The Wronged Wife

: Myths & Legends Of Our New Possessions & Protectorate

In 1530, or thereabout, a Spanish ship from Molucca was driven

across the Pacific and flung, in a dismantled condition, on the Keei

Reefs, Hawaii. Only the captain and his sister were rescued. Until

it was discovered that these strangers required food and sleep, like

themselves, the natives worshipped them as gods. They were hardly less

welcome when it was found that they were human, and they married among

the islander
. The woman's grandchild, Kaikilani, was reputed to be the

most beautiful woman ever born in Hawaii. Kaikilani became the wife

of the heir-apparent, who cared so little for government, however,

that the young woman was made chief. Her marriage to this easy-going,

ambitionless, though generous prince had been a failure. As it was a

state marriage, she cared little for him. His stalwart brother, Lono,

was the object of her love and admiration. When the people resolved

that Lono should be king, Kaikilani was divorced and given to him as

queen, for her first husband prized her happiness above his own. Lono

built a yacht worthy of this Cleopatra, a double canoe eighty feet

long and seven wide, floored and enclosed for twenty feet amidships,

so that the queen had an apartment which was luxuriously furnished

with couches, cloths, festoons of flowers, shells, and feathers,

and containing a sacred image and many charms against evil. The twin

vessels were striped with black and yellow, figures of big birds with

men's heads were at the prow, and on calm days, when the sails hung

idly, forty oarsmen pulled the royal barge at a gallant rate.

During a long honeymoon tour the bridal party landed on Molokai, to

await the passing of heavy weather, and the young couple were playing

draughts to beguile the time, when a dark and sudden cloud fell upon

their happiness. One of the servants of the queen was a girl named

Kaikinani, who had a lover, and while the king was studying his next

move he heard a man's voice call, as he thought, "Come, Kaikilani,

your lover is waiting." The man was calling Kaikinani. He abruptly

asked his wife who had dared to address the queen in that easy fashion,

and taking her own surprise and confusion for a token of guilt, he

struck her with the checker-board, rushed away to the beach, ordered

his private canoe to be launched, and seizing one of the paddles,

he rowed with his twenty attendants until he was exhausted. That

night he gained the shores of Oahu.

When Kaikilani had come out of a delirium of nine days, and understood

the nature of the mistake that had separated her from her husband, she

hastily equipped her barge and began a search for him,--a search that

lasted for months. Lono, ensconced at the court of Oahu, was trying

to stifle his regrets; he would not reveal his name; he refused all

companionship with women; he worked at play most earnestly, hunting,

rowing, swimming, surf-riding, racing, leaping, casting the spear,

halting at nothing that involved peril or that would tire him at

night to a forgetful sleep. His stay was drawing to an end. He was

to sail for Hawaii in a day or two, for rebellions were threatening

in his absence, and his departure was none too early, for certain

of the gallants were jealous of his success in sports and of the

unrewarded admiration that the fair sex gave to him. One of these men

taunted him with being a nameless chief. Lono, scowling down on him,

answered that he would tear the skin from his living body if he ever

caught him beyond his king's protection, and producing a big calabash

filled with rebels' bones, he chanted the names of those he had slain.

He was interrupted by a soft voice, outside of the enclosure,

chanting his name-song. Who could have learned his name? The court

had risen. "Yes," he said, "the singer is true. I am Lono, and she

whom I hear is my wife. The gods be praised."

Leaping the wall, he found, as he had hoped, Kaikilani, smiling through

her tears. He held her in a long embrace. Next day they returned to

their native island, where they reigned to an old and happy age.