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The     
Menehune Twins


An ancient kanaka maoli myth
written by: norbert perez



Centuries ago in the island of Havaiki, there lived two young Menehunes, named: Kaulana and Keoki.

Although Kaulana and Keoki were only Twelve years old, they were already hardened fighters of homeland security - exposed to the task of fighting off the invading Aliis from the south. Their ancestors have battled them before. The southern marauders have a single purpose in mind and that is to take over Havaiki and subject the Menehunes into slavery.

"Havaiki belongs to us." Kaulana said as he plunged down on a log beside his twin brother. "Our ancestors settled this land many, many seasons before. Our fathers were born here."

"Our grandfathers and their grandfathers were born here." Keoki added.

"What right do these devils have?" Kaulana demanded. "What right do they have to our land?"

"No right! None! None whatsoever!" Keoki commented.

"As KU is my witness, we shall fight them off and be victorious. As KU is my witness, we shall send their spirits to the land of the fiery mountain...just as our ancestors have done" Kaulana remarked.

"Yes we will!" Keoki added.

The boys were on guard duty today at the peaks overlooking the Western shores. Their job was to watch the horizons for signs of danger, signs of an invading force.

Just two moons before, the invaders were driven off. They came in the early morning hours believing that the Menehunes were preoccupied with their daily chores of digging for clams near the shoreline and tending to their fishponds. They had thought that the residents were busy digging around the boonies for yams.

They were surprised indeed.

They came swiftly and silently through the channel, seven canoes in all and numbering twenty-three warriors. They wore wooden masks and their bodies were painted black and red.

The Menehunes knew they were coming. The lookouts high up on the peaks had spotted them hours before, sending a signal to the residents below. The Menehunes prepared a strategic and defensive welcome.

First, they sent the women and children off to the caves nearby for their safety and protection.

Next, a cadre of Menehune men dressed themselves as women and pretended to be working the fishponds and the yam plots.

The Menehune warriors suited up in their fighting attires with long wooden spears and giant clamshells as shields, surrounded the landing point and prepared for the onslaught. They were careful to disguise themselves as part of the landscape. They had practiced many times before.

The invaders landed their crafts on the beach and began their advance on the village. The Menehune warriors quickly closed ranks at the shoreline preventing any retreat. The invaders were shocked at being suddenly surrounded. In the end, five Aliis were slain and the rest taken captives.

The entire day and night was filled with chanting and merriment. The victory meant prayers and sacrifices to the gods. And when the party and the celebration were over, the captives were taken to the beach and discharged in their canoes. They were sent off to either die as proud warriors in the open sea or to return to their island in disgrace. The Menehunes were not ruthless savages after all.

"Let me rest in the shade of that palm tree while you stand watch," Keoki said to his brother. "The sun is high above the sky and way too hot for my liking."

"Yes my dear brother," Kaulana said as he stood up to scan the shorelines. "I will stand guard while you rest."

In no time, Keoki started snoring and Kaulana began chanting an ancient song...
O KANE! O KANE!
Giver of life!
God of the human race!
O KANE! O KANE!
Light of the sun!
Father of Havaiki!

Soon his hands were in motion and his body was gyrating in sync with his chant. His demeanor became holistic; his voice became electric; and his dance became a magical trance.
O KANE! O KANE!
Spirit of the land!
Creator of the universe!
O KANE! O KANE!
I am your son!
I am your servant!

Every few hours, Kaulana would snap out of his transcendental ritual to hear his brother still snoring away and lost in the world of dreams. And like clockwork, he would run the course to the edge of the peaks to survey the miles and miles of shoreline, occasionally catching a glimpse of the herd of whales frolicking in the ocean beyond.

"Another beautiful day in paradise," Kaulana thought to himself. "Living here in the land of plenty, in the land of rainbows, we must be the luckiest children of the gods."

Suddenly he heard his brother running up to him and screaming as if he had just seen a ghost.

"Look, Kaulana! Look!" the boy cried out pointing to the southern sky.

Kaulana turned around and squinted at the direction from which Keoki was pointing. He saw a glittery object falling from the sky.

"What is it?" Kaulana asked.

"I don't know!" Keoki responded.

The object, about the size of a giant clamshell, was now making a sizzling splash several hundred yards from the southern shore. It landed in a fish hole near the reef.

"Oh my brother! What is that shiny thing?" Keoki asked his face blank and pale.

"I don't know! I don't know!" Kaulana replied.

