Hawaiian Folk Tales, by Thomas G. Thrum, , at sacred-texts.com
BORDERING upon the land of Kealia, on the southwest coast of Lanai, where was a pahonua, or place of refuge, are the remains of Kaunolu, an ancient heiau, or temple. Its ruins lie within the mouth of a deep ravine, whose extending banks run out into the sea and form a bold, bluff-bound bay. On the top of the western bank there is a stone-paved platform, called the kuaha. Outside of this, and separated by a narrow alley-way, there runs a broad high wall, which quite encircles the kuaha. Other walls and structures lead down the bank, and the slope is terraced and paved down to the tide-worn stones of the shore.
At the beach there is a break; a great block of the bluff has been rent away by some convulsion of nature, and stands out like a lone tower, divided from the main by a gulf of the sea. Its high walls beetle from their tops, upon which neither man nor goat can climb. But you can behold on the flat summit of this islet bluff, portions of ancient work, of altars and walls, and no doubt part of the mainland temple, to which this fragment once was joined. But man can
visit this lone tower's top no more, and his feet can never climb its overhanging walls.
Inland from the temple there are many remains of the huts of the people of the past. The stone foundations, the inclosures for swine, the round earth ovens, and other traces of a throng of people cover many acres of beach and hillside. This was a town famed as an abode of gods and a refuge for those who fled for their lives; but it drew its people mainly through the fame of its fishing-ground, which swarmed with the varied life of the Hawaiian seas.
To this famed fishing-ground came the great hero of Hawaii to tax the deep, when he had subdued this and the other isles. He came with his fleets of war canoes; with his faithful koas, or fighting men, with his chiefs, and priests, and women, and their trains. He had a house here. Upon the craggy bluff that forms the eastern bank of the bay there is a lonely pa, or wall, and stones of an ancient fort, overlooking the temple, town, and bay.
Kamehameha came to Kealia for sport rather than for worship. Who so loved to throw the maika ball, or hurl the spear, or thrust aside the many javelins flung at his naked chest, as the chief of Kohala? He rode gladly on the crest of the surf waves. He delighted to drive his canoe alone out into the storm. He fought with the monsters of the deep, as well as with men. He captured the great shark that abounds in the bay, and he would clutch in the fearful grip of his hands the deadly eel or snake of these seas, the terror of fishes and men.
When this warrior king came to Kaunolu, the islanders thronged to the shore to pay homage to the great chief, and to lay at the feet of their sovereign, as was their wont, the products of the isle: the taro, the yam, the hala, the cocoanut, ohelo, banana, and sweet potato. They piled up a mound of food before the door of the King's pakui, along with a clamorous multitude of fat poi-fed dogs, and of fathom-long swine.
Besides this tribute of the men, the workers of the land, the women filled the air with the sweet odors of their floral offerings. The maidens were twined from head to waist with leis or wreaths of the na-u, which is Lanai's own lovely jessamine--a rare gardenia, whose sweet aroma loads the breeze, and leads you to the bush when seeking it afar off. These garlands were fastened to the plaited pili thatch of the King's pakui; they were placed on the necks of the young warriors, who stood around the chief; and around his royal brows they twined an odorous crown of maile.
The brightest of the girlish throng who stood before the dread Lord of the Isles was Kaala, or Sweet Scented, whose fifteen suns had just burnished her sweet brown face with a soft golden gloss; and her large, round, tender eyes knew yet no wilting fires. Her neck and arms, and all of her young body not covered by the leafy pa-u, was tinted with a soft sheen like unto a rising moon. Her skin glowed with the glory of youth, and mingled its delicate odor of health with the blooms of the groves, so that the perfume of her presence received fittingly the name of Fragrance.
In those rude days the island race was sound and clean. The supple round limbs were made bright and strong by the constant bath and the temperate breeze. They were not cumbered with clothing; they wore no long, sweating gowns, but their smooth, shining skins reflected back their sun, which gave them such a rich and dusky charm.
