Beckwith Kumulipo Part 2



A Hawaiian Creation Chant translated and edited with commentary by



The Chant


The Master of Song

WHETHER Kamehameha's favorite genealogist or an earlier poet is responsible for the composition of the Kumulipo as we have it today, the chant represents a master-work in the aristocratic art of song employed throughout eastern Polynesia in the families of chiefs to extol their family nobility. This particular class of genealogical prayer chant is known in Hawaii as a Ku'auhau, a word referred by Parker to Ku(amo'o) meaning a "path way" and 'auhau, "lineage," the analogy belonging rather to the meanderings of a roadway trodden out by human feet than to the more familiar symbol of a tree and its branches.

The work of weaving genealogies into a hymnlike chant commemorating the family antecedents was the work of a Haku-mele or "Master-of-song," attached to the court of a chief, one who occupied also the special post of a Ku'auhau or genealogist. He held an honored place in the household. It was his duty to compose name chants glorifying the family exploits and to preserve those handed down by tradition, but especially to memorize the genealogical line through all its branches. Since writing was unknown in Polynesia before contact with foreign culture, a master of song usually gathered together two or more of his fellows to edit and memorize the lines or themselves to contribute passages. Especially must genealogies be memorized by more than one reciter. The oral recitation of a completed chant of eulogy required a special technique in handling the voice. Its utterance was in the nature of a charm. Evenness of voice was obligatory. A breath taken before the close of a phrase, a mistake, or even hesitation in pronouncing a word was a sign of ill-luck to the person or family thus honored. Kamakau writes: "The voice took a tone almost on one note and each word was enunciated distinctly. There was a vibration [kuolo] in the chanting together with a gutteral sound [kaohi] in the throat and a gurgling [alala] in the voice box. The voice was to be brought out with strength [ha'ano'u] and so held in control [kohi] that every word would be clear." Such a feat of memory as must have been involved in the composition and recitation of a sacred chant like the Kumulipo was hence common to the gifted expert in Polynesia.

The importance of such name chants in establishing a chief's claim of birth is illustrated in a legend of a certain exiled chief from the island of Hawaii who claimed asylum with a powerful chief of Oahu, unattended by any of his followers. Upon his name chant being demanded as proof of his title to rank, he is said to have escaped disgrace by gaining the favor of a visiting chiefess just come from Kauai and reciting as his own a new chant taught him by the complacent visitor. A similar story tells of a surfing competition where jealous rivals concealed from the winner the ruling that a surfing chant proving his rank must be recited before a contestant would be permitted to beach his board after the race, and how he was saved from drowning only by the impromptu composition of an old retainer, the famous "Surfing Song of Naihe" still chanted to extol the waves of Kona that comb the surfing beaches of the young chief's home. In both cases it is clear that the chief himself would have been helpless to recall his family chant or to improvise one for himself that would have met the severe standard of expert court composition.

The Kumulipo as we have it today is popularly known as the Hawaiian "Song of Creation," from its name Kumu(u)li-po, "Beginning-(in)-deep-darkness." It consists in sixteen Sections called wa, a word used for an interval in time or space. The first seven sections fall within a period called the Po, the next nine belong to the Ao, words generally explained as referring to the world of "Night" before the advent of "Day"; to "Darkness" before "Light"; or, as some say, to the "Spirit world" in contrast to the "World of living men," with whom the "World of reason" began. In the first division are "born" (hanau) or "come forth" (puka) species belonging to the plant and animal world, in the second appear gods and men. Of the over two thousand lines that make up the whole chant, more than a thousand are straight genealogies listing by pairs, male and female, the various branches (lala) making up the family lines of descent. Thus, although the whole is strung together within a unified framework, it may in fact consist of a collection of independent family genealogies pieced together with name songs and hymns memorializing the gods venerated by different branches of the ancestral stock.

The highly conventionalized form employed in poetic composition by court poets throughout marginal Polynesian groups has thus far discouraged an intensive study of so important a contribution to the oral literature of this isolated people. Each year the difficulty of editing and translating becomes greater. The Kalakaua text itself contains misprints, besides puzzling elisions in the manuscript due to oral memorizing. Since the chant has already died on the lips of a reciter, the absence of any sign for the unvocalized glottal catch makes it necessary to distinguish, by the probable meaning alone, words from quite different roots that are spelled alike in the text, The language is often. archaic, containing many words completely unknown to. modern Hawaiians. Little is known with any assurance of the court use of words once common to chiefs within their own inner circle.

Under the tension of court etiquette, moreover, poetic phrasing was purposely allusive, with elision and the play of fairly complex symbol obscuring the surface meaning and rendering doubly ambiguous the hidden and inner intention which was the real subject of the passage. It heaped up mythical or legendary allusions with which the modern reader can hardly be familiar. It used poetical devices of sound, such as repetition, assonance, and linked lines, often as a mnemonic device but also with a deeper implication, since an accumulation of words of like sound had power in determining the fates of men. Endless listing, arranged seemingly for sound even in genealogies, employed a constant parallelism, a balance in pairs, often of opposites such as male and female, above and below, plant and animal, sometimes perhaps with inclusive intent in order to take in the whole range between, lest the grudge of offended deities bring ill-luck to the family eulogized, but I think primarily for the rhythmic balance so noticeable in the formation of a line and especially of a pair of lines, although I have not myself detected any use of this parallelism in the management of the voice in recitation.

Most puzzling to the uninitiated today is the passion for puns together with a double court usage of words destined to land the translator in unexpected pitfalls as he ventures along unfamiliar ways obscured by so rich a verbiage of language. The use of a double meaning in a word extends to whole passages. A vivid description of natural scenes or activities, some mood of nature or inthrust of myth, may conceal an allusion recognized by the native listener but wholly misinterpreted by us of another culture who attempt translation. To the initiated such a passage attains value, sometimes even intelligibility as part of the context, only through such symbolic meaning. This is the "theme" or kaona called the dominant characteristic of native art--the more deftly hidden, the more delightful to those who catch the application.[3] The meaning of a separate passage must hence be referred for its interpretation to this double significance, often to the meaning of the chant as a whole, and this, as we shall presently see, is a subject for argument in the case of the Kumulipo even among Hawaiians themselves who are familiar to some extent with the requirements of old poetic style.

Nor is this trick of allusion confined to court poetry. It exists today among the most simple with a taste for the turning of verses. A mele given me by a countryman of the island of Maui recites the various scandals within his own family in similar cryptic terms but drawn from a completely banal sphere of allusion. A schoolteacher at Kailua, where we went ashore while our boat was taking on freight, entertained us with some verses he had just composed and was careful to point out the symbol contained within the charming natural scene which the words were ostensibly meant to portray.

One has but to study the rich and picturesque vocabulary of the Hawaiian proverbial saying to become aware of the fondness for indirect speech in the everyday language of the people. The feeling for analogy governs their wit, their gift of naming, their swift use of a concrete example rather than abstract definition. As instance, a Hawaiian in a remote seaside village, wishing to describe to me the character for niggardliness earned by the inhabitants of a neighboring village, picked up a bit of close-grained stone to illustrate his thesis.

Especially are sex and the natural bodily functions subject to conventionalized word-play. Whole passages lost in the literal reading are to he understood only through such application. This obscurity of language is why the Hawaiian taunts the foreigner who tries to interpret his lore. "Always keep something back" is the thought in the mind of every native informant, however helpful he may seem and really wishes to be in his relation with the foreign inquirer.

There is, moreover, a hesitation inherent in the character of the content in the case of a sacred chant like the Kumulipo that hinders frank explanation even when the meaning is clear to the one questioned. This is not necessarily because he knows that allusions which are to him the natural subjects of jest and story may be considered indelicate by a foreigner. It is also because of the sacred nature of such a revelation and the fact that knowledge has been intrusted to him as a kind of charm to be guarded for his own prestige in commanding the favor of the gods. So Bastian reports the bitter reply of the old man whom he was prodding with questions about the meaning of certain allusions in the chant, "Wollt ihr mir meinen einzigen Schatz rauben?" ("Would you rob me of my only treasure?")

Because of this dominant part played by symbolism in Hawaiian poetic style, it is important to know the theme or kaona of the whole composition in order to catch the drift of each part. In the case of the Kumulipo a number of such underlying meanings have been proposed, each sufficiently plausible in itself, but difficult of application in relation to the text as a whole.

The general and orthodox view has been to look upon the chant as an actual history of life on earth from its beginning (kumu) progressively up to the coming of man, and thence through the family succession in unbroken line to the birth of the child to whom it was dedicated. As a poetic composition it is thus to be compared with the Greek Theogony and the Hebrew Genesis.

Kupihea, however, thinks that the chant should be read for its immediate political implications. He thinks that King Kalakaua has changed and adapted the original source material in order to jeer at rival factions among the chiefs of his day and laud his own family rank.

Pokini Robinson was sure, for her part, that the first seven sections composing the period of the Po symbolize stages in the development of the divine taboo chief from infancy to adolescence, when there begins in the second division the symbolic rehearsal of his taking a wife, house building, and the rearing of a family.

Still another idea, put forward, I think, by Dr. Handy, is that the first division depicts, not stages in the growth of the child after birth, but those passed through while still dwelling in the spirit world as an embryo within the womb of his mother.

How decide among these diverse opinions? An informed young modern to whom I put the question replied, "Probably all are right"; and it is on this advice that I have acted, not holding rigidly to a single concept but allowing, as I think is justified by the obviously composite nature of the whole composition, a wider range of analogy. Passages still doubtful to myself and my Hawaiian helpers I follow with parenthetical question marks. These lines as well as others unquestioned specifically may be differently understood when new light is thrown on the matter. I believe, however, that the reading selected is at least true to Hawaiian poetic art and to the intention as I see it of the passage as a whole.


Prologue to the Night World

T0 ILLUSTRATE, how the slant upon the meaning of a text may affect translation of a passage, here is the Prologue to the chant of the first section, to be followed by the various renderings already published or suggested by my interpreters. The lines read:

O ke au i kahuli wela ka honua
O ke au i kahuli lole ka lani
O ke au i kuka'iaka ka la
E ho'omalamalama i ka malama
O ke an i Makali'i ka po
O ka Walewale ho'okumu honua ia
O ke kumu o ka lipo
O ke kumu o ka Po i po ai
O ka Lipolipo, o ka lipolipo
O ka lipo o ka La, o ka lipo o ka Po
Po wale ho-i

Bastian, who knew the text from the manuscript alone, was the first to attempt its analysis. His translation into German gives a poetic turn to the thought. The first six lines give him the picture of a burnt-out world just taking shape again out of the mists of night under the first faint light of the moon. The next four stress the idea of remoteness, at the very roots where darkness begins, far from the sun, far from the "night." Bastian is thinking in terms of a European concept, that of a world conflagration out of which a new world rises. He gets his start from the word wela, meaning "hot, fiery." It is, however, doubtful whether this Old World concept had any place in Polynesian cosmic philosophy. Bastian writes:

Hin dreht der Zeitumschwung zum Ausgebrannten der Welt,
Zurück der Zeitumschwung nach aufwärts wieder,
Noch sonnenlos die Zeit verhüllten Lichtes,
Und schwankend nur im matten Mondgeschimmer
Aus Makalii's nächt'gem Wolkenschleier
Durchzittert schaftenhaft das Grundbild künft'ger Welt.
Des Dunkels Beginn aus den Tiefen (Wurzeln) des Abgrunds,
Der Uranfang von Nacht in Nacht,
Von weitesten Fernen her, von weitesten Fernen,
Weit aus den Fernen der Sonne, weit aus den Fernen der Nacht,
Noch Nacht ringsumher.

Rock translates:

The wheel of time turns to the burnt-out remains of the world,
Back again, then upwards,
Time is as yet sunless with a dull light,
And only floating in the dim moonlight
From Makalii's awful veil of cloud
Tremble through in shadowy fashion the outlines of the future world,
The beginning of darkness from the depths (roots) of the abyss,
The primordial beginning of night in night
From far away, far, far away,
Far from the remoteness of the sun, far from the remoteness of the night,
Still night all around.

Here again the thought is European. The wheel was unknown in Polynesia; still less could the idea of time as a revolving wheel be a genuine native concept. Nor did the Polynesian poet stand off and view his world in Miltonic form as trembling "in shadowy fashion" through "an awful veil of cloud." He thought of it, if at all, as a land mass up heaved from primeval waters out of a kind of pit leading to underworlds whence life sprang and to which it might return; arched above also by an equivalent number of sky worlds inhabited by ancestral gods. In short, neither Bastian nor his translator has contributed to our understanding of the possible meaning of the lines with which the Kumulipo chant opens.

With Queen Liliuokalani the case is different. Her literal rendering keeps fairly within native thought. As an educated Hawaiian of chief stock, she had ample opportunity to consult those still living who knew something of the old chant. She was also herself a composer of charming songs turned in the symbolic style familiar to Hawaiian mele. Her translation pictures the rise of earth out of slime at the time when the first light begins to dawn out of darkness before the sun was. She retains the stylistic features of the original--formal repetition as a mnemonic device and a play of opposites, in this case the idea of earth (honua) as opposed to heaven (lani); of darkness (po) used here with the contrasting word la, meaning the light of day or "sun"; of illumination, ho'omalamalama, used in contrast to "deep darkness" or "depth of darkness," lipo, lipolipo. Emphasis upon the dawn of light bringing heat to earth is conveyed by the word wela, meaning "hot" or "fiery," upon the light itself by such specific words as "sun" (la), "moon" (malama), and in the word aka signifying "the first faint light of the rising moon." These words the queen generally renders by some more neutral phrase. The native idea of the word lipo is of "dark from the depth of a cavern, or from the depth of the sea." It implies a space concept and at the same time one of degree of shade as applied, for example, to the change in color of the ocean as one gets away from shore into deep water. As a cosmographic term it describes the ocean bottom where lies the slime (walewale) out of which life emerges. Its makeup from the words (u)li po, "darkness of (the) depth," has already been suggested. The queen writes:

At the time that turned the heat of the earth
At the time when the heavens turned and changed
At the time when the light of the sun was subdued
To cause light to break forth
At the time of the night of Makalii [winter]
Then began the slime which established the earth,
The source of deepest darkness,
Of the depth of darkness, of the depth of darkness,
Of the darkness of the sun, in the depth of night,
    It is night,
    So was night born.

By smoothing out some rough phrasing and allowing for the running of the seventh and eighth lines into one line, we get a quite reasonable version from the cosmic point of view, a character implied also in the reiteration of the word kumu, read as "source," and ho'okumu, read as "established." The relation of "night" to the establishment of earth is not, how ever, made clear.

The Aloha translation from Kukahi's text follows the same train of thought. The first lines

The time when the earth was hotly changed
The time when the heavens separately changed

suggest the Polynesian myth of the forcible separation of Earth and Sky to admit the light of day, but I do not know by what authority the idea is read into the word lole, which means "to turn inside out" and is the basis for the cataclysm of world forces read into the text by some commentators, as well as for the idea of the seasonal return of the sun north ward at the opening of the new year, as in the queen's rendering. The next lines read:

The time when the sun was rising
To give light to the moon,

but it is doubtful whether Hawaiians knew that the light of the moon came from the sun, and if they did so believe, they were too good observers to represent the sun as "rising" to give such light. In the sixth line walewale is changed to welawela, meaning "intense heat" or "strong emotion" and good from the point of view of the link with wela of the first line but ignored in translation, where the line reads:

Then was the creating of the earth.

In lines seven and eight the word kumu is translated by "reason" in place of the usual "source" or "beginning," and the lines are written with inverted commas as if quoting a popular saying,

'The reason for the deep, to get depth,
The reason for night, to get darkness.'

Poepoe's explanatory notes attached to his roughly penciled text give an even more explicit cosmic meaning to the lines. The first two he thinks tell of "the coming of fire from the inside of the earth and leaving in confusion (inside out) the heavens and the earth." The word Kuka'iaka is "the moon," called "the sun that lighted the period called po." Makali'i is "the first month of the year," and he adds, "at this time these materials were made." The phrase wale ho'okumu honua he refers to "the beginning of the earth because of the melting together of the earthy material and water. They were mixed this way and that, became melted, and are called the Kumulipo, the slimey beginning of the earth." Poepoe is here bringing to bear upon the text the scientific knowledge acquired through foreign culture. He reads into the lines the formation of earth as a factual process without recognizing such spiritual forces as become explicit in Tahitian chants and could hardly have been absent from the thought of ancient Hawaii.

Thus far the cosmic interpretation alone has been illustrated. In the Honolulu Advertiser for November 12, 1936, Theodore Kelsey, born in Hawaii and familiar with the language, although not himself of Hawaiian parentage, printed a "combined literal and symbolic interpretation." Without quoting his whole paraphrase, I wish to point out some ideas it contains that may throw light upon the underlying meaning. He distinguishes the literal interpretation--that of the creation of light and life on earth--from the symbolic, to be found also in the story of the first man Kumu-honua ("Source-of-earth") and the first woman, Lalo-honua ("Earth-beneath-the-surface"), the two called in this chant Kumu-lipo ("Source-of-profundity") and Po'ele ("Darkness"). What is here symbolically pictured as the "earth" (honua) is to be interpreted as "Hawaii's original royal line, hot with fiercest tabu--kapu wela." Makali'i is the season when seeds sprout, fish spawn, and the Pleiades (the Makali'i) appear with other stars high in the heavens. At this time the sun was "like a vital fluid of generation that produced life." As the line of Wakea's descendants increased in number, its beginnings stretched far back into the past and this past grew more and more dim in memory. The poet therefore proceeds to explore back into the profound depth of the past for the beginning of the royal ancestral line. Kelsey has here a definite conception of the symbolism under the literal wording of the lines. Life on earth is engendered by the heat of the sun. As the sun symbolizes the procreative power whence life proceeds, whose source is the god of generation in the spirit world, so a chief descended from the god and "hot with fiercest taboo" carries on through procreation the continuity of the family line. "Darkness" Kelsey applies to distance in time rather than in space. The pit idea is absent and attention fixed upon a genealogical beginning of the chief stock in a time so remote as to be lost to memory.

Kupihea, keeper of the king's fishponds, rejects the Prologue altogether. He thinks Kalakaua himself exchanged it for the original two lines with which the chant opened

Hanau ka po i ka po, po no,
Hanau mai a puka i ke ao, malamalama--

to be translated,

Things born in the night are of the dark,
Things born from and sprung up in the day are of the light.

Dark and light, po and ao, he would refer to the intellectual faculties in man as opposed to plants and animals. The first seven sections of the chant represent the generation of the gods in the bodies of beings without the light of reason. With the eighth section man emerges, and the period of the Ao has to do with the children of men, who multiply on the earth from the first birth of the god of procreation in the body of man. With man dawned the rational powers. The Ao is peopled by creatures endowed with power to develop arts and crafts, all cultural activities; the Po, by creatures "controlled" by gods alone, that is, born not through man kind but through the gods. The Po is a spirit world, the Ao a world of living men.

Still more specific is Pokini Robinson's interpretation of the Prologue. Her fresh approach, uninstructed save by long familiarity with chant practice in chief circles, gives her opinion special interest. She believes, like Kelsey, that the lines herald the birth of the divine child whose stages of development are followed in the succeeding sections of the chant. He is called a "fire" (wela) because of his taboo rank, "heavenly one" (lani) as a customary mark of honor. The word walewale names the seven-day purification period for the mother after childbirth as well as the "slime" whence the divine seed sprouted. The shining of the "sun" (la) she refers to the dim opening of the child's eyes to the light. Thus the child is born in the first line, "turns over" in the second, "opens its eyes" in the third. The birth takes place during the month of Makali'i, when the sun returns north ward and the season of growth begins.

