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NOT far from the summit of Hualalai, on the island of Hawaii, in the cave on the southern side of the ridge, lived Hina and her son, the kupua, or demigod, Hiku. All his life long as a child and a youth, Hiku had lived alone with his mother on this mountain summit, and had never once been permitted to descend to the plains below to see the abodes of men and to learn of their ways. From time to time, his quick ear had caught the sound of the distant hula drum and the voices of the gay merrymakers. Often had he wished to see the fair forms of those who danced and sang in those far-off cocoanut groves. But his mother, more experienced in the ways of the world, had never given her consent. Now, at length, he felt that he was a man, and as the sounds of mirth arose on his ears, again he asked his mother to let him go for himself and mingle with the people on the shore. His mother, seeing that his mind was made up to go, reluctantly gave her consent and warned him not to stay too long, but to return in good time. So, taking in his hand his faithful arrow, Pua Ne, which he always carried, he started off.
This arrow was a sort of talisman, possessed of marvellous powers, among which were the ability to answer his call and by its flight to direct his journey.
Thus he descended over the rough clinker lava and through the groves of koa that cover the southwestern flank of the mountain, until, nearing its base, he stood on a distant hill; and consulting his arrow, he shot it far into the air, watching its bird-like flight until it struck on a distant hill above Kailua. To this hill he rapidly directed his steps, and, picking up his arrow in due time, he again shot it into the air. The second flight landed the arrow near the coast of Holualoa, some six or eight miles south of Kailua. It struck on a barren waste of pahoehoe, or lava rock, beside the water-hole of Waikalai, known also as the Wai a Hiku (Water of Hiku), where to this day all the people of that vicinity go to get their water for man and beast.
Here he quenched his thirst, and nearing the village of Holualoa, again shot the arrow, which, instinct with life, entered the courtyard of the alii, or chief, of Kona, and from among the women who were there singled out the fair princess Kawelu, and landed at her feet. Seeing the noble bearing of Hiku as he approached to claim his arrow, she stealthily hid it and challenged him to find it. Then Hiku called to the arrow, “Pua ne! Pua ne!” and the arrow replied, “Ne!” thus revealing its hiding-place.
This exploit with the arrow and the remarkable grace and personal beauty of the young man quite won the heart of the princess, and she was soon possessed by a strong passion for him, and determined to make him her husband.
With her wily arts she detained him for several days at her home, and when at last he was about to start for the mountain, she shut him up in the house and thus detained him by force. But the words of his mother, warning him not to remain too long, came to his mind, and he determined to break away from his prison. So he climbed up to the roof, and removing a portion of the thatch, made his escape.
When his flight was discovered by Kawelu, the infatuated girl was distracted with grief. Refusing to be comforted, she tasted no food, and ere many days had passed was quite dead. Messengers were despatched who brought back the unhappy Hiku, author of all this sorrow. Bitterly he wept over the corpse of his beloved, but it was now too late; the spirit had departed to the nether world, ruled over by Milu. And now, stung by the reproaches of her kindred and friends for his desertion, and urged on by his real love for the fair one, he resolved to attempt the perilous descent into the nether world and, if possible, to bring her spirit back.
With the assistance of her friends, he collected from the mountain slope a great quantity of the kowali, or convolvulus vine. He also prepared a hollow cocoanut shell, splitting it into two closely fitting parts. Then anointing himself with a mixture of rancid cocoanut and kukui oil, which gave him a very strong corpse-like odor, he started with his companions in the well-loaded canoes for a point in the sea where the sky comes down to meet the water.
Arrived at the spot, he directed his comrades to lower him into the abyss called by the Hawaiians the Lua o Milu. Taking with him his cocoanut-shell and seating himself astride of the cross-stick of the swing, or kowali, he was quickly lowered down by the long rope of kowali vines held by his friends in the canoe above.
Soon he entered the great cavern where the shades of the departed were gathered together. As he came among them, their curiosity was aroused to learn who he was. And he heard many remarks, such as “Whew! what an odor this corpse emits!” “He must have been long dead.” He had rather overdone the matter of the rancid oil. Even Milu himself, as he sat on the bank watching the crowd, was completely deceived by the stratagem, for otherwise he never would have permitted this bold descent of a living man into his gloomy abode.
