POLYNESIAN Creation Stories

Ranginui and Papatuanuku are the primordial parents, the sky father and the earth mother who lie locked together in a tight embrace. They have many children who are forced to live in the cramped darkness between them. These children grow and discuss among themselves what it would be like to live in the light. TÅ«matauenga, the fiercest of the children, proposes a solution.

Ma-ui is an ancient chieftain with many exploits in the creation time of the world, including bringing fire and, attempting, bring immortality to man.

Pele is the goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands. Pele is known for her power, passion, jealousy, and capriciousness. She has numerous siblings, including her sister Hi-iaka, who are the deities of various types of wind, rain, fire, ocean waves, and cloud forms. Her home is the fire pit called Halema-uma-u crater, at the summit caldera of KÄ«lauea, the most active volcano on earth.



Don Tiki - The Natives Are Restless


From the Book
ORPHEUS – Myths of the World
by Padraic Colum




The Gods were born of the Sky and the Earth--of Rangi the Sky and Papa-tu-a-nuku the Earth. And in those days the Sky pressed down upon the Earth, and there was no difference between the light and the darkness. Nothing could grow up then, nothing could ripen, nothing could bear fruit. And the Gods, the seventy children born of Rangi and Papa, had no space for themselves.
They were huddled in clefts and, hollows of the Earth, and the Sky overlaid them. Some were upon their backs, some upon their sides; others went crawling and stooping. They had heard of light, but they had only known darkness: they wondered what light might be. They consulted as to how light might be brought to where they stayed huddled, and how space might be given them. Tu-matauenga, the father of fierce human beings, spoke. "Let us slay our father and our mother," he said, "so that they will not press upon us."
But none of the other Gods would side with Tu-matauenga, father of fierce human beings. Then said Tane-mahuta, father of forests and all life that inhabits them and all things that are made from timbers, "Nay, let us force them apart. Let Rangi be made a stranger to us, but let Papa remain near us and be a nursing mother to us; let one be above us and the other beneath our feet." All thought well of what Tane-mahuta said, all except Ta-whiri-matea, father of winds and storms. He howled when his brothers spoke of raising the Sky above their heads and placing the Earth beneath their feet.
But the children of Rangi and Papa had agreed to sunder their parents. Then Rongo-ma-tane, the father of cultivated food-plants, tried to separate them. He tried and he failed. Tangaroa, the father of fishes and all that is in the sea, raised himself for the effort. But he was not able to do the great deed. Haumia-tikitiki, father of food-plants that grow up without cultivation, now tried to make the separation, but his effort was without avail. Then the Gods called upon the father of fierce human beings to separate the Sky and the Earth. But for all his fierce endeavours, Tu-matauenga could not put them apart.
The Gods would have given up their plan, and would have stayed huddled between the Sky and the Earth where there was no space for them to move and no difference between the light and the darkness, if Tane-mahuta did not stand in the place where the others had made their effort. He pushed with his arms and his hands; but what he did was without avail. Then he put his shoulders upon Papa's middle; he put his feet against Rangi, the Sky. His feet raised up Rangi, his shoulders pushed Papa downwards; to shrieks and mighty groans the separation became more and more wide. "Wherefore slay your parents?" the Sky groaned. "Why do you, our children, commit this dreadful deed?" the Earth cried out. The Gods were made dumb and moveless as Earth and Sky moved and shrieked and groaned. Tane-mahuta did not abate his effort. Far down beneath him he pressed the Earth, far, far above him be thrust the Sky.
As the Sky and the Earth were rent farther and farther apart, light came to where the Gods were. They stood upright; they moved freely and to distances. The Sky and the Earth stayed where they were, far from each other. Now plants and trees grew up; there was maturity, there was ripening of fruit. The human race came into existence, and men moved here and there upon the Earth.
And for all time Sky and Earth were set apart. But still, from the tops of wooded mountains, the sighs of Papa-tu-a-nuku rise up to Rangi. Then Rangi drops tears upon her bosom--tears that men know as drops of dew.





When Ma-ui, the last of her five sons, was born, his mother thought she would have no food for him. So she took him down to the shore of the sea; she cut off her hair and tied it around him, and she gave him to the waves. But Ma-ui was not drowned in the sea: first of all the jelly-fish came; it folded him in its softness and kept him warm while he floated on. And then the God of the Sea found the child and took charge of him: he brought him to his house and warmed and cherished him, and little Ma-ui grew up in the land where lived the God of the Sea.