From high up on the peaks, the boys could see a tiny speck shining from the ocean floor. The object glowed and resonated as if it was alive.

"Oh Kaulana! I am afraid!" Keoki said as he clung to his brother's arm. "Let's run home and tell Papa. Let's alert the warriors down below so they can warn our people."

"No! No! No!" Kaulana remarked. "We can't leave our post!"

"What shall we do, then?" the boy questioned.

Kaulana thought a moment and then said, "When our watch duty ends, we will go out to the fish hole and find this shiny thing. We will investigate firsthand and then decide if we should tell Papa and the chief"

"I don't know, my brother! What if it's alive and it swallows us?" Keoki asked. "I think we should warn everyone in the village."

"Don't be afraid, Keoki!" Kaulana said. "Don't worry, my brother! The gods will protect us!"

The boys had a few more hours of duty before being relieved. They spent the time memorizing their chants and contemplating what to do with the shiny object. They had been on watch since the noon before and were quite exhausted.

Kaulana and Keoki were the first identical twins conceived in the islands and very lucky to be alive. The boys were destined to be drown the day after birth because they were thought to be 'freaks of nature'. The village midwives refused to assist in their delivery believing it was 'Kapu'. Had it not been for Kuhuna Tiku, the high priest of Havaiki who interceded and informed the villagers that the births were a blessing from "KANALOA", they would now be spirits in the land of the gods.

"Aloha! Aloha!" A voice came from the trail leading up to the peaks.

"Aloha!" Keoki shouted back. "Over here!"

"Very good. Our replacements are here!" Kaulana said.

An old man and a young boy were now visible through the clearing and making their way up the trail.

"Aloha, Nomo!" Keoki cried out as he greeted an acquaintance from the village.

"Aloha, Keoki!" The boy acknowledged with a wave.

"We saw a shiny object fall from the sky." Keoki mumbled involuntarily.

Kaulana grabbed at his brother, pursing his lips to silence him. The boy's eyes were hard as he whispered in his brother's ear, "Shut up, you stupid fool! Shush! Do not tell anyone. It is our little secret."

Keoki shushed, realizing his predicament.

"What shiny object?" Nomo asked.

"Oh, nothing! Just some whales playing near the shore." Keoki lied.

The old man found a resting spot near the boys and quickly deposited his load of provisions. He looked around and acknowledged Kaulana and Keoki.

"How was your watch?" He asked, looking directly at Kaulana.

"Boring! Boring, as usual!" Kaulana stated, as he gathered his belongings into a knap-sack basket. "And how were things back at the village?" Kaulana inquired.

"Routine! Same-O! Same-O!" The old man stated.

Keoki and Nomo were now fooling around and dueling with their spears. They were circling each other; eying each other with that mean, combat demeanor.

"Let's go, Keoki!" Kaulana called out signaling his brother that all was ready for their departure. "We have to hurry down the trail."

"Aloha. Nomo!" Keoki said, bidding his friend goodbye. "Enjoy yourself and practice some more so you can one day beat me in combat." Keoki chuckled sarcastically.

"Aloha, Keoki!" Nomo cried out. "We shall continue our duel back at the village."

"Let's go, Keoki! Let's go!" Kaulana insisted.

"Okay! Okay! We're going already!" Keoki replied.

The boys hurried down the mountain trail. They had only a few hours of daylight left and they needed to get out to the fish hole and find that shiny object.

"It shouldn't be too hard to locate." Kaulana thought. "If we can see that glitter from high up on the ridge, we can certainly find it at close range."

They arrived at their smock family home where they dumped their gears just outside the entryway. They immediately turned around and headed out towards the beach.

"Keoki! Kaulana! Come here!" Their mother called out after them. "Where are you going? You must be tired. You must be hungry."

The boys turned around and headed back to the house looking dejected.

"No, Mama. Not too tired." Keoki replied as he hugged his mother lovingly.

"Aloha, Mama." Kaulana said hugging his mother as well. "We have to go out to the beach for awhile, Mama. We need to get something before darkness falls on Havaiki."

"You must be hungry!" Their mother prodded. "Let me fix you some nice poi. Sit down over there," pointing to a huge plank near the breadfruit tree.

"No! No Mama! Please!" Kaulana argued. "We have to get down to the beach before nightfall."

"Nonsense!" She said.

Realizing that she wasn't going to be put away, Kaulana gave in. "Okay Mama! Go and prepare the poi. Add some fish and breadfruit, too. In the meantime, Keoki and I will run out to the beach and be back here before you turn around."

