, from which are drawn the examples accompanying this paper.But in these collections the lengthy recitals which may last several hours in the telling or run for a couple of years as serial in some Hawaiian newspaper are of necessity cut down to a summary narrative, sufficiently suggesting the flavor of the original, but not picturing fully the way in which the image is formed in the mind of the native story-teller.