I am not sure whether Pokini would push the symbolism back to an Adamic birth, origin of the race, or give it a more immediate reference to the birth of the child for whom the chant was first composed, whether Keawe's or another. If she would actually refer it to the time now lost to memory when the first Lono was born as a taboo chief on earth, the lines might be paraphrased something like this:

The time of the birth of the taboo chief,
The time when the Heavenly One pushed his way out,
The time when the bright one first saw the light,
At first faintly like the light of the moon,
At the season of Makali'i in the far past.
From the slime of the mother the stock began,
Began in the spirit world,
Began in the time of the gods in a world of gods,
In the far distant past lost in remoteness;
Long ago was the coming of the bright one into the world of the gods,
    A world still peopled by gods alone.


The Refrain of Generation

THE Kumulipo chant opens with four sections or odes of identical pattern, each heralding the birth of a special class within the animal and vegetable world. Each class is governed by a parent-pair passing progressively from darkness toward the light, Kumulipo and Po'ele for the first class, Pouliuli and Powehiwehi for the second, Po'ele'ele and Pohaha for the third, Popanopano and Polalowehi for the fourth. Each ode opens with a poetic passage naming these generative agents, male and female, and setting the key word for the development of the pattern within each class. Each closes with an epilogue composed in similar cryptic style, generally descriptive of the world into which the new forms are born. Except for these two poetic passages, the ode consists in an enumeration of species paired one with another in monotonous sequence, tiresome in text translation but no doubt as pleasing in chanted recitation as our own memory tests in popular game formulas.

The pairing of species matching parent and child, plant and animal, or land and sea forms has no apparent rational basis but rather depends upon word-play between names. These names are not invented for mere rhyme value. Most were promptly identified with known species by one or another of my native informants or by Dr. Edmonson, zoölogist on the Museum staff, and Miss Neal in charge of plant collections. The punning names have in some cases a practical magical function. For example, in plant medicine the first food to be taken after dosing with a special medicinal herb is the sea-grown thing whose name matches with it. Thus, after dosing with the mint called 'ala'alawainui, the Plectranthus australis of herbariums, the Hawaiian herb doctor prescribes the edible seaweed 'a'alua'ula known to science as Codium tomentosum or adherens and still to be had in Honolulu fish markets. Such is the nature of the language that these lists may be extended indefinitely. Kukahi omits a number of pairs given in the Kalakaua text, and this suggests that the series may be used competitively like our own parlor games to test a knowledge of names within a given class, in our case generally arranged on an alphabetic basis rather than upon internal rhyming.

In each of the first four odes this simple listing of pairs is followed by their even more monotonous grouping within a six-line stanza, each introduced and concluded with an identical refrain, one line opening and three closing the couplet. This refrain gives the impression of a traditional formula and is undoubtedly old. No adequate interpretation has been offered for the lines as a whole, and a variation in the Kalakaua text from the manuscript form adds to the uncertainty. A typical stanza reads:

40. O kane ia Wai'ololi, o ka wahine ia Wai'olola
Hanau ka 'Aki'aki noho i kai
Kia'i ia e ka Manienie-'aki'aki noho i uka
He po uhe'e i ka wawa
He nuku, he wai ka 'ai a ka la'au
45. O ke Akua ke komo, 'a'oe komo kanaka

The words Wai'ololi and Wai'olola are applied in every day speech to a narrow entrance through which water passes with force and a wide one which receives them without a struggle. Thus Pokini says the first term is given to a narrow bay along the coast where the water carries the fish in with a rush, the second to a wide shore line where the surf rolls in without breaking. "The names of the waters that were applied to a male and a female," writes Poepoe, and adds a familiar saying, Ke uli mai nei, ke ola mai nei ka wai o ka hua, translated "The water in the gourd goes gurgle-i, gurgle-a." Kawena Pukui remembers a similar saying applied to sounds issuing from ventholes at the volcano: Ke uli, ola (or uhi, oha) mai nei o Pele. Kupihea illustrated by the gurgling sounds made in emptying a gourd filled with water according to the size of the aperture at its mouth, sounds which the pupil in the art of chanting was taught to imitate in order to gain control of the long vibration upon open or closed vowel sounds at the end of a phrase, an achievement considered the high point in a professional reciter's technique; but I do not know whether this is a universal practice. The line is certainly correctly referred to the parts played by the male (kane) and female (wahine) in the generative process. Bastian was no doubt well informed when he wrote, as translated by Rock,

And the male strong in generative power
And the female acquiescent.

This is a birth chant, and procreation is its theme. My informants read,

Man born for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream.

The reference in this first line of the refrain is thus to the generation of life along shore as the waters meet the line of rising land.

The last line is an equally clear reference to the office of gods rather than man in the fertilizing process

The god enters, man cannot enter

hence the reverence with which Hawaiians approach nature, both animate and inanimate, filled as it is with powers beyond their control.

The way to the po for the god (Te ara ki te po no te atua)
The way to the ao for the man (Te ara ki te ao no te tangata)

is the Tuamotuan saying. In these different ways is expressed the separation between man and the natural world, for whose fructifying, so essential to the life of mankind, man must nevertheless wait upon the gods.

For the third and fourth verses of the stanza as written in the Kalakaua text I have arrived at no satisfactory translation. Bastian, who had only the manuscript before him, which reads He pou he'e i ka wawa, refers the word he'e to the octopus and soliloquizes: "During this period of creation of the lowest forms of animal life . . . the octopus is present as observer of the process described. . . "; but, since my purpose is to interpret Kalakaua's text, unless clearly bungled, I follow Ho'olapa's doubtful rendering: "Darkness slips into light," where wawa is perhaps a misprint for waka, "a flash of light," rather than the "tumult" of the literal translation. In the second line of the couplet the word nuku is the difficulty. One would read "nest," others a "splash" or a "quarrel," still others take nuku for a diminutive and, ignoring the comma, translate "A little water [wai] is food ['ai] for the tree [la'au]." Emory proposes "earth" as the Polynesian opposite for "sky," correctly written in Hawaiian as nu'u and lani. This suggestion, although far from satisfactory, I have adopted as perhaps what the Kalakaua text was intended to convey, since in later sections where birds and reptiles are in question the words change to hua ("fruit") and 'i'o ("flesh"). The typical stanza pairing the tough edible seaweed called 'aki'aki, "living in the sea," with the tough stemmed manienie grass, "living on land," may thus be read,

Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream,
Born is the 'Aki'aki seaweed living in the sea,
Guarded by the Manienie-'aki'aki grass living on land,
(Darkness slips into light,
Earth and water are the food of the tree,) [?]
The god enters, man can not enter.

I believe, however, that the manuscript gives the true form, shifted in the Kalakaua text either deliberately or through ignorance of the meaning. Firth finds in Polynesian Tikopia the word nuku used in erotic verse for the "place of particular sex interest" in the female. If pou, meaning "pillar," refers by analogy to the male generative organ, the two lines would agree in symbolism with the first and last lines of the stanza. The word wawa might then be an elision for wa-(oei)wa, defined like wao as "a place of the gods." Together the whole would refer specifically to the process of fertilization and growth in the natural world controlled by the gods. But, since I have no Hawaiian confirmation for this interpretation, I use the vaguer symbolism proposed by Ho'olapa. Such a birth chant with its refrain of generation carried through the first four odes of the Kumulipo seems to link together the whole series in a kind of magical incantation to promote fertility in plant and animal forms necessary to man but over whose procreation he has no control. 


Birth of Sea and Land Life

THE Prologue for the first section, if read literally, seems to picture the rising of land out of the fathomless depths of ocean. Along its shores the lower forms of life begin to gather, and these are arranged as births from parent to child. Poepoe calls this a device "used by the composer of the chant in order to get a source of reproduction as we see it in life," that is, he does not expect the poet to be taken literally. He writes:

Kumulipo was the husband, Po'ele the wife. To them was born Pouliuli. This was the beginning of the earth. The coral was the first stone in the foundation of the earth mentioned in the chant. It was the insect that made the coral and all things in the sea. This was the beginning of the period called the first interval of time. During this time grew the coral, the shellfish (such as the sea cucumber, the small sea urchin, the flat sea urchin, tiny mussels, the oysterlike mussels, the mussels of the sea, the clam, the barnacle, the dark sea snail, the cowry, and so forth). In this interval of time grew the moss and the little plants on land. It was still dark. The water was made to be a nest that gave birth and bore all things in the womb of the deep.

Poepoe knows that the coral polyp builds up the coral and that the shellfish makes its own shell--"it was an insect that made the coral and all things," says Poepoe, But was this known to the poet? The selection of hard-coated creatures as the first forms of life on earth harmonizes with the idea of reproductive power inherent in a stone into which a god enters, an idea fundamental to Polynesian thought about the structure of the world. According to a Tahitian chant of creation, the building-up of land during the "chaotic period" is due to "affinity" between rocks of opposite character that "meet and unite."' Pairs of rocks suggesting in shape male and female sex organs were worshipped as ancestral gods in old Hawaii, and fertility fish gods in the shape of stones occur in pairs in old fishponds. Even today the popular belief lingers. "Where else did all the stones come from?" asked a child from a well-educated family; and he brought me a box of so-called "breeding stones," which he assured me would produce young. But his elders must have interfered; the box disappeared before the test was completed.

Following a series of stanzas pairing land and sea forms comes a ten-line epilogue, carrying on the idea of a world in its first stages of fecundity, stimulated to growth by the generative powers at work during this embryo period of its history. Soft-bodied shellfish have emerged out of the hard bed of ocean; along the just-risen shore line, sea plants float in the wash of the waves; delicate land growths stand rooted in the soil, their slender bodies swaying with the currents of air. The birth of the climbing pandanus vine, worshiped as a god of forest growth because of its spike of red at the fruiting point, symbol of fertility, leads directly to the advent of "the man with the water gourd," who is "Kane of the generative water," Kane-i-ka-wai-ola, represented, says Kupihea, in gushing spring water.

"The man with the water gourd, that is a god," begins the passage, and there follows the softening-up of earth and the increase of plant growth. The withering vine (kalina) is revivified (ho'oulu). Propagation (ka huli) causes growth (ho'oka[u]wowo). Rootlets (paia['a]) carry water to bathe and soften the developing tuber. Earth is pregnant (piha) with growth. Earth props up the sky, or, as Kupihea would read the symbol, commoners (honua) serve as staff (ko'o) to support (pa'a) the chiefs (lani). May not the familiar Polynesian myth of the sky pushed apart from earth to let in the light of day, often forced upward upon the leaves of a growing plant, refer similarly in a figure to the rise of the chief class in distinction from that of the commoners? The whole passage, thinks Kupihea, here refers, not to the spread of vegetation but to the multiplication of a people through the procreative function symbolized in the "man with the water gourd," Kane-i-ka-wai-ola.

The concluding line, "O lewa ke an, ia Kumulipo ka po," with the reiterated "Po-no" ("Still it is night"), serves to balance the preceding "O he'e an loloa ka po," where the word he'e, I think, refers rather to the waving, twisting motion of sea growths, "sliding" (he'e) about through the water and of land plants swaying in the currents of air than to the squid in particular or to sliding sports, both of which derived ideas have obsessed translators of this passage. The word au, carried over in the first instance from the auau of the line before, may refer to a period of "time" in this unfolding world of the po, perhaps to its "length" (loloa) in the first instance, to Kumulipo as its generative agent in the second. At least, any translation I have seen of this passage has been so incredibly hopeless that an attempt to do justice to the poet's conception will not, I trust, be taken as an indignity to native genius.

Pokini Robinson sees, I think quite justly, in this image of an infant world with creatures floating in the wash of the waves or swayed by currents of air a symbol of the uncertain movements of the young child whose development she considers to be the subject of the whole chant. The rootlets (paia['a]) bathing the manawa she would refer to the veins carrying nourishment to the child through the fontanel (manawa) from which the unborn child is supposed to receive food from the parent and may still draw nourishment after birth if the mother's milk fails.


1. At the time when the earth became hot
At the time when the heavens turned about
At the time when the sun was darkened
To cause the moon to shine
5. The time of the rise of the Pleiades
The slime, this was the source of the earth
The source of the darkness that made darkness
The source of the night that made night
The intense darkness, the deep darkness
10. Darkness of the sun, darkness of the night
    Nothing but night.

The night gave birth
Born was Kumulipo in the night, a male
Born was Po'ele in the night, a female
15. Born was the coral polyp, born was the coral, came forth
Born was the grub that digs and heaps up the earth, came forth
Born was his [child] an earthworm, came forth
Born was the starfish, his child the small starfish came forth
Born was the sea cucumber, his child the small sea cucumber came forth
20. Born was the sea urchin, the sea urchin [tribe]
Born was the short-spiked sea urchin, came forth
Born was the smooth sea urchin, his child the long-spiked came forth
Born was the ring-shaped sea urchin, his child the thin-spiked came forth
Born was the barnacle, his child the pearl oyster came forth
25. Born was the mother-of-pearl, his child the oyster came forth
Born was the mussel, his child the hermit crab came forth
Born was the big limpet, his child the small limpet came forth
Born was the cowry, his child the small cowry came forth
Born was the naka shellfish, the rock oyster his child came forth
30. Born was the drupa shellfish, his child the bitter white shell fish came forth
Born was the conch shell, his child the small conch shell came forth
Born was the nerita shellfish, the sand-burrowing shellfish his child came forth
Born was the fresh water shellfish, his child the small fresh water shellfish came forth
Born was man for the narrow stream, the woman for the broad stream
35. Born was the Ekaha moss living in the sea
Guarded by the Ekahakaha fern living on land
Darkness slips into light
Earth and water are the food of the plant
The god enters, man can not enter
40. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the touch seagrass living in the sea
Guarded by the tough landgrass living on land


46. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the 'Ala'ala moss living in the sea
Guarded by the 'Ala'ala mint living on land


52. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Manauea moss living in the sea
Guarded by the Manauea taro plant living on land


58. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Ko'ele seaweed living in the sea
Guarded by the long-jointed sugarcane, the ko 'ele'ele, living on land


64. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Puaki seaweed living in the sea
Guarded by the Akiaki rush living on land


70. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Kakalamoa living in the sea
Guarded by the moamoa plant living on land


76. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Kele seaweed living in the sea
Guarded by the Ekele plant living on land


82. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Kala seaweed living in the sea
Guarded by the 'Akala vine living on land


88. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Lipu'upu'u living in the sea
Guarded by the Lipu'u living on land


94. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Long-one living at sea
Guarded by the Long-torch living on land


100. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Ne seaweed living in the sea
Guarded by the Neneleau [sumach] living on land


106. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the hairy seaweed living in the sea
Guarded by the hairy pandanus vine living on land
Darkness slips into light
Earth and water are the food of the plant
The god enters, man can not enter

112. The man with the water gourd, he is a god
Water that causes the withered vine to flourish
Causes the plant top to develop freely
115. Multiplying in the passing time
The long night slips along
Fruitful, very fruitful
Spreading here, spreading there
Spreading this way, spreading that way
120. Propping up earth, holding up the sky
The time passes, this night of Kumulipo
Still it is night.


The World of Infancy

THE chant of the second section celebrates the appearance of fish in the sea and forest growth on land under control of the generating agents Pouliuli and Powehiwehi. The word uliuli is applied to the color of deep ocean in comparison to the lighter shade of shallower waters near shore, wehiwehi to the shade under thick leafage where some light filters in; hence "Deep-profound-darkness" and "Darkness streaked-with-glimmers-of-light" as this next stage in the development of life on earth advances toward the light, or, as Pokini would put it, as the newborn infant begins to show consciousness of the world about him.

The Prologue introduces the birth of a wonder child in the shape of a "hilu fish" as the theme for the listing of sea life to follow. Two species of this fish, Anampses cuvier and Juli eydouxii, are among the most brilliant in coloring found in Hawaiian waters, hence the name hilu, "elegant." The lines make sense only when applied to a human child in babyhood. In old days the first solid food given a child was thought to influence its afterlife. The red-eyed kole fish would give the child a rosy tinge, the "sticking" gobey fish would cause good luck to "stick" to him, the hilu fish would insure good looks. A discreet form of compliment in praising a pretty infant, since open admiration was not only in bad taste but might bring bad luck, was to call him a hilu fish. "Aren't you a hilu fish! " (He hilu no paha oe!) or "What a pretty fish the hilu is! " (Ke hilu he i'a a no'i-no'i!) was the proper phrase. Similarly, the difficult second line may be referred to a lullaby that Kawena Pukui remembers her grandmother singing,

Toss, toss, hush Ho'ole'ile'i, ho'onana
Hush my child. Ho'onana ana i ku'u kama.

The early movements of an active youngster are, furthermore, exactly conveyed in the words "wrestler" and "pusher" also suggested by Kawena for the enigmatic line that follows. There comes next a passage explained by Pokini Robin son as applied to the freedom of a child in obeying the calls of nature. "Ta! Poho-mi-lua-mea! " cries an elder when the odor proclaims that a child has messed himself. The makeup of the word, from poholua for the hollow of the anus and mi for passing urine, is sufficient to indicate the relevance of the expression, and the lines that follow complete the incident.

The epilogue similarly plays between the underwater world, where swims the brilliantly colored fish, and the secluded valley, home of the gods in ancient times, where a chief's son was taken to be reared as a sacred child in order to preserve his high taboo rank as he grew to adolescence. In the sea world bright-colored opule fish play, "the sea is thick with them." Their persistent gulping and swallowing (monimoni) when at the surface links with the words kolomio and miomio for their disappearance under sea in a swift dive. From the "coral ridges" among which the little ones play, they "seek the dark currents" and slip away from land to the darkness that covers them.

To the symbolic sea world in which the child plays in infancy, allusion to the mythical Pimoe, Polikua, and Paliuli lend a playful note of mystery as well as of learning. They satisfy an imperative law of poetic composition common to Hawaiian as to early Greek song masters, where witness the reproach leveled at Pindar by his lady critic for omitting such allusions from his first eulogistic verses and her later sharp warning, upon his attempting to correct this fault, "to sow with the hand, not with the bag." Pimoe is a shape-shifting being of uncertain sex, for whom in her feminine form legendary heroes go fishing. Some call her "caretaker" of Kane's-hidden-island, a land "beyond the horizon." Polikua, from poli, "concave," and kua, "back," is the dip at the horizon beyond which the eye cannot reach, also personified in the playful saying of one who has been in the land of dreams that he has been "flirting with Polikua.

Paliuli names an ever verdant land of the gods where abundant food grows without labor. The name is given to fertile spots in deep mountain valleys where in old days children of high chiefs were taken to be reared. These spots seem to be recognized as former homes of the gods by the abundance of wild growth, perhaps of wild fruits such as banana and breadfruit. Kupihea named one such spot in the mountains back of the Kamehameha girls' school on Oahu, another near Nahiku on Maui in the Keanae region, one above Halawa on Molokai where Kamehameha is said to have been brought up, and one on Lanai at Kumoku. Some say that each district had its Paliuli. Perhaps the name was given to whatever secluded spot was chosen in the district for the rearing of taboo chiefs from infancy without any form of labor on their own part. The poet here seems to compare the coral ridges of the sea where fishes play with the green heights where the little human "hilu fish" passes his childhood. Since the material world is linked so closely in Hawaiian thought with the psychical, it may be that the underwater world where the hilu fish moves is to be under stood as symbol of the infant's first contact with the world of fluctuating realities into which he is so early plunged.


Born is a child to Po-wehiwehi
Cradled in the arms of Po-uliuli[?]

