ROMANCE OF THE ISLAND OF
It will be remembered that the story of Ola's
building of the famous watercourse Kikiola concludes with the refusal by
Namakaokaha‘i, chiefess of the Mu and Menehune people, of an offer of
marriage and her disappearance with her people on the floating land of
Kane-huna-moku. Kaanaelike (Anelike) in the story of the "rolling"
island of Ulu-ka‘a is the same chiefess under another name. Ulu-ka‘a and
Kane-huna-moku are interchangeable names for that garden of delight in
which the gods first placed Kumuhonua and his wife, ancestors of the
Hawaiian people. Ku-waha-ilo is the parent of Anaelike as of
Namaka-o-kaha‘i in the heavens. The lover who comes swimming to her over
the sea is the Man-of-the-sea of Namaka under another name. Even the
poisoned food of the Aukele test is here suggested, although with a
quite different turn. The son Eyebrows-burnt-off of Kaanaelike by her
stranger husband is Lightning-flashing-in-the-heavens whom Namaka bore
to Aukele. The concluding infidelity motive connects the story
unmistakably with the Pele legend with its outgush of fire which
desolates the whole land.
ROMANCE OF KAANAELIKE
(a) Rice version. Kaana-e-like
(Striving to be alike), the granddaughter of Ku-waha-ilo, lives with her
parents and eleven sisters on the floating island of the gods named
Uluka‘a. Keaweaoho, ruling chief of Hawaii at Waipio, is greatly beloved
for his good government. However, he shows such favoritism toward his
fishermen that his head steward is jealous and withholds the food which
the chief invariably portions out to them after a day's fishing. They
are angry and on the next fishing expedition persuade him to swim out
after a lost oar and abandon him in the sea, where he might have
perished had not Ku-waha-ilo in
the heavens coveted him as a husband for his granddaughter
and sent the floating island to his side.
The chief finds food plants growing and recovers
strength and beauty. He teaches Kaanaelike and her sisters, who have
hitherto subsisted on berries and edible roots, how to make fire with
fire sticks and to eat cooked food. "Man of the sea" he calls himself,
and her parents send her to the heavens on a stretching coconut sprout
to ask her grandfather's permission to marry the stranger. Kuwahailo is
a man-eater. When he approaches, the earth quakes, trees bend, winds
blow; first comes his tongue licking up his victims, then his body
follows. Before entering his cave house he hangs up his tongue outside.
He would have killed the girl whom he finds inside, but her sacred skirt
protects her and he recognizes his grandchild. He instructs her to marry
the chief and promises on his part to cease eating men. Then he lowers
her to earth seated on the crook of his tongue, she weds the stranger,
and a feast follows.
Meanwhile the bird sisters of the chief have been
searching for him and they come to him in a dream and tell him how badly
things are going at home since he left them. He grieves and the chiefess
orders a canoe to be built for him with red sails, ropes, and clothing
for the sailors. She warns him not to look back and follows him on the
floating island as he is rowed to shore, but when he looks back the
island has disappeared. He reestablishes his rule on Hawaii and puts to
death the guilty fishermen and steward.
His child is born on the floating island and named
Na-kuemaka-pau-i-ke-ahi (Eyebrows burnt off) because of an accident to
himself when he built the first fire for Kaanaelike. By the time the boy
is six days old he can play games with the other boys and he goes to
seek his father in a red canoe. He gives the waiting sailors outside a
sign that if he is received the smoke will blow seaward, if killed it
will blow landward. The attendants attempt to stop the boy and inflict
injuries but he gets through to his father's house and sits on his lap
and the smoke turns and blows seaward. The mother however prepares to
avenge the boy's injuries. She comes with her eleven beautiful sisters
who resemble herself, and sends each ashore in succession; but the
chief, warned by his son, sends each to a house prepared for
her and takes none but his wife.
