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Unwritten Literature of Hawaii, by Nathaniel B. Emerson, [1909], at

p. 186


The Hawaiian drama could lay hold of no worthier theme than that offered by the story of Pele. In this epic we find the natural and the supernatural, the everyday events of nature and the sublime phenomena of nature's wonderland, so interwoven as to make a story rich in strong human and deific coloring. It is true that the genius of the Hawaiian was not equal to the task of assembling the dissevered parts and of combining into artistic unity the materials his own imagination had spun. This very fact, however, brings us so much nearer to the inner workshop of the Hawaiian mind.

The story of Pele is so long and complicated that only a brief abstract of it can be offered now:

Pele, the goddess of the volcano, in her dreams and wanderings in spirit-form, met and loved the handsome Prince Lohiau. She would not be satisfied with mere spiritual intercourse; she demanded the sacrament of bodily presence. Who should be the embassador to bring the youth from his distant home on Kauai? She begged her grown-up sisters to attempt the task. They foresaw the peril and declined the thankless undertaking. Hiiaka, the youngest and most. affectionate, accepted the mission; but, knowing her sister's evil temper, strove. to obtain from Pele a guaranty that her own forests and the life of her bosom friend Hopoe should be safeguarded during her absence.

Hiiaka was accompanied by Wahine-oma’o--the woman in green--a woman as beautiful as herself. After many adventures they arrived at Haena and found Lohiau dead and in his sepulchre, a sacrifice to the jealousy of Pele. They entered the cave, and after ten days of prayer and incantation Hiiaka had the satisfaction of seeing the body of Lohiau warmed and animated by the reentrance of the spirit; and the company, now of three, soon started on the return to Kilauea.

The time consumed by Hiiaka in her going and doing and returning had been so long that Pele was moved to unreasonable jealousy and, regardless of her promise to her faithful sister, she devastated with fire the forest parks of Hiiaka and sacrificed the life of Hiiaka's bosom friend, the innocent and beautiful Hopoe.

Hiiaka and Lohiau, on their arrival at Kilauea, seated themselves on its ferny brink, and there, in the open view of Pele's court, Hiiaka, in resentment at the broken faith of her sister and in defiance of her power, invited and received from Lohiau the kisses and dalliance

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which up to that time she had repelled. Pele, in a frenzy of passion, overwhelmed her errant lover, Lohiau, with fire, turned his body into a pillar of rock, and convulsed earth and sea. Only through the intervention of the benevolent peacemaking god Kane was the order of the world saved from utter ruin.

The ancient Hawaiians naturally regarded the Pele hula with special reverence by reason of its mythological importance, and they selected it for performance on occasions of gravity as a means of honoring the kings and alii of the land. They would have considered its presentation on common occasions, or in a spirit of levity, as a great impropriety.

In ancient times the performance of the hula Pele, like that of all other plays, was prefaced with prayer and sacrifice. The offering customarily used in the service of this hula consisted of salt crystals and of luau made from the delicate unrolled taro leaf. This was the gift demanded of every pupil seeking admission to the school of the hula, being looked upon as an offering specially acceptable to Pele, the patron of this hula. In the performance of the sacrifice teacher and pupil approached and stood reverently before the kuahu while the former recited a mele, which was a prayer to the goddess. The pupil ate the luau, the teacher placed the package of salt on the altar, and the service was complete.

Both olapa and hoopaa took part in the performance of this hula. There was little or no moving about, but the olapa did at times sink down to a kneeling position. The performance was without instrumental accompaniment, but with abundant appropriate gestures. The subjects treated of were of such dignity and interest as to require no extraneous embellishment.

Perusal of the mele which follows will show that the story of Pele dated back of her arrival in this group:

He Oli--O ka mele mua keia o ka hula Pele

Mai Kahiki ka wahine, o Pele,
Mai ka aina i Pola-pola,
Mai ka punohu ula a Kane,
Mai ke ao lalapa i ka lani,
5 Mai ka opua lapa i Kahiki.

Lapa-ku i Hawaii ka wahine, o Pele;
Kalai i ka wa’a Houna-i-a-kea,
Kou wa’a, e Ka-moho-alii.
I apo’a ka moku i pa’a;
10 Ua hoa ka wa’a o ke Akua,

Ka wa’a o Kane-kalai-honua.
Holo mai ke au, a’ea’e Pele-honua-mea;
A’ea’e ka Lani, ai-puni’a i ka moku;
A’ea’e Kini o ke Akua, p. 188

15 Noho a’e o Malau.
Ua ka ia ka liu o ka wa’a.
Ia wai ka hope, ka uli o ka wa’a, e ne hoa ’lii?
Ia Pele-honua-mea.
A’ea’e kai hoe oluna o ka wa’a.

