The legends of a people are of interest to the scholar, the thinker, and the poet.
The legends tell us of the struggles, the triumphs, and the wanderings of the people, of their thoughts, their aspirations; in short, they give us a twilight history of the race.
As the geologist finds in the rocks the dim records of the beginnings of life on our planet, the first foreshadowings of the mighty forests that have since covered the lands, and of the countless forms of animal life that have at last culminated in Man, so does the historian discover in the legends of a people the dim traces of its origin and development till it comes out in the stronger light of the later day.
So it is with the legends of the Hawaiians, or of the Polynesian race. We see them, very indistinctly, starting from some distant home in Asia, finally reaching the Pacific Ocean, and then gradually spreading abroad over its islands till they dominate a large portion of its extent.
In bringing together this collection of Hawaiian legends, the author of this little book has conferred a great favor upon all those residents
of Hawaii and of those visitors to its shores who may take an interest in its original inhabitants, once an exceedingly numerous people, but now a scattering remnant only. To that native race this little book will be at once a joy and a sorrow; to the heart of the haole, who has lived among them, known them intimately for thirty years or more (as has the writer of this Foreword), and learned to love them, this collection of the legends of old Honolulu brings a warm "Aloha!
GEO. H. BARTON,
Director, Teachers' School
of Science, Boston, Mass.
JUNE 4, 1915.