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On the Makaloa Mat/Island Tales by Jack London

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June 28, 1916.


This, of Alice Akana, is an affair of Hawaii, not of this day, but
of days recent enough, when Abel Ah Yo preached his famous revival
in Honolulu and persuaded Alice Akana to tell her soul. But what
Alice told concerned itself with the earlier history of the then
surviving generation.

For Alice Akana was fifty years old, had begun life early, and,
early and late, lived it spaciously. What she knew went back into
the roots and foundations of families, businesses, and plantations.
She was the one living repository of accurate information that
lawyers sought out, whether the information they required related
to land-boundaries and land gifts, or to marriages, births,
bequests, or scandals. Rarely, because of the tight tongue she
kept behind her teeth, did she give them what they asked; and when
she did was when only equity was served and no one was hurt.

For Alice had lived, from early in her girlhood, a life of flowers,
and song, and wine, and dance; and, in her later years, had herself
been mistress of these revels by office of mistress of the hula
house. In such atmosphere, where mandates of God and man and
caution are inhibited, and where woozled tongues will wag, she
acquired her historical knowledge of things never otherwise
whispered and rarely guessed. And her tight tongue had served her
well, so that, while the old-timers knew she must know, none ever
heard her gossip of the times of Kalakaua's boathouse, nor of the
high times of officers of visiting warships, nor of the diplomats
and ministers and councils of the countries of the world.

So, at fifty, loaded with historical dynamite sufficient, if it
were ever exploded, to shake the social and commercial life of the
Islands, still tight of tongue, Alice Akana was mistress of the
hula house, manageress of the dancing girls who hula'd for royalty,
for luaus (feasts), house-parties, poi suppers, and curious
tourists. And, at fifty, she was not merely buxom, but short and
fat in the Polynesian peasant way, with a constitution and lack of
organic weakness that promised incalculable years. But it was at
fifty that she strayed, quite by chance of time and curiosity, into
Abel Ah Yo's revival meeting.

Now Abel Ah Yo, in his theology and word wizardry, was as much
mixed a personage as Billy Sunday. In his genealogy he was much
more mixed, for he was compounded of one-fourth Portuguese, one-
fourth Scotch, one-fourth Hawaiian, and one-fourth Chinese. The
Pentecostal fire he flamed forth was hotter and more variegated
than could any one of the four races of him alone have flamed
forth. For in him were gathered together the cannyness and the
cunning, the wit and the wisdom, the subtlety and the rawness, the
passion and the philosophy, the agonizing spirit-groping and he
legs up to the knees in the dung of reality, of the four radically
different breeds that contributed to the sum of him. His, also,
was the clever self-deceivement of the entire clever compound.

When it came to word wizardry, he had Billy Sunday, master of slang
and argot of one language, skinned by miles. For in Abel Ah Yo
were the five verbs, and nouns, and adjectives, and metaphors of
four living languages. Intermixed and living promiscuously and
vitally together, he possessed in these languages a reservoir of
expression in which a myriad Billy Sundays could drown. Of no
race, a mongrel par excellence, a heterogeneous scrabble, the
genius of the admixture was superlatively Abel Ah Yo's. Like a
chameleon, he titubated and scintillated grandly between the
diverse parts of him, stunning by frontal attack and surprising and
confouding by flanking sweeps the mental homogeneity of the more
simply constituted souls who came in to his revival to sit under
him and flame to his flaming.

Abel Ah Yo believed in himself and his mixedness, as he believed in
the mixedness of his weird concept that God looked as much like him
as like any man, being no mere tribal god, but a world god that
must look equally like all races of all the world, even if it led
to piebaldness. And the concept worked. Chinese, Korean,
Japanese, Hawaiian, Porto Rican, Russian, English, French--members
of all races--knelt without friction, side by side, to his revision
of deity.

Himself in his tender youth an apostate to the Church of England,
Abel Ah Yo had for years suffered the lively sense of being a Judas
sinner. Essentially religious, he had foresworn the Lord. Like
Judas therefore he was. Judas was damned. Wherefore he, Abel Ah
Yo, was damned; and he did not want to be damned. So, quite after
the manner of humans, he squirmed and twisted to escape damnation.
The day came when he solved his escape. The doctrine that Judas
was damned, he concluded, was a misinterpretation of God, who,
above all things, stood for justice. Judas had been God's servant,
specially selected to perform a particularly nasty job. Therefore
Judas, ever faithful, a betrayer only by divine command, was a
saint. Ergo, he, Abel Ah Yo, was a saint by very virtue of his
apostasy to a particular sect, and he could have access with clear
grace any time to God.

This theory became one of the major tenets of his preaching, and
was especially efficacious in cleansing the consciences of the
back-sliders from all other faiths who else, in the secrecy of
their subconscious selves, were being crushed by the weight of the
Judas sin. To Abel Ah Yo, God's plan was as clear as if he, Abel
Ah Yo, had planned it himself. All would be saved in the end,
although some took longer than others, and would win only to
backseats. Man's place in the ever-fluxing chaos of the world was
definite and pre-ordained--if by no other token, then by denial
that there was any ever-fluxing chaos. This was a mere bugbear of
mankind's addled fancy; and, by stinging audacities of thought and
speech, by vivid slang that bit home by sheerest intimacy into his
listeners' mental processes, he drove the bugbear from their
brains, showed them the loving clarity of God's design, and,
thereby, induced in them spiritual serenity and calm.

What chance had Alice Akana, herself pure and homogeneous Hawaiian,
against his subtle, democratic-tinged, four-race-engendered, slang-
munitioned attack? He knew, by contact, almost as much as she
about the waywardness of living and sinning--having been singing
boy on the passenger-ships between Hawaii and California, and,
after that, bar boy, afloat and ashore, from the Barbary Coast to
Heinie's Tavern. In point of fact, he had left his job of Number
One Bar Boy at the University Club to embark on his great
preachment revival.

So, when Alice Akana strayed in to scoff, she remained to pray to
Abel Ah Yo's god, who struck her hard-headed mind as the most
sensible god of which she had ever heard. She gave money into Abel
Ah Yo's collection plate, closed up the hula house, and dismissed
the hula dancers to more devious ways of earning a livelihood, shed
her bright colours and raiments and flower garlands, and bought a

It was a time of religious excitement in the purlieus of Honolulu.
The thing was a democratic movement of the people toward God.
Place and caste were invited, but never came. The stupid lowly,
and the humble lowly, only, went down on its knees at the penitent
form, admitted its pathological weight and hurt of sin, eliminated
and purged all its bafflements, and walked forth again upright
under the sun, child-like and pure, upborne by Abel Ah Yo's god's
arm around it. In short, Abel Ah Yo's revival was a clearing house
for sin and sickness of spirit, wherein sinners were relieved of
their burdens and made light and bright and spiritually healthy

But Alice was not happy. She had not been cleared. She bought and
dispersed Bibles, contributed more money to the plate, contralto'd
gloriously in all the hymns, but would not tell her soul. In vain
Abel Ah Yo wrestled with her. She would not go down on her knees
at the penitent form and voice the things of tarnish within her--
the ill things of good friends of the old days. "You cannot serve
two masters," Abel Ah Yo told her. "Hell is full of those who have
tried. Single of heart and pure of heart must you make your peace
with God. Not until you tell your soul to God right out in meeting
will you be ready for redemption. In the meantime you will suffer
the canker of the sin you carry about within you."

Scientifically, though he did not know it and though he continually
jeered at science, Abel Ah Yo was right. Not could she be again as
a child and become radiantly clad in God's grace, until she had
eliminated from her soul, by telling, all the sophistications that
had been hers, including those she shared with others. In the
Protestant way, she must bare her soul in public, as in the
Catholic way it was done in the privacy of the confessional. The
result of such baring would be unity, tranquillity, happiness,
cleansing, redemption, and immortal life.

"Choose!" Abel Ah Yo thundered. "Loyalty to God, or loyalty to
man." And Alice could not choose. Too long had she kept her
tongue locked with the honour of man. "I will tell all my soul
about myself," she contended. "God knows I am tired of my soul and
should like to have it clean and shining once again as when I was a
little girl at Kaneohe--"

"But all the corruption of your soul has been with other souls,"
was Abel Ah Yo's invariable reply. "When you have a burden, lay it
down. You cannot bear a burden and be quit of it at the same

"I will pray to God each day, and many times each day," she urged.
"I will approach God with humility, with sighs and with tears. I
will contribute often to the plate, and I will buy Bibles, Bibles,
Bibles without end."

"And God will not smile upon you," God's mouthpiece retorted. "And
you will remain weary and heavy-laden. For you will not have told
all your sin, and not until you have told all will you be rid of

"This rebirth is difficult," Alice sighed.

"Rebirth is even more difficult than birth." Abel Ah Yo did
anything but comfort her. "'Not until you become as a little child
. . . '"

"If ever I tell my soul, it will be a big telling," she confided.

"The bigger the reason to tell it then."

And so the situation remained at deadlock, Abel Ah Yo demanding
absolute allegiance to God, and Alice Akana flirting on the fringes
of paradise.

"You bet it will be a big telling, if Alice ever begins," the
beach-combing and disreputable kamaainas (old-timers) gleefully
told one another over their Palm Tree gin.

In the clubs the possibility of her telling was of more moment.
The younger generation of men announced that they had applied for
front seats at the telling, while many of the older generation of
men joked hollowly about the conversion of Alice. Further, Alice
found herself abruptly popular with friends who had forgotten her
existence for twenty years.

One afternoon, as Alice, Bible in hand, was taking the electric
street car at Hotel and Fort, Cyrus Hodge, sugar factor and
magnate, ordered his chauffeur to stop beside her. Willy nilly, in
excess of friendliness, he had her into his limousine beside him
and went three-quarters of an hour out of his way and time
personally to conduct her to her destination.

"Good for sore eyes to see you," he burbled. "How the years fly!
You're looking fine. The secret of youth is yours."

Alice smiled and complimented in return in the royal Polynesian way
of friendliness.

"My, my," Cyrus Hodge reminisced. "I was such a boy in those

"SOME boy," she laughed acquiescence.

"But knowing no more than the foolishness of a boy in those long-
ago days."

"Remember the night your hack-driver got drunk and left you--"

"S-s-sh!" he cautioned. "That Jap driver is a high-school graduate
and knows more English than either of us. Also, I think he is a
spy for his Government. So why should we tell him anything?
Besides, I was so very young. You remember . . . "

"Your cheeks were like the peaches we used to grow before the
Mediterranean fruit fly got into them," Alice agreed. "I don't
think you shaved more than once a week then. You were a pretty
boy. Don't you remember the hula we composed in your honour, the--

"S-s-sh!" he hushed her. "All that's buried and forgotten. May it
remain forgotten."

And she was aware that in his eyes was no longer any of the
ingenuousness of youth she remembered. Instead, his eyes were keen
and speculative, searching into her for some assurance that she
would not resurrect his particular portion of that buried past.

"Religion is a good thing for us as we get along into middle age,"
another old friend told her. He was building a magnificent house
on Pacific Heights, but had recently married a second time, and was
even then on his way to the steamer to welcome home his two
daughters just graduated from Vassar. "We need religion in our old
age, Alice. It softens, makes us more tolerant and forgiving of
the weaknesses of others--especially the weaknesses of youth of--of
others, when they played high and low and didn't know what they
were doing."

He waited anxiously.