She could see that the boys were troubled and depressed. She wanted very much to hold them close to her bosom and console them. She realized too that boys will be boys and stubbornness was an inherent trait. Finally, she agreed to their wishes.

"Okay, my sons but hurry back." She said. "It will take me just a few blinks to get the food ready."

"Mahalo, Mama!" Keoki said jumping up and down.

"We will be back here in less than a blink." Kaulana remarked joyfully, as he grabbed his brother's arm and they scampered off towards the beach.

She glared out after them as she remembered that frightful day long, long ago. "My beautiful sons! Thank you KANE for sparing them. Thank you KANALOA for sharing my sons with me. Mahalo! Mahalo! Mahalo!"

The boys reached the fish hole in no time. They saw the object, still glittering from a distance and approached it with caution. They soon realized that the best way to get to the object was to walk out onto the reef and come back from that direction.

They came within a few yards of the object and stopped dead on their tracks.

"What shall we do, Kaulana?" Keoki questioned.

"I don't know! Let me think!" Kaulana replied.

They could see that the shiny object was wedged halfway into the sand in about eight feet of water. They noted that everything around the object was cleared, as if every living thing had decided to distance itself from the glitter. They noticed too that all the fish in the pond were somehow attracted to the glitter because they were swimming in a frenzy near and around the object.

"Strange!" Kaulana thought.

"What shall we do?" Keoki inquired standing close behind. "What shall we do? Do you have any idea?"

"I don't know!" Kaulana said. "How can I think with you constantly moaning and groaning?"

"Give me my spear!" He called to his brother.

"What are you going to do?" Keoki questioned.

"I will dive down and investigate." Kaulana replied.

"No, my brother! Don't do that." Keoki answered fearfully.

"Don't worry, Keoki! The gods will protect me." Kaulana said as he grabbed at his spear. He looked up at the sky and mumbled a few verses to the gods. Then, he took a huge gulp of air and dove underwater.

The boy swam straight down to the shiny object. He poked at it from close range using his spear anticipating some retaliation. None came. He poked again and again but still no reaction.

He came back up to the surface and took a hearty breath of fresh air. Again, he mumbled some verses to the gods; took a deep breath and dove a second time. All the while, Keoki was calling out to him. "What is it, Kaulana? Did you find the thing? Did you find it? Did you find it?"

Kaulana went down to the glowing object again and poked at it some more. He felt a hard thud every time the point of his spear made contact with the thing.

"That is very strange!" Kaulana thought to himself. "This thing is hard as a rock yet it glows and doesn't move."

The boy went back up to the surface to replenish his air supply and to calm his brother down. In the short time that Kaulana was underwater, Keoki began sobbing, fearful as ever.

"Oh, my brother!" Keoki cried out. "I am afraid for you."

"Yes Keoki. Calm down! Calm down!" Kaulana replied.

"Calm down! What do you mean, calm down! Keoki declared. "Are you okay?"

"Yes, my brother. I am okay." Kaulana admitted. "I am here and I am okay!"

"Did you find the shiny object?" Keoki asked.

"I sure did!" Kaulana said.

"Did you touch it?" Keoki inquired.

"I didn't touch it with my hands but I felt it with my spear." Kaulana remarked. "It's some kind of rock and it glows."

"Let me go down and see." Keoki told his brother. "Please, let me see?"

"No! Not yet, Keoki." Kaulana echoed. "I am not finished investigating."

"It's my turn!" the boy protested. "It's my turn!"

"You will have your chance, Keoki, sooner than you know." Kaulana stated. "I will go down and pull it up to the surface."

Kaulana breathed heavily while he chanted his verses to the gods. Finally, he inhaled a huge gulp of air and went down for the third time. He dove directly to the shiny object and had his arms around the thing. He nudged it this way and that way, trying to loosen it from the sand. He felt it move. He nudged harder and harder, this time using his spear as a prying tool. He realized that the object was too weighty for him to handle by himself, so he forced his way back up to the surface.

"Did you get it? Did you get it?" Keoki asked more excited than ever.

"No, Keoki." Kaulana answered. "I got it loose and free but it is too heavy for me to handle alone. I will need your help."

"Okay! Okay then! Let's go down now." Keoki cried out.

"Hold on! Not so fast!" the boy said trying to catch his breath. "Let me rest a bit."

"Okay but please hurry!" His brother demanded.

"Here! This is what we're going to do." Kaulana added. "We're going down together, understand? You will grab hold of the object from one side and I will from the other."

