The Giant Guard of Maui
The Giant Guard
The sound of wailing on the night air and
echoed from the cliffs of Waipi’o. In his sleeping
house • Umi listened. then called a servant. “That
is my wife’s voice,- he said. is Pi’ikea wailing?
“Her brother has come,” the servant answered.
“Kiha, her young brother. He must be made welcome!” ‘Umi exclaimed. See that a feast is prepared.”
The chief did not go at once to greet his brother-in-law. thinking the sister and brother would want a little time together. But he listened to his wife’s voice. For a few moments the wailing stopped as if the two talked quietly. Then it rose again more loud and shrill than before.
Something is wrong. thought Umi and went to his wife.
In the torchlight her face was pale and streaked with tears. The usually quiet gentle girl seemed beside herself with grief “O Pi’ikea. Why do you weep?” her husband asked.
“For my brother,” she answered, leading him forward. This is Kiha, my young brother It is long since I
have seen him—-long. long since we surfed together or slid together over waterfalls Talk of old days has
brought tears to my eyes. “
“That is the wailing of joy.” said Umi. holding her in his arms I not hear, also, the wailing of sorrow?” That was for the cruelty my brother has borne. Always our older brother was jealous and unkind. We had little love for him. Now he is chief and cruel Kiha Oh. he has done to my brother things That cannot borne!” She began to weep again. “It has come to war between them, But what can Kiha do with his few followers?
We must help him, ‘Umi. We must go with many fighting men, conquer Maui, and make Kiha its high chief.”
“No, Pifikea,” said ‘Umi gently. “When I married you I promised peace with Maui. I cannot break that
“You promised my father,” Pi’ikea answered, looking earnestly into her husband’s face. “He is dead. Your
promise to him does not prevent your aiding his good son against the evil one.”
Still ‘Umi hesitated. His blood tingled at the thought of war its excitement and gain, but there was another
side. This would mean taking men from their farms and their fishing. It might mean the loss of many men, and for what end? To make Kiha high chief of Maui. What good or gain would come to ‘Umi and Hawai’i? He hesitated.
Pi’ikea drew away from him. 60h ‘Umi,” she said, “you do not love me! Pi’ikea has been a good wife, fulfilling your every wish. Now she asks one thing of you, help for her best-loved brother, and you refuse! Life is no longer good. Let Pi’ikea die!” Her wailing rose again, bitter with grief.
‘Umi had great love for his wife. Her words and wailing conquered him. “Hush!” he whispered, “it shall be as you wish.” Calling a servant he said, “Summon my kahuna and my three companions.”
The kahuna came at once, the old man who had been a foster father to ‘Umi and had made him high
chief. ‘Tell me, my kahuna,” ‘Umi said, “shall we war with Maui to make this young man chief? And what will come of it? Defeat or victory?”
“Victory!” the kahuna said at once. “I have dreamed of this war. Go to Maui and win gloriously.”
The three companions had come in and heard these words. Already their faces were alight with eagerness for war. “Go,” ‘Umi told them, “go throughout Hawai’i and bid all men make ready. Tell them to make canoes, to carve spears of hard wood and braid the slings for sling shots. Tell them to make ready for war with Maui.” The three friends went at once, rejoicing in the thought of war.
The making of canoes and weapons took much time but at last warriors came to Waipi’o. They came in canoes from all parts of the island until the beaches were covered with more men than ‘Umi could count. All were filled with excitement of war and longing for conquest. ‘Umi too, splendid in feather cape and helmet, was tingling with eagerness to fight.
Warriors with women and children loaded the canoes. The channel between the islands was filled with
them. Sunlight gleamed on the red and gold of feather capes, on the image of the war god, on polished wood of weapons and strong bodies Of fighting men. When the first canoes paddled into the bay of Hana the last were just leaving Waipi’o Beach.
No wonder the hearts of the people of Hana were filled with fear! But Hana had Kaiuiki Hill. Men, women,
children and animals withdrew to that hill. As ‘Umi looked at Kasuiki’s cliffs he knew victory would not be easy.
“We can attack from the back,” the three companions said, and ‘Umi appointed the first to take men and
reconnoiter. After a time the party returned. “A slope leads to Ka’uiki from the back,” the young chief said.
