The Hawaiian Archipelago:
Six months amongst the palm groves, coral reefs, and volcanoes of the Sandwich Islands
By Isabella L. Bird, 1875



Isolation—A Native School—A Young Savage—"Bola-Bolas "—Nocturnal Diversions—Native Hospitality—Evening Prayer

Waipio Valley, Hawaii

There is something fearful in the isolation of this valley, open at one end to the sea, and walled in on all others by palis or precipices, from 1,000 to 2,000 feet in height, over the easiest of which hangs the dizzy track, which after trailing over the country for sixty difficult miles, connects Waipio with the little world of Hilo. The evening is very sombre, and darkness comes on early between these high walls. I am in a native house in which not a word of English is spoken, and Deborah, among her own people, has returned with zest to the exclusive use of her own tongue. This is more solitary than solitude, and tired as I am with riding and roughing it, I must console myself with writing to you. The natives, after staring and giggling for some time, took this letter out of my hand, with many exclamations, which, Deborah tells me, are at the rapidity and minuteness of my writing. I told them the letter was to my sister, and they asked if I had your picture. They are delighted with it, and it is going round a large circle assembled without. They see very few foreign women here, and are surprised that I have not brought a foreign man with me.

There was quite a bustle of small preparations before we left Onomea. Deborah was much excited, and I was not less so, for it is such a complete novelty to take a five days' ride alone with natives. D. is a very nice, native girl of seventeen, who speaks English tolerably, having been brought up by Mr. and Mrs. Austin. She was lately married to a white man employed on the plantation. Mr. A. most kindly lent me a favourite mule, but declined to state that she would not kick, or buck, or turn obstinate, or lie down in the water, all which performances are characteristic of mules. She has, however, as he expected, behaved as the most righteous of her specie. Our equipment was a matter for some consideration, as I had no waterproof; but eventually I wore my flannel riding dress, and carried my plaid in front of the saddle. My saddle-bags, which were behind, contained besides our changes of clothes, a jar of Liebig's essence of beef, some potted beef, a tin of butter, a tin of biscuits, a tin of sardines, a small loaf, and some roast yams. Deborah looked very piquante in a bloomer dress of dark blue, with masses of shining hair in natural ringlets failing over the collar, mixing with her lei of red rose-buds. She rode a powerful horse, of which she has much need, as this is the most severe road on horses on Hawaii, and it takes a really good animal to come to Waipio and go back to Hilo.

We got away at seven in bright sunshine, and D's husband accompanied us the first mile to see that our girths and gear were all right. It was very slippery, but my mule deftly gathered her feet under her, and slid when she could not walk. From Onomea to the place where we expected to find the guide, we kept going up and down the steep sides of ravines, and scrambling through torrents till we reached a deep and most picturesque gulch, with a primitive school-house at the bottom, and some grass-houses clustering under palms and papayas, a valley scene of endless ease and perpetual afternoon. Here we found that D's uncle, who was to have been our guide, could not go, because his horse was not strong enough, but her cousin volunteered his escort, and went away to catch his horse, while we tethered ours and went into the schoolhouse.

This reminded me somewhat of the very poorest schools connected with the Edinburgh Ladies' Highland School Association, but the teacher had a remarkable paucity of clothing, and he seemed to have the charge of his baby, which, much clothed, and indeed much muffled, lay on the bench beside him. For there were benches, and a desk, and even a blackboard and primers down in the deep wild gulch, where the music of living waters, and the thunderous roll of the Pacific, accompanied the children's tuneless voices as they sang an Hawaiian hymn. I shall remember nothing of the scholars but rows of gleaming white teeth, and splendid brown eyes. I thought both teacher and children very apathetic. There were lamentably few, though the pretty rigidly enforced law, which compels all children between the ages of six and fifteen to attend school for forty weeks of the year, had probably gathered together all the children of the district They all wore coloured chemises and lets of flowers. Outside, some natives presented us with some ripe papayas.

Mounting again, we were joined by two native women, who were travelling the greater part of the way hither, and this made it more cheerful for D. The elder one had nothing on her head but her wild black hair, and she wore a black holoku, a lei of the orange seeds of the pandanus, orange trousers and big spurs strapped on her bare feet. A child of four, bundled up in a black poncho, rode on a blanket behind the saddle, and was tied to the woman's waist, by an orange shawl. The younger woman, who was very pretty, wore a sailor's hat, lets of crimson ohia blossoms round her hat and throat, a black holoku, a crimson poncho, and one spur, and held up a green umbrella whenever it rained.

