|Photographer, Collin Grady.||
Hawaiian Folk Tales
by Thomas G. Thrum
This is an anthology of Hawaiian folklore, including pieces by Thomas Thrum and other writers. This includes many articles which were originally published in difficult to obtain journals and now-rare books. All were written in the late 19th or early 20th century, and are mostly based on first-hand oral traditions. Chapters cover topics such as resemblances to Biblical stories, myths of the gods and goddesses such as Maui and Pele, historical legends, topographical folklore, and the folklore of fishing.
Of interest to the general reader will be the tales of the Menehune, the 'little people' of Hawaii, who resemble in some aspects the fairies of Europe. The Menehune are credited with numerous earth-works such as fish ponds and stone platforms. This is reminiscent of European folklore which attributes the construction of megalithic monuments to the fairies. Could the Menehune be based on a short-statured pre-Polynesian indigenous Hawaiian culture? Or, could this be a post-contact European folklore import, as some recent researchers have suggested?
Hawaiian Folk Tales is one of a number of excellent period books available on this subject, and with a few exceptions, does not attempt to overly romanticize or impose western narrative structure. It makes entertaining reading both for visitors and residents of the Hawaiian islands.