SOME of the most unique legends of the nations have centered around imagined monsters. Centaurs, half man and half horse, thronged the dreams of Rome. The Hawaiians knew nothing about any animals save the fish of the seas, the birds of the forests, and the chickens, the dogs and the pigs around their homes. From the devouring shark the Hawaiian imagination conceived the idea of the shark-man who indulged in cannibalistic tendencies. From the devastations of the hogs they built up the experiences of an rude vicious chief whom they called Kamapuaa, who was the principal figure of many rough exploits throughout the islands. Sometimes he had a hog's body with a human head and limbs, sometimes a hog's head rested on a human form, and sometimes he assumed the shape of a hog--quickly reassuming the form of a man. Kalakaua's legends say that he was a hairy man and cultivated the stiff hair by cutting it short so that it stood out like bristles, and that he had his
body tattooed so that it would have the appearance of a hog. In place of the ordinary feather cloak worn by chiefs he wore a pigskin with its bristles on the outside and a pigskin girdle around his waist.
The legends say that he was born at Kaluanui, a part of the district of Hauula or Koolau coast of the island Oahu. His reputed father was Olopana, the high chief of that part of the island, and his mother was Hina, the daughter of a chief who had come from a foreign land. Other legends say that his father was Kahikiula (The Red Tahiti), a brother of Olopana. These brothers had come to Oahu from foreign lands some time before. Fornander always speaks of Olopana as Kamapuaa's uncle, although he had taken Hina as his wife.
The Koolauloa coast of Oahu lies as a luxuriant belt of ever-living foliage a mile or so in width between an ocean of many colors and dark beetling precipices of mountain walls rising some thousands of feet among the clouds.
From these precipices which mark the landward side of a mighty extinct crater come many mountain streams leaping in cascades of spray down into the quiet green valleys which quickly broaden into the coral-reef-bordered seacoast. From any place by the sea the outline of several beautiful little valleys can be easily traced.
One morning while the sunlight of May looked into the hidden recesses and crevices of these valleys, bringing into sharp relief of shadow and light the outcropping ledges, a little band of Hawaiians and their white friends lay in the shade of a great kamani tree and talked about the legends which were told of the rugged rock masses of each valley, and the quiet pools of each rivulet. Where the little party lay was one of the sporting-places of Kamapuaa the "hog-child treated in the legends as a demigod." Not faraway one of the mountain streams had broadened into a quiet bush-shaded lakelet with deep fringes of grass around its borders. Here the legendary hog-man with marvellous powers had bathed from time to time. A narrow gorge deep shadowed by the morning sun was the place which Kamapuaa had miraculously bridged for his followers when an enemy was closely pursuing them. Several large stones on the edges of the valleys were pointed out as the monuments of various adventures. An exquisitely formed little valley ran deep into the mountain almost in front of the legend-tellers. Far away in the upper end where the dark-green foliage blended with still darker shadows the sides of the valley narrowed until they were only from sixty to seventy feet apart, and unscalable
[1. Calophyllum Inophyllum.]
precipices bent toward each other, leaving only a narrow strip of sky above. On the right of this valley is a branch-gorge down which fierce storms have hurled torrents of waters and mist. The upper end has been hollowed and polished in the shape of a finely rounded canoe of immense proportions. It was from this that the valley took its name Ka-liu-waa, possibly having the meaning, "the leaky canoe." Some of the legends say that this was Kamapuaa's canoe leaning against the precipice and always leaking out the waters which fell in it. Lying toward the west was a very fertile and open tract of land, Kaluanui, where Kamapuaa was said to have been born of Hina. After his birth he was thrown away by Kahiki-houna-kele, an older brother, and left to die. After a time Hina, the mother, went to a stream of clear, sweet water near her home to bathe. After bathing she went to the place where she had left her pa-u, or tapa skirt, and found a fine little hog lying on it. She picked it up and found that it was a baby. She was greatly alarmed, and gave the hog-child to another son, Kekelaiaika, that he might care for it, but the older brother stole the hog-child and carried it away to a cave in which Hina's mother lived. Her name was Kamaunuaniho. The grandmother knew the hog-child at once
as her grandson endowed with marvellous powers, and since the gods had given him the form of a hog he should be called kama (child), puaa (hog). Then she gave to the older brother kapa quilts in which to place Kamapuaa. These were made in layers, six sheets of kapa cloth formed the under quilt for a bed and six sheets the upper quilt for a cover. In these Kamapuaa slept while his brother prepared taro and breadfruit for his food. Thus the wonderful hog ate and slept usually in the form of a hog until size and strength came to him. Then he became mischievous and began to commit depredations at night. He would root up the taro in the fields of his neighbors, and especially in the field of the high chief Olopana. Then he would carry the taro home, root up ferns and grass until he had good land and then plant the stolen taro. Thus his grandmother and her retainers were provided with growing taro, the source of which they did not understand.
