Why birds can be seen:
Long ago birds were invisible. Men could hear the
whir of their wings and listen to their songs, but the birds
themselves no one could see - no one, except Mau'i. One day a
visitor came from another island and challenged Maui to a boasting
contest. A crowd gathered and listened with delight as each man
boasted of his island—its mountains, waterfalls, and forests.
"I must win!" thought Mau'i, and aloud he said,
"I'll prove to you that we have something here that you have never
dreamed of." Secretly he called the birds. They lighted all about on
trees and bushes and filled the air with song. The boastful visitor
was silent while the crowd listened in wonder. "Spirits!" they
whispered. At last, using his mighty power, Mau'i caused them all to
see the little feathered singers.
The boastful man exclaimed, "O Mau'i, you have won!
In my island there is no such wonder."
Ever since that day birds may be seen as well as
Source: Hawai`i Resource Library
The Legend of Black Rock, Maui
Long ago, a beautiful young princess came to the island of maui
in search of the most powerful Kahuna. She was being pursued by
three evil suitors and was desperate to flee. The Kahuna had taken
pity on the young princess and her parents and had turned them into
the West Maui Mountains. Two of the suitors were transformed into a
place called Napili. The most evil suitor became Pu'u Keka'a or what
is now called, Black Rock. Standing only to gaze upon her knowing
she would never be his.
How heiau can be built in one night:
The Menehunes are credited with the
construction of numerous heiaus (ancient temples) in various
parts of the islands.
The heiau of Mookini, near Honoipu, Kohala, is
I pointed out as an instance of their marvellous work. The place
selected for the site of the temple was on a grassy plain. The
stones in the nearest neighborhood were for some reason not deemed
suitable for the work, so those of Pololu Valley, distant some
twelve miles, were selected. Tradition says the Menehunes were
placed in a line covering the entire distance from Pololu to Honoipu,
whereby the stones were passed from hand to hand for the entire
work. Work was begun at the quiet of night, and at cock-crow in the
morning it was finished. Thus in one night the heiau of Mookini was
Another temple of their erection was at
Pepeekeo, Hilo, the peculiarity of the work being that the stones
had been brought together by the residents of that part of the
district, by direction of the chief, but that in one night, the
Menehunes gathered together and built it. The chief and his people
were surprised on coming the next morning to resume their labors, to
find the heiau completed.
There stands on the pali of Waikolu, near
Kalaupapa, Molokai, a heiau that Hawaiians believe to have been
constructed by no one else than the Menehunes. It is on the top of a
ledge in the face of a perpendicular cliff, with a continuous
inaccessible cliff behind it reaching hundreds of feet above. No one
has ever been able to reach it either from above or from below; and
the marvel is how the material, which appears to be seashore stones,
was put in place.
How Wailuku, Mau'i, got its name:
The Battle of the Owls (Pu'eo)
A wahine (woman) of Maui searching for food found an
egg filled nest. "Duck eggs!" she cried joyfully, laying the eggs in
her gourd and taking them home.
"What have you there?" her husband asked. .."Owl
eggs!" he shouted in disgust. 'They are not good to eat. Why did you
bring them home?"
From a nearby tree a voice called, "Those eggs are
mine. Oh please give them back!" There sat a mother owl blinking in
"How do you know these are your eggs?" the man
asked, his voice hard. "I came home to my nest and it was empty. I
saw this woman carrying eggs and followed her. Oh let me take them
back that I may hatch them!"
"How many eggs did you have?" asked the man.
"Seven," the owl told him. 'yes, there are seven here," the woman
said. 'These eggs must be hers. Let me take them back to her nest. I
should not have taken owl eggs."
The husband only laughed a cruel laugh. Picking up
one of the eggs he threw it at the wall. 'There is one!" he teased
the owl. 'Take it if you like. And here's another!" One by one he
threw every egg against the stones, smashing the shell and staining
the stones with yellow. "Now you have them all!" he laughed and led
his wife away.