"Shoot!" Keoki agreed.

"We will tug at this thing and bring it up to the surface, just as we do with the giant turtle. Okay?" Kaulana declared.

"Shoot!" Keoki agreed.

The boys began a series of heavy breathing. At the count of three, they both took deep gulps of air and went under. They reached the object where they straddled it in unison. It was weighty and somewhat hard to handle but they succeeded. They got it up to the surface, glowing and glittering more than ever. They brought it close to the reef and heaved it on to a huge rock. The boys sat down beside the object to catch their breaths and re-energize.

"Wow! This thing is heavy!" Keoki stated.

"This thing is awesome!" Kaulana admired. "I'll bet it has some magical powers!"

"Think so?" Keoki questioned. "What kind of magical powers?"

"I'm not sure but I know it does." Kaulana replied.

"What shall we do with it?" Keoki asked. "I think we should tell Papa."

"No! Not yet!" Kaulana said. "We'll keep it as our little secret for now....just until we find out what it is and what it does."

"Hey look down there, Kaulana!" Keoki pointed at the spot where they retrieved the huge boulder. "There is still something glowing down there. Look! See it?"

"Yes! You're right, my brother!" Kaulana added. "It's a little faint but it glows just like this rock."

"Let me dive down and see." Keoki volunteered as he bounced off the platform and into the water.

In a short time, the boy returned to the surface screaming and hollering with excitement. "Look what I found?"

He held a small piece of the glowing rock in each hand. "I have a little gift for you! And I have a little gift for me!" Keoki said as he flipped a stone to his brother.

"Thanks!" Kaulana said catching the stone with one hand.

"I will keep this forever." Keoki declared as he rubbed and admired his little treasure.

"Me too!" Kaulana murmured approvingly. "I will take it home and keep it in my safe place. Then I will ask Mama for some kapa and fiber string, so I can tie it around my neck like an amulet."

"That's neat! I'll do the same." Keoki said. "Now let's go home. I'm hungry."

"Wait a minute! Are we forgetting something?" Kaulana said as he motioned to the huge shiny thing nearby.

"Yeah!" Keoki admitted. "Of course we can't just leave it here. We need to hide it somewhere."

"Now you're talking, my brother." Kaulana commented. "Now you're talking sense."

"I know!" Keoki said. "Let's push it back into the water and hide it near that rock pile. We could cover it up with limo or something."

"Now you're talking, Keoki!" Kaulana replied with a huge grin on his face. "Yeah! Lets hide it near that rock pile and cover it up with limo."

"Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" Keoki agreed, grinning from ear to ear.

When the boys were done with their disguising work, they hurried back to the village to where their mother anxiously awaited.

"Aloha Mama! Aloha Mama!" The boys called out as they came running up to the house.

"You boys took longer than a blink!" The mother reminded them.

"Sorry, Mama!" Kaulana apologized. "We were unavoidably detained."

"So sorry, Mama!" Keoki cooed with his infamous soft and innocent tone of voice.

"Oh, never mind!" She replied. "The important thing is you're home and your food is ready. Now sit down on the mat and eat."

"Yes, Mama!" Kaulana said.

"Eat to your heart's content!" She ordered. "Eat! Eat! Eat!"

"Mahalo Mama!" Keoki added.

The boys were not just hungry; they were starving. They ate four huge breadfruits; six pieces of dried fish; and two quarts of gooey poi between them. They topped it off with two bowls of sweet coconut meat and a few clusters of ripe bananas for dessert.

When they finished their supper, the boys cleaned up their mess and thanked their mother. "Mahalo, Mama! That was the best meal I've ever had." Keoki commented.

"Me too, Mama! Mahalo nui loa." Kaulana added. "You are the greatest mom in the world."

"You're welcome, my sons. The gods of Havaiki are pleased!" She said.

"Oh Mama, I am so stuffed I can barely move." Keoki admitted.

"Good, my child. That is good." She responded. "Now go under that banyan tree and sleep it off. You too, Kaulana."

"Yes Mama! Mahalo." They replied as they stumbled over to the cozy tree, already lined with soft leaves as a resting mat. Kaulana plucked himself down, his eyes already half shut and Keoki crawled over after him. In a little while, they were fast asleep. Not surprisingly, they each had their glittery rock covered in leaves and safe in their palms.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Kaulana awoke to hear his brother sobbing. "What's wrong, Keoki?" He asked.