"Yes," she said. "We are all born to sin and it is hard to grow
out of sin. But I grow, I grow."

"Don't forget, Alice, in those other days I always played square.
You and I never had a falling out."

"Not even the night you gave that luau when you were twenty-one and
insisted on breaking the glassware after every toast. But of
course you paid for it."

"Handsomely," he asserted almost pleadingly.

"Handsomely," she agreed. "I replaced more than double the
quantity with what you paid me, so that at the next luau I catered
one hundred and twenty plates without having to rent or borrow a
dish or glass. Lord Mainweather gave that luau--you remember him."

"I was pig-sticking with him at Mana," the other nodded. "We were
at a two weeks' house-party there. But say, Alice, as you know, I
think this religion stuff is all right and better than all right.
But don't let it carry you off your feet. And don't get to telling
your soul on me. What would my daughters think of that broken

"I always did have an aloha" (warm regard) "for you, Alice," a
member of the Senate, fat and bald-headed, assured her.

And another, a lawyer and a grandfather: "We were always friends,
Alice. And remember, any legal advice or handling of business you
may require, I'll do for you gladly, and without fees, for the sake
of our old-time friendship."

Came a banker to her late Christmas Eve, with formidable, legal-
looking envelopes in his hand which he presented to her.

"Quite by chance," he explained, "when my people were looking up
land-records in Iapio Valley, I found a mortgage of two thousand on
your holdings there--that rice land leased to Ah Chin. And my mind
drifted back to the past when we were all young together, and wild-
-a bit wild, to be sure. And my heart warmed with the memory of
you, and, so, just as an aloha, here's the whole thing cleared off
for you."

Nor was Alice forgotten by her own people. Her house became a
Mecca for native men and women, usually performing pilgrimage
privily after darkness fell, with presents always in their hands--
squid fresh from the reef, opihis and limu, baskets of alligator
pears, roasting corn of the earliest from windward Cahu, mangoes
and star-apples, taro pink and royal of the finest selection,
sucking pigs, banana poi, breadfruit, and crabs caught the very day
from Pearl Harbour. Mary Mendana, wife of the Portuguese Consul,
remembered her with a five-dollar box of candy and a mandarin coat
that would have fetched three-quarters of a hundred dollars at a
fire sale. And Elvira Miyahara Makaena Yin Wap, the wife of Yin
Wap the wealthy Chinese importer, brought personally to Alice two
entire bolts of pina cloth from the Philippines and a dozen pairs
of silk stockings.

The time passed, and Abel Ah Yo struggled with Alice for a properly
penitent heart, and Alice struggled with herself for her soul,
while half of Honolulu wickedly or apprehensively hung on the
outcome. Carnival week was over, polo and the races had come and
gone, and the celebration of Fourth of July was ripening, ere Abel
Ah Yo beat down by brutal psychology the citadel of her reluctance.
It was then that he gave his famous exhortation which might be
summed up as Abel Ah Yo's definition of eternity. Of course, like
Billy Sunday on certain occasions, Abel Ah Yo had cribbed the
definition. But no one in the Islands knew it, and his rating as a
revivalist uprose a hundred per cent.

So successful was his preaching that night, that he reconverted
many of his converts, who fell and moaned about the penitent form
and crowded for room amongst scores of new converts burnt by the
pentecostal fire, including half a company of negro soldiers from
the garrisoned Twenty-Fifth Infantry, a dozen troopers from the
Fourth Cavalry on its way to the Philippines, as many drunken man-
of-war's men, divers ladies from Iwilei, and half the riff-raff of
the beach.

Abel Ah Yo, subtly sympathetic himself by virtue of his racial
admixture, knowing human nature like a book and Alice Akana even
more so, knew just what he was doing when he arose that memorable
night and exposited God, hell, and eternity in terms of Alice
Akana's comprehension. For, quite by chance, he had discovered her
cardinal weakness. First of all, like all Polynesians, an ardent
lover of nature, he found that earthquake and volcanic eruption
were the things of which Alice lived in terror. She had been, in
the past, on the Big Island, through cataclysms that had slacken
grass houses down upon her while she slept, and she had beheld
Madame Pele (the Fire or Volcano Goddess) fling red-fluxing lava
down the long slopes of Mauna Loa, destroying fish-ponds on the
sea-brim and licking up droves of beef cattle, villages, and humans
on her fiery way.

The night before, a slight earthquake had shaken Honolulu and given
Alice Akana insomnia. And the morning papers had stated that Mauna
Kea had broken into eruption, while the lava was rising rapidly in
the great pit of Kilauea. So, at the meeting, her mind vexed
between the terrors of this world and the delights of the eternal
world to come, Alice sat down in a front seat in a very definite
state of the "jumps."

And Abel Ah Yo arose and put his finger on the sorest part of her
soul. Sketching the nature of God in the stereotyped way, but
making the stereotyped alive again with his gift of tongues in
Pidgin-English and Pidgin-Hawaiian, Abel Ah Yo described the day
when the Lord, even His infinite patience at an end, would tell
Peter to close his day book and ledgers, command Gabriel to summon
all souls to Judgment, and cry out with a voice of thunder:

This anthromorphic deity of Abel Ah Yo thundering the modern
Hawaiian-English slang of welakahao at the end of the world, is a
fair sample of the revivalist's speech-tools of discourse.
Welakahao means literally "hot iron." It was coined in the
Honolulu Iron-works by the hundreds of Hawaiian men there employed,
who meant by it "to hustle," "to get a move on," the iron being hot
meaning that the time had come to strike.

"And the Lord cried 'Welakahao,' and the Day of Judgment began and
was over wiki-wiki" (quickly) "just like that; for Peter was a
better bookkeeper than any on the Waterhouse Trust Company Limited,
and, further, Peter's books were true."

Swiftly Abel Ah Yo divided the sheep from the goats, and hastened
the latter down into hell.

"And now," he demanded, perforce his language on these pages being
properly Englished, "what is hell like? Oh, my friends, let me
describe to you, in a little way, what I have beheld with my own
eves on earth of the possibilities of hell. I was a young man, a
boy, and I was at Hilo. Morning began with earthquakes.
Throughout the day the mighty land continued to shake and tremble,
till strong men became seasick, and women clung to trees to escape
falling, and cattle were thrown down off their feet. I beheld
myself a young calf so thrown. A night of terror indescribable
followed. The land was in motion like a canoe in a Kona gale.
There was an infant crushed to death by its fond mother stepping
upon it whilst fleeing her falling house.

"The heavens were on fire above us. We read our Bibles by the
light of the heavens, and the print was fine, even for young eyes.
Those missionary Bibles were always too small of print. Forty
miles away from us, the heart of hell burst from the lofty
mountains and gushed red-blood of fire-melted rock toward the sea.
With the heavens in vast conflagration and the earth hulaing
beneath our feet, was a scene too awful and too majestic to be
enjoyed. We could think only of the thin bubble-skin of earth
between us and the everlasting lake of fire and brimstone, and of
God to whom we prayed to save us. There were earnest and devout
souls who there and then promised their pastors to give not their
shaved tithes, but five-tenths of their all to the church, if only
the Lord would let them live to contribute.

"Oh, my friends, God saved us. But first he showed us a foretaste
of that hell that will yawn for us on the last day, when he cries
'Welakahao!' in a voice of thunder. When the iron is hot! Think
of it! When the iron is hot for sinners!

"By the third day, things being much quieter, my friend the
preacher and I, being calm in the hand of God, journeyed up Mauna
Loa and gazed into the awful pit of Kilauea. We gazed down into
the fathomless abyss to the lake of fire far below, roaring and
dashing its fiery spray into billows and fountaining hundreds of
feet into the air like Fourth of July fireworks you have all seen,
and all the while we were suffocating and made dizzy by the immense
volumes of smoke and brimstone ascending.

"And I say unto you, no pious person could gaze down upon that
scene without recognizing fully the Bible picture of the Pit of
Hell. Believe me, the writers of the New Testament had nothing on
us. As for me, my eyes were fixed upon the exhibition before me,
and I stood mute and trembling under a sense never before so fully
realized of the power, the majesty, and terror of Almighty God--the
resources of His wrath, and the untold horrors of the finally
impenitent who do not tell their souls and make their peace with
the Creator. {1}

"But oh, my friends, think you our guides, our native attendants,
deep-sunk in heathenism, were affected by such a scene? No. The
devil's hand was upon them. Utterly regardless and unimpressed,
they were only careful about their supper, chatted about their raw
fish, and stretched themselves upon their mats to sleep. Children
of the devil they were, insensible to the beauties, the
sublimities, and the awful terror of God's works. But you are not
heathen I now address. What is a heathen? He is one who betrays a
stupid insensibility to every elevated idea and to every elevated
emotion. If you wish to awaken his attention, do not bid him to
look down into the Pit of Hell. But present him with a calabash of
poi, a raw fish, or invite him to some low, grovelling, and
sensuous sport. Oh, my friends, how lost are they to all that
elevates the immortal soul! But the preacher and I, sad and sick
at heart for them, gazed down into hell. Oh, my friends, it WAS
hell, the hell of the Scriptures, the hell of eternal torment for
the undeserving . . . "

Alice Akana was in an ecstasy or hysteria of terror. She was
mumbling incoherently: "O Lord, I will give nine-tenths of my all.
I will give all. I will give even the two bolts of pina cloth, the
mandarin coat, and the entire dozen silk stockings . . . "

By the time she could lend ear again, Abel Ah Yo was launching out
on his famous definition of eternity.

"Eternity is a long time, my friends. God lives, and, therefore,
God lives inside eternity. And God is very old. The fires of hell
are as old and as everlasting as God. How else could there be
everlasting torment for those sinners cast down by God into the Pit
on the Last Day to burn for ever and for ever through all eternity?
Oh, my friends, your minds are small--too small to grasp eternity.
Yet is it given to me, by God's grace, to convey to you an
understanding of a tiny bit of eternity.

"The grains of sand on the beach of Waikiki are as many as the
stars, and more. No man may count them. Did he have a million
lives in which to count them, he would have to ask for more time.
Now let us consider a little, dinky, old minah bird with one broken
wing that cannot fly. At Waikiki the minah bird that cannot fly
takes one grain of sand in its beak and hops, hops, all day lone
and for many days, all the day to Pearl Harbour and drops that one
grain of sand into the harbour. Then it hops, hops, all day and
for many days, all the way back to Waikiki for another grain of
sand. And again it hops, hops all the way back to Pearl Harbour.
And it continues to do this through the years and centuries, and
the thousands and thousands of centuries, until, at last, there
remains not one grain of sand at Waikiki and Pearl Harbour is
filled up with land and growing coconuts and pine-apples. And
then, oh my friends, even then, IT WOULD NOT YET BE SUNRISE IN

Here, at the smashing impact of so abrupt a climax, unable to
withstand the sheer simplicity and objectivity of such artful
measurement of a trifle of eternity, Alice Akana's mind broke down
and blew up. She uprose, reeled blindly, and stumbled to her knees
at the penitent form. Abel Ah Yo had not finished his preaching,
but it was his gift to know crowd psychology, and to feel the heat
of the pentecostal conflagration that scorched his audience. He
called for a rousing revival hymn from his singers, and stepped
down to wade among the hallelujah-shouting negro soldiers to Alice
Akana. And, ere the excitement began to ebb, nine-tenths of his
congregation and all his converts were down on knees and praying
and shouting aloud an immensity of contriteness and sin.