But while he was still a boy he went back to his mother's country. He saw his mother and his four brothers, and he followed them into a house; it was a house that all the people of the country were going into. He sat there with his brothers. And when his mother called her children to take them home, she found this strange child with them. She did not know him, and she would not take him with the rest of the children. But Ma-ui followed them. And when his four brothers came out of their own house they found him outside, and they played with him. At first they played hide-and-seek, but then they made themselves spears from canes, and they began throwing the spears at the house.
The slight spears did not go through the thatch of grass that was at the outside of the house. And then Ma-ui made a charm over the cane that was his spear--a charm that toughened it and made it heavy. He flung it again, and a great hole was made in the grass-thatch of the house. His mother came out to chastise the boy and drive him away. But when she stood at the door and saw him standing there, looking so angry, and when she saw how he was able to break down the house with the throws of his spear, she knew in him the great power that his father had, and she called to him to come into the house.
He would not come in until she had laid her hands upon him. When she did this his brothers were jealous that their mother made so much of this strange boy; they did not want to have him with them. It was then that the elder brother spoke and said, "Never mind; let him be with us and be our dear brother." And they all asked him to come within the house.
The door-posts, Short Post and Tall Post, would not let him come in (some say that these were his uncles and that they had been the masters of the household while the boys in the house were ungrown). Ma-ui lifted up his spear; he threw it at Tall Post and overthrew him. He threw his spear again and over threw Short Post. And after that he went into his mother's house and was with his brothers.
In those days, say the people who know the stories of the old times, the birds were not seen by the men and women of the islands. They flew around the houses, and the flutter of their wings was heard, and the stirring of the branches and the leaves as they were lighted upon by the birds. Then there would be music. But the people who had never seen the birds thought that this was music made by the Gods who wanted to remain unseen by the people. Ma-ui could see the birds; he rejoiced in their brilliant colours, and when he called to them they would come and rest upon the branches around the place where he was; there they would sing their happiest songs to him.
There was a visitor who came. from another land to the country that Ma-ui lived in. He boasted of all the wonderful things that were in his country, and it seemed to the people of Ma-ui's land that they had nothing that was fine or that could be spoken about with pride. Then Ma-ui called to the birds. They came and they made music on every side. The visitor who had boasted so much was made to wonder, and he said that there was nothing in his country that was as marvellous as the music made by Ma-ui's friends, the birds.
Then, that they might be honoured by all, Ma-ui said a charm by which the birds came to be seen by men-the red birds, the i-i-wi and the aha-hani, and the yellow birds, the o-o and the mamo, and all the other bright birds. The delight of seeing them was equal to the delight of hearing the music that they made. Ever afterwards the birds were seen and heard, and the people all rejoiced in them. This Ma-ui did when he was still a boy, growing up with his brothers and sisters in his mother's house.

His mother must have known about fire and the use of fire, else why should she have been called Hina-of-the-Fire, and how did it come that her birds, the alae, knew where fire was hidden and how to make it blaze up? Hina must have known about fire. But her son had to search and search for fire. The people who lived in houses on the islands did not know of it: they had to eat raw roots and raw fish, and they had to suffer the cold. It was for them that Ma-ui wanted to get fire; it was for them that he went down to
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the lower world, and that he went searching through the upper world for it.
In Kahiki-mo-e 1 they have a tale about Ma-ui that the Hawaiians do not know. There they tell how he went down to the lower world and sought out his great-great-grand mother, Ma-hui’a. She was glad to see Ma-ui of whom she had heard in the lower world; and when he asked her to give him fire to take to the upper world, she plucked a nail off her finger and gave it to him.
In this nail fire burned. Ma-ui went to the upper world with it. But in crossing a stream of water he let the nail drop in. And so he lost the fire that his great-great-grand mother had given him.
He went back to her again. And again Ma-hui'a plucked off a finger-nail and gave it to him. But when he went to the upper world and went to cross the stream, he let this burning nail also drop into the water. Again he went back, and his great-great-grandmother plucked off a third nail for him. And this went on, Ma-ui letting the nails fall into the water, and Ma-hui’a giving him the nails off her fingers, until at last all the nails of all her fingers were given to him.
But still he went on letting the burning nails fall into the water that he had to cross, and at last the nails of his great-great-grandmother's toes were given to him--all but the nail on the last of her toes. Then, when he came back once more, Ma-hui’a became blazing angry; she plucked the nail off, but instead of giving it to him she flung it upon the ground.