We were shortly joined by Kaluna, the cousin, on an old, big, wall-eyed, bare-tailed, raw-boned horse, whose wall-eyes contrived to express mingled suspicion and fear, while a flabby, pendant, lower lip, conveyed the impression of complete abjectness. He looked like some human beings who would be vicious if they dared, but the vice had been beaten out of him long ago, and only the fear remained. He has a raw suppurating sore under the saddle, glueing the blanket to his lean back, and crouches when he is mounted. Both legs on one side look shorter than on the other, giving a crooked look to himself and his rider, and his bare feet are worn thin as if he had been on lava. I rode him for a mile yesterday, and when he attempted a convulsive canter, with three short steps and a stumble in it, his abbreviated off-legs made me feel as if I were rolling over on one side. Kaluna beats him the whole time with a heavy stick; but except when he strikes him most barbarously about his eyes and nose, he only cringes, without quickening his pace. When I rode him mercifully the true hound nature came out. The sufferings of this wretched animal have been the great drawback on this journey. I have now bribed Kaluna with as much as the horse is worth to give him a month's rest, and long before that time I hope the owl-hawks will be picking his bones.

The horse has come before the rider, but Kaluna is no nonentity. He is a very handsome youth of sixteen, with eyes which are remarkable, even in this land of splendid eyes, a straight nose, a very fine mouth, and beautiful teeth, a mass of wavy, almost curly hair, and a complexion not so brown ab to  conceal the mantling of the bright southern blood in his cheeks. His figure is lithe, athletic, and as pliable as if he were an invertebrate animal, capable of unlimited doublings up and contortions, to which his thin white shirt and blue cotton trousers are no impediment. He is almost a complete savage; his movements are impulsive and uncontrolled, and his handsome face looks as if it belonged to a half-tamed creature out of the woods. He talks loud, laughs incessantly, croons a monotonous chant, which sounds almost as heathenish as tom-toms, throws himself out of his saddle, hanging on by one foot, lingers behind to gather fruits, and then comes tearing up, beating his horse over the ears and nose, with a fearful yell and a prolonged sound like har-r-rouche, striking my mule and threatening to overturn me as he passes me on the narrow track. He is the most thoroughly careless and irresponsible being I ever saw, reckless about the horses, reckless about himself, without any manners or any obvious sense of right and propriety. In his mouth this musical tongue becomes as harsh as the speech of a cockatoo or parrot. His manner is familiar. He rides up to me, pokes his head under my hat, and says, interrogatively, “Cold !”by which I understand that the poor boy is shivering himself. In eating he plunges his hand into my bowl of fowl, or snatches half my biscuit. Yet I daresay he means well, and I am thoroughly amused with him, except when he maltreats his horse.

It is a very strange life going about with natives, whose ideas, as shown by their habits, are, to say the least of it, very peculiar. Deborah speaks English fairly, having been brought up by white people, and is a very nice girl. But were she one of our own race I should not suppose her to be more than eleven years old, and she does not seem able to understand my ideas on any subject, though I can be very much interested and amused with hearing hers.  We had a perfect day until the middle of the afternoon. The dimpling Pacific was never more than a mile from us as we kept the narrow track in the long green grass, and on our left the blunt, snow-patched peaks of Mauna Kea rose from the girdle of forest, looking so delusively near that I fancied a two hours' climb would take us to his lofty summit. The track for twenty-six miles is just in and out of gulches, from 100 to 800 feet in depth, all opening on the sea, which sweeps into them in three booming rollers. The candle-nut or kukui (aleurites triloba) tree, which on the whole predominates, has leaves of arich, deep green when mature, which contrast beautifully with the flaky, silvery look of the younger foliage. Some of the shallower gulches are filled exclusively with this tree, which in growing up to the light to within 100 feet of the top, presents a mass and density of leafage quite unique, giving the gulch the appearance as if billows of green had rolled in and solidified there. Each gulch has some specialty of ferns and trees, and in such a distance as sixty miles they vary considerably with the variations of soil, climate, and temperature. But everywhere the rocks, trees, and soil are covered and crowded with the most exquisite ferns and mosses, from the great tree-fern, whose bright fronds light up the darker foliage, to the lovely maiden-hair and graceful selaginellas which are mirrored in pools of sparkling water. Everywhere, too, the great blue morning glory opened to a heaven not bluer than itself.

