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Six Prize Hawaiian Stories of the Kilohana Art League Part 3

The King sent for him one day and said to him: "You are the most valuable man in my kingdom, and as my predecessors rewarded Isaac Davis and John Young with matrimonial alliances, I would be glad to have you look around and if you see any attractive female of the royal connection that you would like to marry, you may take her until otherwise ordered.

I wish for useful men about my throne. I put on no airs, excepting a white cotton shirt. If you accept my offer you are authorized to wear an Admiral's cocked hat, and new boots on State occasion." Peleg replied that he recognized the honor, but that his heart belonged to his sharks and to the daughter of a carpenter who lived near the York State line, and he expected to visit her very soon.

A fanatical native attempted to "anaana" him or pray him to death. He gathered grass and burned it. The oily kukui nuts were thrown on the fire, and the whole resources of the Polynesian Black Art were brought into use. But Peleg lived.

A missionary, hearing of his remarkable powers, visited him and inquired about his ancestors, and among other questions asked him if he had become a heathen and allowed himself to become a kahuna or sorcerer. He replied that he did not hanker after heathenism, but, he said, that if he was in the missionary business he would open a conjuring saloon and beat all their old kahunas at sleight of hand tricks, and that would soon bring the whole crowd over to his side. The heathen, he said, couldn't do much thinking but if they saw him pull a rabbit out of his nose, or take a taro out of a man's ear, they would smash the business of their own conjuring priests. Seein' was believin'. Conjuring tricks would finally bust up their superstitions. The missionary said he and his associates could not look upon the matter in that way, but he would write to the American Board about it, and ask it to send out a respectable conjurer of high moral principle who would hitch a moral to the tail end of every trick, and then challenge a native sorcerer to do any better.

Peleg said that although he was a perverted Puritan, he would supply all of the Honolulu missionaries with fish without charge.

As he had received a very limited education owing to his father's flourishing poverty, he seldom wrote any letters. He did not forget his mother, however. She received from time to time, through Bunker & Co., of New Bedford, comfortable sums of money, with the statement that they came from her son, who was somewhere on the equator, and would come home after awhile. He also sent to Patsy McGloural, who had grown up and did the chores in the family of a rich paper manufacturer, a sandal wood box, and a dress of the finest Chinese silk, which he got from one of the vessels in the sandal wood trade. This dress was the finest in Berkshire county, and when Patsy put it on and went to church, it attracted the attention of the women, so that the preacher gave out the hymn about being "naked, poor and sinful."

Peleg had invested his money in shares in the whaleships, which made very profitable voyages, from Honolulu to the Arctic and Japan seas, and he became rich for a Berkshire man. After ten years of fishing he resolved to go home. He found a young man who came from the neighboring town of Hinsdale, on one of the new whalers, and after giving him a long trial, instructed him in the business. He consulted an attorney in Honolulu, and executed an instrument establishing the "Peleg Chapman Shark Trust," the income of which was to be used in feeding his faithful sharks with pork and beans, and in supplying the poor natives of Honolulu with fish.

He then sailed for New Bedford, and on arriving there, went directly home. He arrested the even course of his father's poverty, but did not inform his indigent but acute parent of the sources of his fortune. He built for his mother the finest chicken house in the county, and presented her with a neat buggy and a gentle horse. He soon married Patsy, and was known as Squire Chapman. As a leading authority on travel, he had no equal in those parts. Subsequently, with the aid of a young student from Williams College, he published in rather Sophomorical language, a book which had a wide circulation titled, "Chapman's researches in the islands of the Pacific."

'Twas Cupid's Dart

A Hawaiian Love Story.

Many years ago there lived in Hoikaopuiaawalau, in Hamakua, on Maui, a Hawaiian maiden whose story I will tell as I heard it from one who knew it too well.

"Her name, which they said was given her by her _kupuna_, Hikiau, who was a favorite chief under Kamehameha the great, was Kalaninuiahilapalapa, but we always called her Lani.

At the time we first met her she was about eleven years of age, very pretty, with regular features and long, black, silky hair. Like many of the natives she had beautiful gazelle-eyes, such as one never tires of gazing into. Probably those eyes cost her most of her--well we will tell it.

She lived with her parents in that beautiful little fern-clad valley, known today as Awalau, where her father worked in a sawmill. He was a very large and powerful man and as good natured as large men usually are.