Fire poured out of the nail and took hold on everything. Ma-ui ran to the upper world, and Ma-hui’a in her anger ran after him. He dashed into the water. But now the forests were blazing, and the earth was burning, and the waters were boiling. Ma-ui ran on, and Ma-hui’a ran after him. And as he ran he chanted a magic incantation so that the rain might come, so that the burning might be put out:
To the roaring thunder;
To the great rain--the long rain;
To the drizzling rain--the small rain;
To the rain pattering on the leaves.
These are the storms, the storms!
Cause them to fall--
To pour in torrents.
The rain came on--the long rain, the small rain, the rain that patters on the leaves; storms came, and rain in torrents. The fire that raged in the forests and burned on the ground was drowned out. And Ma-hui’a, who had followed him, was nearly drowned by the torrents of rain. She saw her fire, all the fire that was in the lower and upper worlds, being quenched by the rain.
She gathered up what fragments of fire she could, and she bid them in the barks of different trees, so that the rain could not get at them and quench them. Ma-ui's mother must have known where his great-great-grandmother hid the fire. If she did not, her sacred birds, the alae, knew it. They were able to take the barks off the trees, and, by rubbing them together, to bring out fire.
In Hawaii they tell how Ma-ui and his brothers used to go out fishing every day, and how, as soon as they got far out to sea, they would see smoke rising on the mountain-side. "Behold," they would say, "there is fire. Whose can it be?" "Let us hasten to the shore and cook our fish at that fire," another would say.
So, with the fish that they had caught, Ma-ui and his brothers would hasten to the shore. The swiftest of them would run up the mountain-side; but when he would get to where the smoke had been, all he would see would be the alae, the mud-hen, scratching clay over burnt-out sticks. The alae would leave the place where they had been seen, and Ma-ui would follow them from place to place, hoping to catch them when their fire was lighted.
He would send his brothers off fishing, and he himself would watch for the smoke from the fire that the alae would kindle. But they would kindle no fire on the days that he did not go out in the canoe with his brothers. "We cannot have our cooked bananas to-day," the old bird would say to the young birds, "for the swift son of Hina is somewhere near, and he would come upon us before we put out our fire. Remember that the guardian of the fire told us never to show a man where it is hidden, or how it is taken out of its hiding-place."
Then Ma-ui understood that the bird watched for his going, and that the alae made no fire until they saw him out at sea in his canoe. He knew that they counted the men who went out, and that if he was not in the number they did no cooking that day. Every time he went in the canoe he saw smoke rising on the mountain-side.
Then Ma-ui thought of a trick to play on them-on the stingy alae that would not give fire, but left men to eat raw roots and raw fish. He rolled up a mat, and he put it in the canoe, making it like a man. Then he bid near the shore. The brothers went fishing, and the birds counted the figures in the canoe. "The swift son of Hina has gone fishing; we can have cooked bananas to-day." "Make the fire, make the fire, until we cook our bananas," said the young alae.
So they gathered the wood together, and they rubbed the barks, and they made the fire. The smoke rose up from it, and swift Ma-ui ran up the mountain-side. He came upon the flock of birds just as the old one was dashing water on the embers. He caught her by the neck and held her.
"I will kill you," he said, "for hiding fire from men."
"If you kill me," said the old alae, "there will be no one to show you how to get fire."
"Show me how to get fire," said Ma-ui, "and I will let you go."
The cunning alae tried to deceive Ma-ui. She thought she would get him off his guard, that he would let go of her, and that she could fly away. "Go to the reeds and rub them together, and you will get fire," she said.
Ma-ui went to the reeds and rubbed them together. But still he held the bird by the neck. Nothing came out of the reeds but moisture. He squeezed her neck. "If you kill me there will be no one to tell you where to get fire," said the cunning bird, still hoping to get the son of Hina off his guard. "Go to the taro leaves and rub them together, and you will get fire."
Ma-ui held to the bird's neck. He went to the taro leaves and rubbed them together, but no fire came. He squeezed her neck harder. The bird was nearly dead now; but still she tried to deceive the man. "Go to the banana stumps and rub them together, and you will get fire," she said.
He went to the banana stumps and rubbed them together; but still no fire came. Then he gave the bird a squeeze that brought her near death. She showed him then the trees to go to--the hau-tree and the sandalwood-tree. He took the barks of the trees and rubbed them together, and they gave fire. And the sweet-smelling sandalwood he called "ili-aha"--that is, "fire-bark"--because fire came most easily from the bark of that tree. With sticks from these trees Ma-ui went to men. He showed them how to get fire by rubbing them together. And never afterwards had men to eat fish raw and roots raw. They could always have fire now.
