[Footnote 49: Honi, to kiss, means to “touch” or “smell,” and describes the Polynesian embrace, which is performed by rubbing noses. Williams (I, 152) describes it as “one smelling the other with a strong sniff.”]
[Footnote 50: The abrupt entrance of the great moo, as of its disappearance later in the story, is evidently due to the humanized and patched-together form in which we get the old romance. The moo is the animal form which the god takes who serves Aiwohikupua’s sisters, and represents the helpful beast of Polynesian folk tale, whose appearance is a natural result of the transformation power ascribed to the true demigod, or kupua, in the wilder mythical tales. The myths of the coming of the moo to Hawaii in the days of the gods, and of their subjection by Hiiaka, sister of Pele, are recounted in Westervelt’s “Legends of Honolulu” and in Emerson’s “Pele and Hiiaka.” Malo (p. 114) places Waka also among the lizard gods. These gods seem to have been connected] with the coming of the Pali family to Hawaii as recounted in Liliuokalani’s “Song of Creation” and in Malo, page 20. The ritual of the god Lono, whose priests are inferior to those of Ku, is called that of “Paliku” (Malo, 210), a name also applied to the northern part of Hilo district on Hawaii with which this story deals. The name means “vertical precipice,” according to Emerson, and refers to the rending by earthquakes. In fact, the description in this story of the approach of the great lizard, as well as his name—the word kiha referring to the writhing convulsions of the body preparatory to sneezing—identify the monster with the earthquakes so common to the Puna and Hilo districts of Hawaii, which border upon the active volcano, Kilauea. Natives say that a great lizard is the guardian spirit or aumakua of this section. At Kalapana is a pool of brackish water in which, they assert, lies the tail of a moo whose head is to be seen at the bottom of a pool a mile and a half distant, at Punaluu; and bathers in this latter place always dive and touch the head in order to avert harm. As the lizard guardians of folk tale are to be found “at the bottom of a pit” (see Fornander’s story of Aukele), so the little gecko of Hawaii make their homes in cracks along cuts in the pali, and the natives fear to harm their eggs lest they “fall off a precipice” according to popular belief. When we consider the ready contractility of Polynesian demigods, the size of the monster dragons of the fabulous tales is no difficulty in the way of their identification with these tiny creatures, the largest of which found on Hawaii is 144 millimeters. By a plausible analogy, then, the earthquake which rends the earth is attributed to the god who clothes himself in the form of a lizard; still further, such a convulsion of nature may have been used to figure the arrival of some warlike band who peopled Hawaii, perhaps settling in this very Hilo region and forcing their cult upon the older form of worship.