His name was Kapohakunuipalahalaha, but as that was unnecessarily long, we shortened it to Nui, and a faithful man Nui was at any kind of work.

Those who know what sawmill work is know that great strength is appreciated, especially when you are depending on a man to keep his end of a cant-hook up to time. He was as hospitable as the natives have the reputation of being, and that is saying a good deal.

Lani's mother, Kamaka, was a sprightly woman of about thirty-five and did her part to make "life in the woods" pleasant. Neither mother nor daughter appeared to have many household cares and seemed to take delight in wandering up and down the valley in quest of land shrimps, which they caught in a cornucopia-shaped basket made of wicker work.

These, with the little black fish named oopu which they found adhering to the stones in the brook, and a fern frond called pohole, together with poi, the Hawaiian staff of life, constituted the principal part of their diet. They were also very fond of pig and chicken and never begrudged the labor or time spent in getting up a luau. From them we had an insight into the Hawaiian mode of living and were surprised to note to what an extent the natives are dependent on the sea for a livelihood.

Sometimes Nui would take a day off, whether the master liked or not, and take his family to the beach, when they employed themselves in fishing.

They would return with the greatest assortment of shell-fish and fish of many sizes of the most varied colors. Also they would bring limu of several kinds and odors. Limu, you know, is seaweed, and there appear to be as many varieties of it as there are of ferns on the land. There is also a variety of it found in the streams adhering to the rocks on the bottom, which we were always taught to beware of at home, but which the natives eat with cooked meats with great gusto.

They always kept a store of kukui nuts, which they roasted; then breaking up the kernels fine and mixed with salt, they ate it as a relish.

The women took delight in adorning themselves with leis, made either of the maile, which grew in profusion on the steep sides of the ravines, or of the _palapalai_, a luxuriant fern which clothes the valleys as with a garment. Sometimes they would make leis of the fruit of the hala tree, the _pandanus_, which was also very plentiful in that part of the island. Sometimes they would inter-twine the bright hala fruit and the fragrant glossy leaves of the maile, which made a very beautiful lei, especially on an olive skin as a background.

Often we were called in to eat with them and learned to like almost all their native dishes. It was always the custom to call in any stranger passing, to share their food with them. Their style of cooking, viz: under ground, or in a saucepan over an open fire, seemed to give the food a piquancy which had charms for us.

Lani had a very sweet voice and accompanied her singing with a guitar, which she played very sweetly and many an evening we passed about the campfire very comfortably. She could yodel like an inhabitant of the Swiss Alps and often we would hear her singing and yodeling as she came up the valley to cross up to the tableland where we were cutting the large koa trees, preparatory to hauling them to the mill to turn into the handsome lumber so much sought after for making fine furniture.

There was not a man in the camp who was not charmed with her.

There was a little Chinaman who came up through our valley, leading pack horses, whose business was buying _pepeiao_, an ear-shaped fungus which is found very plentiful on the trunks of decayed trees on the windward sides of all the islands. The natives gathered and dried these and were always glad to see the Chinaman come around, as they were enabled to exchange them for either cash or the sweet cakes which he carried in his panniers. This fungus contains a good deal of gelatinous matter and was formerly largely exported to China, where it is used for soup making.

This poor little waif of a Celestial, named Leong Sing, fell in love with our Lani at first sight and the frequent occasions he took for wandering up our valley were not warranted by the inextensive trade which he found. He made the acquaintance of a Chinaman who had a camp in a neighboring valley, where he was making charcoal from the branches of the koa trees, which he purchased from us. He got to staying over night with his friend and would sometimes join our campfire of an evening and listen to Lani's singing. None of us suspected him of the effrontery of falling in love with our Lani or of expecting her to reciprocate his affection. While at work one day in the woods her father told us that the Chinaman had proposed and wanted to carry her off to Lahaina, where his uncle had a large store. This was a greater temptation to Lani than we suspected, as she was very fond of good clothes and the Chinese are noted for taking the best of care of their wives in that respect. Also was not Lahaina the capital, where young people were numerous and where her accomplishments would be appreciated?

Her father had higher aspirations for his daughter and wished that she might marry a haole.