125. A wrestler, a pusher, [?]
Dweller in the
land of Poho-mi-luamea
The sacred scent from the gourd stem proclaims [itself]
The stench breaks forth in the time of infancy
He is doubtful and stands swelling
130. He crooks himself and straddles
The seven waters just float
Born is the child of the hilu fish and swims
The hilu fish rests with spreading tail-fin
A child of renown for Po-uliuli
135. A little one for Po-wehiwehi
Po-uliuli the male
Po-wehiwehi the female
Born is the l'a [fish], born the Nai'a [porpoise] in the sea there swimming
Born is the Mano [shark], born the Moano [goatfish] in the sea there swimming
140. Born is the Mau, born the Maumau in the sea there swimming
Born is the Nana, born the Mana fish in the sea there swimming
Born is the Nake, born the Make in the sea there swimming
Born is the Napa, born the Nala in the sea there swimming
Born is the Pala, born the Kala [sturgeon ?] in the sea there swimming
145. Born is the Paka eel, born is the Papa [crab] in die sea there swimming
Born is the Kalakala, born the Huluhulu [sea slug] in the sea there swimming
Born is the Halahala, born the Palapala in the sea there swimming
Born is the Pe'a [octopus], born is the Lupe [sting ray] in the sea there swimming
Born is the Ao, born is the 'Awa [milkfish] in the sea there swimming
150. Born is the Aku [bonito], born the Ahi [albacore] in the sea there swimming
Born is the Opelu [mackerel], born the Akule fish in the sea there swimming
Born is the 'Ama'ama [mullet], born the 'Anae [adult mullet] in the sea there swimming
Born is the Ehu, born the Nehu fish. in the sea there swimming
Born is the 'Ino, born the 'Ao'ao in the sea there swimming
155. Born is the 'Ono fish, born the Omo in the sea there swimming
Born is the Pahau, born is the Lauhau in the sea there swimming
Born is the Moi [threadfin], born the Lo'ilo'i in the sea there swimming
Born is the Mao, born is the Maomao in the sea there swimming
Born is the Kaku, born the A'ua'u in the sea there swimming
160. Born is the Kupou, born the Kupouposu in the sea there swimming
Born is the Weke [mackerel ? ], born the Lele in the sea there swimming
Born is the Palani [sturgeon], born the Nukumoni [cavalla] in the sea there swimming
Born is the Ulua fish, born the Hahalua [devilfish] in the sea there swimming
Born is the 'Ao'aonui born the Paku'iku'i fish in the sea there swimming
165. Born is the Ma'i'i'i fish, born the Ala'ihi fish in the sea there swimming
Born is the 'O'o, born the 'Akilolo fish in the sea there swimming
Born is man for the narrow stream, the woman for the broad stream
Born is the Nenue [pickerel] living im the sea
Guarded by the Lauhue [gourd plant] living on land


172. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Pahaha [young mullet] living in the sea
Guarded by the Puhala [pandanus] living on land


178. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Pahau living in the sea
Guarded by the Hau tree [hibiscus] living on land


184. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the He'e [squid] living in the sea
Guarded by the Walahe'e [shrub] living on land


190. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the 'O'opu [gobey fish] living in the sea
Guarded by the 'O'opu [fish] living in fresh water


196. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Kauila eel living in the sea
Guarded by the Kauila tree living on land


202. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Umaumalei eel living in the sea
Guarded by the 'Ulei tree living on land


208. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Paku'iku'i fish living in the sea
Guarded by the Kukui tree [candlenut] living on land


214. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Laumilo eel living in the sea
Guarded by the
Milo tree living on land


220. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Kupoupou fish living in the sea
Guarded by the Kou tree living on land


226. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Hauliuli [snake mackerel] living in the sea
Guarded by the Uhi yam living on land


232. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Weke [mackerel] living in the sea
Guarded by the Wauke plant living on land


238. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the 'A'awa. fish living in the sea
Guarded by the 'Awa plant living on land


244. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Ulae [lizard fish] living in the sea
Guarded by the Mokae rush living on land


250. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Palaoa [walrus] living in the sea [?]
Guarded by the Aoa [sandalwood] living on land


256. The train of walruses passing by [?]
Milling about in the depths of the sea
The long lines of opule fish
The sea is thick with them
260. Crabs and hardshelled creatures
[They] go swallowing on the way
Rising and diving under swiftly and silently
Pimoe lurks behind the horizon
On the long waves, the crested waves
265. Innumerable the coral ridges
Low, heaped-up, jagged
The little ones seek the dark places
Very dark is the ocean and obscure
A sea of coral like the green heights of Paliuli
270. The land disappears into them
Covered by the darkness of night
Still it is night


Winged Life

THE second section told of the birth of sea life and forest growth, in the third come winged creatures; first insects, then birds of land and sea. In the manuscript the order is reversed, bird life illogically preceding fish and forest necessary for their food and nesting. The symbolism of the Prologue plays not upon this winged life but upon the sprouting of the Haha, as upon the Hilu of the last section. The whole passage is to be understood, says Kupihea, as referring to the rise of the chief class under the figure of the sprouting taro plant, although the dictionary gives no clue to this symbolic use of the word haha.

The generating agents Po-'ele'ele, "Dark-night," and Po-haha, "Night-just-breaking-into-dawn," again suggest the idea of a constant approach to "light" in successive stages of the world's growth. The name Po-haha, from the word pohá, "to break forth, to appear suddenly," continues the play on the key word. In common use are the sayings Pohá mai ka la, "the sun breaks forth," said of the first ray of the sun at dawn; pohakea for the place where it shows itself; pohaha ka la, said of its habitual rising; poháhá ka lani, said symbolically of the perpetuation of the intelligent class, perhaps originally of the chief class.

Kupihea believes that the phrases "dark leaf" (lau pahiwa), "leaf of high chiefs" (lau palaili'i), and "the sprout from the rootstalk" (ka pua o ka Haha) refer specifically to the Uli line from whom chiefs of the islands of Maui and Hawaii reckon descent. The Kumulipo chant clearly be longs to a family on this line, as proved by the fact that part of the fifteenth and the whole sixteenth section are devoted to the listing of the Maui branch of the Uli genealogy from Ha-loa, "Long-stalk," ancestor of the Hawaiian people, to the Lono-i-ka-makahiki called a child of Keawe. The "nine leaves" (na lau eiwa) of the Haha, Kupihea further refers to the "nine daughters of Wakea," from whom, if I understood him correctly, sprang nine branches of taboo chiefs recognized in the college of chiefs in Hawaii. These he enumerated as follows, but probably as they occurred to him rather than in order of rank:

Naha, "an Oahu class originating from marriage between uncle and niece"
Io, "a Kauai class named from a little bird that lives on high lehua trees, the class to which Queen Kapi'olani (Kalakaua's consort) belonged"
Puaiwa, "the class to which Kalakaua's line belonged"
Papaua, "the kahuna (priestly) line, a line of high chiefs"
Poloa, ...
Hiwa, "a line direct from Tahiti"
Papalua, "a Lanai class"
Popolo, "a Maui class"
Lanikaula, "a Molokai class"

It would be interesting to correlate these "nine daughters of Wakea" with John White's "nine sisters" of Tini-rau, son of Takaroa in Maori tradition, although I do not find his passage in the Maori text.

Kupihea further believes that certain passages of the chant have been inserted to boast of Kalakaua's own high lineage and throw discredit upon contemporary detractors. As an instance he cites the break at mention of the Auku'u or Hawaiian heron to picture the coming of flocks of these birds and their settling along shore. The Auku'u have been compared to a company of plotters fearful of being over heard by chance listeners, this because of their habit of "huddling together along a sandbank and glancing furtively, owl-like, this way and that."

Me he auku'u la ke kau i ke ahua
Alaalawa na maka he pueo la

is the saying quoted by Andrews. It was on the ground of inferiority in rank that many Hawaiians had opposed Kalakaua's title to the throne and had pushed the claim of Queen Emma, consort of Kamehameha IV. But even if the allusion has contemporary significance, this would not prove it a fresh interpolation. Plotters in high places were doubtless present in Keawe's time and certainly later under Kamehameha.

The epilogue contains allusion to the birds Halulu and Kiwa'a whose feathers, attached to images of the gods, are supposed to rise or fall to predict success or failure of a war party: "wonderful feathers made out of particles of water from the dazzling orb of the sun," writes Kamakau. The birds are played upon 'in story and popular saying. A famous legendary hero slays the man-eating bird Halulu and its mate Kiwa'a in a story of tests for a shape-shifting bride, a tale not unconnected with the ancient heiau of Halulu at Kaunolu on the island of Lanai. Old sayings call Halulu "the bird that cries over the long-house, "O ka manu kani halau; or "the loud-voiced bird crying from the long-house to the taboo houses for women on the borders of Kahiki," O Halulu, o ka manu leo nui e kani halau ana i na pe'a kapu o kukulu o Kahiki. Kupihea attaches the name to "a chief from a distant land, brought to Hawaii by one of the chiefs," possibly the visitor who introduced the custom of consulting feathered images as oracles; but the saying itself may have originated otherwise. Of Halulu's mate Kiwa'a we hear less often. A pun upon the name as Kia'i-wa'a, "Canoe-guide," gives the name Ki-wa'a to the pilot bird that leads a flock of its kind. Since this pilot bird invariably seeks the same landing-place, the fisherman sets up his canoe shed at such a spot and when far out at sea during the migrating season is able to direct his own homeward course by that marked out by "the bird that cries over the long-house."

This fitting of images from nature or the habits of daily life into the traditional history of the past, this play of mythical allusion, is what gives value to poetic composition, according to Hawaiian standards. If the image or allusion can be so turned as to apply to a present situation, so much the better. Back of each image lies an emotional context baffling to the literal translator. In this epilogue, out of a world crowded with bird life on sea and land, the poet seems to reconstruct the migration period that brought successive waves of settlement to Hawaii, a period ending hundreds of years before. After the conventional introduction of mythical allusion, he goes back abruptly to the rootstalk, the Haha that "passes into a hundred branches." And with this "branching of the nightborn" the ode concludes:

Nothing but darkness that,
Nothing but darkness this,
Darkness alone for Po'ele'ele,
A time of dawn indeed for Pohaha,
    Still it is night.


A male this, the female that
A male born in the time of black darkness
275. The female born in the time of groping in the darkness
Overshadowed was the sea, overshadowed the land
Overshadowed the streams, overshadowed the mountains
Overshadowed the dimly brightening night
The rootstalk grew forming nine leaves
280. Upright it grew with dark leaves
The sprout that shot forth leaves of high chiefs
Born was Po'ele'ele the male
Lived with Pohaha a female
The rootstalk sprouted
The taro stalk grew
285. Born was the Wood borer, a parent
Out came its child a flying thing, and flew
Born was the Caterpillar, the parent
Out came its child a Moth, and flew
Born was the Ant, the parent
290. Out came its child a Dragonfly, and flew
Born was the Grub, the parent
Out came its child the Grasshopper, and flew
Born was the Pinworm, the parent
Out came its child a Fly, and flew
295. Born was the egg [?], the parent
Out came its child a bird, and flew
Born was the Snipe, the parent
Out came its child a Plover, and flew
Born was the A'o bird, the parent
300. Out came its child an A'u bird, and flew
Born was the Turnstone, the parent
Out came its child a Fly-catcher, and flew
Born was the Mudhen, the parent
Out came its child an Apapane bird, and flew
305. Born was the Crow, the parent
Out came its child an Alawi bird, and flew
Born was the 'E'ea bird, the parent
Out came its child an Alaaiaha bird, and flew
Born was the Mamo honey-sucker, the parent
310. Out came its child an 'O'o bird, and flew
Born was the Rail, the parent
Out came its child a brown Albatross, and flew
Born was the Akikiki creeper, the parent
Out came its child an Ukihi bird, and flew
315. Born was the Curlew, the parent
Out came its child a Stilt, and flew
Born was the Frigate bird, the parent
Out came its child a Tropic bird, and flew
Born was the migrating gray-backed Tern, the parent
320. Out came its child a red-tailed Tropic-bird, and flew
Born was the Unana bird, the parent
Its offspring the Heron came out and flew
  Flew hither in flocks
  On the seashore in ranks

325.   Settled down and covered the beach
       Covered the land of Kane's-hidden-island
       Land birds were born
       Sea birds were born
329. Man born for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Stingray, living in the sea
Guarded by the Stormy-petrel living on land


335. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Sea-swallow, living at sea
Guarded by the Hawk living on land


341. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Duck of the islands, living at sea
Guarded by the Wild-duck living on land


347. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Hehe, living at sea
Guarded by the Nene [goose] living on land


353. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Auku'u, living by the sea
Guarded by the Ekupu'u bird living on land


359. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born was the Noddy [noio], living at sea
Guarded by the Owl [pueo] living on land


365. This is the flying place of the bird Halulu
Of Kiwa'a, the bird that cries over the canoe house
Birds that fly in a flock shutting out the sun
The earth is covered with the fledgelings of the night breaking into dawn
The time when the dawning light spreads abroad
370. The young weak 'ape plant rises
A tender plant with spreading leaves
A branching out of the nightborn
Nothing but darkness that
Nothing but darkness this
375. Darkness alone for Po'ele'ele
A time of dawn indeed for Pohaha
    Still it is night


The Crawlers

IN THE fourth ode the birth of amphibious creatures is celebrated as "those of the sea take to the land." Translators tend to read the lines according to their own theory of the relation of the passage to the history of life on earth. The queen and the translator for Aloha are faithful to a generalized picture of amphibious creatures swarming up along the coast onto the land, prototype of the growth and spread of man over earth as human history emerges out of the dim past. Bastian sees these as a succession ascending in scale from lower to higher in the animal and vegetable world. Kupihea believes we should relate the series to specific families of settlers belonging to the migration period. Pokini refers them to a stage in the life of a child as it begins to crawl about and meet the rough and tumble of life. In every case it is the particular interpretation each gives to the whole meaning of the chant that has decided the value given to any doubtful phrase. In general I have followed Kupihea's fairly coherent interpretation because it seems to hang together, although this is not essential to Hawaiian poetic art, and to leave to each reader his own evaluation of the symbolism involved. If actually intended as a portrayal of conditions under a historic migration, it makes a pretty sorry indictment of the past.

Pokini, on the other hand, would explain each name of the species born under Popanopano, the male, and Polalowehi, the female, generative agents at this stage of life, as a play upon the characteristics of the developing infant. They show him "clinging" (pilipili) to his parents and "roughly" (kalakala) separated; "chidden" (ka'uka'u), "forgetful" (palaka), gaining "independence" (kaihukunini), "fed" (kupelepele), growing "plump" (kele). Under Pokini's interpretation the general condition of filth and sluggishness in which the half-land, half-sea creatures of this new era live, summed up in the concluding lines--

Reeling they go
Go in the land of crawlers
Born is the family of crawlers in the dim past--

gives rather a humorous than a sordid turn to the whole picture.

It is to be noticed that, although an internal rhyme scheme links verses closely for sound effect, generally into couplets, each verse is read as if complete in itself, the second verse of the couplet a balance, not a completion, to the first. This piling-up of suggestive observations appropriate to the theme gives to the whole passage a cumulative effect rather than one of connected sequences. Kupihea's free translation of the Prologue shows what may be done to read into such poetic word-play a sustained development of thought based upon his idea of the inner meaning intended by the poet under the figure of the "family of crawlers," in this case, according to his version, a consistent description of a historic immigration.

The opening lines of the ode, which I have given literally after the text, have been variously read. Translators generally refer the lines to the coming of La'a, presumably the La'a-from-Kahiki of traditional fame.

Build up the fire of La'a there
The great chief from over the ocean

is the most picturesque rendering offered me, the "dusky black 'ape plant" being thus with much probability referred to a specific immigration, but I am unable to bring the fire building into line with this reading. The queen writes vaguely:  "Established in the dawn of La'a's light," but falls to make use of the allusion. It would be interesting to connect the ode with the introduction of the taboos, the crouching, or even the "burning taboo."

It has seemed worth while to dwell at this point once more upon the possibility of variations in translation based upon the text itself, in order to drive home the ease with which the language of poetry may be twisted to fit a particular interpretation, and hence the caution with which any such reading is to be accepted without certain knowledge of the composer's original intention. Only a contemporary audience acquainted with the facts in each case can be sure of this, nor can one be certain that the meaning for Kalakaua's day was the same as that at the time of composition, or that Kalakaua or another has not manipulated the text to suit his own purposes, as Kupihea thinks; or, even so, just what he and not Kupihea has read into particular passages.


Plant the 'ahi'a and cause it to propagate
The dusky black 'ape plant
380. The sea creeps up to the land
Creeps backward, creeps forward
Producing the family of crawlers
Crawling behind, crawling in front
Advancing the front, settling down at the back
385. The front of my cherished one [?]
He is dark, splendid,
Popanopano is born as a male [?]
Popanopano, the male
Po-lalo-wehi, the female
390. Gave birth to those who produce eggs
Produce and multiply in the passing night
Here they are laid
Here they roll about
The children roll about, play in the sand
395. Child of the night of black darkness is born
    The night gives birth

The night gives birth to prolific ones
The night is swollen with plump creatures
The night gives birth to rough-backed turtles
400. The night produces horn-billed turtles
The night gives birth to dark-red turtles
The night is pregnant with the small lobster
The night gives birth to sluggish-moving geckos
Slippery is the night with sleek-skinned geckos
405. The night gives birth to clinging creatures
The night proclaims rough ones
The night gives birth to deliberate creatures
The night shrinks from the ineffective
The night gives birth to sharp-nosed creatures
410. Hollowed is the night for great fat ones
The night gives birth to mud dwellers
The night lingers for track leavers
413. Born is the male for the narrow stream, the female for the
broad stream
Born is the turtle [Honu] living in the sea
Guarded by the Maile seedling [Kubonua] living on land


419. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the sea-borer [Wili] living in the sea
Guarded by the Wiliwili tree living on land


425. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the sea-worm living in the sea
Guarded by the bastard-sandalwood living on land


431. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Okea living in the sea
Guarded by the Ahakea tree living on land


437. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the sea-urchin [Wana] living in the sea
Guarded by the thorny Wanawana plant living on land


443. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Nene shellfish living in the sea
Guarded by the Manene grass living on land


449. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Liko living in the sea
Guarded by the Piko tree living on land


455. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Opeope jellyfish living in the sea
Guarded by the Oheohe [bamboo] living on land


461. Man for the narrow stream, woman for the broad stream
Born is the Nanana [sea spider] living in the sea
Guarded by the Nonanona living on land


467. With a dancing motion they go creeping and crawling
The tail swinging its length
Sullenly, sullenly
470. They go poking about the dunghill
Filth is their food, they devour it
Eat and rest, eat and belch it up
Eating like common people
Distressful is their eating
475. They move about and become heated
Act as if exhausted
They stagger as they go
Go in the land of crawlers
The family of crawlers born in the night
480.    Still it is night


The Night-Digger

IN THE fifth chant of the Night World, shore life is exchanged for the cultivation of food plants inland, and the rooting pig is used, on the one hand, as symbol of the planter who prepares the soil for the food crop, on the other, as an erotic symbol for the function of the male in the founding of a new family branch upon the old stock.

According to Kupihea, the "new generation" (makamaka hou) of "high chief rank" (uli iliuli) celebrated in the chant is again the Uli line to which belongs the "pig-child" Kamapua'a whose exploits play so large a part in popular story telling. Half-man, half-god, and born in the shape of a pig, this ravisher of ladies and superhuman warrior in battle has left his trace upon many a rock formation, misshapen fragment of earth, or mountain ravine made sacred by such association. He was by all odds the favorite figure of local legend throughout the group, during the last fifty years, in dramatic recital leading to high comedy that left nothing of detail unsaid.