20 O Ku ma, laua o Lono,
Noho i ka honua aina,
Kau aku i hoolewa moku.
Hiiaka, noiau, he akua,
Ku ae, hele a noho i ka hale o Pele.

25 Huahua’i Kahiki, lapa uila, e Pele.
E hua’i, e!


A Song--The first song of the hula Pele

From Kahiki came the woman, Pele,
From the land of Pola-pola,
From the red cloud of Kane,
Cloud blazing in the heavens,
5 Fiery cloud-pile in Kahiki.

Eager desire for Hawaii seized the woman, Pele;
She carved the canoe, Honua-i-a-kea,
Your canoe, O Ka-moho-alii.
They push the work on the craft to completion.
10 The lashings of the god's canoe are done.
The canoe of Kane, the world-maker.

The tides swirl, Pele-honua-mea o’ermounts them;
The god rides the waves, sails about the island;
The host of little gods ride the billows;
15 Malau takes his seat;
One bales out the bilge of the craft.
Who shall sit astern, be steersman, O, princes?
Pele of the yellow earth.
The splash of the paddles dashes o’er the canoe.

20 Ku and his fellow, Lono,
Disembark on solid land;
They alight on a shoal.
Hiiaka, the wise one, a god,
Stands up, goes to stay at the house of Pele.

25 Lo, an eruption in Kahiki!
A flashing of lightning, O Pele!
Belch forth. O Pele!

Tradition has it that Pele was expelled from Kahiki by her brothers because of insubordination, disobedience, and disrespect to their mother, Honua-mea, sacred land. (If Pele in Kahiki conducted herself as she has done in Hawaii, rending and scorching the bosom of mother earth--Honua-Mea--it is not to be wondered that her brothers were anxious to get rid of her.) She voyaged north. Her

p. 189

first stop was at the little island of Ka-ula, belonging to the Hawaiian group. She tunneled into the earth, but the ocean poured in and put a stop to her work. She had the same experience on Lehua, on Niihau, and on the large island of Kauai. She then moved on to Oahu, hoping for better results; but though she tried both sides of the island, first mount Ka-ala--the fragrant--and then Konahuanui, she still found the conditions unsatisfactory. She passed on to Molokai, thence to Lanai, and to West Maui, and East Maui, at which last place she dug the immense pit of Hale-a-ka-la; but every-where she was unsuccessful. Still journeying east and south, she crossed the wide Ale-nui-haha channel and came to Hawaii, and, after exploring in all directions, she was satisfied to make her home at Kilauea. Here is (ka piko o ka honua) the navel of the earth. Apropos of this effort of Pele to make a fire-pit for herself, see the song for the hula kuolo (p. 86), "A pit lies (far) to the east."


A Kauai, a ke olewa a iluna,
Ka pua lana i kai o Wailua;
Nana mai Pele ilaila;
E waiho aku ana o Ahu. b
5 Aloha i ka wai niu o ka aina;
E ala mai ana mokihana,
Wai auau o Hiiaka.
Hoo-paapaa Pele ilaila;
Aohe Kau c e ulu ai.
10 Keehi aku Pele c i ka ale kua-loloa,

He onohi no Pele, ka oaka o ka lani, la.
Eli-eli, kau mai!



To Kauai, lifted in ether,
A floating flower at sea of Wailua--
That way Pele turns her gaze,
She's bidding adieu to Oahu,
5 Loved land of new wine of the palm.
There comes a perfumed waft--mokihana--
The bath of the maid Hiiaka.
Scene it was once of Pele's contention,
Put by for future attention.
10 Her foot now spurns the long-backed wave;
The phosphor burns like Pele's eye,
Or a meteor-flash in the sky.
Finished the prayer, enter, possess!

p. 190

The incidents and allusions in this mele belong to the story of Pele's journey in search of Lohiau, the lover she met in her dreams, and describe her as about to take flight from Oahu to Kauai (verse 4).

Hiiaka's bath, Wai ai auau o Hiiaka (verse 7), which was the subject of Pele's contention (verse 8), was a spring of water which Pele had planted at Huleia on her arrival from Kahiki. The ones with whom Pele had the contention were Kukui-lau-manienie and Kukui-lau-hanahana, the daughters of Lima-loa, the god of the mirage. These two women lived at Huleia near the spring. Kamapuaa, the swine-god, their accepted lover, had taken the liberty to remove the spring from the rocky bed where Pele had planted it to a neighboring hill. Pele was offended and demanded of the two women:

"Where is my spring of water?"