There was a young man in camp, named Frank Willoughby, (evidently a purser's name) who had come round the Horn in a whaler and had decamped as soon as the vessel touched at Honolulu, as many of our best and worst men did. Frank had a good education and was a very fine looking, healthy young fellow of a most amiable disposition. When Frank heard of the Chinaman's proposal he said he would kill the saffron-colored Celestial on sight and break every bone in his body for his presumption. Then we knew that Frank was badly smitten.

But he was not the only one who was struck bad, as there was a young half Hawaiian-Portuguese named Joe Edwards who was also very denunciatory of the Chinaman and expressed a wish for his speedy demise.

Some of us had noticed that Frank was jealous of Joe, as the latter could play the ukeke or Hawaiian Jew's harp, very well, and as a stranger cannot tell what the player is singing on the instrument to his _dulcinea_, Frank could not understand how far Joe had got along in his courtship.

There was another party who was heels over head in love with Lani and this was so utterly unexpected that when the _denouement_ took place, "you might knock us all down with a feather." This was a big hulk of a black Portuguese named Shenandoah, from his having been captured on a whaler by that Confederate pirate when on her marauding excursion amongst the whalers in the Arctic, from whence he was returned to Honolulu with many others. He was a most repulsive, villainous-looking scoundrel, with black warts on his face; an Iago who could never capture our Desdemona and consequently never came into our calculations.

Anyway the Chinaman's name was "mud" from that time on.

Frank could not talk much native and Lani's English education had been sadly neglected, but it would not be the first instance where love was made with the eyes and not the tongue.

The work in the woods, felling those mammoth koas and hauling them with cattle to the mill, was looked on more as play than work, but we were very tired at night just the same. The _ieie_, an almost impenetrable climbing vine, seemed to take delight in wrapping its rootlets around those koas, to the vexation of the woodsman, and it would sometimes take hours to get at the trunk of a tree. In chopping this ieie the axe would sometimes fly back to the peril of the chopper. Once Frank had the bad or good luck to get cut in the head with his axe and as he bled very freely we were much alarmed and took him down to the camp. Kamaka put a bandage of some native herbs about his head and he remained at home for two or three days. How far his courtship progressed during his convalescence we were never able to learn. Joe said he wished he himself could get his foot cut off or something that he might be invalided.

Sometime after this the boss told us we could all go down to Wailuku for a holiday and spend the Fourth of July, which was going to be grandly celebrated that year on account of some favorable news from home, provided we would take a load of koa lumber down. Horses were not very plentiful with us and we were to ride on the load. As Nui and Shenandoah were to drive the six yoke of oxen and Lani and her mother were to ride we jumped at the opportunity.

The cattle were brought in from the woods, after a tedious search for them, for a bullock can hide himself easier under the parasitic vines and convolvulus which hang from those mammoth koas than anywhere under the sun. The wagon being loaded and the load bound on with chains we eight took our places for an eighteen-mile ride. Lani had provided leis for each of us and she and her mother had collected an immensity of ferns and ki leaves for a cushion to make the soft side of the boards softer, and we had a large hamper of lunch and a merrier party never started for an ox-cart ride.

We got away about 5 a. m., Nui and Shenandoah walking on either side of the team and there never was more fun in a basket of monkeys than on that wagon. He had our old standbys, Nigger and Puakea on the tongue and the young cattle ahead and the trouble these cattle caused, "I couldn't be telling." They would dash ahead and fetch up, then they would turn on their tracks and get tangled in the chains, then after a lot of bad language they would get straightened out and make another break, and this was repeated _ad nauseam_.

When we got them up out of the valley and the weight of the load was relieved they made a break to run and almost pulled the heads off the tongue cattle, who, I believe, would sooner have lost those extremities than have been so undignified as to go faster than a walk. Down we went through Kawaiki, and through Huluhulunui, Puaahookui, and Kaluanui gulches, the young cattle on the tear and the old ones on their haunches, notwithstanding the chain lock which we had on the wheels. The only thing to hold on to was the binding chain and after getting our hands nipped a few times we preferred to maintain our positions by leaning up against each other. We could not refrain from remarking on the solicitude which both Frank and Joe exhibited for Lani's welfare, doing everything they could devise for her comfort. We have helped tip over a pair of bobs in the snow at home to hear the girls squeal, but we never had an experience of riding on a bullock cart with a trio of lovesick people when every instant produced a bump which would drive a sane person into insanity.