His elder brother prepared an oven in which to cook chickens. Kamapuaa rooted up the oven and stole the chickens. This brother Kahiki-houna-kele caught the hog-child and administered a sound whipping, advising him to go away from home if he wanted to steal, and especially to take what he wanted from Olopana. Adopting this advice, Kamapuaa extended his raids
[1. Calocasia antiquorum.]
to the home of the high chief. Here he found many chickens. Kamapuaa quickly killed some, took them in his mouth and threw many more on his back and ran home. The morning came before he had gone far and the people along the way saw the strange sight and pursued him. By the use of charms taught him by his sorceress-grandmother he made himself run faster and faster until he had outstripped his pursuer. Then he carried his load to his grandmother's cave and gave the chickens to the family for a great luau (feast).
Another time he stole the sacred rooster belonging to Olopana, as well as many other fowls. The chief sent a large number of warriors after him. They chased the man who had been seen carrying the chickens. He fled by his grandmother's cave and threw the chickens inside, then fled back up the hillside, revealing himself to his pursuers. They watched him, but he disappeared. He dropped down by the side of a large stone. On this he seated himself and watched the people as they ran through the valley calling to each other. The high grass was around the stone so that for a long time he was concealed. For this reason this stone still bears the name Pohaku-pee-o-Kamapuaa (Kamapuaa's-hiding-stone). After a time a man who had climbed to the opposite ridge cried
out, "E, E, there he is sitting on the great stone!" This man was turned into a stone by the magic of Kamapuaa. The pursuers hastened up the hillside and surrounded the stone, but no man was there. There was a fine black hog, which they recognized as the wonderful one belonging to Kamaunuaniho. So they decided that this was the thief, and seized it and carried it down the bill to give to the high chief Olopana. After getting him down into the valley they tried to drive him, but he would not go. Then they sent into the forest for ohia poles and made a large litter. It required many men to carry this enormous hog, who made himself very heavy.
Suddenly Kamapuaa heard his grandmother calling: "Break the cords! Break the poles! Break the strong men! Escape!" Making a sudden turn on the litter, he broke it in pieces and fell with it to the ground. Then he burst the cords which bound him and attacked the band of men whom he had permitted to capture him. Some legends say that he: killed and ate many of them. Others say that he killed and tore the people.
The wild life lived by Kamapuaa induced a large band of rough lawless men to leave the service of the various high chiefs and follow Kamapuaa in his marauding expeditions. They made themselves the terror of the whole Koolau region.
Olopana determined to destroy them, and sent an army of four hundred warriors to uproot Kamapuaa and his robbers. It was necessary for them to hasten to their hiding-places, but they were chased up into the hills until a deep gorge faced them. No way of escape seemed possible, but Kamapuaa, falling on the ground, became a long hog--stretching out he increased his length until he could reach from side to side of the deep ravine-thus he formed a bridge over which his followers escaped.
Kamapuaa, however, was not able to make himself small quickly enough to escape from his enemies. He tried to hide himself in a hole and pull dead branches and leaves over himself; but they soon found him, bound him securely, and tied him to a great stone which with "the stone of hiding" and "the watcher" are monuments of the legends to this day.
The people succeeded in leading the hog-man to Olopana's home, where they fastened him, keeping him for a great feast, which they hoped to have in a few days, but Kamapuaa, Samson-like, broke all his bonds, destroyed many of his captors--wantonly destroyed coconut-trees and taro patches, and then went back to his home.