There is a reconciliation and the chief and his
son return to Uluka‘a, where they live happily until he is attracted by
the younger sister, Ke-ahi-wela. One day he pretends to go fishing,
another day bird hunting in order to be with her. He is detected and the
wife sends a fiery flood which consumes him and all on the land save
herself, the son, and the sister, who has turned herself into a heap of
rock and finally escapes down the gullet of the dog Ku-ilio-loa (Ku long
dog) who has been sent to bring her home to her foster parents; but not
before Kaanaelike cuts off its ears and tail with her sacred skirt, and
hence bob-tailed dogs today. The dog goes to live on Kauai, the son
leaves his mother, and she lives alone on the still burning island
(b) Green version. To Kane-ko-kai
(Kane who owns the sea) belongs the rolling island of Uala-ka‘a (or koa)
where he places his twelve pretty daughters. The oldest, Analike (Almost
alike), swims to Hawaii and takes as her husband the handsome Kanaka-o-kai
(Man of the sea) but tires of him and returns swimming to her island. He
wanders inconsolable until instructed by an old woman how to regain her
by swimming past the Island-of-silence covered with flowering red
purslane, past the Island-of-darkness, until he reaches a third island,
shaped round like a potato (uala), where he must land but avoid
mistaking any of her pretty sisters for his wife. All goes well and the
wife receives him joyfully. Their uncooked food does not please him and
there is a great outcry among the girls when he cooks and eats the
plants to which he is accustomed at home. Kane-ko-kai sends his youngest
daughter mounted on the back of a huge dog to reassure them and advise
them to eat the food which the man of Hawaii offers them.
(c) Lydgate version. The chief
Keawe-ahu of Kona, Hawaii, rules harshly and is hence abandoned at sea
by a ruse. A land teeming with good things floats up beside him and he
finds there a wife in the person of a little Menehune girl who lives
with her father and mother and whom he teaches to make fire and eat
cooked food. Her name is Ana-like, their child is Na-maka-o-ke-ahi (The
light of the fireside). He becomes homesick and one day when the island
floats near the Kona coast he seizes up the child and swims ashore.
In this tale, as in many Hawaiian romances, the
story tells of a highborn maiden kept apart in a tapu place, surrounded
by maidens, and watched over by careful guardians until a suitable match
can be found for their ward. The setting here is that of one of the
floating islands of the gods. The journey of the child to seek his
unknown father in a distant land, the mother's revenge for indignities
to the child, here transferred to jealous wrath for the infidelity of
the husband, are both incidents common to this group of romances. The
broken tapu against looking back which results in the disappearance of
the floating island, common also to the Maui cycle where the broken tapu
prevents the successful joining of the fished-up island to the Hawaiian
group, may perhaps be meant to symbolize the unsuccessful union between
the two families. The recognition test, found also by Stimson in Anaa,
where Te-horo-ruga comes from Vavau to woo Moho-tu in the Po and the
girl hides while her attendant maidens try vainly to tempt Te-horo by
their charms, occurs in the Pele and Hi‘iaka story where Pahoa comes to
Pele, who conceals herself in the guise of an old woman but is
recognized by the heat of her hand.
The whole story represents a type thoroughly
Polynesian in color but well known to European romance and folktale as
the Fairy Mistress type. The taking of a wife who is more than human,
the husband's homesickness (characteristically induced in this Hawaiian
version by spirit sisters in the forms of bird messengers from home),
the broken tapu, the search for the lost lover, the warning by the child
of danger from his offended wife, the identification test for the
recovery of the wife--all these are familiar incidents of worldwide
distribution, perhaps most closely paralleled, although representing a
quite different background, in the American Indian tale of the Buffalo
As a Polynesian story it may be reckoned as a
Hawaiian variant of the story of Kae at the island of women.
ROMANCE OF KAE AND THE
ISLAND OF WOMEN
Marquesas. Rae (Drooler) is abandoned at
sea, swallowed by a fish, cuts his way out and reaches an island of
women (Vainoki, Vaino‘i) where the women seek pandanus roots as
husbands. He weds Hina-i-Vaino‘i to whom he teaches natural methods of
childbirth without, as was the custom, cutting open the mother. When he
finds that he as a mortal has wedded an immortal who can, when her hair
grows gray, ride the surf and become young again while he remains as
before, he becomes homesick and Hina sends him home on her whale brother
Tunua-nui. He prepares a house, bathing pool, and garden for his son
Hina-tupu-o-Kae who is to follow him. When the boy comes on the whale
Tunua-iki and treats the house, pool, and garden as his own, the guards
are about to have him killed, but he is saved by a chant repeating his
name and those of his family. Either he or Kae forgets to send the whale
brother home properly but nothing comes of it. Kena comes to a similar
land of women in the second Havai‘i when he goes to seek his lost wife.
Maori. Tura joins Whiro's canoe party but
when it enters a whirlpool he catches the overhanging boughs of a tree
and lives among the Nuku-mai-tore, to whom he teaches the use of fire,
the art of cooking, and the natural way of childbirth together with the
ceremonies attending the birth of a child. When his wife Turakihau
(Hina-kura) discovers gray hairs on his head he goes off and lives alone
and becomes covered with sores. He lives upon the meat from a stranded
whale until his son by his former wife comes to rescue him. From Tura
proceed diseases and the incantations and ceremonies for their cure.
