Keoua Kalanikupuapaikalani-Nui, styled Keoua-nui, was the son of Keeaumoku-nui, second son of Keaweikekahialiiokamoku, King of Hawaii, by his second wife, Princess Kalanikauleleieiwi, granddaughter of Iwikauikaua (whose celebrated kapu was the torchlight burnt at mid-day) and daughter of the high chiefess Keakea-lani-wahine. Keoua’s mother was Kamakaimoku, of the renowned family of chiefs of Kau, the I’s.
This child Keoua was reared carefully with the utmost dignity due to his birth, for his father was a “Pio,” which was considered among royalties as the highest rank in the realm. The blood running in his veins had come from Liloa and Umi in a direct line both on the father’s and mother’s side, connecting also with the royal families of Maui, Oahu and Kauai.
Keeaumokunui had an only sister, younger than he, named Kekela-nui, who, as she grew up, was sought after by many beaux, all anxious to marry into the Keawe line. Among her crowd of suitors a young chief named Haae was the favored one to win her heart and hand. Their union was blessed with a daughter whom they named Kekuiapoiwa the Second. At this time Keoua was still a child and the idea soon occurred, as was natural, to the parents of the prince and of the princess that they should be betrothed, and the ceremony to that end was carried out with due pomp by court and people. Yet this proved to be one of those instances where the “best laid schemes” go astray, as will later be seen.
Comely of person and gracious to all he met, Keoua as he verged toward manhood became an attractive personage. While yet awaiting the fulfillment of the plighted troth of his childhood, rumors of events in Maui royal circles were wafted across the waters of Alenuihaba channel which stirred his ambition. They were of the two beautiful daughters of Kalahumoku and his wife Kalani Kaumehameha. Kalahumoliu was the reigning high chief of all Hana including also the districts of Kipahulu and Kaupo, whose decease had just taken place, his eldest daughter Kahikikala assuming the right of successorship in governing his people. Kalahumoku was a lineal descendant of Loe, the great progenitor of Maui’s chiefdom, the Piilanis, Kamalalawalu and others, and of the Hana aliis as well.
This family possessed a wonderful tabu entirely different from, and never known to exist among, any of the other chief families of the Hawaiian group. It was styled “Ka Poo hoo-lewa i ka La,” and inherited from Kaakaualani-nui, the grandmother of Kalahumoku. It signified the laying of the head toward the sun’s position in the heavens from its rising unto its setting. Days for the observance of this tabu were strictly kept. The only time for recreation during the tabu must be taken from between the setting of the luminary and the dawn of a new day.
Upon the arrival of the news just mentioned from Maui Keoua showed great restlessness and anxiety, so much so that his father beseeched him to make known his wishes. Keoua answered: “I desire to visit the court of the two young princesses of Hana, to take to wife one of them, for great is my ambition to obtain that most wonderful of all tabus, so as to hand it down to my posterity forever.”
His father assented to this and preparations were immediately made ‘to carry out the wish of the young prince. Followers, retainers and kahunas formed an imposing retinue for Prince Keoua and at dawn of a fine morning the expedition sailed away so as to reach the opposite shore of Muoleilani by noon. With the sea calm and quiet everything portended a welcome from his selected hostesses. When the fleet was sighted by the kamaainas on the Hana shore great surprise was shown on every countenance. Heralds were sent to the abode of the princesses to announce that a royal visitor was about to land. Emissaries were quickly despatched to the landing to welcome the prince and his followers and invite them to the royal abode, where Kahikikala and her sister Kalanilehua would be ready to receive them.
Upon the arrival of Keoua a truly royal greeting was exchanged between the three chiefly scions, while an equally cordial pledging of friendship took place between those accompanying the prince and those attending on the princesses. Soon it was noticed that Keoua’s attention was more devoted to Kalanilehua than to her elder and regnant sister whom she distinctly outrivaled in beauty. It was said of Kalanilehua that her complexion was like the ohia blossom, from which in fact her name was derived. She was indeed most prepossessing in appearance, so that no young knight meeting her could escape being smitten by her charms.
That Keoua should have failed to conceal his preference, however, did not make any difference of feeling in Kahikikala’s heart toward Kalanilehua, for not only was there great affection between the sisters but the elder held a motherly love for the younger. So matters stood until Keoua’s kahuna deemed it his duty to give warning counsel to his lord, which he did in this manner:
“My Alii, you have come to the land where the sun is never seen setting in the western horizon, as the high peaks of Mauna Kauwiki obstructed the view. Therefore the aliis of Hana are called ‘Na Lii oi ka La Kau;’ while you have the title and distinction of the Alii of the Rising Sun â” ‘I ka Hikina i Haehae.’ Your purpose in coming here was to get a legal inheritance which you greatly coveted for yourself and your successors, that of the far-famed tabu, ‘Ka Poo Hoolewa i ka La,’ of which Kahikikala is the only rightful possessor, as she is the Alii Aimoku, as long as she lives, of all this country and people.
