The Battle of the Shark Gods
A Story of the Hawaiian Islands
ONE day Kaahupahau and her brother Kahiuka wandered away from their grass-thatched cottage, on the banks of the beautiful Ewa Lagoon, on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The long afternoon passed without causing any worry to their father or mother. But when dusk fell on the long swells of the Pacific ocean and neither of the children had returned for their evening meal of poi and plantains, the parents became alarmed.
Calling to the neighbors they made search for them with torches and beat the jungle and the seashore carefully. But nothing was found except that far out at sea one of the searchers thought he saw the girl’s wreath of flowers floating under the white rays of the moon.
The days passed very sadly for the poor parents, who had loved their little Kaahupahau and Kahiuka very much, indeed. But at last, after several weeks of sorrow, some fishermen came ashore and…
Mikololou swam slyly up to one of the people and dragged him down.
…reported that there were two beautiful and tame sharks in the sea off the island, and that they had helped them in the fishing by driving the prey into their nets.
One of the old priests went out in his canoe with food, and the two sharks rose close to his boat and took the offerings that he threw overboard. Then, by means of incantation, he learned that they were the two children, who had turned into sharks, which was a common occurrence in the Hawaiian Islands in the old days.
So he returned and told the people about it and they went to the shore and called to the two sharks, saying that they would worship them as gods. The folk of Ewa Lagoon were very glad to have shark gods at last, because lots of other villages had such gods and they had always felt the want of them.
The two shark gods became more and more friendly with the people, and were of immense use to them so that they always had fish enough.
One day the great shark Mikololou came up from the deep sea to pay them a visit, and the two shark gods entertained him to the best of their ability. In a few days, however, he told them that he was a man-eater, and asked them to get him some of his favorite human flesh.
Kaahupahau and her brother Kahiuka were horrified and reproached him btterly. But Mikololou swam slyly up to one of the people and dragged him down.
The two shark gods immediately sent warnings to all their friends against the monster, so no more people ventured into the water.
Then Kaahupahau and Kahiuka invited him to a feast that they had made in his honor far up the Waipahu river. Here they fed him so richly and plentifully that he fell into a stupid sleep, and as soon as this had happened the people all hurried to close up the mouth of the river with their fish nets.
So strong was Mikololou that even in his sleepy condition he broke through net after net before he was tangled at last and held tight. Then the people dragged him ashore and burned his great body to ashes as they had been warned to do by the shark gods.
Unfortunately one of the watchers was not careful, and the result was that a dog caught hold of the big tongue of the dead man-eater and ran away with it. the people pursued him,and he dropped it into the river. There the tongue immediately became alive. It made its way down the coast and called on all the man-eating sharks to swim to the Ewa Lagoon and kill the shark gods and the people.
Thousands and thousands of great sharks answered the summons, but the good sharks had not been idle and had called on all the shark gods from the other islands to help them.
It was a wonderful and terrible war, that is known to this day as the great shark war, and the bards of Hawaii have composed many songs to tell about it. At the head of the god sharks was the mighty Shark God Kuhaimoana, who was so huge that the channels between most of the Hawaiian islands were too small for him, so that he had to stay in the deep sea most of the time in order to have room to move around comfortably.
He brought with him the second largest shark god, the mighty Kamohoalii, who was the older brother of the Goddess Pele, the ruler of the volcanoes.
At last, after many months of fierce fighting, the man-eaters were defeated and driven back to their homes in the sea and the lagoons were safe again.
The gentle Kaahupahau was killed in the last battle, but her brother Kahiuka recovered from his wounds and remained god of the Ewa Lagoon for many years. Even to this day there are certain fishermen who know where Kahiuka hides, and often they miss their fishnets only to find that the good shark has hidden them away in order to save them from some bad shark who had happened to come along.
(Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 9/10/1905, p. 14)