The sun came up right glorious and gave us the benefit of its full actinic rays for the whole day. However, had we been in a palace car we could not have had more fun.

All across that sunburnt plain from East Maui plantation to the beach at Kahului we bumped over rocks and into gullies, for who ever knew of a bullock team fool enough to miss any of those opportunities of getting even on man for his inhumanity to them. Towards 1 P. M. we reached Kahului, the cattle with their tongues hanging out this three hours for lack of water. Here was plenty of it and the whole team rushed into the sea only to find that this fluid which so much resembled water was not the kind they were accustomed to.

Now we were in real danger of getting drowned or getting the wheels stuck in the quick-sand. Frank suggested that we take the wheels off our chariot, the way Pharaoh did and float ashore. He was told to kulikuli and suggest some way out of the difficulty which was feasible. All of us knew how to direct the drivers however, and if they had listened to us we would have been there yet. Nui dashed into the water to seaward of the cattle and striking one of the young leaders on the nose it bellowed with pain and turned shorewards and we were saved, probably for a worse fate. We arrived safely at Wailuku and hastened to relieve ourselves of the superfluous real estate gathered on the way, for the winds of Kahului isthmus can carry more red dirt per cubic inch than any simoon in Arabia, and deposit it more evenly on any obstructing surface.

That evening we met Lani and her mother at the village store and postoffice and she soon became the recipient of much in the line of bright colored dress goods. Frank received a remittance from home and nothing would do but he must give her a side saddle, one of those fancy looking horse-killers such as they sold for twenty dollars. Joe bought her a fancy bridle and another member of the party gave her a flaming scarlet felt saddle cloth. All these to a poor girl who did not own a horse. Horses were pretty cheap in those days, from $5 up. Frank bought her a cream colored mare from a bystander for $20 and placing the saddle and accoutrements on he requested her to mount and try the saddle.

Shenandoah had been buying dress goods at the instigation of Lani's mother and when he came out and saw the beautiful girl mounted on the prancing horse he swore she should never ride it home and commanded her to dismount.

This revelation was too much for us. What; this clod of earth dare to talk in this manner to our Lani? And using tones of authority too! This was the last straw. Frank opened up on him with a volubility and a vocabulary which could only have been acquired before the mast on an American whaler.

Shenandoah dropped his armful of bundles and made a rush at him to annihilate him. Frank had played football too much in college to be badly terrified and when the Portuguese struck at him he lowered his head and rushed his black opponent, taking him just in the short ribs with his head, and Shenandoah was _hors de combat_ instanter. It was sometime before he could take a breath, then had to be taken off to a room, which he did not leave until we were ready to return to Hoikaopuiaawalau.

Frank got a nice horse for himself and he and Lani enjoyed the Fourth of July.

At that time there was a fashion among the native women of making their own hats from rooster skins. A fine bird would be selected, no matter what the price ($5 has been paid for a bird for that purpose). The skin was taken off whole and while green put over a mold to dry. Then they would line them and when rightly made one could almost imagine it was a live rooster sitting on a nest. Frank got one of the best of these and gave it to Lani and the next day as he and she rode on either side of the team, for they drove us home, the sight of her was exceedingly galling to Shenandoah who had to ride on the empty wagon, the cock appearing to crow over him at every bounce of her horse.

However the fun was not out of us yet nor out of the bullock. They never seemed to tire giving us our money's worth. When we had arrived at Wailuku we turned them into a corral where there was plenty of food and drink and they ought to have been satisfied. Not so however, for, about midnight a man came to our lodgings and said our cattle had got loose into the cane fields, and, tired as we were we all had to get out and hunt them through the cane, and corral them once more.

We sailed across the plains easily enough but when we came to the region of gulches and night and the rain had set in the anxiety of those on the wagon for their safety was pathetic. We had some marvellous escapes but finally arrived in camp in a half drowned condition.

A couple of days afterwards the charcoal burner came over and told us that Leong Sing had been there during our absence, and says he, "there he comes again." That evening he called on Lani and she flatly told him in some expressive way that she wished no more of his attentions. He retired to the Chinese camp and we saw him no more.

The following day the Chinaman came over and asked where Leong Sing was.

Chapter end

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