He knew that Olopana would use every endeavor to compass his destruction. So he
called his followers together and led them up Kaliuwaa Valley, stopping to get his grandmother on the way. When he came to the end of the valley, and the steep cliffs up which his people could not possibly climb, he took his grandmother on his neck and leaned back against the great precipice. Stretching himself more and more, and rubbing against the black rocks, at last he lifted his grandmother to the top of the cliffs so that she could step off on the uplands which sloped down to the Pearl Harbor side of the island. Then the servants and followers climbed up the sides of the great hog by clinging to his bristles and escaped. The hollow worn in the rocks looked like a hewn-out canoe, and was given the name Ka-waa-o-Kamapuaa (The canoe of Kamapuaa). Kamapuaa then dammed up the water of the beautiful stream by throwing his body across it, and awaited the coming of Olopana and his warriors.
An immense force had been sent out to destroy him. In addition to the warriors who came by land, a great fleet of canoes was sent along the seashore to capture any boats in which Kamapuaa and his people might try to escape.
The canoes gathered in and around the mouth of the stream which flowed from Kaliuwaa Valley. The warriors began to march along the stream up toward the deep gorge. Suddenly
Kamapuaa broke the dam by leaping away from the waters, and a great flood drowned the warriors, and dashed the canoes together, destroying many and driving the rest far out to sea. Uhakohi is said to be the place where this flood occurred.
Then Kamapuaa permitted the people to capture him. They went up the valley after the waters had subsided and found nothing left of Kamapuaa or his people except a small black hog. They searched the valley thoroughly. They found the canoe, turned to stone, leaning against the precipice at the end of the gorge. They said among themselves, "Escaped is Kamapuaa with all his people, and ended are our troubles."
They caught the hog and bound it to carry to Olopana. As they journeyed along the seashore their burden became marvellously heavy until at last an immense litter was required resting on the shoulders of many men. It was said that he sometimes tossed himself over to one side, breaking it down and killing some of the men who carried him. Then again he rolled to the other side, bringing a like destruction. Thus he brought trouble and death and a long, weary journey to his captors, who soon learned that their captive was the hog-man Kamapuaa. They brought him to their king Olopana and
placed him in the temple enclosure where sacrifices to the gods were confined. This heiau was in Kaneohe and was known as the heiau of Kawaewae. It was in the care of a priest known as Lonoaohi.
Long, long before this capture Olopana had discovered Kamapuaa and would not acknowledge him as his son. The destruction of his coconut-trees and taro patches had been the cause of the first violent rupture between the two. Kamapuaa had wantonly broken the walls of Olopana's great fish-pond and set the fish free, and then after three times raiding the fowls around the grass houses had seized, killed and eaten the sacred rooster which Olopana considered his household fetish.
When Olopana knew that Kamapuaa had been captured and was lying bound in the temple enclosure be sent orders that great care should be taken lest he escape, and later he should be placed on the altar of sacrifice before the great gods.
Hina, it was said, could not bear the thought that this child of hers, brutal and injurious as he was, should suffer as a sacrifice. She was a very high chiefess, and, like the Hinas throughout Polynesia, was credited with divine powers. She had great influence with the high priest Lonoaohi and persuaded him to give Kamapuaa
an opportunity to escape. This was done by killing a black hog and smearing Kamapuaa's body with the blood. Thus bearing the appearance of death, he was laid unbound on the altar. It was certain that unless detected he could easily climb the temple wall and escape.
Olopana, the king, came to offer the chants and prayers which belonged to such a sacrifice. He as well as the high priest had temple duties, and the privilege of serving at sacrifices of great importance. As was his custom he came from the altar repeating chants and prayers while Kamapuaa lay before the images of the gods. While he was performing the sacrificial rites, Kamapuaa became angry, leaped from the altar, changed himself into his own form, seized the bone daggers used in dismembering the sacrifices, and attacked Olopana, striking him again and again, until he dropped on the floor of the temple dead. The horrified priests had been powerless to prevent the deed, nor did they think of striking Kamapuaa down at once. In the confusion he rushed from the temple, fled along the coast to his well-known valleys, climbed the steep precipices and rejoined his grandmother and his followers.
