MANY, many years after Pele's angry sister Na-maka-o-ka-hai had driven her from the island Kauai and after the land had many dwellers therein, a quarrel arose between two of the highest chiefs of the island. They were named Koa and Kau. It did not become an open conflict immediately, but Koa was filled with such deep hatred that he was ready to employ any means to destroy his enemy.
There was a mighty Kupua, or dragon of the Pii family, at that time on Kauai. These dragons had come, according to the legends, to the Hawaiian Islands from the far-away lands of Kuai-he-lani, as attendants on the first young chief Kahanai-a-ke-Akua (The-boy-brought-up-by-the-gods). These dragons had the mana, or magic power of appearing as men or as dragons according to their desire.
This dragon was named Pii-ka-lalau, or Pii,
the one dwelling at Ka-lalau. He was supposed to be semi-divine. His home was on the crest of an almost inaccessible precipice up which he would rush with incredible speed. Koa, the angry chief, came to this precipice and called Pii to come to him. There they plotted the death of Kau, the enemy. Assuming the appearance of a splendidly formed young man, Pii went down among the natives with Koa to watch for an opportunity to seize Kau.
After a time Kau was lured to go at night to a house far from his own home. As he entered the door he received a heavy blow which smashed the bones of one shoulder and laid him prostrate. A great giant leaped out, thrusting an enormous spear at him. Kau was one of the most skilful of all chiefs in what was known as "spear practice." He avoided the thrusts and leaped to his feet. He had a wooden dagger as his only weapon, but could not get near enough to the giant to use it.
Just as he was becoming too weary to move, his wife, who had followed him, hurled rocks, striking the giant's face, then seizing her husband fled with him homeward.
There followed a great battle in which Pii attacked all the warriors belonging to the wounded chief. The legends say that "this giant was twelve feet high, he had eyes as large
as a man's fist, and an immense mouth full of tusks like those of a wild hog. His legs were as large- as trees, and his weight was such that wherever he stepped there were great holes in the ground."
The warriors fled as this mighty giant charged upon them. Suddenly they stopped and rushed back. Their chief's wife had caught an ikoi, a heavy piece of wood fastened to a long, stout cord. This she hurled so that it twisted around him and bound his arms to his sides. Stones and spears beat upon him, but he broke the coco-fibre cords of the ikoi and again drove the warriors before him, trying to gain the house where the wounded chief Kau was lying.
There was an old prophetess who had rushed to the side of her master when he was brought to his home. She was one of the worshippers of Pele, the fire-goddess of the island Hawaii. Powerful were her prayers and incantations.
Soon out of the clear sky above the conflict appeared Pele hurling a fierce bolt of lightning at the giant. It struck the ground at his feet, almost overthrowing him. A second flash of lightning blinded and stunned him.
It was a curious element of old Hawaiian belief, but they did believe that demi-gods and supernatural beings had au-makuas, or ghost-gods, the spirits of their ancestors, to whom
they prayed and offered sacrifice as if they were common people and needed ghost-gods to take care of them.
Pii, smitten by this new danger, called for Pueo, his most mighty ghost-god. Pele's fire-darts were falling upon him and he was near death. Then came Pueo flying down from the steep places of the mountain. Pueo was a great owl in which dwelt one of the most powerful of Pii's ancestors.
Pueo hovered over the head of Pii facing Pele. Whenever Pele hurled her fiery darts, the owl swiftly thrust his head from side to side, catching them in his beak, and with a shake of the head tossing them off to the ground.
Then came the warriors in a great body around the giant and his ghost-god. Thickly flew their spears and darts. Great clouds of stones were hurled, and both Pii and his owl-god were grievously wounded. Pele's flashes of lightning were coming with great rapidity.
The giant called to his au-makua to fly to the mountains, and then, suddenly changing himself into his dragon form, he dashed up the precipice toward his home.
The warriors were so surprised at the wonderful change that they forgot to fight, and only realized that this dragon was their enemy when they saw him far out of the reach of their best
weapons. They could see that dragon leaping from stone to stone, and swiftly gliding up the steep precipice. He escaped to his home in the mountain recesses and nevermore troubled the chief by the sea. His employer was killed in a later battle. Pele returned to her home in the volcano Kilauea.