The Sailing Of Paao

Paao, who afterward became a high priest in Hawaii, migrated thither

in the eleventh century from Samoa, after a quarrel with his brother,

Lonopele. Both of these men were wizards, and were persons of riches

and influence. It came about that Lonopele had missed a quantity of

his choicest fruit, which was conveyed away at night, and although

he could see visions and tell fortunes for others, he could not

reveal for his own satisfaction so simple a matter as the source of

these disappearances. In a foolish rage he accused his nephew, the

son of Paao. Paao was indignant, but, with even greater foolishness,

he killed his son, in order to open the boy's stomach and prove that

there was no fruit in it. This act so rankled in his mind that he

decided to leave the country and forget it, and to that end he built

several strong canoes and stored them well with food and water.

Before sailing, Paao revenged himself for his own folly by killing

a son of Lonopele. The latter discovered the murder too late to

retaliate with weapons, so he summoned the powers of magic to his

aid. He sent a hurricane in chase of the receding boats, but a great

fish pushed them on, despite the wind, which was against them, while

another friendly monster of the sea swam around and around the little

fleet, breaking the force of the waves. Lonopele then sent a colossal

bird to vomit over the canoes and sink them, but mats were put up in

tent-form as protections, and this project also failed.

Paao landed in Hawaii with about forty followers, one of whom was a

powerful prophet. As the canoes were setting off, several would-be

wizards begged to be taken to the new land. Paao called to them to

leap into the sea, if they trusted their own powers, and he would take

them on board. All who jumped were killed by striking on rocks or

by drowning,--all but the real prophet, who did not leave the shore

till the boats were a mile or so away from land. Paao answered his

thunderous hail by an equally thunderous refusal to return, as to go

back after starting was bad luck, but added, "There is room for you, if

you will fly to us." Putting all his strength into his arms and legs,

the prophet swam through the air and reached the boats without injury.

The real Paao is said to have been a Spanish priest who was cast away

on the islands by the wreck of the galleon Santo Iago in 1527. The

ship was bound from Acapulco to Manila with shrines and images. The

priest grafted Christian practices on the native religion, abolished

sacrifice, and begat a line of chiefs.

The Saga In Heimskringla And The Prose Edda The Salem Alchemist facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail