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.
As he came near this doorway to the spirit-world he met the ghost of a sister who had died long before, and to whom was given the power of sometimes turning a ghost back to its body again. She was an aumakua-ho-ola (a spirit making alive). She called to Ka-ilio-hae and told him to come to her house and dwell for a time. But she warned him that when her husband was at home he must not yield to any invitation from him to enter their house, nor could he partake of any of the food which her husband might urge him to eat. The home and the food would be only the shadows of real things, and would destroy his power of becoming alive again.
The sister said, "When my husband comes to eat the food of the spirits and to sleep the. sleep of ghosts, then I will go with you and you shall see all the spirit-land of' our island and see the king of ghosts."
The ghost-sister led Ka-ilio-hae into the place of whirlwinds, a hill where he heard the voices of many spirits planning to enjoy all the sports of their former life. He listened with delight and drew near to the multitude of happy spirits. Some were making ready to go down to the sea for the hee-nalu (surf-riding). Others were already rolling the ulu-maika (the round stone discs for rolling along the ground). Some were engaged in the mokomoko, or umauma (boxing), and the kulakulai (wrestling), and the honuhonu (pulling with hands), and the loulou (pulling with hooked fingers), and other athletic sports.
Some of the spirits were already grouped in the shade of trees, playing the gambling games in which they had delighted when alive. There was the stone konane-board (somewhat like checkers), and the puepue-one (a small sand mound in which was concealed some object), and the puhenehene (the hidden stone under piles of kapa), and the many other trials of skill which permitted betting.
Then in another place crowds were gathered around the hulas (the many forms of dancing). These sports were all in the open air and seemed to be full of interest.
There was a strange quality which fettered every new-born ghost: he could only go in the direction into which he was pushed by the hand of some stronger power. If the guardian of a ghost struck it on one side, it would move off in the direction indicated by the blow or the push until spirit strength and experience came and he could go alone. The newcomer desired to join in these games and started to go, but the sister slapped him on the breast and drove him away. These were shadow games into which those who entered could never go back to the substantial things of life.
Then there was a large grass house inside which many ghosts were making merry. The visitor wanted to join this great company, but the sister knew that, if he once was engulfed by this crowd of spirits in this shadow-land, her brother could never escape. The crowds of players would seize him like a whirlwind and he would be unable to know the way he came in or the way out. Ka-ilio-hae tried to slip away from his sister, but he could not turn readily. He was still a very awkward ghost, and his sister slapped him back in the way in which she wanted him to go.
An island which was supposed to float on the ocean as one of the homes of the aumakuas (the ghosts of the ancestors) had the same characteristics. The ghosts (aumakuas) lived on the shadows of all that belonged to the earth-life. It was said that a canoe with a party of young people landed on this island of dreams and for some time enjoyed the food and fruits and sports, but after returning to their homes could not receive the nourishment of the food of their former lives, and soon died. The legends taught that no ghost passing out of the body could return unless it made the life of the aumakuas tabu to itself.
Soon the sister led her brother to a great field, stone walled, in which were such fine grass houses as were built only for chiefs of the highest rank. There she pointed to a narrow passage-way into which she told her brother he must enter by himself.
"This," she said, "is the home of Walia, the high chief of the ghosts living in this place. You must go to him. Listen to all he says to you. Say little. Return quickly. There will be three watchmen guarding this passage. The first will ask you, 'What is the fruit [desire] of your heart?' You will answer, 'Walia.' Then he will let you enter the passage.
"Inside the walls. of the narrow way will be the second watchman. He will ask why you come; again answer, 'Walia,' and pass by him.
"At the end of the entrance the third guardian stands holding a raised spear ready to strike. Call to him, 'Ka-make-loa' [The Great Death]. This is the name of his spear. Then he will ask what you want, and you must reply, 'To see the chief,' and he will let you pass.
"Then again when you stand at the door of the great house you will see two heads bending together in the way so that you cannot enter or see the king and his queen. If these heads can catch a spirit coming to see the king without knowing the proper incantations, they will throw that ghost into the Po-Milu [The Dark Spirit-world]. Watch therefore and remember all that is told you.
"When you see these heads, point your hands straight before you between them and open your arms, pushing these guards off on each side, then the ala-nui [the great way] will be open for you--and you can enter.
"You will see kahilis [soft long feather fans] moving over the chiefs. The king will awake and call, 'Why does this traveller come?' You will reply quickly, 'He comes to see the Divine One.' When this is said no injury will come to you. Listen and remember and you will be alive again."
Ka-ilio-hae did as he was told with the three watchmen, and each one stepped back, saying, "Noa" (the tabu is lifted), and he pushed by. At the door he shoved the two heads to the side and entered the chief's house to the ka-ikuwai (the middle), falling on his hands and knees. The servants were waving the kahilis this way and that. There was motion, but no noise.
The chief awoke, looked at Ka-ilio-hae, and said: "Aloha, stranger, come near. Who is the high chief of your land?"
Then Ka-ilio-hae gave the name of his king, and the genealogy from ancient times of the chiefs dead and in the spirit-world.
The queen of ghosts arose, and the kneeling spirit saw one more beautiful than any woman in all the island, and he fell on his face before her.
The king told him to go back and enter his body and tell his people about troubles near at hand.
While he was before the king twice he heard messengers call to the people that the sports were all over; any one not heeding would be thrown into the darkest place of the home of the ghosts when the third call had been sounded.
The sister was troubled, for she knew that at the third call the stone walls around the king's houses would close and her brother would be held fast forever in the spirit-land, so she uttered her incantations and passed the guard. Softly she called. Her brother reluctantly came. She seized him and pushed him outside. Then they heard the third call, and met the multitude of ghosts coming inland from their sports in the sea, and other multitudes hastening homeward from their work and sports on the land.
They met a beautiful young woman who called to them to come to her home, and pointed to a point of rock where many birds were resting. The sister struck her brother and forced him down to the seaside where she had her home and her responsibility, for she was one of the guardians of the entrance to the spirit-world.
She knew well what must be done to restore the spirit to the body, so she told her brother they must at once obey the command of the king; but the brother had seen the delights of the life of the aumakuas and wanted to stay. He tried to slip away and hide, but his sister held him fast and compelled him to go along the beach to his old home and his waiting body.
When they came to the place where the body lay she found a hole in the corner of the house and pushed the spirit through. When he saw the body he was very much afraid and tried to escape, but the sister caught him and pushed him inside the foot up to the knee. He did not like the smell of the body and tried to rush back, but she pushed him inside again and held the foot fast and shook him and made him go to the head.
The family heard a little sound in the mouth and saw breath moving the breast, then they knew that he was alive again. They warmed the body and gave a little food. When strength returned he told his family all about his wonderful journey into the land of ghosts.
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