Leading his band of rough robbers down through the sandalwood forests of the Wahiawa region, he crossed over the plains to the Waianae
[1. Iliahi or Santalum.]
Mountains. Here they settled for a time, living in caves. Other lawless spirits joined them, and they passed along the Ewa side of the island, ravaging the land like a herd of swine. A part of the island they conquered, making the inhabitants their serfs.
Here on a spur of the Waianae Mountains they built a residence for Kama-unu-aniho, and established her as their priestess, or kahuna. They levied on the neighboring farmers for whatever taro, sweet-potatoes and bananas they needed. They compelled the fishermen to bring tribute from the sea. They surrounded their homes with pigs and chickens, and in mere wantonness terrorized that part of Oahu.
Fornander says that Kamapuaa was sometimes called "the eight-eyed" and was also gifted with eight feet. He says, "This specialty of four faces or heads and of corresponding limbs is peculiar to some of the principal Hindoo deities." The honorary designation of gods and even high chiefs in Hawaiian mythology was frequently maka-walu (eight-eyed),
[1. Ipomea Batatas.]
to express their great endowment of divine powers. Fornander notes "coincidence as bearing upon the derivation of Polynesian myths and legends. The Kamapuaa stories, however, seem to have no counterpart in any mythology beyond the borders of the Hawaiian Islands."
While he lived on the Koolau coast he was simply a devastating, brutal monster, with certain powers belonging to a demi-god, which he used as maliciously as possible. After being driven out to the Honolulu side of the mountains, for a time he led his band of robbers in their various expeditions, but after a time his miraculous powers increased and he went forth terrorizing the island from one end to the other. He had the power of changing himself into any in of a fish. As a shark and as a hog he was represented as sometimes eating those whom he conquered in battle. He ravaged the fields and chicken preserves of the different chiefs, but it is said never stole or ate pigs or fish.
He wandered along the low lands from the taro patches of Ewa to the coconut groves of Waikiki, rooting up and destroying the food of the people.
At Kamoiliili he saw two beautiful women coming from the stream which flows from Manoa Valley. He called to them, but when they saw his tattooed body and rough clothing made from
pigskins they recognized him and fled. He pursued them, but they were counted as goddesses, having come from divine foreign families as well as Kamapuaa. They possessed miraculous powers and vanished when he was ready to place his hands upon them. They sank down into the earth. Kamapuaa changed himself into the form of a great hog and began to root up the stones and soil and break his way through the thick layer of petrified coral through which they had disappeared. He first followed the descent of the woman who had been nearest to him. Down he went through soil and stone after her, but suddenly a great flood of water burst upward through the coral almost drowning him. The goddess had stopped his pursuit by turning an underground stream into the entrance which he had made.
After this narrow escape Kamapuaa rushed toward Manoa Valley to the place where he had seen the other beautiful woman disappear. Here also he rooted deep through earth and coral, and here again a new spring of living water was uncovered. He could do nothing against the flood, which threatened his life. The goddesses escaped and the two wells have supplied the people of Kamoiliili for many generations, bearing the name, "The wells, or fountains, of Kamapuaa."
[1. Near the Kamoiliili church.]
The chief of Waikiki had a fine tract well supplied with bananas and coconuts and taro. Night after night a great black bog rushed through Waikiki destroying all the ripening fruit and even going to the very doors of the grass houses searching out the calabashes filled with poi waiting for fermentation. These calabashes he dashed to the ground, defiling their contents and breaking and unfitting them for further use. A crowd of warriors rushed out to kill this devastating monster. They struck him with clubs and hurled their spears against his bristling sides. The stiff bristles deadened the force of the blows of the clubs and turned the spear-points aside so that he received but little injury. Meanwhile his fierce tusks were destroying the warriors and his cruel jaws were tearing their flesh and breaking their bones. In a short time the few who were able to escape fled from him. The chiefs gathered their warriors again and again, and after many battles drove Kamapuaa from cave to cave and from district to district. Finally he leaped into the sea, changed himself into the form of a fish and passed over the channel to Kauai.