Perhaps such a race cannot long wear all our gear and live. They are best clothed with sea foam, or with the garlands of their groves. Flow sweetly blend the brown and green; and when young, soft, amber-tinted cheeks, glowing with the crimson tide beneath, are wreathed with the odorous evergreens of the isles, you see the poesy of our kind, and the sweet, wild grace that dwelt in the Eden Paradise.
The sweet Kaala stood mindless of harm, as the playful breeze rustled the long blades of the la-i (dracæna) leaves, hanging like a bundle of green swords from her waist; and as they twirled and fluttered in the air, revealed the soft, rounded form, whose charm filled the eye and heart of one who stood among the braves of the great chief--the heart of the stout young warrior Kaaialii.
This youth had fought in the battle of Maunalei, Lanai's last bloody fight. With his long-reaching spear, wielded with sinewy arms, he urged the flying foe to the top of a fearful cliff, and mocking the cries of a huddled crowd of panic-scared men, drove them with thrusts and shouts till they leaped like frightened sheep into the jaws of the deep, dark chasm, and their torn corses strewed the jagged stones below.
Kaaialii, like many a butcher of his kind, was comely to see. With the lion's heart, he had the lion's tawny hue. A swart grace beamed beneath his curling brows. He had the small, firm hand to throttle or caress, and eyes full of fire for hate or love; and love's flame now lit the face of the hero of the bloody leap, and to his great chief he said, "O King of all the isles, let this sweet flower be mine, rather than the valley thou gayest me for my domain."
Said Kamehameha: "You shall plant the Lanai jessamine in the valley I gave you in Kohala. But there is another who claims our daughter, who is the stout bone-breaker, the scarred Mailou. My spear-man of Maunalei can have no fear; and you shall wrestle with him; and let the one whose arms can clasp the girl after the fight carry her to his house, where one kapa shall cover the two."
The poor maid, the careless gift of savage power, held up her clasped hands with a frightened gesture at the dread name of the breaker of bones; for she had heard how he had sucked the breath of many a dainty bloom like her, then crunched the wilted blossom with sinews of hate, and flung it to the sharks.
And the Lanai maiden loved the young chief of Hawaii. He had indeed pierced her people, but only the tender darts of his eyes had wounded her. Turning to him, she looked her savage, quick, young love, and said, "O Kaaialii, may thy grip be as sure as thy thrust. Save me from the bloody virgin-eater, and I will catch the squid and beat the kapa for thee all my days."
The time of contest approached. The King sat under the shade of a leafy kou, the royal tree of the olden time, which has faded away with the chiefs it once did shelter. On the smooth shell floor, covered with the hala mat, stood the bare-limbed braves, stripped to the malo, who with hot eyes of hate shot out their rage of lust and blood, and stretched out their strangling arms. They stood, beating with heavy fists their broad, glossy chests of bronze, and grinning face to face, they glowered their savage wish to kill. Then, with right foot advanced, and right arm uplifted, they pause to shout their gage of battle, and tell to each how they would maim and tear, and kill, and give each other's flesh for food to some beastly maw.
And now, each drawing near to each, with arms uplifted, and outspread palms with sinewy play, like nervy claws trying to clutch or grip, they seek a chance for' a deadly clinch. And swift the scarred child-strangler has sprung with his right to the young spear-man's throat, who as quickly hooks the lunging arm within the crook of his, and with quick, sledge-like blow breaks the shoulder arm-bone.
With fury the baffled bone-breaker grips with the uncrippled hand; but now two stout young arms, tense with rage, soon twist and break the one unaided limb. Then with limp arms the beaten brute turns to flee; but swift hate is upon him, and clutches him by the throat; and pressing him down, the hero of Kaala holds his knee to the hapless wretch's back, and with knee bored into the backward bended spine, he strains
and jerks till the jointed bones snap and break, and the dread throttler of girls and babes lies prone on the mat, a broken and bloody corse.
