Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 13, 2022

Hoʻonā 2022

It is simple, really.

As part of their Hawaiian studies class, the three students went with their Kumu to get a first-person experience of the old Pali path leading down to the windward side of ʻOʻahu via the pali lookout. Only, they went very late at night and had to park off the side on the grass and walk in. When they arrived at the lookout, the Kumu began to relate the circumstances regarding the conclusion of the battle of Nuʻuanu to her students.

 "Geographically, we are a few feet above where the actual battle happened," the Kumu said." The lay of the land has changed, but if you can imagine the conflict raging around us? People are desperately trying to escape with their lives. Here at the precipice, some people are not just being pushed over; some are purposely jumping to their death instead of being subjugated under Kamehameha. In fact, let's go further down the path so you will be able to understand how a bottleneck effect took place where it became so overcrowded that people fell to their deaths because there was no room to move,"

The four went down the path as the Kumu instructed. They gingerly climbed around the gate and were lighting the dark road with their flashlights. Soon they were at the point of the path where it made a long broad curve; this is where the Kumu stopped and began to explain this bottleneck effect as what remained of the ʻOʻahu army ran for freedom. But something stopped her mid-sentence. Just a few feet behind her three students, her flashlight illuminated what she thought was the face of the black rock cliff, but it moved. Her sudden silence and the direction she looked caught the attention of the other three. It did move; whatever it was, it was moving toward them. 

"RUN!!!!" The four took off and ran back up the path to the lookout; all four kept looking back and shone their flashlights on their pursuer. It was a black pig but was massive and thundered the pavement as it went after them. They finally reached the gate, only managing to climb around it before the monstrous pig barreled it down, going full steam forward. The four ran up the path to the parking lot and were cut off by the pig as it took the stairs coming up to their left, but it did not attack them. It just blocked their only path out. They were parked at the very bottom of the road. Even if they did manage to avoid the pig, they knew they would have never made it back to the car. It would have killed them all by then. The Kumu fell to her knees and began to chant. She now knew exactly what or who this pig really was.

A ka luna o Pu`uonioni

Ke anaïna a ka wahine

 Ki`ei i kai äulu o Wahine-kapu

Noho ana `o Papalauahi

 Lauahi Pele i kai o Puna

One`ä kai o Malama

 Mälama i ke kanaka

A he pua laha `ole

 Ha`ina mai ka inoa

Kua kapu o Hi`iaka

He inoa, nō! 

Hiʻiaka I ka poli ʻo Pele!

From the heights of Pu'uonioni

I gazed on a company of women

 In fascination, I peer on Wahine-kapu

Beyond lies Papalauahi

 Pele burns her way to Puna

Heapings cinders down at Malama

 (Pele) Take care of your people

They are your choicest possessions

 This is a name chant for

Hi'iaka of the sacred back

 In the name of Hi'iaka in the bosom of Pele

After the chant, the monstrous pig took human form, that of an eight-foot-tall dark-skinned Hawaiian man. A full head of hair and beard, wearing a malo around his waist. On his shoulders was draped a black feathered cape, but it was the hackles on his back. It was Kamapuaʻa, the pig god, now giving the four mercy because the Kumu appeased him with a chant from a time in his long ago. Later, the Kumu passed all three of her students with good marks, and although they graduated with their degrees in Hawaiian studies, they would never forget what it was that gave their mode of study such clarity.


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