pehe ui ko hue   

rero-rero (2) po

rero-rero ta

rero-rero nohu-nohu

rero kere-kere ana huru

kere-kere i maa mo i renga na

vare-vare nako ta vae

tae koro ko ngaaha hua kee a

How should (we) look at that gathering overthere? (1)

(They) are daubed by darkness (3),

(they) are daubed by the color (of their skin) (4),   

(they) are daubed  by poisoning,

(they) are daubed by blackness if (they) are secluded!

Are (they) obscured because (it) is a disgrace to stuff those beautiful girls?

(Their) fatness should be smooth (and) (their) limbs should be tanned,

that koro-place overthere should not be exhausting those exceptional children!

When Metoro "recited" line Ev7 for bishop Jaussen (Barthel 1958:199), he used the term rakau, "medicine", "oinment", "potion", in connection with six out of seven of these signs and the word tupu, "to grow", in two instances. This strongly suggests that he recognized in these figures a plant with medicinal proporties. Possibly, he refrained from naming it poporo because he had already identified as such two similar looking signs (B32; B34).

(3) darkness: it is tempting to interpret this as a reference to Po, as 'Ana O Keke was likely considered to be a gateway to that other world (cf. Neru cult).

(4) they are daubed by the color (of their skin): alt.: "the color (of their skin) is daubed".

hua kee ngaaha hua

pahua-pahua (1) a maa

haka-teki ra

tae koro ngaaha hua      

e hua auraa hua    

tetahi tae raua      

mamae ahu ii (3) no (4)  

kona-kona haha

Should those children be exceptional and exhausted children?

Should (they) be stunned by (their) experiences? (2)

Should (they) be lamed?

That koro-place should not exhaust (our) children,

(because) those children are precious children!

They should not become "others"!

Should (they) always be suffering, swollen, and stuffed?

Should (their) mouths have no taste (5)?  

(1) *pahua-pahua: cf. MAO pahoahoa: "headache", "dizziness", "stupor" (Tregear 1891:362). (2) Alt.: "Should (their) awareness be stunned?" (3) ii: the function of the arms that are hanging down is uncertain. It has been assumed that they represent reduplicated i, "stuffed", However, if their hanging down indicates a negation, another possibility is: mamae tae i ahu tae i no: "Does stuffing (them) not harm (them), does stuffing (them) not fatten (them)?" (4) no: alt.: noho, "sitting down". (5) have no taste: it has been assumed that this refers to the fact the children had lost their taste for regular food due to their onesided diet of sugarcane. Alt.: "Should (their) mouths always be satiated (i.e., stuffed with food)?" or "Should (their) mouths be poisoning (them)?" Cf. RAR: kona, konaa?ia, "stupefied from poison or drink, "poisoned"; MAR: kona, "drunk"; HAW: ʔona, "drunk", "dizzy and unsteady", "intoxicating", "intoxication" (POLLEX).

hanga ina ui-ui    

aha ui ka hehe ana tangata pe era na

hehe mamae rua

mamae mai roro ui     

rangirua mai era kei

Should (they) accept not (being able to) see?

What do people see when (they) are in a daze like that?

Should (they) be dazzled, should (they) be in pain and feel sick?

Should (their) head and (their) eyesight be suffering? (1)

Should (their) abilities become unreliable? (2)

(1) Alt.: "(Their) head will be hurt by looking!" I.e., since the neru are not used to daylight, they will get headaches.  

(1) tae roou roro: this composite also appears in lines Gr1 and Gv7. (2) (their) minds are out of control: lit.:"(who) are not steering (their) mind".or "(who) are not steered by (their) mind". (3) toi: the vocabularies have only the reduplicated form totoi. This can be found in line Ab6. (4) suffocate: Churchill (1912:203) gives Thomson as source for herohero, "suffocating", but it does not appear in the latter's wordlist. (5) roa-roa no: alt.: roroa no. (6) *hia-hia: cf. HAW: hia, "to delight in"; TUA: hakahiehie, "to be elated"; NGR: hiahia, "happy"; NIU: fiafia, "joy", "delight", "pleasure", "be happy" (POLLEX).

too hengu-hengu toa  

too hengu-hengu tae roou roro (1) e maatou

tae toi (3) hero

angahe ana niva     

tau roa-roa no (5) tau

pehe hia-hia (6)   

Should (they) accept (or) reject (our) hostility?

Should we accept (or) resent (that) (their) minds are out of control (2)?

(They) should not crawl (on the floor) (or) suffocate (4)!

When have (they) become delirious?

(It must have been) a very long time ago!

How could (we) be happy (with that)?

hanga nako toa   

ina ahu ro a

pu tetahi a ao uha na ra (1)

aai no tetahi a

aringa he ui pe tetahi a

tae riva hanga heke-heke tetahi a

Should (they) accept (their) fatness (from) the sugarcane,

(or) should (they) not grow fat?

Should those "others" go into that hole, should the women serve (them) (food)?

Who (of them) has been a neru?

Which face that (we) see looks like those "others"?

Should those "others" become unhealthy, should (they) accept those violations?

(1) na ra: it has been assumed that the bend in the sign was necessitated by the preceding sign. If this is not the case, it would read ko ra, which is difficult to explain. Cf. na ra and (ho)ko in segment 3 below.

kei i tehe

matua ngatu tetahi a

aue (2) hariu ra maa (3) pe aha tetahi a   

tohu-tohu ta tohu-tohu ka

hanga ki tehe ina ta

hanga kiko ture  

Should (they) retain (their) abilities when (they) menstruate

(or) should the parents oppress (1) those "others"?

Should the "others" lament (or) should (they) perhaps turn the back on that shame?

Should (they) be cursed by (their) skin color, should (they) be cursed by (their) madness?

