Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the grand and exciting Hawaiian epic about the goddesses Pele and Hi’iaka.
Following Hi’iaka’s triumph over the renegade shark gods named Kua and Kahole’a she decided that since she was already far up Mount Pohakea she would go all the way to the top and soak in the monumental view. In the waters below she saw the double-canoe in which Prince Lohiau and Hi’iaka’s mortal female friend Wahine were sailing along.
In some versions of the story Wahine – like Pele and Hi’iaka – is beginning to fall prey to Lohiau’s charms and begins rubbing noses with him. Causing her voice to be heard far below Hi’iaka warns the pair to cease and desist, since the prince is, after all, the intended husband of Hi’iaka’s sister Pele. Wahine and Lohiau separate and Hi’iaka uses her divine powers to extend her gaze all the way back to the Big Island. What she sees there fills her with alarm, dread and anger.
At Puna on Hawaii the goddess Hi’iaka could see that her beloved forest of lehua trees was being destroyed by the volcano and fire goddess Pele. Even worse, Hi’iaka’s beloved friend and surfing partner, the goddess Hopoe, was surrounded by a lava flow in the center of the charred ruins of the forest which she had ruled over. (In some versions Hi’iaka sees that Pele has already caused the lava to overwhelm Hopoe, trapping her in volcanic rock form.)
The various versions of this story provide different reasons for Pele’s destruction of the lehua forests and attack on Hi’iaka’s friend Hopoe:
** She could sense the growing attraction between Hi’iaka and Prince Lohiau and was enraged.
** She had given Hi’iaka a limit of forty days to complete her quest to fetch and return with Lohiau, telling her that failure to do so would result in the destruction of Puna’s lehua forest and of that forest’s goddess, Hopoe. (“Okay, sis, either you get back with my booty call in forty days or I start tossing out bodies.”) The forty days had passed, so Pele was fulfilling her threat.
** Hopoe had somehow triggered Pele’s volatile temper, and, like so many gods and goddesses before her, was suffering Pele’s uncontrollable wrath. (This epic has already been loaded with encounters between Hi’iaka and other deities who got on Pele’s bad side and are still paying for it.)
For whatever reason, Hi’iaka doesn’t try to project her voice to talk with Pele about the situation. Instead she decides that, given her older sister’s destruction of the lehua forest and attack on Hopoe, she will no longer resist her feelings for Prince Lohiau. Planning now to dare Pele’s wrath on an even larger scale Hi’iaka descends Mount Pohakea and rejoins Wahine and Prince Lohiau on the double canoe.
The trio plot their course for Kou (modern-day Honolulu) on the island of Oahu, unaware that they are about to encounter an old flame of Prince Lohiau … an old flame who will further complicate this already dangerous situation. ++
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/
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