Unwritten Literature of Hawaii, by Nathaniel B. Emerson, , at sacred-texts.com
The conception of this peculiar hula originated from a pathetic incident narrated in the story of Hiiaka's journey to bring Prince Lohiau to the court of Pele. Hiiaka, standing with her friend Wahine-oma’o on the heights that overlooked the beach at Kahakuloa, Maui, saw the figure of a woman, maimed as to hands and feet, dancing in fantastic glee on a plate of rock by the ocean. She sang as she danced, pouring out her soul in an ecstacy that ill became her pitiful condition; and as she danced her shadow-dance, for she was but a ghost, poor soul! these were the words she repeated:
Wahine-oma’o, lacking spiritual sight, saw nothing of this; but Hiiaka, in downright pity and goodness of impulse, plucked a hala fruit from the string about her neck and threw it so that it fell before the poor creature. who eagerly seized it and with the stumps of her hands held it up to enjoy its odor. At the sight of the woman's pleasure Hiiaka sang:
The answer of the desolate creature, grateful for Hiiaka's recognition and kind attention, was that pretty mele appropriated by hula folk as the wreath-song, already given (p. 56), which will bear repetition:
The hula mu’u-mu’u, literally the dance of the maimed, has long been out of vogue, so that the author has met with but one person, and he not a practitioner of the hula, who has witnessed its performance. This was in Puna, Hawaii; the performance was by women only and was without instrumental accompaniment. The actors were seated in a half-reclining position, or kneeling. Their arms, as if in imitation of a maimed person, were bent at the elbows and doubled up, so that their gestures were made with the upper arms. The mele they cantillated went as follows:
The imagery and language of this mele mark the hula to which it belonged as a performance of strength.
213:a A-áma. An edible black crab. When the surf is high it climbs up on the rocks.
213:b Pai-é-a. An edible gray crab. The favorite time for taking these crabs is when the high tide or surf forces them to leave the water for protection.
213:c Pipípi. A black seashell (Nerita). With it is often found the alea-lea, a gray shell. These shellfish, like the crabs above mentioned, crawl up the rocks and cliffs during stormy weather.
213:d O-ú. A variety of eel that lurks in holes; it is wont to keep its head lifted. The o-i´ (same verse) is an eel that snakes about in the shallow water or on the sand at the edge of the water.
213:e Akahakaha. A variety of moss. If one ate of this as he gathered it, the ocean at once became tempestuous.
213:f Opihi. An edible bivalve found in the salt waters of Hawaii. Pele is said to have been very fond of it. There is an old saying, He akua at opihi o Pele--"Pele is a goddess who eats the opihi." In proof of this statement they point to the huge piles of opihi shells that may he found along the coast of Puna, the middens, no doubt, of the old-time people. Koéle was a term applied to the opihi that lives well under water, and therefore are delicate eating. Another meaning given to the word koele--opihi koele, line 17--is " heaped up."
214:a Ku ka mahu nui akea. The Hawaiians have come to treat this phrase as one word, an epithet applied to the god Ku. In the author's translation it is treated as an ordinary phrase.
214:b Milo-hólu. A grove of milo trees that stood, as some affirm, about that natural basin of warm water in Puna, which the Hawaiians called Wai-wela-wela.
214:c Pi, Pa. These were two imaginary little beings who lived in the crater of Kilauea, and who declared their presence by a tiny shrill piping sound, such, perhaps, as a stick of green wood will make when burning. Pi was active at such times as the fires were retreating, Pa when the fires were rising to a full head.