Keaulumoku's Prophecy





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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