The descent into the gulches is always solemn. You canter along a bright breezy upland, and are suddenly arrested by a precipice, and from the depths of a forest-draped abyss a low plash or murmur rises, or a deep bass sound, significant of water which must be crossed, and one reluctantly leaves the upper air to plunge into heavy shadow, and each experience increases one's apprehensions concerning the next. Though in some gulches the kukui preponderates, in others the lauhala whose aerial roots support it in otherwise impossible positions, and in others the sombre okia, yet there were some grand clefts in which nature has mingled her treasures impartially, and out of cool depths of ferns rose the feathery coco-palm, the glorious breadfruit, with its green melon-like fruit, the large ohia, ideal in its beauty,—the most gorgeous flowering tree I have ever seen, with spikes of rose-crimson blossoms borne on the old wood, blazing among its shining many-tinted leafage,—the tall papaya with its fantastic crown, the profuse, gigantic plantain, amid innumerable other trees, shrubs, and lianas, in the beauty and bounteousness of an endless spring. Imagine my surprise on seeing at the bottom of one gulch, a grove of good-sized, dark-leaved, very handsome trees, with an abundance of smooth, round, green fruit upon them, and on reaching them finding that they were orange trees, their great size, far exceeding that of the largest at Valencia, having prevented me from recognizing them earlier ! In another, some large shrubs with oval, shining, dark leaves, much crimped at the edges, bright green berries along the stalks, and masses of pure white flowers lying flat, like snow on evergreens, turned out to be coffee ! The guava with its obtuse smooth leaves, sweet, white blossoms on solitary, auxiliary stalks, and yellow fruit was universal. The novelty of the fruit, foliage, and vegetation is an intense delight to me. I should like to see how the rigid aspect of a coniferous tree, of which there is not one indigenous to the islands, would look by contrast. We passed through a long thicket of sumac, an exotic from North America, which still retains its old habit of shedding its leaves, and its grey, wintry, desolate-looking branches reminded me that there are less favoured parts of the world, and that you are among mist, cold, murk, slush, gales, leaflessness, and all the dismal concomitants of an English winter.

It is wonderful that people should have thought of crossing these gulches on anything with four legs. Formerly, that is, within the last thirty years, the precipices could only be ascended by climbing with the utmost care, and descended by being lowered with ropes from crag to crag, and from tree to tree, when hanging on by the hands became impracticable to even the most experienced mountaineer. In this last fashion Mr. Coan and Mr. Lyons were let down to preach the gospel to the people of the then populous valleys. But within recent years, narrow tracks, allowing one horse to pass another, have been cut along the sides of these precipices, without any windings to make them easier, and only deviating enough from the perpendicular to allow of their descent by the sure-footed native-born animals. Most of them are worn by water and animals' feet, broken, rugged, jagged, with steps of rock sometimes three feet high, produced by breakage here and there. Up and down these the animals slip, jump, and scramble, some of them standing still until severely spurred, or driven by some one from behind. Then there are softer descents, slippery with damp, and perilous in heavy rains, down which they slide dexterously, gathering all their legs under them. On a few of these tracks a false step means death, but the vegetation which clothes the pali below, blinds one to the risk. I don't think anything would induce me to go up a swinging zigzag—up a terrible pali opposite to me as I write, the sides of which are quite undraped.

All the gulches for the first twenty-four miles contain running water. The great Hakalau gulch which we crossed early yesterday, has a river with a smooth bed as wide as the Thames at Eton. Some have only small quiet streams, which pass gently through ferny grottoes. Others have fierce, strong torrents dashing between abrupt walls of rock, among immense boulders into deep abysses, and cast themselves over precipice after precipice into the ocean. Probably, many of these are the courses of fire torrents, whose jagged masses of a-a have since been worn smooth, and channelled into holes by the action of water. A. few are crossed on narrow bridges, but the majority are forded, if that quiet conventional term can be applied to the violent flounderings by which the horses bring one through. The transparency deceives them, and however deep the water is, they always try to lift their fore feet out of it, which gives them a disagreeable rolling motion. Mr. Brigham in his valuable monograph on the Hawaiian volcanoes quoted below,* appears as much impressed with these gulches as I am.

"The road from Hilo to Laupahoehoe, a distance of thirty miles, runs somewhat inland, and is one of the most remarkable in the world. Ravines, 1,800 or 2,000 feet deep, and less than a mile wide, extend far up the slopes of Mauna Kea. Streams, liable to sudden and tremendous freshets, must be traversed on a path of indescribable steepness, winding zig-zag up and down the beautifully wooded slopes or precipices, which are ornamented with cascades of every conceivable form. Few strangers, when they come to the worst precipices, dare to ride down, but such is the nature of the rough steps, that a horse or mule will pass them with less difficulty than a man on foot who is unused to climbing. No less than sixty-five streams must be crossed in a distance of thirty miles."—Brigham “On the Hawaiian Volcanoes.''