The mother owl wept, thinking about the baby owls
she'd expected to hatch. She gathered up the bits of shell and flew
back to her empty nest. There her mate met her. "Why do you weep?"
he asked. "For our eggs," she told him. "Only these bits of shell
"What happened?" "A man did this—a cruel man. One by
one he threw our eggs against the stones and smashed them, every
one, then laughed and told me I could have them all." Her mate was
very angry. "Cruel man!" he shouted. "We shall punish him!"
"What can two owls do against a man?" Two owls? Four
hundred owls! Four thousand owls! Fly to the west and tell all owls
of this cruel deed. I shall fly to Hawai'i. Let us gather the owls
of every island to our aid."
The owls of every island came. Those of Ni'ihau and
Kaua'i met the owls of O'ahu. Flying together in a great flock they
joined the owls of Moloka'i, Lana'i and Kaho'olawe. When they were
united with flocks from Hawai'i and from Mau'i their numbers filled
the sky and shut out the sun's light. A fierce battle followed.
The cruel man was punished and
the battle place still bears the name Wailuku, Mau'i,
Source: Hawai`i Resource Library
A long time ago on the Island of Oahu, lived a powerful king
whose son was named Kama Pua'a. This child was difficult, to say the
least. He was always chasing away his father's livestock and tearing
up the royal taro patches. His father swore that if he ever caught
him, he would kill him. To save himself, Kama Pua'a fled Oahu and
moved to Maui and married Madame Pele, the fiery goddess. They were
in love and soon had a son.
A sad event occurred; the son died. Madame Pele, as fiery as she
was, went into a rage and started chasing Kama Pua'a. To escape, he
started running down the slopes of Haleakala, towards the sea. When
he did this, he turned into a giant hog. With Madame Pele gaining,
Kama Pua'a called to his grandmother on Oahu, "Grandma, Grandma,what
should I do?"
His grandmother answered his call, "Leap into the ocean and you
shall save yourself." When he got to the bottom at Pa'uwela, he
leaped into the ocean and changed into a fish. This ended his
emotional experience with Madame Pele. Thus Pa'uwela, which means
"calming of emotions", was named. The fish that Kama Pua'a turned
into was a Humuhumunukunukuapua'a; a fish with a pig snout.
And today,that fish is the Hawaiian state fish.
How the auwai (watercourse) at
Kikiaola, Kaua`i, was built:
Pi was an ordinary man living in Waimea,
Kauai, who wanted to construct a mano, or dam, across the Waimea
River and a watercourse therefrom to a point near Kikiaola. Having
settled upon the best locations for his proposed work, he went up to
the mountains and ordered all the Menehunes that were living near
Puukapele to prepare stones for the dam and watercourse. The
Menehunes were portioned off for the work; some to gather stones,
and others to cut them. All the material was ready in no time (manawa
ole), and Pi settled upon the night when the work was to be done.
When the time came he went to the point where the dam was to be
built, and waited. At the dead of night he heard the noise and hum
of the voices of the Menehunes on their way to Kikiaola, each of
whom was carrying a stone. The dam was duly constructed, every stone
fitting in its proper place, and the stone auwai, or watercourse,
also laid around the bend of Kikiaola. Before the break of day the
work was completed, and the water of the Waimea River was turned by
the dam into the watercourse on the flat lands of Waimea.
When the work was finished Pi served out food
for the Menehunes, which consisted of shrimps (opae), this being the
only kind to be had in sufficient quantity to supply each with a
fish to himself. They were well supplied and satisfied, and at dawn
returned to the mountains of Puukapele rejoicing, and the hum of
their voices gave rise to the saying, "Wawa ka Menehune i Puukapele,
ma Kauai, puoho ka manu o ka loko o Kawainui ma Koolaupoko,
Oahu"--the hum of the voices of the Menehunes at Puukapele, Kauai,
startled the birds of the pond of Kawainui, at Koolaupoko, Oahu.
