Part II of the Legend of Ku-ula, the Fish God of Hawaii
Translated from Moke Manu by M. K. Nakuina
After the death of the King of Hana, Aiai left the people of Haneoo catching hinalea and went to Kumaka, a place where fresh water springs out from the sand and rocks near the surf of Puhele, at Hamoa, where lay a large, long stone in the sea. This stone he raised upright and also placed others about the water spring, and said to his friend: To-day I name this stone Ku-a-lanakila, for I have triumphed over my enemies; and I hereby declare that all fishes, crabs, and sea-moss shall return again in plenty throughout the seas of Hana, as in the days when my parents were living in the flesh at Lehoula.
From the time Aiai raised this stone, up to the present generation, the story of Ku-ula and Aiai is well preserved, and people have flocked to the place where the stone stands to see it and verify the tradition. Some kahunas advise their suffering patients to pay a visit to the stone, Ku-lanakila, with some offerings for relief from their sickness and also to bathe in the spring of Kumaka and the surf of Puhele. This was a favorite spot of the kings and chiefs of the olden times for bathing and surf-riding, and is often referred to in the stories and legends of Hawaii-nei. This was the first stone raised by Aiai and established as a ku-ula at Hamoa; and the old people of Hana attributed to its influence the return of the fish to their waters.
After Aiais practice of his fathers instructions and the return of the fishes, his fame spread throughout the district, and the people made much of him during his stay with them.
A great service wrought by Aiai during his boyhood was the teaching of his friend and his friends parents how to make the various nets for all kinds of fishing. He also taught them to make the different kinds of fishing lines. When they were skilled in all these branches of knowledge pertaining to fishing, he called the people together, and in their presence declared his friend to be the head fisherman of Hana, with full control of all the stations (koa ia) he had established. This wonder-working power second to none, possessed by Aiai, he now conferred on his friend, whereby his own name would be perpetuated and his fame established all over the land.
The first koa ia (fishing ground, or station) where Aiai measured the depth of the sea is near Aleamai, his birthplace, and is called Kapukaulua, where he hooked and killed the eel Koona. It is a few miles from the shore to the southeast of the rocky islet called Alau. The second station he established was at a spot about a mile from Haneoo and Hamoa which was for the kala, palani, nanue, puhi, and ula. These varieties of fish are not caught by nets, or with the hook, but in baskets which are filled with bait and let down in the deep sea.
The third station, which he named Koauli, was located out in the deep sea for the deep sea fishes, the depth ranging about two hundred fathoms. This is the koa that fishermen have to locate by certain shore bearings, lest a mistake be made as to the exact spot and the bottom be found rocky and the hooks entangle in the coral. In all the stations Aiai located there are no coral ledges where the fishermans hook would catch, or the line be entangled; and old Hawaiians commended the skill of such locations, believing that the success of Aiais work was due to his fathers influence as an ocean deity.
At one time Aiai went over to the bay of Wananalua, the present port of Hana, with its noted hill of Kauiki and the sandy beach of Pueokahi. Here he made and placed a ku-ula, and also placed a fish stone in the cliff of Kauiki whereon is the koa known as Makakiloia. And the people of Hana give credit to this stone for the frequent appearance of the akule, oio, moi, and other fishes in their waters.
Aiais good work did not stop at this point; proceeding to Honomaele he picked up three pebbles at the shore and, going into the sea, out beyond the breaking surf, he placed them there. In due time these three pebbles gathered others together and made a regular ridge; and when this was accomplished, the aweoweo gathered from the far ocean to this ridge of pebbles for rest; whereupon the people came with net, hook, and line, and caught them as they desired. The writer witnessed this in 1845 with his own eyes. This koa for aweoweo is still there, but difficult to locate, from the fact that all the old residents are goneeither dead or moved away.
