Many, many years ago an old hag, with gnarled hands and body, having unkempt, ratty looking, long gray hair with bits of a`a (lava rock) tangled in it, had arrived at the door of a very small hut in the Punalu'u district of the Big Island of Hawai'i.
She came to the hut begging for food. The little hut was the home of a poor couple that didn't have much, but the couple was willing to share the little fish and poi that they had with the old, and gnarled stranger.
As the old hag ate her fish and poi, she told the couple that she had been turned away by the two wealthy homes that were neighboring the small farm on each side.
The old woman said that she had tried the big houses first because they looked like they had enough to share with a poor old woman.
She told the couple that because of their kindness by taking in a stranger, they would always be protected and never have to fear the flow of the volcano. The old woman then asked for a drink of water, saying her throat was very parched.
The couple went outside to draw fresh, cool water from the spring, to give to the old hag. When they returned with their calabash full of water, they discovered the old woman was gone.
The next day, the volcano erupted, and the flow of the lava was fast and swift. As the flow coming down the sides of the mountain reached the little hut, it divided, sparing the home of the couple who had been so kind to feed the old woman.
As the lava flowed around and past the little hut it completely covered all of the land and the two large homes on both sides.
Always remember when someone in need ask for food, the right thing to do is to give it to them.
When any person lay in an unconscious state, it was supposed by the ancient Hawaiians that death had taken possession of the body and opened the door for the spirit to depart. Sometimes if the body lay like one asleep the spirit was supposed to return to its old home. One of the Hawaiian legends weaves their deep-rooted faith in the spirit-world into the expressions of one who seemed to be permitted to visit that ghost-land and its king. This legend belonged to the island of Maui and the region near the village Lahaina.
Thus was the story told:
Ka-ilio-hae (the wild dog) had been sick for days and at last sank into a state of unconsciousness. The spirit of life crept out of the body and finally departed from the left eye into a corner of the house, buzzing like an insect. Then he stopped and looked back over the body he had left. it appeared to him like a massive mountain. The eyes were deep caves, into which the ghost looked. Then the spirit became afraid and went outside and rested on the roof of the house. The people began to wail loudly and the ghost fled from the noise to a coconut-tree and perched like a bird in the branches. Soon he felt the impulse of the spirit-land moving him away from his old home. So he leaped from tree to tree and flew from place to place wandering toward Kekaa, the place from which the ghosts leave the island of Maui for their home in the permanent spirit-land--the Under-world.
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