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Legends of Gods and Ghosts (Hawaiian Mythology)

Collected and Translated from the Hawaiian

Cover image for


Author: W.D. Westervelt
Published: 1915
Language: English
Wordcount: 65,148 / 200 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 62.4
LoC Category: GR
Downloads: 9,962
Added to site: 2012.06.08 31422
Genre: Myth

The legends of the Hawaiian Islands are as diverse as those of any country in the world. They are also entirely distinct in form and thought from the fairy-tales which excite the interest and wonder of the English and German children. The mythology of Hawaii follows the laws upon which all myths are constructed. The Islanders have developed some beautiful nature-myths. Certain phenomena have been observed and the imagination has fitted the story to the interesting object which has attracted attention.

Show Excerpt

waiian deities. Certain days were tabu to Lono--or Rongo, as he was known in other island groups of the Pacific Ocean. Other days belonged to Ku--who was also worshipped from New Zealand to Tahiti. At other times Kane, known as Tane by many Polynesians, was held supreme. Then again Kanaloa--or Tanaroa, sometimes worshipped in Samoa and other island groups as the greatest of all their gods--had his days especially set apart for sacrifice and chant.

The Mu, or "body-catcher," of this heiau with his assistants seems to have been continually on the watch for human victims, and woe to the unfortunate man who carelessly or ignorantly walked where the winds blew the smoke from the temple fires. No one dared rescue him from the hands of the hunter of men--for then the wrath of all the gods was sure to follow him all the days of his life.

The people of the districts around Wahaula always watched the course of the winds with great anxiety, carefully noting the direction taken by the smoke. This smoke was



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