The first stick he lighted he rubbed on the head of the bird that showed him at last where the fire was hidden. And that is the reason why the alae, the mud-hen, has a red streak on her head to this day.


A time came when Ma-ui, returning to his home, said to his father, "Who now can vanquish me? I have won fire for men; I have made the sun go more slowly across the heavens; I have fished up the islands from the bottom of the sea. What thing in the world can vanquish me?" His father showed Ma-ui where the sky and the horizon met. Flashes were to be seen there. "They are from the teeth of the Goblin Goddess, Great-Hina-of-the-Night," he told Ma-ui. "She is your great ancestress. She vanquishes all creatures, for she brings all creatures to death. She will vanquish you, my child." Then Ma-ui said, "Let us both go to her fearlessly; let us take the heart out of her body, and so end her power of bringing death to all creatures." But his father would not go to where Great-Hina-of-the-Night was.
Ma-ui called for companions, and the little birds of every kind assembled to go with him--the robin and the lesser robin, the thrush and the yellow-hammer and the water-wagtail. With the little birds Ma-ui went towards where the sky and the horizon met. They went in the evening, and as they went they saw the flashing of the teeth of the Goblin Goddess. Her teeth were of volcanic glass. Her mouth was wide-shaped, like the mouth of a fish. Her hair floated all around her as sea-weed floats in the sea. Her eyes shone through the distances.
He saw her and was afraid; even great Ma-ui was made afraid by the Goblin Goddess, Great-Hina-of-the-Night. But he remembered that he had told his companions that he would find a way of giving everlasting life to men and to all creatures. He thought and thought on how he could come to her and take the heart out of her body.
She was sleeping, and Ma-ui prepared to enter her terrible open mouth and take the heart out of her body and give her heart to all the creatures of the earth to eat.
Then he said to the birds, "O my little companions, do not laugh, do not make a sound, when you see me go into the mouth of this Goblin Goddess. Laugh, make sounds if you will when you see me come out bearing the heart of my ancestress, Great-Hina-of-the-Night." The little birds that gathered around him, shivering, said, "Oh, our brave master, we will not laugh, we will not make a sound. But, oh, take care of yourself, Master."
Ma-ui twisted the string of his weapon around his waist. He stripped his clothes off. The skin of his legs and hips was mottled like that of a mackerel from the tattoo-marks that had been cut upon it by the chisel of Uetonga. He stood there naked, and then he went within the jaws of Great-Hina-of-the-Night. He passed the fearful teeth that were sharp like volcanic glass. He went down into her stomach. He seized upon her heart. He drew it out, and he came back as far as her jaws. He saw the sky beyond her jaws.
A little bird that often laughed tried hard not to laugh when it saw him go within the jaws of the Goblin Goddess. It twisted up its mouth to prevent its laughing. And then it laughed--little Ti-waka-waka, the water-wagtail--laughed its merry note. The Goblin Goddess opened her eyes. She started up. She caught Ma-ui between her fearful teeth, and she tore him across. There was darkness then, and the crying of all the birds. Thus died Ma-ui with the Meat of Immortality in his hands. And since his death no one has ventured near the lair of Hina-nui-te-po, the Goblin Goddess.

Pe-le, the Goddess, came up out of her pit in Ki-lau-ea. No longer would she sit on the lava-hearth below, with skin rugged and blackened, with hair the colour of cinders, and with reddened eyes; no longer would she seem a hag whom no man would turn towards. She came up out of the pit a most lovely woman. Her many sisters were at her side, and each of them was only less lovely than was Pe-le upon that day. They stood each side of her because it was forbidden to come behind the Goddess or to lay a hand upon her burning back.
Pe-le and her sisters stood on the crater's edge. Around them was the blackened plain, but below them was Puna, with the surf breaking upon its beach, and with its lehua groves all decked with scarlet blossoms. This land was Pe-le's. She had made it and she had the power to destroy it. She had power in the heavens, too, for her flames reached up to the skies. All the Gods--even the great Gods, Ku, Ka-ne, Ka-neloa, and Lono--were forced to follow her when she left Kahiki, the land beyond the vastness of the ocean, and came to Hawaii. Ki-lau-ea on Hawaii's island was the home she had chosen. And now she came out of the pit, and she said to her many sisters, "Come, let us go down to the beach at Puna, and bathe, and feast, and enjoy ourselves." Her sisters rejoiced, and they went down with her to the beach.