We lunched in one glorious valley, and Kaluna made drinking cups which held fully a pint, out of the beautiful leaves of the Arum esculentum. Towards afternoon turbid-looking clouds lowered over the sea, and by the time we reached the worst pali of all, the south side of Laupahoehoe, they burst on us in torrents of rain accompanied by strong wind. This terrible precipice takes one entirely by surprise. Kaluna, who rode first, disappeared so suddenly that I thought he had gone over. It is merely a dangerous broken ledge, and besides that it looks as if there were only foothold for a goat, one is dizzied by the sight of the foaming ocean immediately below, and, when we actually reached the bottom, there was only a narrow strip of shingle between the stupendous cliff and the resounding surges, which came up as if bent on destruction. The path by which we descended looked a mere thread on the side of the precipice. I don't know what the word beetling means, but if it means anything bad, I will certainly apply it to that pali.

A number of disastrous-looking native houses are clustered under some very tall palms in the open part of the gulch, but it is a most wretched situation; the roar of the surf is deafening, the scanty supply of water is brackish, there are rumours that leprosy is rife, and the people are said to be the poorest on Hawaii. We were warned that we could not spend a night comfortably there, so wet, tired, and stiff, we rode on other six miles to the house of a native called Bola-Bola, where we had been instructed to remain. The rain was heavy and ceaseless, and the trail had become so slippery that our progress was much retarded. It was a most unpropitious-looking evening, and I began to feel the painful stiffness arising from prolonged •fatigue in saturated clothes. I indulged in various imaginations as we rode up the long ascent leading to Bola-Bola's, but this time they were not of sofas and tea, and I never aspired to anything beyond drying my clothes by a good fire, for at Hilo some people had shrugged their shoulders, and others had laughed mysteriously at the idea of our sleeping there, and some had said it was one of the worst of native houses.

A single glance was enough. It was a dilapidated frame house, altogether forlorn, standing unsheltered on a slope of the mountain, with one or two yet more forlorn grass-piggeries, which I supposed might be the cook house, and eating-house near it.

A prolonged har-r-r-rouche from Kaluna brought out a man with a female horde behind him, all shuffling into clothes as we approached, and we stiffly dismounted from the wet saddles in which we had sat for ten hours, and stiffly hobbled up into the littered verandah, the water dripping from our clothes, and squeezing out of our boots at every step. Inside there was one room about 18 x 14 feet, which looked as if the people had just arrived and had thrown down their goods promiscuously. There were mats on the floor not over clean, and half the room was littered and piled with mats rolled up, boxes, bamboos, saddles, blankets, lassos, cocoanuts, kalo roots, bananas, quilts, pans, calabashes, bundles of hard pot in ti leaves, bones, cats, fowls, clothes. A frightful old woman, looking like a relic of the old heathen days, with bristling grey hair cut short, her body tattooed all over, and no clothing but a ragged blanket huddled round her shoulders; a girl about twelve, with torrents of shining hair, and a piece of bright green calico thrown round her, and two very good-looking young women in rose-coloured chemises, one of them holding a baby, were squatting and lying on the mats, one over another, like a heap of savages.

When the man found that we were going to stay all night he bestirred himself, dragged some of the things to one side, and put down a shake-down of pulu (the silky covering of the. fronds of one species of tree-fern), with a sheet over it, and a gay quilt of orange and red cotton. There was a thin printed muslin curtain to divide off one half of the room, a usual arrangement in native houses. He then helped to unsaddle the horses, and the confusion of the room was increased by a heap of our wet saddles, blankets, and gear. All this time the women lay on the floor and stared at us.  Rheumatism seemed impending, for the air up there was chilly, and I said to Deborah that I must make some change in my dress, and she signed to Kaluna, who sprang at my soaked boots and pulled them off, and my stockings too, with a savage alacrity which left it doubtful for a moment whether he had not also pulled off my feet ! I had no means of making any further change except putting on a wrapper over my wet clothes.

Meanwhile the man killed and boiled a fowl, and boiled some sweet potato, and when these untempting viands, and a calabash of poi were put before us, we sat round them and eat; I with my knife, the others with their fingers. There was coffee in a dirty bowl. The females had arranged a row of pillows on their mat, and all lay face downwards, with their chins resting upon them, staring at us with their great brown eyes, and talking and laughing incessantly. They had low sensual faces, like some low order of animal. When our meal was over, the man threw them the relics, and they soon picked the bones clean. It surprised me that after such a badly served meal the man brought a bowl of water for our hands, and something intended for a towel.