Word came, via telephone, almost simultaneously to the Pacific and
University Clubs, that at last Alice was telling her soul in
meeting; and, by private machine and taxi-cab, for the first time
Abel Ah Yo's revival was invaded by those of caste and place. The
first comers beheld the curious sight of Hawaiian, Chinese, and all
variegated racial mixtures of the smelting-pot of Hawaii, men and
women, fading out and slinking away through the exits of Abel Ah
Yo's tabernacle. But those who were sneaking out were mostly men,
while those who remained were avid-faced as they hung on Alice's

Never was a more fearful and damning community narrative enunciated
in the entire Pacific, north and south, than that enunciated by
Alice Akana; the penitent Phryne of Honolulu.

"Huh!" the first comers heard her saying, having already disposed
of most of the venial sins of the lesser ones of her memory. "You
think this man, Stephen Makekau, is the son of Moses Makekau and
Minnie Ah Ling, and has a legal right to the two hundred and eight
dollars he draws down each month from Parke Richards Limited, for
the lease of the fish-pond to Bill Kong at Amana. Not so. Stephen
Makekau is not the son of Moses. He is the son of Aaron Kama and
Tillie Naone. He was given as a present, as a feeding child, to
Moses and Minnie, by Aaron and Tillie. I know. Moses and Minnie
and Aaron and Tillie are dead. Yet I know and can prove it. Old
Mrs. Poepoe is still alive. I was present when Stephen was born,
and in the night-time, when he was two months old, I myself carried
him as a present to Moses and Minnie, and old Mrs. Poepoe carried
the lantern. This secret has been one of my sins. It has kept me
from God. Now I am free of it. Young Archie Makekau, who collects
bills for the Gas Company and plays baseball in the afternoons, and
drinks too much gin, should get that two hundred and eight dollars
the first of each month from Parke Richards Limited. He will blow
it in on gin and a Ford automobile. Stephen is a good man. Archie
is no good. Also he is a liar, and he has served two sentences on
the reef, and was in reform school before that. Yet God demands
the truth, and Archie will get the money and make a bad use of it."

And in such fashion Alice rambled on through the experiences of her
long and full-packed life. And women forgot they were in the
tabernacle, and men too, and faces darkened with passion as they
learned for the first time the long-buried secrets of their other

"The lawyers' offices will be crowded to-morrow morning,"
MacIlwaine, chief of detectives, paused long enough from storing
away useful information to lean and mutter in Colonel Stilton's

Colonel Stilton grinned affirmation, although the chief of
detectives could not fail to note the ghastliness of the grin.

"There is a banker in Honolulu. You all know his name. He is 'way
up, swell society because of his wife. He owns much stock in
General Plantations and Inter-Island."

MacIlwaine recognized the growing portrait and forbore to chuckle.

"His name is Colonel Stilton. Last Christmas Eve he came to my
house with big aloha" (love) "and gave me mortgages on my land in
Iapio Valley, all cancelled, for two thousand dollars' worth. Now
why did he have such big cash aloha for me? I will tell you . . .

And tell she did, throwing the searchlight on ancient business
transactions and political deals which from their inception had
lurked in the dark.

"This," Alice concluded the episode, "has long been a sin upon my
conscience, and kept my heart from God.

"And Harold Miles was that time President of the Senate, and next
week he bought three town lots at Pearl Harbour, and painted his
Honolulu house, and paid up his back dues in his clubs. Also the
Ramsay home at Honokiki was left by will to the people if the
Government would keep it up. But if the Government, after two
years, did not begin to keep it up, then would it go to the Ramsay
heirs, whom old Ramsay hated like poison. Well, it went to the
heirs all right. Their lawyer was Charley Middleton, and he had me
help fix it with the Government men. And their names were . . . "
Six names, from both branches of the Legislature, Alice recited,
and added: "Maybe they all painted their houses after that. For
the first time have I spoken. My heart is much lighter and softer.
It has been coated with an armour of house-paint against the Lord.
And there is Harry Werther. He was in the Senate that time.
Everybody said bad things about him, and he was never re-elected.
Yet his house was not painted. He was honest. To this day his
house is not painted, as everybody knows.

"There is Jim Lokendamper. He has a bad heart. I heard him, only
last week, right here before you all, tell his soul. He did not
tell all his soul, and he lied to God. I am not lying to God. It
is a big telling, but I am telling everything. Now Azalea Akau,
sitting right over there, is his wife. But Lizzie Lokendamper is
his married wife. A long time ago he had the great aloha for
Azalea. You think her uncle, who went to California and died, left
her by will that two thousand five hundred dollars she got. Her
uncle did not. I know. Her uncle cried broke in California, and
Jim Lokendamper sent eighty dollars to California to bury him. Jim
Lokendamper had a piece of land in Kohala he got from his mother's
aunt. Lizzie, his married wife, did not know this. So he sold it
to the Kohala Ditch Company and wave the twenty-five hundred to
Azalea Akau--"

Here, Lizzie, the married wife, upstood like a fury long-thwarted,
and, in lieu of her husband, already fled, flung herself tooth and
nail on Azalea.

"Wait, Lizzie Lokendamper!" Alice cried out. "I have much weight
of you on my heart and some house-paint too . . . "

And when she had finished her disclosure of how Lizzie had painted
her house, Azalea was up and raging.

"Wait, Azalea Akau. I shall now lighten my heart about you. And
it is not house-paint. Jim always paid that. It is your new bath-
tub and modern plumbing that is heavy on me . . . "

Worse, much worse, about many and sundry, did Alice Akana have to
say, cutting high in business, financial, and social life, as well
as low. None was too high nor too low to escape; and not until two
in the morning, before an entranced audience that packed the
tabernacle to the doors, did she complete her recital of the
personal and detailed iniquities she knew of the community in which
she had lived intimately all her days. Just as she was finishing,
she remembered more.

"Huh!" she sniffed. "I gave last week one lot worth eight hundred
dollars cash market price to Abel Ah Yo to pay running expenses and
add up in Peter's books in heaven. Where did I get that lot? You
all think Mr. Fleming Jason is a good man. He is more crooked than
the entrance was to Pearl Lochs before the United States Government
straightened the channel. He has liver disease now; but his
sickness is a judgment of God, and he will die crooked. Mr.
Fleming Jason gave me that lot twenty-two years ago, when its cash
market price was thirty-five dollars. Because his aloha for me was
big? No. He never had aloha inside of him except for dollars.

"You listen. Mr. Fleming Jason put a great sin upon me. When
Frank Lomiloli was at my house, full of gin, for which gin Mr.
Fleming Jason paid me in advance five times over, I got Frank
Lomiloli to sign his name to the sale paper of his town land for
one hundred dollars. It was worth six hundred then. It is worth
twenty thousand now. Maybe you want to know where that town land
is. I will tell you and remove it off my heart. It is on King
Street, where is now the Come Again Saloon, the Japanese Taxicab
Company garage, the Smith & Wilson plumbing shop, and the Ambrosia
lee Cream Parlours, with the two more stories big Addison Lodging
House overhead. And it is all wood, and always has been well
painted. Yesterday they started painting it attain. But that
paint will not stand between me and God. There are no more paint
pots between me and my path to heaven."

The morning and evening papers of the day following held an unholy
hush on the greatest news story of years; but Honolulu was half a-
giggle and half aghast at the whispered reports, not always basely
exaggerated, that circulated wherever two Honoluluans chanced to

"Our mistake," said Colonel Chilton, at the club, "was that we did
not, at the very first, appoint a committee of safety to keep track
of Alice's soul."

Bob Cristy, one of the younger islanders, burst into laughter, so
pointed and so loud that the meaning of it was demanded.

"Oh, nothing much," was his reply. "But I heard, on my way here,
that old John Ward had just been run in for drunken and disorderly
conduct and for resisting an officer. Now Abel Ah Yo fine-
toothcombs the police court. He loves nothing better than soul-
snatching a chronic drunkard."

Colonel Chilton looked at Lask Finneston, and both looked at Gary
Wilkinson. He returned to them a similar look.

"The old beachcomber!" Lask Finneston cried. "The drunken old
reprobate! I'd forgotten he was alive. Wonderful constitution.
Never drew a sober breath except when he was shipwrecked, and, when
I remember him, into every deviltry afloat. He must be going on

"He isn't far away from it," Bob Cristy nodded. "Still beach-
combs, drinks when he gets the price, and keeps all his senses,
though he's not spry and has to use glasses when he reads. And his
memory is perfect. Now if Abel Ah Yo catches him . . . "

Gary Wilkinson cleared his throat preliminary to speech.

"Now there's a grand old man," he said. "A left-over from a
forgotten age. Few of his type remain. A pioneer. A true
kamaaina" (old-timer). "Helpless and in the hands of the police in
his old age! We should do something for him in recognition of his
yeoman work in Hawaii. His old home, I happen to know, is Sag
Harbour. He hasn't seen it for over half a century. Now why
shouldn't he be surprised to-morrow morning by having his fine
paid, and by being presented with return tickets to Sag Harbour,
and, say, expenses for a year's trip? I move a committee. I
appoint Colonel Chilton, Lask Finneston, and . . . and myself. As
for chairman, who more appropriate than Lask Finneston, who knew
the old gentleman so well in the early days? Since there is no
objection, I hereby appoint Lask Finneston chairman of the
committee for the purpose of raising and donating money to pay the
police-court fine and the expenses of a year's travel for that
noble pioneer, John Ward, in recognition of a lifetime of devotion
of energy to the upbuilding of Hawaii."

There was no dissent.

"The committee will now go into secret session," said Lask
Finneston, arising and indicating the way to the library.

August 30, 1916.


They have gone down to the pit with their weapons of war, and they
have laid their swords under their heads.

"It was a sad thing to see the old lady revert."

Prince Akuli shot an apprehensive glance sideward to where, under
the shade of a kukui tree, an old wahine (Hawaiian woman) was just
settling herself to begin on some work in hand.

"Yes," he nodded half-sadly to me, "in her last years Hiwilani went
back to the old ways, and to the old beliefs--in secret, of course.
And, BELIEVE me, she was some collector herself. You should have
seen her bones. She had them all about her bedroom, in big jars,
and they constituted most all her relatives, except a half-dozen or
so that Kanau beat her out of by getting to them first. The way
the pair of them used to quarrel about those bones was awe-
inspiring. And it gave me the creeps, when I was a boy, to go into
that big, for-ever-twilight room of hers, and know that in this jar
was all that remained of my maternal grand-aunt, and that in that
jar was my great-grandfather, and that in all the jars were the
preserved bone-remnants of the shadowy dust of the ancestors whose
seed had come down and been incorporated in the living, breathing
me. Hiwilani had gone quite native at the last, sleeping on mats
on the hard floor--she'd fired out of the room the great, royal,
canopied four-poster that had been presented to her grandmother by
Lord Byron, who was the cousin of the Don Juan Byron and came here
in the frigate Blonde in 1825.

"She went back to all native, at the last, and I can see her yet,
biting a bite out of the raw fish ere she tossed them to her women
to eat. And she made them finish her poi, or whatever else she did
not finish of herself. She--"

But he broke off abruptly, and by the sensitive dilation of his
nostrils and by the expression of his mobile features I saw that he
had read in the air and identified the odour that offended him.

"Deuce take it!" he cried to me. "It stinks to heaven. And I
shall be doomed to wear it until we're rescued."