"Something is wrong with my stone." Keoki said. "It doesn't glow anymore. See?"

Kaulana reached out and took the stone from his brother.

"My stone is dead!" Keoki cried. "It doesn't shine anymore."

Kaulana retrieved his stone from under his pillow and it too was not glowing. Like Keoki's treasure, it looked like any ordinary pebble. He grasped both stones in his palms and began rubbing. He thought out loud, commanding the stones to glow. They did.

"Keoki! Look, Keoki!" Kaulana echoed. "They are not dead. They are glowing again."

"Are you sure?" The boy questioned.

"See? Look for yourself!" Kaulana said.

"What did you do?" Keoki asked inquisitively.

"Nothing!" The boy stated. "I simply held the rocks in my palms, rubbed them a little and mentally willed them to glow."

"Are you sure?" Keoki questioned.

"Of course I'm sure." Kaulana said.

"Oh, my brother! Mahalo." Keoki said feeling good again. "Can I do it too?"

"Sure!" Kaulana added. "Try it yourself."

Keoki took his now glowing stone and cupped it in his palms. He rubbed it and ordered. "Stop glow! Stop glow!"

It did! It stopped glowing just as Keoki commanded.

"I knew it!" Kaulana remarked. "These stones have magical powers."

"Yeah!" His brother declared as he ordered his stone. "Glow! Glow! Stop Glow! Stop Glow!
Glow! Glow! Stop Glow! Stop Glow!"

Kaulana looked at his brother playing with his stone and wondered just what magical powers they have. He called out to him. "Keoki! That's enough for now! Put away your stone and let's get some sleep. We can experiment some more in the morning."

"Yes, my brother!" Keoki obeyed. "Mahalo Kaulana and good night."

***********************************************************

The following day came with a brilliant sunshine dictating a new hope and a new life. For the Menehunes every day represented a new hope and a new life colored with excitement and adventure. They yearned for it; they lived for it, especially Kaulana and Keoki.

The new day found the boys already at the fish hole experimenting with their treasures. They learned that the large meteorite reacted on command just like the small amulets did. They learned that ordering the large object to glow invited every kind of fish to the pond and made the task of catching them very simple. They learned that the amulets around their necks were an internal alarm which warned them when some danger was at hand. They learned too that they could ward off enemies by mentally forcing their wills upon the stones. Finally, they found out that they could telepathically communicate and read other people's thoughts.

"You're right, Kaulana!" Keoki stated. "Our stones have magical powers."

"Yes, Keoki!" Kaulana replied. "They sure do!"

"Just commanding this rock to glow brought every kind of fish to our pond." Keoki said. "We're rich! Rich! Rich!"

"Yes, Keoki! Kaulana said.

"We don't have to go on those boring fishing trips anymore!" Keoki said.

"Yes, my brother!" Kaulana replied.

"We don't have to stand watch at the peaks ever!" Keoki said. "We can watch out for signs of the Aliis from the comfort of home."

"Yes, Keoki!" Kaulana added.

"We're rich! Rich! Rich!" Keoki declared.

"Yes, my brother!" Kaulana replied in a soft and fearful tone. "We're rich but somehow I'm afraid."

"Afraid? I fear nothing!" Keoki cried.

"Yes my brother!" Kaulana said.

"So why the frown?" Keoki asked.

"Well, I have some concerns." Kaulana told him.

"Talk to me, my brother. Tell me what is bothering you?" Keoki said.

"Well, I'm sort of afraid of these stones. I'm afraid of their powers. I'm afraid of you; me, us." Kaulana replied.

"What do you mean?" Keoki questioned.

"Somehow I fear that we might misuse our new found powers!" Kaulana said honestly. "I'm afraid that if we misuse these powers, we can bring more harm than good on our people." "That will nevah happen!" Keoki reported.

"Can, too!"

"No way!" Keoki said.

"How can we be certain that we will not abuse these powers?"

"I don't know. I'm just sure, that's all" Keoki added.

"How can we be certain that we will never use these powers for evil purpose?"

"I cannot believe that we will ever want evil to befall our people." Keoki said. "Oh Kaulana! You're being overly sensitive."

"No, I'm not! I am being rational!" Kaulana retorted.

"Never mind, Kaulana. Let's experiment some more." Keoki demanded.

"Glow! Stop glow! Glow! Stop glow!"

***************************************************

As the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into seasons, the boys became quite proficient with the use of their powers. The villagers were pleased and elated with the abundant benefits brought by the twin's magical stones................

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