Greater Ancestors

World Museum

Kauai – A Giant’s Rock-throwing 

Pohaku-o-Kauai or
A Giant’s Rock-Throwing
HEN Hau-pu, the great warrior of Kauai was born, a mighty storm occurred. It was accepted as a sign, or an omen, that a demi-god had come into the world. Purple black clouds piled up behind the mountains ; dark shadows lay on the taro patches; the wind tore the branches from the palm trees and sent them crashing to the ground; high waves pounded the reef; thunder cracked and the earth trembled; forked lightning rent the black sky; then the rain fell, impenetrable as a spangled curtain. The travail of the world ceased only when the child wailed upon its mat. Then a rainbow of brilliant hue spanned the heavens from mountain to sea. Thus was Hau-pu, the great one, ushered into the world.
As Hau-pu grew to manhood it was evident he was endowed with supernatural strength. When a youth, he trained in all the athletic sports of his day, spear throwing, wrestling, boxing, and running, and was greatly feared as an opponent in the sham fights before the chiefs. But soon his strength became so great, and his temper so quick that all men grew to fear him. He often attacked whole armies alone. The thrust of his spear was fatal, and no enemy cared to feel the power of his bare hands in any kind of encounter. If his spear or his hands were not enough to conquer his enemies he would suddenly uproot a great tree and sweep away all before him.
Hau-pu had a rest house on the slopes of the mountains where he often went to spend the night. From the door of his house he could look down upon the ocean, or see in the distance the scroll of white clouds above the mountains of Oahu. One dark night his sleep was disturbed by strange noises. Again and again he was awakened. As he listened he realized it was the shouts and voices of men that disturbed him. He sat up on his mats and looked out the open door. Suddenly he saw what seemed to be hundreds and hundreds of dancing lights, out on the black sea. Groggy with sleep, he mistook the flashing lights
and shouting men to be an invasion fleet from Oahu. He rushed outside and stood on the edge of the cliff over-looking the channel.
Here the shouts were plainer, and the lights seemed to be moving closer. There was no doubt now in his mind that the chief of Oahu and his warriors were going to invade Kauai. The thought was amusing to the giant, and he held his sides and roared loud with laughter. Then with a low growl in his throat, he bent down and with his bare hands tore a huge boulder from the ground, and hurled it far over the sea. The rock sailed through the air as though blown by the wind. On the island of Oahu, Chief Kaena had though the dark night good for torch fishing. He called all his fishermen together, and with flaming torches, canoes, and nets, they prepared to go out on the reef. There was no need for silence, and the men shouted to each other in cheerful voices.
One after the other, the canoes slipped through the water. The sound of paddles against the boats was rhythmic and loud in the night. Torch bearers held their lights high overhead, and long shafts of orange pierced the black sea. The men from Oahu had not realized what effect their shouting voices, and myriads of shining lights would have on far off Kauai.
Then they suddenly felt a whirring, like the pinions of a mighty bird beating the wind. Something dark, and as huge and black as a mountain came roaring down upon them, smashing them into the water and crushing their koa canoes into splinters. Chief Raena and most of his men were killed by Hau-pu’s boulder. The splash of this mountain of rock caused a small tidal wave, and sand was washed upon the shore until a point of land was formed. The few followers of the chief who were not killed called this cape Kaena. The rock that Hau-pu so recklessly threw into the ocean still lies there off Raena Point. Even during rough and stormy seas it is never entirely covered. The natives have given it the name of Rock of Kauai.

Digitized by Original from UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

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