He swam westward along the coast, selecting a convenient place for landing, and when night came, sending the people to their sleep, he went
[1. Near the Cleghorn residence.]
ashore. He had marked the location of taro and sugar-cane patches and could easily find them in the night. Changing himself into a black hog he devoured and trampled the sugar-cane, rooted up taro and upset calabashes, eating the poi and breaking the wooden bowls. Then he fled to a rough piece of land which he had decided upon as his hiding-place.
The people were astonished at the devastation when they came from their houses next morning. Only gods who were angry could have wrought such havoc so unexpectedly, therefore they sent sacrifices to the heiaus, that the gods of their homes might protect them. But the next night other fields were made desolate as if a herd of swine had been wantonly at work all through the night. After a time watchmen were set around the fields and the mighty hog was seen. The people were called. They surrounded Kamapuaa, caught him and tied him with strongest cords of olona fibre and pulled him to one side, that on the new day so soon to dawn they might build their oven and roast him for a great feast.
When they thought all was finished the hog suddenly burst his bonds, became invisible and leaped upon them, tore them and killed them as he had done on Oahu, then rushed away in the darkness.
[1. Touchardia latifolia.]
Again some watchers found him lying at the foot of a steep precipice, sleeping in the daytime. On the edge of the precipice were great boulders, which they rolled down upon him, but he was said to have allowed the stones too strike him and fall shattered in pieces while he sustained very little injury.
Then he assumed the form of a man and made his home by a ledge of rock called Kipukai. Here there was a spring of very sweet water, which lay in the form of a placid pool of clear depths, reflecting wonderfully whatever shadows fell upon its surface. To this two beautiful sisters were in the habit of coming with their water-calabashes. While they stooped over the water Kamapuaa came near and cast the shadow as a man before them on the clear waters. They both wanted the man as their husband who could cast such a shadow. He revealed himself to them and took them both to be his wives. They lived with him at Kipukai and made fine sleeping mats for him, cultivated food and prepared it for him to eat. They pounded kapa that he might be well clothed.
At that time there were factions on the island of Kauai warring against each other. Fierce hand-to-hand battles were waged and rich spoils carried away.
With the coming of Kamapuaa to Kauai a new
and strange appearance wrought terror in the hearts of the warriors whenever a battle occurred. While the conflict was going on and blows were freely given by both club and spear, suddenly a massive war-club would be seen whistling through the air, striking down the chiefs of both parties. Mighty blows were struck by this mysterious club. No hand could be seen holding it, no strong arm swinging it, and no chief near it save those stricken by it. Dead and dying warriors covered the ground in its path. Sometimes when Kamapuaa had been caught in his marauding expedition, he would escape from the ropes tying him, change into a man, seize a club, become invisible and destroy his captors. He took from the fallen their rich feather war cloaks, carried them to his dwelling-place and concealed them under his mats. The people of Kauai were terrified by the marvellous and powerful being who dwelt in their midst. They believed in the ability of kahunas, or priests, to work all manner of evil in strange ways and therefore were sure that some priest was working with evil spirits to compass their destruction. They sought the strongest and most sacred of their own kahunas, but were unable to conquer the evil. Meanwhile Kamapuaa, tired of the two wives, began to make life miserable for them, trying to make them angry, that he might have good
excuse for killing them. They knew something of his marvellous powers as a demi-god, and watched him when he brought bundles to his house and put them away. The chief's house then as in later years was separated from the houses of the women and was tabu to them, but they waited until they had seen him go far away. Then they searched his house and found the war cloaks of their friends under his mats. They hastened and told their friends, who plotted to take vengeance on their enemy.
The women decided to try to drive the demigod away, so destroyed the spring of water from which they had daily brought water for his need. They also carefully concealed all evidences of other springs. Kamapuaa returned from his adventures and was angry when he found no water waiting for him. He called for the women, but they had hidden themselves. He was very thirsty. He rushed to the place of the spring, but could not find it. He looked for water here and there, but the sisters had woven mighty spells over all the water-holes and he could not see them. In his rage he rushed about like a blind and crazy man. Then the sisters appeared and ridiculed him. They taunted him with his failure to overcome their wiles. They laughed at his suffering. Then in his great anger he leaped upon them, caught them and threw them over a
precipice. As they fell upon the ground he uttered his powerful incantations and changed them into two stones, which for many generations have been guardians of that precipice. Then he assumed the form of a hog and rooted deep in the rocky soil. Soon he uncovered a fountain of water from which he drank deeply, but which he later made bitter and left as a mineral-spring to the present day.