The auwai, or watercourse, of Pi is still to
be seen at Kikiaola.
Hawaiian legend, night marchers (huaka‘i
po in Hawaiian) are ghosts of
ancient warriors. They supposedly roam
large sections of the island chain, and
can be seen by groups of torches. They
can usually be found in areas that were
once large battlefields (the Nu`uanu
Pali on the island of Oahu is a good
example.) Legend has it that if you look
a night marcher straight in the eye, you
will disappear, never to be seen again.
Hawaiians say that in the presence of
night marchers, one should lie down on
their stomach, face down to avoid eye
contact. Moanalua Gardens is one of the
many places the Night Marchers are said
The Story of Maui
Eons ago, there was born the Demigod
Maui. His father was the holder of the
heavens and his mother was the guardian
of the path to the Netherworld. Maui was
the only one of the children who
possessed the powers of magic and
Maui was the smallest of the family.
He had the quickest of mind and had an
extremely rascally nature about him.
Maui would take any advantage of both
his friends and the gods in his quest to
fulfill his schemes.
It is said that Maui was not a god
fisherman. His brothers were much more
skilled. They would often laugh at him
for his poor success. In revenge, Maui
used his cunning to fill his boat with
catch at his brothers expense. Maui
would position his boat so that when one
of his brothers began to pull in a fish,
he would distract them so that he could
pull his line across theirs stealing
Maui's brothers could only marvel at
their younger brother. However they soon
caught on and refused to take him
fishing with them. Maui's fortune turned
against him. His mother then sent him to
his father to obtain a magic hook.
"Go to your father. There you will
receive the hook called Manaiakalani,
the hook fastened to the heavens. When
the hook catches land, it will raise the
old seas together."
Maui returned with his hook. He
joined his brothers in another fishing
expedition. They jeered him and threw
him out of the boat. When they returned,
they were empty handed. Maui berated
them. He stated that if they had allowed
him to join them, they would have had
better success. The brothers decided to
allow him to join them in their canoe
for another chance.
They paddled far into the deep ocean
and threw their lines overboard. To
their dismay, they only caught sharks.
The brothers ridiculed Maui asking
"Where are the fish you promised?"
Maui then rose and threw his magical
hook into the ocean. Chanting a spell of
power, he commanded the hook to catch
the Great Fish.
At once the sea began to move. Great
waves rose around the canoe. Maui
commanded his brothers to paddle with
all their might and to not look back.
For two days, Maui held taut the magic
line and hook while his brothers kept
paddling furiously. Suddenly from below
the depths arose the tops of great
mountains in a series of peaks that
broke the surface of the ocean. Maui
reminded his brothers to keep paddling
mightily. Maui pulled mightily against
the line and forced the peaks even
farther out of the water.
One of his brothers then broke the
command and gazed back in awe at the
sight of the rising land. He stopped
paddling and quickly the magic line
began to slacken in Maui's hands. Before
he could call out to his brothers, the
line snapped and the magic hook was lost
forever beneath the sea.
Maui chastised his brothers for their
failure to paddle as he had commanded.
"I had endeavored to raise a great
continent but because of your weakness I
have only these islands to show for all
And this is how the Islands of Hawai'i
came to be...
Why rainbows are red:
Mau'i went to Waipio valley on he Big Island of
Hawai'i where the Gods Kane and Kanaloa are having a party roasting
bananas. Mau'i tried to steal the bananas and had his brains bashed in.
The red colors of the rainbow were formed by Mau'i's blood.
Source: Hawai`i Resource Library
The mythology of the
Menehune is as old as the beginnings of
Polynesian history. Some say that the great
god Maui himself, was one of the tiny
creatures. When the first Polynesians
arrived in Hawaii, they found dams,
fish-ponds, and even Heiau (temples), all
presumably built by the Menehune who were
already there, living in caves.