By this time it was dark, and a stone, deeply hollowed at the top, was produced, containing beef fat and a piece of rag for a wick, which burned with a strong flaring light. The women gathered themselves up and sat round a large calabash of poi, conveying the sour paste to their mouths with an inimitable twist of the fingers, laying their heads back and closing their eyes with a look of animal satisfaction. When they had eaten they lay down as before, with their chins on their pillows, and again the row of great brown eyes confronted me. Deborah, Kaluna, and the women talked incessantly in loud shrill voices till Kaluna uttered the word auwe with a long groaning intonation, apparently signifying weariness, divested himself of his clothes, and laid down on a mat alongside our shake-down, upon which we let down the dividing curtain and wrapped ourselves up as warmly as possible.

I was uneasy about Deborah who has had a cough for some time, and consequently took the outside place under the window which was broken, and presently a large cat jumped through the hole and down upon me, followed by another and another, till five wild cats had effected an entrance, making me a steppingstone to ulterior proceedings. Had there been a sixth I think I could not have borne the infliction quietly. Strips of jerked beef were hanging from the rafters, and by the light which was still burning I watched the cats climb up stealthily, seize on some of these, descend, and disappear through the window, making me a stepping-stone as before, but with all their craft they let some of the strips fall, which awoke Deborah, and next I saw Kaluna's magnificent eyes peering at us under the curtain. Then the natives got up, and smoked and eat more pot at intervals, and talked, and Kaluna and Deborah quarrelled, jokingly, about the time of night she told me, and the moon through the rain-clouds occasionally gave us delusive hopes of dawn, and I kept moving my place to get out of the drip from the roof, and so the night passed. I was amused all the time, though I should have preferred sleep to such nocturnal diversions. It was so new, and so odd, to be the only white person among eleven natives in a lonely house, and yet to be as secure from danger and annoyance as in our own home.

At last a pale dawn did appear, but the rain was still coming down heavily, and our poor animals were standing dismally with their heads down and their tails turned towards the wind. Yesterday evening I took a change of clothes out of the damp saddle-bags, and put them into what I hoped was a dry place, but they were soaked, wetter even than those in which I had been sleeping, and my boots and Deborah's were so stiff, that we gladly availed ourselves of Kaluna's most willing services. The mode of washing was peculiar : he held a calabash with about half-a-pint of water in it, while we bathed our faces and hands, and all the natives looked on and tittered. This was apparently his idea of politeness, for no persuasion would induce him to put the bowl down on the mat, and Deborah evidently thought it was proper respect. We had a repetition of the same viands as the night before for breakfast, and, as before, the women lay with their chins on their pillows and stared at us.  The rain ceased almost as soon as we started, and though it has not been a bright day, it has been very pleasant. There are no large gulches on to-day's journey. The track is mostly through long grass, over undulating uplands, with park-like clumps of trees, and thickets of guava and the exotic sumach. Different ferns, flowers, and vegetation, with much less luxuriance and little water, denoted a drier climate and a different soil.

We moved on in single file at a jog-trot wherever the road admitted of it, meeting mounted natives now and then, which led to a delay for the exchange of nuhou; and twice we had to turn into the thicket to avoid what here seems to be considered a danger. There are many large herds of semi-wild bullocks on the mountains, branded cattle, as distinguished from the wild or unbranded, and when they are wanted for food, a number of experienced vaccheros on strong, shod horses go up, and drive forty or fifty of them down. We met such a drove bound for Hilo, with one or two men in front and others at the sides and behind, uttering loud shouts. The bullocks are nearly mad with being hunted and driven, and at times rush like a living tornado, tearing up the earth with their horns. As soon as the galloping riders are seen and the crooked-horned beasts, you retire behind a screen. There must be some tradition of some one having been knocked down and hurt, for reckless as the natives are said to be, they are careful about this, and we were warned several times by travellers whom we met, that there were “bullocks ahead.” The law provides that the vaccheros shall station one of their number at the head of a gulch to give notice when cattle are to pass through.

