Greater Ancestors

World Museum

Kauai – A Giant Avenger

A Giant Avenger
Practically every Hawaiian is hospitable. He will share his last calabash of poi with any stranger who passes his door, and few can resist his cordial greeting, “Kipo mai (welcome) ” or “Komo mai; nou hale (come in; the house is yours) e” However, there is a barren spot high up in the farthermost reaches of Rokee in the mountains of Kauai where once lived the notoriously stingy Kamaka family. No passerby ever got a free meal, a night’s lodging, or a friendly greeting there. All that anyone received from the in- sufferable Kamaka and his sullen wife was a snarl and an invitation to move on. There lived in the dense forests of that district near the Kamaka hut a great giant by the name of Kanai-hula•hula. This huge man
was in the habit of roaming far and wide, and although he was familiar with the whole island, one dark night when he was returning home late he became completely lost. Then suddenly the giant
came upon the Kamaka clearing and, seeing a man and woman leave their taro patch and go into their house, and not having heard of the reputation this family had for stinginess, he asked them if he might spend the night there.
As was his habit, Kamaka, the father, made a sour face and told the giant to be off at once, that he would have to sleep under the trees because they had no room for beggars. Amazed at such unkind treatment from a Hawaiian, Kanai-hula-hula had no other recourse but to make out as best he could in the open under the Shelter of the trees. That night, to make his lot harder, a heavy rain
fell and it turned very cold.
At dawn, when the giant got his bearings again, he repaired to his cave and there conceived a plan to punish the Kamaka family. In the dead of the night he crawled back to the Kamaka place and uprooted every growing thing including all the plants in the taro patch. And to this day when anything is planted in that particular plot, Ranai-hula-hula’s anger is so great that he always returns in the night to destroy it.
1. Ghost dog and other Hawaiian legends


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