Saturday, May 26, 2007

Kalelealuaka, Part I

Kaopele was born in Waipio, Hawaii. When born he did not breathe, and his parents were greatly troubled; but they washed his body clean, and having arrayed it in good clothes, they watched anxiously over the body for several days, and then, concluding it to be dead, placed it in a small cave in the face of the cliff. There the body remained from the summer month of Ikiki (July or August) to the winter month of Ikua (December or January), a period of six months.
At this time they were startled by a violent storm of thunder and lightning, and the rumbling of an earthquake. At the same time appeared the marvellous phenomenon of eight rainbows arching over the mouth of the cave. Above the din of the storm the parents heard the voice of the awakened child calling to them:
“Let your love rest upon me,
O my parents, who have thrust me forth,
Who have left me in the cavernous cliff,
Who have heartlessly placed me in the
Cliff frequented by the tropic bird!
O Waiaalaia, my mother!
O Waimanu, my father!
Come and take me!”
The yearning love of the mother earnestly besought the father to go in quest of the infant; but he protested that search was useless, as the child was long since dead. But, unable longer to endure a woman’s teasing, which is the same in all ages, he finally set forth in high dudgeon, vowing that in case of failure he would punish her on his return.
On reaching the place where the babe had been deposited, its body was not to be found. But lifting up his eyes and looking about, he espied the child perched on a tree, braiding a wreath from the scarlet flowers of the lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha). “I have come to take you home with me,” said the father. But the infant made no answer. The mother received the child to her arms with demonstrations of the liveliest affection. At her suggestion they named the boy Kaopele, from the name of their goddess, Pele.
Six months after this, on the first day (Hilo) of the new moon, in the month of Ikiki, they returned home from working in the fields and found the child lying without breath, apparently dead. After venting their grief for their darling in loud lamentations, they erected a frame to receive its dead body.
Time healed the wounds of their affection, and after the lapse of six moons they had ceased to mourn, when suddenly they were affrighted by a storm of thunder and lightning, with a quaking of the earth, in the midst of which they distinguished the cry of their child, “Oh, come; come and take me!”
They, overjoyed at this second restoration of their child to them, and deeming it to be a miracle worked by their goddess, made up their minds that if it again fell into a trance they would not be anxious, since their goddess would awake their child and bring it to life again.
But afterward the child informed them of their mistake, saying: “This marvel that you see in me is a trance; when I pass into my deep sleep my spirit at once floats away in the upper air with the goddess, Poliahu. We are a numerous band of spirits, but I excel them in the distance of my flights. In one day I can compass this island of Hawaii, as well as Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, and return again. In my flights I have seen that Kauai is the richest of all the islands, for it is well supplied with food and fish, and it is abundantly watered. I intend to remain with you until I am grown; then I shall journey to Kauai and there spend the rest of my life.” Thus Kaopele lived with his parents until he was grown, but his habit of trance still clung to him.
Then one day he filled them with grief by saying: “I am going, aloha.”
They sealed their love for each other with tears and kisses, and he slept and was gone. He alighted at Kula, on Maui. There he engaged in cultivating food. When his crops were nearly ripe and ready to be eaten he again fell into his customary deep sleep, and when he awoke he found that the people of the land had eaten up all his crops.
Then he flew away to a place called Kapapakolea, in Moanalua, on Oahu, where he set out a new plantation. Here the same fortune befell him, and his time for sleep came upon him before his crops were fit for eating. When he awoke, his plantation had gone to waste.
Again he moves on, and this time settles in Lihue, Oahu, where for the third time he sets out a plantation of food, but is prevented from eating it by another interval of sleep. Awakening, he finds his crops overripe and wasted by neglect and decay.
His restless ambition now carries him to Lahuimalo, still on the island of Oahu, where his industry plants another crop of food. Six months pass, and he is about to eat of the fruits of his labor, when one day, on plunging into the river to bathe, he falls into his customary trance, and his lifeless body is floated by the stream out into the ocean and finally cast up by the waters on the sands of Maeaea, a place in Waialua, Oahu.
At the same time there arrived a man from Kauai in search of a human body to offer as a sacrifice at the temple of Kahikihaunaka at Wailua, on Kauai, and having seen the corpse of Kaopele on the beach, he asks and obtains permission of the feudal lord (Konohiki) of Waialua to take it. Thus it happens that Kaopele is taken by canoe to the island of Kauai and placed, along with the corpse of another man, on the altar of the temple at Wailua.
There he lay until the bones of his fellow corpse had begun to fall apart. When six moons had been accomplished, at midnight there came a burst of thunder and an earthquake. Kaopele came to life, descended from the altar, and directed his steps toward a light which he saw shining through some chinks in a neighboring house. He was received by the occupants of the house with that instant and hearty hospitality which marks the Hawaiian race, and bidden to enter (“mai, komo mai”).