The Hawaiian swing, it should be remarked, unlike ours, has but one rope supporting the cross-stick on which the person is seated. Hiku and his swing attracted considerable attention from the lookers-on. One shade in particular watched him most intently; it was his sweetheart, Kawelu. A mutual recognition took place, and with the permission of Milu she darted up to him and swung with him on the kowali. But even she had to avert her face on account of his corpselike odor. As they were enjoying together this favorite Hawaiian pastime of lele kowali, by a preconcerted signal the friends above were informed of the success of his ruse and were now rapidly drawing them up.
At first she was too much absorbed in the sport to notice this. When at length her attention was aroused by seeing the great distance of those beneath her, like a butterfly she was about to flit away, when the crafty Hiku, who was ever on the alert, clapped the cocoanut-shells together, imprisoning her within them, and was then quickly drawn up to the canoes above.
With their precious burden, they returned to the shores of Holualoa, where Hiku landed and at once repaired to the house where still lay the body of his beloved. Kneeling by its side, he made a hole in the great toe of the left foot, into which with great difficulty he forced the reluctant spirit, and in spite of its desperate struggles he tied up the wound so that it could not escape from the cold, clammy flesh in which it was now imprisoned. Then he began to lomilomi, or rub and chafe the foot, working the spirit further and further up the limb.
Gradually, as the heart was reached, the blood began once more to flow through the body, the chest began gently to heave with the breath of life, and soon the spirit gazed out through the eyes. Kawelu was now restored to consciousness, and seeing her beloved Hiku bending tenderly over her, she opened her lips and said: “How could you be so cruel as to leave me?”
All remembrance of the Lua o Milu and of her meeting him there had disappeared, and she took up the thread of consciousness just where she had left it a few days before at death. Great joy filled the hearts of the people of Holualoa as they welcomed back to their midst the fair Kawelu and the hero, Hiku, from whom she was no more to be separated.
“Maruru” Woodcut by Gaugin
Now there was once a farmer who had but one daughter of whom he was very proud because she was so clever. So whenever he was in any difficulty he would go to her and ask her what he should do. It happened that he had a dispute with one of his neighbours, and the matter came before the King, and he, after hearing from both of them, did not know how to decide and said:
“You both seem to be right and you both seem to be wrong, and I do not know how to decide; so I will leave it to yourselves in this way: whichever of you can answer best the three questions I am about to ask shall win this trial. What is the most beautiful thing? What is the strongest thing? and, What is the richest thing? Now go home and think over your answers and bring them to me to-morrow morning.”
So the farmer went home and told his daughter what had happened, and she told him what to answer next day.
So when the matter came up for trial before the King he asked first the farmer’s neighbour,
“What is the most beautiful thing?”
And he answered, “My wife.”
Then he asked him, “What is the strongest thing?”
“And what is the richest?”
And he answered, “Myself.”
Then he turned to the farmer and asked him,
“What is the most beautiful thing?”
And the farmer answered, “Spring.”
Then he asked him, “What is the strongest?”
Then he asked, “What is the richest thing?”
He answered, “The harvest.”
Then the King decided that the farmer had answered best, and gave judgment in his favour. But he had noticed that the farmer had hesitated in his answers and seemed to be trying to remember things. So he called him up to him and said,
“I fancy those arrows did not come from your quiver. Who told you how to answer so cleverly?”
Then the farmer said, “Please your Majesty, it was my daughter who is the cleverest girl in all the world.”
“Is that so?” said the King. “I should like to test that.”
Shortly afterwards the King sent one of his servants to the farmer’s daughter with a round cake and thirty small biscuits and a roast capon, and told him to ask her whether the moon was full, and what day of the month it was, and whether the rooster had crowed in the night. On the way the servant ate half the cake and half of the biscuits and hid the capon away for his supper. And when he had delivered the rest to the Clever Girl and told his message she gave this reply to be brought back to the King:
“It is only half-moon and the th of the month and the rooster has flown away to the mill; but spare the pheasant for the sake of the partridge.”
And when the servant had brought back this message to the King, he cried out,
“You have eaten half the cake and fifteen of the biscuits and didn’t hand over the capon at all.”
Then the servant confessed that this was all true, and the King said,
“I would have punished you severely but that this Clever Girl begs me to forgive the pheasant, by which she meant you, for the sake of the partridge, by which she meant herself. So you may go unpunished.”
The King was so delighted with the cleverness of the girl that he determined to marry her.
But, wishing to test her once more before doing so, he sent her a message that she should come to him clothed, yet unclothed, neither walking, nor driving, nor riding, neither in shadow nor in sun, and with a gift which is no gift.
When the farmer’s daughter received this message she went near the King’s palace, and having undressed herself wrapped herself up in her long hair, and then had herself placed in a net which was attached to the tail of a horse. With one hand she held a sieve over her head to shield herself from the sun; and in the other she held a platter covered with another platter.
