The Three Wives Of Laa

: Myths & Legends Of Our New Possessions & Protectorate

Laa, a young man of distinguished family, who had gone to Raiatea

in his boyhood, returned a number of years after to visit his

foster-father, Moikeha, then chief of Kauai. The boats that were sent

for him were painted yellow, the royal color, and Laa was invested in a

feather robe that had cost a hundred people a year of labor, and caused

the killing of at least ten thousand birds, since the mamo had but one

yellow fe
ther under each wing. Hawaiian millinery was, therefore, as

cruel a business as it became in America several centuries later. When

this favorite scion landed his path was strewn with flowers, and the

feasts in his honor lasted for a month. He had agreed to go back to

Raiatea, for he had been accepted there as heir-apparent, yet it

was thought a pity that his line should cease in his native land;

and while he felt that for state reasons he must take a Raiatea

woman for his queen,--for the people there would never consent to

his carrying home a Hawaiian to help rule over them,--he cheerfully

consented to take a temporary wife during his stay in Kauai. His house

and grounds were, therefore, decorated, the nobility was assembled,

musicians and poets and dancers were engaged, and a great feast was

ordered, when a hitch arose over the choice of a bride. Each of the

three leading priests had a marriageable daughter of beauty and proud

descent. How were their claims to be settled? Easily enough, as it fell

out. Laa married all three on the same day, and before his departure

for Raiatea each wife on the same day presented a son to him. From

these three sons sprang the governing families of Oahu and Kauai.