"Where, indeed, is your spring? You belong to Hawaii. What have you to do with any spring on Kauai?" was their answer.

"I planted a clean spring here on this rock," said Pele.

"You have no water here," they insisted; "your springs are on Hawaii."

"If I were not going in search of my husband Lohiau," said Pele, "I would set that spring back again in its old place."

"You haven't the power to do that," said they. "The son of Kahikiula (Kama-puaa) moved it over there, and you can't undo his action."

The eye of Pele, He onohi no Pele (verse 11), is the phosphorescence which Pele's footfall stirs to activity in the ocean.

The formal ending of this mele, Elieli, kau mai, is often found at the close of a mele in the hula Pele, and marks it as to all intents and purposes a prayer.

E waiho aku ana o Ahu (verse 4). This is an instance of the separation of the article o from the substantive Ahu, to which it becomes joined to form the proper name of the island now called Oahu.


Ke amo la ke ko’i ke akua la i-uka;
Haki nu’a-nu’a mai ka nalu mai Kahiki,
Po-po’i aku la i ke alo o Kilauea. a
Kanaka hea i ka lakou puaa kanu;
5 He wahine kui lei lehua i uka o Olaa,
Ku’u moku lehua i ke alo o He-eia.
O Kuku-ena b wahine,
Komo i ka lau-ki,

p. 191

A’e-a’e a noho.
10 Eia makou, kou lau kaula la.
Eli-eli, kau mai!



They bear the god's ax up the mountain;
Trampling the mire, like waves from Kahiki
That beat on the front of Kilauea.
The people with offerings lift up a prayer;
5 A woman strings wreaths in Olaa--
Lehua grove mine bord’ring He-eia.
And now Kukuena, mother god,
Covers her loins with a pa-ú of ti leaf;
She mounts the altar; she sits.
10 Behold us, your conclave of priests.
Enter in, possess us!

This has the marks of a Hawaiian prayer, and as such it is said to have been used in old times by canoe-builders when going up into the mountains in search of timber. Or it may have been recited by the priests and people who went up to fell the lehua tree from which to carve the Makahiki a idol; or, again, may it possibly have been recited by the company of hula folk who climbed the mountain in search of a tree to be set up in the halau as a representation of the god whom they wished to honor? This is a question the author can not settle. That it was used by hula folk is indisputable, but that would not preclude its use for other purposes.


Ku i Wailua ka pou hale, b
Ka ipu hoolono i ka uwalo,
Ka wawa nui, e Ulupo.
Aole uwalo mai, e.
5 Aloha nui o Ikuwa, Mahoena.
Ke lele la ka makawao o ka hinalo.
Aia i Maná ka oka’i o ka ua o Eleao;
Ke holu la ka a’ahu o Ka-ú c i ka makani;
Ke puhi a’e la ka ale kumupali o Ka-ú, Honuapo;
10 Ke hakoko ka niu o Paiaha’a i ka makani.
Uki-uki oukou:
Ke lele la ke kai;
Lele iao, d lele!
O ka makani Koolau-wahine,


p. 192

15 O ka Moa’e-ku.
Lele ua, lele kawa! a
Lele aku, lele mai!
Lele o-ó, b, o-ó lele; c
Lele opuhi, d lele;
20 Lele u Kauná, e kaha oe.
E Hiiaka e, ku!



At Wailua stands the main house-post;
This oracle harks to wild voices,
Tumult and clamor, O Ulu-po;
It utters no voice to entreaty.
5 Alas for the prophet that's dumb!
But there drifts the incense of hala.
Maná sees the rain-whirl of Eleao.
The robe of Ka-ú sways in the wind,
That dashes the waves ’gainst the sea-wall,
10 At Honu-apo, windy Ka-ú;
The Pai-ha’a palms strive with the gale.
Such weather is grievous to you:
The sea-scud is flying.
Fly little i-ao, O fly
15 With the breeze Koolau!
Fly with the Moa’e-ku!
Look at the rain-mist fly!
Leap with the cataract, leap!
Plunge, now here, now there!
20 Feet foremost, head foremost;
Leap with a glance and a glide!
Kauná opens the dance; you win.
Rise, Hiiaka, arise!

The meaning of this mele centers about a phenomenon that is said to have been observed at Pa-ipu-ha’a, near Wailua, on Kauai. To one standing on a knoll near the two cliffs Ikuwa and Mahoena (verse 5) there came, it is said, an echo from the murmur and clamor of the ocean and the moan of the wind, a confused mingling of nature's voices. The listener, however, got no echoing answer to his own call.