The people of Kauai now knew the secret of the wonderful swinging war club. They knew that a hand held it and an invisible man walked beside it, so they fought against a power which they could not see. They felt their clubs strike some solid body even when they struck at the air. Courage came back to them, and at Hanalei the people forced him into a corner, and, carrying stones, tried to fence him in, but he broke the walls down, tore his way through the people and fled. The high chief of Hanalei threw his magic spear at him as he rushed past, but missed him. The spear struck the mountain-side near the summit and passed through, leaving a great hole through which the sky on the other side of the mountain can still be seen. Kamapuaa decided that he was tired of Kauai, therefore he ran to the seashore, leaped into the water and, becoming a fish, swam away to Hawaii.
The three great mountains of Hawaii had been built many centuries before Pele found an abiding home in the pit of Kilauea. Kilauea itself appears rather as a shelter to which she fled than as a house of her own building. The sea waters quenched the fires built by her at lower levels, forcing her up higher and higher toward the mountains until she took refuge in the maelstrom of eternal fire known for centuries among the Hawaiians as Ka lua o Pele (The pit of Pele),--the boiling centre of the active pit of fire. Some legends say that Kamapuaa drove Pele from place to place by pouring in water.
The Kalakaua legends probably give the correct idea of the growths of Pele-worship as the goddess of volcanic fires when they say that the Pele family of brave and venturesome high chiefs with their followers settled under the shadows of the smoke-clouds from Kilauea and were finally destroyed by some overwhelming eruption. And yet the destruction was so spectacular, or at least so mysterious, that the idea took firm root that Pele and her brothers and sisters, instead of passing out of existence,
entered into the volcano to dwell there as living spirits having the fires of the under-world as their continual heritage. From this home of fire Pele and her sisters could come forth assuming the forms in which they had been seen as human beings. This power has been the cause of many legends about Pele and her adventures with various chiefs whom she at last overwhelmed with boiling floods of lava tossed out of her angry heart. In this way she appeared in different parts of the island of Hawaii apparently no longer having any fear of danger to her home from incoming seas.
The last great battle between sea and fire was connected with Pele as a fire-goddess and Kamapuaa, the demi-god, part hog and part man. It is a curious legend in which human and divine elements mingle like the changing scenes of a dream. This naturally follows the statement in some of the legends that Ku, one of the highest gods among the Polynesians as well as among the Hawaiians, was an ancestor of Kamapuaa, protecting him and giving him the traits of a demi-god. Kamapuaa had passed through many adventures on the islands of Oahu and Kauai, and had lived for a time on Maui. He had, according to some of the legends, developed his mysterious powers so that he could become a fish whenever he wished, so sometimes he was
represented as leaping into the sea, diving down to great depth, and swimming until he felt the approach of rising land, then he would come to the surface, call out the name of the island and go ashore for a visit with the inhabitants or dive again and pass on to another island. Thus he is represented as passing to Hawaii after his adventures on the islands of Kauai and Oahu.
On Hawaii he entered into the sports of the chiefs, gambling, boxing, surf-riding, rolling the round ulu maika stone and riding the holua (sled). Here he learned about the wonderful princess from the islands of the southern seas who had made her home in the fountains of fire.
Some of the legends say that he returned to Oahu, gathered a company of adherents and then visited the Pele family as a chief of high rank, winning her as his bride and living with her some time, then separating and dividing the island of Hawaii between them, Pele taking the southern part of the island as the scene for her terrific eruptions, and Kamapuaa ruling over the north, watering the land with gentle showers or with melting snow, or sometimes with fierce storms, until for many centuries fertile fields have rewarded the toil of man.
The better legends send Kamapuaa alone to the contest with the fire-goddess, winning her for
a time and then entering into a struggle in which both lives were at stake.