Food was set before him, with which he refreshed himself. The old man who seemed to be the head of the household was so much pleased and impressed with the bearing and appearance of our hero that he forthwith sought to secure him to be the husband of his granddaughter, a beautiful girl named Makalani. Without further ado, he persuaded him to be a suitor for the hand of the girl, and while it was yet night, started off to obtain the girl’s consent and to bring her back with him.
The young woman was awakened from her slumbers in the night to hear the proposition of her grandfather, who painted to her in glowing colors the manly attractions of her suitor. The suit found favor in the eyes of the girl’s parents and she herself was nothing loath; but with commendable maidenly propriety she insisted that her suitor should be brought and presented to her, and that she should not first seek him.
The sun had hardly begun to lift the dew from the grass when our young hero, accompanied by the two matchmakers, was brought into the presence of his future wife. They found favor in each other’s eyes, and an ardent attachment sprang up on the instant. Matters sped apace. A separate house was assigned as the residence of the young couple, and their married life began felicitously.
But the instincts of a farmer were even stronger in the breast of Kaopele than the bonds of matrimony. In the middle of the night he arose, and, leaving the sleeping form of his bride, passed out into the darkness. He went mauka until he came upon an extensive upland plain, where he set to work clearing and making ready for planting. This done, he collected from various quarters shoots and roots of potato (kalo), banana (waoke), awa, and other plants, and before day the whole plain was a plantation. After his departure his wife awoke with a start and found her husband was gone. She went into the next house, where her parents were sleeping, and, waking them, made known her loss; but they knew nothing of his whereabouts. Much perplexed, they were still debating the cause of his departure, when he suddenly returned, and to his wife’s questioning, answered that he had been at work.
She gently reproved him for interrupting their bridal night with agriculture, and told him there would be time enough for that when they had lived together a while and had completed their honeymoon. “And besides,” said she, “if you wish to turn your hand to agriculture, here is the plat of ground at hand in which my father works, and you need not go up to that plain where only wild hogs roam.”
To this he replied: “My hand constrains me to plant; I crave work; does idleness bring in anything? There is profit only when a man turns the palm of his hand to the soil: that brings in food for family and friends. If one were indeed the son of a king he could sleep until the sun was high in the heavens, and then rise and find the bundles of cooked food ready for him. But for a plain man, the only thing to do is to cultivate the soil and plant, and when he returns from his work let him light his oven, and when the food is cooked let the husband and the wife crouch about the hearth and eat together.”
Again, very early on the following morning, while his wife slept, Kaopele rose, and going to the house of a neighbor, borrowed a fishhook with its tackle. Then, supplying himself with bait, he went a-fishing in the ocean and took an enormous quantity of fish. On his way home he stopped at the house where he had borrowed the tackle and returned it, giving the man also half of the fish. Arrived at home, he threw the load of fish onto the ground with a thud which waked his wife and parents.
“So you have been a-fishing,” said his wife. “Thinking you had again gone to work in the field, I went up there, but you were not there. But what an immense plantation you have set out! Why, the whole plain is covered.”
His father-in-law said, “A fine lot of fish, my boy.”
Thus went life with them until the crops were ripe, when one day Kaopele said to his wife, who was now evidently with child, “If the child to be born is a boy, name it Kalelealuaka; but if it be a girl, name it as you will, from your side of the family.”
From his manner she felt uneasy and suspicious of him, and said, “Alas! do you intend to desert me?”
Then Kaopele explained to his wife that he was not really going to leave her, as men are wont to forsake their wives, but he foresaw that that was soon to happen which was habitual to him, and he felt that on the night of the morrow a deep sleep would fall upon him (puni ka hiamoe), which would last for six months. Therefore, she was not to fear.
“Do not cast me out nor bury me in the ground,” said he. Then he explained to her how he happened to be taken from Oahu to Kauai and how he came to be her husband, and he commanded her to listen attentively to him and to obey him implicitly. Then they pledged their love to each other, talking and not sleeping all that night.
On the following day all the friends and neighbors assembled, and as they sat about, remarks were made among them in an undertone, like this, “So this is the man who was placed on the altar of the heiau at Wailua.” And as evening fell he bade them all aloha, and said that he should be separated from them for six months, but that his body would remain with them if they obeyed his commands. And, having kissed his wife, he fell into the dreamful, sacred sleep of Niolo-kapu.
On the sixth day the father-in-law said: “Let us bury your husband, lest he stink. I thought it was to be only a natural sleep, but it is ordinary death. Look, his body is rigid, his flesh is cold, and he does not breathe; these are the signs of death.”
But Makalani protested, “I will not let him be buried; let him lie here, and I will watch over him as he commanded; you also heard his words.” But in spite of the wife’s earnest protests, the hard-hearted father-in-law gathered strong vines of the koali (convolvulus), tied them about Kaopele’s feet, and attaching to them heavy stones, caused his body to be conveyed in a canoe and sunk in the dark waters of the ocean midway between Kauai and Oahu.
Makalani lived in sorrow for her husband until the birth of her child, and as it was a boy, she called his name Kalelealuaka.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

