Sacred Texts  Misc  Index  Previous  Next 



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.

p. 270

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.

p. 271

[paragraph continues] 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!

[paragraph continues] 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.

Next: Viracocha