The mele does not stick to the unities as we understand them. The poets of old Hawaii felt at liberty to run to the ends of their earth; and the auditor must allow his imagination to be transported suddenly from one island to another; in this case, first from Wailua to

p. 193

[paragraph continues] Maná on the same island, where he is shown the procession of whirling rain clouds of Eleao (verse 7). Thence the poet carries him to Honuapo, Hawaii, and shows him the waves dashing against the ocean-walls and the clashing of the palm-fronds of Paiaha’a in the wind.

The scene shifts back to Kauai, and one stands with the poet looking down on a piece of ocean where the people are wont to disport themselves. (Maka-iwa, not far from Ka-ipu-ha’a, is said to be such a place.) Verses 12 to 19 in the Hawaiian (13 to 21 in the translation) describe the spirited scene.

It is somewhat difficult to determine whether the Kauná mentioned in the next poem is the name of the woman or of the stormy cape. In the mind of a Hawaiian poet the inanimate and the animate are often tied so closely together in thought and in speech as to make it hard to decide which is intended.


Ike ia Kauná-wahine, Makani Ka-ú,
He umauma i pa ia e ka Moa’e,
E ka makani o-maka o Unulau.
Lau ka wahine kaili-pua o Paía,
5 Alualu puhala o ka Milo-pae-kanáka, e-e-e-e!
He kanáka ke koa no ka ehu ahiahi,
O ia nei ko ka ehu kakahiaka--
O maua no, me ka makua o makou.
Ua ike ’a!



Behold Kauná, that sprite of windy Ka-ú,
Whose bosom is slapped by the Moa’e-kú,
And that eye-smiting wind Unulaú--
Women by hundreds filch the bloom
5 Of Paía, hunt fruit of the hala, a-ha!
That one was the gallant, at evening,
This one the hero of love, in the morning--
’Twas our guardian I had for companion.
Now you see it, a-ha!

This mele, based on a story of amorous rivalry, relates to a contest which arose between two young women of rank regarding the favors of that famous warrior and general of Kamehameha, Kalaimoku, whom the successful intrigante described as ka makua o makua (verse 8), our father, i. e., our guardian. The point of view is that of the victorious intrigante, and in speaking of her defeated rival she uses the ironical language of the sixth verse, He kanáka ke koa no ka ehu ahiahi, meaning that her opponent's chance of success faded with the evening twilight, whereas her own success was crowned with the

p. 194

glow of morning, O ia nei ko ka ehu kakahiaka (verse 7). The epithet kanáka hints ironically that her rival is of lower rank than herself, though in reality the rank of her rival may have been superior to her own.

The language, as pointed out by the author's informant, is marked with an elegance that stamps it as the product of a courtly circle.


E oe mauna i ka ohu,
Kahá ka leo o ka ohi’a;
Auwe! make au i ke ahi a mau
A ka luahine a moe naná,
5 A papa enaena, wai hau,
A wa’a kau-hí. b
Haila pepe c mua me pepe waena,
O pepe ka muimui:
O kiele c i na ulu c
10 Ka makahá kai kea
O Niheu d kolohe;
Ka makaha kai kea!
Eli-eli, kau mai.



Ho! mountain of vapor-puffs,
Now groans the mountain-apple tree.
Alas! I burn in this deathless flame,
That is fed by the woman who snores
5 On a lava plate, now hot, now cold;
Now ’tis a canoe full-rigged for sea:
There are seats at the bow, amidships, abaft;
Baggage and men--all is aboard.


Click to enlarge



p. 195

And now the powerful thrust of the paddle,
10 Making mighty swirl of wat’ry yeast,
As of Nihéu, the mischief-maker
A mighty swirl of the yeasty wave.
In heaven's name, come aboard!

After the death of Lohiau, his best friend, Paoa, came before Pele determined to invite death by pouring out the vials of his wrath on the head of the goddess. The sisters of Pele sought to avert the impending tragedy and persuaded him to soften his language and to forego mere abuse. Paoa, a consummate actor, by his dancing, which has been perpetuated in the hula Pele, and by his skillfully-worded prayer-songs, one of which is given above, not only appeased Pele, but won her.

The piece next appearing is also a song that was a prayer, and seems to have been uttered by the same mouth that groaned forth the one given above.

It does not seem necessary to take the language of the mele literally. The sufferings that the person in the mele describes in the first person, it seems to the author, may be those of his friend Lohiau; and the first person is used for literary effect.

