About Na Kaleikaumaka Outrigger Camps
The Last Hawaiian Mariner
(condensed version)
by Kawika Sands © 1999

The Legend of Mo`ikeha

Chapter 2

The sailing canoe Kaulua was a magnificent vessel, measuring nearly 100 feet long and her hulls painted red. While leading the fleet of five southward along the coast, there was a sense of forlorn anticipation as the voyagers left their island home for the endless expanse of sea and sky before them.

Having observed the sun's path as it set, the ship's navigator beckoned Mo`ikeha and La`a and asked "Do you see the stars Kaulia and Ka Mole Honua?" "Ae" they answered. "Do you see how the distances between them and the horizon are the same? (each about 6° apart)" "Ae." Measuring an imaginary line upward in the sky with the width of an outstretched hand, Kilokilo continued "When Kaulia crosses there (50°alt. above the horizon) and Ka Mole Honua crosses there (44°alt. above the horizon), and the navigation star `A`a is nearly over head and sets with Nana Hope, we will be in Kahiki and near Opoa.

In due time, `Olopana, Mo`ikeha and the rest of the voyagers, landed on Ra`iatea and forcibly took the District of Moa`ulanuiakea. `Olopana was accepted as king of the district and became a ruler of opulence and distinction. Mo`ikeha, still his chief advisor, built himself a grand residence and temple called Lanikeha (Heavenly Resting Place). It was a great house with posts built of the hard, reddish kauila wood and battens of bird's bones. Mo`ikeha soon became noted for his hospitality and lavish style.

The days and nights in Moa`ulanuiakea were much the same, warm and pleasant. Each day and evening starting and ending like most any other. During this time, Mo`ikeha and Lu`ukia began to spend more and more time together and soon began to fall in love. `Olopana had no ill feeling toward Mo`ikeha, in fact, he approved of the two being attracted to each other. Although she remained a loyal subject, her marriage to `Olopana was, after all, a political one which had long outlived it's usefulness.

There was the usual daily commotion about court as the chiefs vied for `Olopana's favor and even his throne, but `Olopana maintained control with a strong hand. For the next five years, the brothers lived and governed harmoniously together. Until one day, when a meddlesome native chief named Mua grew jealous of Mo`ikeha's property, popularity, power and love for Lu`ukia.

Mua had ambitions of replacing Mo`ikeha as lover to Lu`ukia and as the chief in great favor of `Olopana. When his ambitions grew into jealousy, he began to plot. In the weeks that followed, Mua made advances toward Lu`ukia, however, Lu`ukia would have nothing to do with him and discouraged his approaches. "Mahalo for your attention, but my aloha is for Mo`ikeha alone" she said. But Mua was determined to have everything he sought.

While Mua continued to conspire, Mo`ikeha and Lu`ukia lived happily for a long time until one day, Mua found his opportunity during the ali`i games. Mo`ikeha was fond of sports and often played pahe`e (sliding or skipping a wooden dart for distance) and `olohu (rolling a stone wheel for distance). At the fields where games were held, people gathered to place bets on the contestants and cheer the winners. Mua slipped away and soon found Lu`ukia in the village as she sat near a calabash of water, composing a song and gazing into her mirror (a flat piece of wood, highly polished and darkened with a vegetable stain and an earthy pigment).

Fully expecting yet another advance on Mua's part, Lu`ukia asked still observing her reflection "Why are you not at the games?" "I was bored and hungry" Mua said as he sat across from Lu`ukia. When he heard the cheering again, Mua asked "Do you hear the cheering at the ali`i games?" Lu`ukia answered "Ae" as she dipped her mirror once again to refresh the image. Mua continued "I don't think the cheering means well for you. I think Mo`ikeha is openly defaming you!" With Lu`ukia's attention finally captured, Mua began to speak of Mo`ikeha's affluent style of living and his popularity among the people and chiefs while suggesting his goal was to become king in `Olopana's place. Mua's plan worked, Lu`ukia believed his lies. Angry and alarmed at last, Lu`ukia stormed back to the house where they slept together. Before Mo`ikeha could return, Lu`ukia had ordered her attendants to bind her up with cord from her waist down to mid-thighs, and the ends of the rope were hidden in the lashing so it couldn't be undone. Then she had her attendants help her with her pa`u (a skirt made of five thicknesses of kapa from the waist to the knee).

After Mo`ikeha had enjoyed himself at the games, he returned home to rest and be with Lu`ukia. From the moment he saw her, he knew from her wide-eyed glare that something was wrong. He began to wonder why she was unhappy. "Have I done something wrong?" he pondered. "Perhaps she is mad at something I did not do! But what?" Mo`ikeha decided he would say nothing and bide his time in the hopes that Lu`ukia would tell him.

That night, while preparing to sleep, Mo`ikeha was surprised to find Lu`ukia still wearing her pa`u, which had not been her habit in the past. "She must be mad at me for something, but perhaps she is too mad to talk to me about it." So, Mo`ikeha waited, intending to find out in good time the reason for Lu`ukia's unusual behavior.

Another day and night passed, then another. Meanwhile, Lu`ukia had told `Olopana about the fears and suspicions she now had. Fears and suspicions Mua had planted in her. `Olopana soon couldn't help notice Mo`ikeha's increasing popularity and extravagant style and a coldness developed towards Mo`ikeha from `Olopana.

The next day, `Olopana reprimanded Mo`ikeha for his extravagance and strongly suggested he assume a more modest way of living in keeping with his station. Mo`ikeha, who never had an evil thought toward his brother and was loyal to the end, was deeply hurt and saddened at these words.

On the fourth night, Lu`ukia still wore the pa`u to sleep. Mo`ikeha unfastened the pa`u, and saw the lashing of sennit cord binding her. Mo`ikeha asked "Why are you bound up like this?" But Lu`ukia refused to speak. From evening until midnight, Mo`ikeha urged her to tell him the reason for this lashing, but she remained silent. All through the rest of the night, Mo`ikeha pondered over this change in her. He complained "I don't understand! Here, we were living happily, and now you won't speak to me. What have I done?" There was no answer.

(to be continued;)

TLHM Writer's Notes:
In this chapter, there is reference to a lashing called the Pa`u o Lu`ukia (the Skirt of Lu`ukia), said to be similar to that used in the lashing of water gourds. The finishing steps of the lashing sound to be very similar to the whipping knot used on the ends of ropes to keep them from fraying/unraveling. This is what prompted me to first post this story to outrigger.org almost two years ago.

This particular lashing is thought to be a very ornate, flatwater lashing made of sennet (coconut husk). It is one of forty lashings once known and one of several reserved STRICTLY for royal use. The Pa`u o Lu`ukia was so sacred that to use it without permission, or even view it's tying, was punishable by death.

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Last Modified: 19991205.1019 HST Sunday
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