The Boy Pu-nia and the King of the Sharks (Hawaiian Folk Tale)

Folk Tales, Hawaiian Folk Tales4951

On one side of the Island there lived a great shark: Kai-ale-ale he was named; he was the King of the Sharks of that place, and he had ten shaks under him. He lived near a cave that was filled with lobsters. But no one dared to dive down, and go into that cave, and take lobsters out of it, on account of Kai-ale-ale and the ten sharks he had under him; they stayed around the cave night and day, and if a diver ventured near they would bite him and devour him.

There was a boy named Pu-nia, whose father had been killed by the sharks. Now after his father had been killed, there was no one to catch fish for Pu- nia and his mother; they had sweet potatoes to eat, but they never had any fish to eat with them. Often Pu-nia heard his mother say that she wished she had a fish or lobster to eat with the sweet potatoes. He made up his mind that they should have lobsters.

He came above the cave where the lobsters were. Looking down he saw the sharks – Kai-ale-ale and his ten sharks; they were all asleep. While he was watching them, they wakened up. Pu-nia pretended that he did not know that the sharks had wakened. He spoke loudly so that they would hear him, and he said: “Here am I, Pu-nia , and I am going into the cave to get lobsters for myself and my mother. That great shark , Kai- ale-ale, is asleep now, and I can dive to the point over there, and then go into the cave; I will take two lobsters in my hands, and my mother and I will have something to eat with our sweet potatoes. ” So Pu-nia said, speaking loudly and pretending that he thought the sharks were still asleep .

Said Kai-ale-ale, speaking softly to the other sharks: “Let us rush to the place where Pu-nia dives, and let us devour him as we devoured his father. ” But Pu-nia was a very cunning boy and not at all the sort that could be caught by the stupid sharks. He had a stone upon his hand while he was speaking, and he flung it towards the point that he said he was going to dive to. Just as soon as the stone struck the water the sharks made a rush to the place, leaving the cave of the lobsters unguarded. Then Pu-nia dived. He went into the cave, took two lobsters in his hands, and came up on the place that he had spoken from before.

He shouted down to the sharks: “Here is Pu-nia, and he has come back safely. He has two lobsters, and he and his mother have something to live on. It was the first shark, the second shark, the third shark, the fourth shark, the fifth shark, the sixth shark, the seventh shark, the eighth shark, the ninth shark, the tenth shark – it was the tenth shark, the one with the thin tail, that showed Pu-nia what to do. ”

When the King of the Sharks, Kai- ale-ale, heard this from Pu-nia, he ordered all the sharks to come together and stay in a row. He counted them, and there were ten of them, and the tenth one had a thin tail. “So it was you, Thin Tail, ” he said,” that told the boy Pu-nia what to do. You shall die.” Then, according to the orders of Kai-ale-ale, the thin tailed shark was killed. Pu-nia called out to them, “You have killed one of your own kind. ” With the two lobsters in his hands, he went back to his mother”s.

Pu-nia and his mother now had something to eat with their sweet potatoes. And when the lobsters were all eaten, Pu-nia went back to the place above the cave. He called out, the same as he had done the first time: “I can dive to the place over there and then slip into the cave, for the sharks are all asleep; I can get two lobsters for myself and my mother, so that we”ll have something to eat with our sweet potatoes. ” Then he threw down a stone and made ready to dive to another point.

When the stone struck the water the sharks rushed over, leaving the cave unguarded. Then Pu-nia dived down and went into the cave. He took two lobsters in his hands and got back to the top of the water , and when he got to the place that he had spoken from before, he shouted down to the sharks: “It was the first shark, the second shark, the third shark, the fourth shark , the fifth shark, the sixth shark, the seventh shark, the eighth shark, the ninth shark – it was the ninth shark, the one with the big stomach, that told Pu-nia what to do. ”

Then the King of the Sharks, Kai- ale-ale , or dered the sharks to get into a line. He counted them , and he found that the ninth shark had a big stomach. “So it was you that told Pu-nia what to do, ” he said; and he ordered the big-stomached shark to be killed. After that Pu-nia went home with his two lobsters, and he and his mother had something to eat with their sweet potatoes.

Pu-nia continued to do this. He would deceive the sharks by throwing a stone to the place that he said he was going to dive to; when he got the sharks away from the cave, he would dive down, slip in, and take two lobsters in his hands. And always, when he got to the top of the water, he would name a shark. “The first shark, the second shark, the third shark the shark with the little eye, the shark with the grey spot on him – told Pu-nia what to do,” he would say; and each time he would get one of the sharks killed. He kept on doing this until only one of the sharks was left; this one was Kai-ale-ale, the King of the Sharks .

After that, Pu-nia went into the forest ; he hewed out two hard pieces of wood, each about a yard long; then he took sticks for lighting a fire – the au-li -ma to rub with, and the au-na-ki to rub on; he got charcoal to burn as a fire, and he got food. He put all into a bag , and he carried the bag down to the beach. He came above the cave that Kai-ale-ale was watching, and he said, speaking in a loud voice: “If I dive now, and if Kai-ale-ale bites me, my blood will come to the top of the water, and my mother will see the blood and will bring me back to life again. But if I dive down and Kai-ale-ale takes me into his mouth whole, I shall die and never come back to life again. ”

Kai-ale-ale was listening, of course. He said to himself: “No, I will not bite you, you cunning boy; I will take you into my mouth and swallow you whole, and then you will never come back to life again. I shall open my mouth wide enough to take you in. Yes, indeed, this time I will get you. ”

Pu-nia dived, holding his bag. Kai-ale-ale opened his mouth wide and got Pu – nia into it. But as soon as the boy got within, he opened his bag and took out the two pieces of wood which he had hewn out in the forest. He put them between the jaws of the shark so that Kai-ale-ale was not able to close his jaws. With his mouth held open, Kai-ale-ale went dashing through the water.

Pu-nia was now inside the big shark; he took the fire-sticks out of his bag and rubbed them together, making a fire. He kindled the charcoal that he had brought, and he cooked his food at the fire that he had made. With the fire in his insides, the shark could not keep still; he went dashing here and there through the ocean.

At last the shark came near the Island of Hawaii again. “If he brings me near the breakers, I am saved, ” said Pu-nia , speaking aloud; ” but if he takes me to the sand near where the grass grows, I shall die; I cannot be saved. ” Kai- ale-ale, when he heard Pu-nia say this, said to himself: “I will not take him near the breakers; I will take him where the dry sand is, near the grass. ” Saying this, he dashed in from the ocean and up to where the shrubs grew on the shore. No shark had ever gone there before; and when Kai- ale-ale got there, he could not get back again.

Then Pu-nia came out of the shark. He shouted out, “ Kai-ale-ale, Kai-ale – ale, the King of the Sharks, has come to visit us. ” And the people, hearing about their enemy Kai-ale-ale, came down to the shore with their spears and their knives and killed him. And that was the end of the ugly and wicked King of the Sharks.

Every day after that, Pu-nia was able to go down into the cave and get lobsters for himself and his mother. And all the people rejoiced when they knew that the eleven sharks that guarded the cave had been got rid of by the boy Pu-nia.

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