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Keaulumoku's Prophecy


Source: Myths & Legends Of Our New Possessions & Protectorate

Keaulumoku died in 1784. He was a poet, dreamer, prophet, and preserver
of the legends of his people. For more than three-score years he had
roamed about Hawaii, esteemed for his virtues and his wisdom by those
who knew him, tolerated as harmless by those who did not. He wandered
about the vast and desolate lava fields and talked with spirits
there. He learned rhythm and music from the swing of the waves. The
"little people" in the wood were his servants when he needed help. In
his closing years he occupied a cabin alone near Kauhola. Though not
churlish, he cared little for human society,--it seemed so small to
him after daily contemplation of the ocean and mountain majesties and
the nightly vision of the stars; but he was alive to its interests,
and when the future opened to him he was always willing to read it
for comfort or warning.

It was reported in the villages at last that he would look on the faces
of his people but once more, and they were asked to assemble at his
hut on the next evening, when he would chant his last prophecy. Before
sunset they gathered about his cabin a thousand or more, waiting
quietly or talking in whispers, and presently the mat which hung
in the entrance was drawn aside, disclosing the shrunken form and
frosted hair of the venerable prophet. He began his chant in the
quavering voice of age, but as he sang he gained strength, and his
tones were plainly heard by all in the assemblage. He foretold the
union of the islands under Kamehameha, the death of monarchy, the ruin
of the temples, the oncoming of the white race, the disappearance of
the Hawaiian people from the earth. Then blessing the company with
uplifted hands, Keaulumoku sank back lifeless. He was buried with
solemn rites in a temple, and, under the inspiration of his prophecy,
Kamehameha began his work of conquest. In eleven years the islands
were one nation. The rest of the prophecy is coming true.

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