"Good!" cried the King. "Our son has the strength of Kanekoa. Now let our daughter soothe the limbs of her lover. Let her stroke his skin, press his joints, and knead his back with the loving grip and touch of the lomilomi. We will have a great bake, with the hula and song; and when the feast is over, then shall they be one."
A line of women squat down. They crone their wild refrain, praising the one who wins in strife and love. They seize in their right hand the hula gourd, clattering with pebbles inside. They whirl it aloft, they shake, they swing, they strike their palms, they thump the mat; and now with supple joints they twirl their loins, and with heave and twist, and with swing and song, the savage dance goes on.
Kaala stood up with the maiden throng, the tender, guarded gifts of kings. They twined their wreaths, they swayed, and posed their shining arms; and flapping with their hands their leafy skirts, revealed their rounded limbs. This fires the gaze of men, and the hero of the day with flaming eyes, springs and clasps his love, crying as he bears her away: "Thou shalt dance in my hut in Kohala for me alone, forever!"
At this, a stout yet grizzled man of the isle lifts up his voice and wails: "Kaala, my child, is gone. Who shall soothe my limbs when I return from spearing the ohua? And who shall feed me with taro and bread-fruit like the chief of Olowalu, when I have no
daughter to give away? I must hide from the chief or I die." And thus wailed out Opunui, the father of Kaala.
But a fierce hate stirred the heart of Opunui. His friend was driven over the cliff at Maunalei, and he himself had lived only by crawling at the feet of the slayer. He hid his hate, and planned to save his girl and balk the killer of his people. He said in his heart, "I will hide her in the sea, and none but the fish gods and I shall know where the ever-sounding surf surges over Kaala."
Now, in the morn, when the girl with ruddy brown cheeks, and glowing with the brightening dawn of love, stood in the doorway of the lodge of her lord, and her face was sparkling with the sheen from the sun, her sire in humble guise stood forth and said, "My child, your mother at Mahana is dying. Pray you, my lord, your love, that you may see her once more before his canoe shall bear you to his great land."
"Alas!" said the tender child, "since when is Kalani ill? I shall carry to her this large sweet fish speared by my lord; and when I have rubbed her aching limbs, she will be well again with the love touch of her child. Yes, my lord will let me go. Will you not, O Kaaialii; will you not let me go to give my mother a last embrace, and I shall be back again before the moon has twice spanned the bay?"
The hero clasped his young love with one stout twining arm, and gazing into her eyes, he with a caressing hand put back from her brow her shining hair, and thus to his heart's life he spoke: "O my
sweet flower, how shall I live without thee, even for this day's march of the sun? For thou art my very breath, and I shall pant and die like a stranded fish without thee. But no, let me not say so. Kaaialii is a chief who has fought men and sharks; and he must not speak like a girl. He too loves his mother, who looks for him in the valley of Kohala; and shall he deny thy mother, to look her last upon the sweet face and the tender limbs that she fed and reared for him? Go, my Kaala. But thy chief will sit and watch with a hungering heart, till thou come back to his arms again."
And the pretty jessamine twined her arms around his neck, and laying her cheek upon his breast said, with upturned tender glances, "O my chief, who gayest me life and sweet joy; thy breath is my breath; thy eyes are my sweetest sight; thy breast is my only 'd resting-place; and when I go away, I shall all the way look back to thee, and go slowly with a backward turned heart; but when I return to thee, I shall have wings to bear me to my lord."
"Yes, my own bird," said Kaaialii, "thou must fly, but fly swiftly in thy going as well as in thy coming; for both ways thou fliest to me. When thou art gone I shall spear the tender ohua fish, I shall bake the yam and banana, and I will fill the calabash with sweet water, to feed thee, my heart, when thou shalt come; and thou shalt feed me with thy loving eyes.
"Here, Opunui! take thy child. Thou gayest life to her, but now she gives life to me. Bring her back all well, ere the sun has twice risen. If she come not
soon, I shall die; but I should slay thee before I die; therefore, O Opunui, hasten thy going and thy coming, and bring back my life and love to me."