The creatures are said to
be about two feet high, although some have
been seen as small as six inches, capable of
fitting in the palm of someone's hand. They
are always naked, but the long straight hair
that falls to their knees keeps them warm
and discreet. Apparently no two of them are
the same, and they can be so moody as to be
malicious and dangerous one day, and simply
harmless the next. But they are always
tricky, and therefore should be avoided,
unless a special favor is absolutely needed
In the old times, some
Hawaiians married Menehune girls, who were
said to be quite fair, but needed to be
shown how to make a fire and eat cooked
food, because their own diet consisted only
of starchy raw vegetables. The services of
Menehune expert builders and craftsmen can
be requested. This is especially so, if you
can trace your family tree back to one of
them. They then act like benevolent
godparents. Many a major project, such as
the preparation of a wedding feast, has been
completed in a single night by the super
strong little gods, while all humans slept.
Menehune are afraid of
owls. On the island of Kauai, the Menehune
sometimes sneak in among the people there
and pull too many tricks. That is when the
owl god of Paupueo (owl hill) summons all
the owls of Kauai to chase the Menehune back
into the forest.
The little ones are fond
of dancing, and singing, and of sports, such
as shooting arrows. Sometimes they use magic
arrows, to pierce the heart of angry
persons, and make them feel love instead.
They also truly enjoy diving off cliffs into
the surf. If you hear splashes in the night
at Ka`anapali, it is possibly a Menehune
diving off Black Rock! But you would have to
move impossibly quick to ever see one.
Kana, the Giant of Kohala
There once lived a strong warrior named Kana
who had supernatural powers. On the Big Island in Kohala is where
Kana lived. Kana was so tall that he could walk through the ocean
from one island to another. Since he was so tall, he could even put
one foot on O'ahu and the other foot on Kaua'i which were islands
that were at least ninety miles away.
Oro, a god of vengeance and wrath, was
offended by the Hawaiians and wanted to get back at them by taking
away the sun. He hid the sun in a cave behind some rocks so now, the
Hawaiians would be in darkness forever. Since it was always dark,
the Hawaiians couldn't dry their clothes or play outside. So, Kana
set out to find the sun.
Kana searched for the god who made the sun.
When he found the god, Kana made a bargain with him. Kana said " If
you retrieve the sun, and give it to me, I will make sure that there
are enough dried kapa for everyone." The god agreed to this deal and
retrieved the sun for Kana. When the god gave the sun to Kana, he
set it in the sky so well that no one has ever been able to move it
since. Now the sun is back in the sky and all of the Hawaiians can
dry their kapa. The Hawaiians lived happily ever after with the sun
in the sky again.
Local People know not to go
traveling or walking in the green in the night. NO
one walks through the grass or the forests of Hawaii
with out a source of light. Story has it that if you
do a lady in a white dress will appear and scare
you. Another story says that if you see her she will
kill you. This will happen in any large green plant
area. Such as a park or forest and only at night.
The King of Sharks retold by S. E.
One day, the King of Sharks saw a beautiful
girl swimming near the shore. He immediately fell in love with the
girl. Transforming himself into a handsome man, he dressed himself
in the feathered cape of a chief and followed her to her village.
The villagers were thrilled by the visit of a
foreign chief. They made a great luau, with feasting and games. The
King of Sharks won every game, and the girl was delighted when he
asked to marry with her.
The King of
Sharks lived happily with his bride in a house near a waterfall. The
King of Sharks, in his human form, would swim daily in the pool of
water beneath the falls. Sometimes he would stay underneath the
water so long that his bride would grow frightened. But the King of
Sharks reassured her, telling her that he was making a place at the
bottom of the pool for their son.
the birth of the child, the King of Sharks returned to his people.
He made his wife swear that she would always keep his feathered cape
about the shoulders of their son. When the child was born, his
mother saw a mark upon his back which looked like the mouth of a
shark. It was then she realized who her husband had been.
The child's name was Nanave. As he grew towards
manhood, Nanave would swim daily in the pool beside the house.
