A look at the goddess of volcanoes, Pele, who became the most powerful of the Hawaiian gods. Was Pele once a real woman? What would trigger her temper? And what rituals were performed to appease her?
"Ancient Mysteries" is a series of one-hour documentaries exploring archaeological, historical, and cultural mysteries of the ancient past.
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.
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