6. Kapeepeekauila

On the northern side of the island of Molokai, commencing at the eastern end and stretching along a distance of about twenty miles, the coast is a sheer precipice of black rock varying in height from eight hundred to two thousand feet. The only interruptions to the continuity of this vast sea wall are formed by the four romantic valleys of Pelekunu, Puaahaunui, Wailau, and Waikolu. Between the valleys of Pelekunu and Waikolu, juts out the bold, sharp headland of Haupu, forming the dividing ridge between them, and reminding one somewhat of an axe-head turned edge upward. Directly in a line with this headland, thirty or forty rods out in the ocean, arise abruptly from the deep blue waters the rocks of Haupu, three or four sharp, needle-like points of rock varying from twenty to one hundred feet in height. This is the spot associated with the legend of Kapeepeekauila, and these rocks stand like grim sentinels on duty at the eastern limit of what is now known as the settlement of Kalawao. The legend runs as follows:
Keahole was the father, Hiiaka-noholae was the mother, and Kapeepeekauila was the son. This Kapeepeekauila was a hairy man, and dwelt on the ridge of Haupu.
Once on a time Hakalanileo and his wife Hina, the mother of Kana, came and dwelt in the valley of Pelekunu, on the eastern side of the ridge of Haupu.
Kapeepeekauila, hearing of the arrival of Hina, the beautiful daughter of Kalahiki, sent his children to fetch her. They went and said to Hina, “Our royal father desires you as his wife, and we have come for you.”
“Desires me for what?” said she.
“Desires you for a wife,” said they.
This announcement pleased the beautiful daughter of Kalahiki, and she replied, “Return to your royal father and tell him he shall be the husband and I will be the wife.”
When this message was delivered to Kapeepeekauila, he immediately sent a messenger to the other side of the island to summon all the people from Keonekuina to Kalamaula; for we have already seen that he was a hairy man, and it was necessary that this blemish should be removed. Accordingly, when the people had all arrived, Kapeepeekauila laid himself down and they fell to work until the hairs were all plucked out. He then took Hina to wife, and they two dwelt together on the top of Haupu.
Poor Hakalanileo, the husband of Hina, mourned the loss of his companion of the long nights of winter and the shower-sprinkled nights of summer. Neither could he regain possession of her, for the ridge of Haupu grew till it reached the heavens. He mourned and rolled himself in the dust in agony, and crossed his hands behind his back. He went from place to place in search of some powerful person who should be able to restore to him his wife. In his wanderings, the first person to whom he applied was Kamalalawalu, celebrated for strength and courage. This man, seeing his doleful plight, asked, “Why these tears, O my father?”
Hakalanileo replied, “Thy mother is lost.”
“Lost to whom?”
“Lost to Kapeepee.”
“What Kapeepee?”
“What Kauila?”
“Kauila, the dauntless, of Haupu.”
“Then, O father, thou wilt not recover thy wife. Our stick may strike; it will but hit the dust at his feet. His stick, when it strikes back, will hit the head. Behold, measureless is the height of Haupu.”
Now, this Kamalalawalu was celebrated for his strength in throwing stones. Of himself, one side was stone, and the other flesh. As a test he seized a large stone and threw it upwards. It rose till it hit the sky and then fell back to earth again. As it came down, he turned his stony side toward it, and the collision made his side rattle. Hakalanileo looked on and sadly said, “Not strong enough.”
On he went, beating his breast in his grief, till he came to the celebrated Niuloihiki. Question and answer passed between them, as in the former case, but Niuloihiki replied, “It is hopeless; behold, measureless is the height of Haupu.”
View in Wainiha Valley, Kauai.
Again he prosecuted his search till he met the third man of fame, whose name was Kaulu. Question and answer passed, as before, and Kaulu, to show his strength, seized a river and held it fast in its course. But Hakalanileo mournfully said, “Not strong enough.”
Pursuing his way with streaming eyes, he came to the fourth hero, Lonokaeho by name. As in the former cases, so in this, he received no satisfaction. These four were all he knew of who were foremost in prowess, and all four had failed him. It was the end, and he turned sadly toward the mountain forest, to return to his home.
Meantime, the rumor had reached the ears of Niheu, surnamed “the Rogue.” Some one told him a father had passed along searching for some one able to recover him his wife.
“Where is this father of mine?” inquired Niheu.
“He has gone inland,” was the reply.
“I’ll overtake him; he won’t escape me,” said Niheu. So he went after the old man, kicking over the trees that came in his way. The old man had gone on till he was tired and faint, when Niheu overtook him and brought him back to his house. Then Niheu asked him, “What made you go on without coming to the house of Niheu?”
“What, indeed,” answered the old man; “as though I were not seeking to recover thy mother, who is lost!”
Then came question and answer, as in former cases, and Niheu said, “I fear thou wilt not recover thy wife, O my father. But let us go inland to the foster son of Uli.” So they went. But Niheu ran on ahead and told Kana, the foster son of Uli: “Behold, here comes Hakalanileo, bereft of his wife. We are all beat.”
“Where is he?” inquired Kana.
“Here he is, just arrived.”
Kana looked forth, and Hakalanileo recoiled with fear at the blazing of his eyes.
Then spoke Niheu: “Why could you not wait before looking at our father? Behold, you have frightened him, and he has run back.”
On this, Kana, remaining yet in the house, stretched forth his hand, and, grasping the old man in the distance, brought him back and sat him on his lap. Then Kana wept. And the impudent Niheu said, “Now you are crying; look out for the old man, or he will get water-soaked.”
But Kana ordered Niheu to bestir himself and light a fire, for the tears of Kana were as the big dropping rains of winter, soaking the plain. And Kana said to the old man, “Now, dry yourself by the fire, and when you are warm, tell your story.”
The old man obeyed, and when he was warm enough, told the story of his grief. Then said Kana, “Almost spent are my years; I am only waiting for death, and behold I have at last found a foeman worthy of my prowess.”
Kana immediately espoused the cause of Hakalanileo, and ordered his younger brother, Niheu, to construct a canoe for the voyage. Poor Niheu worked and toiled without success until, in despair, he exclaimed, upbraidingly, “Thy work is not work; it is slavery. There thou dwellest at thy ease in thy retreat, while with thy foot thou destroyest my canoe.”
Upon this, Kana pointed out to Niheu a bush, and said, “Can you pull up that bush?”
“Yes,” replied Niheu, for it was but a small bush, and he doubted not his ability to root it up; so he pulled and tugged away, but could not loosen it.
Kana looking on, said, tauntingly, “Your foeman will not be overcome by you.”
Then Kana stretched forth his hands, scratching among the forests, and soon had a canoe in one hand; a little more and another canoe appeared in the other hand. The twin canoes were named Kaumueli. He lifted them down to the shore, provided them with paddles, and then appointed fourteen rowers. Kana embarked with his magic rod called Waka-i-lani. Thus they set forth to wage war upon Kapeepeekauila. They went on until the canoes grounded on a hard ledge.