Sometimes, his mother would gaze into the pool and see a shark
swimming beneath the water.
Each morning, Nanave would stand beside the
pool, the feathered cloak about his shoulders, and would ask the
passing fishermen where they were going to fish that day. The
fisherman always told the friendly youth where they intended to go.
Then Nanave would dive into the pool and disappear for hours.
The fishermen soon noticed that they were
catching fewer and fewer fish. The people of their village were
growing hungry. The chief of the village called the people to the
temple. "There is a bad god among us," the chief told the people.
"He prevents our fishermen from catching fish. I will use my magic
to find him." The chief laid out a bed of leaves. He instructed all
the men and boys to walk among the leaves. A human's feet would
bruise the tender leaves, but the feet of a god would leave no mark.
Nanave's mother was frightened. She knew her son
was the child of a god, and he would be killed if the people
discovered his identity. When it came turn for the youth to walk
across the leaves, he ran fast, and slipped. A man caught at the
feathered cape Nanave always wore to prevent him from being hurt.
But the cape fell from the youth's shoulders, and all the people
could see the shark's mouth upon his back.
The people chased Nanave out of the village,
but he slipped away from them and dived into the pool. The people
threw big rocks into the pool, filling it up. They thought they had
killed Nanave. But his mother remembered that the King of Sharks had
made a place for her son at the bottom of the pool, a passage that
led to the ocean. Nanave had taken the form of a shark and had swum
out to join his father, the King of Sharks, in the sea.
But since then, the fishermen have never told
anyone where they go to fish, for fear the sharks will hear and
chase the fish away.
The Legend of Kauila at Punalu'u
Long, long ago, a magnificent turtle appeared on the
moonlit shores of Punalu'u. Honu-po'o-kea was no ordinary
sea turtle. Her head was as white as the snows of Mauna Kea.
Honu-po'o-kea paused at the ocean's edge, searching for the
perfect place to build a nest. Gentle waves tugged at the
black sand beneath her. With a deep sigh, she pulled herself
Honu-po'o-kea dug a shallow hole and laid an egg, as dark
and smooth as polished kauila wood. Her mate, Honu-'ea, had
been waiting offshore, his reddish-brown shell bobbing in
the surf. As Honu-po'o-kea covered her nest, Honu-'ea joined
her. Together the turtles dug into the black sand and
created a spring. Then, as silently as they had come, they
disappeared into the ocean.
In time, the egg hatched into a magical turtle named
Kauila. Kauila made her home at the bottom of the freshwater
spring that her parents had made. People called it Ka wai hu
o Kauila, the rising water of Kauila. Children would come to
play in the spring, and if they saw bubbles rising from its
depths they knew that Kauila was sleeping. Sometimes Kauila
would transform herself into a girl so that she could play
among the keiki. Always, she kept a watchful eye on the
children, insuring their safety.
Honu, or green sea turtles, still come to the black sands
of Punalu'u on the Big Island. They can be seen grazing on
seaweed in the surf or basking in the warm sun, oblivious to
the people that gather to watch them. At night the rare honu
'ea, or hawksbill turtle, has been known to nest in the
area, just as Honu-po'o-kea did so long ago.
Here and there the black sand bubbles as cool mountain
water from Mauna Loa percolates through the porous lava.
This was Kauila's gift: fresh water for the people of
Punalu'u. Long ago Hawaiians would dive to the floor of the
bay to collect the fresh water in gourds. Hence the name
Punalu'u, which means diving spring.
Birth of the Iao Needle
Once in Old Hawaii, in the days when anything was
possible, Maui, the most powerful God, had a beautiful
daughter. Maui loved her very much and as he watched her
grow up, he vowed that only the most worthy King in all the
islands would marry her.
But without her father knowing, the beautiful maiden fell
in love with Puuokamoa, a Merman God. She knew that her
father wouldn't approve, so they kept their romance secret.