Thus she came to the King neither clothed nor unclothed, neither walking, nor riding, nor driving, neither in sun nor in shadow.
Now when she was released from the net and a mantle had been placed over her she handed the platter to the King, who took the top platter off, whereupon a little bird that had been between the two platters flew away. This was the gift that was no gift.
The King was so delighted at the way in which the farmer’s daughter had solved the riddle that he immediately married her and made her his Queen. And they lived very happily together though no children came to them. The King depended upon her for advice in all his affairs and would often have her seated by him when he was giving judgment in law matters.
Now it happened that one day at the end of all the other cases there came two peasants, each of whom claimed a foal that had been born in a stable where they had both left their carts, one with a horse and the other with a mare. The King was tired with the day’s pleadings, and without thinking and without consulting his Queen who sat by his side, he said,
“Let the first man have it,” who happened to be the peasant whose cart was drawn by the horse.
Now the Queen was vexed that her husband should have decided so unjustly, and when the court was over she went to the other peasant and told him how he could convince the King that he had made a rash judgment. So the next day he took a stool outside the King’s window and commenced fishing with a fishing-rod in the road.
The King looking out of his window saw this and began to laugh and called out to the man,
“You won’t find many fish on a dry road,” to which the peasant answered,
“As many as foals that come from a horse.”
Then the King remembered his judgment of yesterday and, calling the men before him, decided that the foal should belong to the man who had the mare and who had fished in front of his windows. But he said to him as he dismissed them,
“That arrow never came from your quiver.”
Then he went to his Queen in a towering rage and said to her,
“How dare you interfere in my judgments?”
And she said, “I did not like my dear husband to do what was unjust.” But the King said,
“Then you ought to have spoken to me, not shamed me before my people. That is too much. You shall go back to your father who is so proud of you. And the only favour I can grant you will be that you can take with you from the palace whatever you love best.”
“Your Majesty’s wish shall be my law,” said the Queen, “but let us at least not part in anger. Let me have my last dinner as Queen in your company.”
When they dined together the Queen put a sleeping potion in the King’s cup, and when he fell asleep she directed the servants to put him in the carriage that was waiting to take her home, and carried him into her bed. When he woke up next morning he asked,
“Where am I, and why are you still with me?”
Then the Queen said, “You allowed me to take with me that which I loved best in the palace, and so I took you.”
Then the King recognized the love his Queen had for him, and brought her back to his palace, and they lived together there forever afterwards
ONE day, when King Khufu reigned over all the land, he said to his chancellor, who stood before him, “Go call me my sons and my councillors, that I may ask of them a thing.” And his sons and his councillors came and stood before him, and he said to them, “Know ye a man who can tell me tales of the deeds of the magicians?” Then the royal son Khafra stood forth and said, “I will tell thy majesty a tale of the days of thy forefather Nebka, the blessed; of what came to pass when he went into the temple of Ptah of Ankhtaui.”
KHAFRA’S TALE “His majesty was walking unto the temple of Ptah, and went unto the house of the chief reciter Uba-aner, with his train. Now when the wife of Uba-aner saw a page, among those who stood behind the king, her heart longed after him; and she sent her servant unto him, with a present of a box full of garments. “And he came then with the servant. Now there was a lodge in the garden of Uba-aner; and one day the page said to the wife of Uba-aner, ‘In the garden of Uba-aner there is now a lodge; behold, let us therein take our pleasure.’ So the wife of Uba-aner sent to the steward who had charge over the garden, saying, ‘Let the lodge which is in the garden be made ready.’ And she remained there, and rested and drank with the page until the sun went down. “And when the even was now come the page went forth to bathe. And the steward said, ‘I must go and tell Uba-aner of this matter.’ Now when this day was past, and another day came, then went the steward to Uba-aner, and told him of all these things. “Then said Uba-aner, ‘Bring me my casket of ebony and electrum.’ And they brought it; and he fashioned a crocodile of wax, seven fingers long: and he enchanted it, and said, ‘When the page comes and bathes in my lake, seize on him.’ And he gave it to the steward, and said to him, ‘When the page shall go down into the lake to bathe, as he is daily wont to do, then throw in this crocodile behind him.’ And the steward went forth bearing the crocodile. “And the wife of Uba-aner sent to the steward who had charge over the garden, saying, ‘Let the lodge which is in the garden be made ready, for I come to tarry there.’ “And the lodge was prepared with all good things; and she came and made merry therein with the page. And when the even was now come, the page went forth to bathe as he was wont to do. And the steward cast in the wax crocodile after him into the water; and, behold ! it became a great crocodile seven cubits in length, and it seized on the page.