He next went over to Waiohue, Koolau, where he placed a stone on a sharp rocky islet, called Paka, whereon a few puhala grow. It is claimed that during the season of the kala, they come in from the ocean, attracted to this locality by the power of this stone. They continue on to Mokumana, a cape between Keanae and Wailuanui. They come in gradually for two days, and on the third day of their reaching the coast, at the pali of Ohea, is the time and place to surround them with nets. In olden times while the fishermen were hauling in their nets full of kala into the canoes, the akule and oio also came in numbers at the same time, making it impossible to catch all in one day; and as there were so many gathered in the net it took them a day and a night before they could care for their draught, which yielded so many more than could be made use of that they were fed to the pigs and dogs. The kala of Ohea is noted for its fatness and fine flavor. Few people are now living there, and the people who knew all about this are dead; but the stone that Aiai placed on that little island at Waiohue is still there.
Aiai stayed there a few days and then returned to Hana and lived at his birthplace quite a length of time till he was a man grown. During this period he was teaching his art of fishing in all its forms; and when he was satisfied the people were proficient, he prepared to visit other places for like service. But before leaving, Aiai told his friend to go and kill the big hee kupua (wonderful octopus) in the deep sea, right out of Wailuanui, Koolau, and he consented.
When the canoes were made ready and drawn to the beach and the people came prepared to start, Aiai brought the hokeo (fishing gourd), where the leho (kauri shell) that Ku-ula his father gave him was kept, and gave it to his friend. This shell is called lehoula, and the locality at Hana of that name was called after it.
Then the canoes and people sailed away till they got out along the palis near Kopiliula, where they rested. Aiai was not with the party, but overlooked their operations from the pali of Puhiai. While they rested, preparation for the lowering of the leho was being made, and when ready, Aiais friend called on Ku-ula and Hina for the assistance of their wonderful powers. When he was through, he took off the covering of the gourd and took out the leho, which had rich beautiful colors like the rainbow, and attaching it to the line, he lowered it into the sea, where it sent out rays of a fiery light. The hee was so attracted by its radiance that it came out of its hole and with its great arms, which were as long and large as a full-grown cocoanut tree, came up to the surface of the water and stood there like a cocoanut grove. The men were frightened, for it approached and went right into the canoes with the intention of destroying them and the men and capturing the leho; but it failed, because Aiais friend, with his skill and power, had provided himself with a stone, which, at the proper time, he shoved into the head of the squid; and the weight of the stone drew it down to the bottom of the sea and kept it there, and being powerless to remove the stone, it died. The men seized and cut off one of the arms, which was so big that it loaded the canoes down so that they returned to Hana. When the squid died, it turned to stone. It is pointed out to-day just outside of Wailuanui, where a stone formation resembles the body of a squid and the arms, with one missing.
When Aiai saw from the pali that his friend was successful in killing the hee, he returned to Hana unseen, and in a short while the canoes arrived with its arm, which was divided among the people according to the directions of Aiai.
When Aiai saw that his friend and others of Hana were skilled in all the art of fishing, he decided to leave his birthplace and journey elsewhere. So he called a council of his friends and told them of his intended departure, to establish other fishing stations and instruct the people with all the knowledge thereof in conformity with the injunction of Ku-ula his father. They approved of the course contemplated and expressed their indebtedness to him for all the benefits he had shown them.
On leaving Aleamai he took with him the fish-hook, manaiaakalani, and the fish pearl, Kahuoi, for aku from the little cave where he had lodged on the hill of Kaiwiopele, and then disappeared in the mysterious manner of his parents. He established ku-ulas and koa aina, by placing three fish stones at various points as far as Kipahulu. At the streams of Kikoo and Maulili there stands a stone to-day, which was thrown by Aiai and dropped at a bend in the waters, unmoved by the many freshets that have swept the valleys since that time.
Out in the sea of Maulili is a famous station known as Koanui. It is about a mile from the shore and marks the boundary of the sea of Maulili, and the fish that appear periodically and are caught within its limits have been subject to a division between the fishermen and the landowner ever since. This is a station where the fishermans hook shall not return without a fish except the hook be lost, or the line cut.