There is strong probability that Kamapua'a belonged to the cult of Lono, god of fertility, to whose priesthood the Kumulipo chant seems to have belonged. Possibly this new branch upon the family line introduced taro culture. Certainly whoever brought the black pig to Hawaii must have stood good chance of candidacy to godhead. The black pig was the most sacred sacrifice to be offered to the high gods alone. The feeding of pork to Cook and his companion climaxed the honors paid to the bewildered captain in his apotheosis as god of fertility. Today a feast of pork is the ultimate word in gustatory satisfaction, a privilege from which women in old days were excluded under rigid taboo. The pig is the household favorite. No one who has picnicked on the black sands of Kalapana can forget the sociable assembling of sharp-backed "porkers of the night" that nuzzle against visitors like a brood of privileged puppies.

I am indebted especially to Kupihea for the identification of classes represented in the births of this period. Kawena Pukui has also furnished particular clarifications. Bastian saw in the pig birth "a wave of sensual passion" and, in the series following, the "beginning of reason and judgment resulting in the development of crafts." Pokini refers the first half-dozen names to the practice of shaping the head (po'o) by manipulation in infancy to conform to the family branch to which the child belonged. Thus the head might be elongated (po'owa'awa'a), angular (po'okihikihi), square (po'omahakea), round (po'omeumeu), with retreating forehead (po'oapahu), and so forth. In the whole series she sees pictured the arrival of a train of followers of a chief bearing gifts to lay before the first-born child upon the occasion of his presentation to the family clan.

Pokini's vivid and insistent identification of the scene is by no means contradictory to Kupihea's more generalized explanation. He attaches to each name the descriptive term characterizing different classes--social, occupational, or military--belonging to a chief's followers, carried over from a time even before that of Kamehameha and it may be much older. Of four terms naming varieties of taro, two are given to certain lower classes, one to the chief's favorites, a fourth distinguishes the lowest slave class. A fifth taro name, Pi'iali'i, was locally applied on Kauai to a class of men who trimmed their hair pompadour and held it up with a comb of shell. The Hulupi'i had kinky hair, cropped to stand up and colored with lime. The Pi'ipi'i were picked men of Kalani-opu'u's army, said to stand "seven feet six inches" in height, the same who were caught in ambush at the battle of the sandhills at the time of the invasion of Maui from Hawaii. "They wore small helmets and short capes and were great fighters." The Huelo-maewa ("Wagging-tails") were "dogs turned human beings," a class of shape-shifters belonging primarily to the island of Maui. The Hululiha, also called Hulumanu, were "retainers of the king who fought with him," hence a kind of bodyguard.

The ode concludes with a paean of praise for the blossoming period of the virgin land under the hand of the ancient planter of taro-patch (lo'i) fame, Lo'iloa. The "walling up at the back" and "in front" in an earlier line, Pokini referred to old methods of potato planting. The word mohala here applied to the land "is often used in the best poetry for the time of maturity in the virgin"; hence it is here applied to the flowering period of land made productive through cultivation. Oma is a name for a chief's leading official, here assigned to the Night-digger, Po-kanokano. Under this symbol of the fruitful earth lies the inner theme or kaona, picturing the rise of a fertile new branch on the family line multiplying over the land.


The time arrives for Po-kanokano
To increase the progeny of Po-lalo-uli
Dark is the skin of the new generation
Black is the skin of the beloved Po-lalo-uli
485. Who sleeps as a wife to the Night-digger
The beaked nose that digs the earth is erected
Let it dig at the land, increase it, heap it up
Walling it up at the back
Walling it up in front
490. The pig child is born
Lodges inland in the bush
Cultivates the water taro patches of Lo'iloa
Tenfold is the increase of the island
Tenfold the increase of the land
495. The land where the Night-digger dwelt
Long is the line of his ancestry
The ancient line of the pig of chief blood
The pig of highest rank born in the time
The time when the Night-digger lived
500. And slept with Po-lalo-uli
The night gave birth
Born were the peaked-heads, they were clumsy ones
Born were the flat-heads, they were braggarts
Born were the angular-heads, they were esteemed
505. Born were the fair-haired, they were strangers
Born were the blonds, their skin was white
Born were those with retreating foreheads, they were bushy haired
Born were the blunt-heads, their heads were round
Born were the dark-heads, they were dark
510. Born were the common class, they were unsettled
Born were the working class, they were workers
Born were the favorites, they were courted
Born were the slave class, and wild was their nature
Born were the cropped-haired, they were the picked men
515. Born were the song chanters, they were indolent [?]
Born were the big bellies, big eaters were they
Born were the timid ones, bashful were they
Born were the messengers, they were sent here and there
Born were the slothful, they were lazy
520. Born were the stingy, they were sour
Born were the puny, they were feeble ones
Born were the thickset, they were stalwart
Born were the broad-chested, broad was their badge in battle
Born were the family men, they were home lovers
525. Born were the mixed breeds, they had no fixed line of descent
Born were the lousy-headed, they were lice infested
Born were the war leaders, men followed after them
Born were the high chiefs, they were ruddy
Born were the stragglers, they were dispersed
530. Scattered here and there
The children of Lo'iloa multiplied
The virgin land sprang into bloom
The gourd of desire was loosened
With desire to extend the family line
535. To carry on the fruit of Oma's descendants,
The generations from the Night-digger
In that period of the past
    Still it is night


The Nibblers

THE sixth chant describes in a mood of whimsical humor the depredations of the rat tribe upon the vegetable food crop celebrated in the last chant. Although rat shooting with bow and arrow was a favorite pastime of chiefs and comparison to a rat an unlucky sign in word magic, the rat family were nevertheless in line of descent from gods of the Po and might appear on earth in offspring endowed with spirit power. Stories make the rat form to be a stage in the reshaping into human bodies of those returned to life from the spirit world, a belief not inconsistent with Hindoo religious philosophy. A Kauai conqueror has a brother born in the form of a rat. Priests catch and work over the spirit body of a dead child until he comes to life in a ratlike body. The exploits of the rat child Piko'i recall the tall tales of our own storytellers. On the other hand, a native kahuna recently condemned a new-built house to vacancy by calling the shape devised for the doorway a "rat's nest," and the ancient priest Paao again and again refuses fish caught for sacrifice on the basis of the same ominous analogy.

Today the native rat, Rattus hawaiiensis, no longer lives save on small islets cut off from the main land. His relatives from foreign lands have taken over the wider ranges. But in old days time was reckoned by the migration of rats to the shore when wild food plants failed in the uplands, thus "telling the seasons" to the lowland planter by the depredations upon his crop; "nothing in the plains is safe from the rats, everything is burrowed out by them," complains Kepelino.

The relation of the first four lines of the chant serving as a prologue to what follows is highly debatable. Kua-ka-mano, "Chief-over-thousands," is reputed to be "a great chief of old" and Kupu-kapu, "Taboo-sprout," to be similarly the name of the splendid feather-bound staff or brush, called kahili, carried before him as a sign of rank. All chiefs in old times had such symbols of office, and each had its distinguishing name of honor. Possibly there is meant here a sly analogy between the quivering whiskers preceding the approach of a rat and the stiff feather frill (kuku) proclaiming that of the equally predatory taboo chief.

But Kupihea is probably right in interpreting the spread of the rat family from upland to shore and their nibbling habits as symbolic of the rise of new lines of chiefs under whom taboos multiplied. Especially it refers perhaps to the dividing up of the land to landlords and these again to subordinate overseers, each taking toll from the crop of the next lower and all expected to contribute to the head chief, the haku or "lord," to whom all land was handed down by inheritance from his predecessor.' This idea as the kaona or theme of the chant I have tried to bring out in following, generally, Kupihea's translation. The trouble lies in the interplay of rhetorical devices such as linked rhymes, so that sound obscures sense. I infer that the multiplication of overseers went hand in hand with the development of cultivation of the soil for food crops, perhaps primarily with the introduction of wet taro culture as described in the chant of the rooting pig. The word hili means "to deviate from the path," hence, according to Parker, "from a settled line of conduct," and may well apply to social innovations. The word mahimahi looks like a reduplication of the word mahi, "to dig." Linalina is a word applied to wet clayey soil, holi ana means "sprouting," the whole couplet thus agreeing with the idea of preparation of abundance of vegetable food ('ai) with which the line concludes. But the "diggers" and "scratchers" may be the rats themselves.

Certainly the rodent family is on the surface the direct subject of the remainder of the chant, with an eye probably to its analogue within the social structure. Such lines as

There in hollow places the parents dwell
There huddle together the little rats,

to quote the queen's rendering, are distinctly so directed. The "lashes (whiskers?) upstanding," the "trace of the nibbling of these reddish ones," the "mark left upon the rind" of the so-called "mountain apple" or 'ohi'a from a tree whose upland variety bears no fruit, all these passages bring the rat tribe itself clearly before the eye. The name Po-hiolo for the male parent may be a play upon Poho-'iole, "Rat-hole," and Po-ne'e-aku, for the female, upon the hitching motion, ne'ene'e, of the rat as it turns now this way, now that; a word applied also to the position in which the common people were obliged to approach the chiefs, crawling on hands and knees. Possibly the whole is also a play upon a child's pilfering habits as it begins to creep about, as Pokini would interpret it.


Many new fines of chiefs spring up
540. Cultivation arises, full of taboos
[They go about scratching at the wet lands
It sprouts, the first blades appear, the food is ready] [?]
Food grown by the water courses
Food grown by the sea
545. Plentiful and heaped up
The parent rats dwell in holes
The little rats huddle together
Those who mark the seasons
Little tolls from the land
550. Little tolls from the water courses
Trace of the nibblings of these brown-coated ones
With whiskers upstanding
They hide here and there
A rat in the upland, a rat by the sea
555. A rat running beside the wave
Born to the two, child of the Night-falling-away
Born to the two, child of the Night-creeping-away
The little child creeps as it moves
The little child moves with a spring
560. Pilfering at the rind
Rind of the 'ohi'a fruit, not a fruit of the upland
A tiny child born as the darkness falls away
A springing child born as the darkness creeps away
Child of the dark and child in the night now here
565.    Still it is night


The Dog Child

THE mystery of spirit life born into the body of a dog belongs to the breed described in this chant as dark red ('i'i), brindled ('a'a), and hairless ('olohe). The hairless 'Olohe people with whom the brindled dog is associated are believed to be dog men with the mystical shape-shifting powers of the demigods. They lived in caves dug into the sandhills, where they are said to have been first discovered and used by Kahekili in the eighteenth century as a division of his army. Living witnesses today report men with dogs' heads marching in the ghostly processions of dead warriors returned to revisit their old haunts on earth, whose apparition is not uncommon among Hawaiians or is even reported by foreign-born mystics. Their relation is not clear with a class of powerful wrestlers, also called 'Olohe, who, contrary to the custom of the long-haired native warrior, cropped their hair and oiled the body to escape the clutch of an opponent and would lie in wait at strategic points along a trail to attack unwary travelers. The brindled dog associated in the chant with the dog-headed 'Olohe was supposed to have been born into the family of the volcano goddess and to be under her protection. Although ordinary dog meat was a favorite dish among Hawaiians and allowed also to women, one would hesitate to cook such a dog for fear of divine vengeance.

In this seventh chant the half-jesting, even sneering, mood of the sixth gives way to a sense of awe and mystery. The opening key word is ano, a word for "sudden fear," here used in duplicate as anoano in the first five lines. There is "fear of the mountain top," the kualono where gods assemble; fear of the receding and advancing night, the Po-ne'e-aku and Po-ne'e-mai, who are the generating agents of the new birth; fear of "the pregnant night"; fear of a "breach of the law," the ha'iha'i, whose penalty is death. The reference is to the priestly taboos against leaving any morsel unconsumed of a sacrificial feast or bones and refuse exposed to be trodden upon, and against approach to any sacred place by the "narrow trail" used by a member of the priesthood alone.

Fear changes to the more violent emotion of dread, he weliweli, and finally to an awesome sense of reverence, he ['ili]ilihia, toward the dog child, the 'ilio kama, born to Po-ne'e-aku and Po-ne'e-mai:

A dark red dog, a brindled dog
A hairless dog of the hairless ones
A dog as an offering for the oven.

Kupihea was told by his grandfather, who served in a temple on Hawaii, that dogs were not used for sacrifice until Kalaniopu'u's time, but this may not hold true for other islands. In the passage following, the "dog as an offering for the oven," literally "fire-pit," 'a'alua, seems to serve as symbol of the terrible tapu wela, the right given to high taboo chiefs of burning the bodies of trespassers against their taboos, this as a kind of propitiation for the god who had been offended by the disrespect paid him in the person of his divine spokesman on earth. Pokini would doubtless refer the passage to the bestowal of the burning taboo upon Keawe's first-born at the time when he was officially introduced by name in the heiau to the rank of a high taboo chief.

The line of thought seems to be next deflected to the journey of the disembodied dead, perhaps of one who has been condemned under the taboo, as it flees, "Pitiful without a garment," to join its companions at the gathering place of the dead, where lies on the coast an entrance or "leaping place" into the underworld. "To Malama," says the chant, and Ho'olapa explained that Malama "is the place people go when they die," and Hula-ka-Makani, "the wind that blows at Malama." One such place he said lay "in Puna district on the island of Hawaii on the Pohoiki side of Kalapana," but I failed to learn from Ho'olapa whether all gathering places of the soul in other districts of Hawaii or on other islands are called "Malama" or whether, for all, the Hula (dance) wind blows. Hawaiians believe that dangers beset the soul's passage to this rendezvous lest it lose its way or be attacked by some unfriendly spirit unless guided by the guardian god of the family, to whom it has paid respect during life. For example, the barren sandy isthmus between East and West Maui, which must be crossed by the dead in order to reach the "leaping place of souls" on the west coast of the island, was said to be a haunt of such lost and spiteful spirits, to be avoided by the living at night.

The Hawaiian genius for quick transition of thought, piling up suggested images without compulsion of persistency to any one of them, makes it difficult to translate consistently, or, indeed, with any conviction, the three troublesome lines following the reference to the flight of the soul to the assembly place of the dead at Malama. Mrs. Pukui would render the lines thus:

The nights grow less for the children
From the head (of time) until the end
From the biting (night) until the silence,

where the poet seems to pause for a general reflection about death as the universal fate of mankind, although, logically, we are still in the period of the Po, before the birth of human life. The word welewele, however, like welawela, conveys an idea of heat, whether physical or mental. The thought may even carry back through the "spreading out of hot stones" (uluulu), followed by "burning heat" (welewele), to the "oven" of line 579. Another suggested rendering would translate mai as a negative particle and conceive the soul taking its way to "Malama"

Without haste or grudging,
Without gnashing or groping (as in death).

But the word nenehe conveys the idea of sound and motion, rather than of "silence," and especially of a low, even sound like that of moving feet, a rustling sound, certainly a neat transition to the sound of shuffling feet as the soul's passage ends in the companionship of the dance before taking its leap into some other world of the spirit. Indeed, Hawaiian stories telling of a visit to the assembly of the dead picture them so engaged.

Abruptly follows the conclusion. Out of the slime fresh rootlets spring. They branch and grow and young growth spreads anew. The approaching night gives birth.


Fear falls upon me on the mountain top
Fear of the passing night
Fear of the night approaching
Fear of the pregnant night
570. Fear of the breach of the law
Dread of the place of offering and the narrow trail
Dread of the food and the waste part remaining
Dread of the receding night
Awe of the night approaching
575. Awe of the dog child of the Night-creeping-away
A dog child of the Night-creeping-hither
A dark red dog, a brindled dog
A hairless dog of the hairless ones
A dog as an offering for the oven
580. Palatable is the sacrifice for supplication
Pitiful in the cold without covering
Pitiful in the heat without a garment
He goes naked on the way to Malama
[Where] the night ends for the children [of night]
585. From the growth and the parching [?]
From the cutting off and the quiet [?]
The driving Hula wind his companion
Younger brother of the naked ones, the 'Olohe
Out from the slime come rootlets
590. Out from the slime comes young growth
Out from the slime come branching leaves
Out from the slime comes outgrowth
Born in the time when men came from afar
    Still it is night


The Dawn of Day

WITH the eighth chant begins the period of living men called the "Day" or Ao. There appears now the "well-formed child" in the "time when men multiplied" and the "time when men came from afar," as the Po-kinikini and Po-he'enalu-mamao, generative agents of the period, have been paraphrased. Men multiply "by hundreds," and the function of sex is once more emphasized in the familiar antithesis

Man born for the narrow stream
Woman for the broad stream.

The time of the gods, po akua, is here; a time long ago, po mamao. Wave after wave come the new race, one following after another, the "gods" distinguished by ruddy faces and "white chins" or beards, the men of undetermined ancestry, the kanaka, dark in color.

There follows a play upon the words ho'omalino and ho'ola'ila'i, the word malino synonymous with malie meaning "peaceful," used here with la'ila'i, "calm, still," to express the moment of suspense in nature preceding the birth of gods and men. The juxtaposition of the two words has passed into classic use. An old mele ascribed to the wife of Kalaniopu'u begins

O Kona kai opua i ka la'i
O pua hinano i ka malie

Kona of tranquil seas
Pandanus blossom in the calm,

where the flower named, the pungent-scented pandanus blossom regarded by Hawaiians as an aphrodisiac, gives an erotic turn to the couplet. Compare the similar pause in nature preliminary to a new birth reported from New Zealand at the moment when the Wide Sky above, Rangi-nui, seeks Earth in the person of Papa-tu-a-nuku: "In that period the amount of light was nil; absolute and complete darkness (pokutikuti kakarauri) prevailed; there was no sun, no moon, no stars, no clouds, no light, no mist-no ripples stirred the surface of the ocean; no breath of air, a complete and absolute stillness." There follows the "planting" (hikaia) of land growths corresponding to the "births" recorded in the first seven chants of the Kumulipo.

In the Kumulipo this stillness in nature prepares for the emergence of gods and men. There are born the woman La'ila'i and three males, Ki'i a man, Kane a god, Kanaloa "the hot-striking octopus." With them comes Day, the Ao. There follow a trio of more generalized concepts. "The wombs [?] give birth." "Ocean-edge" (Moana-liha) and "The-damp-forest" (Ka-wao-ma'aukele) possibly refer to the land and sea forms born into the night world in the preceding sections but more naturally to the economic divisions based upon the two sources of food supply, fish and vegetable food, i'a and 'ai, upon which life was regulated for island dwellers. Last, in the lines sometimes paraphrased

The first chief of the dim past dwelling in cold uplands
The man of long life and hundreds upon hundreds of chiefs

is summed up the whole generation of the earliest stock from the beginning, whose genealogy, set down as man and wife in the eleventh section, occupies about one-third of the whole Kumulipo chant.

The lines undoubtedly have historical significance. We know from old sources that remote valleys inland were the preferred homes of the ancient chief stock. The gods Kane and Kanaloa are associated in chant and story with such habitations. Homes "in the heavens" may denote other islands left behind in migration. At some time the old line was superseded by a new branch who became the chief stock on the family genealogy. There came a split between gods and men, and this split is laid at the door of the woman La'ila'i who left her divine husband in the sacred place of the gods to live "as a woman" (i kanaka) and people the earth with mankind. "The woman sat sideways" is an old saying for a wife who takes another husband; keke'e ka noho a ka wahine, says the text.

