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How Hawaii Was Made Safe (Part 4)

The final segment in the legend of the goddess Hi'iaka and her companions. Kenneth Grzesik
http://www.IkeAloha.com - 四月 29 2012

Now the trail was even harder to follow than before for the storm had uprooted trees and scattered vines. Tired and hot, the young women suddenly found themselves at the top of a cliff overlooking the sea.

"Here the trail is broken," the serving women said. "Part has fallen into that deep bay."

"We can swim in the bay!" said Woman-In-Green quickly. "We are hot and tired. Let us jump into the the bay and swim to the sandy beach on the other side."

"Good!" the serving woman answered. "Ready! I'll race you to the beach!"

"No!" Hi'iaka's voice rang out sharply. Her companions, ready to jump, looked at her in surprise. "A terrible shark lives in that bay," the goddess told them. "He hides now at the foot of the cliff."

"You are mistaken," said Woman-In-Green. "See how the waves rush in. That whirlpool at the foot of the cliff is made by the waves. We shall jump over it and swim to the beach." She turned to the serving woman. "Let us race."

"No!" Hi'iaka cried again. "I tell you a terrible shark waits in the shadow of the cliff. Watch!" She broke off a stalk of ti and peeled off the bark. " Watch this white stick," she said. "You can see it in the shadow. It is shark bait. You will see it seized and drawn under." She threw the stick. In a moment it disappeared.

"It was covered by seaweed," said Woman-In-Green, "or carried down in the whirlpool. We two are not afraid." Again the two made ready to jump.

"Wait!" Hi'iaka's voice rang out sternly. She peeled another stick. "Watch this!" If this white stick floats I too will swim with you." She threw it. A great shark's head rose from the dark water. The teeth gleened as they seized the stick.

Hi'iaka ready for battle, whirled her sacred pa'u. The great jaws snapped at her. The tail dashed the waves against the cliff, but Hi'iaka was unharmed. Again she whirled her pa'u. The shark floated dead, and the waves carried his body out to sea.

"Now we can swim," said Hi'iaka. "This bay is safe for all."

"Tell us of the trail to Hilo." The three companions stopped before a small house and asked the way of the old people resting in its shade. "We want to go to Hilo," Hi'iaka said again. "Are we on the right trail?"

"Yes follow that trail," the old people answered. "Soon you will come to the Wailuku River. Two logs make a bridge over the river. But do not cross until you have made an offering to the gods who guard the bridge."

"Gods?" asked Hi'iaka.

"Yes two powerful gods live there in a cave. The logs belong to them. When we want to cross we leave food on the logs - vegtable food or fish. If the gods are pleased they hold the logs firm and we cross safely."

"We have no food," Hi'iaka said. "We shall make no offering. What then?"

"Then do not try to cross, for the gods will turn those log beneath your feet and you will fall into the raging river. You will be dashed to death upon the rocks."

Hi'iaka said no more and the three walked on. Soon they came to the river and the bridge of logs.

"Here is Hi'iaka!" called a voice from the great cave. "She is of our family-a goddess."

"She may be of our family," said another voice, "but I am hungry. Let her pay to cross. Bring an offering of food, O Hi'iaka. Make offering to the gods for safe crossing."

"Gods!" shouted Hi'iaka angrily. "You are no gods! We have no food for you!"

By this time people had gathered on each side of the river. "They are indeed gods," these people cried. "We never try to cross without making an offering."

"I'll show you they are no gods!" shouted Hi"iaka as she whirled her pa'u. The people saw two frightened figures rushing away to hide in a cave far up the river. Hi'iaka followed them and the two dashed out to find another hiding place. The pa'u of the goddess flashed and the figures were turned to stone.

Hi'iaka returned to the people. "The crossing is safe," she said.

Thankfully the people followed the three companions into the village. They set food before them and hung sweet smelling leis around their necks. "We have long feared those evil ones," they said. "Now you have given us safe crossing."

In Waipi'o Valley lived a terrible whirlwind. When he saw Hi'iaka coming he threw a cloud of dust about her, then rushed away to the head of the valley.

Hi'iaka and her companions followed. The goddess whirled her pa'u and struck. But her enemy swept away, darted behind her and attacked. Again and again she struck, but her enemy twisted away. He threw great trees at her and covered her with dust. Hi'iaka struck and struck again, but her pa'u never touched her enemy.

At last he drew into a mountain cave to rest. Hi'iaka stood panting. This battle was by far the worst because her pa'u could never find its mark. Now at last she called upon her mighty sister: "Pele O Pele, Great goddess of fire, Listen to Hi'iaka- To your dearly loved sister Who fights in Waipi'o, Who battles a terrible whirlwind. See how he twists and hides. My pa'u never can reach him.

Pele, far away in her fire pit, heard and sent help. Dark storm clouds gathered above the valley and lightning flashed from cloud to cloud - the lightning of Pele's anger. Thunder roared. Then rain fell - rain and hail. They struck the whirlwind.

He crept back far into the corner of his cave. He was not dead, but his power was broken. Never again would he destroy the gardens and homes of men. Waipi'o became a fair and peaceful valley.

Hi'iaka's journey had indeed made Hawaii a safe home for the people.

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