And now the stern hero unclasped the weeping girl. His eye was calm, but his shut lips showed the work within of a strong and tender heart of love. He felt the ache of a larger woe than this short parting. He pressed the little head between his palms; he kissed the sobbing lips again and again; he gave one strong clasp, heart to heart, and then quickly strode away.
As Kaala tripped along the stony up-hill path, she glanced backward on her way, to get glimpses of him she loved, and she beheld her chief standing on the topmost rock of the great bluff overhanging the sea. And still as she went and looked, still there he stood; and when on the top of the ridge and about to descend into the great valley, she turned to look her last, still she saw her loving lord looking up to her.
The silent sire and the weeping child soon trod the round, green vale of Palawai. She heeded not now to pluck, as was her wont, the flowers in her path; but thought how she should stop a while, as she came back, to twine a wreath for her dear lord's neck. And thus this sad young love tripped along with innocent hope by the moody Opunui's side.
They passed through the groves of Kalulu and Kumoku, and then the man swerved from the path leading to Mahana and turned his face again seaward. At this the sad and silent child looked up into the face of her grim and sullen sire and said: "O father,
we shall not find mother on this path, but we shall lose our way and come to the sea once more."
"And thy mother is by the sea, by the bay of Kaumalapau. There she gathers limpets on the rocks. She has dried a large squid for thee. She has pounded some taro and filled her calabash with poi, and would feed thee once more. She is not sick; but had I said she was well, thy lord would not have let thee go; but now thou art on the way to sleep with thy mother by the sea."
The poor weary girl now trudged on with a doubting heart. She glanced sadly at her dread sire's moody eye. Silent and sore she trod the stony path leading down to the shore, and when she came to the beach with naught in view but the rocks and sea, she said with a bursting heart, "O my father, is the shark to be my mother, and I to never see my dear chief any more?"
"Hear the truth," cried Opunui. "Thy home for a time is indeed in the sea, and the shark shall be thy mate, but he shall not harm thee. Thou goest down where the sea god lives, and he shall tell thee that the accursed chief of the bloody leap shall not carry away any daughter of Lanai. When Kaaialii has sailed for Kohala then shall the chief of Olowalu come and bring thee to earth again."
As the fierce sire spoke, he seized the hand of Kaala, and unheeding her sobs and cries, led her along the' rugged shore to a point eastward of the bay, where the beating sea makes the rocky shore tremble beneath the feet. Here was a boiling gulf, a fret and foam of
the sea, a roar of waters, and a mighty jet of brine and spray from a spouting cave whose mouth lay deep beneath the battling tide.
See yon advancing billow! The south wind sends it surging along. It rears its combing, whitening crest, and with mighty, swift-rushing volume of angry green sea, it strikes the mouth of the cave; it drives and packs the pent-up air within, and now the tightened wind rebounds, and driving back the ramming sea, bursts forth with a roar as the huge spout of sea leaps upward to the sky, and then comes curving down in gentle silver spray.
The fearful child now clasped the knees of her savage sire. "Not there, O father," she sobbed and wailed. "The sea snake (the puhi) has his home in the cave, and he will bite and tear me, and ere I die, the crawling crabs will creep over me and pick out my weeping eyes. Alas, O father, better give me to the shark, and then my cry and moan will not hurt thine ear."
Opunui clasped the slender girl with one sinewy arm, and with a bound he leaped into the frothed and fretted pool below. Downward with a dolphin's ease he moved, and with his free arm beating back the brine, moved along the ocean bed into the sea cave's jagged jaws; and then stemming with stiffened sinew the wind-driven tide, he swam onward till he struck a sunless beach and then stood inside the cave, whose mouth is beneath the sea.
Here was a broad, dry space with a lofty, salt-icicled roof. The green, translucent sea, as it rolled back and
forth at their feet, gave to their brown faces a ghastly white glare. The scavenger crabs scrambled away over the dank and dripping stones, and the loathsome biting eel, slowly reached out its well-toothed, wide-gaping jaw to tear the tender feet that roused it from its horrid lair, where the dread sea god dwelt.
