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Unwritten Literature of Hawaii, by Nathaniel B. Emerson, [1909], at

p. 246


The hula ulili, also called by the descriptive name kolili--to wave or flutter, as a pennant--was a hula that was not at all times confined to the tabu restrictions of the halau. Like a truant schoolboy, it delighted to break loose from restraint and join the informal pleasurings of the people. Imagine an assembly of men and women in the picturesque illumination given by flaring kukui torches, the men on one side, the women on the other. Husbands and wives, smothering the jealousy instinctive to the human heart, are there by mutual consent--their daughters they leave at home--each one ready to play his part to the finish, with no thought of future recrimination. It was a game of love-forfeits, on the same lines as kilu and ume.

Two men, armed with wands furnished with tufts of gay feathers, pass up and down the files of men and women, waving their decorated staffs, ever and anon indicating with a touch of the wand persons of the opposite sea, who under the rules must pay the forfeit demanded of them. The kissing, of course, goes by favor. The wand-bearers, as they move along, troll an amorous ditty:


Kii na ka ipo * * *
Mahele-hele i ka la o Kona! a
O Kona, kai a ke Akua. b
Elua la, huli ka Wai-opua, c
5 Nehe i ke kula,
Leha iluna o Wai-aloha. d
Kani ka aka a ka ua i ka laau,
Hoolaau ana i ke aloha ilaila.
Pili la, a pili i ka’u manu--
10 O pili o ka La-hiki-ola.
Ola ke kini o-lalo.
Hana i ka mea he ipo.
A hui e hui la!
Hui Koolau-wahine e o Pua-ke-í! f

p. 247



A search for a sweetheart * * *
Sport for a Kona day!
Kona, calm sea of the gods.
Two days the wind surges;
5 Then, magic of cloud!
It veers to the plain,
Drinks up the water of love.
How gleesome the sound
Of rain on the trees,
10 A balm to love's wound!
The wand touches, heart-ease!
It touches my bird--
Touch-of life from the sun!
Brings health to the million.
15 Ho, now comes the fun!
A meeting, a union--
The nymph, Koo-lau,
And the hero, Ke-í.


246:a La o Kona. A day of Kona. i.e., of fine weather.

246:b Kai a he Akua. Sea of the gods, because calm.

246:c Wai-opua. A wind which changed its direction after blowing for a few days from one quarter.

246:d Wai-aloha. The name of a hill. In the translation the author has followed its meaning ("water of love").

246:e Koolau-wahine. The name of a refreshing wind, often mentioned in Hawaiian poetry; here used as a symbol of female affection.

246:f Pua-ke-i. The name of a sharp, bracing wind felt on the windward side of Molokai; used here apparently as a symbol of strong masculine passion.

Next: XXXVIII.--The Hula O-niu