The Maori say that in Hawaiki-raro live the
Nuku-mai-toro "in the midst of plenty," whose hair never turns gray, who
eat raw food, and cut open women at childbirth.
Rarotonga. Chief Ati of Rarotonga weds a
fairy woman to whom he teaches natural delivery and she begs him to come
to spirit land to teach the art there, but he is unable to follow her
when she returns thither.
The Marquesans say that in Rarotonga the people
have no breadfruit, do not cook food, and cut open women to deliver
children. The Marquesan legends of Pepe-ui represent the sister of Toni
sailing to Rarotonga in a double canoe formed of two fishes, hiding in
the chief's bathing basin where the chief finds her and takes her to
wife, and teaching natural childbirth and the use of cooked food.
Niue. A whale swallows a woman named
Gini-fale and makes off with her to another island. She cuts it open
with a shell she had in her hand when swallowed, marries the chief Lei-pua,
and teaches natural childbirth.
Tuamotus. Kuru comes from Nukutavake. He is
swallowed by a shark, cuts his way out, and comes to the island of
Nukumautoru, where live warrior women who seek holothurians as husbands.
He has children by one of the women, but when he takes his family home
some of the children have wings and fly back. . . .
Tangaroa is once swallowed by a whale but cuts his
way out with hair gone and finds an island of women who use pandanus
roots as husbands. His sister's child Hina comes to seek him, bears a
child, and is about to be burned to death by the other women when she
prays and rain falls and Rupe appears and bears her away. . . .
Kae is a sacrilegious man, a gourmand, and a
giant. He eats a part of the feast reserved for the god and the spirit
of the god enters a shark and swallows Kae on his way home, but Rae cuts
his way out.
Rotumah. Toak is taken to the land of
spirits and teaches the king's daughter natural delivery.
Rapa. Te Kopara visits the island of
Isabel Island. A fish swallows Kamakajaku.
He cuts it open with a piece of obsidian, leaps out, and follows the sun
to the sky. There he teaches the use of fire to cook food. He opens up a
stone where he has been forbidden to go, looks down to earth, and lets
down a cane upon which to descend. The sky people give him a banana to
plant and the seed of a dye plant. He comes down on the hill Gaji and
lives long thereafter.
The Kae story is not always connected with the
teaching of natural childbirth and the use of cooked food. Interest is
sometimes centered upon the whale-brother carrier whom Rae has cut up
and eaten, whereupon avengers are sent who pack Rae into a canoe (or
basket) in his sleep and bring him back to be killed (and eaten). The
Maori say that with Kae cannibalism began.
KAE AND THE WHALE
Tonga. Kae escapes shipwreck and gets to
Samoa by clinging to the leg of a great bird. Sinilau sends him back to
Tonga with his two whales Tonga and Samoa. Kae orders the whales
slaughtered, but Samoa escapes and Sinilau has two large baskets
prepared and brings Kae back together with the dung of all those who ate
of Tonga, through which Tonga is restored to life while Kae is killed
and eaten. One of the teeth of the whale has been presented to the
Tui-tonga, hence there is a vacant place when the whale opens its mouth
Samoa. Tinilau of Samoa sends Ae of Tonga
home with his pet turtles. Ae kills them. He finds himself returned to
Tinilau's house where he is killed.
Moso the god carries a Savai‘i man home on his
back. He asks for coconuts to take home. The man is ungrateful and Moso
seeks him out and kills him.
Maori. Rae comes to the home of Tini-rau at
Motu-tapu (to visit Hina or to perform the proper ceremonies for her
child left with Tini-rau when she returned home, and recognized only by
a chant when he came to seek his mother). Tini-rau sends him home on his
pet whale. Kae has it killed and eaten upon reaching home and Tini-rau
sends messengers, bidding them recognize Kae by the gap in his teeth
where two have been knocked out. The messengers dance to make all laugh
and show their teeth, then pack Kae into a basket in his sleep and bring
him back to Motu-tapu, where he is speared to death.
Tuamotus. Rae comes from Vavau to Motu-tapu
and takes Rua-tamahine to wife. She has two whale brothers, Tutu-nui and
Toga-mahutu. Kae is sent home on Tutu-nui. He lands at Vavau and cuts up
the whale for food. Its spirit returns to Motu-tapu and Rua-tamahine
comes to avenge her brother. As they play a game she blinds him, then
packs him into a basket and takes him home, where he is killed and
The revenge of the mother, motivated in the
Hawaiian story of Niauepo‘o by the father's nonrecognition of the son,
in the Aukele romance by Namaka's jealousy of her younger sisters, may
be a carry-over from this familiar ending of the South Sea Rae story.