Niheu called out, “Behold, thou sleepest, O Kana, while we all perish.”
Kana replied, “What is there to destroy us? Are not these the reefs of Haupu? Away with the ledges, the rock points, and the yawning chasms! Smite with Waka-i-lani, thy rod.”
Niheu smote, the rocks crumbled to pieces, and the canoes were freed. They pursued their course again until Niheu, being on the watch, cried out, “Why sleepest thou, O Kana? Here we perish, again. Thy like for sleeping I never saw!”
“Wherefore perish?” said Kana.
“Behold,” replied Niheu, “the fearful wall of water. If we attempt to pass it, it will topple over and destroy us all.”
Then said Kana: “Behold, behind us the reefs of Haupu. That is the destruction passed. As for the destruction before us, smite with thy rod.”
Niheu smote, the wall of water divided, and the canoes passed safely through. Then they went on their course again, as before. After a time, Niheu again called out, “Alas, again we perish. Here comes a great monster. If he falls upon us, we are all dead men.”
And Kana said, “Look sharp, now, and when the pointed snout crosses our bow, smite with thy rod.”
And he did so, and behold, this great thing was a monster fish, and when brought on board it became food for them all. So wonderfully great was this fish that its weight brought the rim of the canoes down to the water’s edge.
They continued on their way, and next saw the open mouth of the sharp-toothed shark—another of the outer defences of Haupu—awaiting them.
“Smite with thy rod,” ordered Kana.
Niheu smote, and the shark died.
Next they came upon the great turtle, another defence of Haupu. Again the sleepy Kana is aroused by the cry of the watchful Niheu, and the turtle is slain by the stroke of the magic rod. All this was during the night. At last, just as the edge of the morning lifted itself from the deep, their mast became entangled in the branches of the trees. Niheu flung upward a stone. It struck. The branches came rattling down, and the mast was free. On they went till the canoes gently stood still. On this, Niheu cried out, “Here you are, asleep again, O Kana, and the canoes are aground!”
Kana felt beneath; there was no ground. He felt above; the mast was entangled in weeds. He pulled, and the weeds and earth came down together. The smell of the fresh-torn weeds was wafted up to Hale-huki, the house where Kapeepeekauila lived. His people, on the top of Haupu, looked down on the canoes floating at the foot. “Wondrous is the size of the canoes!” they cried. “Ah! it is a load of opihis (shell-fish) from Hawaii for Hina,” for that was a favorite dish with her.
Meantime, Kana despatched Niheu after his mother. “Go in friendly fashion,” said the former.
Niheu leaped ashore, but slipped and fell on the smooth rocks. Back he went to the canoes.
“What sort of a coming back is this?” demanded Kana.
“I slipped and fell, and just escaped with my life,” answered Niheu.
“Back with you!” thundered Kana.
Again the luckless Niheu sprang ashore, but the long-eyed sand-crabs (ohiki-makaloa) made the sand fly with their scratching till his eyes were filled. Back to the canoes again he went. “Got it all in my eyes!” said he, and he washed them out with sea-water.
“You fool!” shouted Kana; “what were you looking down for? The sand-crabs are not birds. If you had been looking up, as you ought, you would not have got the sand in your eyes. Go again!”
This time he succeeded, and climbed to the top of Haupu. Arriving at the house, Hale-huki, where Hina dwelt, he entered at once. Being asked “Why enterest thou this forbidden door?” he replied:
“Because I saw thee entering by this door. Hadst thou entered some other way, I should not have come in at the door.” And behold, Kapeepeekauila and Hina sat before him. Then Niheu seized the hand of Hina and said, “Let us two go.” And she arose and went.
When they had gone about half-way to the brink of the precipice, Kapeepeekauila exclaimed, “What is this? Is the woman gone?”
Mo-i, the sister of Kana, answered and said, “If you wish the woman, now is the time; you and I fight.”
Great was the love of Kapeepeekauila for Hina, and he said, “No war dare touch Haupu; behold, it is a hill, growing even to the heavens.” And he sent the kolea (plover) squad to desecrate the sacred locks of Niheu; for the locks of Niheu were kapu, and if they should be touched, he would relinquish Hina for very shame. So the kolea company sailed along in the air till they brushed against the sacred locks of Niheu, and for very shame he let go his mother and struck at the koleas with his rod and hit their tail feathers and knocked them all out, so that they remain tailless to [72]this day. And he returned to the edge of the shore, while the koleas bore off Hina in triumph.
When Niheu reached the shore, he beat his forehead with stones till the blood flowed; a trick which Kana perceived from on board the canoes. And when Niheu went on board he said, “See! we fought and I got my head hurt.”
But Kana replied, “There was no fight; you did it yourself, out of shame at your defeat.”
And Niheu replied, “What, then, shall we fight?”
“Yes,” said Kana, and he stood up.
Now, one of his legs was named Keauea and the other Kaipanea, and as he stood upon the canoes, he began to lengthen himself upward until the dwellers on top of Haupu exclaimed in terror, “We are all dead men! Behold, here is a great giant towering above us.”
And Kapeepeekauila, seeing this, hastened to prune the branches of the kamani tree (Calophyllum inophyllum), so that the bluff should grow upward. And the bluff rose, and Kana grew. Thus they strove, the bluff rising higher and Kana growing taller, until he became as the stalk of a banana leaf, and gradually spun himself out till he was no thicker than a strand of a spider’s web, and at last he yielded the victory to Kapeepeekauila.
Niheu, seeing the defeat of Kana, called out, “Lay yourself along to Kona, on Hawaii, to your grandmother, Uli.”
And he laid himself along with his body in Kona, while his feet rested on Molokai. His grandmother in Kona fed him until he became plump and fat again. Meanwhile, poor Niheu, watching at his feet on Molokai, saw their sides fill out with flesh while he was almost starved with hunger. “So, then,” quoth he, “you are eating and growing fat while I die with hunger.” And he cut off one of Kana’s feet for revenge.
The sensation crept along up to his body, which lay in Kona, and Kana said to his grandmother, Uli, “I seem to feel a numbness creeping over me.”
And she answered, and said, “Thy younger brother is hungry with watching, and seeing thy feet grow plump, he has cut off one of them; therefore this numbness.”
Kana, having at last grown strong and fat, prepared to wage war again upon Kapeepeekauila. Food was collected in abundance from Waipio, and when it was prepared, they embarked again in their canoes and came back to Haupu, on Molokai. But his grandmother, Uli, had previously instructed him to first destroy all the branches of the kamani tree of Haupu. Then he showed himself, and began again to stretch upward and tower above the bluff. Kapeepeekauila hastened again to trim the branches of the kamani, that the bluff might grow as before; but behold, they were all gone! It was the end; Kapeepeekauila was at last vanquished. The victorious Kana recovered his sister, Mo-i, restored to poor Hakalanileo his wife, Hina, and then, tearing down the bluff of Haupu, kicked off large portions of it into the sea, where they stand to this day, and are called “The Rocks of Kana.”