It is said that one morning when the tops of the mountains were painted by the sunlight from the sea, and the shadows in the valley were creeping under the leaves of the trees of the forests, that Pele and her sisters went down toward the hills of Puna. These sisters were known as the Hiiakas, defined by Ellis, who gives the first account of them, as "The cloud-holders." Each one had a descriptive title, thus Hiiaka-noho-lani was "The heaven-dwelling cloud-holder," Hiiaka-i-ka-poli-o-Pele was "The cloud-holder in the bosom of Pele." There were at least six Hiiakas, and some legends give many more.
That morning they heard the sound of a drum in the distance. It was the tum-tum-tum of a hula. Filled with curiosity they turned aside to see what strangers had invaded their territory. One of the sisters, looking over the plain to a hill not far away, called out, "What a handsome man!" and asked her sisters to mark the finely formed athletic stranger who was dancing gloriously outlined in the splendor of the morning light.
Pele scornfully looked and said she saw nothing but a great hog-man, whom she would quickly drive from her dominions. Then began the
usual war of words with which rival chiefs attacked each other. Pele taunted Kamapuaa, calling him a hog and ascribing to him the characteristics belonging to swine. Kamapuaa became angry and called Pele "the woman with red burning eyes, and an angry heart unfit to be called a chiefess." Then Pele in her wrath stamped on the ground until earthquakes shook the land around Kamapuaa and a boiling stream of lava rolled down from the mountains above. The stranger, throwing around him the finest tapa, stood unmoved until the flood of fire began to roll up the hill on which he stood. Then raising his hands and uttering the strongest incantations he called for heavy rains to fall. Soon the lava became powerless in the presence of the stranger. Then Pele tried her magical powers to see if she could subdue this stranger, but his invocations seemed to be stronger than those falling from her lips, and she gave up the attempt to destroy him. Pele was always a cruel, revengeful goddess, sweeping away those against whom her wrath might be kindled, even if they were close friends of her household.
The sisters finally prevailed upon her to send across to the hill inviting the stranger, who was evidently a high chief, to come and visit them. As the messenger started to bring the young man to the sisters he stepped into the shadows, and
the messenger found nothing but a small hog rooting among the ferns. This happened day after day until Pele determined to know this stranger chief who always succeeded in thoroughly hiding himself, no matter how carefully the. messengers might search. At last the chant of the hula and the dance of the sisters on the smooth pahoehoe of a great extinct lava bed led the young man to approach. Pele revealed herself in her rare and tempting beauty, calling with a sweet voice for the stranger to come and rest by her side while her sisters danced. Soon Pele was overcome by the winning strength of this great chief, and she decided to marry him. So they dwelt together in great happiness for a time, sometimes making their home in one part of Puna and sometimes in another. The places where they dwelt are pointed out even at this day by the natives who know the traditions of Puna.
But Kamapuaa had too many of the habits and instincts of a hog to please Pele, besides she was too quickly angry to suit the overbearing Kamapuaa. Pele was never patient even with her sisters, so with Kamapuaa she would burst into fiery rage, while taunts and bitter words were freely hurled back and forth. Then Pele stamped on the ground, the earth shook, cracks opened
[1. Pahoehoe, smooth lava. A-a, rough lava.]
in the surface and sometimes clouds of smoke and steam arose around Kamapuaa. He was unterrified and matched his divine powers against hers. It was demi-god against demi-goddess. It was the goddess of fire of Hawaii against the hog-god of Oahu. Pele's home life was given up. The bitterness of strife swept over the black sands of the seashore. When the earth seemed ready to open its doors and pour out mighty streams of flowing lava in the defence of Pele, Kamapuaa called for the waters of the ocean to rise. Then flood met fire and quenched it. Pele was driven inland. Her former lover, hastening after her and striving to overcome her, followed her upward until at last amid clouds of poisonous gases she went back into her spirit home in the pit of Kilauea.