Mele a

Aole e mao ka ohu:
Auwe! make au i ke ahi a mau
A ka wahine moe naná,
A papa ena-ena,
5 A wa’a kau-hí.
Ilaila pepe mua me pepe waena,
O pepe ka mu’imu’i,
O lei'na kiele,
Kau-meli-eli; b
10 Ka maka kakahi kea
O Niheu kolohe--
Ka maka kaha-kai kea.
Eli-eli, kau mai!



Alas, there's no stay to the smoke:
I must die mid the quenchless flame--
Deed of the hag who snores in her sleep,
Bedded on lava plate oven-hot.
5 Now it takes the shape of canoe;

p. 196

Seats at the bow and amidships,
And the steersman sitting astern;
Their stroke stirs the ocean to foam--
The myth-craft, Kau-meli-eli!
10 Now look, the white gleam of an eye--
It is Nihéu, the turbulent one--
An eye like the white sandy shore.
Amen, possess me!

The mele now to be given has the form of a serenade. Etiquette forbade anyone to wake the king by rude touch, but it was permissible for a near relative to touch his feet. When the exigencies of business made it necessary for a messenger, a herald, or a courtier to disturb the sleeping monarch, he took his station at the king's feet and recited a serenade such as this:

Mele Koala (no ka Hula Pele)

E ala, e Kahiki-ku; a
E ala, e Kahiki-moe; a
E ala, e ke apapa nu’u: b
E ala, e ke apapa lani. b
5 Eia ka hoala nou, e ka lani c la, e-e!
E ala oe!

E ala, ua ao, ua malamalama.
Aia o Kape’a ma, d la, i-luna;
Ua hiki mai ka maka o Unulau: e

p. 197

10 Ke hoolale mai la ke kupa holowa’a o Ukumehame, a
Ka lae makani kaohi-wa’a o Papawai, b
Ka lae makani o Anahenahe la, e-e!
E ala oe!

E ala, ua no, ua malamalama;
15 Ke o a’e la ke kukuna o ka La i ka ili o ke kai;
Ke hahai a’e la, e like me Kumukahi c
E hoaikane ana me Makanoni;
Ka papa o Apua, ua lohi i ka La.
E ala oe!

20 E ala, ua ao, ua malamalama;
Ke kau aku la ka La i Kawaihoa
Ke kolii aku la ka La i ka ili o ke kai;
Ke anai mai la ka iwa anai-maka o Lei-no-ai,
I ka luna o Maka-iki-olea,
25 I ka poli wale o Lehua la.
E ala oe!

p. 198



Awake now, Kahiki-ku;
Awake now, Kahiki-moe;
Awake, ye gods of lower grade;
Awake, ye gods of heavenly rank.
5 A serenade to thee, O king.
Awake thee!

Awake, it is day, it is light;
The Day-god his arrows is shooting,
Unulau his eye far-flashing,
10 Canoe-men from Uku-me-hame
Are astir to weather the windy cape,
The boat-baffling cape, Papa-wai,
And the boisterous A-nahe-nahe.
Awake thee!

15 Awake, day is come and the light;
The sun-rays stab the skin of the deep;
It pursues, as did god Kumu-kahi
To companion with god Maka-noni;
The plain of Apua quivers with heat.
20 Awake thee!

Awake, ’tis day, ’tis light;
The sun stands over Waihoa,
Afloat on the breast of ocean;
The iwa of Leinoai is preening
25 On the cliff Maka-iki-olea,
On the breast of naked Lehua.
Awake thee! awake!

The following is a prayer said to have been used at the time of awa-drinking. When given in the hula, the author is informed, its recitation was accompanied by the sound of the drum.

He Pule no Pele


O Pele la ko’u akua:
Miha ka lani, miha ka honua.
Awa iku, awa lani;
Kai awaawa, ka awa nui a Hiiaka,
5 I kua i Mauli-ola; a p. 199
He awa kapu no na wahine.
E kapu!

Ka’i kapu kou awa, e Pele a Honua-mea;
E kala, e Haumea wahine,
10 O ka wahine i Kilauea,
Nana i eli a hohonu ka lua
O Mau-wahine, o Kupu-ena,
O na wahine i ka inu-hana awa.
E ola na ’kua malihini! a


15 I kama’a-ma’a la i ka pua-lei;
E loa ka wai apua,
Ka pii’na i Ku-ka-la-ula; b
Hoopuka aku i Puu-lena,
Aina a ke Akua i noho ai.