Friday, May 18, 2007

5. A Visit to the Spirit Land; Or, The Strange Experience of a Woman in Kona, Hawaii

Kalima had been sick for many weeks, and at last died. Her friends gathered around her with loud cries of grief, and with many expressions of affection and sorrow at their loss they prepared her body for its burial.
The grave was dug, and when everything was ready for the last rites and sad act, husband and friends came to take a final look at the rigid form and ashen face before it was laid away forever in the ground. The old mother sat on the mat-covered ground beside her child, brushing away the intrusive flies with a piece of cocoanut-leaf, and wiping away the tears that slowly rolled down her cheeks. Now and then she would break into a low, heart-rending wail, and tell in a sob-choked, broken voice, how good this her child had always been to her, how her husband loved her, and how her children would never have any one to take her place. “Oh, why,” she cried, “did the gods leave me? I am old and heavy with years; my back is bent and my eyes are getting dark. I cannot work, and am too old and weak to enjoy fishing in the sea, or dancing and feasting under the trees. But this my child loved all these things, and was so happy. Why is she taken and I, so useless, left?” And again that mournful, sob-choked wail broke on the still air, and was borne out to the friends gathered under the trees before the door, and was taken up and repeated until the hardest heart would have softened and melted at the sound. As they sat around on the mats looking at their dead and listening to the old mother, suddenly Kalima moved, took a long breath, and opened her eyes. They were frightened at the miracle, but so happy to have her back again among them.
The old mother raised her hands and eyes to heaven and, with rapt faith on her brown, wrinkled face, exclaimed: “The gods have let her come back! How they must love her!”
Mother, husband, and friends gathered around and rubbed her hands and feet, and did what they could for her comfort. In a few minutes she revived enough to say, “I have something strange to tell you.”
Several days passed before she was strong enough to say more; then calling her relatives and friends about her, she told them the following weird and strange story:
“I died, as you know. I seemed to leave my body and stand beside it, looking down on what was me. The me that was standing there looked like the form I was looking at, only, I was alive and the other was dead. I gazed at my body for a few minutes, then turned and walked away. I left the house and village, and walked on and on to the next village, and there I found crowds of people,—Oh, so many people! The place which I knew as a small village of a few houses was a very large place, with hundreds of houses and thousands of men, women, and children. Some of them I knew and they spoke to me,—although that seemed strange, for I knew they were dead,—but nearly all were strangers. They were all so happy! They seemed not to have a care; nothing to trouble them. Joy was in every face, and happy laughter and bright, loving words were on every tongue.
“I left that village and walked on to the next. I was not tired, for it seemed no trouble to walk. It was the same there; thousands of people, and every one so joyous and happy. Some of these I knew. I spoke to a few people, then went on again. I seemed to be on my way to the volcano,—to Pele’s pit,—and could not stop, much as I wanted to do so.
“All along the road were houses and people, where I had never known any one to live. Every bit of good ground had many houses, and many, many happy people on it. I felt so full of joy, too, that my heart sang within me, and I was glad to be dead.
“In time I came to South Point, and there, too, was a great crowd of people. The barren point was a great village, I was greeted with happy alohas, then passed on. All through Kau it was the same, and I felt happier every minute. At last I reached the volcano. There were some people there, but not so many as at other places. They, too, were happy like the others, but they said, ‘You must go back to your body. You are not to die yet.’
“I did not want to go back. I begged and prayed to be allowed to stay with them, but they said, ‘No, you must go back; and if you do not go willingly, we will make you go.’
“I cried and tried to stay, but they drove me back, even beating me when I stopped and would not go on. So I was driven over the road I had come, back through all those happy people. They were still joyous and happy, but when they saw that I was not allowed to stay, they turned on me and helped drive me, too.
“Over the sixty miles I went, weeping, followed by those cruel people, till I reached my home and stood by my body again. I looked at it and hated it. Was that my body? What a horrid, loathsome thing it was to me now, since I had seen so many beautiful, happy creatures! Must I go and live in that thing again? No, I would not go into it; I rebelled and cried for mercy.
“‘You must go into it; we will make you!’ said my tormentors. They took me and pushed me head foremost into the big toe.
“I struggled and fought, but could not help myself. They pushed and beat me again, when I tried for the last time to escape. When I passed the waist, I seemed to know it was of no use to struggle any more, so went the rest of the way myself. Then my body came to life again, and I opened my eyes.
“But I wish I could have stayed with those happy people. It was cruel to make me come back. My other body was so beautiful, and I was so happy, so happy!”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lonopuha; Or The Origin of the Art of Healing in Hawaii