We jogged on again till we met a native who told us that we were quite close to our destination; but there were no signs of it, for we were still on the lofty uplands, and the only prominent objects were huge headlands confronting the sea. I got off to walk, as my mule seemed footsore, but had not gone many yards when we came suddenly to the verge of a pali, about 1,000 feet deep, with a narrow, fertile valley, and a yet higher pali on the other side, both abutting perpendicularly on the sea. I should think the valley is not more than three miles long, and it is walled in by high, inaccessible mountains. It b in fact, a gulch on a greatly enlarged scale. The prospect below us was very charming, a fertile region perfectly level, protected from the sea by sandhills, watered by a winding stream, and bright with fishponds, meadow lands, kalo patches, orange and coffee groves, figs, breadfruit, and palms. There were a number of grass-houses, and a native church with a spire, and another up the valley testified to the energy and aggressiveness of Rome. We saw all this from the moment we reached the pali; and it enlarged, and the detail grew upon us with every yard of the laborious descent of broken, craggy track, which is the only mode of access to the valley from the outer world. I got down on foot with difficulty; a difficulty much increased by the long rowels of my spurs, which caught on the rocks and entangled my dress, the simple expedient of taking them off not having occurred to me !

A neat frame-house, with large stones between it and the river, was our destination. It belongs to a native named Halemanu, a great man in the district, for, besides being a member of the legislature, he is deputy sheriff. He is a man of property, also; and though he cannot speak a word of English, he is well educated in Hawaiian, and writes an excellent hand. I brought a letter of introduction to him from Mr. Severance, and we were at once received with every hospitality, our horses cared for, and ourselves luxuriously lodged. We walked up the valley before dark to get a view of a cascade, and found supper ready on our return. This is such luxury after last night. There is a very light, bright sitting-room, with papered walls, and manila matting on the floor, a round centre table with books and a photograph album upon it, two rocking-chairs, an office-desk, another table and chairs, and a Canadian lounge. I can't imagine in what way this furniture was brought here. Our bedroom opens from this, and it actually has a four-post bedstead with mosquito bars, a lounge and two chairs, and the floor is covered with native matting. The washing apparatus is rather an anomaly, for it consists of a basin and crash towel placed in the verandah, in full view of fifteen people. The natives all bathe in the river.

Halemanu has a cook house and native cook, and an eating room, where I was surprised to find everything in foreign style chairs, a table with a snow white cover, and table napkins, knives, forks, and even saltcellars. I asked him to eat with us, and he used a knife and fork quite correctly, never, for instance, putting the knife into his mouth. I was amused to see him afterwards, sitting on a mat among his family and dependants, helping himself to poi from a calabash with his fingers. He gave us for supper delicious river fish fried, boiled kalo, and Waipio coffee with boiled milk.

It is very annoying only to be able to converse with this man through an interpreter; and Deborah, as is natural, is rather unwilling to be troubled to speak English, now that she is among her own people. After supper we sat by candlelight in the parlour, and he showed me his photograph album. At eight he took a large Bible, put on glasses, and read a chapter in Hawaiian; after which he knelt and prayed with profound reverence of manner and tone. Towards the end I recognized the Hawaiian words for “Our Father.” Here in Waipio there is something pathetic in the idea of this Fatherhood, which is wider than the ties of kin and race. Even here not one is a stranger, an alien, a foreigner ! And this man, so civilized and Christianized, only now in middle life, was, he said, "a big boy when the first teachers came,”and may very likely have witnessed horrors in the heiau, or temple, close by, of which little is left now. This bedroom is thoroughly comfortable. Kaluna wanted to sleep on the lounge here, probably because he is afraid of akuas, or spirits, but we have exiled him to a blanket on the parlour lounge.

I. L. B.

The Lord's Prayer in Hawaiian runs thus:—E ko mako Makua i-loko o ka Lani, e hoanoia Kou Inoa E hiki mai Kou auhuni e malamaia Kou Makemake ma ka-nei honua e like me ia i malamaia ma ka Lani e haawi mai i a makau i ai no keia la e kala mai i ko makou lawehalaana me makou e kala nei i ka poe i lawehala mai i a makou mai alakai i a makou i ka hoowalewaleia mai ata a hookapele i a makou mai ka ino no ka mea Nou ke Aupuni a me ka Mana a me ka hoonaniia a man loa 'ku. Amene.

LETTER 10—continued—

The Waipio Fall—"Bessie Twinker”— William Wallace—Cities of Refuge—Human Sacrifices—Legendary Tyrants

We were thoroughly rested this morning, and very glad of a fine day for a visit to the great cascade, which is rarely seen by foreigners. My mule was slightly galled with the girth, and having a strong fellow feeling with Elisha's servant, “Alas, master, for it was borrowed! "I have bought for $20 a pretty, light, half-broken bay mare, which I rode to day and liked much.