The poor hapless girl sank down upon this gloomy shore and cried, clinging to the kanaka's knee: "O father, beat out my brains with this jagged stone, and do not let the eel twine around my neck, and trail with a loathsome, slimy, creeping crawl over my body before I die. Oh! the crabs will pick and tear me before my breath is gone."
"Listen," said Opunui. "Thou shalt go back with me to the warm sunny air. Thou shalt tread again the sweet-smelling flowery vale of Palawai, and twine thy neck with wreaths of scented jessamine, if thou wilt go with me to the house of the chief of Olowalu and there let thy bloody lord behold thee wanton with thy love in another chief's arms."
"Never," shouted the lover of Kaaialii, "never will I meet any clasp of love but that of my own chief. If I cannot lay my head again upon his breast, I will lay it in death upon these cold stones. If his arm shall never again draw me to his heart, then let the eel twine my neck and let him tear away my cheeks rather than that another beside my dear lord shall press my face."
"Then let the eel be thy mate," cried Opunui, as he roughly unclasped the tender arms twined around his knees; "until the chief of Olowalu comes to seize
thee, and carry thee to his house in the hills of Maui. Seek not to leave the cave. Thou knowest that with thy weak arms, thou wilt tear thyself against the jagged rocks in trying to swim through the swift flowing channel. Stay till I send for thee, and live." Then dashing out into the foaming gulf with mighty buffeting arms he soon reached the upper air.
And Kaaialii stood upon the bluff, looking up to the hillside path by which his love had gone, long after her form was lost to view in the interior vales. And after slight sleep upon his mat, and walking by the shore that night, he came at dawn and climbed the bluff again to watch his love come down the hill. And as he gazed he saw a leafy skirt flutter in the wind, and his heart fluttered to clasp his little girl; but as a curly brow drew near, his soul sank to see it was not his love, but her friend Ua (rain) with some sad news upon her face.
With hot haste and eager asking eyes does the love-lorn chief meet the maiden messenger, and cries, "Why does Kaala delay in the valley? Has she twined wreaths for another's neck for me to break? Has a wild hog torn her? Or has the anaana prayer of death struck her heart, and does she lie cold on the sod of Mahana? Speak quickly, for thy face kills me, O Ua!"
"Not thus, my lord," said the weeping girl, as the soft shower fell from Ua's sweet eyes. "Thy love is not in the valley; and she has not reached the hut of her mother Kalani. But kanakas saw from the hills of Kalulu her father lead her through the forest of
[paragraph continues] Kumoku; since then our Kaala has not been seen, and I fear has met some fate that is to thwart thy love."
"Kaala lost? The blood of my heart is gone!" He hears no more! The fierce chief, hot with baffled passion, strikes madly at the air, and dashes away, onward up the stony hill; and upward with his stout young savage thews, he bounds along without halt or slack of speed till he reaches the valley's rim, then rushes down its slopes.
He courses over its bright green plains. He sees in the dusty path some prints that must be those of the dear feet he follows now. His heart feels a fresh bound; he feels neither strain of limb nor scantness of breath, and, searching as he runs, he descries before him in the plain the deceitful sire alone.
"Opunui," he cries, "give me Kaala, or thy life!" The stout, gray kanaka looks to see the face of flame and the outstretched arms, and stops not to try the strength of his own limbs, or to stay for any parley, but flies across the valley, along the very path by which the fierce lover came; and with fear to spur him on, he keeps well before his well blown foe.
But Kaaialii is now a god; he runs with new strung limbs, and presses hard this fresh-footed runner of many a race. They are within two spears' length of each other's grip upon the rim of the vale; and hot with haste the one, and with fear the other, they dash along the rugged path of Kealia, and rush downward to the sea. They bound o’er the fearful path of clinkers. Their torn feet heed not the pointed stones.
[paragraph continues] The elder seeks the shelter of the taboo; and now, both roused by the outcries of a crowd that swarm on the bluffs around, they put forth their remaining strength and strive who shall gain first the entrance to the sacred wall of refuge.
