NEAR Niolapa, on the eastern side of Nuuanu Valley, is the stone where Kapuni rested when he came after the shell known as the Kiha-pu. Kapuni was a child of Kauhola, who was said to have been a chief, who was born, was walking and had grown up, had become a father, a grandfather, and had died, all in one day. Kapuni was born in Waipio Valley, and was placed in the temple Pakaaluna and was made a god.
Two gods came from Puna. They were Kaakau and Kaohuwalu. They waited above Hakalaoa looking down into Waipio. There they saw Kapuni leaping. He touched a branch of a kukui-tree and fell down. He leaped again and touched the short top branches of the kukui and fell down.
Kaakau said to Kaohuwalu, "Suppose we get Kapuni to go with us as our travelling companion, one with us, in fierce storms, or in the cold heavy dews of night."
Kaohuwalu assented, and they arose and went down. They called to Kapuni, asking him to
leap up. He tried again and again and always fell back.
Kaakau caught him as he fell and cut off part of his body because he was too heavy, then he could fly to the sky and return again.
Kaakau asked him how be was succeeding. He replied, "Very well indeed; I am swift in flight." Then Kaakau said, "Will you go with us on a journey?" Kapuni said, "Yes."
They went away to the lands of Kahiki and returned to Kauai. From there they heard the wonderful voice of a shell sounding from the temple Waolani in Nuuanu Valley.
Kapuni said, "What is that thing which makes such a sound?"
Kaakau said, "That is a shell which belongs to the eepas [gnomes], the people of Waolani, Oahu."
"I want that shell very much," said Kapuni. Kaakau told him that the task would be very difficult and dangerous, for the shell was guarded by watchmen from hill to hill, from the sea to the summit of the valley, and along all the pathways to the neighboring villages.
The gods, however, crossed the channel to Oahu, and rested at night above Kahakea. Here was a temple above Waolani. It was upon a hill. In it was a noted drum. The name of that temple was Pakaaluna. Kapuni told his friends to stay
there waiting for him. If he did not return before the red dust of the dawn was in the sky they would know be was dead. If he returned he would have the shell.
Then he approached the prison enclosure outside the temple. Here he waited by a rock for all the watchmen on the high places around the temple to fall asleep. When the stars arose in the heavens above Nuuanu and all were sound asleep he entered the temple and took the shell. He flew away and found his companions-
They made a great jump and leaped to Kalaau Point. As they flew over the water to Molokai the shell touched the top of a wave and sang with a clear voice.
The god of Waolani Temple heard the shell singing, looked, and found that it had been stolen. He rushed from the temple, flew over the Nuuanu precipice and out into the channel from which he had heard the sound.
Kapuni hid among the waves, the shell ceased its song. The god of Waolani went back and forth over the water, but could find nothing.
After the god gave up the search Kapuni went on to Molokai and then to Maui and Hawaii. As it flew across the channel between Maui and Hawaii the shell struck a high wave and broke off a corner.
When they were on the hills of Hawaii they found the temple built at Hainoa. There the gods of Hawaii were gathered together.
Kiha was high chief of Hawaii at that time, and had been dwelling in Waipio Valley, cultivating his plant, planting awa, and building a temple for his gods.
When that temple was finished and the tabu of silence lifted from all the surrounding country he went to Kawaihae and built another temple, establishing another altar for his gods. He placed the usual tabu upon all the land around Kawaihae.
But the tabu was broken by the sound of that shell blown by the gods of the Hainoa Temple. He was very much troubled, but the gods were too strong for him. At last help came to him from Puapualenalena (The yellow flower), a dog belonging to a master who had left his home in Niihau some time before.
Puapualenalena was seeking his master, and found him on the uplands of Hawaii.
The dog excelled in his skill as a thief, stealing pigs, chickens, tapa cloth, all kinds of property for his master.
The master told that dog to get the tabu awa roots of the king, which were growing on the hillsides of Waipio Valley.
When that place was stripped, he sent the dog
to the precipices of Waimanu, and he took nearly all that was there.
Then the king commanded his people to watch the awa fields and catch the one who was stealing his growing awa.
They began their watch. When the night was almost over and the dawn was touching the sky they found the thief. These men followed the thief and caught his master in a cave, all wrinkled from drinking much awa.
They took the master and the dog to the king Kiha as prisoners, and the king planned to have them steal that shell which troubled him. If they failed they should be put to death. This was the sentence of the king upon his prisoners.
The master talked with his dog, and told him all the word of the king. They planned to pay for the theft of the awa, but not by the death of their bodies.
The dog went out to win the shell from the gods under cover of the night, when the darkness was great and all kinds of shell voices were mingling with other voices of the woodland and wilderness.
Then came the softly resonant voice of that shell blown by the gods. According to an ancient chant, "The song of Kiha-pu calls Kauai," meaning the song is listened to from far distant Kauai.
The dog ran swiftly while the sound of the shell was great, and hid in a corner of a stone wall of the heiau. He waited and waited a long time. The dawn was almost at hand. Then the watchers fell into deep sleep.
The dog crept softly inside, seized the shell and slipped it away from its place, then leaped over six walls of the heiau, but touched the seventh and outside wall. Then the shell sang out loud and clear.
The gods were aroused. They followed, but the dog leaped into a pool of water and concealed himself and the shell while the gods dashed by. They searched the road toward Waipio, then rushed toward the Kona district.
The dog flew from the pond down the precipice of Waipio, Valley and laid the shell at the feet of Kiha, the king of Hawaii.
The dog and his master were given a high place in the affections of the king.
The shell was renowned for its wonderful sound, and could call the warriors of the king from any distance when the king caused it to be blown. It was known as Kiha's shell, the Kiha-pu.
This shell was carefully preserved by the chiefs of Hawaii from that ancient time. Generation after generation it was cared for. In the time of Kamehameha III. it was kept in his
palace. It was among the treasures of King Kalakaua, and now has its resting-place in the hands of ex-Queen Liliuokalani in Honolulu.
When Kapuni died, his bones, worshipped a, one of the gods, were kept at Kaawaloa until the tabu and the temples were overthrown.