Pele and Hiiaka: A Myth From Hawaii by Nathaniel Bright Emerson

Pele and Hiiaka: A Myth From Hawaii

byNathaniel Bright Emerson

Kobo ebook | March 8, 2015

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The story of Pele and her sister Hiiaka stands at the fountain-head of Hawaiian myth and is the matrix from which the unwritten literature of Hawaii drew its life-blood. The material for the elaboration of this story has, in part, been found in serial contributions to the Hawaiian newspapers during the last few decades; in part, gathered by interviews with the men and women of the older regime, in whose memory it has been stored and, again, in part, it has been supplied by papers solicited from intelligent Hawaiians. The information contained in the notes has been extracted by viva voce appeal to Hawaiians themselves. These last two sources of information will soon be no longer available. Merely as a story, this myth of Pele and her kindred may be deemed to have no compelling merit that should attract one to its reading. The cycle of world-myth already gathered from the rising to the setting of the sun, from the north pole to the south pole, is quite vast enough, and far in excess of the power of any one scholar to master and digest. It contains enough pretty stories, in all conscience, to satisfy the demands of the whole raft of storiologists and penny-a-liners, ever on the alert to cram the public with new sensations, without making it necessary to levy upon Hawaii for her little contribution. It is not from a disposition to pander to any such appetite that the writer has drudged through many long years in collecting and giving literary shape to the material herein presented. The people who settled the Hawaiian group of islands are recognized as having occupied a unique station, one so far removed from the center and vortex of Polynesian activity as to enable them to cast a highly important side-light on many of the problems yet unsolved, that are of interest to ethnologists and philologists and that still enshroud the Polynesian race. Hawaii rejoiced in a Kamehameha, who, with a strong hand, welded its discordant political elements into one body and made of it a nation. But it was denied a Homer capable of voicing its greatest epic in one song. The myth of the volcanic queen, like every other important Hawaiian myth, has been handled by many poets and raconteurs, each from his own point of view, influenced, no doubt, by local environment; but there never stood forth one singer with the supreme power to symphonize the jarring notes and combine them into one concordant whole. This fact is a tribute to the independent attitude of Hawaii’s geographical units as well as to its scattered minstrelsy. This book does not offer itself as a complete history of Pele; it does not even assume to present all the oli, mele, and pule that deal with the great name of Pele. There were important events in her life that will receive but incidental mention. Of such is the story of Pele’s relations with the swine-god Kama-pua’a. As indicated in the title, the author confines his attention almost wholly to the story of Pele’s relations with Prince Lohiau of Haena, in which the girl Hiiaka became involved as an accessory.

Title:Pele and Hiiaka: A Myth From HawaiiFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:March 8, 2015Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1465631674

ISBN - 13:9781465631671

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From the Author

The story of Pele and her sister Hiiaka stands at the fountain-head of Hawaiian myth and is the matrix from which the unwritten literature of Hawaii drew its life-blood. The material for the elaboration of this story has, in part, been found in serial contributions to the Hawaiian newspapers during the last few decades; in part, gathered by interviews with the men and women of the older regime, in whose memory it has been stored and, again, in part, it has been supplied by papers solicited from intelligent Hawaiians. The information contained in the notes has been extracted by viva voce appeal to Hawaiians themselves. These last two sources of information will soon be no longer available. Merely as a story, this myth of Pele and her kindred may be deemed to have no compelling merit that should attract one to its reading. The cycle of world-myth already gathered from the rising to the setting of the sun, from the north pole to the south pole, is quite vast enough, and far in excess of the power of any one scholar to master and digest. It contains enough pretty stories, in all conscience, to satisfy the demands of the whole raft of storiologists and penny-a-liners, ever on the alert to cram the public with new sensations, without making it necessary to levy upon Hawaii for her little contribution. It is not from a disposition to pander to any such appetite that the writer has drudged through many long years in collecting and giving literary shape to the material herein presented. The people who settled the Hawaiian group of islands are recognized as having occupied a unique station, one so far removed from the center and vortex of Polynesian activity as to enable them to cast a highly important side-light on many of the problems yet unsolved, that are of interest to ethnologists and philologists and that still enshroud the Polynesian race. Hawaii rejoiced in a Kamehameha, who, with a strong hand, welded its discordant political elements into one body and made of it a nation. But it was denied a Homer capable of voicing its greatest epic in one song. The myth of the volcanic queen, like every other important Hawaiian myth, has been handled by many poets and raconteurs, each from his own point of view, influenced, no doubt, by local environment; but there never stood forth one singer with the supreme power to symphonize the jarring notes and combine them into one concordant whole. This fact is a tribute to the independent attitude of Hawaii’s geographical units as well as to its scattered minstrelsy. This book does not offer itself as a complete history of Pele; it does not even assume to present all the oli, mele, and pule that deal with the great name of Pele. There were important events in her life that will receive but incidental mention. Of such is the story of Pele’s relations with the swine-god Kama-pua’a. As indicated in the title, the author confines his attention almost wholly to the story of Pele’s relations with Prince Lohiau of Haena, in which the girl Hiiaka became involved as an accessory.