Should (they) accept (it) until (they) menstruate and have no color?

Should (they) accept the body (they) resent?

(1) oppress: the interpretation of ngatu is uncertain. Possibly, it is to be taken more literally, i.e., parents who "squeezed" the children (into the hole) or "choked" them by forcing them to grow fat. (2) aue: the parallel fragment in line Gr7 has haoa, "to have wounds". (3) maa: the ha-"head" has been omittted.  

noho no ora iti (1)

ina huru na ra

haka-riki (3) e nui

i keke hengu-hengu

o rangirua (4) ka ta    

rangi tangata ki tehe

hoko raha-raha

o kei ana tae (5) hakari nako maeha

Should (they) just be sitting around (with) little energy (2)

(or) should (they) not be secluded?

Should (they) be weakened by (their) enormous size

because (our) rejection (of them) is a mistake?

Lest (they) remain confused, (they) should have (their) color!

People should treat (them) kindly until (they) reach menses!

Should (they) be swaying and stumbling

because (their) fattened and paled bodies are incapable?

(1) Line Sa2 has noho (o)ra iti. (2) Alt.: "Only little energy remains!" (3) haka-riki: an alternative reading of this composite as hakari e ki is suggested by the parallel phrase of line Bv12 which has too mai hakari nui ui: "(They) bring (us) the large bodies (we) ask for!" However, parallel texts Hv12 and Ra5 appear to have haka-teki no nui, i.e., the children are lamed by their voluminosity. (4) o rangirua: both signs are reversed here to support the negation. In parallel lines Bv12 and Hv12 only rangirua is reversed, whereas texts Gr2 and Ra5 have no reversion. (5) tae: it has been assumed that the negation is indicated by the reversed ko-sign in nako. If this is not correct, the sentence may read: "Should they be swaying and stumbling if their fattened and paled bodies were capable?"

Tablet E, side verso, lines 5-8

Added: 2013-09-08  Modified: 2017-08-26

e ngaaha-ngaaha mamae

tata nui (1) tetahi no ko (2)

hanga ro koro huru

i tehe no    

too ru kee na ko (3) haka-teki-teki kei     

aa tangata i tehe

heke-heke tiro

heke-heke ?roro     

heke-heke (...)

Should (they) be exhausted by (their) suffering?

Should (anyone of) those "others" overthere suffer great pain?

Should (they) accept (it) if (we) want to seclude (them)

only because (they) reach menses?

Should (they) tolerate those awkward tremors which lame (their) abilities?

Should people be surrounded (4) because (they) reach menses?

Should (their) vision be violated?

Should (their) mind be violated?

Should (their) (...) be violated?

(1) tata nui: it has been assumed that this composite glyph is a contraction of a similar phrase in Hv1/Pv4/Qv4 (fig. 2). (2) ko: this is the sign in reverse. Therefore, the sentence could read "Those 'others' should not suffer great pain". (3) ko: the meaning of this ko-sign is not clear. Possibly, it is meant to be combined with the previous sign giving nako, "fat". (4) be surrounded: i.e., by the cave, by the darkness and by their fatness.

(1) There are several alternatives for the interpretation of this phrase. It has been assumed that it should be read with omitted te as ui ko (te), which is similar to ui i te (cf. Kieviet 2016:425: "the perceived object may also be marked with ko, which highlights the significance of the object for the participant."). The verb ui, "to look at", can also be used in the meaning of "to think of", i.e., "What should (we) think of that gathering?" (cf. Kieviet 2016:513). As ui has also the meaning of "to look after" (cf. Kieviet 2016:513), another possibility is: "How should (we) take care of that gathering?" Lastly, the i-component may have a double function: pehe ui (hi)ko hue: "What should (we) think of that abduction and seclusion?"

(2) rero-rero: it is proposed that starting with this glyph a group of seven signs in this segment were composed in such a way as to portray poporo-berries (fig. 1). For this, re-glyphs were combined with ro-components in the first four instances, with ke-signs in the fourth and fifth, and with nga and va in the sixth and seventh, respectively. The words that were assembled in this way spell rero, "to daub"; kere-kere: "black"; renga, "beauty", and vare-vare, "smooth". It has been assumed that the first word refers to the application of some kind of paste or ointment created from crushed berries (interestingly, rero-rero also means "to crush"). There are several indications that a varied set of plants with medicinal properties was administered to the neru (cf. Neru cult). These probably served to alleviate the negative effects of the onesided diet and the inactivity, to stimulate the bleaching of the skin and to suppress the first menstrual pains. It is also imaginable that some were applied to dull the children’s senses as their mental state gradually deteriorated.

Georg Forster, visiting with Cook in 1774, was the first to mention the plant and its possible use as medicine on Easter Island: "... we came to a cultivated spot, consisting of several fields planted with sweet potatoes, yams, and eddoes, together with a species of night-shade, which is made use of at Taheitee and the neighboring islands as a vulnerary remedy (solanum nigrum?) and may, for ought I know, be used here for the same purpose" (Forster 2000:311). The plant that was later identified as a separate species and named solanum forsteri was used on Easter Island both as food in times of scarcity (Métraux 1940:150) and as medicine (Fuentes 1960:825). The berries and leafs of closely related nightshade species such as the Black Nightshade (solanum nigrum) and the American Nightshade (solanum Americanum) are widely used in and outside the Pacific region for various purposes, such as the treatment of wounds and the regulation of menses (Wiart 2006:275). However, eating of the toxic nightshade is not entirely without risk and the unripe berries are particularly poisonous.

Fig. 2 (Hv1)

      ta    -     ta   -   nui

(all drawings by Paul Horley, except where underlined)

Fig. 1 Ripe and green poporo berries