PELE AND HI’IAKA: EPIC OF HAWAII PART FOUR

big-island-hawaii-map-for-tourists.gif (350×350)Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the grand and exciting Hawaiian epic about the goddesses Pele and Hi’iaka.

PART FOUR

The goddess Hi’iaka and her companions continued making their way on the Big Island in their quest to meet and escort Prince Lohiau of Kauai to the fire goddess Pele’s home on Mount Kilauea. Accompanying Hi’iaka were the fern goddess Pa’u’o’pala’e, a Pele worshiper named Wahine and Pa-Pulehu, a girl in her early teens whose wealthy family had hosted the travelers. 

The four ladies had two paths to choose from: one would lead safely around the Pana-Ewa Rainforest (named for the demonic creature who ruled it) and the other would lead directly through that rainforest. That second path would be fraught with danger every step of the way, not just from Pana-Ewa itself but also from the legions of monsters in Pana-Ewa’s service. Hi’iaka chose to go straight through the rainforest, intent on destroying many of the vile creatures who preyed on the ancient Hawaiian people.  When the travelers stopped to rest Hi’iaka’s divine senses detected that a seeming tree stump near them was really one of Pana-Ewa’s subordinate monsters. Immediately the goddess leaped over and delivered a death blow to the creature, which reverted to its true form in death. 

Unfortunately two other soldiers of Pana-Ewa, named Ke-Anini and Ihi-Kalo, had spotted the foursome and raced to inform their master. Pana-Ewa licked his lips in anticipation of feeding on the travelers, especially their eye-balls, his favorite! 

The lizard-like demonoid and his troops rushed to attack Hi’iaka and her companions. After the goddess and the demon-general exchanged insults the battle was on. For hours the conflict raged, with the ladies fighting Pana-Ewa’s subordinates while that lord of this rainforest hung back and observed, carefully noting the strengths and weaknesses of each of his enemies.  

Hi’iaka seemed to be everywhere in what had become a running battle. The goddess rended limbs and tore the scaly flesh of the monsters opposing her. Meanwhile the fern goddess Pa’u’o’pala’e used her fern pau as a weapon, whirling like a dervish and cutting her way through Pana-Ewa’s forces.   

As for the two mortal women Wahine battled valiantly, making every lizard monster (mo’o) pay dearly when they attacked her. Unfortunately for Pa-Pulehu, she was not up to the struggle and was killed, dismembered and devoured by the demons, with first bite going to Pana-Ewa.

In some versions of this myth Hi’iaka did not protect Pa-Pulehu nor did she bring her back to life because the young girl had violated a food taboo while eating during the journey. 

At any rate, Pana-Ewa and Hi’iaka at last stood face to face. Pa’u’o’pala’e and Wahine dealt with the remaining underlings of Pana-Ewa (like the boar-monster Pua’a-Loa) while the demon-general and the goddess closed in final combat.  

Some versions of this epic feature some of the other Hawaiian gods coming down from their island on a cloud to help Hi’iaka and her comrades. I prefer to leave them out since I think the actual central figure of the story should get to handle conflicts by themselves. And from a story-telling angle all tension vanishes if the narrative makes it clear outside help can come to the heroine’s aid whenever it is needed. 

In those versions the assisting gods are sometimes said to be Ku, the god of war plus two of Pele’s sons – Kilioe-i-ka-pua and Oluwale-i-malo but in other versions the number of gods joining the battle can number over a dozen.

To get back to the narrative, Pa’u’o’pala’e and Wahine pursued some of the monsters into caverns where they killed them and turned them into stone. Hi’iaka, meanwhile, used her godly powers to overwhelm Puna-Ewa, drive him out to sea and transform him into a massive coral reef.

Puna-Ewa’s lesser soldiers had scattered in fear, hiding in various caverns and forests of the Big Island. Over the centuries various Hawaiian gods and heroes would clash with them in stories of their own.   

After a night of rest to recover, Hi’iaka and her two traveling companions resumed their journey. +++ 

I’LL CONTINUE THE STORY SOON. CHECK BACK ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK FOR UPDATES.

FOR MY LOOK AT THE TOP ELEVEN GODS IN HAWAIIAN MYTHOLOGY CLICK HERE

FOR ANOTHER EPIC MYTH CLICK HERE:   https://glitternight.com/2013/03/17/iroquois-epic-myth-hodadeion/

FOR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM  BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE:  https://glitternight.com/top-lists/

FOR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM  BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE:  https://glitternight.com/top-lists/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

6 Comments

Filed under Mythology

6 responses to “PELE AND HI’IAKA: EPIC OF HAWAII PART FOUR

  1. Meri

    I really like your writing when you do these old myths.

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