The first time that Aiai tested this station and caught a fish with his noted hook, he saw a fisherman in his canoe drifting idly, without success. When he saw Aiai, this fisherman, called Kanemakua, paddled till he came close to where Aiai was floating on an improvised canoe, a wiliwili log, without an outrigger,which much surprised him. Before the fisherman reached him, Aiai felt a tug at his line and knew that he had caught a fish and began pulling it in. When Kanemakua came within speaking distance Aiai greeted him and gave him the fish, putting it into his canoe. Kanemakua was made happy and thanked Aiai for his generosity. While putting it in the canoe Aiai said:
This is the first time I have fished in these waters to locate (or found) this station, and as you are the first man I meet I give you the first fish caught. I also give you charge of this koa; but take my advice. When you come here to fish and see a man meeting you in a canoe and floating alongside of you, if at that time you have caught a fish, then give it to him as I have done to you, without regret, and thus get a good name and be known as a generous man. If you observe this, great benefits will come to you and those related to you.
As Aiai finished speaking he suddenly disappeared, and Kanemakua could hardly realize that he had not been dreaming but for the assurance he had in the great fish lying in his canoe. He returned to the shore with his prize, which was so large and heavy that it required the help of two others to carry it to the house, where it was cut up and the oven made hot for its baking. When it was cooked he took the eyes of the fish and offered them up as a thanksgiving sacrifice. Then the family, friends, and neighbors around came to the feast and ate freely. During all this time Kanemakua was thinking of the words spoken by the young man, which he duly observed. The first ku-ula established in Maulili, Maui, was named after him, and from that time its fish have been given out freely without restriction or division.
After establishing the different ku-ula stations along the coast from Hana to Kipahulu, Aiai went to Kaupo and other places. A noted station and ku-ula is at Kahikinui. All the stations of this place are in the deep sea, where they use nets of three kinds; there is also fishing with poles, and ulua fishing, because this part of the island faces the wind; but the ku-ulas are located on the seashore, as is also the one at Honuaula, where it is covered over by the lava flow.
Thus was performed the good work of Aiai in establishing ku-ula stations and fish stones continued all around the island of Maui. It is also said that he visited Kahoolawe and established a ku-ula at Hakioawa, though it differs from the others, being built on a high bluff overlooking the sea, somewhat like a temple, by placing stones in the form of a square, in the middle of which was left a space wherein the fishermen of that island laid their first fish caught, as a thank offering. Awa and kapa were also placed there as offerings to the fish deities.
An idea prevails with some people that the koa of Kamohoalii, the king shark of Kahoolawe, is on this island, but if all the stories told of it be examined there will be found no reference to a koa of his on this island.
From Kahoolawe, Aiai next went to Lanai, where he started fishing for aku (bonito) at Cape Kaunolu, using his pearl Kahuoi. This is the first case known of fishing for aku with pearl from the land, as it is a well known fact that this fish is caught only in deep sea, far from shore. In the story of Kaneapua it is shown that he is the only one who had fished for aku at the Cape of Kaunolu, where it was started by Aiai.
From Kaunolu, Aiai went to Kaena Cape, where at a place close to Paomai, was a little sandy beach now known as Polihua. Here he took a stone and carved a figure on it, then carried and placed it on the sandy beach, and called on his parents. While making his incantations the stone moved toward the sea and disappeared under the water. His incantations finished, the stone reappeared and moved toward him till it reached the place where it had been laid; whereupon it was transformed into a turtle, and gave the name of Polihua to that beach. This work of Aiai on the island of Lanai was the first introduction of the turtle in the seas of Hawaii, and also originated the habit of the turtle of going up the beach to lay its eggs, then returning to the sea.
After making the circuit of Lanai he went over to Molokai, landing at Punakou and travelled along the shore till he reached Kaunakakau. At this place he saw spawns of mullet, called Puai-i, right near the shore, which he kicked with his foot, landing them on the sand. This practice of kicking fish with the feet is carried on to this time, but only at that locality. Aiai continued on along the Kona side of Molokai, examining its fishing grounds and establishing ku-ulas till he got to Halawa. At the Koolau side of the island he stopped at Wailau and saw the cave of the eel Koona that went to Hana and stole the fish from his fathers pond, and the cause of all the trouble that befell his parents and himself.
When Aiai landed at Wailau he saw that both sides of the valley were covered with men, women, and children engaged in closing up the stream and diverting its water to another course, whereby they would be enabled to catch oopu and opae. The water being low, the gourds of some of the people were full from their catch.
