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ACCORDING to the legends, Pele was very quickly angered. Her passions were as turbulent as the lake of fire in her crater home. Her love burned, but her anger devoured. She was not safe.

Kumu-kahi was a chief who pleased Pele. According to the legends he was tall, well built, and handsome, and a great lover of the ancient games. Apparently he had known Pele only as a beautiful young chiefess; for one day, when he was playing with the people, an old woman with fiery eyes came to him demanding a share in the sports. He ridiculed her. She was very persistent. He treated her with contempt. In a moment her anger flashed out in a great fountain

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of volcanic fire. She chased the chief to the sea, caught him on the beach, heaped up a great mound of broken lava over him, and poured her lava flood around him and beyond him far out into the ocean.

Thus the traditions say Cape Kumu-kahi, the southeast point of the island Hawaii, was formed. Here kings, chiefs, and priests have come for ages to build great piles of lava rock with many ceremonies. The natives call these "funeral mounds" and name them after the builders, although the persons themselves were seldom placed underneath in burial.

When Hawaiians, who had been ill, recovered, they frequently vowed to make a "journey of health." This meant that they came to the place now known as Hilo Bay. There they bathed by the beautiful little Coconut Island, fished up by the demi-god Maui. There they swam around a stone known as Moku-ola (The-island-of-life). Then they walked along the seashore day after day until they were below the volcano of Kilauea. They went up to the pit of Pele, offered sacrifices, and then followed an overland path back to Hilo. It was an ill omen if for any reason they went back by the same path. They must make the "journey of health" with the face forward. Hopoe (The dancing stone), Kapoho (The green lake), and Kumu-kahi

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were among the places which must be visited. They all have their Pele legends.

On the shortest path from Kumu-kahi to Kilauea is a great field of many acres of lava stumps. these, according to the best theories, were made by immense floods of lava pouring down upon large forests of living trees. Lava always cools rapidly on the surface, therefore, as the lava spread out through the forest, very soon there was a great floor of hot black stone pierced by a multitude of trees. Some of these burned very slowly. The flowing lava would easily push itself up through the small opening around a burning tree and would keep on pushing and building up a higher and higher cone of lava as the tree burned away, until the tree was destroyed. These cones rise sometimes ten to fifteen feet above the lava floor. They frequently have well-preserved masses of charcoal as their core. This is nature's method of making lava stumps. This field of hundreds of lava stumps has a different origin according to the legends,


Papa-lau-ahi (The-fire-leaf-smothered-out) was a chief who at one time ruled the district of Puna. He excelled in the sports of the people. It was his great delight to gather all the families together

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and have feasts and games. He challenged the neighboring chiefs to personal contests of many kinds and almost always was the victor.

One day the chiefs were sporting on the hillsides around a plain where a multitude of people could see and applaud. Pele heard a great noise of shouting and clapping hands and desired to see the sport. In the form of a beautiful woman she suddenly appeared on the crest of one of the hills down which Papa-lau-ahi had been coasting. Borrowing a sled from one of the chiefs she prepared to race with him. He was the more skilful and soon proved to her that she was beaten. Then followed taunts and angry words and the sudden absolute loss of all self-control on the part of Pele. She stamped on the ground and floods of lava broke out, destroying many of the chiefs as they fled in every direction.

The watching people, overcome with wonder and fear, were turned into a multitude of pillars[1] of lava, never changing, never moving through all the ages.

Papa-lau-ahi fled from his antagonist, but she rode on her fiery surf waves, urging them on faster and faster until she swept him up in the flames of fire, destroying him and all his possessions.

[1. These are the lava stumps easily visited by any lover of the curious who journeys to Kilauea.]

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Another chief was the one who was called in Hawaiian legends, Ke-lii-kuku (The-Puna-chief-who-boasted). He was proud of Puna, celebrated as it was in song and legend.

"Beautiful Puna!
Clear and beautiful,
Like a mat spread out.
Shining like sunshine
Edged by the forest of Malio."--Ancient Chant.

Ke-lii-kuku visited the island Oahu. He always boasted that nothing could be compared with Puna and its sweet-scented trees and vines.

He met a prophet of Pele, Kane-a-ka-lau, whose home was on the island Kauai. The prophet asked Ke-lii-kuku about his home land. The chief was glad of an opportunity to boast. According to the "Tales of a Venerable Savage" the chief said: "I am Ke-lii-kuku of Puna. My country is charming. Abundance is found there. Rich sandy plains are there, where everything grows wonderfully."

The prophet ridiculed him, saying: "Return to your beautiful country. You will find it desolate. Pele has made it a heap of ruins. The trees have descended from the mountains to the

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sea. The ohia[1] and puhala[2] are on the shore. The houses of your people are burned. Your land is unproductive. You have no people. You cannot live in your country any more."

The chief was angry and yet was frightened, so he told the prophet that he would go back to his own land and see if that word were true or false. If false, he would return and kill the prophet for speaking in contempt of his beautiful land. Swiftly the oarsmen and the mat sails took the chief back to his island. As he came around the eastern side of Hawaii he landed and climbed to the highest point from which he could have a glimpse of his loved Puna. There in the distance it lay under heavy clouds of smoke covering all the land. When the winds lifted the clouds, rolling them away, he saw that all his fertile plain was black with lava, still burning and pouring out constantly volumes of dense smoke. The remnants of forests were also covered with clouds of smoke through which darted the flashing flames which climbed to the tops of the tallest trees.

Pele had heard the boasting chief and had shown that no land around her pit of fire was secure against her will.

Ke-lii-kuku caught a long vine, hurled it over a tree, and hung himself.

[1. Ohia ha or Paihi = Syzygium. Ohia-lehua = Metrosideros polymorpha sandwicense.

2. Hala or Lahala = Pandanus adoratissimus.]

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Another chief by the name of Ka-pa-pala heard of Pele. He went to the edge of the crater and there found a group of beautiful women. He was welcomed by Pele. They delighted in each other. Many were the games and contests. The chief was so frequently the victor that at last he boasted that he could ride his surfboard on the waves of her lake of fire. She was angry at the thought that he dared to desecrate her sacred home. He defied her, caught his surf-board, threw it on a wave as it struck the encircling wall, then leaped on his, board and launched out on the fire-waves. It is said that, to show his contempt for the power of Pele, he even stood on his head and was carried safely for a time on the crest of the red rolling surf.

Pele became very angry as she saw him fleeing from her over the lake of fire, so she called to her fire-servants, the au-makuas, or ghost-gods, of the crater, and they hurled other fire-waves across the lake against the one the chief was riding.

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These twisted and turned that wave. They broke its crest. The chief and his surf-board were tossed up in a whirlpool of fire. Then he dropped into the heart of the flame and was lost.

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Next: VI. Pele's Tree