During the time that Milu was residing at Waipio, Hawaii, the year of which is unknown, there came to these shores a number of people, with their wives, from that vague foreign land, Kahiki. But they were all of godly kind (ano akua nae), it is said, and drew attention as they journeyed from place to place. They arrived first at Niihau, and from there they travelled through all the islands. At Hawaii they landed at the south side, thence to Puna, Hilo, and settled at Kukuihaele, Hamakua, just above Waipio.
On every island they visited there appeared various diseases, and many deaths resulted, so that it was said this was their doings, among the chiefs and people. The diseases that followed in their train were chills, fevers, headache, pani, and so on.
These are the names of some of these people: Kaalaenuiahina, Kahuilaokalani, Kaneikaulanaula, besides others. They brought death, but one Kamakanuiahailono followed after them with healing powers. This was perhaps the origin of sickness and the art of healing with medicines in Hawaii.
As has been said, diseases settled on the different islands like an epidemic, and the practice of medicine ensued, for Kamakanuiahailono followed them in their journeyings. He arrived at Kau, stopping at Kiolakaa, on the west side of Waiohinu, where a great multitude of people were residing, and Lono was their chief. The stranger sat on a certain hill, where many of the people visited him, for the reason that he was a newcomer, a custom that is continued to this day. While there he noticed the redness of skin of a certain one of them, and remarked, “Oh, the redness of skin of that man!”
The people replied, “Oh, that is Lono, the chief of this land, and he is a farmer.”
He again spoke, asserting that his sickness was very great; for through the redness of the skin he knew him to be a sick man.
They again replied that he was a healthy man, “but you consider him very sick.” He then left the residents and set out on his journey.
Some of those who heard his remarks ran and told the chief the strange words, “that he was a very sick man.” On hearing this, Lono raised up his oo (digger) and said, “Here I am, without any sign of disease, and yet I am sick.” And as he brought down his oo with considerable force, it struck his foot and pierced it through, causing the blood to flow freely, so that he fell and fainted away. At this, one of the men seized a pig and ran after the stranger, who, hearing the pig squealing, looked behind him and saw the man running with it; and as he neared him he dropped it before him, and told him of Lono’s misfortune, Kamakanuiahailono then returned, gathering on the way the young popolo seeds and its tender leaves in his garment (kihei). When he arrived at the place where the wounded man was lying he asked for some salt, which he took and pounded together with the popolo and placed it with a cocoanut covering on the wound. From then till night the flowing of the blood ceased. After two or three weeks had elapsed he again took his departure.
While he was leisurely journeying, some one breathing heavily approached him in the rear, and, turning around, there was the chief, and he asked him: “What is it, Lono, and where are you going?”
Lono replied, “You healed me; therefore, as soon as you had departed I immediately consulted with my successors, and have resigned my offices to them, so that they will have control over all. As for myself, I followed after you, that you might teach me the art of healing.”
The kahuna lapaau (medical priest) then said, “Open your mouth.” When Lono opened his mouth, the kahuna spat into it, by which he would become proficient in the calling he had chosen, and in which he eventually became, in fact, very skilful.
As they travelled, he instructed Lono (on account of the accident to his foot he was called Lonopuha) in the various diseases, and the different medicines for the proper treatment of each. They journeyed through Kau, Puna, and Hilo, thence onward to Hamakua as far as Kukuihaele. Prior to their arrival there, Kamakanuiahailono said to Lonopuha, “It is better that we reside apart, lest your healing practice do not succeed; but you settle elsewhere, so as to gain recognition from your own skill.”
For this reason, Lonopuha went on farther and located in Waimanu, and there practised the art of healing. On account of his labors here, he became famous as a skilful healer, which fame Kamakanuiahailono and others heard of at Kukuihaele; but he never revealed to Kaalaenuiahina ma (company) of his teaching of Lonopuha, through which he became celebrated. It so happened that Kaalaenuiahina ma were seeking an occasion to cause Milu’s death, and he was becoming sickly through their evil efforts.
When Milu heard of the fame of Lonopuha as a skilful healer, because of those who were afflicted with disease and would have died but for his treatment, he sent his messenger after him. On arriving at Milu’s house, Lonopuha examined and felt of him, and then said, “You will have no sickness, provided you be obedient to my teachings.” He then exercised his art, and under his medical treatment Milu recovered.
Lonopuha then said to him: “I have treated you, and you are well of the internal ailments you suffered under, and only that from without remains. Now, you must build a house of leaves and dwell therein in quietness for a few weeks, to recuperate.” These houses are called pipipi, such being the place to which invalids are moved for convalescent treatment unless something unforeseen should occur.
Upon Milu’s removal thereto, Lonopuha advised him as follows: “O King! you are to dwell in this house according to the length of time directed, in perfect quietness; and should the excitement of sports with attendant loud cheering prevail here, I warn you against these as omens of evil for your death; and I advise you not to loosen the ti leaves of your house to peep out to see the cause, for on the very day you do so, that day you will perish.”
Some two weeks had scarcely passed since the King had been confined in accordance with the kahuna’s instructions, when noises from various directions in proximity to the King’s dwelling were heard, but he regarded the advice of the priest all that day. The cause of the commotion was the appearance of two birds playing in the air, which so excited the people that they kept cheering them all that day.
Three weeks had almost passed when loud cheering was again heard in Waipio, caused by a large bird decorated with very beautiful feathers, which flew out from the clouds and soared proudly over the palis (precipices) of Koaekea and Kaholokuaiwa, and poised gracefully over the people; therefore, they cheered as they pursued it here and there. Milu was much worried thereby, and became so impatient that he could no longer regard the priest’s caution; so he lifted some of the ti leaves of his house to look out at the bird, when instantly it made a thrust at him, striking him under the armpit, whereby his life was taken and he was dead (lilo ai kona ola a make iho la).
The priest saw the bird flying with the liver of Milu; therefore, he followed after it. When it saw that it was pursued, it immediately entered into a sunken rock just above the base of the precipice of Koaekea. As he reached the place, the blood was spattered around where the bird had entered. Taking a piece of garment (pahoola), he soaked it with the blood and returned and placed it in the opening in the body of the dead King and poured healing medicine on the wound, whereby Milu recovered. And the place where the bird entered with Milu’s liver has ever since been called Keakeomilu (the liver of Milu).
A long while afterward, when this death of the King was as nothing (i mea ole), and he recovered as formerly, the priest refrained not from warning him, saying: “You have escaped from this death; there remains for you one other.”
After Milu became convalescent from his recent serious experience, a few months perhaps had elapsed, when the surf at Waipio became very high and was breaking heavily on the beach. This naturally caused much commotion and excitement among the people, as the numerous surf-riders, participating in the sport, would land upon the beach on their surf-boards. Continuous cheering prevailed, and the hilarity rendered Milu so impatient at the restraint put upon him by the priest that he forsook his wise counsel and joined in the exhilarating sport.
Seizing a surf-board he swam out some distance to the selected spot for suitable surfs. Here he let the first and second combers pass him; but watching his opportunity he started with the momentum of the heavier third comber, catching the crest just right. Quartering on the rear of his board, he rode in with majestic swiftness, and landed nicely on the beach amid the cheers and shouts of the people. He then repeated the venture and was riding in as successfully, when, in a moment of careless abandon, at the place where the surfs finish as they break on the beach, he was thrust under and suddenly disappeared, while the surf-board flew from under and was thrown violently upon the shore. The people in amazement beheld the event, and wildly exclaimed: “Alas! Milu is dead! Milu is dead!” With sad wonderment they searched and watched in vain for his body. Thus was seen the result of repeated disobedience.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

II.— Location of the Lua o Milu

In the myth of Hiku and Kawelu, the entrance to the Lua o Milu is placed out to sea opposite Holualoa and a few miles south of Kailua. But the more usual account of the natives is, that it was situated at the mouth of the great valley of Waipio, in a place called Keoni, where the sands have long since covered up and concealed from view this passage from the upper to the nether world.
Every year, so it is told, the procession of ghosts called by the natives Oio, marches in solemn state down the Mahiki road, and at this point enters the Lua o Milu. A man, recently living in Waimea, of the best reputation for veracity, stated that about thirty or more years ago, he actually saw this ghostly company. He was walking up this road in the evening, when he saw at a distance the Oio appear, and knowing that should they encounter him his death would be inevitable, he discreetly hid himself behind a tree and, trembling with fear, gazed in silence at the dread spectacle. There was Kamehameha, the conqueror, with all his chiefs and warriors in military array, thousands of heroes who had won renown in the olden time. Though all were silent as the grave, they kept perfect step as they marched along, and passing through the woods down to Waipio, disappeared from his view.