Every day the beautiful maiden sneaked off to meet her love
and every night she returned home, radiant. One day, a
townsperson saw the two of them together and ran back and
told Maui of his daughter's secret lover.
Maui was furious. He flew into a rage and his screams of
anger were heard by Madame Pele, the volcano Goddess. She
flew in her supernatural way to where Maui was and suddenly
appeared in front of him.
"What is so horribly wrong to put you in such an uproar?"
Madame Pele asked.
"My beautiful daughter has fallen in love with a God and
I disapprove. When I see him, I am going to have him
condemned to a fiery death", Maui said.
"Who is this God?", Pele asked.
"His name is Puuokamoa".
Madame Pele frowned at the mention of his name. "Oh no,
Puuokamoa is my friend. Spare him, Maui. I beg you. Do not
have him killed".
But Maui would not listen. Madame Pele was still
pleading with him when his beautiful daughter returned. She
heard her father's death sentence on her lover and burst
Oh Father", she sobbed, "I cannot live without the sight
The Father's heart softened at the sight of his daughter
and thinking that she would be unhappy for the rest of her
life if she could not see the man she loved. Finally, after
much thought, Maui put his arms around his daughter and
lifted up her beautiful face. Tears soaked her unhappy eyes.
"Daughter dear, I cannot bear to see you unhappy", Maui
said tenderly. "But I cannot allow this romance to continue.
You cannot marry this Merman God".
His daughter waited to hear what her powerful father had
decided. Madame Pele stood quietly, waiting to hear the fate
of her friend.
I will not reduce him to ashes", Maui said.
"Oh, father dear", the daughter cried out, hugging him.
"I will turn him into stone. Then you may gaze upon him,
but your romance will be pau (over)".
And that is how the mountain, known as the Needle, at Iao
Valley came to be. It is the Merman God turned to stone for
all to gaze upon.
The Wizard Stones of Kapaemahu at Waikiki
James H. Boyd
The doings of four sorcerers, who have prestige among the
mele singers and recounters of ancient Hawaiian lore, were
revived a few years ago by the unearthing of long concealed
monuments on the Waikiki beach premises of Princess
Ka'iulani. These discovered relics of ancient days have
brought out the tradition of their existence, to the
From the land of Moa'ulanuiakea (Tahiti), there came to
Hawaii long before the reign of Kakuhihewa, four soothsayers
from the court of the Tahitian king. Their names were:
Kapaemahu, Kahaloa, Kapuni and Kinohi. They were received as
became their station, and their tall stature, courteous ways
and kindly manners made them soon loved by the Hawaiian
people. The attractiveness of their fine physique and gentle
demeanor was overshadowed by their low, soft speech which
endeared them to all with whom they came in contact. They
were unsexed by nature, and their habits coincided with
their feminine appearance, although manly in stature and
general bearing. After a long tour of the islands this
quartette of favorites of the gods settled at Ulukou,
Waikiki, near the site of the present Moana Hotel.
The wizards or soothsayers proved to be adepts in the
science of healing, and many wonderful cures by the laying
on of sands are reported to have been effected by them, so
that their fame spread all over this island of O'ahu, as the
ancients say, "from headland to headland," And their wisdom
and skill was shown by many acts which gave them prestige
among the people.
In course of time, knowing that their days among their
Hawaiian friends were drawing to a close, they caused their
desire for recognition for past services to be remembered in
some tangible form, or manner, so that those who might come
after, could see the appreciation of those who had been
succored and relieved of pain and suffering by their
ministrations during their sojourn among them. As an
enduring reminder, the wizards agreed among themselves that
the people should be asked to erect four monumental tablets,
two to be placed on the ground of the habitation, and two at
their usual bathing place in the sea. They gave their
decision to the people as a voice from the gods, and
instructed that the stones be selected from among those in
the "bell rock" vicinity of Kaimuki.