And when they had bathed and feasted, and had sported themselves in the water and along the beach, Pe-le went into a cavern and laid herself down to sleep. She said to the sister who was always beside her, to the sister who was named Hi-i-aka-of-the-fire-bloom, "Let me sleep until I awake of my own accord. If any of you should attempt to awaken me before, it will be death to you all. But if it has to be that one of you must awaken me, call the youngest of our sisters, Hi-i-aka-of-the-bosom-of-Pele, and let her bring me out of sleep." So Pe-le said, and she lay in the cavern and slept. Her sisters said to each other, "How strange that the havoc-maker should sleep so deeply and without a bed-fellow!" By turns they kept watch over her as she slept in the cavern.
But the youngest of her sisters, the little Hi-i-aka, was not by her when she spoke before going to sleep. Little Hi-i-aka had gone to where the groves of lehua showed their scarlet blossoms. She was enchanted with the trees that she went amongst; she gathered the blossoms and wove them into wreaths. And then she saw another girl gathering blossoms and weaving them into wreaths, and she knew this other girl for the tree-spirit, Ho-po-e. And Ho-po-e, seeing Hi-i-aka, danced for her. These two became friends; they danced for each other, and they played together, and never had Hi-i-aka, the little sister of the dread Goddess, known a friend that was as dear and as lovely as Ho-po-e--Ho-po-e whose life was in the grove of lehuas.
As for Pe-le, the Goddess, she slept in the cavern, and in her sleep she heard the beating of a drum. It sounded like a drum that announces a hula. Her spirit went from where she slept; her spirit-body followed the sound of that drum. Over the sea her spirit-body followed that sound. Her spirit-body went to the Island of Kauai. There she came to a hall sacred to Laka: a hula was being performed there. As a most lovely woman Pe-le entered that hall. All the people who were assembled for the hula turned to look upon her. And in that hall Pe-le saw Prince Lo-hi-au.
He was seated on a dais, and his musicians were beside him. Pe-le, advancing through the hall filled with wondering people, went to where he was. Prince Lo-hi-au had her sit beside him; he had tables spread to feast her. Pe-le would not eat. "And yet she must have come from a very great distance," the people around her said, "for if a woman so beautiful lived on this island, we would surely have heard her spoken about." Prince Lo-hi-au would not eat either; his mind was altogether on the beautiful woman who sat on the dais beside him.
When the hula was over he took her into his house. But although they were beside each other on the mat, Pe-le would not permit him to caress her. She let him have kisses, but kisses only. She said to him, "When I bring you to Hawaii you shall possess me and I shall possess you." He tried to grasp her and hold her, but she rose in her spirit-body and floated away, leaving the house, leaving the island, crossing the sea, and coming back to where her body lay in the cavern in Puna.
Prince Lo-hi-au sought wildly for the woman who had been with him; he sought for her in the night, in the dark night of the ghosts. And because it seemed to him that she was for ever gone, he went back into his house, and took his loin-cloth off, and hanged himself with it from the ridge-pole of the house. In the morning his sister and his people came into the house and found the chieftain dead. Bitterly they bewailed him; bitterly they cursed the woman who had been with him and who had brought him to his death. Then they wrapped the body in robes of tapa and laid it in a cavern of the mountain-side.
In Puna, in a cavern, Pe-le's body lay, seemingly in deep sleep. For a day and a night, and a night and a day it lay like this. None of her sisters dared try to awaken Pe-le. But at last they became frightened by the trance that lasted so long. They would have their youngest sister, Hi-i-aka, awaken the Woman of the Pit. At the end of another day they sent for her.
And Hi-i-aka saw the messenger coming for her as she stood in the grove of lehua trees with her dear and lovely friend, Ho-po-e, beside her. She watched the messenger coming for her, and she chanted the me-le:
From the forest-land at Papa-lau-ahi,
To the garlands heaped at Kua-o-ka-la,
The lehua trees are wilted,
Scorched, burnt up--
Consumed are they by fire--
By the fire of the Woman of the Pit.
But Ho-po-e, her friend, said, "It is not true what you chant. See! Our lehuas are neither wilted nor burnt up. If they were I would no longer be able to see you nor to speak with you. Why, then, do you lament? You will stay with me, and we shall gather more blossoms for garlands." But Hi-i-aka said, "Even as I saw the messenger who is coming to take me away from you, I saw our trees destroyed by Pe-le's fires."
Then the messenger came to them, and told Hi-i-aka that she was to return to where she had left her sisters. She took farewell of Ho-po-e and went to where her sisters awaited her. They brought her within the cavern, and they showed her Pe-le lying there, without colour, without stir. Then Hi-i-aka, the youngest of her sisters, went to Pe-le's body and chanted over it. And the spirit-body that had been hovering over the prostrate body entered into it. The breath entered the lungs again; Pe-le's bosom rose and fell; colour came into her face. Then the Woman of the Pit stretched her body; she rose up, and she spoke to her sisters.