Then Kamapuaa as a god of the sea gathered the waters together in great masses and hurled them into the firepit. Violent explosions followed the inrush of waters. The sides of the great crater were torn to pieces by fierce earthquakes. Masses of fire expanded the water into steam, and Pele gathered the forces of the underworld to aid in driving back Kamapuaa. The lavas rose in many lakes and fountains. Rapidly the surface was cooled and the fountains checked, but just as rapidly were new openings made and new streams of fire hurled at the demi-god of
Oahu. It was a mighty battle of the elements. The legends say that the hog-man, Kamapuaa, poured water into the crater until its fires were driven back to their lowest depths and Pele was almost drowned by the floods. The clouds of the skies had dropped their burden of rain. All the waters of the sea that Kamapuaa could collect had been poured into the crater. Fornander gives a part of the prayer of Kamapuaa against Pele. His appeal was directly to the gods of water for assistance. He cried for
. . . "The great storm clouds of skie,"
while Pele prayed for
"The bright gods of the under-world,
The gods thick-clustered for Pele."
It was the duty of the Pele family to stir up volcanic action, create explosions, hurl lava into the air, make earthquakes, blow out clouds of flames and smoke and sulphurous-burdened fumes against all enemies of Pele. Into the conflict against Kamapuaa rushed the gods of Po, the under-world, armed with spears of flashing fire, and hurling sling-stones of lava. The storms of bursting gases and falling lavas were more than Kamapuaa could endure. Gasping for breath and overwhelmed with heat, he found himself driven back. The legends say that Pele and her sisters drank the waters, so
that after a time there was no check against the uprising lava. The pit was filled and the streams of fire flowed down upon Kamapuaa. He changed his body into a kind of grass now known as Ku-kae-puaa, and tried to stop the flow of the lava. Apparently the grass represented the bristles covering his body when he changed himself into a hog. Kamapuaa has sometimes been called the Samson of Hawaiian traditions, and it is possible that a Biblical idea has crept into the modern versions of the story. Delilah cut Samson's hair and he became weak. The Hawaiian traditions say that, if Kamapuaa's bristles could be burned off, he would, lose his power to cope with Pele's forces of fire. When the grass lay in the pathway of the fire, the lava was turned aside for a time, but Pele, inspired by the beginning of victory, called anew upon the gods of the under-world for strong reinforcements.
Out from the pits of Kilauea came vast masses of lava piling up against the field of grass in its pathway and soon the grass began to bum; then Kamapuaa assumed again the shape of a man, the hair or bristles on his body were singed and the smart of many bums began to cause agony. Down he rushed to the sea, but the lava spread out on either side, cutting off retreat along the beach. Pele followed close behind,
striving to overtake him before he could reach the water. The side streams had reached the sea, and the water was rapidly heated into tossing, boiling waves. Pele threw great masses of lava at Kamapuaa, striking and churning the sea into which he leaped midst the swirling heated mass. Kamapuaa gave up the battle, and, thoroughly defeated, changed himself into a fish. To that fish he gave the tough pigskin which he assumed when roaming over the islands as the hog-man. It was thick enough to stand the boiling waves through which he swam out into the deep sea. The Hawaiians say that this fish has always been able to make a noise like the grunting of a small pig. To this fish was given the name "humu-humu-nuku-nuku-a-puaa."
It was said that Kamapuaa fled to foreign lands, where he married a high chiefess and lived with his family many years. At last the longing for his home-land came over him irresistibly and he returned appearing as a humu-humu in his divine place among the Hawaiian fishes, but never again taking to himself the form of a man.
Since this conflict with Kamapuaa, Pele has never feared the powers of the sea. Again and again has she sent her lava streams over the territory surrounding her firepit in the volcano Kilauea, and has swept the seashore, even pouring her lavas into the deep sea, but the ocean
has never retaliated by entering into another conflict to destroy Pele and her servants. Kamapuaa was the last who poured the sea into the deep pit. The friends of Lohiau, a prince from the island of Kauai, waged warfare with Pele, tearing to pieces a part of the crater in which she dwelt; but it was a conflict of land forces, and in its entirety is one of the very interesting tales handed down by Hawaiian tradition.
Kamapuaa figured to the last days of Pele-worship in the sacrifices offered to the fire-goddess. The most acceptable sacrifice to Pele was supposed to be puaa (a hog). If a hog could not be secured when an offering was necessary, the priest would take the fish humu-humu-nuku-nuku-a-puaa and throw it into the pit of fire. If the hog and the fish both failed, the priest would offer any of the things into which, it was said in their traditions, Kamapuaa could turn himself.
Note: For more Pele stories see the "Legends of Volcanoes" by the author.