“Therefore make amends for your past indifference and lack of courtesy, and seek Kahikikala’s forgiveness and respect. Besides, she being the elder-born, her progeny will always take precedence of seniority by birth.”
Keoua rose to his feet and said: “I have done wrong and I shall try to make reparation for my past heedless infatuation.”
Now Kalanilehua was well versed respecting her position as the only Hooilina or successor to her sister so long as her sister remained single, as well as conscious that all the honors should be paid to her sister, and aware of the duty of abiding by the monarchical law that required respect and kindness toward all royal visitors at the court. Therefore she permitted Keoua’s behavior toward herself to grow no warmer, but not alone for that reason but because her heart had been already captured by a chief to the manor born “o ka aina” Ua Lanihaahaa, who claimed descent from the noble family of Elani. It was as if a flood of sunshine had come over her, leaving her in her full glory, free and happy.
In the meantime events were taking a different course in Kahikikala’s life. Keoua was anxious for the culmination of the grand desire of his heart through the ceremony of the “Hoao.” Accordingly all the subjects dwelling in Hana, Kipahulu and Kaupo were summoned for the grand hookupu and hearing of the proclamation of the “Hoao”‘ of Keoua and Kahikikala. Feasting, dancing and merry-making in turn expressed general happiness and rejoicing until it was time for the people to return to their homes.
Weeks extended into months with Keoua happy and contented in his new home. Places of inter-est, including the sublime extinct crater of Ha-leakala, were visited by himself and retinue. To the “house of the rising sun,” as the name of the vast mountain .signifies, the distinguished expedition was accompanied by the best informed guides and persons versed in the old folklore and legends of the weird region. On the fourth day they emerged from the interior of the crater through the Kaupo Pass. At the exit the vast multitude was met by the folks of that district with a well prepared feast in honor of the alii and his party. Thence the royal excursion was continued to one of Kahikikala’s homes at Kaupo, for a rest of a few days before facing the rugged trails of Kipahulu, a district noted for its precipitous cliffs and deep ravines. Upon this final stage of the return journey, Keoua, according to custom, was carried upon the backs of his sturdy lieges, one relieving another as necessary.
During all this time events at home were in a lively turn, for the people of Kipahulu and Kaupo were eager to have carried out that which they required, namely, that one of the sisters should make a resident court at Kipahulu, and they looked to Kalanilehua to gratify their longings. So the day was set that the Hoao of Kalanilehua and her devoted lover should be solemnized, it being arranged so as to take place as soon as Keoua reached home.
The repetition of the sacred ceremony was carried out, being as bright and joyous as the nuptials of Kahikikala and Keoua’s had been. The day of departure for the royal couple was one of sorrow for the two sisters. Multitudes of people escorted the pair to their new home, borne on covered palanquins carried on men’s shoulders.
The next event for grand celebration was the birth of Keoua’s son and firstborn, who was deemed “Ka Keiki o Kona wa Heuole,” which means the offspring of his beardless youth. The child was named Kalokuokamaile. Of course this brought many from other courts far and near, including people of Maui. Their rejoicings seemed to know no bounds. Kahikikala spared nothing in lavishly entertaining the vast multitude with all the country afforded. When the time came for the guests to depart for their homes they were loath to go, Kahikikala and Keoua having proved such agreeable and courteous hostess and host. With cordial invitations for renewal of visits and pledges of eternal friendship they took farewell.
Kalokuokamaile had reached his third year a handsome and lovely child, but there was a cloud coming to shadow his bright life. He was soon to lose a kind father’s embraces and a parent’s unbounded love. An embassy from the long-forgotten father, Keeaumokunui, desired the return of his son Keoua to his paternal home, to accomplish the heart’s wish of his parents that he should espouse his cousin Kekuiapoiwa the Second, their niece, they having been betrothed from infancy. Keoua turned to his faithful and downhearted wife, entreating, “What shall I do?”
“Return to your home and obey the desire of your parents and people,” in self-sacrificing spirit she replied. “Here is your son, the love of your youth. He will be my comfort and solace, to requite my affection for you in your absence.”
The prince bowed low and embraced Kahikikala, saying, “I will do as you bid me.”
When preparations were completed for his return to his ancestral home, there was sorrow and weeping all over Hana, for Keoua had endeared himself to the whole country of Hana, Kipahulu and Kaupo. On the day of his departure Keoua turned to Kahikikala and said: “Be tender and loving toward our son and always teach him to understand that it is to obey the dictate of my conscience that I return to my father, for he showed me great love by granting me the great wish of my life to come here in search of you. Although my footsteps are turned homeward, my heart remains with you and our child. With our child I leave my tabu “a noho kane hele ka wahine.”
Thus saying he departed; embarking in his canoe, regally fitted up to bear the royal scion home, followed by his suite and attendants.