The affair took place at a time of unfathomable antiquity, referred to in the two phrases ka po he'e mamao and ka po kinikini; Kanaka wai ka po mai, that is, "from the far past," is the modern expression. It took place in "the land of Lua." The word means "cave" or "pit," and we at once connect the place with stories of the 'Olohe or pit-dwellers already alluded to. Pokini Robinson knew of a place on the island of Oahu, "a little pool up somewhere in Wahiawa" called "Ka lua a Ahu," of which the native-born say, "If you bathe in that pool you have seen Oahu." The three children born of this adventure are named in the text according to some obscure connection with the dim story of the past. "Clothed-in-leaves," Lo-palapala, is a name given today to a class of chiefs who, owing to some unlucky turn of fortune, are obliged to retire to the back country and live obscurely until fortune favors them once more, often in the shape of a child who gives promise of superior qualities. This last birth is thus definitely connected with the half-mythical 'Olohe people. Their pairing as male and female in the lines following plays once more upon the dominant theme of sex. The story seems to point to a debasement of rank through intermarriage of the "gods" with an inferior stock. But whether the newcomers or the old were the "gods" is not made clear. Nor is it clear whether the part played in the spread of mankind over earth in line 635 is to be referred to La'ila'i herself or to the daughter Maila ("Beautiful"), as some would amend the text Noho mai la. The series of births which follow, after the first, which seems to be suggested as a play upon the name of the mother, must be taken as a purely figurative approach to the coming of Day and is not to be found listed among the genealogies of the Kamokuiki book, as is that born to La'ila'i in a later chant, assigned by Kamokuiki to the man Ki'i. A new race spreads over the land as a result of La'ila'i's affair in the land of the pit-dwellers. They cover earth like the creeping ti plant, the Cordyline terminalis of the botanist, to be found everywhere in damp growth of the low uplands. The night world presses on toward the dawn until day finally comes forth, "opening wide."


595. Well-formed is the child, well-formed now
Child in the time when men multiplied
Child in the time when men came from afar
Born were men by the hundreds
Born was man for the narrow stream
600. Born was woman for the broad stream
Born the night of the gods
Men stood together
Men slept together
They two slept together in the time long ago
605. Wave after wave of men moving in company
Ruddy the forehead of the god
Dark that of man
White-[bearded] the chin
Tranquil was the time when men multiplied
620. Calm like the time when men came from afar
It was called Calmness [La'ila'i] then
Born was La'ila'i a woman
Born was Ki'i a man
Born was Kane a god
615. Born was Kanaloa the hot-striking octopus
    It was day
The wombs gave birth [?]
The-damp-forest, latter of the two
The first chief of the dim past dwelling in cold uplands, their younger
620. The man of long life and hundreds upon hundreds of chiefs
Scoop out, scoop out,
Hollow out, hollow out, keep hollowing
Hollow out, hollow out, "the woman sat sideways"
La'ila'i, a woman in the time when men came from afar
625. La'ila'i, a woman in the time when men multiplied
Lived as a woman of the time when men multiplied
Born was Groping-one [Hahapo'ele], a girl
Born was Dim-sighted [Ha-popo], a girl
Born was Beautiful [Maila] called Clothed-in-leaves [Lopalapala]
630. Naked ['Olohe] was another name
[She] lived in the
land of Lua [pit]
[At] that place called "pit of the 'Olohe"
Naked was man born in the day
Naked the woman born in the upland
[She] lived here with man [?]
Born was Creeping-ti-plant [La'i'olo] to man
Born was Expected-day [Kapopo], a female
Born was
Midnight [Po'ele-i], born First-light [Po'ele-a]
Opening-wide [Wehi-loa] was their youngest
These were those who gave birth
The little ones, the older ones
Ever increasing in number
Man spread abroad, man was here now
    It was Day


The Woman Who Sat Sideways

IN THIS second half of the Kumulipo chant, called the Ao, the period of living men, three myths of parenthood of mankind from the gods are blended. The first is the myth of La'ila'i who became mother of gods and men through her relations with the god Kane and the man Ki'i. The second is the myth of Haumea and the god Kanaloa, of Haumea's children born "from the brain" and her strange renewals of youth to become mother and wife of children and grandchildren. The third is the myth of Papa and Wakea; of Wakea's affair with his daughter and the consequent quarrel with Papa; of his fishing up an underseas woman, from whom sea creatures are born, a woman whose son usurps the normal succession upon the family line. In many ways these stories overlap as if they were variants from a common source. It is possible that they represent the way in which different branches on the family line have inherited from their masters of song the story of beginning traditional with their stock.

The. first four sections of the Ao period tell the story of La'ila'i's relations with Kane the god and Ki'i the man. Kane is the word used for "man" in his procreative function, equivalent to our word "male"; Ki'i means "image." So in the Hebrew Scriptures man was created in the "image" of God. Kanaloa, listed as third in the trio of males born with the woman La'ila'i at the dawn of human life, disappears from the action altogether after his birth in the body of an octopus is anonunced {sic} in the eighth ode. This eighth section must be regarded as a kind of synopsis of the next three, although the harmonizing of the four is so extremely uncertain as to be best left to the intuition of the reader in the light of whatever information or suggestion can be gleaned further from native sources to clarify particular obscurities.

In the ninth chant La'ila'i seems to live successively with Kane and with Ki'i. A period of intermarriage follows among her posterity: literally, they increase "by forty thousand and by four thousand" (he kini, he mano) corresponding to the sacred numbering of the lesser gods invoked in temple prayers. The chant closes with the birth of the same three offspring of La'ila'i as were named in the eighth ode when she lived "as a woman" in the land of Lua, here called "part of the family of that woman mentioned above" (la). The gist of the story seems to be that the woman left the land of "the gods in the heavens" and life with her legitimate mate to wed a mere mortal on earth, whose offspring, half-god, half-man, are known as the ruddy-faced, bearded stock traditionally known as "children of Ki'i" and today connected with the family of the volcano goddess Pele, who thus becomes a fourth in the variations upon the part played by mother Eve in the Hawaiian genesis drama.

Two aphorisms used in this chant to describe the part played here by the "woman who sat sideways" of the eighth chant clearly refer, the one to the function of sex to insure family survival, the other to the freedom of woman in sex matters. The line reading No ka aunaki kuku ahi kanaka is an allusion to the common method of starting a fire by means of two firesticks. One, the hard-grained aulima, is held upright in the hand (lima) and rubbed back and forth upon the hollowed surface of the other, the softer aunaki, to produce the spark, the action being a perfectly understood sex symbol among Hawaiians. Hence the line is to be literally translated, "From the female firestick comes the fire that makes man." In other words, woman, impregnated by the male, nurses the spark of life that develops into a living man.

The second aphorism reads I hohole pahiwa ka lau koa and is rendered by Kawena: "She stripped the dark leaves of the koa tree." The allusion is to the branch of the forest koa tree, the native acacia set up on the altar in a school of the hula dance as a prayer for "courage" (koa). The symbolism depends upon word play. Koa is the Hawaiian word for a soldier, used with the same intent. Call him that and he will be courageous; upon this principle a belief in word magic works. Courage in a woman depends upon her meeting successfully the challenge of sex relations, and it was hence the power to excite erotic emotion that marked the triumph of a hula dancer. Kawena Pukui recalls an old custom in Ka-u district of forbidding a dancer to refuse a kiss at the close of a hula performance, however distasteful the person offering the tribute-doubtless a survival of more intimate advances once encouraged in the name of the lustful divinity supposed to be directly inspiring the successful dancer. It was this element in the hula tradition that shocked even a foreigner like Vancouver and made the hula dance a taboo pastime under missionary influence. With the revival today of the art, the aim is to merge the erotic element in the aesthetic.

Translation of the tenth chant is involved in considerable difficulty. Pokini Robinson interpreted it as a prayer for the building of the house in which a young couple were to start housekeeping together, and this seems plausible, although the exact bearing of each line upon this general background is not always evident. According to Pokini, Hawaiians call the prayer used at each stage of a house-building the Pokinikini, the name here given to the parent of Kane in his reproductive energy, Kane of the Night-of-multltudes. The three children born to La'ila'i by Kane in the lines following, whose names appear also on the Kamokuiki genealogy, are invoked, says Pokini, as protectors in applying the thatch-grass to complete the house. Kawena translates the names by such suggestively amorous terms for the girls as "Coquette" and "Fondly-recalled," with "Fair-haired" for the male of the family.

On this basis, the doubtful opening lines take on a clearer meaning. As written in the text they name Maila, born to La'ila'i when she lived as a woman in the land of Lua; but, if read O mai la, where O replaces the regular e before an imperative, they would summon to a place in the interior of the new home the gods of procreation, the god Kane of the Night-of-multitudes and La'ila'i, the goddess who "sat sideways" to become mother of mankind. This would be in keeping with Polynesian thought, although we have no confirmation of such an idea in Hawaii. Firth tells us that in Tikopia "structural members of a building" are regarded as "actual embodiments of deity"--hence the fixed positions in the house which were assigned to members of the household. At the house post sits the male head of the house with his sons and male guests whom he would honor, since the god is considered to be actually present in the stone upon which the post rests, while the women range along the opposite wall. If this is true for Hawaii, where is the place of Ki'i ka mahu in the structural setup? The word mahú with the accent on the last syllable is applied to a hermaphrodite; it is also given the sense of "quiet." Firth tells us that the Tikopians had gods regarded as double-sexed, not in the physical sense but in the sense that, like the Indian god Siva, they were able to show themselves in either a male or a female body. A curious Tahitian chant gives to the god 'Atea such a shift of sex, a shift that would, if accepted in Hawaii, explain how Wakea, further on in the Kumulipo chant, lures a water maiden to shore by setting up images (ki'i), or why the god Kauakahi, in a folktale from Hilo district on Hawaii, is described as hiding behind an image of a girl until the unsuspecting water nymph of whom he is amorous comes within his grasp. It is possible that Ki'i, as "image" of the god, has the power of appearing in either sex, but I am without evidence that Hawaiians regarded Ki'i as double-sexed or whether, if they did so regard him, they would give the name mahu to such an attribute. The queen's translation,

Maila, with Lailai for protection
And Kane of Kapokinikini was support, Kii was helpless,

seems to imply that Ki'i, perhaps representing the danger to a young wife of a misalliance, is one of the evil spirits to be conjured into helplessness. On the other hand, the word mahu, unaccented, may apply to a smoldering fire and it would then be possible to think of Ki'i as personifying the fire of sexual passion, with a place in the interior of the house at the oven kept smoldering for quick rekindling, were it not for the fact that Hawaiians built their ovens out of doors and had no need of house fires for heating. The problem hence remains for further investigators, and I take refuge in the more general of the suggested readings.

After the birth of offspring "at Kapapa," La'ila'i returns to Kane the god and bears to him the three deities who guard. the thatching of the house. The last half of the chant takes: up the quarrel for the succession. Kamaha'ina, "First-born" on earth, will take precedence over Hakea born in the heavens. Ki'i the man, through this first-born, will establish the long line of chiefs of the forest uplands enumerated in chant eleven. Again comes the problem whether La'ila'i herself or the daughter Maila is involved in the scandal. The phrase lae punia at line 698 is said to apply to a father-daughter union like the traditional Wakea-Papa affair, and the 'ape which La'ila'i gives to Ki'i rather than to Kane, to refer to the young daughter rather than to the mother. There is no doubt a historical allusion that escapes us.

Certainly the gossips are set in motion. If all the world loves a lover, all the world and their wives love a scandal, and a Hawaiian audience is particularly susceptible to this form of erotic titillation. The reaction upon outsiders and then that upon the injured husband is indicated by playing first upon the k sound to express precise forms of inarticulate disapproval in the head-shaking and kluck-klucking of the court gossips, then upon sounds in m combined with u to give the mood of sulky silence preserved at first by the husband when he begins to suspect the truth of the matter. The passage is impossible to render in English, certainly not literally. The fact seems to be that children are born but by whom Kane is ignorant. He suspects the woman of giving "the sacred 'apé" to Ki'i, an expression equivalent to Eve's forbidden apple and here perhaps symbolizing the importance placed upon virginity for the wife of a taboo chief whose child is to become his heir.

As a matter of fact, the quarrel turns, not upon the proper jealousy of a husband for the honor of his wife, a quite unusual situation it would seem in Hawaiian court life, but upon this question of primogeniture. Kane sees that his own son will serve the son of Ki'i:

His descendants will hence belong to the younger line,
The children of the elder will be lord [?].

Thus the house-building prayer lays final stress upon a rule of utmost importance to family standing and to political security, the rule that gives precedence to a wife's first-born. The story of the "woman who sat sideways" may have been told at this point as a warning to the young wife not to lose for her offspring the rank she might preserve for them, but to give her first-born to the husband with whom she has been properly mated. It is altogether possible, however, that the symbolism here has been deflected to this practical conclusion from an originally more mythical ending.


Still, trembling stands earth
645. Hot, rumbling, split is the heaven
This woman ascends to heaven, ascends right up to heaven
Ascends up toward the forest
Tries to touch the earth and the earth splits up
Children of Ki'i sprung from the brain
650. Came out, flew, flew also to the heavens
Showed the sign, the ruddy tint by which they were known
Showed the fine reddish hair at puberty [?]
Showed on the chin a reddish beard
The offspring of that mysterious woman
655. The woman of 'Iliponi, of within 'I'ipakalani
"From the female firestick comes the fire that makes men"
That woman dwelt in Nu'umealani
Land where the gods dwelt
"She stripped the dark leaves of the koa tree"
660. A woman of mysterious body was this
She lived with Ki'i, she lived with Kane
She lived with Kane of the time when men multiplied
Forgotten is the time of this multitude
A multitude the posterity of the time of child-bearing
665. She returned again upward
Dwelt in the sacred forest of the gods in Nu'umealani
Was pregnant there, the earth broke open
Born was the woman Groping-one [Haha-po'ele]
Born was Dim-sighted [Hapopo], a woman
670. Last born was Naked-one, 'Olohelohe
Part of the posterity of that woman
    It was Day


Come hither, La'ila'i [to] the wall [?]
Kane of Kapokinikini [to] the post; Ki'i be quiet
675. Born was La'i'olo'olo and lived at Kapapa
Born was Kamaha'ina the first-born, a male
Born was Kamamule, a male
Kamakalua the second child was a girl
Came the child Po'ele-i [Midnight]
680. Came the child Po'ele-a [First-light]
Wehi-wela-wehi-loa [Opening-to-the heat, opening wide]
La'ila'i returned and lived with Kane
Born was Ha'i, a girl
Born was Hali'a, a girl
685. Born was Hakea, Fair-haired, a male
There was whispering, lip-smacking and clucking
Smacking, tut-tutting, head-shaking
Sulking, sullenness, silence
Kane kept silence, refused to speak
690. Sullen, angry, resentful
With the woman for her progeny
Hidden was the man by whom she had children
[The man] to whom her children were born [?]
The chiefess refused him the youngest
695. Gave the sacred 'ape to Ki'i
She slept with Ki'i
Kane suspected the first-born, became jealous
Suspected Ki'i and La'ila'i of a secret union
They pelted Kane with stones
700. Hurled a spear; he shouted aloud
"This is fallen to my lot, for the younger [line]"
Kane was angry and jealous because he slept last with her
His descendants would hence belong to the younger line
The children of the elder would be lord
705. First through La'ila'i, first through Ki'i
Child of the two born in the heavens there
    Came forth


The Flood

IN THE eleventh section a poetical prologue repeats the theme of the last three chants. The marriage union most approved in Hawaiian taboo chief families was that between brother and sister, called a pi'o or "arching over." The child of such a union had the highest possible rank, that of a "god," akua. The opening lines of the eleventh chant show La'ila'i "living among chiefs and married to her brother" (noho lani a Pi'olani no). From her high position she comes "bending down over Ki'i," that is, she takes a mere man as a husband, and from this union mankind is born, "the earth swarms with her offspring." The enumeration of some eight hundred pairs, man and wife, descended from Kamaha'ina, "first-born" son of La'ila'i and Ki'i, and Hali'a, La'ila'i's daughter by Kane, sufficiently testifies to the fertility of the match.

At the close of the genealogical listing comes an eloquent passage depicting, on the face of it, a flood of waters rising silently over the land to the inhabited places. These lines offer an excellent and thoroughly characteristic example of poetic symbolism. "The whole means that Ki'i slept with her," summarized Ho'olapa, thus bringing the entire declamatory effusion down to a most explicit conclusion. Expressions such as Kaui-ka-wa, explained as the position of the legs in a bow as in swimming, Lele ka ihe and Kaui-ka-hoe, whose exact meaning Ho'olapa passed over, are recognized terms for positions taken in the act of mating, hence are capitalized in the text.

There follows a reference to "the cock born on the back of Wakea," an event which spells the end of the genealogy of the long-lived man of the eighth chant. His genealogy becomes extinct with the name of Po-la'a, "Sacred-night." The allusion to the "cock," to be met more than once in the course of the Kumulipo chant, is to a great chief born into the family from an alien source, whose branch becomes itself the main stock from which subsequent ruling chiefs on the family line count descent. Further trace of the old stock who count descent from the "first chief dwelling in cold uplands" is lost, "vanished into the passing night."

The translation of the poetic passages in this section must necessarily be idiomatic. Noho lani means "living among chiefs," as noho kanaka implies "living as a woman" among the people. Legend is full of such romantic situations enjoyed by both chiefs and chiefesses when the restrictions of court life became irksome. The closing lines are particularly difficult; some must go untranslated as I was unable to keep the flood motive, where double meanings were involved, consistent with the text. Bastian (p. 154) struggled with the same difficulty, although probably unaware of the inner meaning. The kua is the woman's house of a family setup. Naneue may imply "withdrawing to a private place." Both konikoni and hi'a refer to "ardent desire" as applied to the emotions, and hi'a to the art of fire-making, a well known sex symbol.


She was a woman living among chiefs and married to her brother
She was a restless woman living among chiefs
710. She lived above and came bending down over Ki'i
The earth swarmed with her offspring
Born was Kamaha'ina [First-born], a male
Born was Kamamule, her younger born
Born was Kamamainau, her middle one
715. Born was Kamakulua her little one, a girl
Kamaha'ina lived as husband to Hali['a]


[There follow some four hundred pairs, man and wife, to lines 1332-33, where a pair of brothers are named, Ali'ihonupu'u the elder, Opu'upu'u the younger. They seem to have a common wife named Ka-ea-honu, a name connecting her with the species of turtle from which the precious tortoise shell for ornament is obtained. From this point four hundred more pairs carry the genealogy of the elder line to Po-la'a. That of the younger appears in the next section.]

1530. Born was Pola'a
Born was rough weather, born the current
Born the booming of the sea, the breaking of foam
Born the roaring, advancing, and receding of waves, the
rumbling sound, the earthquake
The sea rages, rises over the beach
1534. Rises silently to the inhabited places
Rises gradually up over the land . . .

Born is Po-elua [Second-night] on the lineage of Wakea
1540. Born is the stormy night
Born the night of plenty
Born is the cock on the back of Wakea
Ended is [the line of] the first chief of the dim past dwelling in cold uplands
Dead is the current sweeping in from the navel of the earth: that was a warrior wave
1545. Many who came vanished, lost in the passing night


The Woman Who Bore Children through the Brain

THE long-lived man's genealogy ends with the eleventh section of the Kumulipo chant as we have it today. The twelfth takes up the genealogy of a younger branch from Opu'upu'u and continues from another younger brother called 'Ololo, "Brain." The thirteenth opens with a genealogy from the elder Paliku branch. This section introduces the figure of the mysterious form-changing goddess Haumea by whom are "born from the brain" a brood of offspring, first to the god Kanaloa and then to her own descendants, a story returned to in still more detail in the poetical prologue introducing the genealogy of the fifteenth section. Here, "jealous of her husband's second mate," Haumea "becomes a woman," takes a husband among men, and lives up Kalihi valley in the northern range of mountains on the island of Oahu, finally using her power as a goddess to disappear into a breadfruit tree: "A breadfruit body, trunk and leaves she had," says the chant.