Aiai noticed their wanton method of fishing, whereby all oopus and opaes were caught without thought of any reservation for their propagation; therefore he called on his parents to take them all away. The prayer was granted, for suddenly they all disappeared; those in the water went up the stream to a place called Koki, while those in the gourds were turned to lizards which scampered out and ran all over the rocks. The people were much surprised at this change and felt sorely disappointed at the loss of their food supply.
On account of his regard for a certain lad of that place, named Kahiwa, he showed him the place of the opaes to be up the precipitous cliff, Koki. The youth was attentive to the direction of Aiai and going there he found the oopus and opaes as stated, as they are to this day. That is what established the noted saying of the old people of that land: Kokio of Wailau is the ladder of the opae. It is also known as the Pali of Kahiwa.
When Aiai left Wailau he showed this lad the ku-ula and the fish station in the sea he had located there, at the same distance as that rocky island known as Mokapu. He went also to Pelekunu, Waikolu and Kalawao, even to Kalaupapa, the present home of the lepers. At the latter place he left a certain fish stone. That is the reason fish constantly gather there even to this day. He also went to Hoolehua and so on as far as Ka lae o ka ilio (the dogs forehead) and Ka lae o ka laau. Between these two capes in the sea is a station established by Aiai, where a tree grew out from under a rock, Ekaha by name. It is a hardwood tree, but the trunk and also the branches are without leaves. This place is a great haunt for fishermen with their hooks.
Aiai then came to Oahu, first landing at Makapuu, in Koolau, where he founded a pohaku-ia (fish stone) for red fish and for speckled fish, and called it Malei. This was a female rock, and the fish of that place is the uhu. It is referred to in the mele of Hiiaka, thus:
I will not go to the stormy capes of Koolau,
The sea-cliffs of Moeaau.
The woman watching uhu of Makapuu
Dwells on the ledge of Kamakani
At Koolau. The living
Offers grass-twined sacrifices, O Malie!
From the time Aiai founded that spawning-place until the present, its fish have been the uhu, extending to Hanauma. There were also several gathering-places for fish established outside of Kawaihoa. Aiai next moved to Maunalua, then to Waialae and Kahalaia. At Kaalawai he placed a white and brown rock. There in that place is a hole filled with aholehole, therefore the name of the land is Kaluahole. Right outside of Kahuahui there is a station where Aiai placed a large round sandstone that is surrounded by spawning-places for fish; Ponahakeone is its name.
In ancient times the chiefs selected a very secret place wherein to hide the dead bodies of their greatly beloved, lest some one should steal their bones to make fish-hooks, or arrows to shoot mice with. For that reason the ancients referred to Ponahakeone as He Lualoa no Naliia deep pit for the chiefs.
Aiai came to Kalia and so on to Kakaako. Here he was befriended by a man named Apua, with whom he remained several days, observing and listening to the murmurs of the chief named Kou. This chief was a skilful hiaku fisherman, his grounds being outside of Mamala until you came to Moanalua. There was none so skilled as he, and generous withal, giving akus to the people throughout the district.
As Aiai was dwelling with his friend Apua at Kakaako, he meandered off one day along the shore of Kulolia, and so on to Pakaka and Kapapoko. But he did not return to the house of his friend, for he met a young woman gathering limu (sea-moss) and fishing for crabs. This young woman, whose name was Puiwa, lived at Hanakaialama and was a virgin, never having had a husband. She herself, as the people would say, was forward to ask Aiai to be her husband; but he listened to her voice, and they went up together to her home and saw the parents and relatives, and forthwith were married. After living with this young woman some time a son was born to them, whom Aiai named Puniaiki. During those days was the distribution of aku which were sent up from Honolulu to the different dwellings; but while others were given a whole fish, they got but a portion from some neighbor. For this reason the woman was angry, and told Aiai to go to the brook and get some oopus fit to eat, as well as opae. Aiai listened to the voice of his wife. He dug a ditch and constructed a dam so as to lead the water of the brook into some pits, and thus be able to catch the oopu and opae. He labored some days at this work, and the fish and shrimps were hung up to dry.