There was no mistaking the object of his abhorrence. The ancient
crone was making a dearest-loved lei (wreath) of the fruit of the
hala which is the screw-pine or pandanus of the South Pacific. She
was cutting the many sections or nut-envelopes of the fruit into
fluted bell-shapes preparatory to stringing them on the twisted and
tough inner bark of the hau tree. It certainly smelled to heaven,
but, to me, a malahini (new-comer), the smell was wine-woody and
fruit-juicy and not unpleasant.

Prince Akuli's limousine had broken an axle a quarter of a mile
away, and he and I had sought shelter from the sun in this
veritable bowery of a mountain home. Humble and grass-thatched was
the house, but it stood in a treasure-garden of begonias that
sprayed their delicate blooms a score of feet above our heads, that
were like trees, with willowy trunks of trees as thick as a man's
arm. Here we refreshed ourselves with drinking-coconuts, while a
cowboy rode a dozen miles to the nearest telephone and summoned a
machine from town. The town itself we could see, the Lakanaii
metropolis of Olokona, a smudge of smoke on the shore-line, as we
looked down across the miles of cane-fields, the billow-wreathed
reef-lines, and the blue haze of ocean to where the island of Oahu
shimmered like a dim opal on the horizon.

Maui is the Valley Isle of Hawaii, and Kauai the Garden Isle; but
Lakanaii, lying abreast of Oahu, is recognized in the present, and
was known of old and always, as the Jewel Isle of the group. Not
the largest, nor merely the smallest, Lakanaii is conceded by all
to be the wildest, the most wildly beautiful, and, in its size, the
richest of all the islands. Its sugar tonnage per acre is the
highest, its mountain beef-cattle the fattest, its rainfall the
most generous without ever being disastrous. It resembles Kauai in
that it is the first-formed and therefore the oldest island, so
that it had had time sufficient to break down its lava rock into
the richest soil, and to erode the canyons between the ancient
craters until they are like Grand Canyons of the Colorado, with
numberless waterfalls plunging thousands of feet in the sheer or
dissipating into veils of vapour, and evanescing in mid-air to
descend softly and invisibly through a mirage of rainbows, like so
much dew or gentle shower, upon the abyss-floors.

Yet Lakanaii is easy to describe. But how can one describe Prince
Akuli? To know him is to know all Lakanaii most thoroughly. In
addition, one must know thoroughly a great deal of the rest of the
world. In the first place, Prince Akuli has no recognized nor
legal right to be called "Prince." Furthermore, "Akuli" means the
"squid." So that Prince Squid could scarcely be the dignified
title of the straight descendant of the oldest and highest aliis
(high chiefs) of Hawaii--an old and exclusive stock, wherein, in
the ancient way of the Egyptian Pharaohs, brothers and sisters had
even wed on the throne for the reason that they could not marry
beneath rank, that in all their known world there was none of
higher rank, and that, at every hazard, the dynasty must be

I have heard Prince Akuli's singing historians (inherited from his
father) chanting their interminable genealogies, by which they
demonstrated that he was the highest alii in all Hawaii. Beginning
with Wakea, who is their Adam, and with Papa, their Eve, through as
many generations as there are letters in our alphabet they trace
down to Nanakaoko, the first ancestor born in Hawaii and whose wife
was Kahihiokalani. Later, but always highest, their generations
split from the generations of Ua, who was the founder of the two
distinct lines of the Kauai and Oahu kings.

In the eleventh century A.D., by the Lakanaii historians, at the
time brothers and sisters mated because none existed to excel them,
their rank received a boost of new blood of rank that was next to
heaven's door. One Hoikemaha, steering by the stars and the
ancient traditions, arrived in a great double-canoe from Samoa. He
married a lesser alii of Lakanaii, and when his three sons were
grown, returned with them to Samoa to bring back his own youngest
brother. But with him he brought back Kumi, the son of Tui Manua,
which latter's rank was highest in all Polynesia, and barely second
to that of the demigods and gods. So the estimable seed of Kumi,
eight centuries before, had entered into the aliis of Lakanaii, and
been passed down by them in the undeviating line to reposit in
Prince Akuli.

Him I first met, talking with an Oxford accent, in the officers'
mess of the Black Watch in South Africa. This was just before that
famous regiment was cut to pieces at Magersfontein. He had as much
right to be in that mess as he had to his accent, for he was
Oxford-educated and held the Queen's Commission. With him, as his
guest, taking a look at the war, was Prince Cupid, so nicknamed,
but the true prince of all Hawaii, including Lakanaii, whose real
and legal title was Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, and who might
have been the living King of Hawaii Nei had it not been for the
haole (white man) Revolution and Annexation--this, despite the fact
that Prince Cupid's alii genealogy was lesser to the heaven-boosted
genealogy of Prince Akuli. For Prince Akuli might have been King
of Lakanaii, and of all Hawaii, perhaps, had not his grandfather
been soundly thrashed by the first and greatest of the Kamehamehas.

This had occurred in the year 1810, in the booming days of the
sandalwood trade, and in the same year that the King of Kauai came
in, and was good, and ate out of Kamehameha's hand. Prince Akuli's
grandfather, in that year, had received his trouncing and
subjugating because he was "old school." He had not imaged island
empire in terms of gunpowder and haole gunners. Kamehameha,
farther-visioned, had annexed the service of haoles, including such
men as Isaac Davis, mate and sole survivor of the massacred crew of
the schooner Fair American, and John Young, captured boatswain of
the snow Eleanor. And Isaac Davis, and John Young, and others of
their waywardly adventurous ilk, with six-pounder brass carronades
from the captured Iphigenia and Fair American, had destroyed the
war canoes and shattered the morale of the King of Lakanaii's land-
fighters, receiving duly in return from Kamehameha, according to
agreement: Isaac Davis, six hundred mature and fat hogs; John
Young, five hundred of the same described pork on the hoof that was

And so, out of all incests and lusts of the primitive cultures and
beast-man's gropings toward the stature of manhood, out of all red
murders, and brute battlings, and matings with the younger brothers
of the demigods, world-polished, Oxford-accented, twentieth century
to the tick of the second, comes Prince Akuli, Prince Squid, pure-
veined Polynesian, a living bridge across the thousand centuries,
comrade, friend, and fellow-traveller out of his wrecked seven-
thousand-dollar limousine, marooned with me in a begonia paradise
fourteen hundred feet above the sea, and his island metropolis of
Olokona, to tell me of his mother, who reverted in her old age to
ancientness of religious concept and ancestor worship, and
collected and surrounded herself with the charnel bones of those
who had been her forerunners back in the darkness of time.

"King Kalakaua started this collecting fad, over on Oahu," Prince
Akuli continued. "And his queen, Kapiolani, caught the fad from
him. They collected everything--old makaloa mats, old tapas, old
calabashes, old double-canoes, and idols which the priests had
saved from the general destruction in 1819. I haven't seen a
pearl-shell fish-hook in years, but I swear that Kalakaua
accumulated ten thousand of them, to say nothing of human jaw-bone
fish-hooks, and feather cloaks, and capes and helmets, and stone
adzes, and poi-pounders of phallic design. When he and Kapiolani
made their royal progresses around the islands, their hosts had to
hide away their personal relics. For to the king, in theory,
belongs all property of his people; and with Kalakaua, when it came
to the old things, theory and practice were one.

"From him my father, Kanau, got the collecting bee in his bonnet,
and Hiwilani was likewise infected. But father was modern to his
finger-tips. He believed neither in the gods of the kahunas"
(priests) "nor of the missionaries. He didn't believe in anything
except sugar stocks, horse-breeding, and that his grandfather had
been a fool in not collecting a few Isaac Davises and John Youngs
and brass carronades before he went to war with Kamehameha. So he
collected curios in the pure collector's spirit; but my mother took
it seriously. That was why she went in for bones. I remember,
too, she had an ugly old stone-idol she used to yammer to and crawl
around on the floor before. It's in the Deacon Museum now. I sent
it there after her death, and her collection of bones to the Royal
Mausoleum in Olokona.

"I don't know whether you remember her father was Kaaukuu. Well,
he was, and he was a giant. When they built the Mausoleum, his
bones, nicely cleaned and preserved, were dug out of their hiding-
place, and placed in the Mausoleum. Hiwilani had an old retainer,
Ahuna. She stole the key from Kanau one night, and made Ahuna go
and steal her father's bones out of the Mausoleum. I know. And he
must have been a giant. She kept him in one of her big jars. One
day, when I was a tidy size of a lad, and curious to know if
Kaaukuu was as big as tradition had him, I fished his intact lower
jaw out of the jar, and the wrappings, and tried it on. I stuck my
head right through it, and it rested around my neck and on my
shoulders like a horse collar. And every tooth was in the jaw,
whiter than porcelain, without a cavity, the enamel unstained and
unchipped. I got the walloping of my life for that offence,
although she had to call old Ahuna in to help give it to me. But
the incident served me well. It won her confidence in me that I
was not afraid of the bones of the dead ones, and it won for me my
Oxford education. As you shall see, if that car doesn't arrive

"Old Ahuna was one of the real old ones with the hall-mark on him
and branded into him of faithful born-slave service. He knew more
about my mother's family, and my father's, than did both of them
put together. And he knew, what no living other knew, the burial-
place of centuries, where were hid the bones of most of her
ancestors and of Kanau's. Kanau couldn't worm it out of the old
fellow, who looked upon Kanau as an apostate.

"Hiwilani struggled with the old codger for years. How she ever
succeeded is beyond me. Of course, on the face of it, she was
faithful to the old religion. This might have persuaded Ahuna to
loosen up a little. Or she may have jolted fear into him; for she
knew a lot of the line of chatter of the old Huni sorcerers, and
she could make a noise like being on terms of utmost intimacy with
Uli, who is the chiefest god of sorcery of all the sorcerers. She
could skin the ordinary kahuna lapaau" (medicine man) "when it came
to praying to Lonopuha and Koleamoku; read dreams and visions and
signs and omens and indigestions to beat the band; make the
practitioners under the medicine god, Maiola, look like thirty
cents; pull off a pule hee incantation that would make them dizzy;
and she claimed to a practice of kahuna hoenoho, which is modern
spiritism, second to none. I have myself seen her drink the wind,
throw a fit, and prophesy. The aumakuas were brothers to her when
she slipped offerings to them across the altars of the ruined
heiaus" (temples) "with a line of prayer that was as unintelligible
to me as it was hair-raising. And as for old Ahuna, she could make
him get down on the floor and yammer and bite himself when she
pulled the real mystery dope on him.

"Nevertheless, my private opinion is that it was the anaana stuff
that got him. She snipped off a lock of his hair one day with a
pair of manicure scissors. This lock of hair was what we call the
maunu, meaning the bait. And she took jolly good care to let him
know she had that bit of his hair. Then she tipped it off to him
that she had buried it, and was deeply engaged each night in her
offerings and incantations to Uli."

"That was the regular praying-to-death?" I queried in the pause of
Prince Akuli's lighting his cigarette.

"Sure thing," he nodded. "And Ahuna fell for it. First he tried
to locate the hiding-place of the bait of his hair. Failing that,
he hired a pahiuhiu sorcerer to find it for him. But Hiwilani
queered that game by threatening to the sorcerer to practise apo
leo on him, which is the art of permanently depriving a person of
the power of speech without otherwise injuring him.