….and the steward cast the wax crocodile into the water
“And Uba-aner abode yet seven days with the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, the blessed, while the page was stifled in the crocodile. And after the seven days were passed, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, the blessed, went forth, and Uba-aner went before him. “And Uba-aner said unto his majesty, ‘Will your majesty come and see this wonder that has come to pass in your days unto a page?’ And the king went with Uba-aner. And Uba-aner called unto the crocodile and said, ‘Bring forth the page.’ And the crocodile came forth from the Jake with the page. Uba-aner said unto the king, ‘Behold, whatever I command this crocodile he will do it.’ And his majesty said, ‘I pray you send back this crocodile.” And Uba-aner stooped and took up the crocodile, and it became in his hand a crocodile of wax. And then Uba-aner told the king that which had passed in his house with the page and his wife. And his majesty said unto the crocodile, ‘Take to thee thy prey.’ And the crocodile plunged into the lake with his prey, and no man knew whither he went. “And his majesty the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, the blessed, commanded, and they brought forth the wife of Uba-aner to the north side of the harem, and burnt her with fire, and cast her ashes in the river “This is a wonder that came to pass in the days of thy forefather the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, of the acts of the chief reciter Uba aner.” His majesty the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Khufu, then said, “Let there be presented to the king Nebka, the blessed, a thousand loaves, a hundred draughts of beer, an ox, two jars of incense; and let there be presented a loaf, a jar of beer, a jar of incense, and a piece of meat to the chief reciter Uba-aner; for I have seen the token of his learning.” And they did all things as his majesty commanded.
“I inherited from my father considerable property, the greater part of which I squandered in my youth in dissipation; but I perceived my error, and reflected that riches were perishable, and quickly consumed by such ill managers as myself, I further considered, that by my irregular way of living I wretchedly misspent my time; which is, of all things, the most valuable. Struck with these reflections, I collected the remains of my fortune, and sold all my effects by public auction. I then entered into a contract with some merchants, who traded by sea. I took the advice of such as I thought most capable, and resolving to improve what money I had, I embarked with several merchants on board a ship which we had jointly fitted out.
“We set sail, and steered our course toward the Indies through the Persian Gulf, which is formed by the coasts of Arabia Felix on the right, and by those of Persia on the left. At first I was troubled with sea-sickness, but speedily recovered my health, and was not afterward subject to that complaint.
“In our voyage we touched at several islands, where we sold or exchanged our goods. One day, whilst under sail, we were becalmed near a small island, but little elevated above the level of the water, and resembling a green meadow. The captain ordered his sails to be furled, and permitted such persons as were so inclined to land; of which number I was one.
“But while we were enjoying ourselves in eating and drinking, and recovering ourselves from the fatigue of the sea, the island on a sudden trembled, and shook us terribly.
“The motion was perceived on board the ship, and we were called upon to re-embark speedily, or we should all be lost; for what we took for an island proved to be the back of a sea monster. The nimblest got into the sloop, others betook themselves to swimming; but for myself, I was still upon the back of the creature when he dived into the sea, and I had time only to catch hold of a piece of wood that we had brought out of the ship. Meanwhile, the captain, having received those on board who were in the sloop, and taken up some of those that swam, resolved to improve the favourable gale that had just risen, and hoisting his sails, pursued his voyage, so that it was impossible for me to recover the ship.
“Thus was I exposed to the mercy of the waves all the rest of the day and the following night. By this time I found my strength gone, and despaired of saving my life, when happily a wave threw me against an island. The bank was high and rugged; so that I could scarcely have got up, had it not been for some roots of trees, which chance placed within reach. Having gained the land, I lay down upon the ground half dead, until the sun appeared. Then, though I was very feeble, both from hard labour and want of food, I crept along to find some herbs fit to eat, and had the good luck not only to procure some, but likewise to discover a spring of excellent water, which contributed much to recover me. After this I advanced farther into the island, and at last reached a fine plain, where at a great distance I perceived some horses feeding. I went toward them, and as I approached heard the voice of a man, who immediately appeared, and asked me who I was. I related to him my adventure, after which, taking me by the hand, he led me into a cave, where there were several other people, no less amazed to see me than I was to see them.
