Monday, August 22, 2016

The Woman in the Moon and Rainbow Falls

The Goddess Hina was very upset. Her husband was so lazy! Not only did he expect her to make him fine kapa to wear, but he expected her to fish, and keep the garden, and even do all the cooking! She loved making kapa, and was very good at it, but cooking was a man’s prerogative, and fishing and gardening were normally shared. Yet her husband demanded she do it all while he napped.

She decided to run away, but how?

One day, she spotted one of the many rainbows the falls by the cave she made her home in were named for. It looked solid, and she was goddess enough to go up to it and start to climb. However, as she climbed, it got hotter and hotter, for she was getting closer to the hot sun. It got so hot, she had to turn around and go back.

Back to her husband, who was as lazy as ever. He still demanded he do his work as well as her own. Running away looked better and better, but she had to make sure she escaped this time.

One night she spotted a moonbow by the falls. With no sun out, it shouldn’t get as hot, she mused. She went over to it, and started to climb.

Her husband came out of the cave, and ran towards her, demanding she come back. He leap ed towards her, and caught her foot before she’d climbed out of reach. She struggled to get away. With a great kick, she pulled free, making him fall back to earth… but wrenched her ankle in the process. She wasted no time, hobbling high out of reach before he could recover and try again.

She climbed right to the moon, and there she stayed. You can see her when you look up at the moon, sitting with her wrenched ankle in front of her as she pounds her kapa. When she spreads it out to dry, it forms white clouds, complete with the original emphasis on her husband’s laziness. (No, that wasn’t my idea. J )

 
 
I don’t know many legends by heart, but I know this one well enough to tell it from memory. It’s stuck with me ever since I heard it at a storytelling at Kea’au library when I was a kid. This was one of the stories, illustrated on a felt board.

The Goddess Hina was known as the mother Maui. The Hilo area said she lived in a cave behind Waianuenue, or Rainbow Falls.
 

So here’s Rainbow Falls courtesy of Google Street view: https://goo.gl/maps/pqvnSmU2CiR2

And here’s another view from them: https://goo.gl/maps/ZL9WP3RGZy62

 
Do you see what I see?

Or rather… do you not see what I don’t see?

I don’t see any cave. Well, unless you count the backwash beach behind the actual falls, but that’s subject to continual spray from the falls. Besides, that kapa she made was a paper-cloth; the fibers were literally pounded together with beaters until it formed a flat, somewhat stiff sheet that people would wrap around themselves. If you got it wet, it went to mush that couldn’t be worn. So a backwash beach home is one you can’t get dressed in, or even keep your clothes in.

Now this is a spot on the Wailuku River. There are enough caves with underwater entrances, a known way to drown is to get caught in one, and not be able to surface for air. Having one with an air pocket would be unusual, but far from impossible… but you’d still have to store your clothes outside to keep them from going to mush.

No, the cave needs a dry entrance for Hina’s kapa.

 It’s a very well hidden entrance indeed, isn’t it? ;)