"Then it was that Ahuna began to pine away and get more like a
corpse every day. In desperation he appealed to Kanau. I happened
to be present. You have heard what sort of a man my father was.

"'Pig!' he called Ahuna. 'Swine-brains! Stinking fish! Die and
be done with it. You are a fool. It is all nonsense. There is
nothing in anything. The drunken haole, Howard, can prove the
missionaries wrong. Square-face gin proves Howard wrong. The
doctors say he won't last six months. Even square-face gin lies.
Life is a liar, too. And here are hard times upon us, and a slump
in sugar. Glanders has got into my brood mares. I wish I could
lie down and sleep for a hundred years, and wake up to find sugar
up a hundred points.'

"Father was something of a philosopher himself, with a bitter wit
and a trick of spitting out staccato epigrams. He clapped his
hands. 'Bring me a high-ball,' he commanded; 'no, bring me two
high-balls.' Then he turned on Ahuna. 'Go and let yourself die,
old heathen, survival of darkness, blight of the Pit that you are.
But don't die on these premises. I desire merriment and laughter,
and the sweet tickling of music, and the beauty of youthful motion,
not the croaking of sick toads and googly-eyed corpses about me
still afoot on their shaky legs. I'll be that way soon enough if I
live long enough. And it will be my everlasting regret if I don't
live long enough. Why in hell did I sink that last twenty thousand
into Curtis's plantation? Howard warned me the slump was coming,
but I thought it was the square-face making him lie. And Curtis
has blown his brains out, and his head luna has run away with his
daughter, and the sugar chemist has got typhoid, and everything's
going to smash.'

"He clapped his hands for his servants, and commanded: 'Bring me
my singing boys. And the hula dancers--plenty of them. And send
for old Howard. Somebody's got to pay, and I'll shorten his six
months of life by a month. But above all, music. Let there be
music. It is stronger than drink, and quicker than opium.'

"He with his music druggery! It was his father, the old savage,
who was entertained on board a French frigate, and for the first
time heard an orchestra. When the little concert was over, the
captain, to find which piece he liked best, asked which piece he'd
like repeated. Well, when grandfather got done describing, what
piece do you think it was?"

I gave up, while the Prince lighted a fresh cigarette.

"Why, it was the first one, of course. Not the real first one, but
the tuning up that preceded it."

I nodded, with eyes and face mirthful of appreciation, and Prince
Akuli, with another apprehensive glance at the old wahine and her
half-made hala lei, returned to his tale of the bones of his

"It was somewhere around this stage of the game that old Ahuna gave
in to Hiwilani. He didn't exactly give in. He compromised.
That's where I come in. If he would bring her the bones of her
mother, and of her grandfather (who was the father of Kaaukuu, and
who by tradition was rumoured to have been even bigger than his
giant son, she would return to Ahuna the bait of his hair she was
praying him to death with. He, on the other hand, stipulated that
he was not to reveal to her the secret burial-place of all the alii
of Lakanaii all the way back. Nevertheless, he was too old to dare
the adventure alone, must be helped by some one who of necessity
would come to know the secret, and I was that one. I was the
highest alii, beside my father and mother, and they were no higher
than I.

"So I came upon the scene, being summoned into the twilight room to
confront those two dubious old ones who dealt with the dead. They
were a pair--mother fat to despair of helplessness, Ahuna thin as a
skeleton and as fragile. Of her one had the impression that if she
lay down on her back she could not roll over without the aid of
block-and-tackle; of Ahuna one's impression was that the tooth-
pickedness of him would shatter to splinters if one bumped into

"And when they had broached the matter, there was more pilikia"
(trouble). "My father's attitude stiffened my resolution. I
refused to go on the bone-snatching expedition. I said I didn't
care a whoop for the bones of all the aliis of my family and race.
You see, I had just discovered Jules Verne, loaned me by old
Howard, and was reading my head off. Bones? When there were North
Poles, and Centres of Earths, and hairy comets to ride across space
among the stars! Of course I didn't want to go on any bone-
snatching expedition. I said my father was able-bodied, and he
could go, splitting equally with her whatever bones he brought
back. But she said he was only a blamed collector--or words to
that effect, only stronger.

"'I know him,' she assured me. 'He'd bet his mother's bones on a
horse-race or an ace-full.'

"I stood with fat her when it came to modern scepticism, and I told
her the whole thing was rubbish. 'Bones?' I said. 'What are
bones? Even field mice, and many rats, and cockroaches have bones,
though the roaches wear their bones outside their meat instead of
inside. The difference between man and other animals,' I told her,
'is not bones, but brain. Why, a bullock has bigger bones than a
man, and more than one fish I've eaten has more bones, while a
whale beats creation when it comes to bone.'

"It was frank talk, which is our Hawaiian way, as you have long
since learned. In return, equally frank, she regretted she hadn't
given me away as a feeding child when I was born. Next she
bewailed that she had ever borne me. From that it was only a step
to anaana me. She threatened me with it, and I did the bravest
thing I have ever done. Old Howard had given me a knife of many
blades, and corkscrews, and screw-drivers, and all sorts of
contrivances, including a tiny pair of scissors. I proceeded to
pare my finger-nails.

"'There,' I said, as I put the parings into her hand. 'Just to
show you what I think of it. There's bait and to spare. Go on and
anaana me if you can.'

"I have said it was brave. It was. I was only fifteen, and I had
lived all my days in the thick of the mystery stuff, while my
scepticism, very recently acquired, was only skin-deep. I could be
a sceptic out in the open in the sunshine. But I was afraid of the
dark. And in that twilight room, the bones of the dead all about
me in the big jars, why, the old lady had me scared stiff. As we
say to-day, she had my goat. Only I was brave and didn't let on.
And I put my bluff across, for my mother flung the parings into my
face and burst into tears. Tears in an elderly woman weighing
three hundred and twenty pounds are scarcely impressive, and I
hardened the brassiness of my bluff.

"She shifted her attack, and proceeded to talk with the dead. Nay,
more, she summoned them there, and, though I was all ripe to see
but couldn't, Ahuna saw the father of Kaaukuu in the corner and lay
down on the floor and yammered. Just the same, although I almost
saw the old giant, I didn't quite see him.

"'Let him talk for himself,' I said. But Hiwilani persisted in
doing the talking for him, and in laying upon me his solemn
injunction that I must go with Ahuna to the burial-place and bring
back the bones desired by my mother. But I argued that if the dead
ones could be invoked to kill living men by wasting sicknesses, and
that if the dead ones could transport themselves from their burial-
crypts into the corner of her room, I couldn't see why they
shouldn't leave their bones behind them, there in her room and
ready to be jarred, when they said good-bye and departed for the
middle world, the over world, or the under world, or wherever they
abided when they weren't paying social calls.

"Whereupon mother let loose on poor old Ahuna, or let loose upon
him the ghost of Kaaukuu's father, supposed to be crouching there
in the corner, who commanded Ahuna to divulge to her the burial-
place. I tried to stiffen him up, telling him to let the old ghost
divulge the secret himself, than whom nobody else knew it better,
seeing that he had resided there upwards of a century. But Ahuna
was old school. He possessed no iota of scepticism. The more
Hiwilani frightened him, the more he rolled on the floor and the
louder he yammered.

"But when he began to bite himself, I gave in. I felt sorry for
him; but, over and beyond that, I began to admire him. He was
sterling stuff, even if he was a survival of darkness. Here, with
the fear of mystery cruelly upon him, believing Hiwilani's dope
implicitly, he was caught between two fidelities. She was his
living alii, his alii kapo" (sacred chiefess). "He must be
faithful to her, yet more faithful must he be to all the dead and
gone aliis of her line who depended solely on him that their bones
should not be disturbed.

"I gave in. But I, too, imposed stipulations. Steadfastly had my
father, new school, refused to let me go to England for my
education. That sugar was slumping was reason sufficient for him.
Steadfastly had my mother, old school, refused, her heathen mind
too dark to place any value on education, while it was shrewd
enough to discern that education led to unbelief in all that was
old. I wanted to study, to study science, the arts, philosophy, to
study everything old Howard knew, which enabled him, on the edge of
the grave, undauntedly to sneer at superstition, and to give me
Jules Verne to read. He was an Oxford man before he went wild and
wrong, and it was he who had set the Oxford bee buzzing in my

"In the end Ahuna and I, old school and new school leagued
together, won out. Mother promised that she'd make father send me
to England, even if she had to pester him into a prolonged drinking
that would make his digestion go back on him. Also, Howard was to
accompany me, so that I could decently bury him in England. He was
a queer one, old Howard, an individual if there ever was one. Let
me tell you a little story about him. It was when Kalakaua was
starting on his trip around the world. You remember, when
Armstrong, and Judd, and the drunken valet of a German baron
accompanied him. Kalakaua made the proposition to Howard . . . "

But here the long-apprehended calamity fell upon Prince Akuli. The
old wahine had finished her lei hala. Barefooted, with no
adornment of femininity, clad in a shapeless shift of much-washed
cotton, with age-withered face and labour-gnarled hands, she
cringed before him and crooned a mele in his honour, and, still
cringing, put the lei around his neck. It is true the hala smelled
most freshly strong, yet was the act beautiful to me, and the old
woman herself beautiful to me. My mind leapt into the Prince's
narrative so that to Ahuna I could not help likening her.

Oh, truly, to be an alii in Hawaii, even in this second decade of
the twentieth century, is no light thing. The alii, utterly of the
new, must be kindly and kingly to those old ones absolutely of the
old. Nor did the Prince without a kingdom, his loved island long
since annexed by the United States and incorporated into a
territory along with the rest of the Hawaiian Islands--nor did the
Prince betray his repugnance for the odour of the hala. He bowed
his head graciously; and his royal condescending words of pure
Hawaiian I knew would make the old woman's heart warm until she
died with remembrance of the wonderful occasion. The wry grimace
he stole to me would not have been made had he felt any uncertainty
of its escaping her.

"And so," Prince Akuli resumed, after the wahine had tottered away
in an ecstasy, "Ahuna and I departed on our grave-robbing
adventure. You know the Iron-bound Coast."

I nodded, knowing full well the spectacle of those lava leagues of
weather coast, truly iron-bound so far as landing-places or
anchorages were concerned, great forbidding cliff-walls thousands
of feet in height, their summits wreathed in cloud and rain squall,
their knees hammered by the trade-wind billows into spouting,
spuming white, the air, from sea to rain-cloud, spanned by a myriad
leaping waterfalls, provocative, in day or night, of countless sun
and lunar rainbows. Valleys, so called, but fissures rather, slit
the cyclopean walls here and there, and led away into a lofty and
madly vertical back country, most of it inaccessible to the foot of
man and trod only by the wild goat.

"Precious little you know of it," Prince Akuli retorted, in reply
to my nod. "You've seen it only from the decks of steamers. There
are valleys there, inhabited valleys, out of which there is no exit
by land, and perilously accessible by canoe only on the selected
days of two months in the year. When I was twenty-eight I was over
there in one of them on a hunting trip. Bad weather, in the
auspicious period, marooned us for three weeks. Then five of my
party and myself swam for it out through the surf. Three of us
made the canoes waiting for us. The other two were flung back on
the sand, each with a broken arm. Save for us, the entire party
remained there until the next year, ten months afterward. And one
of them was Wilson, of Wilson & Wall, the Honolulu sugar factors.
And he was engaged to be married.

