By ''Uncle Charlie''
Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr.

This story is about three Menehune (little people), that lived in a forest called Ainahou. The area is on the North side of Halekala Crater, right above the Koolau Gap.

Everyone that lives in Hawaii know that the Menehune has magical powers and have created great deeds throughout the Hawaiian Islands. They were no different here on Maui.

These three Menehune's names were Ha`alulu, Eleu and Molowa. They were well known by all the other Menehune living in Hawaii of possessing very unusual powers. Ha`alulu was so named by his kupuna (ancestors) a long time ago because he was always shaking, which is actually what it means, to shake or tremble. Actually when you think about it, anyone that lives in Haleakala Crater would be Ha`alulu from the cold. His magic gift was that whenever he would start shaking, he would disappear and no matter where he went, he was invisible.

Eleu in Hawaiian means quick and nimble and that he was. When ever Eleu moved, he was so quick that he disappeared and that was his magic gift. As far as Molowa went, his name meant lazy, but he was not. In ancient times, the Kupuna would name people with hidden meaning. It was true in this case. The magical powers that Molowa possessed was that when ever he appeared to be lazy and sleeping, his magical self became invisible and he would be off and about doing all kinds of good deeds.

One day the three Menehune walked down from the Koolau Gap, towards the Keanae area. They were catching their food for that day which was opai. It was Eleu's job to catch opai in the streams. He was so fast they could not see him, and he filled his eke (bag) in no time and called to the others who were harvesting bananas. Ha`alulu and Molowa made small holes in the middle of the banana tree with their spear, and pulled a ripe bunch down. They picked off each banana so that if any "humans" discovered the tree, they would think that it fell. Loaded with banana and opai, the three left for home in Haleakala.

The 3 Menehune

As they approached a valley, they heard someone crying. They hid their ukana (supplies) and went to investigate. Eleu walked fast and he disappeared. Ha`alulu started to shake and he disappeared. Molowa hid himself in the forest and went to sleep. His spirit joined the other Menehune and they traveled towards whoever was crying. In a small clearing in the forest, they noticed a young boy and girl sitting on a rock by a stream and the little girl was crying.

Little girl and boyThe little girl was broken hearted and talking to the little boy the Menehune could hear their conversation. She was sad that their Kupuna Kane and Kupuna Wahine (grandpa and grandma) were getting old and they could not fix the broken lo`i kalo (taro patches). They had also been sent to the forest to get opai for the families dinner, but could not catch any because they swam too fast.

Hearing that, Eleu immediately took the upena (net) that was lying next to the little boy and entered the stream next to them. The little boy and girl were so shocked to see their net floating in midair and go by its self into the stream. The little boy stood up and the little girl's mouth was wide open. Both of them could not say a word. All of a sudden the net floated back to them and it was full of opai. Eleo set the net right next to them and went back to the other Menehune. They hugged Eleu and told him that was a wonderful thing he did. The little boy and girl could barely carry the eke (bag) that they had put the opai in and were laughing as they left the forest.

Upon returning home, they had told their Kupuna what happened in the forest. Hearing the story, they knew that the Menehune had watched over their moopuna (grandchildren) and the opai was a gift to them. They all joined hands and prayed their thanks to the gods for the Menehune's help.

Over dinner Eleu, Ha`alulu and Molowa were discussing the faith of the little children and their grandparents. They decided that they would go to the families lo`i , and repair it. As usual, the Menehune rule had to be followed that all work must be concluded before sunrise. The ancient Menehune rule was that if the work could not be finished in one night, it could never be completed.

As the moon started to set, the three Menehune prepared the magical tools. They had an o`o (digging stick), that with the right oli (chant), would dig an entire field by itself. There was a ko`i (adz), that when shown the task of cutting stone, would cut all the stone that was needed for building walls. Seeing that the moon had disappeared, the 3 Menehune left the deep forest and went to Keanae all in their 'invisible' state.

Arriving at the family's home they immediately started working fixing the broken lo`i, by building new walls around the patches. They replanted numerous patches and made sure they were at different stages of growth. Having done that they cleaned up and repaired everything around the kupuna's property.

The Menehune did not know that for some time they were being watched by the little girl and boy who were hiding by the window in the house.

Little girl and boy

All they saw was the Menehune tools moving all around the taro patches and plants being planted and start to grow as they watched. Like in the forest they could not see anyone using the tools. All activity stopped as dawn appeared and when the sun rose, they could see all the work was done. In waking their Kupuna they all rejoiced and that night they left a gift for the 3 Menehune's.

The grandfather was a carver and he had made 3 beautiful canes out of kauila wood. He instructed his moopuna to take the canes to the forest and leave it in the clearing where the opai was caught. Leave the cane by the big rock next to the stream and say 'Mahalo' (thank you), 3 times. The 2 little children did exactly what was told of them. After saying Mahalo 3 times, when they looked toward the big rock by the stream where they left the canes, they were gone.

They returned home to their grandparents and lived happily ever after.

The morale of the story is, no matter how hard your life is, there is always someone that will help you to make things better.

Aloha, Ahui hou (see you later)

All Pau

Ho`iho`i Mai