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The Night-Digger

IN THE fifth chant of the Night World, shore life is exchanged for the cultivation of food plants inland, and the rooting pig is used, on the one hand, as symbol of the planter who prepares the soil for the food crop, on the other, as an erotic symbol for the function of the male in the founding of a new family branch upon the old stock.

According to Kupihea, the "new generation" (makamaka hou) of "high chief rank" (uli iliuli) celebrated in the chant is again the Uli line to which belongs the "pig-child" Kamapua'a whose exploits play so large a part in popular story telling.[1] Half-man, half-god, and born in the shape of a pig, this ravisher of ladies and superhuman warrior in battle has left his trace upon many a rock formation, misshapen fragment of earth, or mountain ravine made sacred by such association. He was by all odds the favorite figure of local legend throughout the group, during the last fifty years, in dramatic recital leading to high comedy that left nothing of detail unsaid.

There is strong probability that Kamapua'a belonged to the cult of Lono, god of fertility, to whose priesthood the Kumulipo chant seems to have belonged. Possibly this new branch upon the family line introduced taro culture.[2] Certainly whoever brought the black pig to Hawaii must have stood good chance of candidacy to godhead. The black pig was the most sacred sacrifice to be offered to the high gods alone. The feeding of pork to Cook and his companion climaxed

[1. Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, chap. xiv.

2. Kepelino, pp. 152-56,157; Handy and Pukui, Hawaiian Planter, pp. 6 ff.]

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the honors paid to the bewildered captain in his apotheosis as god of fertility. Today a feast of pork is the ultimate word in gustatory satisfaction, a privilege from which women in old days were excluded under rigid taboo. The pig is the household favorite. No one who has picnicked on the black sands of Kalapana can forget the sociable assembling of sharp-backed "porkers of the night" that nuzzle against visitors like a brood of privileged puppies.

I am indebted especially to Kupihea for the identification of classes represented in the births of this period. Kawena Pukui has also furnished particular clarifications. Bastian saw in the pig birth "a wave of sensual passion" and, in the series following, the "beginning of reason and judgment resulting in the development of crafts." Pokini refers the first half-dozen names to the practice of shaping the head (po'o) by manipulation in infancy to conform to the family branch to which the child belonged. Thus the head might be elongated (po'owa'awa'a), angular (po'okihikihi), square (po'omahakea), round (po'omeumeu), with retreating forehead (po'oapahu), and so forth. In the whole series she sees pictured the arrival of a train of followers of a chief bearing gifts to lay before the first-born child upon the occasion of his presentation to the family clan.

Pokini's vivid and insistent identification of the scene is by no means contradictory to Kupihea's more generalized explanation. He attaches to each name the descriptive term characterizing different classes--social, occupational, or military--belonging to a chief's followers, carried over from a time even before that of Kamehameha and it may be much older. Of four terms naming varieties of taro, two are given to certain lower classes, one to the chief's favorites, a fourth distinguishes the lowest slave class. A fifth taro name, Pi'iali'i, was locally applied on Kauai to a class of men who trimmed their hair pompadour and held it up with a comb of shell. The Hulupi'i had kinky hair, cropped to stand up and colored

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with lime. The Pi'ipi'i were picked men of Kalani-opu'u's army, said to stand "seven feet six inches" in height, the same who were caught in ambush at the battle of the sandhills at the time of the invasion of Maui from Hawaii. "They wore small helmets and short capes and were great fighters." The Huelo-maewa ("Wagging-tails") were "dogs turned human beings," a class of shape-shifters belonging primarily to the island of Maui. The Hululiha, also called Hulumanu, were "retainers of the king who fought with him," hence a kind of bodyguard.

The ode concludes with a paean of praise for the blossoming period of the virgin land under the hand of the ancient planter of taro-patch (lo'i) fame, Lo'iloa. The "walling up at the back" and "in front" in an earlier line, Pokini referred to old methods of potato planting.[3] The word mohala here applied to the land "is often used in the best poetry for the time of maturity in the virgin"; hence it is here applied to the flowering period of land made productive through cultivation. Oma is a name for a chief's leading official, here assigned to the Night-digger, Po-kanokano. Under this symbol of the fruitful earth lies the inner theme or kaona, picturing the rise of a fertile new branch on the family line multiplying over the land.


The time arrives for Po-kanokano
To increase the progeny of Po-lalo-uli
Dark is the skin of the new generation
Black is the skin of the beloved Po-lalo-uli
485. Who sleeps as a wife to the Night-digger
The beaked nose that digs the earth is erected
Let it dig at the land, increase it, heap it up
Walling it up at the back
Walling it up in front
490. The pig child is born
Lodges inland in the bush

[3. Kepelino, pp. 156, 157; Handy and Pukui, Hawaiian Planter, pp. 131 ff.]

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Cultivates the water taro patches of Lo'iloa
Tenfold is the increase of the island
Tenfold the increase of the land
495. The land where the Night-digger dwelt
Long is the line of his ancestry
The ancient line of the pig of chief blood
The pig of highest rank born in the time
The time when the Night-digger lived
500. And slept with Po-lalo-uli
The night gave birth
Born were the peaked-heads, they were clumsy ones
Born were the flat-heads, they were braggarts
Born were the angular-heads, they were esteemed
505. Born were the fair-haired, they were strangers
Born were the blonds, their skin was white
Born were those with retreating foreheads, they were bushy haired
Born were the blunt-heads, their heads were round
Born were the dark-heads, they were dark
510. Born were the common class, they were unsettled
Born were the working class, they were workers
Born were the favorites, they were courted
Born were the slave class, and wild was their nature
Born were the cropped-haired, they were the picked men
515. Born were the song chanters, they were indolent [?]
Born were the big bellies, big eaters were they
Born were the timid ones, bashful were they
Born were the messengers, they were sent here and there
Born were the slothful, they were lazy
520. Born were the stingy, they were sour
Born were the puny, they were feeble ones
Born were the thickset, they were stalwart
Born were the broad-chested, broad was their badge in battle
Born were the family men, they were home lovers
525. Born were the mixed breeds, they had no fixed line of descent
Born were the lousy-headed, they were lice infested
Born were the war leaders, men followed after them
Born were the high chiefs, they were ruddy
Born were the stragglers, they were dispersed
530. Scattered here and there
The children of Lo'iloa multiplied

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The virgin land sprang into bloom
The gourd of desire was loosened
With desire to extend the family line
535. To carry on the fruit of Oma's descendants,
The generations from the Night-digger
In that period of the past
    Still it is night

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