“I partook of some provisions which they offered me. I then asked them what they did in such a desert place, to which they answered, that they were grooms belonging to the Maha-raja, sovereign of the island, and that every year, at the same season they brought thither the king’s horses for pasturage. They added, that they were to return home on the morrow, and had I been one day later, I must have perished, because the inhabited part of the island was at a great distance, and it would have been impossible for me to have got thither without a guide.
“Next morning they returned to the capital of the island, took me with them, and presented me to the Maha-raja. He asked me who I was, and by what adventure I had come into his dominions. After I had satisfied him, he told me he was much concerned for my misfortune, and at the same time ordered that I should want nothing; which commands his officers were so generous as to see exactly fulfilled.
“Being a merchant, I frequented men of my own profession, and particularly inquired for those who were strangers, that perchance I might hear news from Bagdad, or find an opportunity to return.
They put a thousand questions respecting my country; and I, being willing to inform myself as to their laws and customs, asked them concerning everything which I thought worth knowing.
“There belongs to this king an island named Cassel. They assured me that every night a noise of drums was heard there, whence the mariners fancied that it was the residence of Degial. I determined to visit this wonderful place, and in my way thither saw fishes of one hundred and two hundred cubits long, that occasion more fear than hurt, for they are so timorous, that they will fly upon the rattling of two sticks or boards. I saw likewise other fish about a cubit in length, that had heads like owls.
“As I was one day at the port after my return, a ship arrived, and as soon as she cast anchor, they began to unload her, and the merchants on board ordered their goods to be carried into the custom-house. As I cast my eye upon some bales, and looked to the name, I found my own, and perceived the bales to be the same that I had embarked at Bussorah. I also knew the captain; but being persuaded that he believed me to be drowned, I went, and asked him whose bales these were. He replied that they belonged to a merchant of Bagdad, called Sinbad, who came to sea with him; but had unfortunately perished on the voyage, and that he had resolved to trade with the bales, until he met with some of his family, to whom he might return the profit. ‘I am that Sinbad,’ said I, ‘whom you thought to be dead, and those bales are mine.’
“When the captain heard me speak thus, ‘Heavens!’ he exclaimed, ‘whom can we trust in these times? There is no faith left among men. I saw Sinbad perish with my own eyes, as did also the passengers on board, and yet you tell me you are that Sinbad. What impudence is this? You tell a horrible falsehood, in order to possess yourself of what does not belong to you.’ ‘Have patience,’ replied I; ‘do me the favour to hear what I have to say.’ Then I told him how I had escaped, and by what adventure I met with the grooms of the Maha-raja, who had brought me to his court.
“The captain was at length persuaded that I was no cheat; for there came people from his ship who knew me, and expressed much joy at seeing me alive. At last he recollected me himself, and embracing me, ‘Heaven be praised,’ said he, ‘for your happy escape. I cannot express the joy it affords me; there are your goods, take and do with them as you please.’ I thanked him, acknowledged his probity, and offered him part of my goods as a present, which he generously refused.
“I took out what was most valuable in my bales, and presented them to the Maha-raja, who, knowing my misfortune, asked me how I came by such rarities. I acquainted him with the circumstance of their recovery. He was pleased at my good luck, accepted my present, and in return gave me one much more considerable. Upon this, I took leave of him, and went aboard the same ship, after I had exchanged my goods for the commodities of that country. I carried with me wood of aloes, sandal, camphire, nutmegs, cloves, pepper, and ginger. We passed by several islands, and at last arrived at Bussorah, from whence I came to this city, with the value of one hundred thousand sequins. My family and I received one another with sincere affection. I bought slaves and a landed estate, and built a magnificent house. Thus I settled myself, resolving to forget the miseries I had suffered, and to enjoy the pleasures of life.”
Sinbad stopped here, and ordered the musicians to proceed with their concert, which the story had interrupted. The company continued enjoying themselves till the evening, when Sinbad sent for a purse of a hundred sequins, and giving it to the porter, said: “Take this, Hindbad, return to your home, and come back to-morrow to hear more of my adventures.” The porter went away, astonished at the honour done, and the present made him. The account of this adventure proved very agreeable to his wife and children, who did not fail to return thanks to God for what providence had sent them by the hand of Sinbad.
Hindbad put on his best apparel next day, and returned to the bountiful traveller, who welcomed him heartily. When all the guests had arrived, dinner was served. When it was ended, Sinbad, addressing himself to the company, said, “Gentlemen, be pleased to listen to the adventures of my second voyage; they deserve your attention even more than those of the first.” Upon this every one held his peace, and Sinbad proceeded.
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