The name Ha(na)u-mea, "Sacred-birth," is perhaps derived from the strange births "from the brain" with which the chant credits her or from the different forms she takes to "sleep" with children and grandchildren. It does not appear in any other Hawaiian genealogy so far as I know, in spite of the important part played by the goddess Haumea today in folk belief. Haumea is goddess of childbirth and in the Hawaiian "Book of Medicine" is credited with having saved a chief's daughter of Oahu from a Caesarean operation by giving her an herb medicine to produce natural birth. In view of the reference in a variant story to a bamboo tree worshiped in her name in connection with this achievement and the ingenious instruments of bamboo used in old days for procuring abortion, it seems to me likely that her services in connection with birth were of this nature rather than the other. Possibly it was she who introduced the custom. The story written into the medicine book may have been a modern attempt to whitewash the character of the goddess of birth in the light of Christian mores.

However this may be, Haumea's children are described not only as "born from the brain" (ma ka lolo) but as "drivelers." "Ha'ae wale ka hanauna lolo," says the chant, and today Hawaiians call children who drivel at the mouth "Haumea's children from the brain." The soft spot on an infant's head, called manawa, they derive from Haumea's form of giving birth: "Oia wahine hanau manawa i na keiki," as the chant puts it. Even today, if a mother lacks milk for her infant, a mash of sweet potato bound over the fontanel is supposed to supply nourishment. Popular legend has localized the life of Haumea up Kalihi Valley and added details to the story. The old heiau of Kai'ele in Kalihi is sometimes pointed to as the place where she changed her shape from age to youth. The spot on the Nu'uanu stream is well known where grew the breadfruit tree into which she vanished with her husband to escape those about to put him to death for trespassing upon the chief's taboo plantings. Another legend makes Haumea controller of wild vegetable food on Oahu. From her home on the mountain ridges she sends a drought. Men seek food from other lands and food plants are introduced. Haumea is, further, a goddess of underground heat, and some call her mother of the Pele family at the volcano, each member born from a different part of her body, Pele alone from between her thighs. In her character as goddess of heat she may become a possessing spirit (akua noho). Says Ho'olapa, "Taro greens placed on the back of a person Haumea has entered will cook there," and he adds, "I have eaten such luau and it was really cooked."

In spite of all these uncouth elements in the Haumea story, its likeness to that of La'ila'i, notwithstanding its less aristocratic setting, can scarcely be dismissed as coincidental. La'ila'i is also a shape-shifting (paha'oha'o) woman. She comes from 'Iliponi within 'I'ipakalani, as Haumea from 'I'ilipo, and both from the land of the gods called Nu'umealani, to which Papa also retires in one version of her story. La'ila'i's children by Ki'i come, like Haumea's, "from the brain." The heat of sexual passion ascribed to La'ila'i in connection with the aphorism of the fire stick is attributed to Haumea as an indwelling spirit, although not directly noticed in the chant. La'ila'i's affair in the "land of Lua" is a close parallel to Haumea's and must belong to a common tradition, independently elaborated.

Just as Haumea in folk legend has a part in the Pele myth, so La'ila'i's offspring by Ki'i closely resemble those Hawaiians today called 'ehu people, who are believed to belong to the Pele family from the brown color of their hair and the reddish tint in their skin. The chant of the ninth section describes them as "ruddy" (ke aka 'ula) with "fine reddish hair at puberty" (he hua ulu 'i'i) and red-brown beard (huluhulu 'a) among a dark, black-haired, smooth-faced people. They are aggressive and "leap to the heavens" (lele pu i ka lani), meaning perhaps that they push their claim to rank. "The Ki'i people give good jobs to their children," says Ho'olapa. Their advent into the social order is accompanied by the "trembling of earth" (ola'i ku honua) and the "splitting open of the heavens" (owa ka lani), suggesting the commotion among an established theocracy at the rise of an upstart branch from an alien source.

The story of Haumea begins at line 1760 of the Paliku genealogy, where Mulinaha the husband takes to wife 'Ipo'i. The word 'ipo means "sweetheart," and the intensive termination gives her first place of her kind, hence "Sweet-heart-supreme." It is difficult to say whether the nine women named in the lines following with their respective husbands are supposed to have been born of these two. All are said to be Haumea herself in one of her manifold forms, five of them those in which she "lived with children and grandchildren." There is also some ground for identifying "Sweetheart-supreme" herself with Haumea, as the lines seem to read. At all events the break with Ki'o, "from whom spread the chiefs," may indicate a breakdown, under a new regime, of the social system set up under the Kanaloa priesthood. The whole treatment of Haumea as wife of the god Kanaloa in the two chants elaborating her story can hardly be anything but a symbolic retelling of some such event in the family history, to be discussed more in detail under the closing section of the chant. I can only add here a purely speculative suggestion that the curious birth "from the brain" (ma ka lolo) may derive from a play upon the 'Ololo ("Brain") branch and carry a hint of some liaison on the elder Paliku line with the younger branch, as of La'ila'i with Ki'i.



[At line 1710 of section twelve there are born Paliku and his younger brother 'Ololo. The genealogy of this section continues from 'Ololo to Wakea; that of the thirteenth opens at line 1735 with Paliku and his wife Paliha'i. From this point man and wife listed on the Paliku branch lead to Mulinaha and his wife, as below.]

I 760. Mulinaha was the husband, 'Ipo'i the wife
Born was Laumiha a woman, lived with Ku-ka-haku-a-lani ["Ku-the-lord-of-heaven"]
Born was Kaha'ula a woman, lived with Ku-huli-honua ["Ku-overturning-earth"]
Born was Kahakauakoko a woman, lived with Ku-lani-'ehu ["Ku-(the)-brown-haired-chief"]
Born was Haumea a woman, lived with the god Kanaloa
1765. Born was Ku-kaua-kahi a male, lived with Kuaimehani
Born was Kaua-huli-honua
Born was Hina-mano-ulua'e ["Woman-of-abundance-of food-plants"] a woman
Born was Huhune ["Dainty"] a woman
Born was Haunu'u a woman
1770. Born was Haulani a woman
Born was Hikapuanaiea ["Sickly"] a woman; Haumea was recognized, this was Haumea
Haumea of mysterious forms, Haumea of eightfold forms
Haumea of four-hundred-thousand-fold forms, Haumea of four-thousand-fold forms
With thousands upon thousands of forms
1775. With Hikapuanaiea the heavenly one became barren
She lived like a dog, this woman of Nu'umea [?]
Nu'umea the land, Nu'u-papa-kini the division
Haumea spread through her grandchildren
With Ki'o she became barren, ceased bearing children
1780. This woman bore children through the fontanel
Her children came out from the brain
She was a woman of 'I'ilipo in Nu'umea
She lived with Mulinaha
Born was Laumiha ["Intense-silence"] born from the brain
1785. Born was the woman Kaha'ula ["Erotic-dreams"] from the brain
Born was Ka-haka-uakoko ["The-perch-of-the-low-lying rainbow"] from the brain
Haumea was this, that same woman
She lived with the god Kanaloa
The god Kaua-kai ["First-strife"] was born from the brain
1790. Born from the brain were the offspring of that woman
Drivelers were the offspring from the brain

[There follows a peroration addressed to Papa as wife of Wakea, to be included with the chant of Wakea in the next chapter.]



1930. Haumea, woman of Nu'umea in Kukuiha'a
Of Mehani the impenetrable land of Kuaihealani in Paliuli
The beautiful, the dark [land], darkening the heavens
A solitude for the heavenly one, Kameha-'i-kaua [?]
Kameha-'i-kaua, The-secluded-one-supreme-in-war, god of Kauakahi
1935. At the parting of earth, at the parting of high heaven
Left the land, jealous of her husband's second mate
Came to the
land of Lua, to 'Ahu of Lua, lived at Wawau
The goddess became the wife of Makea
Haumea became a woman of Kalihi in Ko'olau
1940. Lived in Kalihi on the edge of the cliff Laumilia
Entered a growing tree, she became a breadfruit tree
A breadfruit body, a trunk and leaves she had
Many forms had this woman Haumea
Great Haumea was mysterious
1945. Mysterious was Haumea in the way she lived
She lived with her grandchildren
She slept with her children
Slept with her child Kauakahi as [?] the wife Kuaimehani
Slept with her grandchild Kaua-huli-honua
1950. As [?] his wife Huli-honua
Slept with her grandchild Haloa
As [?] his wife Hinamano'ulua'e
Slept with her grandchild Waia as [?] his wife Huhune
Slept with her grandchild Hinanalo as [?] his wife Haunu'u
1955. Slept with her grandchild Nanakahili as [?] his wife Haulani
Slept with her grandchild Wailoa as [?] his wife Hikapuaneiea
Ki'o was born, Haumea was recognized
Haumea was seen to be shriveled
Cold and undesirable
1960. The woman was in fact gone sour
Hard to deal with and crabbed
Unsound, a fraud, half blind, a woman generations old
Wrinkled behind, wrinkled before
Bent and grey the breast, worthless was [the one of] Nu'u-mea [?]
1965. She lived licentiously, bore children like a dog
With Ki'o came forth the chiefs
He slept with Kamole, with the woman of the woodland
Born was Ole, Ha'i was the wife


[The genealogical line follows from Ki'o seven generations to Ki'i at line 1974. To Ki'i is born by his wife Hinako'ula, a famous name in Hawaiian romance, the two sons 'Ulu and Nana'ulu, names common to other Polynesian genealogies of chief line. To one or the other of these two all Hawaiian chiefs trace their line of descent. The Kumulipo genealogy continues from 'Ulu. At line 1984 it introduces the parents of the Maui brothers, and the section concludes with the name song of the Maui born "on the back of Wakea," presumably the same Maui who heads the closing genealogy of the sixteenth section.]


Papa and Wakea

WAKEA in the form of Atea or Vatea, replaced in New Zealand by Rangi (Lani) meaning "Sky," appears as a primary male generative force throughout eastern Polynesia, the name a symbol of the upper regions of air, whence descend sunshine and rain to fertilize earth. The wife Papa, a word applied in Hawaii to a flat surface or layer, symbolizes the warm upper layer of earth, where lies the fertilized seed awaiting the period of maturity to spring into life. But to the Polynesian these functions of sky and earth are themselves direct analogues of the process of human reproduction. Animate nature manifested in the physical universe is equally potent, if properly approached, to insure human fertility. Father Sky and Mother Earth are the first parents of human life on earth as they are of plant life that springs living from earth under the influence of sun and rain from heaven and of animal life that feeds upon it.

At the time of foreign contact Hawaii, too, counted its stock from Wakea and Papa as the official parent-pair. Their names occur on the earliest genealogy of the race given out by Hawaiian students at the mission high school in 1838 and repeated forty years later by Judge Fornander in his Account of the Polynesian Race. They are quoted by Malo and incorporated into the report made in 1904 by a committee of native scholars appointed by the legislature to inquire into the true native tradition of "the beginning of the Hawaiian people."

Equally on the common tongue, although stoutly repudiated by the Mo'olelo Hawaii and called "doubtful" by Malo, was the story of Wakea's desire for his youthful daughter, the plan to allay Papa's suspicions by instituting taboo nights when men should live apart from their wives, Papa's discovery, her repudiation of Wakea and her taking a mate in another land, finally her return to Wakea upon hearing that he, too, had solaced himself with another wife. A famous chant of Kamehameha's day tells the story under the figure of the "birth of islands," symbolizing by means of the various alliances of the two parents in the myth the actual rise of ruling chief families on the islands of the Hawaiian group. The sly sobriquet of "Wakea" said to have been attached to the Ka-'I-'i-mamao to whom the Kumulipo chant was allegedly dedicated, who took his own daughter to wife, further shows the myth to have been current at the time that the prose note to the Kumulipo was written down. More obscurely but with equal consistency was repeated the name of Haloa, the first living child born to Wakea, some said by his own daughter, and named from the "long-stalk" (ha-loa) of the taro plant that grew from the body of an earlier embryo child buried beside the house.

Thus heading the genealogy of chiefs, their story woven into chant and applied to contemporary court life, Wakea and Papa seem to have been in historic times at least the officially accepted progenitors through Haloa of the Hawaiian people, if not of the whole race of humankind. The Mo'olelo Hawaii reads, "Wakea and Papa were the first ancestors of the Hawaiian people, both chiefs and commoners."

"This is the genealogy of the Hawaiian people; that is, from Kumulipo-ka-po to Wakea and Papa," concludes the committee report of 1904. Malo calls Haloa "progenitor of all the peoples of the earth." "Now you must understand that the children born from Haloa, these are yourselves," reads a passage from the manuscript notes kept by the Hawaiian Naua Society, organized during the period of the late monarchy. It is not difficult to see that by the name "Haloa" the Hawaiian genealogist is merely symbolizing the male sex organ. It is the genius of the storyteller, probably stimulated by the habit of concealing under cover of myth some court incident of his own day, that has woven so rich a background of fiction about these ancient impersonations of the sex function invoked to insure permanence in the family succession.

Important as the two seem to be as parent-pair in modern Hawaiian tradition, in the Kumulipo, Wakea and Papa play an apparently minor part. Always their names and story come at the end of a section as if possibly inserted as an afterthought or introduced late into the family tradition. Still less is the name of Haloa important. The Opu'upu'u branch of the twelfth section closes with his birth: "Wakea lived (noho) with Haumea, with Papa, with Haohokakalani [commonly written Ho'ohokukalani], Haloa was born," reads the passage. Only in a brief peroration to Papa at the close of the thirteenth section is the story noticed of Wakea's deception of Papa, the taboos imposed, and the birth of the embryo Long-stalk and the living son Haloa. At line 1951 Haloa's name is thrust into the list of grandchildren with whom Haumea "slept" (moe). Otherwise he has no important place upon the final genealogy leading to the chief stock with which the chant concludes. Papa and Wakea do not appear there at all. Papa's traditional life as a woman in the land of Lua is transferred to Haumea or perhaps originally told of La'ila'i. Altogether we must suppose that Wakea and Papa as parent-pair responsible through Haloa for the spread of mankind over earth had no initial importance for the family whose divine ancestors were commemorated in the Kumulipo prayer chant.

In the genealogy of the fourteenth section, certainly, Wakea is rather fully represented, but here again his story stands at the close rather than the beginning of the genealogical listing with which the chant opens. This breaks off at line 1840 with the birth of Wakea under the name of Pau-pani-a[wa]kea, "End-of-the-shutting-out-of-light." Hawaiians call midday Awakea and the eulogistic title may herald the light of the midday sun when no shadow is cast and a magician's power is greatest. It further suggests the myth so fully developed in Tahiti and New Zealand of the separation of Sky Father and Earth Mother in order to give light and space for life to expand on earth, or that told in Mangaia of Vatea carried upward by the wind with his wife Papa into the upper world of light.

Born with Wakea are two others, Lehu'ula, generally written Lihau'ula and sometimes identified with Kanaloa, and Makulukulu. The three, according to a perhaps late tradition, represent the ancestors of the three classes of Hawaiian society: chiefs, priests, and commoners. The chiefs held the land under a single ruling chief who apportioned it, and each farmed out his share to a succession of overseers whose duty it was to see that a proportionate share of the produce was brought in as tribute to his overlord. Makulukulu in the trio I take to represent this function of the commoners, and the "stars hung in the heavens," enumerated at length in the lines following to symbolize the "bundles" brought in as tribute at the Makahiki or some other great festival of the clan, the whole representing, according to Pokini, the procession arriving with their gifts to lay before the young heir, made up into a pair of bundles and "swung" over a shoulder pole as was the customary way of carrying loads in Hawaii.

The Makahiki itself takes its name from the rising of the Pleiades, known throughout Polynesia as Makali'i, and Makulukulu may perhaps be a chant name for Makali'i. In the migration legend of the great fisherman Hawaii-loa, who discovers and renames the islands of the group, Makali'i is said to be navigator of the fleet and to become ancestor of commoners as Hawaii-loa is ancestor of a chief stock. In fiction Makali'i is a popular character and always represented in connection with food supply. He is a chief living on the island of Kauai, or at South Cape on the island of Hawaii, or "in Kahiki," or in the upper heaven as seer and caretaker of the vegetable garden of the gods Kane and Kanaloa. His men have special arts in fishing. He controls vegetable food and is niggardly with it, "hangs it up in the heavens," as the saying is, when a drought burns up a crop. Always in the stories there is a thief who robs the patch or cuts the cords of the net in which his foodstuffs have been stored away. A string figure called "net of Makali'i" shows the net, its several divisions, and the exact point where, with a single cut, the whole figure falls to pieces. One of the ceremonies of the Makahiki festival was the shaking of a loose-meshed net filled with all kinds of vegetable foods in order to deter mine by the amount that fell through the meshes the success of the crop for the coming year.

For the identification of stars named in the next fifty lines I am indebted to Dr. Maud Makemson, who obtained her information from living Hawaiians or from previously recorded sources. Their appearance in the heavens directly after the birth of Wakea has ended the "shutting out of light" agrees with the New Zealand myth, where the covering of the naked expanse of Sky with the heavenly bodies and of Earth with vegetation follows the Pushing upward of the sky to let in the light. The list may further be regarded as a kind of genealogy, since Hawaiians claim that stars are called after chiefs, although the exact connection has never been fully explained. The genealogy of beginning quoted by the Committee of 1904 notes the birth of "men" who "flew to heaven ... after all of whom stars are named." So in Tahiti an obscure passage in the story of the "Birth of the Heavenly Bodies" tells how Ta'ura "The red one," a name given to the star Sirius, took a wife of whom "princes" were born, Matari'i (Makali'i) being one; then were "created kings of the chiefs of earthly hosts on one side, and of chiefs in the skies on the other side. All were royal personages in Fa'ahiti ... from the period of darkness (Po) and they each had a star. They bore the names of those stars, and those names have been perpetuated in their temples in this world.

Following the star lists comes a passage touching upon the adventures of Wakea with a goddess celebrated in Hawaiian story as "Hina-of-the-moon," she who is known in Tahiti as "Hina-who-stepped-into-the-moon," or, in Hawaii again, as Lonomuku, "Maimed-Lono" because, if the myth is correctly interpreted, when she fled to the moon from her earthly companion she left in his hand as he grasped after her one of her legs, from which grew the potato. Directly after, Hina-kawe'o-a is named, but whether the same Hina or another is not made clear. This Hina is certainly identical with "Hina-of-the-fire" who is mother of Maui in the chant of the fifteenth section. A Fornander genealogy gives Maui's mother the name of Kawea. The name of Hina-of-the-fire, Hina-a-ke-ahi, according to one old Hawaiian, is the fire goddess Pele's sacred name as controlling fire from the earth. In Tahiti Pere is called "goddess of the heat of the earth, a blond woman" (atua vahine no te vera o te fenua, e vahine 'ehu). The word we'a or its equivalent we'o is applied in Hawaii to a red coloring matter, but I take the name Kawe'oa to come directly from the Tahitian by elision te-ve (r)a-(a te fenu)a. The whole treatment of the Wakea story here suggests a late handling influenced from Tahiti.

