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Alekoko Menehune Fishpond. Photographer, Collin Grady. from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License ( Photographer, Collin Grady.

Hawaiian Folk Tales

by Thomas G. Thrum


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This is an anthology of Hawaiian folklore, including pieces by Thomas Thrum and other writers. This includes many articles which were originally published in difficult to obtain journals and now-rare books. All were written in the late 19th or early 20th century, and are mostly based on first-hand oral traditions. Chapters cover topics such as resemblances to Biblical stories, myths of the gods and goddesses such as Maui and Pele, historical legends, topographical folklore, and the folklore of fishing.

Of interest to the general reader will be the tales of the Menehune, the 'little people' of Hawaii, who resemble in some aspects the fairies of Europe. The Menehune are credited with numerous earth-works such as fish ponds and stone platforms. This is reminiscent of European folklore which attributes the construction of megalithic monuments to the fairies. Could the Menehune be based on a short-statured pre-Polynesian indigenous Hawaiian culture? Or, could this be a post-contact European folklore import, as some recent researchers have suggested?

Hawaiian Folk Tales is one of a number of excellent period books available on this subject, and with a few exceptions, does not attempt to overly romanticize or impose western narrative structure. It makes entertaining reading both for visitors and residents of the Hawaiian islands.

Title Page
I. Legends Resembling Old Testament History
II. Exploits of Maui
III. Pele and the Deluge
IV. Pele And Kahawali
V. Hiku and Kawelu
VI. Lonopuha; Or, Origin of the Art of Healing In Hawaii
VII. A Visit to the Spirit Land; or, the Strange Experience of a Woman in Kona, Hawaii
VIII. Kapeepeekauila; or, The Rocks of Kana
IX. Kalelealuaka
X. Stories of the Menehunes
XI. Kahalaopuna, Princess of Manoa
XII. The Punahou Spring
XIII. Oahunui
XIV. Ahuula: A Legend of Kanikaniaula and the First Feather Cloak
XV. Kaala and Kaaialii, A Legend of Lanai
XVI. The Tomb of Puupehe, A Legend of Lanai
XVII. Ai Kanaka, A Legend of Molokai
XVIII. Kaliuwaa, Scene of the Demigod Kamapuaa's Escape From Olopana
XIX. Battle of the Owls
XX. This Land Is the Sea's, Traditional Account of an Ancient Hawaiian Prophecy
XII. Ku-ula, The Fish God Of Hawaii
XXII. Aiai, Son of Ku-Ula, Part II of the Legend of Ku-Ula, the Fish God of Hawaii
XXIII. Kaneaukai, A Legend of Waialua
XXIV. The Shark-Man, Nanaue
XXV. Fish Stories and Superstitions
Glossary of Hawaiian Words