Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 29, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #65


It was mid-day at Halema'uma'u crater and many hula halau were offering ho'okupu to the goddess Pele. They came in droves, all dressed in their finery and their colorful kahiko costumes. The various kumu hula presented their best drums and ipu heke and allowed only their best dancers to perform. The dances themselves were bombastic and required persons of great athletic precision and endurance.
Offered were traditional chants, honorific chants, recently composed ones, and some that were created on the spot. Large and elaborate Ti-Leaf bundles were given at the edge of the crater containing lei, symbolic food items, and powdered awa. Less than an hour later, a large audience of tourists had swelled to three times its size. From the crowd there emerged a little Hawaiian boy wearing only a t-shirt, shorts, and rubber slippers. Around his neck, he wore a fish hook necklace which was carved from cow-bone. By the time his parents noticed that he had stepped forward, it was too late to stop him. With not an offering in his tiny little hands, he approached a bush of 'ohelo berries where he plucked a handful. He walked up to the roped-off barrier near the edge of the crater and in a meek little voice he offered a chant,

"E Pele e...eia au kau kama 'o Makalani!
Nau no ka 'ohelo, na'u no ho'okahi."

"Oh Pele, here I am, your child Makalani!
For you is the 'ohelo, for me indeed is one."

The little Hawaiian boy offered the lion's share of the berries to Pele by placing it on the ground before his feet and then ate one for himself. A sudden wind rose from the bottom of the crater and with it came a dust cloud of dirt, rocks, and dried foliage. It swept through the large gathering and blinded everyone temporarily. When the wind storm settled, everyone saw that the elaborately ornate offerings were in the same place where they were placed, the offering of 'ohelo berries, however, were gone.

The parents of the little Hawaiian boy came forward and picked him up in their arms and gave him a big hug and kiss. The kumu hula and the hula halau marveled at this sight and one among them was heard to exclaim,

"What we elaborately prepared to give to Pele, this boy gave in the form of 'ohelo berries. He came with no makana to give except for what he could give from his heart. That is more valuable than what we give today. Mahalo to this boy for teaching us that lesson!"

The crowd clapped and cheered and gathered around the humble Hawaiian family of three. Later that evening, the little boy was still confused by all the attention. What he had done that was so special other than to honor his ancestor?

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