The first Hina comes floating to Wakea in the form of a bailing gourd, a trick familiar in South Sea story but there, so far as I know, always employed by a male shape-shifter to secure passage in a canoe already refused him. Taken into the canoe the bailer becomes a beautiful woman, hence called "Hina-the-bailer." When he takes her home and "sets her by the fire," a euphemism for the sex act, strange sea creatures are born. Next Hina-kawe'o-a "craves food," and Wakea sets up a row of images (ki'i), conceals himself in one of them, and from this union is born the same "cock on the back of Wakea" whose birth so radically upsets the established social order at the close of the eleventh section. This Hina is the "Underseas-woman" or "Woman-born-below" (Wahine-lalo-hana[u]) of myth, who nibbles the bait from a chief's fishhooks and is lured to shore by the same trick of the images; to whom her brother brings the stars and moon for food, or, in another version, whose family overwhelms the land with a flood to avenge her abduction.

It is hardly necessary to repeat that both canoe and "image" (ki'i) are perfectly understood male sex symbols and are to be so understood in the folk-tale versions here noticed. The word moa, "cock," is used for a high chief, especially in connection with a struggle between competing aspirants, as witness the famous description of a cock fight in the chant describing Kamehameha's victorious campaign on the island of Hawaii. Since it is death for an inferior to allow even his shadow to fall upon the sacred head of a taboo chief, the perch of the cock upon the ridgepole here means that the son claimed higher rank than that of his parent. The story seems to point to a union with some family of high rank, either after the migration to Hawaii or somewhere along the way, whereby an interloping branch gained the position of ruling stock on the family line. The name song of Hina's son Maui, born in the shape of a cock, as told in the chant of the next section, certainly represents such a struggle for position by one born of an alien strain. This "seed of the High One begotten in the heavens" shakes heaven and earth "even to the sacred places."



1795. Papa lived with Wakea
Born was the woman Ha'alolo
Born was jealousy, anger
Papa was deceived by Wakea
He ordered the sun, the moon
1800. The night to Kane for the younger
The night to
Hilo for the first-born
Taboo was the house platform, the place for sitting
Taboo the house where Wakea lived
Taboo was intercourse with the divine parent
1805. Taboo the taro plant, the acrid one
Taboo the poisonous 'akia plant
Taboo the narcotic auhuhu plant
Taboo the medicinal uhaloa
Taboo the bitter part of the taro leaf
1810. Taboo the taro stalk that stood by the woman's taboo house
Haloa was buried [there], a long taro stalk grew
The offspring of Haloa [born] into the day
    Came forth


[The birth of Li'a-i-ku-honua at the "Appearing-of-heaven-and-earth," with whose name the genealogy opens, is mentioned at line 1754 of the preceding branch. The genealogy of that branch is continued through a younger brother, that of the fourteenth through the older. By his wife Ke-aka-huli-honua Li'a has a son Laka. Thirty pairs, husband and wife, precede the birth of Wakea.]

Born was Pau-pani-a[wa]kea
This was Wakea; [born was) Lehu'ula; [born was] Makulu-kulu-the-chief
Their youngest, a man of great bundles
Collected and placed with Makali'i; fixed fast
1850. Fixed are the stars suspended in the sky
[There] swings Ka'awela [Mercury], swings Kupoilaniua
Ha'i swings that way, Ha'i swings this way
Kaha'i swings, swings Kaha'iha'i [in the Milky Way]
Swings Kaua, the star cluster Wahilaninui
1855. Swings the flower of the heavens, Kaulua-i-ha'imoha'i
Puanene swings, the star that reveals a lord
Nu'u swings, Kaha'ilono swings
Wainaku [patron star of Hilo] swings, swings Ikapa'a
Swings Kiki'ula, swings Keho'oea
1860. Pouhanu'u swings, swings Ka-ili-'ula, The-red-skinned
Swings Kapakapaka, [and the morning star) Mananalo [Jupiter or Venus]
Swings Kona, swings Wailea [patron star of Maui]
Swings the Auhaku, swings the Eye-of-Unulau
Swings Hina-of-the-heavens, Hina-lani, swings Keoea
1865. Ka'aka'a swings, swings Polo'ula [star of Oahu]
Kanikania'ula swings, Kauamea swings
Swings Kalalani [of
Lanai], swings [the astrologers' star] Kekepue
Swings Ka'alolo [of Ni'ihau], swings the Resting-place-of-the-sun [Kaulana-a-ka-la]
Hua swings, 'Au'a [Betelgeuse] swings
1870. Lena swings, swings Lanikuhana
Swings Ho'oleia, swings Makeaupe'a
Swings Kaniha'alilo, swings 'U'u
Swings Wa [Sirius], swings 'Ololu
Kamaio swings, swings Kaulu[a]lena
1875. Swings Peaked-nose, swings Chicken-nose
Swings Pipa, swings Ho'eu
Swings Malana, swings Kaka'e
Swings Mali'u, swings Kaulua
Lanakamalama swings, Naua swings
1880. Welo swings, swings Ikiiki
Ka'aona swings, swings Hinaia'ele'ele
Puanakau [Rigel] swings, swings Le'ale'a
Swings Hikikauelia [Sirius of navigators], swings Ka'elo
Swings Kapawa, swings Hikikaulonomeha [Sirius of astrologers]
1885. Swings Hoku'ula, swings Poloahilani
Swings Ka'awela, swings Hanakalanai
Uliuli swings, Melemele swings [two lands of old]
Swings the Pleiades, Makali'i, swings the Cluster, na Huihui
Swings Kokoiki [Kamehameha's star], swings Humu [Altair]
1890. Moha'i swings, swings Kaulu[a]okaoka
Kukui swings, swings Konamaukuku
Swings Kamalie, swings Kamalie the first
Swings Kamalie the last
Swings Hina-of-the-yellow-skies, Hina-o-na-leilena
1895. Swing the Seven, na Hiku. [Big Dipper], swings the first of the Seven
The second of the Seven, the third of the Seven
The fourth of the Seven, the fifth of the Seven
The sixth of the Seven, the last of the Seven
Swings Mahapili, swings the Cluster
1900. Swing the Darts [Kao] of Orion
Sown was the seed of Makali'i, seed of the heavens
Sown was the seed of the gods, the sun is a god
Sown was the seed of Hina, an afterbirth of Lono-muku
The food of Hina-ia-ka-malama as Waka
1905. She was found by Wakea in the deep sea
In a sea of coral, a turbulent sea
Hina-ia-ka-malama floated as a bailing gourd
Was hung up in the canoes, hence called Hina-the-bailer [-ke-ka]
Taken ashore, set by the fire
1910. Born were corals, born the eels
Born were the small sea urchins, the large sea urchins
The blackstone was born, the volcanic stone was born
Hence she was called Woman-from-whose-womb-come-various-forms, Hinahalakoa
Hina craved food, Wakea went to fetch it
1915. [He] set up images on the platform
Set them up neatly in a row
Wakea as Ki'i [image] slept with Hina-ka-we'o-a
Born was the cock, perched on Wakea's back
The cock scratched the back of Wakea
1920. Wakea was jealous, tried to brush it away
Wakea was jealous, vexed and annoyed
Thrust away the cock and it flew to the ridgepole
The cock was on the ridgepole
The cock was lord
1925. This was the seed of The-high-one
Begotten in the heavens
The heavens shook
The earth shook
Even to the sacred places


Maui the Usurper

THE name song of Maui at the close of the fifteenth section of the Kumulipo chant tells the story of the struggle for power of a younger son born into the family through an alien alliance, one entitling him to a higher-ranking status than the natural heir. Maui is born to a god, as the phrase goes. His mother is Hina-of-the-fire, his grand parent Mahui'e is known throughout Polynesia as keeper of underground fire. His mother sends him back to her own (or his father's) family for a wife, and his posterity replace the old stock on the line of ruling chiefs who carry on the family descent.

Stories of the Maui brothers are by no means local to Hawaii alone, but the name Maui-of-the-loincloth for the trickster hero is used, so far as I know, only here and in New Zealand; Maui-tikitiki, -ti'iti'i, or -ki'iki'i he is commonly called. A story to justify the sobriquet is told in both areas. In the Hawaiian version told at the east end of the island of Maui, Hina, walking on the beach, picks up a man's loincloth and, girding herself with it, lies down to sleep. She conceives a child, and her husband, far from taking the affair badly as in the Wakea chant, recognizes the offspring of a god and rejoices to have "found our lord."' One recognizes here a euphemized variant of the subterfuge used by Tiki to gain access to his daughter by the sand woman as told in the Stimson manuscript from the Tuamotus. In the New Zealand account from Nga-i-tahu sources Hine bears an abortion and wrapping it in her bloody "apron" (maro) casts it into the sea, or among brambles in one version, whence it is rescued by ancestral deities and shaped into a human being. So in the Hawaiian chant of the "Birth of Islands"--

The afterbirth of the child was thrown away
Into the rolling sea,
The froth of the heaving sea
Was found as a loincloth for the child,
Molokini the island,
This was an afterbirth.

In New Zealand Maui makes himself known to his family in human form. In the Kumulipo he is born in feathered form as a moa, generally translated "cock." He makes a cry not like a human being but "like an animal" as the word Alala is defined. In the South Pacific the trickster Maui shifts to the form of a pigeon, a rupe. It is in this form that in New Zealand he visits his ancestors in the underworld. Rupe in pigeon shape flies to the rescue of his sister in the Hine-Tinirau tale. In Mangareva, Toa Rupe, daughter of Te Rupe, is mother of the Maui brothers. Obviously the Hawaiian moa should be a pigeon, but, since the pigeon was not known to Hawaiians, the composer uses the fighting cock as feathered symbol of the part the newborn infant is to play in the world. He is to be an aiwaiwa child, a word denoting excellence as an expert but also used in a derogatory sense as we use the word "notorious." Such double intention in an epithet seems to us like a contradiction of terms, but to the Polynesian it agrees with the opposition he observes inherent in human judgments. The character Maui plays in story cycles throughout the South Seas shifts like his shape. Some make him a bungler, vainglorious and revengeful; others, a benevolent culture bringer, using his gifts of magic for the good of man.

Maui's exploits or ua in his struggle for power are listed by number. So White enumerates the "acts" of Maui under the term patunga. The first contest is against his own kindred, those who seem to be guarding Hina's virginity. The word ana probably refers to the cave dwelling of Hina familiar to Maui stories; one such is still pointed out on the mountainside back of Waianae village on Oahu. The next five contests are directed toward the establishment of his claim to the privileges of high chief rank. Kava drink made of the black-stemmed variety is sacred to the "gods." The "bamboo" may be the knife used for the rite of incision, perhaps similarly limited to the chief class. The paehumu, if the corrected text is accepted, is the inclosure within the heiau set apart for images, to the right of which stood the prayer scaffold or anu'u. From both places all were excluded save those of high rank.

The struggle for the privileges of rank turns Maui's attention to the question of his parentage. His mother is evasive and puts him off with the story of the loincloth. Immediately after, she sends him to his "father" after "line and hook." Perhaps this is a parent on his mother's side. At all events the land-fishing expedition upon which she sends him is to be interpreted, not as so literally exploited in folk tale but as symbolizing a wooing expedition to win a wife by whom he may unite in their child the blood of close kin born in lands distant geographically but drawn together by this bond of family union. A fairy wife who sends her favorite son to seek a wife among her own kin in a land of deities is a popular theme in Hawaiian as well as South Sea family story cycles.

The seventh adventure in seizing the sister of Hina in the shape of a mudhen is the first step in this wooing. The folk tale telling how Maui learned from the red-headed mudhens the secret of fire-making by the use of fire sticks is conspicuously absent from the enumeration here of Maui's exploits. The reason is obvious; it is not fire-making but the secret of sex that Maui learns in preparation for "drawing the islands together" by a propitious marriage. The fishhook Manai-a-ka-lani is equally a sex symbol. The word manai is used for a sharp needle-like instrument used in stringing flowers for wreath-making, and in wooing stories the maiden courted is traditionally given a flower name.

The obscure treatment of the courting story is a good illustration of poetic courtly style. Seeking a wife among his close kin, he probably comes incognito and meets opposition in the form of the parent, who probably does not recognize him, and only after defeating this obstacle does he win the girl already destined to become his wife by arrangement among their common parents. The struggle with the sea monster here represents the obstructions put in his way, sometimes by the girl herself as the theme is developed in popular romance. The whole courting episode is here treated with lively humor. The phrase "to live through the tail" (Ola ... ma ka pewa or ma ka hi'u) is used when a slim chance of escape offers itself in a dangerous predicament. Every Hawaiian knows the story of how, during the great shark war, when the shark Mikololou was dragged ashore and eaten "all but his tail," or his "tongue" in some versions, a dog seized the remnant and leaped with it into the sea, whereupon the shark, feeling itself in its native element, resumed its full form. "Mikololou died but lived again through his tongue" is similarly said of one who talks himself out of a dangerous situation.

Maui eventually wins the lady Mahana-ulu-'ehu for whom "love grew." Her name is paired with his on the genealogy of the Kamokuiki book equivalent to that of the sixteenth section of the Kumulipo chant, where Hina-ke-aloha-ila is named as wife of Maui. The two names must hence be pseudonyms for the same lady. Maui has now concluded his ninth adventure, and from this point the numbering becomes confused. The scratching-out of the eyes of the eight-eyed Pe'ape'a who has abducted his mother is declared to be his "last exploit." But there follows the sun-snaring, introduced by the line "With Moemoe the strife ended." The story is probably merely another version of the abduction incident, so well known through popular retelling as to be scarcely worth repeating. "Everybody knows" is Ho'olapa's happy rendering of the Hawaiian phrasing. As I heard it many years ago on the island of Maui, the fight with Moemoe came as the final episode of the sun-snaring. We were riding from Lahaina toward Kahakaloa Point, where one strikes the trades across East Maui, and came upon a huge pillar-like block of stone fallen toward the sea. This was the "great black rock of Kaanapali" marking the prostrate form of the overthrown shape shifter who had taunted Maui, some say attempted to stay him, when he set out from Lahaina to do battle with the Sun. Maui promised to deal with him on his return, and, with the silencing of the reviler, Maui's labors ceased.

The whole treatment of this name chant is an excellent example of the song-master's art; whether it was in its present form originally a part of the prayer chant it would be difficult to say. The lovemaking is developed as a comic relief to the drama of strife against the gods, which is the main theme of Maui's lawless career. Four times their names occur as a refrain, first when Maui seizes the "bunch of black-stemmed kava," again with the strife over the "bamboo" of Kane and Kanaloa. With the hooking of the great fish the two gods are "shaken from their foundation." Finally, Maui drinks the "yellow water" of Kane and Kanaloa, an adventure sometimes referred to as a quarrel over the right of participation in a kava-drinking ritual. The closing lines reciting the parentage, place of birth, and places of burial sacred to the memory of a family hero are in the true laconic style of the name song or inoa. At the close is summed up the essential character of the Maui figure in the terms ho'upu'upu and ho'okala, the last word more precisely rendered by "lawless" than by the more generally used "mischievous." In the final play upon the word moku there seems to be, as pointed out by Ho'olapa, a double application, on the one hand to the land itself, on the other to the lawless chief who overran it, "a chief indeed."

The Maui cycle as judged from its comparative uniformity of detail, in spite of individual variations over a wide geographical spread, must have developed in approximately its present essential form before or during the migration period. The various forms the story took throughout the Pacific are fully treated in Dr. Katherine Luomala's recent study of "Maui-of-a-thousand-tricks." I may be pardoned a digression here to bring out some of the modern folk tale variants told in the Hawaiian group that may cast light upon the Kumulipo rendering.

Fornander's version of Kaulu, who sacks the land of Kane and Kanaloa by means of superior magic and trickery, is an obvious retelling of the Maui story. Kaulu is "son of Kalana," youngest born of the family and "born in the shape of a rope," obviously an umbilical cord and probably that of the favorite brother, to rescue whom he seeks the land of Kane and Kanaloa, where his brother has been carried away to serve the gods. There he upsets the order of the gods, sharing their kava cup by a ruse, wrecking their vegetable garden, turning the land upside down, even carrying away "the rays of the sun" in his search for his brother, and finally tearing apart the jaws of the great shark in whose body the brother has been hidden. This "shark" must be the same as Maui's "fish" whose drawing ashore shook Kane and Kanaloa from their foundation. It appears in Tahiti as "the handsome blue shark of Ta'aroa" snatched up by the gods from those who would have destroyed it and placed in the Milky Way, the stream of the water of life (vai ola) in which the gods bathe to renew their youth, where it may be seen today as a dark patch against the bright belt of light whose diurnal pivoting as the earth revolves is spoken of in Hawaii as the "turning of the fish.

Maui's fishing feat has its modern version in a tale of Red-Ku-of-the-sea told me not many years ago by the sheriff of Hana district, who pointed out on the beach an eel's head turned to stone with jaws apart, together with other material evidence of the factual character of the story.[8] The hero used, of course, the fishhook Manai-a-ka-lani, and the device my informant described for drawing the monster to land by means of ropes attached to the hook and pulling at an angle from two points on the beach must have been also Maui's procedure. Such a device was used in handling one of the huge kites of ancient days and I am told is employed today by fishermen off Lahaina to get a squid to shore too big to handle otherwise. The point of meeting at which the ropes are attached is called hanai, a word Ho'olapa seemed to connect with the manai of Maui's hook. Rays of the afternoon sun glancing to the sea in the phenomenon we call "the sun drinking water" are known as "Maui's lassos" or "snaring ropes," with reference to the sun-snaring adventure. I think it likely that the fishing-up of islands, the hooking and drawing to shore of a sea monster, and the modern version of the sun-snaring myth are all variants from an older legend. Perhaps the myth of drawing the sun from its underworld hole in order to lighten a darkened world, told in Hawaii of the famous demigod Kana, was the original and more elemental adventure upon which have been imposed such embellishments as the search after fire, the freeing of abducted ladies, the fishing after troublesome sea monsters; or perhaps, on the other hand, the cosmic ad ventures have developed with a growing taste for symbolism out of a particular incident of human abduction.