For this the hunted sire strains his fast failing nerve; and the youth with a shout quickens his still tense limbs. He is within a spear's length; he stretches out his arms. Ha, old man! he has thy throat within his grip. But no, the greased neck slips the grasp; the wretch leaps for his dear life, he gains the sacred wall, he bounds inside, and the furious foe is stopped by the staves of priests.
The baffled chief lies prone in the dust, and curses the gods and the sacred taboo. After a time he is led away to his hut by friends; and then the soothing hands of Ua rub and knead the soreness out of his limbs. And when she has set the calabash of poi before him along with the relishing dry squid, and he has filled himself and is strong again, he will not heed any entreaty of chief or friends; not even the caressing lures of Ua, who loves him; but he says, "I will go and seek Kaala; and if I find her not, I die."
Again the love-lorn chief seeks the inland. He shouts the name of his lost love in the groves of Kumoku, and throughout the forest of Mahana. Then he roams through the cloud-canopied valley of Palawai; he searches among the wooded canyons of Kalulu, and he wakes the echoes with the name of Kaala in the gorge of the great ravine of Maunalei. He follows this high walled barranca over its richly
flowered and shaded floor; and also along by the winding stream, until he reaches its source, an abrupt wall of stone, one hundred feet high, and forming the head of the ravine. From the face of this steep, towering rock, there exudes a sweet, clear rain, a thousand trickling rills of rock-filtered water leaping from points of fern and moss, and filling up an ice cold pool below, at which our weary chief gladly slaked his thirst. The hero now clambers the steep walls of the gorge, impassable to the steps of men in these days; but he climbs with toes thrust in crannies, or resting on short juts and points of rock; and he pulls himself upward by grasping at out-cropping bushes and strong tufts of fern. And thus with stout sinew and bold nerve the fearless spearman reaches the upper land from whence he had, in his day of devouring rage, hurled and driven headlong the panic-stricken foe.
And now he runs on over the lands of Paomai, through the wooded dells of the gorge of Kaiholena, and onward across Kaunolu and Kalulu, until he reaches the head spring of sacred Kealia called Waiakekua; and here he gathered bananas and ohelo berries; and as he stayed his hunger with the pleasant wild fruit, he beheld a white-haired priest of Kaunolu, bearing a calabash of water.
The aged priest feared the stalwart chief, because he was not upon his own sacred ground, under the safe wing of the taboo; and therefore he bowed low and clasped the stout knees, and offered the water to slake the thirst of the sorrowing chief. But Kaaialii cried out: "I thirst not for water, but for the sight of my
love. Tell me where she is hid, and I will bring thee hogs and men for the gods." And to this the glad priest replied:
"Son of the stout spear! I know thou seekest the sweet Flower of Palawai; and no man but her sire has seen her resting-place; but I know that thou seekest in vain in the groves, and in the ravines, and in this mountain. Opunui is a great diver and has his dens in the sea. He leaves the shore when no one follows, and he sleeps with the fish gods, and thou wilt find thy love in some cave of the rock-bound southern shore."
The chief quickly turns his face again seaward. He descends the deep shaded pathway of the ravine of Kaunolu. He winds his way through shaded thickets of ohia, sandalwood, the yellow mamani, the shrub violet, and the fragrant na-u. He halted not as ht reached the plain of Palawai, though the ever overhanging canopy of cloud that shades this valley of the mountain cooled his weary feet. These upper lands were still, and no voice was heard by the pili grass huts, and the maika balls and the wickets of the bowling alley of Palawai stood untouched, because all the people were with the great chief by the shore of Kaunolu; and Kaaialii thought that he trod the flowery pathway of the still valley alone.
But there was one who, in soothing his strained limbs after he fell by the gateway of the temple, had planted strong love in her own heart; and she, Ua, with her lithe young limbs, had followed this sorrowing lord through all his weary tramp, even through
the gorges, and over the ramparts of the hills, and she was near the sad, wayworn chief when he reached the southern shore.
