Maddahs an’ Suns

Liddo Bitta Tita


Story by Kathy Collins | Illustration by Matt Foster

Listen to this column read aloud in pidgin:

legend of haleakala

Today I gotta call up my son on da phone an’ tell ‘em no need get me nottin’ fo’ Maddah’s Day. Ev’ry year I do dat, jus’ fo’ remind him dat Maddah’s Day comin’ up. ‘Cause even dough I tell ‘em I no like nottin’, I would be all upset if he no do somet’in’.

No get me wrong, I no like him spend money on me. Da bes’ gifts is da ones from da heart, an’ actions talk mo’ loud dan presents. I happy if he jus’ call me up fo’ wish me one Happy Maddah’s Day, an’ den we talk story about da kine stuffs he used to do. Like my firs’ Maddah’s Day breakfas’ in bed. He was only four years old, so da menu was kinda limited: dry Cheerios.

When he was t’ird grade, his whole class wen’ make Maddah’s Day plates in school. Da teachah tol’ da kids fo’ draw pick-cha on da plates, an’ den she wen’ bake ‘em fo’ make ‘em permah-nent. All his friends wen’ draw their fav’rite cartoons — Ninja Turtohs an’ Transformahs, li’dat, but my son wen’ draw Herself da Elf on top his plate, wit flowahs an’ all. Ev’rybody, even da girls, wen’ make fun of him, but he nevah care. Herself was fo’ me, not fo’ himself.

Dass my boy. He always t’ink of his maddah. Jus’ like one noddah local boy, way mo’ famous, who wen’ risk his life fo’ help his maddah.

Maui, da demigod, was kolohe (rascal); in fack, they used to call him Maui da Trickstah. But unda-neat’ da atta-tude, he was one good boy who loved his maddah. Dis wen’ happen in da Dark Ages of Hawai‘i, back when daytime was so short, nevah have time for finish all what you gotta do, befo’ come dark again. Even da plants was having hard time grow, ‘cause da sun nevah like hang around; he only like show off how fas’ he can race across da sky. Da Hawaiians would beg him fo’ slow down, but he no listen, he no care.

Maui’s maddah, da goddess Hina, was all f’ustrated ‘cause she nevah could finish her kapa. Was hard work, poundin’ tree bark into cloth, an’ by da time she lay ‘em out fo’ dry, da sun run away again. Maui felt sorry for his maddah, so he wen’ go up Haleakala fo’ take on da sun, all by himself. His maddah nevah like him go, but Maui was hard head, so finally she said OK, but he gotta ask his tutu, his gran’maddah, fo’ help.

His tutu wen’ tell him what fo’ do, an’ she give him one magic stone fo’ make one axe. Maui wen’ make ropes from coconut fibahs, an’ he wen’ use ‘em fo’ catch da sun by da legs. Den he use his magic axe fo’, whatchoocall, not-so-gentle-kine persuasion, an’ he make da sun promise fo’ go mo’ slow from now on.

Get all kine diff’rent versions, all t’roo da Sout’ Pacific. Some guys say Maui wen’ chop off mos’ of da sun’s legs, dass why da bugga go slow now. Odda guys say da two wen’ talk ‘em out an’ comprah-mise, so da sun get to move mo’ fas’, wintahtime. An’ if you look on da lef’ side when you comin’ down da baggage claim escalaytah at Kahului Airport, you can see da statue of Maui, holdin’ onto da sun’s legs wit’ his bare hands.

No mattah what version you balieve, you gotta agree, Maui was one good son. Jus’ like my boy. Mine nevah rope da sun, but he put da light in my life. I bettah go make dat call.


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