Waolena was the man, Mahui'e the wife
Akalana was the man, Hina-of-the-fire the wife
1985. Born was Maui the first, born was Maui the middle one
Born was Maui-ki'iki'i, born was Maui of the loincloth
The loincloth with which Akalana girded his loins
Hina-of-the-fire conceived, a fowl was born
The child of Hina was delivered in the shape of an egg
1990. She had not slept with a fowl
But a fowl was born
The child chirped, Hina was puzzled
Not from sleeping with a man did this child come
It was a strange child for Hina-of-the-fire
1995. The two guards [?] were angry, the tall and the short one
The brothers of Hina
The two guards within the cave
Maui fought, those guards fell
Red blood flowed from the brow [?] of Maui
2000. That was
Maui's first strife
He fetched the bunch of black kava of Kane and Kanaloa
That was the second strife of
The third strife was the quarrel over the kava strainer
The fourth strife was for the bamboo of Kane and Kanaloa
2005. The fifth strife was over the temple inclosure for images [?]
The sixth strife was over the prayer tower in the heiau [?]
Maui reflected, asked who was his father
Hina denied: "You have no father
The loincloth of Kalana, that was your father"
2010. Hina-of-the-fire longed for fish
He learned to fish, Hina sent him
"Go get [it] of your parent

There is the line, the hook
Manai-a-ka-lani, that is the hook
2015. For drawing together the lands of old ocean"
He seized the great mudhen of Hina
The sister bird
That was the seventh strife of
He hooked the mischievous shape-shifter
2020. The jaw of Pimoe as it snapped open
The lordly fish that shouts over the ocean
Pimoe crouched in the presence of
Love grew for Mahana-ulu-'ehu
Child of Pimoe
Maui drew them [?] ashore and ate all but the tailfin
Kane and Kanaloa were shaken from their foundation
By the ninth strife of
Pimoe "lived through the tailfin"
Mahana-ulu-'ehu "lived through the tail"
2030. Hina-ke-ka was abducted by Pe'ape'a
Pe'ape'a, god of the octopus family
That was Maui's last strife
He scratched out the eyes of the eight-eyed Pe'ape'a
The strife ended with Moemoe
2035. Everyone knows about the battle of
Maui with the sun
With the loop of
Maui's snaring-rope
Winter [?] became the sun's
Summer became Maui's
He drank the yellow water to the dregs [?]
2040. Of Kane and Kanaloa
He strove with trickery
Around Hawaii, around
Around Kauai, around
At Kahulu'u was the afterbirth [deposited], at Waikane the navel cord
2045. He died at Hakipu'u in Kualoa
The lawless shape-shifter of the island
    A chief indeed


The Dedication

THE genealogy of the sixteenth section opens with the names of Maui and his wife Hina-of-the-love-mole, possibly the same who is called Mahana-ulu-'ehu in the song of Maui's fishing. The pairs, man and wife, continue down the line of high chiefs well known to tradition, who ruled successively on the island of Maui, to the famous name of Pi'ilani, whose daughter Pi'ikea became one of the wives of 'Umi, ruling chief on Hawaii. From a son of this union the powerful 'I family of Hilo district counted descent, and by a daughter of the 'I family there was born to Keawe the Lono-i-ka-makahiki to whom the Kumulipo chant was allegedly dedicated. The closing lines of the chant are hence devoted to the detailing of Pi'ikea's ancestry and the aggrandizement of her immediate posterity.

No more famous family in Hawaiian annals could a girl claim as her own than that of Pi'ilani, who succeeded to his father's lands as ruling chief on the eastern end of the island of Maui. His wife was daughter of a high taboo chief of Oahu by his father's sister Kelea, a girl whose dexterity in surfing won her the sobriquet of "fin-bearing" and whose romantic adventures were a favorite theme of courtly song and story. Abducted while engaged in her favorite sport and carried away to the island of Oahu by an inland chief of inferior rank, Kelea wearied of life in the uplands and, leaving home to indulge her passion for surfing, was seen and taken to wife by the high chief of Ewa district. To him she bore the daughter La'ielohelohe, and the girl was brought up in strict seclusion as a sacred child. In time messengers came from Maui to ask for her in marriage to the son of her mother's brother. Again the court romancers found a theme to their liking in the ceremonies attending this wooing embassy. To Pi'ilani, La'ie bore the daughter Pi'ikea who became 'Umi's wife. Their grandchild obtained the rank of wohi with the right to the crouching taboo. The right claimed for his descendant 'I to offer human sacrifice and to cut down 'ohi'a wood for images would imply that as ruling chief over the land section of Pakini, lying in Ka-'u district, he was entitled to erect a war heiau, a right denied to lesser chiefs.

Other famous names appear on this genealogy, some no less well known to Hawaiian romance than to that of southern groups, from which source they may well have been brought. One such noted cycle, intrenched at the east end of the island of Maui, is headed by Ai-kanaka and the stranger wife who fled back to the moon. At line 2070 are born the sons of Palena and his wife Hikawainui, Hanala'a the great and Little Hanala'a, from whom important family lines branch on Hawaiian genealogies. The whole section may well have been added in Kalakaua's day to bring the chant up to date with his own family claim, but variations in the names prove an independent source from the Fornander genealogies of a slightly earlier period.


2049. Maui-son-of-Kalana was the man, Hina-kealohaila the wife
2055. Hulu-at-[the]-yellow-sky was the man, Hina-from-the-heavens the wife
'Ai-kanaka was the man, Hina-of-the-moon the wife
Born was Puna-the-first, born was Hema, born was Puna-the-last

Born was Kaha'i the great to Hema, Hina-ulu-'ohi'a was the wife
Hema went after the birthgifts for the wife [?]
2060. Wahieloa was the man, Ho'olaukahili the wife
Laka was the man, Hikawainui the wife

2070. Palena was the man, Hikawainui the wife
Born was Hanala'a-nui, born was Hanala'a-iki
Hanala'aiki was the man ...

Kahekili [the first] was the man, Hauanuihoni'ala was the wife
2090. Born was Kawauka'ohele and [his sister] Kelea-nui-noho-ana-'api'api ["Kelea-swimming-like-a-fish"]
She [Kelea] lived as a wife to Kalamakua
Born was La'ie-lohelohe, [she] lived with Pi'ilani, Pi'ikea was born
Pi'ikea lived with 'Umi, Kumalae-nui-a-'Umi [was born]
His was the slave-destroying cliff
2095. Kumulae-nui-a-'Umi was the man, Kumu-nui-puawale the wife
Makua was the man, standing first of wohi rank on the island
Kapo-hele-mai was the wife, a taboo wohi chiefess, the sacred one
'I, to 'I is the chiefship, the right to offer human sacrifice
The ruler over the land section of Pakini
2100. With the right to cut down 'ohi'a wood for images, the protector of the
island of Hawaii
To Abu, Ahu son of 'I, to Lono
    To Lono-i-ka-makahiki


The Genealogies

UP TO a certain point names listed on this latest genealogical branch of the Kumulipo chant, begun in the fifteenth section and completed in the sixteenth, not only appear on accepted genealogies of Hawaiian chief families but bear a striking similarity to some of those reported from southern Polynesia. Fornander may be right when he argues that these likenesses are due to the introduction by a new immigrant stock of its own ancestral line from the south. He fixes upon the settling of Oahu by the powerful Maweke family from North Tahiti as the source of this displacement, since the similarities cease about the time that their names appear upon the Hawaiian genealogical line.

One would like to explain upon this basis the curious introduction on the genealogy of the twelfth section, at lines 1713 to 1715, of a trio of males corresponding to that named in the eighth section at the opening of the period of the Ao. The trio in both cases includes the names of Kane and Kanaloa, in this second case listed as "twins," mahoe, and a third name, the man Ki'i in the eighth section, Ahuka'i, "much younger" (muli loa), in the twelfth, where the trio follow the name of Kumuhonua. In the Moikeha saga Kumuhonua is the eldest of three sons descended from the migrating Maweke family, who, at his father's death, inherits the family lands on Oahu. Olopana and Moikeha are his younger brothers. With the rise to power of the Moikeha ruling line, that of Kumuhonua dies out. The name of Ahuka'i appears on the 'Ulu-Puna line as grandparent of Moikeha's young relative La'a-mai-kahiki, whom he summons from Tahiti to look after his bones, hence supposedly a relative of the migrating Maweke family. According to custom, a chief takes the name of a distinguished ancestor.

Ahuka'i, La'a, La'a-mai-kahiki, ke li'i

begins the young chief's name song. La'a's story has already been told and the part he played in peopling the Hawaiian group.

The Moikeha saga further states that the two younger brothers live for a time at Waipi'o on the island of Hawaii until they are driven out by a freshet and return to Tahiti. There they quarrel over Olopana's wife Lu'ukia, and Moikeha sails back to Hawaii, and eventually his line succeeds to the ruling power on the two islands of Kauai and Oahu. A quite unrelated legend states that "the gods Kane and Kanaloa" accompanied by "Haumea" once came to Hawaii "in the shape of human beings," landing first at Keei in South Kona on the island of Hawaii and then living for a time at Waipi'o, where Kanaloa is described as "tall and fair," Kane as dark with thick lips and curly hair. May not the brothers Olopana and Moikeha, coming with their superior culture to the simpler islanders on Hawaii, have been taken for the gods Kane and Kanaloa as was Captain Cook for the god Lono? The beneficent activities of the two gods, sung in chant and told in story and commemorated in local legend, may belong to this early period before the quarrel took place which separated the two brothers, so that Olopana, alias Kanaloa, remained in the south when Moikeha, or Kane, returned and became a great chief in the Hawaiian group, dominating the western islands. Such a hypothesis would give meaning to the association of the name of Ahuka'i in the trio with Kane and Kanaloa and all three with that of Kumuhonua on the genealogy of the twelfth section.

Not that we should even attempt to identify historically the long lists of names that make up the genealogical portions of the Kumulipo. Such lists, paired as man and wife, cover approximately eleven hundred of the fourteen hundred lines that make up the second period of the chant. They pretend to trace the family genealogy from its beginning. They claim for it descent from a single stock represented by the approximately eight hundred pairs listed on the long-lived man's genealogy of the eleventh section and on the much shorter branches of succeeding sections stemming from it. How are we to interpret such an ancestral series handed down by word of mouth alone, even if carried back before the migration to Hawaii, as later genealogists declare? Are these actual genealogies in our sense of the term? Are they intended to represent direct descent from father to son?

Many have so regarded them. The Kamokuiki book arranges the names in genealogical succession as man, wife, and child, but this may be the late recorder's idea rather than that of the genealogist from whom he learned them. The length of time they would represent on this basis must strike even an enthusiast's mind as unthinkable. Allowing only half the usual twenty years to a generation, the eleventh section would reach back some eight thousand years. Thereafter comes "the cock on the back of Wakea" whose genealogy of the sixteenth section has some traditional authority.

Most explain the series as purely rhetorical, a mere stuffing of the past for the sake of family prestige. There is some evidence for such a conclusion. We know that such verbal feats of memory were a delight to both audience and reciter from the fact that the early missionaries were urged not to omit in the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures those genealogical portions over which the tongue might linger as a fresh incentive to rhythmic syllabication. Moreover, names on the last half of the eleventh section follow a pattern of repeated syllables making up the name of the long-lived man as it appears in the eighth section and again at the close of the eleventh. This must be essentially a mnemonic device and can hardly be other than artificial.

Designed also it would seem as an aid to memory is the listing by numerical count of the first two sections into groups of four hundred. The eleventh section breaks into two parts of approximately four hundred pairs each. An even closer count to four hundred is to be had by adding to the hundred and eighty-eight pairs of the younger brother's branch listed in the twelfth section the two hundred and fifteen pairs in the eleventh before the twelfth branches from it. Thus, as the fingers of the reciter slipped over the knotted cord on which he kept the sacred count, he must have held his memory in check by means of the "count by four hundred" upon which was woven the ancestral pattern. The whole meticulous structure of these early genealogies must have served to elaborate the symbolism inherent in the content, that of the unbroken inheritance of an entire people from a common ancestral stock. This was the main idea, the kaona once more, of such a sacred intertwining of the lives of the living with the fabric of a long, deified past, with "the forty thousand gods, the four hundred thousand gods, the four thousand gods" of temple prayers.

But I believe there was something more than mere invention as the basis of the listing. The first four hundred names are short, often monosyllabic. So are, on the whole, the names of the twelfth section. Even the second four hundred of the eleventh, shorn of their word play, have monosyllabic values. This agrees with what is said today of the early preference for short family names before elaborate com pounds became the fashion. It is hence possible to read these names, not as representing vertical descent in time from father to son but as the horizontal spread, so to speak, of a kinship group under a single ruling lord or his direct successors, those heads of households whose reckoning would be important for land distribution or conscription for war. When Kepelino writes, "All the days of Kumuhonua's life were almost four hundred hanauna or more," although he is obviously under the influence of biblical phrasing and uses the word as if in its ordinary sense of "generation," he probably thinks of it in its meaning of "kinsfolk," and the statement becomes literally acceptable. It is possible, that is, that the lists once had relevance. When the line died out and a new stock took its place, the ancient numbering became memorialized among the deified dead, and their names were passed down by oral transmission in behalf of the family honor and glory by those who knew the "pathway of chiefs."

Nevertheless, it is not to be denied that the case for a straight genealogical descent from father to son for these Kumulipo listings is strong. Hawaiians certainly consider this their intent. The extremely tenacious memories of trained reciters in Hawaii and their special fondness for catalogues of names make a traditional record possible, even though at some point along the line invention filled in the numerical count. One must not forget the analogous testimony of Herodotus, to whom the priests at Thebes declared the count of 341 priest-kings who had succeeded from father to son from the beginning of the race, to prove which they showed him rows of wooden images of these kings coresponding {sic} in number to that claimed for them. It is true that the Egyptians were a literate people, but the fact remains that both peoples felt the importance of keeping a record of descent from the beginning--the Kumu-lipo of the race.

Another feature, common not only to the Kumulipo chant but to all similar prayer chants to the ancestral gods handed down from Hawaiian sources, is the variety of names used for these deities as expressive of their function in the process of generation, so that a single deity may appear under different titles according to the particular aspect under which he or she is worshiped by a given family branch. "Each island had a separate tree," notes Fornander and the attempt to synchronize genealogies on a historical basis alone without reference to this possessive urge to poetic invention would be barren of results. Such names are preserved in a family as titles of honor. Thus the child of a chief owned a sacred name bestowed by a god in a dream and not to be revealed beyond the immediate family. He might also take the name of a famous ancestor. He was given nicknames to mark important events in his career or traits of character that he developed. How much more readily, then, might a common ancestral deity be marked off for worship under a particular attribute according to the function he was called upon to fulfil or the special relation that he held to the family of the petitioner.

The Kumulipo is full of such instances. The name Li'aikuhonua which opens the genealogy of the fourteenth section replaces that of Huli-honua in the more common version and explains a puzzling invocation quoted by Emerson, "E Ku, e Li," opening a prayer for fertility on land, in the sea, and in offspring to man, developed along quite similar lines to the Kumulipo and probably possessing, although in little, like incantational value. Li's wife Ke-aka-huli-honua, on the other hand, may most certainly be equated with Ata-(huli-ho)nua, wife of Tagaroa in Mangareva, and of 'Atea in the Marquesas. Wela-ahi-lani, named just at the close of the twelfth section with his wife Owe, a contraction of Owehewehe meaning "to open," is Malo's W(ela-)ahi-lani who "opens" the heavens and comes down to the beautiful La'ila'i on earth, she here synonomous {sic} with Owe and both with Wakea and Papa under special family titles, perhaps those played upon in the two opening lines of the ninth section. Again, 'Ipo'i, wife of Mulinaha on the genealogical branch of the thirteenth section, just before the birth of Haumea, may be identical with Uhiuhi-ka-'ipo-i-wai born with the gods Kane, Lono, and Kanaloa in the "Genealogy of the First from Intense Darkness" reported by the Committee of 1904, from whom, through her union with the god Kanaloa, were descended "the generations of Hawaii from the beginning of Heaven and Earth." Such elaborations upon the functions of a deity are honorific and no more imply plurality than the epithets attached to the supreme deity of the Hebrews.

The unique place given to Haumea on the genealogy of the fifteenth and sixteenth sections of the chant in place of Papa, commonly named on the same genealogy, has already been noticed. The birth from this union of the god Kaua-kahi, "First-strife," or Ku-kaua-kahi, "Arising-of-first-strife," and of Kaua-huli-honua, "Strife-overturning-earth," seems to imply some kind of revolutionary movement as a result of Haumea's match with Kanaloa. It is in Mangareva. alone that Haumea occupies the place of wife to Tagaroa comparable to that given her here in the Hawaiian Kumulipo.

In Mangarevan myths of beginning Tagaroa holds the leading place among "primary gods without a known origin" belonging to "the long period of darkness." Some call him creator, "a god who made all the things in the world," but Dr. Buck, whose report on Mangarevan ethnology I am following, thinks this a late rationalization influenced from Tahiti.

The Mangarevan myth gives to Haumea eight children by Tagaroa. Tu, the first-born, is god of breadfruit and "principal functioning god of Mangareva." She then leaves Tagaroa, and he takes to wife the daughter of the "fisherman" Tine. The girl hesitates to bear a child because it is the custom to cut open the mother at childbirth, but Tagaroa teaches her natural delivery. Haumea takes a husband named Pia and has eight more sons. Her story then turns upon the familiar theme of the cannibal wife. She becomes a maneater and attempts to kill Pia. Her sons flee with their father by boat, and when she follows they slay her and leave her body to be broken to pieces by the sea. Tagaroa desires her again and recovers her broken parts. Out of her body he forms "Atanua," who seems to be the same lady whom we have equated with Ke-aka-hull-honua, wife of Li'a-i-ku-honua of the Kumulipo. From the blood and afterbirth born of the union with the reincarnated goddess come the spawn of fish in March and the jellyfish of the sea. From members of her body he forms wives for other Tagaroa gods.

Several elements in this Mangarevan myth bear a striking likeness to the Kumulipo story. Not only is Haumea mated with Tagaroa, who is Kanaloa in Hawaii, and bears to him "Ku" as her eldest son, but she also leaves her husband to become mated with one who seems to be no god but a human being. In changed form she takes many husbands, in the Kumulipo by changing from age to youth, in Mangareva through the fertilizing power of the parts of her body; in both cases she becomes wife and mother to the family of the god. After the distribution of her fertile members, however, the likeness passes to the Wakea myth, where the parent of mankind, deserted by Papa, takes into his canoe the shape-shifting bailing gourd, and from the beautiful woman who emerges from it are born strange sea creatures. Certainly the composer of this portion of the Kumulipo chant and the Mangarevan mythmaker must have drawn from a common source.

There is no suggestion in the Mangarevan myth that the function of warrior was attached to Ku, god of breadfruit and child of Haumea, nor is Haumea concerned with a popular folk tale told in Hawaii of the god Ku's change into a breadfruit tree, although her own conversion into such a tree must not be forgotten. Ku-kauakahi as god of war has no place on other Hawaiian genealogies of beginning, nor is he named in either Malo's or Fornander's rather full description of ceremonies attending the consecration of a luakini or heiau erected to the war god Ku for the purpose of petitioning for success in war. His may have been a sacred name forbidden to common usage, hence replaced on the Hawaiian theocracy by the all-embracing Ku.

In popular romance, however, the name is kept alive in the person of the high taboo chief Kaua-kahi-ali'i ("Kaua-kahi-the-chief") who lives in a sacred pleasure garden of the gods on the island of Kauai high up near the source of the north fork of the Wailua River and lures to him by his pipe-playing a pretty chiefess from the seacoast. Complications follow, notably in some versions a fight with the girl's former suitor. The story has much in common with the Kumulipo theme of Wakea's affair with Hina-kawe'o-a, especially the euphemistic version told in a note to Malo of Kauakahi's wooing of a water maiden by means of an image of a girl behind which he hides, pretending it is she who invites companionship. After winning the water nymph's favor he disappears, and the girl is obliged to follow him to his home and pick out from a number of identical images (ki'i) the particular one in which he is hidden.

Is Wakea an equivalent, then, not of Kanaloa but of Kauakahi, who introduces war through an alien alliance, or of Kaua-huli-honua, who overthrows an old divine hierarchy and sets up a new? The answer is that he is all three. I think the idea must be abandoned that these earlier genealogies represent a succession of generations rather than of events arranged under whatever symbolic titles belong by tradition to the family who are memorializing those events in the name of divinities believed concerned in their achievement. Names thus become interchangeable. Relationships disappear. Parents become telescoped into sons or brothers or into descendants, and each takes on any one of a number of honorific family titles appropriate to the place assigned in the succession. Especially in storytelling, deeds once related of a parent shift into the name song of son or grandson or are transferred to a popular figure belonging to a quite unrelated period. Historical accuracy just does not exist as we understand the term, and the painstaking toil of our own scholars in calculating dates far into the past from these oratorical recitations must certainly be abandoned as a case of virtue its own and only reward. It was enough that the family understood and applauded each allusion. Never may we outsiders rob them of their "sole treasure."


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