"I've seen a goat, shot above by a hunter above, land at my feet a
thousand yards underneath. BELIEVE me, that landscape seemed to
rain goats and rocks for ten minutes. One of my canoemen fell off
the trail between the two little valleys of Aipio and Luno. He hit
first fifteen hundred feet beneath us, and fetched up in a ledge
three hundred feet farther down. We didn't bury him. We couldn't
get to him, and flying machines had not yet been invented. His
bones are there now, and, barring earthquake and volcano, will be
there when the Trumps of Judgment sound.

"Goodness me! Only the other day, when our Promotion Committee,
trying to compete with Honolulu for the tourist trade, called in
the engineers to estimate what it would cost to build a scenic
drive around the Iron-bound Coast, the lowest figures were a
quarter of a million dollars a mile!

"And Ahuna and I, an old man and a young boy, started for that
stern coast in a canoe paddled by old men! The youngest of them,
the steersman, was over sixty, while the rest of them averaged
seventy at the very least. There were eight of them, and we
started in the night-time, so that none should see us go. Even
these old ones, trusted all their lives, knew no more than the
fringe of the secret. To the fringe, only, could they take us.

"And the fringe was--I don't mind telling that much--the fringe was
Ponuloo Valley. We got there the third afternoon following. The
old chaps weren't strong on the paddles. It was a funny
expedition, into such wild waters, with now one and now another of
our ancient-mariner crew collapsing and even fainting. One of them
actually died on the second morning out. We buried him overside.
It was positively uncanny, the heathen ceremonies those grey ones
pulled off in burying their grey brother. And I was only fifteen,
alii kapo over them by blood of heathenness and right of hereditary
heathen rule, with a penchant for Jules Verne and shortly to sail
for England for my education! So one learns. Small wonder my
father was a philosopher, in his own lifetime spanning the history
of man from human sacrifice and idol worship, through the religions
of man's upward striving, to the Medusa of rank atheism at the end
of it all. Small wonder that, like old Ecclesiastes, he found
vanity in all things and surcease in sugar stocks, singing boys,
and hula dancers."

Prince Akuli debated with his soul for an interval.

"Oh, well," he sighed, "I have done some spanning of time myself."
He sniffed disgustedly of the odour of the hala lei that stifled
him. "It stinks of the ancient." he vouchsafed. "I? I stink of
the modern. My father was right. The sweetest of all is sugar up
a hundred points, or four aces in a poker game. If the Big War
lasts another year, I shall clean up three-quarters of a million
over a million. If peace breaks to-morrow, with the consequent
slump, I could enumerate a hundred who will lose my direct bounty,
and go into the old natives' homes my father and I long since
endowed for them."

He clapped his hands, and the old wahine tottered toward him in an
excitement of haste to serve. She cringed before him, as he drew
pad and pencil from his breast pocket.

"Each month, old woman of our old race," he addressed her, "will
you receive, by rural free delivery, a piece of written paper that
you can exchange with any storekeeper anywhere for ten dollars
gold. This shall be so for as long as you live. Behold! I write
the record and the remembrance of it, here and now, with this
pencil on this paper. And this is because you are of my race and
service, and because you have honoured me this day with your mats
to sit upon and your thrice-blessed and thrice-delicious lei hala."

He turned to me a weary and sceptical eye, saying:

"And if I die to-morrow, not alone will the lawyers contest my
disposition of my property, but they will contest my benefactions
and my pensions accorded, and the clarity of my mind.

"It was the right weather of the year; but even then, with our old
weak ones at the paddles, we did not attempt the landing until we
had assembled half the population of Ponuloo Valley down on the
steep little beach. Then we counted our waves, selected the best
one, and ran in on it. Of course, the canoe was swamped and the
outrigger smashed, but the ones on shore dragged us up unharmed
beyond the wash.

"Ahuna gave his orders. In the night-time all must remain within
their houses, and the dogs be tied up and have their jaws bound so
that there should be no barking. And in the night-time Ahuna and I
stole out on our journey, no one knowing whether we went to the
right or left or up the valley toward its head. We carried jerky,
and hard poi and dried aku, and from the quantity of the food I
knew we were to be gone several days. Such a trail! A Jacob's
ladder to the sky, truly, for that first pali" (precipice), "almost
straight up, was three thousand feet above the sea. And we did it
in the dark!

"At the top, beyond the sight of the valley we had left, we slept
until daylight on the hard rock in a hollow nook Ahuna knew, and
that was so small that we were squeezed. And the old fellow, for
fear that I might move in the heavy restlessness of lad's sleep,
lay on the outside with one arm resting across me. At daybreak, I
saw why. Between us and the lip of the cliff scarcely a yard
intervened. I crawled to the lip and looked, watching the abyss
take on immensity in the growing light and trembling from the fear
of height that was upon me. At last I made out the sea, over half
a mile straight beneath. And we had done this thing in the dark!

"Down in the next valley, which was a very tiny one, we found
evidence of the ancient population, but there were no people. The
only way was the crazy foot-paths up and down the dizzy valley
walls from valley to valley. But lean and aged as Ahuna was, he
seemed untirable. In the second valley dwelt an old leper in
hiding. He did not know me, and when Ahuna told him who I was, he
grovelled at my feet, almost clasping them, and mumbled a mele of
all my line out of a lipless mouth.

"The next valley proved to be the valley. It was long and so
narrow that its floor had caught not sufficient space of soil to
grow taro for a single person. Also, it had no beach, the stream
that threaded it leaping a pali of several hundred feet down to the
sea. It was a god-forsaken place of naked, eroded lava, to which
only rarely could the scant vegetation find root-hold. For miles
we followed up that winding fissure through the towering walls, far
into the chaos of back country that lies behind the Iron-bound
Coast. How far that valley penetrated I do not know, but, from the
quantity of water in the stream, I judged it far. We did not go to
the valley's head. I could see Ahuna casting glances to all the
peaks, and I knew he was taking bearings, known to him alone, from
natural objects. When he halted at the last, it was with abrupt
certainty. His bearings had crossed. He threw down the portion of
food and outfit he had carried. It was the place. I looked on
either hand at the hard, implacable walls, naked of vegetation, and
could dream of no burial-place possible in such bare adamant.

"We ate, then stripped for work. Only did Ahuna permit me to
retain my shoes. He stood beside me at the edge of a deep pool,
likewise apparelled and prodigiously skinny.

"'You will dive down into the pool at this spot,' he said. 'Search
the rock with your hands as you descend, and, about a fathom and a
half down, you will find a hole. Enter it, head-first, but going
slowly, for the lava rock is sharp and may cut your head and body.'

"'And then?' I queried. 'You will find the hole growing larger,'
was his answer. 'When you have gone all of eight fathoms along the
passage, come up slowly, and you will find your head in the air,
above water, in the dark. Wait there then for me. The water is
very cold.'

"It didn't sound good to me. I was thinking, not of the cold water
and the dark, but of the bones. 'You go first,' I said. But he
claimed he could not. 'You are my alii, my prince,' he said. 'It
is impossible that I should go before you into the sacred burial-
place of your kingly ancestors.'

"But the prospect did not please. 'Just cut out this prince
stuff,' I told him. 'It isn't what it's cracked up to be. You go
first, and I'll never tell on you.' 'Not alone the living must we
please,' he admonished, 'but, more so, the dead must we please.
Nor can we lie to the dead.'

"We argued it out, and for half an hour it was stalemate. I
wouldn't, and he simply couldn't. He tried to buck me up by
appealing to my pride. He chanted the heroic deeds of my
ancestors; and, I remember especially, he sang to me of Mokomoku,
my great-grandfather and the gigantic father of the gigantic
Kaaukuu, telling how thrice in battle Mokomoku leaped among his
foes, seizing by the neck a warrior in either hand and knocking
their heads together until they were dead. But this was not what
decided me. I really felt sorry for old Ahuna, he was so beside
himself for fear the expedition would come to naught. And I was
coming to a great admiration for the old fellow, not least among
the reasons being the fact of his lying down to sleep between me
and the cliff-lip.

"So, with true alii-authority of command, saying, 'You will
immediately follow after me,' I dived in. Everything he had said
was correct. I found the entrance to the subterranean passage,
swam carefully through it, cutting my shoulder once on the lava-
sharp roof, and emerged in the darkness and air. But before I
could count thirty, he broke water beside me, rested his hand on my
arm to make sure of me, and directed me to swim ahead of him for
the matter of a hundred feet or so. Then we touched bottom and
climbed out on the rocks. And still no light, and I remember I was
glad that our altitude was too high for centipedes.

"He had brought with him a coconut calabash, tightly stoppered, of
whale-oil that must have been landed on Lahaina beach thirty years
before. From his mouth he took a water-tight arrangement of a
matchbox composed of two empty rifle-cartridges fitted snugly
together. He lighted the wicking that floated on the oil, and I
looked about, and knew disappointment. No burial-chamber was it,
but merely a lava tube such as occurs on all the islands.

"He put the calabash of light into my hands and started me ahead of
him on the way, which he assured me was long, but not too long. It
was long, at least a mile in my sober judgment, though at the time
it seemed five miles; and it ascended sharply. When Ahuna, at the
last, stopped me, I knew we were close to our goal. He knelt on
his lean old knees on the sharp lava rock, and clasped my knees
with his skinny arms. My hand that was free of the calabash lamp
he placed on his head. He chanted to me, with his old cracked,
quavering voice, the line of my descent and my essential high alii-
ness. And then he said:

"'Tell neither Kanau nor Hiwilani aught of what you are about to
behold. There is no sacredness in Kanau. His mind is filled with
sugar and the breeding of horses. I do know that he sold a feather
cloak his grandfather had worn to that English collector for eight
thousand dollars, and the money he lost the next day betting on the
polo game between Maui and Oahu. Hiwilani, your mother, is filled
with sacredness. She is too much filled with sacredness. She
grows old, and weak-headed, and she traffics over-much with

"'No,' I made answer. 'I shall tell no one. If I did, then would
I have to return to this place again. And I do not want ever to
return to this place. I'll try anything once. This I shall never
try twice.'

"'It is well,' he said, and arose, falling behind so that I should
enter first. Also, he said: 'Your mother is old. I shall bring
her, as promised, the bones of her mother and of her grandfather.
These should content her until she dies; and then, if I die before
her, it is you who must see to it that all the bones in her family
collection are placed in the Royal Mausoleum.'

"I have given all the Islands' museums the once-over," Prince Akuli
lapsed back into slang, "and I must say that the totality of the
collections cannot touch what I saw in our Lakanaii burial-cave.
Remember, and with reason and history, we trace back the highest
and oldest genealogy in the Islands. Everything that I had ever
dreamed or heard of, and much more that I had not, was there. The
place was wonderful. Ahuna, sepulchrally muttering prayers and
meles, moved about, lighting various whale-oil lamp-calabashes.
They were all there, the Hawaiian race from the beginning of
Hawaiian time. Bundles of bones and bundles of bones, all wrapped
decently in tapa, until for all the world it was like the parcels-
post department at a post office.

