Hey, foxy lady

Aloha mai e nā makamaka heluhelu! Mahalo i ka hoʻomanawanui ʻana i kekahi helu o ka moʻolelo kaulana o Haumea. Greetings to all readers and mahalo for waiting patiently for another installment of the famous story of Haumea. This is the second to last installment, so we only have one more to go after this! Last time we left off with everyone preparing for battle, so that is where we pick up today.

Hoʻomau ʻia aku (continued): It had been 50 days (ʻelima ʻanahulu) since Kāne Kumuhonua began calling the warriors of the Kona districts from Maunalua to Moanalua. Now they gathered in Waikīkī, ready to invade Kalihi. On Wākea’s side were Kaliʻu’s own people and those of the chief Olopana. Haumea waited atop Kilohana with Wākea and their closest retainers. Kamoawa stood in the heiau, Kawaluna, with Līhauʻula and Mākulukulukalani.

It took Kumuhonua’s strategists a day or so to figure out how to penetrate the valley of Kalihi, which was blocked on all sides by Wākea’s forces. Kumuhonua’s side finally decided on a point of entry and made the first move. When the war began, the two sides were equal in their skill and mastery of the various weapons of war. Though the warriors of Kumuhonua’s side outnumbered Wakea’s four to one, a single one of Kaliʻu’s men was strong enough to fend off four opposers.

The battle proceeded this way for some time, then Kaliʻu’s men began to diminish. Even though the bodies of Kumuhonua’s men were piling up, ten of them slain by a single of Kaliʻu’s warriors, their numbers were much higher and they just kept coming. Finally, Wākea’s remaining warriors at Waolani were so few that Līhauʻula and his circle fled. He escaped to Maui and Kamoawa and Mākulukulukalani joined up with Wākea and the others in Kilohana. Wākea, now likely perplexed at why things were going so badly for their side, turned to his wife and asked, “What about your power and your strength, woman?!” Haumea replied, “It is God’s will. ” She said that the kahuna had shown the way and that they would go to the ocean and emerge as victors. She ordered that they move to the windward side.

Wākea, Haumea and their remaining few retainers sought shelter at Paliku (now called Kualoa) in a cave known as Pohukaina. Haumea issued the decree that she alone would fight Kumuhona’s men the next day. She said to her people, “Here is where I will release just a fraction of [the power of] my dual nature” (“I ʻaneʻi au e hāʻawi ai i kekahi lihilihi o koʻu wahi ʻano pāpālua”). She said that many of the people on Kumuhonua’s side would die and that immediately following this they [Haumea mā] would retreat into the ocean.

The next day, as the warriors filled in from both Koʻolauloa and Koʻolaupoko, they saw that the kāhonua (flat areas, landings, or embankments) all the way from “Kaahuula Punawai” to “ka lae o Kaoio” were filled with women holding kukui nuts in their hands. These women were the legions of Haumea’s body forms. This is why it is said that she has hundreds of thousands of bodies.

Unable to believe that these were their opponents, Kumuhonua’s men decided to send a messenger to talk to the women. He approached an extremely good-looking woman and said, “E ke kamameʻeualani (Hey, foxy lady), we came to talk and ask you where we can find Wākea and his wife and their people.” Haumea replied, “It is true that you are messengers that recently tried to kill me and my husband, Wākea, but I’m here to tell you that you should all just go back and not even bother trying to search out these people you are looking for. Catching them requires power. Leave, and tell your overlords what I have said.”

The men did as they were instructed and reported the encounter to one of the generals. He was, as you can guess, incensed by Haumea’s saucy retort and ordered that the battle move forward. That is when Kumuhonua’s forces began to move in. And as they advanced, the kukui nuts came flying from the hands of the legions of Haumea, like hailstones striking the foreheads of the men. And when the kukui nuts hit the men’s foreheads, their breath was snatched away to ʻOlepau (they died). This is the origin of the saying “A-hua-lala-kukui ka make.”

This saying appears in the book ʻŌlelo Noʻeau as  follows: Ahu a lālā kukui. The kukui branches lay about in heaps. Strewn about in every direction. An expression that refers to an untidy place or the strewing of dead bodies after a battle. However, the way Poepoe chose to separate the words (as shown above) and the fact that these men were killed by kukui nuts makes other translations possible, such as: Death was by the nuts of the kukui branches. Of course, after they died from the kukui nuts, the men’s bodies were strewn about the paths, roads and ridges like kukui branches, so both interpretations are a snug fit for this tragic ending to a large portion of Kumuhonua’s forces.

Even though the moʻolelo is so close to being done, we have to leave you on the cliff edge once again, e nā hoa. Come back next week to find out how this fabulous story of Haumea finishes. A parting thought to consider between now and then: Why were kukui nuts the weapons wielded by the legions of Haumea? He aha lā ka manaʻo o ia mea – what the heck is that about?

E ola ka ʻōlelo o ka ʻāina!