20 Kanaenae a ke Akua malihini; a
O ka’u wale iho la no la, o ka leo,
He leo wale no, e-e!
E ho-i!
Eia ka ai!


A Prayer to Pele


Lo, Pele's the god of my choice:
Let heaven and earth in silence wait
Here is awa, potent, sacred,
Bitter sea, great Hiiaka's root;
5 'Twas cut at Mauli-ola
Awa to the women forbidden,
Let it tabu be!

Exact be the rite of your awa,
O Pele of the sacred land.

p. 200

10 Proclaim it, mother, Haumea,
Of the goddess of Kilauea;
She who dug the pit world-deep,
And Mau-wahine and Kupu-ena,
Who prepare the awa for drink.
15 A health to the stranger gods?


Bedeck now the board for the feast;
Fill up the last bowl to the brim;
Then pour a draught in the sun-cave
Shall flow to the mellow haze,
20 That tints the land of the gods.

All hail to the stranger gods!
This my offering, simply a voice,
Only a welcoming voice.
Turn in!
25 Lo, the feast!

This prayer, though presented in two parts or cantos, is really one, its purpose being to offer a welcome, kanaenae, to the feast and ceremony to the gods who had a right to expect that courtesy.

One more mele of the number specially used in the hula Pele:


Nou paha e, ka inoa
E ka’i-ka’i ku ana,
A kau i ka nuku.
E hapa-hapai a’e,
5 A pa i ke kihi
O Ki-lau-é-a.
Ilaila ku’u kama,
O Ku-nui-akea. a
Hookomo a’e iloko
10 A o Hale-ma’u-ma’u; b
A ma-ú na pu’u
E óla-olá nei.
E kulipe’e nui ai-ahua. c
E Pele, e Pele!
15 E Pele, e Pele!
Huai'na! huai'na!
Ku ia ka lani,
Pue a huila!

p. 201



Yours, doubtless, this name,
Which people are toasting
With loudest acclaim.
Now raise it, aye raise it,
5 Till it reaches the niches
Of Kí-lau-é-a.
Enshrined is there my kinsman,
Then give it a place
10 In the temple of Pele;
And a bowl for the throats
That are croaking with thirst.
Knock-kneed eater of land,
O Pele, god Pele!
15 O Pele, god Pele!
Burst forth now! burst forth!
Launch a bolt from the sky!
Let thy lightnings fly!

When this poem a first came into the author's hands, though attracted by its classic form and vigorous style, he could not avoid being repelled by an evident grossness. An old Hawaiian, to whom he stated his objections, assured him that the mele was innocent of all bad intent, and when the offensive word was pointed out he protested that it was an interloper. The substitution of the right word showed that the man was correct. The offense was at once removed. This set the whole poem in a new light and it is presented with satisfaction. The mele is properly a name-song, mele-inoa. The poet represents some one as lifting a name to his mouth for praise and adulation. He tells him to take it to Kilauea--that it may reecho, doubtless, from the walls of the crater.


189:a Olewa. Said to be the name of a wooded region high up on the mountain of Kauai. It is here treated as if it meant the heavens or the blue ether. Its origin is the same with the word lewa, the upper regions of the air.

189:b O Ahu. In this instance the article still finds itself disunited from its substantive. To-day we have Oahu and Ola’a.

189:c Kau. The summer; time of warm weather; the growing season.

190:a The figure in the second and third verses, of waves from Kahiki (nalu mai Kahiki) beating against the front of Kilauea (Po-po’i aku la i ke alo o Kilauea), seems to picture the trampling of the multitude splashing the mire as if it were, waves of ocean.

190:b Kukuena. There is some uncertainty as to who this character was; probably the same as Haumea, the mother of Pele.

191:a For an account of the Makahiki idol see Hawaiian Antiquities, p. 159, by David Maio; translated by N. B. Emerson, A. M., M. D., Honolulu, Hawaiian Gazette Company (Limited), 1903.

191:b Pou hale. The main post of a house, which is here intended, was the pou-haná; it was regarded with a superstitious reverence.

191:c A’hu o Ka-u. A reference, doubtless, to the long grass that once covered Ka-ú.

191:d I-áo. A small fish that took short flights in the air.

192:a Lele kawa. To jump in sport from a height into the water.

192:b Lele o-ó. To leap feet first into the water.

192:c O-ó lele. To dive head first into the water.

192:d Lele opuhi. The same as pahi’a, to leap obliquely into the water from a height, bending oneself so that the feet come first to the surface.

192:e Kauná. A woman of Ka-ú celebrated for her skill in the hula, also the name of a cape that reaches out into the stormy ocean.

194:a Pele is often spoken of as ka luahine, the old woman: but she frequently used her power of transformation to appear as a young woman of alluring beauty.