The night of Kane was the time indicated for the
commencement of the work of transportation, and thousands
responded to aid in the labor. Four large selected boulders,
weighing several tons each, were taken to the beach lot at
Ulukou, Waikiki, two of which were placed in position where
their house stood, and the other two were placed in their
bathing place in the sea. Kapaemahu, chief of the wizards,
had his stone so named, and transferred his witchcraft
powers thereto with incantations and ceremonies, including a
sacrificial offering, said to have been that of a lovely,
virtuous young chiefess, and her body placed beneath the
stone. Idols indicating the unsexed nature of the wizards
were also placed under each stone and tradition tells that
the incantations, prayers and fastings lasted one full moon.
Tradition further states, as is related in the old-time
meles of that period, that, after the ceremonies, by each of
the wizards transferred all his powers to his stone, they
vanished, and were seen no more. But the rocks having lately
been discovered they have been exhumed from their bed of
sand and placed in position in the locality found, as
tangible evidence of a Hawaiian tale.
Pele's Revenge retold by S. E.
Ohi'a and Lehua loved each
other from the moment they first saw each other at a village
dance. Ohi'a was a tall strong man with a handsome face and
lithe form. He was something of a trickster and was first in
all the sports played by all the young men. Lehua was gentle
and sweet and as fragile as a flower. Her beauty was the
talk of the island, and her father was quite protective of
his only child.
When Lehua saw the handsome,
bold Ohi'a speaking with her father beside the bonfire, she
blushed crimson, unable to take her eyes from the young man.
At the same moment, Ohi'a glanced up from his conversation
and his mouth dropped open at the sight of the beautiful
maiden. He was not even aware that he had stopped speaking
right in the middle of his sentence, so overwhelmed was he
by the sight of the fair maiden across the fire from him.
Lehua's father nudged the
young man, recalling him to his duties as a guest. Ohi'a
stuttered and stammered apologies, trying to continue his
conversation while keeping one eye on the fair Lehua.
Lehua's father was amused by the young man's obvious
infatuation with his daughter. He quite liked this bold
trickster, and so he offered to introduce Ohi'a to his
daughter. The young man almost fell over in his haste as
they walked across the clearing to where Lehua stood with
her friends. From
that moment, there was no other woman for Ohi'a but Lehua.
He had eyes only for her, and courted her with a passion and
zeal that swiftly won her heart. Her father gave his only
daughter gladly into the keeping of the strong young man,
and the young couple lived quite happily for several months
in a new home Ohi'a built for his bride.
Then one day the goddess Pele
was walking in the forest near the home of the handsome
Ohi'a and spied the young man at work. Pele was smitten by
him, and went at once to engage him in conversation. Ohi'a
spoke politely to the beautiful woman, but did not respond
to her advances, which infuriated Pele. She was determined
to have this young man for herself, but before she could
renew her efforts, Lehua came to the place her young husband
was working to bring him his midday meal.
When he saw his lovely wife,
Ohi'a's face lit up with love. He dropped everything at once
and went to her side, leaving a fuming Pele to stare in
jealous rage at the young couple. Dropping her human
disguise, the goddess transformed into a raging column of
fire and struck Ohi'a down, transforming him into a twisted
ugly tree in revenge for spurning her advances.
Lehua fell to her knees
beside the twisted tree that had once been her husband.
Tears streaming down her lovely face, she begged Pele to
turn him back into a man or else turn her into a tree, as
she could not bear to be separated from her beloved. But
Pele ignored the girl, taking herself up to the cool
heights, her anger satisfied. But the gods saw what Pele had
done to the innocent lovers and were angry. As Lehua lay
weeping in despair, the gods reached down and transformed
the girl into a beautiful red flower, which they placed upon
the twisted Ohi'a tree, so that she and her beloved husband
would never more be apart.
From that day to this, the
Ohi'a tree has blossomed with the beautiful red Lehua
flowers. While the flowers remain on the tree, the weather
remains sunny and fair. But when a flower is plucked from
the tree, then heavy rain falls upon the land like tears,
for Lehua still cannot bear to be separated from her beloved