On a certain day following, Aiai and his wife went with their child to the brook. She left her son upon the bank of the stream while she engaged herself in catching opae and oopu from the pits. But it was not long before the child began to cry; and as he cried, Aiai told his wife to leave her fishing, but she talked saucily to him. So Aiai called upon the names of his ancestors. Immediately a dark and lowering cloud drew near and poured out a flood of water upon the stream, and in a short time the dam was broken by the freshet and all the oopu and opae, together with the child, were swept toward the sea. But the woman was not taken by the flood. Aiai then rose up and departed, without thought of his wife.
He went down from the valley to Kaumakapili, and as he was standing there he saw some women fishing for oopu on the banks of the stream, the daughter of the chief Kikihale being with them. At that time, behold, there was caught by the female guardian of the daughter of Kikihale a very large oopu. This oopu she showed to her protégée, who told her to put it into a large calabash with water and feed it with limu, so that it might become a pet fish. This was done and the oopu was tended very carefully night and day.
Aiai stood by and saw the fish lifted out of the brook, and recognized it at the same time as his own child, changed from a human being into an oopu.
(At this point the story of Aiai gives place to that of his child.)
When the oopu was placed in a large calabash with water, it was carefully tended and fed with sea-moss for some time, but one day in seeing to this duty the guardian of the chieftainess, on reaching the calabash, was startled to behold therein a human child, looking with its eyes. And the water in the calabash had disappeared. She was greatly surprised and seized with a dark foreboding, and a trembling fear possessed her as she looked upon this miraculous child.
This woman went and told the chieftainess of this child they knew to have had the form of an oopu, and as Kikihale heard the story of her guardian she went quickly, with grave doubts, however, of this her report; but there, on reaching the calabash, as she looked she saw indeed a child therein. She immediately put forth her hands toward the child and lifting it, carefully examined its form and noted its agreeable features. As the thought quickly possessed this girl, she said: Now, my guardian, you and your husband take and rear this child till he is grown, then I will be his wife.
The guardian answered her: When this child becomes grown you will be old; that is, your days will be in the evening of life, while his place will be in the early morn. Will you not thereby have lasting cause for dissatisfaction and contention between you in the future?
Kikihale answering her guardian said: You are not to blame; these things are mine to consider, for the reason that the desire is mine, not yours, my guardian.
After this talking the child was quickly known of among the chiefs and attendants. He was nourished and brought up to adult age, when Kikihale took him for her husband as she had said; and for a time they dwelt together as man and wife without disagreement between them. But during these days Kikihale saw plainly that her husband was not disposed to do anything for their support; therefore she mourned over it continually and angrily reproved him, finally, saying:
O my husband, can you not go forth also, as others, to assist our father and the attendants in the duties of fishing, instead of eating till you are satisfied, then rolling over with face upward to the ridge-pole of the house and counting the ahos? It may do while my father is alive; but if he should die, whence would come our support? Thus she spoke reproachingly from day to day, and the words stung Puniaikis heart with much pain.
And this is what he said to his wife one day: It is unpleasant to hear you constantly talking thus. Not as wild animals is the catching of fish in the sea; they are obedient if called, and you may eat wastefully of my fish when procured. I have authority over fish, men, pigs, and dogs. If you are a favorite of your father then go to him for double canoes, with their fishing appurtenances, and men to paddle them.
When Kikihale heard these words of her husband she hastened to Kou, her father, and told him all that Puniaiki had said, and the request was promptly executed. Kikihale returned to her husband and told him all she had done.
On Puniaikis going down to the canoe place he found the men were making ready the canoes with the nets, rods, lines, and the pearl fish-hooks. Here he lit a fire and burned up the pearl fish-hooks, at which his wife was much angered and cried loudly for the hiaku pearl hooks of her father. She went and told Kou of this mischievous action of her husband, but he answered her not a word at this act of his son-in-law, though he had supplied five gourds filled with them, a thousand in number, and the strangest thing was, that all were burned up save two only which Kou had reserved.