194:b Lava poured out in plates and folds and coils resembles may diverse things, among others the canoe, wa’a, here characterized as complete in its appointments and ready for launching, kauhí. The words are subtly intended, no doubt, to convey the thought of Pele's readiness to launch on the voyage of matrimony.

194:c Pepe, a seat; kiele, to paddle; and ulu, a shortened form of the old word oulu, meaning a paddle, are archaisms now obsolete.

194:d Nihéu. One of the mythological heroes of an old-time adventure, in which his elder brother Kana, who had the form of a long rope, played the principal part. This one enterprise of their life in which they joined forces was for the rescue of their mother, Hina, who had been kidnapped by a marauding chief and carried from her home in Hilo to the bold headland of Haupu, Molokai. Niheu is generally stigmatized as kolohe (verse 11), mischievous, for no other reason apparently than that he was an active spirit, full of courage, given to adventure and heaven-defying audacities, such as put the Polynesian Mawi and the Greek Prometheus in had odor with the gods of their times. One of these offensive actions was Nihéu's theft of a certain ulu, breadfruit, which one of the gods rolled with a noise like that of thunder in the underground caverns of the southern regions of the world. Nihéu is represented as a great sport, an athlete, skilled in all the games of his people. The worst that could be said of him was that he had small regard for other people's rights and that he was slow to pay his debts of honor.

195:a The remarks on pp. 194 and 195 regarding the mele on p. 194 are mostly applicable to this mele.

195:b Kau-meli-eli. The name of the double canoe which brought a company of the gods from the lands of the South--Kukulo o Kahiki--to Hawaii. Hawaiian myths refer to several migrations of the gods to Hawaii; one of them is that described in the mele given on p. 187, the first mele in this chapter.

196:a Hawaiians conceived of the dome of heaven as a solid structure supported by walls that rested on the earth's plain. Different names were given to different sections of the wall. Kahiki-ku and Kahiki-moe were names applied to certain of these sections. It would, however, be too much to expect any Hawaiian, however intelligent and well versed in old lore, to indicate the location of these regions.

196:b The words apapa nu’u and apapa lani, which convey to the mind of the author the picture of a series of terraced plains or steppes--no doubt the original meaning--here mean a family or order of gods, not of the highest rank, at or near the head of which stood Pele. Apropos of this subject the following lines have been quoted:

Hanau ke apapa nu’u:
Hanau ke apapa lani;
Hanau Pele, ka hihi’o na lani.


Begotten were the gods of graded rank;
Begotten were the gods of heavenly rank;
Begotten was Pele, quintessence of heaven.

This same expression was sometimes used to mean an order of chiefs, alii. Apapa lani was also used to mean the highest order of gods, Ku, Kane, Kanaloa, Lono. The kings also were gods, for which reason this expression at times applied to the alii of highest rank, those, for instance, who inherited the rank of niau-pi’o or of wohi.

196:c Lani. Originally the heavens, came to mean king. chief, alii.

196:d There is a difference of opinion as to the meaning of Kape’a ma. After hearing diverse opinions the author concludes that it refers to the rays of the sun that precede its rising--a Greek idea.

196:e Unulau. A name for the trade-wind which, owing to the conformation of the land, often sweeps down with great force through the deep valleys that seam the mountains of west Maui between Lahaina and Maalaea bay; such a wind squall was called a mumuku.

197:a Ukumehame. The name of a deep valley on west Maui in the region above described.

197:b Papawai. The principal cape on west Maui between Lahaina and Maalaea bay.

197:c Kumu-kahi. A cape in Puna, the easternmost part of Hawaii; by some said to be the sun's wife, and the object of his eager pursuit after coming out of his eastern gate Ha’eha’e. The name was also applied to a pillar of stone that was planted on the northern border of this cape. Standing opposite to it, on the southern side, was the monolith Makanoni. In summer the sun in its northern excursion inclined, as the Hawaiians noted, to the side of Kumukahi, while in the season of cool weather, called Makalii, it swung in the opposite direction and passed over to Makanoni. The people of Puna accordingly said, "The sun has passed over to Makanoni," or "The sun has passed over to Kumukahi," as the case might be. These two pillars are said to be of such a form as to suggest the thought that they are phallic emblems, and this conjecture is strengthened by consideration of the tabus connected with them and of the religious ceremonies performed before them. The Hawaiians speak of them as pohaku eho, which, the author believes, is the name given to a phallus, and describe them as plain uncarved pillars.

