Offense, Judgement, and Remorse, 1862.

The Tale of the Elepaio and the Water Gourd.

One day, a man named Piiwai went up the mountains to fetch drinking water, for the water of that area was located in the mountains, that being at Kahului, Kona, Hawaii. From one side to the other of that area in Kona, there was water by the ocean, but brackish water, and was not pleasant to drink, and the cool and very refreshing water to drink was in the uplands in the mountains; it is still this way these days, that they go into the mountains to fetch water.

When he made his ascent until this spring, he scooped in his water gourd [huewai] until it was filled with water, and he made his way back until a hill where he rested. He put down his huewai and stood it upright and went elsewhere.

At that time, a bird flew down, an Elepaio, and alighted on the spout of the huewai of that man, and the bird pecked at the huewai of the man until all the water flowed out; the man returned to where the huewai stood and the bird flew away and perched.

But the man saw the bird fly away, yet he did not imagine that his huewai was pecked on by the bird. He grabbed it and lifted it up, and it felt lighter; the man looked at it and saw that there was a hole; he figured that the bird pecked at it until making a hole; his anger at the bird boiled over and said to himself, “Ha! You are one very mischievous bird; I will kill you.”

The man grabbed a rock, and threw it at the bird, hitting it, but it did not die. The bird flew away; it flew away so that its many fellow birds could judge this stoning by the man.

When it flew away in search of the birds, after flying for a while, he first spotted Pueo, the owl; he flew by Pueo and called out like this:

“O Pueo, O Pueo,”

Pueo heard this call from Elepaio; Pueo turned and poised aloft and gently, Pueo inquired like this:

“O Elepaio, O Elepaio, What is it that you want of me?”

Elepaio told of what he did to the huewai of the man in a chanting song [olioli], like this:

“I was hit, By the rock, Of a man.”

Pueo asked Elepaio,

“Who was at fault.” Elepaio responded in chant:

“I was at fault, For pecking,
The huewai, Of the man.”

Pueo said in chant:

“Let it be judged, By the many birds, Among us.”

Elepaio went in search; he flew for a while and saw Io, the hawk, soaring atop the gentle winds, and Elepaio called out:

“O Io, O Io,”

Io turned toward him and asked, “What do you want of me?”

Elepaio answered:

“I was hit, By the Rock. Of a man.”

Io questioned, “Who was at fault?” Elepaio responded:

“I was at fault, For pecking,
The huewai of the man.”

Io said, just as did Pueo,

“Let it be judged, By the many birds, Among us.”

Elepaio took off flying and spotted Amakihi, and Elepaio called out:

“O Amakihi, O Amakihi.”

Amakihi turned and asked, “What is it that you want of me?” Elepaio said,

“I was hit, By the rock, Of a man.”

Amakihi questioned in a chanting song, “Who was at fault?” Elepaio answered:

“I was at fault, For pecking,
At the huewai, Of the man.”

At which point, the head of the Amakihi shook, and he raised his head and looked at Elepaio and said in a chant:

“O Elepaio, O Elepaio, You are indeed at fault,
For pecking at, The huewai, Of the man.
And if you die, It is just, For you are a trouble maker.”

When Elepaio heard these feelings of Amakihi, he grew angry, and he chanted this to Amakihi:

“There it stands, That Amakihi, [Kau pono ka ia, Kela Amakihi,]
Sour tail feathers, Horribly rank, [Pupua awaawa, He hohono pakui,]
If you were to broil it, The sauce would smell, [Ke pulehu aku, He hauna e ke kai,]
There is no meat to begin with.” [Io ole e ka mole,]

Elepaio was through talking with Amakihi and flew away; when he flew away Elepaio was very sad that Amakihi saw his guilt, so he flew away with a heavy heart.

But he was not through with his search for the many birds like he decided. He flew on and Elepaio spotted Iiwimakapolena, the yellow-eyed iiwi, and he called out to it as with the other birds previously.

Iiwi responded just as did Amakihi, that he was at fault. This was the end of his being judged by the many birds, and Elepaio was saddened, and he was truly remorseful in his guilt.  S. W. K.

Kamakela, Honolulu, May 12, 1862.

[It is interesting to compare this 1862 telling with the one put out by Kamehameha Schools Press in 2008 and these bilingual animated videos on Oiwi TV.]

(Hoku o ka Pakipika, 5/15/1862, p. 1)

He Kaao no ka Manu Elepaio.

Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika, Buke I, Helu 34, Aoao 1. Mei 15, 1862.