After breakfast, which was a repetition of last night's supper, we three, with Halemanu's daughter as guide, left on horseback for the waterfall, though the natives tried to dissuade us by saying that stones came down, and it was dangerous; also that people could not go in their clothes, there was so much wading. In deference to this last opinion, D. rode without boots, and I without stockings. We rode through the beautiful valley till we reached a deep gorge turning off from it, which opens out into a nearly circular chasm with walls 2,000 feet in height, where we tethered our horses. A short time after leaving them, D. said, “She says we can't go further in our clothes,” but when the natives saw me plunge boldly into the river in my riding dress, which is really not unlike a fashionable, Newport bathing suit, they thought better of it. It was a thoroughly rough tramp, wading ten times through the river, which was sometimes up to our knees, and sometimes to our waists, and besides the fighting among slippery rocks in rushing water, we had to crawl and slide up and down wet, mossy masses of dislodged rock, to push with eyes shut through wet jungles of Indian shot, guava, and a thorny vine, and sometimes to climb from tree to tree at a considerable height. When, after an hour's fighting we arrived in sight of the cascade, but not of the basin into which it falls, our pretty guide declined to go further, saying that the wind was rising and that stones would fall and kill us; but being incredulous on this point, I left them, and with great difficulty and many bruises, got up the river to its exit from the basin, and there, being unable to climb the rocks on either side, stood up to my throat in the still, tepid water till the scene became real to me.

I do not care for any waterfall but Niagara, nor do I care in itself for this one, for though its first leap is 200 feet and its second 1,600, it is so frittered away and dissipated in spray, owing to the very magnitude of its descent, that there is no volume of water within sight to create mass or sound. But no words can paint the majesty of the surroundings, the caverned, precipitous walls of rock coming down in one black plunge from the blue sky above to the dark abyss of water below, the sullen, shuddering sound with which pieces of rock came hurtling down among the trees, the thin tinkle of the water as it falls, the full rush of the river, the feathery growth of ferns, gigantic below, but so diminished by the height above, as only to show their presence by the green tinge upon the rocks, while in addition to the gloom produced by the stupendous height of the cliffs, there is a cool, green darkness of dense forest, and mighty trees of strange tropical forms glass themselves in the black mirror of the basin. For one moment a ray of sunshine turned the upper part of the spray into a rainbow, and never to my eyes had the bow of promise looked so heavenly as when it spanned the black, solemn, tree-shadowed abyss, whose deep, still waters only catch a sunbeam on five days of the year.

I found the natives regaling themselves on papaya, and on live fresh-water shrimps, which they find in great numbers in the river. I remembered that white people at home, calling themselves civilized, eat live, or at least raw, oysters, but the sight of these active, squirming shrimps struggling between the white teeth of my associates was yet more repulsive.  We finished our adventurous expedition with limbs much bruised, as well as torn and scratched, and before we emerged from the chasm saw a rock dislodged, which came crashing down not far from us, carrying away an ohia. It is a gruesome and dowie den, but well worth a visit.

We mounted again, and rode as far as we could up the valley, fording the river in deep water several times, and coming down the other side. The coffee trees in full blossom were very beautiful, and they, as well as the oranges, have escaped the blight which has fallen upon both in other parts of the island. In addition to the usual tropical productions, there were some very fine fig trees and thickets of the castor-oil plant, a very handsome shrub, when, as here, it grows to a height of from 10 to 22 feet. The natives, having been joined by some Waipio women, rode at full gallop over all sorts of ground, and I enjoyed the speed of my mare without any apprehension of being thrown off. We rode among most extensive kalo plantations, and large artificial fish-ponds, in which hundreds of gold-fish were gleaming, and came back by the sea shore, green with the maritime convolvulus, and the smooth-bottomed river, which the Waipio folk use as a road. Canoes glide along it, brown-skinned men wade down it floating bundles of kalo after them, and strings of laden horses and mules follow each other along its still waters. I hear that in another and nearly unapproachable valley, a river serves the same purpose. While we were riding up it, a great gust lifted off its surface in fine spray, and almost blew us from our horses. Hawaii has no hurricanes, but at some hours of the day Waipio is subject to terrific gusts, which really justify the people in their objection to visiting the cascade. Some time ago, in one of these, this house was lifted up, carried 20 feet, and deposited in its present position.

Supper was ready for us—kalo, yams, spatchcock, pot, coffee, rolls, and Oregon kippered salmon j and when I told Halemanu that the spatchcock and salmon reminded me of home, he was quite pleased, and said he would provide the same for breakfast tomorrow.