They left that place; they went back into Pe-le's dwelling-place, into the pit of Ki-lau-ea. Then, after a while, Pe-le spoke to her sisters, one after the other. She said to each of them, "Will you be my messenger and fetch our lover--yours and mine from Kauai?" None of the elder sisters would go; each one understood how dangerous such a mission would be. But when Pe-le spoke to Hi-i-aka, the youngest of her sisters, the girl said, "Yes, I will go, and I will bring back the man."
Her sisters were dismayed to hear Hi-i-aka say this. The journey was long, and for anyone who would go on the mission that Pe-le spoke of the danger was great. Who could tell what fit of rage and hatred might come over the Woman of the Pit--rage and hatred against the one who would be with the man she would have for her lover? And Hi-i-aka who had agreed to go upon such a mission was the youngest and the least experienced of all of them. They tried to warn her against going; but they dared not speak their thought out to her. Besides, they knew that Hi-i-aka was so faithful to Pe-le, her chieftain and her elder sister, that she would face every danger at her request.
Then said Pe-le to Hi-i-aka, "When you have brought our lover here, for five days and five nights he shall be mine. After that he shall be your lover. But until I have lifted the tapu you must not touch him, you must not caress him, you must not give him a kiss. If you break this tapu it shall be death to you and to Prince Lo-hi-au." Her sisters made signs to her, and Hi-i-aka delayed her departure. She stood before Pe-le again, and Pe-le reproached her for her dilatoriness. But now Hi-i-aka spoke to her elder sister and chieftainess and said, "I go to bring a lover to you while you stay at home. But, going, I make one condition. If you must break out in fire and make raids while I am gone, raid the land that we both own, but do not raid where the lehua groves are; do not harm my friend Ho-po-e, whose life is in the lehua groves." She said this, and she started on her journey. But now the length of the journey and its dangers came before her and made her afraid. She saw herself, alone and powerless, going upon that long way. Once again she returned to where the Woman of the Pit sat. She asked that she be given a companion for the journey. She asked that a portion of Pe-le's mana, or magic power, be given her. Pe-le did not deny her this: she called upon the Sun and the Moon, the Stars, the Wind, the Rain, the Lightning and Thunder to give aid to her sister and her messenger. And now that mana was bestowed on her, Hi-i-aka started on the way that led across islands and over seas to the house of the man whom her sister desired--her sister, Pe-le, the dread Fire Goddess.

Far did Hi-i-aka and her woman-companion journey, long were they upon the way, many dangers did they face and overcome, and at last they came to the village that had Lo-hi-au for its lord. "Why have you come?" said the people who entertained the worn travellers. "I have come to bring Prince Lo-hi-au to Pe-le, that they may be lovers." "Lo-hi-au has been dead many days. He fell under the spell of a witch, and he took his own life." Then they pointed out to her the cave in the mountain-side in which his sister had laid the body of Lo-hi-au.
Then was Hi-i-aka greatly stricken. But she drew together all the power that she had--the power that Pe-le had endowed her with--and looked towards the cave in the mountain-side. And she saw some thing hovering around the cave, and she knew it, thinned and wan as it was, for the ghost-body of Lo-hi-au. She knew that she had to bring that ghost-body back to the body that lay in the cave, and she knew that all the toils she had been through would be nothing to the toils that this would entail. She raised her hands towards the cave, and she uttered a chant to hold that ghost-body in the place. But as she looked she saw that the ghost-body was even more thinned and wan than she had thought. She was frightened by its shadowiness. The voice that came to her from before the cave was as thin and faint as the murmur that the land-shell gives out. She answered it back in a voice that was filled with pity:
My man of the wind-driven mist,
Or rain that plunges clean as a diver
What time the mountain-stream runs cold
Adown the steps at Ka-lalau--
Where we shall ere long climb together,
With you, my friend, with you.
Companion of the pitchy night,
When heavenward turns my face--
Thou art, indeed, my man.
With her woman-companion she came to the mountain-side. The sun was going down; they would have barely time to climb the ladder that was there and go into the cavern before the night fell. Then the ladder was taken away by witches who bore an enmity to Hi-i-aka; and the ghost-body of Lo-hi-au wailed thinly and more faintly.