In connection with the foregoing, Professor W. D. Alexander kindly contributes the following:
“The valley of Waipio is a place frequently celebrated in the songs and traditions of Hawaii, as having been the abode of Akea and Milu, the first kings of the island....
“Some said that the souls of the departed went to the Po (place of night), and were annihilated or eaten by the gods there. Others said that some went to the regions of Akea and Milu. Akea (Wakea), they said, was the first king of Hawaii. At the expiration of his reign, which terminated with his life at Waipio, where we then were, he descended to a region far below, called Kapapahanaumoku (the island bearing rock or stratum), and founded a kingdom there. Milu, who was his successor, and reigned in Hamakua, descended, when he died, to Akea and shared the government of the place with him. Their land is a place of darkness; their food lizards and butterflies. There are several streams of water, of which they drink, and some said that there were large kahilis and wide-spreading kou trees, beneath which they reclined.”
“They had some very indistinct notion of a future state of happiness and of misery. They said that, after death, the ghost went first to the region of Wakea, the name of their first reputed progenitor, and if it had observed the religious rites and ceremonies, was entertained and allowed to remain there. That was a place of houses, comforts, and pleasures. If the soul had failed to be religious, it found no one there to entertain it, and was forced to take a desperate leap into a place of misery below, called Milu.
“There were several precipices, from the verge of which the unhappy ghosts were supposed to take the leap into the region of woe; three in particular, one at the northern extremity of Hawaii, one at the western termination of Maui, and the third at the northern point of Oahu.”

Near the northwest point of Oahu is a rock called Leina Kauhane, where the souls of the dead descended into Hades. In New Zealand the same term, “Reinga” (the leaping place), is applied to the North Cape. The Marquesans have a similar belief in regard to the northermost island of their group, and apply the same term, “Reinga,” to their Avernus.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I.—Hiku and Kawelu

Not far from the summit of Hualalai, on the island of Hawaii, in the cave on the southern side of the ridge, lived Hina and her son, the kupua, or demigod, Hiku. All his life long as a child and a youth, Hiku had lived alone with his mother on this mountain summit, and had never once been permitted to descend to the plains below to see the abodes of men and to learn of their ways. From time to time, his quick ear had caught the sound of the distant hula (drum) and the voices of the gay merrymakers. Often had he wished to see the fair forms of those who danced and sang in those far-off cocoanut groves. But his mother, more experienced in the ways of the world, had never given her consent. Now, at length, he felt that he was a man, and as the sounds of mirth arose on his ears, again he asked his mother to let him go for himself and mingle with the people on the shore. His mother, seeing that his mind was made up to go, reluctantly gave her consent and warned him not to stay too long, but to return in good time. So, taking in his hand his faithful arrow, Pua Ne, which he always carried, he started off.
This arrow was a sort of talisman, possessed of marvellous powers, among which were the ability to answer his call and by its flight to direct his journey.
Thus he descended over the rough clinker lava and through the groves of koa that cover the southwestern flank of the mountain, until, nearing its base, he stood on a distant hill; and consulting his arrow, he shot it far into the air, watching its bird-like flight until it struck on a distant hill above Kailua. To this hill he rapidly directed his steps, and, picking up his arrow in due time, he again shot it into the air. The second flight landed the arrow near the coast of Holualoa, some six or eight miles south of Kailua. It struck on a barren waste of pahoehoe, or lava rock, beside the waterhole of Waikalai, known also as the Wai a Hiku (Water of Hiku), where to this day all the people of that vicinity go to get their water for man and beast.
Here he quenched his thirst, and nearing the village of Holualoa, again shot the arrow, which, instinct with life, entered the courtyard of the alii or chief, of Kona, and from among the women who were there singled out the fair princess Kawelu, and landed at her feet. Seeing the noble bearing of Hiku as he approached to claim his arrow, she stealthily hid it and challenged him to find it. Then Hiku called to the arrow, “Pua ne! Pua ne!” and the arrow replied, “Ne!” thus revealing its hiding-place.
This exploit with the arrow and the remarkable grace and personal beauty of the young man quite won the heart of the princess, and she was soon possessed by a strong passion for him, and determined to make him her husband.
With her wily arts she detained him for several days at her home, and when at last he was about to start for the mountain, she shut him up in the house and thus detained him by force. But the words of his mother, warning him not to remain too long, came to his mind, and he determined to break away from his prison. So he climbed up to the roof, and removing a portion of the thatch, made his escape.
When his flight was discovered by Kawelu, the infatuated girl was distracted with grief. Refusing to be comforted, she tasted no food, and ere many days had passed was quite dead. Messengers were despatched who brought back the unhappy Hiku, author of all this sorrow. Bitterly he wept over the corpse of his beloved, but it was now too late; the spirit had departed to the nether world, ruled over by Milu. And now, stung by the reproaches of her kindred and friends for his desertion, and urged on by his real love for the fair one, he resolved to attempt the perilous descent into the nether world and, if possible, to bring her spirit back.
With the assistance of her friends, he collected from the mountain slope a great quantity of the kowali, or convolvulus vine. He also prepared a hollow cocoanut shell, splitting it into two closely fitting parts. Then anointing himself with a mixture of rancid cocoanut and kukui oil, which gave him a very strong corpse-like odor, he started with his companions in the well-loaded canoes for a point in the sea where the sky comes down to meet the water.
Arrived at the spot, he directed his comrades to lower him into the abyss called by the Hawaiians the Lua o Milu. Taking with him his cocoanut-shell and seating himself astride of the cross-stick of the swing, or kowali, he was quickly lowered down by the long rope of kowali vines held by his friends in the canoe above.
Soon he entered the great cavern where the shades of the departed were gathered together. As he came among them, their curiosity was aroused to learn who he was. And he heard many remarks, such as “Whew! what an odor this corpse emits!” “He must have been long dead.” He had rather overdone the matter of the rancid oil. Even Milu himself, as he sat on the bank watching the crowd, was completely deceived by the stratagem, for otherwise he never would have permitted this bold descent of a living man into his gloomy abode.
The Hawaiian swing, it should be remarked, unlike ours, has but one rope supporting the cross-stick on which the person is seated. Hiku and his swing attracted considerable attention from the lookers-on. One shade in particular watched him most intently; it was his sweetheart, Kawelu. A mutual recognition took place, and with the permission of Milu she darted up to him and swung with him on the kowali. But even she had to avert her face on account of his corpse-like odor. As they were enjoying together this favorite Hawaiian pastime of lele kowali, by a preconcerted signal the friends above were informed of the success of his ruse and were now rapidly drawing them up. At first she was too much absorbed in the sport to notice this. When at length her attention was aroused by seeing the great distance of those beneath her, like a butterfly she was about to flit away, when the crafty Hiku, who was ever on the alert, clapped the cocoanut-shells together, imprisoning her within them, and was then quickly drawn up to the canoes above.
With their precious burden, they returned to the shores of Holualoa, where Hiku landed and at once repaired to the house where still lay the body of his beloved. Kneeling by its side, he made a hole in the great toe of the left foot, into which with great difficulty he forced the reluctant spirit, and in spite of its desperate struggles he tied up the wound so that it could not escape from the cold, clammy flesh in which it was now imprisoned. Then he began to lomilomi, or rub and chafe the foot, working the spirit further and further up the limb.
Gradually, as the heart was reached, the blood began once more to flow through the body, the chest began gently to heave with the breath of life, and soon the spirit gazed out through the eyes. Kawelu was now restored to consciousness, and seeing her beloved Hiku bending tenderly over her, she opened her lips and said: “How could you be so cruel as to leave me?”
All remembrance of the Lua o Milu and of her meeting him there had disappeared, and she took up the thread of consciousness just where she had left it a few days before at death. Great joy filled the hearts of the people of Holualoa as they welcomed back to their midst the fair Kawelu and the hero, Hiku, from whom she was no more to be separated.