The weary hero only stayed his steps when he reached the brow of the great bluff of Palikaholo. The sea broke many hundred feet below where he stood. The gulls and screaming boatswain birds sailed in mid-air between his perch and the green waves. He looked up the coast to his right, and saw the lofty, wondrous sea columns of Honopu. He looked to the left, and beheld the crags of Kalulu, but nowhere could he see any sign which should tell him where his love was hid away.
His strong, wild . nature was touched by the distant sob and moan of the surf. It sang a song for his sad, savage soul. It roused up before his eyes other eyes, and lips, and cheeks, and clasps of tender arms. His own sinewy ones he now stretched out wildly in the mocking air. He groaned, and sobbed, and beat his breast as he cried out, "Kaala! O Kaala! Where art thou? Dost thou sleep with the fish gods, or must I go to join thee in the great shark's maw?"
As the sad hero thought of this dread devourer of many a tender child of the isles, he hid his face with his hands,--looking with self-torture upon the image of his soft young love, crunched, bloody and shrieking, in the jaws of the horrid god of the Hawaiian seas; and as he thought and waked up in his heart the memories of his love, he felt that he must seek her even in her gory grave in the sea.
Then he looks forth again, and as he gazes down
by the shore his eyes rest upon the spray of the blowing cave near Kaumalapau. It leaps high with the swell which the south wind sends. The white mist gleams in the sun. Shifting forms and shades are seen in the varied play of the up-leaping cloud. And as with fevered soul he glances, he sees a form spring up in the ever bounding spray.
He sees with his burning eyes the lines of the sweet form that twines with tender touch around his soul. He sees the waving hair, that mingles on his neck with his own swart curls. He sees,--he thinks he sees,--in the leap and play of sun-tinted spray, his love, his lost Kaala; and with hot foot he rushes downward to the shore.
He stands upon the point of rock whence Opunui sprang. He feels the throb beneath his feet of the beating, bounding tide. He sees the fret and foam of the surging gulf below the leaping spray, and is wetted by the shore-driven mist. He sees all of this wild, working water, but he does not see Kaala.
And yet he peers into this mad surf for her he seeks. The form that he has seen still leads him on. He will brave the sea god's wrath; and he fain would cool his brow of flame in the briny bath. He thinks he hears a voice sounding down within his soul; and cries, "Where art thou, O Kaala? I come, I come!" And as he cries, he springs into the white, foaming surge of this ever fretted sea.
And one was near as the hero sprang; even Ua, with the clustering curls. She loved the chief; she did hope that when his steps were stayed by the sea, and
he had mingled his moan with the wild waters' wail, that he would turn once more to the inland groves, where she would twine him wreaths, and soothe his limbs, and rest his head upon her knees; but he has leaped for death, he comes up no more, And Ua wailed for Kaaialii; and as the chief rose no more from out the lashed and lathered sea, she cried out, "Auwe ka make!" (Alas, he is dead!) And thus wailing and crying out, and tearing her hair, she ran back over the bluffs, and down the shore to the tabooed ground of Kealia, and wailing ever, flung herself at the feet of Kamehameha.
The King was grieved to hear from Ua of the loss of his young chief. But the priest Papalua standing near, said: "O Chief of Heaven, and of all the isles; there where Kaaialii has leaped is the sea den of Opunui, and as thy brave spearman can follow the turtle to his deep sea nest, he will see the mouth of the cave, and in it, I think, he will find his lost love, Kaala, the flower of Palawai."
At this Ua roused up. She called to her brother Keawe, and laying hold on him, pulled him toward the shore, crying out, "To thy canoe, quick! I will help thee to paddle to Kaumalapau." For thus she could reach the cave sooner than by the way of the bluffs. And the great chief also following, sprang into his swiftest canoe, and helping as was his wont, plunged his blade deep into the swelling tide, and bounded along by the frowning shore of Kumoku.