"And everything! Kahilis, which you may know developed out of the
fly-flapper into symbols of royalty until they became larger than
hearse-plumes with handles a fathom and a half and over two fathoms
in length. And such handles! Of the wood of the kauila, inlaid
with shell and ivory and bone with a cleverness that had died out
among our artificers a century before. It was a centuries-old
family attic. For the first time I saw things I had only heard of,
such as the pahoas, fashioned of whale-teeth and suspended by
braided human hair, and worn on the breast only by the highest of

"There were tapes and mats of the rarest and oldest; capes and leis
and helmets and cloaks, priceless all, except the too-ancient ones,
of the feathers of the mamo, and of the iwi and the akakane and the
o-o. I saw one of the mamo cloaks that was superior to that finest
one in the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, and that they value at
between half a million and a million dollars. Goodness me, I
thought at the time, it was lucky Kanau didn't know about it.

"Such a mess of things! Carved gourds and calabashes, shell-
scrapers, nets of olona fibre, a junk of ie-ie baskets, and fish-
hooks of every bone and spoon of shell. Musical instruments of the
forgotten days--ukukes and nose flutes, and kiokios which are
likewise played with one unstoppered nostril. Taboo poi bowls and
finger bowls, left-handed adzes of the canoe gods, lava-cup lamps,
stone mortars and pestles and poi-pounders. And adzes again, a
myriad of them, beautiful ones, from an ounce in weight for the
finer carving of idols to fifteen pounds for the felling of trees,
and all with the sweetest handles I have ever beheld.

"There were the kaekeekes--you know, our ancient drums, hollowed
sections of the coconut tree, covered one end with shark-skin. The
first kaekeeke of all Hawaii Ahuna pointed out to me and told me
the tale. It was manifestly most ancient. He was afraid to touch
it for fear the age-rotted wood of it would crumble to dust, the
ragged tatters of the shark-skin head of it still attached. 'This
is the very oldest and father of all our kaekeekes,' Ahuna told me.
'Kila, the son of Moikeha, brought it back from far Raiatea in the
South Pacific. And it was Kila's own son, Kahai, who made that
same journey, and was gone ten years, and brought back with him
from Tahiti the first breadfruit trees that sprouted and grew on
Hawaiian soil.'

"And the bones and bones! The parcel-delivery array of them!
Besides the small bundles of the long bones, there were full
skeletons, tapa-wrapped, lying in one-man, and two- and three-man
canoes of precious koa wood, with curved outriggers of wiliwili
wood, and proper paddles to hand with the io-projection at the
point simulating the continuance of the handle, as if, like a
skewer, thrust through the flat length of the blade. And their war
weapons were laid away by the sides of the lifeless bones that had
wielded them--rusty old horse-pistols, derringers, pepper-boxes,
five-barrelled fantastiques, Kentucky long riffles, muskets handled
in trade by John Company and Hudson's Bay, shark-tooth swords,
wooden stabbing-knives, arrows and spears bone-headed of the fish
and the pig and of man, and spears and arrows wooden-headed and

"Ahuna put a spear in my hand, headed and pointed finely with the
long shin-bone of a man, and told me the tale of it. But first he
unwrapped the long bones, arms, and legs, of two parcels, the
bones, under the wrappings, neatly tied like so many faggots.
'This,' said Ahuna, exhibiting the pitiful white contents of one
parcel, 'is Laulani. She was the wife of Akaiko, whose bones, now
placed in your hands, much larger and male-like as you observe,
held up the flesh of a large man, a three-hundred pounder seven-
footer, three centuries agone. And this spear-head is made of the
shin-bone of Keola, a mighty wrestler and runner of their own time
and place. And he loved Laulani, and she fled with him. But in a
forgotten battle on the sands of Kalini, Akaiko rushed the lines of
the enemy, leading the charge that was successful, and seized upon
Keola, his wife's lover, and threw him to the ground, and sawed
through his neck to the death with a shark-tooth knife. Thus, in
the old days as always, did man combat for woman with man. And
Laulani was beautiful; that Keola should be made into a spearhead
for her! She was formed like a queen, and her body was a long bowl
of sweetness, and her fingers lomi'd' (massaged) 'to slimness and
smallness at her mother's breast. For ten generations have we
remembered her beauty. Your father's singing boys to-day sing of
her beauty in the hula that is named of her! This is Laulani, whom
you hold in your hands.'

"And, Ahuna done, I could but gaze, with imagination at the one
time sobered and fired. Old drunken Howard had lent me his
Tennyson, and I had mooned long and often over the Idyls of the
King. Here were the three, I thought--Arthur, and Launcelot, and
Guinevere. This, then, I pondered, was the end of it all, of life
and strife and striving and love, the weary spirits of these long-
gone ones to be invoked by fat old women and mangy sorcerers, the
bones of them to be esteemed of collectors and betted on horse-
races and ace-fulls or to be sold for cash and invested in sugar

"For me it was illumination. I learned there in the burial-cave
the great lesson. And to Ahuna I said: 'The spear headed with the
long bone of Keola I shall take for my own. Never shall I sell it.
I shall keep it always.'

"'And for what purpose?' he demanded. And I replied: 'That the
contemplation of it may keep my hand sober and my feet on earth
with the knowledge that few men are fortunate enough to have as
much of a remnant of themselves as will compose a spearhead when
they are three centuries dead.'

"And Ahuna bowed his head, and praised my wisdom of judgment. But
at that moment the long-rotted olona-cord broke and the pitiful
woman's bones of Laulani shed from my clasp and clattered on the
rocky floor. One shin-bone, in some way deflected, fell under the
dark shadow of a canoe-bow, and I made up my mind that it should be
mine. So I hastened to help him in the picking up of the bones and
the tying, so that he did not notice its absence.

"'This,' said Ahuna, introducing me to another of my ancestors, 'is
your great-grandfather, Mokomoku, the father of Kaaukuu. Behold
the size of his bones. He was a giant. I shall carry him, because
of the long spear of Keola that will be difficult for you to carry
away. And this is Lelemahoa, your grandmother, the mother of your
mother, that you shall carry. And day grows short, and we must
still swim up through the waters to the sun ere darkness hides the
sun from the world.'

"But Ahuna, putting out the various calabashes of light by drowning
the wicks in the whale-oil, did not observe me include the shinbone
of Laulani with the bones of my grandmother."

The honk of the automobile, sent up from Olokona to rescue us,
broke off the Prince's narrative. We said good-bye to the ancient
and fresh-pensioned wahine, and departed. A half-mile on our way,
Prince Akuli resumed.

"So Ahuna and I returned to Hiwilani, and to her happiness, lasting
to her death the year following, two more of her ancestors abided
about her in the jars of her twilight room. Also, she kept her
compact and worried my father into sending me to England. I took
old Howard along, and he perked up and confuted the doctors, so
that it was three years before I buried him restored to the bosom
of my family. Sometimes I think he was the most brilliant man I
have ever known. Not until my return from England did Ahuna die,
the last custodian of our alii secrets. And at his death-bed he
pledged me again never to reveal the location in that nameless
valley, and never to go back myself.

"Much else I have forgotten to mention did I see there in the cave
that one time. There were the bones of Kumi, the near demigod, son
of Tui Manua of Samoa, who, in the long before, married into my
line and heaven-boosted my genealogy. And the bones of my great-
grandmother who had slept in the four-poster presented her by Lord
Byron. And Ahuna hinted tradition that there was reason for that
presentation, as well as for the historically known lingering of
the Blonde in Olokona for so long. And I held her poor bones in my
hands--bones once fleshed with sensate beauty, informed with
sparkle and spirit, instinct with love and love-warmness of arms
around and eyes and lips together, that had begat me in the end of
the generations unborn. It was a good experience. I am modern,
'tis true. I believe in no mystery stuff of old time nor of the
kahunas. And yet, I saw in that cave things which I dare not name
to you, and which I, since old Ahuna died, alone of the living
know. I have no children. With me my long line ceases. This is
the twentieth century, and we stink of gasolene. Nevertheless
these other and nameless things shall die with me. I shall never
revisit the burial-place. Nor in all time to come will any man
gaze upon it through living eyes unless the quakes of earth rend
the mountains asunder and spew forth the secrets contained in the
hearts of the mountains."

Prince Akuli ceased from speech. With welcome relief on his face,
he removed the lei hala from his neck, and, with a sniff and a
sigh, tossed it into concealment in the thick lantana by the side
of the road.

"But the shin-bone of Laulani?" I queried softly.

He remained silent while a mile of pasture land fled by us and
yielded to caneland.

"I have it now," he at last said. "And beside it is Keola, slain
ere his time and made into a spear-head for love of the woman whose
shin-bone abides near to him. To them, those poor pathetic bones,
I owe more than to aught else. I became possessed of them in the
period of my culminating adolescence. I know they changed the
entire course of my life and trend of my mind. They gave to me a
modesty and a humility in the world, from which my father's fortune
has ever failed to seduce me.

"And often, when woman was nigh to winning to the empery of my mind
over me, I sought Laulani's shin-bone. And often, when lusty
manhood stung me into feeling over-proud and lusty, I consulted the
spearhead remnant of Keola, one-time swift runner, and mighty
wrestler and lover, and thief of the wife of a king. The
contemplation of them has ever been of profound aid to me, and you
might well say that I have founded my religion or practice of
living upon them."

July 16, 1916.


I lent a weary ear to old Kohokumu's interminable chanting of the
deeds and adventures of Maui, the Promethean demi-god of Polynesia
who fished up dry land from ocean depths with hooks made fast to
heaven, who lifted up the sky whereunder previously men had gone on
all-fours, not having space to stand erect, and who made the sun
with its sixteen snared legs stand still and agree thereafter to
traverse the sky more slowly--the sun being evidently a trade
unionist and believing in the six-hour day, while Maui stood for
the open shop and the twelve-hour day.

"Now this," said Kohokumu, "is from Queen Lililuokalani's own
family mele:

"Maui became restless and fought the sun
With a noose that he laid.
And winter won the sun,
And summer was won by Maui . . . "

Born in the Islands myself, I knew the Hawaiian myths better than
this old fisherman, although I possessed not his memorization that
enabled him to recite them endless hours.

"And you believe all this?" I demanded in the sweet Hawaiian

"It was a long time ago," he pondered. "I never saw Maui with my
own eyes. But all our old men from all the way back tell us these
things, as I, an old man, tell them to my sons and grandsons, who
will tell them to their sons and grandsons all the way ahead to

"You believe," I persisted, "that whopper of Maui roping the sun
like a wild steer, and that other whopper of heaving up the sky
from off the earth?"

"I am of little worth, and am not wise, O Lakana," my fisherman
made answer. "Yet have I read the Hawaiian Bible the missionaries
translated to us, and there have I read that your Big Man of the
Beginning made the earth, and sky, and sun, and moon, and stars,
and all manner of animals from horses to cockroaches and from
centipedes and mosquitoes to sea lice and jellyfish, and man and
woman, and everything, and all in six days. Why, Maui didn't do
anything like that much. He didn't make anything. He just put
things in order, that was all, and it took him a long, long time to
make the improvements. And anyway, it is much easier and more
reasonable to believe the little whopper than the big whopper."

And what could I reply? He had me on the matter of reasonableness.
Besides, my head ached. And the funny thing, as I admitted it to
myself, was that evolution teaches in no uncertain voice that man
did run on all-fours ere he came to walk upright, that astronomy
states flatly that the speed of the revolution of the earth on its
axis has diminished steadily, thus increasing the length of day,
and that the seismologists accept that all the islands of Hawaii
were elevated from the ocean floor by volcanic action.