“From that slope rises the cliff, high and steep as you see in front. Men reach it by a ladder. Above that ladder rocks are poised ready to fall upon an enemy. Warriors wait with stones. An attack by day cannot be made. Tonight we shall try.”
The men were eager for the night attack and stole away through the darkness. “The Maui men feel safe
upon their hill,” they thought. ‘Their guard will not be strong. We shall climb silently, take them by surprise and conquer them.”
Soon they were back and, in the torchlight, ‘Umi saw their eyes big with wonder and fear. ‘There is a guard,” the young chief said, while his men gestured with their arms to show the size. “He is such as none of us has ever seen. Largest of the large, he is, and tallest of the tall! A giant, he stands at the ladder’s top with a huge club ready to strike us, man by man, as we climb up. We cannot take
Umi saw these men were ready to return at once to their own island. Their fear might spread among the others.”Wait,” he said. ‘Tomorrow we may have another plan.”
Next day the second companion reconnoitered. He saw the ladder and men ready with rocks. “But no tall
guard,” he said. gwe shall attack tonight.” His men were making fun of those who went the night before. Those men dreamed a giant guard!” they laughed. “In the dark a man looked like a giant!”
A few hours later their eyes were large with fear. “We saw him plainly,” they were whispering. “Such a man we never saw since we were born! There he stands against the starlit sky, a giant indeed, with a club which would surely end us, one by one, as we stepped off the ladder. We saw him very plainly: his huge shoulders, his firm- wrapped malo, and that club made from the trunk of a great tree. Attack is hopeless!” Fear spread through the camp.
“Tomorrow I shall go!” said Pi’imai, the third of ‘Umi’s friends. Tomorrow I shall face these dangers. Who will go with me?”
His courage chased away the fear and many arms were raised. “Let me go, O Pi’imai!” came from many throats.
Next day they went. From the bottom of the hill they saw the ladder. They saw great rocks poised at the cliff top and many warriors ready. “Wait here!” Pifimai commanded. “Let us see what they will do.”
Alone he climbed the hill. His men watched, breath- less, as a rain of stones fell around him. Pi’imai whirled his club. As a man could ward off many spears with one, so Pi’imai with that whirling club struck aside every stone. He reached the ladder’s foot and stood there whirling his war club. At last they saw him turn and come slowly down the hill still guarding himself with his stout club.
Out of range of the stones at last, he was welcomed by a mighty shout. “Such courage!” said his men. “Such skill! s Umi must know.”
“Climb by day, we cannot,” Pi’imai told his chief. “But I saw nothing of that giant guard.”
“By day he sleeps,” said the warriors who had seen the giant.
“It may be,” Pi’imai answered. Tonight my men and I shall see.”
They saw him in the starlight—a huge figure black against the sky. Pi’irnai watched him as he and his men
climbed the hill. “He stands very still,” the young chief said. “I will challenge him and see what he will do. Stand back. No need for all to die.”
Then Pi’imai moved closer and twirled his club in challenge. He waited. The giant did not move. Perhaps
he cannot see me, the young chief thought and started up the ladder. Now! he told himself, I see that giant plainly: He must see me! Pi’irnai twirled his club again. No answer.
Did this great man not know the meaning of the twirling club? He is not skilled in a war club’s use, the
young chief thought. Tense with excitement, yet curiousand fearless, he climtx•d on. Again he twirled his club, first with right hand, then with left. No answer.
He reached the ladder’s end. He was aware of the broad top of Kasuiki and of many sleeping men but his
eyes were on the giant guard who loomed huge against the sky, yet without movement. Pi’imai twirled his club once more. The guard stood ready, club in hand, but made no answering move. Well, I’ll strike you! the young man thought. I’ll run in, strike and dodge your blow.
He darted close and gave the giant a warning tap. He heard a hollow sound as when a club hits wood! The giant did not move. Pi’imai went close and touched him. ‘Ä! A wooden man! A wooden man had filled the warriors of ‘Umi with great fear!
Pifimai took the figure in his arms and threw it from the cliff. His men heard the wooden thing break as it fell. They, also, saw the trick and in a moment came swarming up the ladder.
Roused from sleep, the warriors of Maui found them- selves already conquered. The chief was killed and Kiha made high chief. In gratitude he gave the district of Hana to ‘Umi. That is the way in which Hana, on Maui, came to belong to Hawai’i.