Story by Kathy Collins
Listen to this column read aloud in pidgin:
Dis issue of MNKO get so much stuffs about Muddah Naytchah, got me t’inkin’ about Pele, our goddess of volcanoes. ‘Cause, you know, Pele an’ Muddah Naytchah, dey kinda same same, even dough dey come from diff’rent worlds. Like sistahs from diff’rent mistahs.
One a my fav’rite Pele stories is from way, way back in da olden days, when Pele was FOB (fresh off da boat) from da Sout’ Seas. Mos’ times, you hear about her hot tempah an’ how she use fire and lava fo’ make her point. But dis story diff’rent.
Da firs’ time Pele land on Kauai, da Hawaiians nevah know about her mana, her powah as da fire goddess. But Kahuanui, da chiefess of Kalalau Valley, she could sense had somet’ing special about da stranger, an’ she wen’ welcome Pele like fam’ly. When she wen’ find out dat Pele was one naytchah lovah, Kahuanui wen’ call her two birdcatchahs fo’ take Pele up da mountains, fo’ go look at all da gorgeous birds an’ flowahs an’ naytchah stuffs li’dat.
Mos’ birdcatchahs is quiet kine guys, ‘cause oddawise dey going scare away all da birds. But dese two guys was always talkin’. Mo’ worse, dey no jus’ talk, dey argue wit’ each oddah. Couple, t’ree hours into da hike, Pele was sick an’ tired of da two loudmout’ guys. But outta respeck fo’ her new friend Kahuanui, she nevah say nottin’. Plus, had so much gorgeous stuffs she nevah seen befo’, she nevah like leave da fores’. Befo’ dey know it, da sun stay going down, was almost nighttime awreddy, an’ Pele start fo’ get hungry. She wen’ ask da birdcatchahs about da bright red ohelo berries on da bush, an’ dey laugh at her. “Only da birds eat ohelo berries. Dass bird food!” In odda words, dey was saying dat ohelo berries is fo’ da birds.
Pele pick couple, t’ree berries an’ she pop ‘em in her mouth. Was onolicious! Liddo bit sour, liddo bit sweet. Da birdcatchahs no can balieve. Dey bus’ laugh, an’ dey make fun of dis funny kine wahine who stay eat bird food. Pele tell dem, “You guys t’ink you too good fo’ eat dis? Fine, den. From now on, ohelo berries is only fo’ me an’ da birds.”
An’ dass how come, to dis day, da ohelo is sacred to Pele. If you like pick ‘em an’ eat ‘em, you gotta t’row couple, t’ree berries inside her volcano first. If you not on da Big Island, dass kinda hard fo do. So you jus’ gotta ask her permission befo’ you pick. If you no ask, going rain, garans ball-barans.
People t’ink Pele selfish an’ bossy ‘cause she no like you pick her berries, but she jus’ trying fo’ teach one lesson. Pele, she no mind sharing, so long as you show respeck. I t’ink so dass how Muddah Naytchah feel too. I always used to wondah how come da fire goddess can make rain. No make sense. Now I know how come. I t’ink so da two wahines stay in cahoots.