These stones were set up in very ancient times and are said to have been tabu to women at the times of their infirmity. If a woman climbed upon them at such a period or even set foot upon the platform on which one of them stood she was put to death. Another stringent tabu forbade anyone to perform an office of nature while his face was turned toward one of these pillars.

The language of the mele, Ke hahai ae la e like me Kumukahi (verse 16), implies that the sun chased after Kumukahi. Apropos of this is the following quotation from an article on the phallus in Chambers's Encyclopedia: "The common myth concerning it [the phallus] was the story of some god deprived of his power of generation--an allusion to the sun, which in autumn loses its fructifying influence."

In modern times there seems to have grown up a curious mixture of traditions about these two stones, in which the old have become overlaid with new superstitions; and these last in turn seem to be dying out. They are now vaguely remembered as relics of old demigods, petrified forms of ancient kupua1 Fishermen, it is said, not long ago offered sacrifices to them, hoping thus to purchase good luck. Any offense against them, such as that by women, above mentioned, or by men, was atoned for by offering before these ancient monuments the first fish that came to the fisherman's hook or net.

Mention of the name Kumu-kahi to a Hawaiian versed in ancient lore called up to his memory the name of Pala-moa as his associate. The account this old man gave of them was that they were demigods much worshiped and feared for their power and malignity. They were reputed to be cannibals on the sly, and, though generally appearing in human form, were capable of various metamorphoses, thus eluding detection. They were believed to have the power of taking possession of men through spiritual obsession, as a result of which the obsessed ones were enabled to heal sickness as well as to cause it, to reveal secrets, and to inflict death, thus terrifying people beyond measure. The names of these two demigods, especially that of Palamoa, are to this day appealed to by practitioners of the black arts.

197:1 The Hawaiian alphabet had no letter s. The Hawaiians indicated the plural by prefixing the particle na.

198:a Mauli-ola. A god of health; perhaps also the name of a place. The same word also was applied to the breath of life, or to the physician's power of healing. In the Maori tongue the word mauri, corresponding to mauli, means life. the seat of life. In Samoan the word mauli means heart. "Sneeze, living heart " (Tihe mauri ora), says the Maori mother to her infant when it sneezes. For this bit of Maori lore acknowledgment is due to Mr. S. Percy Smith, of New Zealand.

199:a According to one authority, at the close of the first canto the stranger gods--akua malihini--who consisted of that multitude of godlings called the Kini Akua, took their departure from the ceremony, since they did not belong to the Pele family. Internal evidence, however, the study of the prayer itself in its two parts, leads the writer to disagree with this authority. Other Hawaiians of equally deliberate judgment support him in this opinion. The etiquette connected with ceremonious awa-drinking, which the Samoans of to-day still maintain in full form, long ago died out in Hawaii. This etiquette may never have been cultivated here to the same degree as in its home, Samoa; but this poem is evidence that the ancient Hawaiians paid greater attention to it than they of modern times. The reason for this decline of ceremony must be sought for in the mental and esthetic make-up of the Hawaiian people; it was not due to any lack of fondness in the Hawaiian for awa as a beverage or as an intoxicant. It is no help to beg the question by ascribing the decline of this etiquette to the influence of social custom. To do so would but add one more link to the chain that binds cause to effect. The Hawaiian mind was not favorable to the observance of this sort of etiquette; it did not afford a soil fitted to nourish such an artificial growth.

199:b The meaning of the word Ku-ka-la-ula presented great difficulty and defied all attempts at translation until the suggestion was made by a bright Hawaiian, which was adopted with satisfaction, that it probably referred to that state of dreamy mental exaltation which comes with awa-intoxication. This condition, like that of frenzy, of madness, and of idiocy, the Hawaiian regarded as a divine possession.

200:a Kalakaua, for whom all these fine words are intended, could no more claim kinship with Ku-nui-akea, the son of Kau-i-ke-aouli, than with Julius Caesar.

200:b Hale-mau-mau. Used figuratively of the mouth, whose hairy fringe--moustache and beard--gives it a fancied resemblance to the rough lava pit where Pele dwelt. The figure, to us no doubt obscure, conveyed to the Hawaiian the idea of trumpeting the name and making it famous.

200:c E kuli-pe’e nui ai-ahua. Pele is here figured as an old, infirm woman, crouching and crawling along; a character and attitude ascribed to her, no doubt, from the fancied resemblance of a lava flow, which, when in the form of a-á, rolls and tumbles along over the surface of the ground in a manner suggestive of the motions and attitude of a palsied crone.

201:a It is said to be the work of a hula-master, now some years dead, by the name of Namakeelua.

Next: XXV.--The Hula Pa’i-umauma