The owner of the mare, which I have named "Bessie Twinker,” had willingly sold her to me, though I told him I could not pay him for her until I reached Onomea. I do not know what had caused my credit to suffer during my absence, but D., after talking long with him this evening, said to me,

"He says he can't let you have the horse, because when you've taken it away, he thinks you will never send him the money.” I told her indignantly to tell him that English women never cheated people, a broad and totally unsustainable assertion, which had the effect of satisfying the poor fellow.

After Halemanu, Deborah, Kaluna, and a number of natives had eaten their poi, Halemanu brought in a very handsome silver candlestick, and expressed a wish that Deborah should interpret for us. He asked a great many sensible questions about England, specially about the state of the poor, the extent of the franchise, and the influence of religion. When he heard that I had spent some years in Scotland, he said, “Do you know Mr. Wallace?“ I was quite puzzled, and tried to recall any man of that name who I had heard of as having visited Hawaii, when a happy flash of comprehension made me aware of his meaning, and I replied that he died long before I knew Scotland, and indeed before I was born; but that the Scotch held his memory in great veneration, and were putting up a monument to him. But for the mistake as to dates, he seemed to have the usual notions as to the exploits of Wallace. He deplores most deeply the dwindling of his people, and his manner became very sad about it. D. said, “He's very unhappy j he says, soon there will be no more Kanakas.” He told me that this beautiful valley was once very populous, and even forty years ago, when Mr. Ellis visited it, there were 1,300 people here. Now probably there are not more than 200.

Here was the Puhonua, or place of refuge for all this part of the island. This, and the very complete one of Honaunau, on the other side of Hawaii, were the Hawaiian “Cities of Refuge.” Could any tradition of the Mosaic ordinance on this subject have travelled hither? These two sanctuaries were absolutely inviolable. The gates stood perpetually open, and though the fugitive was liable to be pursued to their very threshold, he had no sooner crossed it than he was safe from king, chief, or avenger. These gates were wide, and some faced the sea, and others the mountains. Hither the murderer, the manslayer, the tabu-breaker fled, repaired to the presence of the idol, and thanked it for aiding him to reach the place of security. After a certain time the fugitives were allowed to return to their families, and none dared to injure those to whom the high gods had granted their protection.  

In time of war, tall spears, from which white flags were unfurled, were placed at each end of the enclosure, and until the proclamation of peace invited the vanquished to enter. These flags were fixed a short distance outside the walls, and no pursuing warrior, even in the hot flush of victory, could pursue his routed foe one foot beyond. Within was the sacred pale of pahu tabu, and anyone attempting to strike his victim there would have been put to death by the priests and their adherents. In war time the children, old people, and many of the women of the neighbouring districts, were received within the enclosure, where they awaited the issue of the conflict in security, and were safe from violence in the event of defeat. These puhonuas contain pieces of stone weighing from 2 to 3 tons, raised 6 feet from the ground, and the walls, narrowing gradually towards the top, are 15 feet wide at the base and 12 feet high. They are truly grand monuments of humanity in the midst of the barbarous institutions of heathenism, and it shows a considerable degree of enlightenment, that even rebels in arms and fugitives from invading armies were safe, if they reached the sacred refuge, for the priests of Keawe knew no distinctions of party.

In dreadful contrast to this place of mercy, there were some very large heiaus (or temples) here, on whose hideous altars eighty human sacrifices are said to have been offered at one time. One of the legends told me concerning this lovely valley is, that King Umi, having vanquished the kings of the six divisions of Hawaii, was sacrificing captives in one of these heiaus, when the voice of his god, Kuahilo was heard from the clouds, demanding more slaughter. Fresh human blood streamed from the altars, but the insatiable demon continued to call for more, till Umi had sacrificed all the captives and all his own men but one, whom he at first refused to give up, as he was a great favourite, but Kuahilo thundered from heaven, till the favourite warrior was slain, and only the king and the sacrificing priest remained.

This valley of the “vanquished waters “abounds in legends. Some of these are about a cruel monster, King Hooku, who lived here, and whose memory, so far as he is remembered, is much execrated. It is told of him that if a man were said to have a handsome head, he sent some of his warriors to behead him, and then hacked and otherwise disfigured the face for a diversion. On one occasion he ordered a man's arm to be cut off and brought to him, simply because it was said to be more beautifully tattooed than his own. It is sixty-four years since the last human sacrifice was exposed on the Waipio altars, but there are several old people here who must have been at least thirty when Hawaii threw off idolatry for ever. Halemanu has again closed the evening with the simple worship of the true God.

I. L. B.


Letter 11: Native Luxury, a Council of War, the Rainy Season, and a Swim for Life


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