Hi-i-aka chanted an incantation that held the sun from sinking down. And while the sun stayed to give them light, she and her companion toiled up the cliff. They came to the entrance of the cave. Hi-i-aka caught in her hand Lo-hi-au's ghost-body. They went within. Hi-i-aka directed her companion to take hold of the dead feet. The fluttering ghost-body that she held in her hand she brought to the eye-socket and strove to make it pass through at that place. With spells she strove to make the soul-particle pass on. It went within; it reached the loins; it would pass no farther. Hi-i-aka forced it on. It went to the feet; the hands began to move, the eyelids quiver. Then breath came into the body. Hi-i-aka and her companion lifted it up and laid the body on a mat. With restoring herbs Hi-i-aka and her companion swathed the body from head to foot. But her companion said, "He will not recover in spite of all that you have done."
"I will make an incantation," Hi-i-aka said, "if it is rightly delivered, life will come back to him." Then she chanted:
Ho, comrades from the sacred plateau!
Ho, comrades from the burning gulf!
Hither fly with art and cunning:
Ku, who fells and guides the war-boat;
Ku, who pilots us through dream-land;
All ye Gods of broad Hawaii;
Kanaloa, guard well your tapus;
Candle-maker, candle-snuffer;
Goddess, too, of passion's visions;
Lightning red all heaven filling--
Pitchy darkness turned to brightness--
Lono, come, thou God of fire;
Come, too, thou piercing eye of rain;
Speed, speed, my prayer upon its quest!
[paragraph continues] More and more incantations Hi-i-aka made as the night passed and the day following passed. The people of the place were kept at a dance so that Hi-i-aka's task might not be broken in on. She made her last and her mightiest incantation; the soul-particle stayed in the body, and Prince Lo-hi-au lived again.
They brought him to the entrance of the cave. Three rainbows arched themselves from the mouth of the cave, and adown these three rainbows Prince Lo-hi-au, Hi-i-aka, and her companion went. To the beach they went. And in the ocean the three performed the cleansing rite. And now that the toils of the journey and the toils of restoring the man to life were past, Hi-i-aka thought upon the groves of lehua and upon her dear and lovely friend, Ho-po-e.
And now that the time had come for her to make the journey back she turned towards Hawaii and chanted:
Oh, care for my parks of lehua--
How they bloom in the upland Ka-li-’u!
Long is my way and many a day
Before you shall come to the bed of love,
But, hark, the call of the lover,
The voice of the lover, Lo-hi-au!
And when they had passed across many of the islands, and had crossed their channels, and had come at last to Hawaii, Hi-i-aka sent her companion before her to let Pe-le know that Lo-hi-au was being brought to her. When she had come with Lo-hi-au to the eastern gate of the sun, when she had come to Puna, she went swiftly ahead of Prince Lo-hi-au that she might look over her own land.
Pe-le had broken out in her fires; in spite of the agreement she had made with her sister and her messenger, she had wasted with fire the lehua groves. No tree now stood decked with blossoms. And the life of Ho-po-e, Hi-i-aka's dear and lovely friend, was ended with her lehua groves.
Blackness and ruin were everywhere Hi-i-aka looked. She stood in a place that overlooked her well-loved land, and all the bitterness of her heart went into the chant that she made then:
On the heights of Poha-ke
I stand, and look forth on Puna--
Puna, pelted with bitter rain,
Veiled with a downpour black as night!
Gone, gone are my forests, lehuas
Whose bloom once gave the birds nectar!
Yet they were insured with a promise!
Then she said, "I have faithfully kept the compact between myself and my sister. I have not touched her lover, I have not let him caress me, I have not given him a kiss. Now that compact is at an end. I am free to treat this handsome man as my lover, this man who has had desire for me. And I will let Pe-le, with her own eyes, see the compact broken."
When he came to where she was, she took his hand; she made herself kind to him; she told him she had been longing for the time when her companion would have gone and they two would be together. Hand in hand they went over the blackened and wasted land. They came to where an unburnt lehua grew upon a rock. There Hi-i-aka gathered blossoms to make a wreath for Lo-hi-au.
And on the terrace of Ka-hoa-lii where they were in full view of Pe-le and her court, she had him sit beside her. She plaited wreaths of lehua blossoms for him. She put them around his neck, while he, knowing nothing of the eyes that were watching them, became ardent in love-making.
"Draw nearer," said Hi-i-aka, "draw nearer, so that I may fasten this wreath around your neck." She put her arm around the neck of Lo-hi-au; her body inclined towards his. She drew him to herself. The sisters around Pe-le cried out at that. "Hi-i-aka kisses Lo-hi-au! Look, Hi-i-aka kisses Lo-hi-au!" "Mouths were made for kissing," Pe-le said, but the flame came into her eyes.