When Kaaialii plunged beneath the surging waters, he became at once the searching diver of the Hawaiian
seas; and as his keen eye peered throughout the depths, he saw the portals of the ocean cave into which poured the charging main. He then, stemming with easy play of his well-knit limbs the suck and rush of the sea, shot through the current of the gorge; and soon stood up upon the sunless strand.
At first he saw not, but his ears took in at once a sad and piteous moan,--a sweet, sad moan for his hungry ear, of the voice of her he sought. And there upon the cold, dank, dismal floor he could dimly see his bleeding, dying love. Quickly clasping and soothing her, he lifted her up to bear her to the upper air; but the moans of his poor weak Kaala told him she would be strangled in passing through the sea.
And as he sat down, and held her in his arms, she feebly spoke: "O my chief, I can die now! I feared that the fish gods would take me, and I should never see thee more. The eel bit me, and the crabs crawled over me, and when I dared the sea to go and seek thee, my weak arms could not fight the tide; I was torn against the jaws of the cave, and this and the fear of the gods have so hurt me, that I must die."
"Not so, my love," said the sad and tearful chief. "I am with thee now. I give thee the warmth of my heart. Feel my life in thine. Live, O my Kaala, for me. Come, rest and be calm, and when thou canst hold thy breath I will take thee to the sweet air again, and to thy valley, where thou shalt twine wreaths for me." And thus with fond words and caresses he sought to soothe his love.
But the poor girl still bled as she moaned; and with
fainter voice she said, "No, my chief, I shall never twine a wreath, but only my arms once more around thy neck." And feebly clasping him, she said in sad, sobbing, fainting tones, "Aloha, my sweet lord! Lay me among the flowers by Waiakeakua, and do not slay my father."
Then, breathing moans and murmurs of love, she lay for a time weak and fainting upon her lover's breast, with her arms drooping by her side. But all at once she clasps his neck, and with cheek to cheek, she clings, she moans, she gasps her last throbs of love and passes away; and her poor torn corse lies limp within the arms of the love-lorn chief.
As he cries out in his woe there are other voices in the cave. First he hears the voice of Ua speaking to him in soothing tones as she stoops to the body of her friend; and then in a little while he hears the voice of his great leader calling to him and bidding him stay his grief. "O King of all the Seas," said Kaaialii, standing up and leaving Kaala to the arms of Ua, "I have lost the flower thou gayest me; it is broken and dead, and I have no more joy in life."
"What!" said Kamehameha, "art thou a chief, and wouldst cast away life for a girl? Here is Ua, who loves thee; she is young and tender like Kaala. Thou shalt have her, and more, if thou dost want. Thou shalt have, besides the land I gave thee in Kohala, all that thou shalt ask of Lanai. Its great valley of Palawai shall be thine; and thou shalt watch my fishing grounds of Kaunolu, and be the Lord of Lanai."
"Hear, O King," said Kaaialii. "I gave to Kaala
more of my life in loving her, and of my strength in seeking for her than ever I gave for thee in battle. I gave to her more of love than I ever gave to my mother, and more of my thought than I ever gave to my own life. She was my very breath, and my life, and how shall I live without her? Her face, since first I saw her, has been ever before me; and her warm breasts were my joy and repose; and now that they are cold to me, I must go where her voice and love have gone. If I shut my eyes now I see her best; therefore let me shut my eyes forevermore." And as he spoke, he stooped to clasp his love, said a tender word of adieu to Ua, and then with a swift, strong blow, crushed in brow and brain with a stone.
The dead chief lay by the side of his love, and Ua wailed over both. Then the King ordered that the two lovers should lie side by side on a ledge of the cave; and that they should be wrapped in tapas which should be brought down through the sea in tight bamboos. Then there was great wailing for the chief and the maid who lay in the cave; and thus wailed Ua:
And thus Ua wailed, and then was borne away by her brother to the sorrowful shore of Kaunolu, where there was loud wailing for the chief and the maid; and many were the chants of lamentation for the two lovers, who sleep side by side in the Spouting Cave of Kaala.