Early story from Joseph Nawahi, 1861.

An amazing thief!

In a certain town there lived three blind men, and they were seen often by the people of the place. What they did was walk the streets asking for money, food, and other things they needed for their livelihood there. Doing so, they received a lot of money from help given them by the wealthy and due to the aloha from others. They took the money they made everyday and put it in a strong box, and when they left the money, they left the bags as well. One day, they went and came back with bags full of money; the amazing thief saw all that money of the blind men, that there was so much, and he followed them thinking that he would steal it, because he thought they were blind and would not see him steal it, so he approached the blind men when they were entering their house, and when they got to the door, one of the blind men unlocked the door and it opened, and they went in without seeing him, and they immediately locked the door. The blind men opened the money box to count, for they always counted what they had made previously and what they made anew. When they opened the box, that is when he grabbed a bag of money; he could not escape because the door was locked. And when they counted, there was a bag of money missing; they surmised a thief had entered the house; therefore, they called for help [holina ae la lakou] and the police heard and came at once, and asked the blind men the reason for their calling for help, and the blind men said, “a thief! a thief!! one of our money bags was stolen.” The door was opened and they looked for the thief, alas! he hid in the rafters of the house, for when the blind men were calling for help, he left  the bag of money at once and climbed to the rafters of the house to hide. And while he hid there, he thought of a way to escape; and he made as if his eyes were blind like how they were blind. He was fetched as he continued his blindness, maybe to open his eyes or maybe to keep at it. The police said to him, “you are a thief!” and he denied this, “we are the blind men that you all see all the time going on the streets asking for money, and when we receive money, we return it here. I couldn’t be a thief, you see that I am blind,” but the real blind men said, “no, you all know that there are only three of us blind men of this town going around from the beginning to now, and that man is a thief.” And because it was not clear to the police, because they all looked like blind men, the thief was not clear to them, so the four of them were taken before the Court to make clear which one of them was the thief. The Judge asked one of the blind men (that being the real thief), “you stole the money of these blind men, didn’t you?” he said, “I did not steal the money of these blind men! we are all the blind men you see all the time going around receiving money, and we take it back and deposit the money in our strong box; I am not the thief.” That was the response of that amazing thief, making as if he was blind without opening his eyes at all. The Judge questioned the real blind men, “what of that? that man says he is one of you;” they all denied this, saying, “no! he is a thief! you all know that there are only three of us blind men in this town, not four.” And because the thief was not apparent and the Judge believed the three blind men, the Judge ruled to punish the blind thief with 200 strikes on his back with a whip. He was whipped a 100 times, when one of his eyes opened, and he was whipped a 100 more times and both of his eyes opened, and his whipping was over; he told the Judge, “tsa! we are all blind men, and we all are pretending to be blind; if you whip them, their eyes will open;” but that was not the truth, for the three were truly blind, and he was the one pretending to be blind. But the Judge became confused by his statement that they were all pretending to be blind, so he whipped one of the blind men a 100 times and the man did not open an eye, and he whipped him a 100 more times, and both eyes did not open, but the blind man was in great pain; so too with the second and third blind man; they suffered great pain but their eyes did not open, and the thief went on, and as for me, I am returning home.

Joseph Kahooluhi

Royal School Yard. Dec. 21, 1861.

[Nawahi seems here to be retelling the Story of the Barber’s Third Brother, a tale from the Arabian Nights.]

(Hoku o ka Pakipika, 12/26/1861, p. 4)


Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika, Buke I, Helu 14, Aoao 4. Dekemaba 26, 1861.

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