That night Puniaiki slept apart from his wife, and he told the canoe paddlers to sleep in the canoe sheds, not to go to their homes that night; and they obeyed his voice.
It was Kous habit to rouse his men before break of day to sail in the malaus for aku fishing at the mouth of the harbor, for that was their feeding-time, not after the sun had risen. Thus would the canoes enter the schools of aku and this chief became famous thereby as a most successful fisherman. But on this day was seen the sorcerers work of this child of Aiai.
As Kou with his men set out always before dawn, here was this Puniaiki above at his place at sunrise. At this time on his awaking from sleep he turned his face mountainward, and looking at Kaumakapili he saw a rainbow and its reddish mist spread out at that place, wherein was standing a human form. He felt conscious that it was Aiai his father, therefore he went there and Aiai showed him the place of the pa (fish-hook) called Kahuai, and he said to his son: Here will I stay till you return; be quick.
Upon Puniaiki reaching the landing the canoes were quickly made ready to depart, and as they reached Kapapoko and Pakaka, at the sea of Kuloloia, they went on to Ulukua, now the lighthouse location of Honolulu harbor. At this place Puniaiki asked the paddlers: What is the name of that surf cresting beneath the prow of our canoes?
Puuiki, replied the men.
He then said to them: Point straight the prow of the canoes and paddle with strength. At these words of Puniaiki their minds were in doubt, because there were probably no akus at that place in the surf; but that was none of their business. As they neared the breakers of Puuiki, below the mouth of Mamala, Puniaiki said to his men: Turn the canoes around and go shorewards. And in returning he said quickly, Paddle strong, for here we are on the top of a school of akus. But strange to say, as the men looked in the water they saw no fish swimming about, but on reaching Ulakua Puniaiki opened up the fish-hook, Kahuai, from its wrapping in the gourd and held it in his hand.
At this the akus, unprecedented in number, fairly leaped into the canoes. They became so filled with the fish, without labor, that they sank in the water as they reached Kapuukolo, and the men jumped overboard to float them to the beach. The canoe men wondered greatly at this work of the son-in-law of Kou the chief; and the shore people shouted as the akus which filled the harbor swam toward the fishpond of Kuwili and on to the mouth of Leleo stream.
When the canoes touched shore Puniaiki seized two fishes in his hands and went to join his father where he was staying, and Aiai directed him to take them up to where his mother lived. These akus were not gifts for her, but an offering to Ku-ula at a koa established just above Kahuailanawai. Puniaiki obeyed the instructions of his father, and on returning to him he was sent back to his mother, Puiwa, with a supply of akus. She was greatly surprised that this handsome young man, with his gift of akus for her to eat, was her own son, and these were the first fruits of his labor.
The people marvelled at the quantity of fish throughout the harbor, so that even the stream at Kikihale was also full of akus, and Puniaiki commanded the people to take of them day and night; and the news of this visit of akus went all around Oahu. This unequalled haul of akus was a great humiliation to Kou, affecting his fame as a fisherman; but he was neither jealous of his son-in-law nor angry,he just sat silent. He thought much on the subject but with kindly feelings, resulting in turning over this employment to him who could prosecute it without worry.
Shortly afterwards Aiai arranged with Puniaiki for the establishing of ku-ulas, koas, and fish stones around the island of Oahu, which were as follows:
The Kou stone was for Honolulu and Kaumakapili; a ku-ula at Kupahu; a fish stone at Hanapouli, Ewa. Ahuena was the ku-ula for Waipio; two were assigned for Honouliuli. Hani-o was the name of the koa outside of Kalaeloa; Kua and Maunalahilahi for Waianae; Kamalino for Waimea; and Kaihukuuna for Laiemaloo, Koolau.
Aiai and his son also visited Kauai and Niihau on this work, then they turned and went together to Hawaii. The principal or most noted fishing-grounds there are: Poo-a, Kahaka, and Olelomoana at Kona; Kalae at Kau; Kupakea at Puna, and I at Hilo.
In former times at most of these fishing-grounds were seen multitudes and varieties of fish, all around the islands, and occasionally deep sea kinds came close in shore, but in this new era there are not so many. Some people say it is on account of the change of the times.