Fortunately, I saw a bamboo pole, floating on the surface several
hundred feet away, suddenly up-end and start a very devil's dance.
This was a diversion from the profitless discussion, and Kohokumu
and I dipped our paddles and raced the little outrigger canoe to
the dancing pole. Kohokumu caught the line that was fast to the
butt of the pole and under-handed it in until a two-foot ukikiki,
battling fiercely to the end, flashed its wet silver in the sun and
began beating a tattoo on the inside bottom of the canoe. Kohokumu
picked up a squirming, slimy squid, with his teeth bit a chunk of
live bait out of it, attached the bait to the hook, and dropped
line and sinker overside. The stick floated flat on the surface of
the water, and the canoe drifted slowly away. With a survey of the
crescent composed of a score of such sticks all lying flat,
Kohokumu wiped his hands on his naked sides and lifted the
wearisome and centuries-old chant of Kuali:

"Oh, the great fish-hook of Maui!
Manai-i-ka-lani--"made fast to the heavens"!
An earth-twisted cord ties the hook,
Engulfed from lofty Kauiki!
Its bait the red-billed Alae,
The bird to Hina sacred!
It sinks far down to Hawaii,
Struggling and in pain dying!
Caught is the land beneath the water,
Floated up, up to the surface,
But Hina hid a wing of the bird
And broke the land beneath the water!
Below was the bait snatched away
And eaten at once by the fishes,
The Ulua of the deep muddy places!

His aged voice was hoarse and scratchy from the drinking of too
much swipes at a funeral the night before, nothing of which
contributed to make me less irritable. My head ached. The sun-
glare on the water made my eyes ache, while I was suffering more
than half a touch of mal de mer from the antic conduct of the
outrigger on the blobby sea. The air was stagnant. In the lee of
Waihee, between the white beach and the roof, no whisper of breeze
eased the still sultriness. I really think I was too miserable to
summon the resolution to give up the fishing and go in to shore.

Lying back with closed eyes, I lost count of time. I even forgot
that Kohokumu was chanting till reminded of it by his ceasing. An
exclamation made me bare my eyes to the stab of the sun. He was
gazing down through the water-glass.

"It's a big one," he said, passing me the device and slipping over-
side feet-first into the water.

He went under without splash and ripple, turned over and swam down.
I followed his progress through the water-glass, which is merely an
oblong box a couple of feet long, open at the top, the bottom
sealed water-tight with a sheet of ordinary glass.

Now Kohokumu was a bore, and I was squeamishly out of sorts with
him for his volubleness, but I could not help admiring him as I
watched him go down. Past seventy years of age, lean as a
toothpick, and shrivelled like a mummy, he was doing what few young
athletes of my race would do or could do. It was forty feet to
bottom. There, partly exposed, but mostly hidden under the bulge
of a coral lump, I could discern his objective. His keen eyes had
caught the projecting tentacle of a squid. Even as he swam, the
tentacle was lazily withdrawn, so that there was no sign of the
creature. But the brief exposure of the portion of one tentacle
had advertised its owner as a squid of size.

The pressure at a depth of forty feet is no joke for a young man,
yet it did not seem to inconvenience this oldster. I am certain it
never crossed his mind to be inconvenienced. Unarmed, bare of body
save for a brief malo or loin cloth, he was undeterred by the
formidable creature that constituted his prey. I saw him steady
himself with his right hand on the coral lump, and thrust his left
arm into the hole to the shoulder. Half a minute elapsed, during
which time he seemed to be groping and rooting around with his left
hand. Then tentacle after tentacle, myriad-suckered and wildly
waving, emerged. Laying hold of his arm, they writhed and coiled
about his flesh like so many snakes. With a heave and a jerk
appeared the entire squid, a proper devil-fish or octopus.

But the old man was in no hurry for his natural element, the air
above the water. There, forty feet beneath, wrapped about by an
octopus that measured nine feet across from tentacle-tip to
tentacle-tip and that could well drown the stoutest swimmer, he
coolly and casually did the one thing that gave to him and his
empery over the monster. He shoved his lean, hawk-like face into
the very centre of the slimy, squirming mass, and with his several
ancient fangs bit into the heart and the life of the matter. This
accomplished, he came upward, slowly, as a swimmer should who is
changing atmospheres from the depths. Alongside the canoe, still
in the water and peeling off the grisly clinging thing, the
incorrigible old sinner burst into the pule of triumph which had
been chanted by the countless squid-catching generations before

"O Kanaloa of the taboo nights!
Stand upright on the solid floor!
Stand upon the floor where lies the squid!
Stand up to take the squid of the deep sea!
Rise up, O Kanaloa!
Stir up! Stir up! Let the squid awake!
Let the squid that lies flat awake! Let the squid that lies spread
out . . . "

I closed my eyes and ears, not offering to lend him a hand, secure
in the knowledge that he could climb back unaided into the unstable
craft without the slightest risk of upsetting it.

"A very fine squid," he crooned. "It is a wahine" (female) "squid.
I shall now sing to you the song of the cowrie shell, the red
cowrie shell that we used as a bait for the squid--"

"You were disgraceful last night at the funeral," I headed him off.
"I heard all about it. You made much noise. You sang till
everybody was deaf. You insulted the son of the widow. You drank
swipes like a pig. Swipes are not good for your extreme age. Some
day you will wake up dead. You ought to be a wreck to-day--"

"Ha!" he chuckled. "And you, who drank no swipes, who was a babe
unborn when I was already an old man, who went to bed last night
with the sun and the chickens--this day are you a wreck. Explain
me that. My ears are as thirsty to listen as was my throat thirsty
last night. And here to-day, behold, I am, as that Englishman who
came here in his yacht used to say, I am in fine form, in devilish
fine form."

"I give you up," I retorted, shrugging my shoulders. "Only one
thing is clear, and that is that the devil doesn't want you.
Report of your singing has gone before you."

"No," he pondered the idea carefully. "It is not that. The devil
will be glad for my coming, for I have some very fine songs for
him, and scandals and old gossips of the high aliis that will make
him scratch his sides. So, let me explain to you the secret of my
birth. The Sea is my mother. I was born in a double-canoe, during
a Kona gale, in the channel of Kahoolawe. From her, the Sea, my
mother, I received my strength. Whenever I return to her arms, as
for a breast-clasp, as I have returned this day, I grow strong
again and immediately. She, to me, is the milk-giver, the life-

"Shades of Antaeus!" thought I.

"Some day," old Kohokumu rambled on, "when I am really old, I shall
be reported of men as drowned in the sea. This will be an idle
thought of men. In truth, I shall have returned into the arms of
my mother, there to rest under the heart of her breast until the
second birth of me, when I shall emerge into the sun a flashing
youth of splendour like Maui himself when he was golden young."

"A queer religion," I commented.

"When I was younger I muddled my poor head over queerer religions,"
old Kohokumu retorted. "But listen, O Young Wise One, to my
elderly wisdom. This I know: as I grow old I seek less for the
truth from without me, and find more of the truth from within me.
Why have I thought this thought of my return to my mother and of my
rebirth from my mother into the sun? You do not know. I do not
know, save that, without whisper of man's voice or printed word,
without prompting from otherwhere, this thought has arisen from
within me, from the deeps of me that are as deep as the sea. I am
not a god. I do not make things. Therefore I have not made this
thought. I do not know its father or its mother. It is of old
time before me, and therefore it is true. Man does not make truth.
Man, if he be not blind, only recognizes truth when he sees it. Is
this thought that I have thought a dream?"

"Perhaps it is you that are a dream," I laughed. "And that I, and
sky, and sea, and the iron-hard land, are dreams, all dreams."

"I have often thought that," he assured me soberly. "It may well
be so. Last night I dreamed I was a lark bird, a beautiful singing
lark of the sky like the larks on the upland pastures of Haleakala.
And I flew up, up, toward the sun, singing, singing, as old
Kohokumu never sang. I tell you now that I dreamed I was a lark
bird singing in the sky. But may not I, the real I, be the lark
bird? And may not the telling of it be the dream that I, the lark
bird, am dreaming now? Who are you to tell me ay or no? Dare you
tell me I am not a lark bird asleep and dreaming that I am old

I shrugged my shoulders, and he continued triumphantly:

"And how do you know but what you are old Maui himself asleep and
dreaming that you are John Lakana talking with me in a canoe? And
may you not awake old Maui yourself, and scratch your sides and say
that you had a funny dream in which you dreamed you were a haole?"

"I don't know," I admitted. "Besides, you wouldn't believe me."

"There is much more in dreams than we know," he assured me with
great solemnity. "Dreams go deep, all the way down, maybe to
before the beginning. May not old Maui have only dreamed he pulled
Hawaii up from the bottom of the sea? Then would this Hawaii land
be a dream, and you, and I, and the squid there, only parts of
Maui's dream? And the lark bird too?"

He sighed and let his head sink on his breast.

"And I worry my old head about the secrets undiscoverable," he
resumed, "until I grow tired and want to forget, and so I drink
swipes, and go fishing, and sing old songs, and dream I am a lark
bird singing in the sky. I like that best of all, and often I
dream it when I have drunk much swipes . . . "

In great dejection of mood he peered down into the lagoon through
the water-glass.

"There will be no more bites for a while," he announced. "The
fish-sharks are prowling around, and we shall have to wait until
they are gone. And so that the time shall not be heavy, I will
sing you the canoe-hauling song to Lono. You remember:

"Give to me the trunk of the tree, O Lono!
Give me the tree's main root, O Lono!
Give me the ear of the tree, O Lono!--"

"For the love of mercy, don't sing!" I cut him short. "I've got a
headache, and your singing hurts. You may be in devilish fine form
to-day, but your throat is rotten. I'd rather you talked about
dreams, or told me whoppers."

"It is too bad that you are sick, and you so young," he conceded
cheerily. "And I shall not sing any more. I shall tell you
something you do not know and have never heard; something that is
no dream and no whopper, but is what I know to have happened. Not
very long ago there lived here, on the beach beside this very
lagoon, a young boy whose name was Keikiwai, which, as you know,
means Water Baby. He was truly a water baby. His gods were the
sea and fish gods, and he was born with knowledge of the language
of fishes, which the fishes did not know until the sharks found it
out one day when they heard him talk it.

"It happened this way. The word had been brought, and the
commands, by swift runners, that the king was making a progress
around the island, and that on the next day a luau" (feast) "was to
be served him by the dwellers here of Waihee. It was always a
hardship, when the king made a progress, for the few dwellers in
small places to fill his many stomachs with food. For he came
always with his wife and her women, with his priests and sorcerers,
his dancers and flute-players, and hula-singers, and fighting men
and servants, and his high chiefs with their wives, and sorcerers,
and fighting men, and servants.

"Sometimes, in small places like Waihee, the path of his journey
was marked afterward by leanness and famine. But a king must be
fed, and it is not good to anger a king. So, like warning in
advance of disaster, Waihee heard of his coming, and all food-
getters of field and pond and mountain and sea were busied with
getting food for the feast. And behold, everything was got, from
the choicest of royal taro to sugar-cane joints for the roasting,
from opihis to limu, from fowl to wild pig and poi-fed puppies--
everything save one thing. The fishermen failed to get lobsters.

"Now be it known that the king's favourite food was lobster. He
esteemed it above all kai-kai" (food), "and his runners had made
special mention of it. And there were no lobsters, and it is not
good to anger a king in the belly of him. Too many sharks had come
inside the reef. That was the trouble. A young girl and an old

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