Pupuʻu: Hawaiian Word of The Week
More of the adventures of the wahine hoʻokalakupua
Aloha mai e nā hoa e kaunu pū nei i kēia moʻolelo hoihoi loa! Greetings, friends who are delighting with us in this absorbing story. Here we are again with Haumea, ka wahine hoʻokalakupua, for the second installment of the story of Kamehaʻikana, her wondrous ʻulu tree form. In our first installment, Haumea opened a spring to obtain water for mixing ʻawa that she used for hailona, or divination, to see if Wākea was indeed still alive. We continue with her on her path to find her “hoa pupuʻu anu o nā pō o ka hoʻoilo” – Her companion she snuggles up with on the cold nights of winter…
Hoʻomau ʻia aʻela (continued): Haumea and Kaliʻu rejoice in the knowledge that Wākea is still alive. Haumea tells Kaliʻu to move his entire family up to the heights of Kilohana, as soon a great war will cover the lowlands.
She continues on her journey to Pūehuehu stream, finding an impressed crowd gathered around the rushing waters. They see this beautiful woman approaching, bedecked in the greenery and flowers of the forest, and assume she must be from the uplands. They greet her and ask if the man about to be cooked in the imu is her husband. Haumea affirms that this is her kāne and explains her situation. When the people see how sad she is at the disappearance of her “companion with whom she withstood the hardships of the days of destitution” (“ka hoa pili a hoa hoʻomanawanui hoʻi o nā lā ʻīnea o ka nele”), they offer to accompany her to the place where the imu fire is hot, so that she can gaze upon her beloved one last time.
They come out of the riverbed and climb up to higher ground for perspective. Haumea spots Wākea, not far from where they are, tied to an ʻulu tree near the imu. Wākea sees her too and tears immediately gush from his eyes. A strange redness begins to spread over Haumea’s face. This color, like that of the ua koko, covers her head entirely and her companions are amazed by the strange phenomenon. One of the women comes forward and says, “Wait here for a moment and I will go talk to that tall, dark-skinned man over there. He’s the executioner. If he consents, then you can go and kiss your husband one last time.”
The woman approaches the executioner with her request and he agrees, telling her that her friend must be quick about it, lest the heat of the imu lose its intensity. She goes back and gets Haumea, telling her they must be fast. Haumea approaches Wākea, whose cheeks are streaked with tears. The crowd gathered can see that she is not crying and they are astonished at this.
Haumea moves in quickly, right in front of her kāne as though she is going to kiss him. However, instead of pressing her nose to his, she leans in and slaps the trunk of the ʻulu tree. A great rumbling is heard and the earth trembles. Then, the trunk of the ʻulu tree opens like a large mouth and Haumea shoves Wākea into it, following quickly behind him. As soon as the two of them disappear into the trunk, the crowd exclaims and their voices roar from one end of the group to the other, “The captive has been taken! That was a supernatural woman who came here! Her power is incredible! Unmatched!” (“A lilo ke pio–e! A lilo ke pio! He wahine kupua keia i hele mai nei. Ka! He keu ka mana! Aohe lua!”)
The executioner immediately ordered his men to chop the tree down, but as soon as the blade of an adze hit the tree, a chip of wood flew off, hit the person who had wielded the adze and killed him. The executioner thought the first one was just an accident and ordered the men to continue. But one after another the same thing happened, and one after another the men died until very few were left. The executioner knew it was no use continuing and ordered that a messenger inform the king of the extraordinary disappearance of the captive.
Auē ka wela ē! Come back next week to see what happens next with the amazing Haumea, her new ʻulu tree form, Kamehaʻikana, and her kāne aloha she successfully rescued from death. E hoʻi mai nō!
Note: The approximation of the story given here is a very rough translation and skips some of the detail in the original story. It is a condensed version meant to whet your appetite. If it piques your interest, visit the first post and follow the directions to access the original in the nūpepa.
E ola ka ʻōlelo o ka ʻāina!