Friday, May 11, 2007

II.—Pele and Kahawali

In the reign of Kealiikukii, an ancient king of Hawaii, Kahawali, chief of Puna, and one of his favorite companions went one day to amuse themselves with the holua (sled)[1], on the sloping side of a hill, which is still called ka holua ana o Kahawali (Kahawali’s sliding-place). Vast numbers of the people gathered at the bottom of the hill to witness the game, and a company of musicians and dancers repaired thither to add to the amusement of the spectators. The performers began their dance, and amidst the sound of drums and the songs of the musicians the sledding of Kahawali and his companion commenced. The hilarity of the occasion attracted the attention of Pele, the goddess of the volcano, who came down from Kilauea to witness the sport. Standing on the summit of the hill in the form of a woman, she challenged Kahawali to slide with her. He accepted the offer, and they set off together down the hill. Pele, less acquainted with the art of balancing herself on the narrow sled than her rival, was beaten, and Kahawali was applauded by the spectators as he returned up the side of the hill. Before starting again, Pele asked him to give her his papa holua, but he, supposing from her appearance that she was no more than a native woman, said: “Aole! (no!) Are you my wife, that you should obtain my sled?” And, as if impatient at being delayed, he adjusted his papa, ran a few yards to take a spring, and then, with this momentum and all his strength he threw himself upon it and shot down the hill. Pele, incensed at his answer, stamped her foot on the ground and an earthquake followed, which rent the hill in sunder. She called, and fire and liquid lava arose, and, assuming her supernatural form, with these irresistible ministers of vengeance, she followed down the hill. When Kahawali reached the bottom, he arose, and on looking behind saw Pele, accompanied by thunder and lightning, earthquake, and streams of burning lava, closely pursuing him. He took up his broad spear which he had stuck in the ground at the beginning of the game, and, accompanied by his friend, fled for his life. The musicians, dancers, and crowds of spectators were instantly overwhelmed by the fiery torrent, which, bearing on its foremost wave the enraged goddess, continued to pursue Kahawali and his companion. They ran till they came to an eminence called Puukea. Here Kahawali threw off his cloak of netted ki leaves and proceeded toward his house, which stood near the shore. He met his favorite pig and saluted it by touching noses, then ran to the house of his mother, who lived at Kukii, saluted her by touching noses, and said: “Aloha ino oe, eia ihonei paha oe e make ai, ke ai mainei Pele.” (Compassion great to you! Close here, perhaps, is your death; Pele comes devouring.) Leaving her, he met his wife, Kanakawahine, and saluted her. The burning torrent approached, and she said: “Stay with me here, and let us die together.” He said: “No; I go, I go.” He then saluted his two children, Poupoulu and Kaohe, and said, “Ke ue nei au ia olua.” (I grieve for you two.) The lava rolled near, and he ran till a deep chasm arrested his progress. He laid down his spear and walked over on it in safety. His friend called out for his help; he held out his spear over the chasm; his companion took hold of it and he drew him securely over. By this time Pele was coming down the chasm with accelerated motion. He ran till he reached Kula. Here he met his sister, Koai, but had only time to say, “Aloha oe!” (Alas for you!) and then ran on to the shore. His younger brother had just landed from his fishing-canoe, and had hastened to his house to provide for the safety of his family, when Kahawali arrived. He and his friend leaped into the canoe, and with his broad spear paddled out to sea. Pele, perceiving his escape, ran to the shore and hurled after him, with prodigious force, great stones and fragments of rock, which fell thickly around but did not strike his canoe. When he had paddled a short distance from the shore the kumukahi (east wind) sprung up. He fixed his broad spear upright in the canoe, that it might answer the double purpose of mast and sail, and by its aid he soon reached the island of Maui, where they rested one night and then proceeded to Lanai. The day following they moved on to Molokai, thence to Oahu, the abode of Kolonohailaau, his father, and Kanewahinekeaho, his sister, to whom he related his disastrous perils, and with whom he took up his permanent abode.

[1] Hölua, or heÿeholua ( to slide together or as one entity) , refers to the ancient art of surfing mountain slopes and lava fields on a specialized Hawaiian sled, a papahölua , constructed of wood lashed together with coconut fiber that is capable of attaining speeds up to 50 mph over rock lightly covered with pili, a grass native to Hawaii.