Then Pe-le commanded her sisters to put on their robes of fire, and go forth and destroy Lo-hi-au. In their robes of fire they went to where he was; when they came to him they threw cinders upon his feet and went away again. But Pe-le knew that they had made only a pretence of destroying the man. The cauldron within her pit bubbled up; she called upon her helpers, upon Lono-makua, Ku-pulupulu, Kumoku-halli, Ku-ala-na-wao. At first they would not help her to destroy Lo-hi-au; rather, with their own hands, did they roll the fires back into the pit. Then did Pe-le threaten her helpers; then did Lono-makua go forth to do her bidding.
Lo-hi-au saw the fires coming towards him, and he chanted:
All about is flame-the rock-plain rent;
The coco-palms that tufted the plain
Are gone, all gone, clean down to Ka-poho.
On rushes the dragon with flaming mouth,
Eating its way to Oma-’o-lala.
For tinder it has the hair of the fern.
A ghastly rain blots out the sky;
The sooty birds of storm whirl through the vault;
Heaven groans, a-drip, as with dragon-blood!
The fires that rolled towards them spared Hi-i-aka. Lo-hi-au, choked by the vapour, fell down, and the lava-flow went over him.
So Hi-i-aka lost the one whom she had come to love, as she had lost her lehua groves and her dear and lovely friend, Ho-po-e, through the rage of her sister Pe-le, the dread Goddess. In her grief she would have broken up the strata of the earth, and would have let the sea rise up through and destroy the islands, if Ka-ne had not appeared before her--Ka-ne the Earth-shaper. Ka-ne soothed her mind, and she went back to the Pit, and sat amongst her sisters.
Once a man who was a great sorcerer came down into the Pit. "What is the purpose of your visit?" he was asked.
"I have come to know why Lo-hi-au, my friend, has been destroyed," he said.
"He and Hi-i-aka kissed, and the man was tapu for Pe-le," the sisters answered.
"He tasted death at Haena. Why was he made to taste death again in Hawaii?"
Pe-le, seated at the back of the Pit, spoke: 'What is it that you say? That Lo-hi-au tasted death at Haena?"
"Yes. Hi-i-aka brought his soul and his body together again. Then they sailed for Hawaii."
Then said Pe-le to her youngest sister: "Is this true? Is it true that you found Lo-hi-au dead and that you restored him to life?"
"It is true. And it is true that not until you had destroyed my friend Ho-po-e did I give a caress to Lo-hi-au."
So Hi-i-aka said, and Pe-le, the Woman of the Pit, became silent. Then the sorcerer, Lo-hi-au's friend, said, "I would speak to Pe-le.
But which is Pe-le? I have a test. Let me hold the hand of each of you, O Divine Women, so that I may know which of you is the Goddess."
He took the hand of each of Pe-le's sisters, and held the hand to his cheek. He held the hollow palm to his ear. Each hand that was given to him had only a natural warmth when it was put to his check. Then he took the hand of a hag whose skin was rugged and blackened, whose hair was the colour of cinders, whose eyes were red. The hand was burning on his cheek. From the hollow of the hand came reverberations of the sounds made by fountains of fire. "This is Pe-le," said the man, and he bent down and adored her.
Then Pe-le, loving this man who was Lo-hi-au's friend, and knowing that Hi-i-aka had been faithful in her service to her, softened, and would have Lo-hi-au brought to life again. But only one who was in far Kahiki possessed the power to restore Lo-hi-au to life. This was Kane-milo-hai, Pe-le's brother.
And Kane-milo-hai, coming over the waters in his shell-canoe, found Lo-hi-au's spirit, in the form of a bird, flitting over the waters. He took it, and he brought it to where Lo-hi-au lay. He broke up the lava in which the body was set, and he reformed the body out of the fragments, restoring to it the lineaments that Lo-hi-au had. Then he brought the spirit back into the body.
And afterwards it happened that Hi-i-aka, wandering where the lehua groves were growing again, and knowing that after dire destruction a new world had come into existence, heard the chant:
Puna's plain takes the colour of scarlet--
Red as heart's blood the bloom of lehua.
The nymphs of the Pit string hearts in a wreath:
O the pangs of the Pit, Ki-lau-ea!
Hi-i-aka went to where the chant came from; she discovered Lo-hi-au restored to life once more. With him she wandered through the land below Ki-lau-ea. Men and women were peopling the land, and the Gods of the Pit were not now so terror-inspiring.