Aloha! My name is Leilani (in the Hawaiian language, it means "heavenly flower").
My friends call me Jasmine. I live in California, but last week I flew to Hawaii
to visit my grandmother. I love to listen
to Grandma's stories about the legends of Hawaii. My favorite is the
legend of Madam Pele, Hawaii's Goddess of Fire. The legend says that Pele's
father sent her away from Tahiti (another island in the Pacific) because she had
a hot temper. It seems she was always fighting with her older sister (Na-mako-o-Kaha'i),
who was the Goddess of the Sea. Pele left Tahiti in a canoe and went to Hawaii
where she made many fiery volcanoes.
However, every time she made a volcano, her sister (who had
followed her) flooded the fire and put it out. Finally, they had a very big
fight and Pele was torn apart by her
sister. Then, Pele's spirit was free and she became a goddess. It is said that
Pele's spirit lives in the Kilauea volcano (one of the most active volcanoes
on earth). Pele is still known for her violent temper. Some people say that
if any visitors take her volcanic rock (lava), she puts a curse on them.
When I got to
Grandma's house, Grandma looked just as I remembered her. On the table were pineapples, bananas, and coconuts. As we snacked,
I told her my goal was to take some pictures of
the Kilauea volcano for a school report. She looked at me
with a worried expression because she knew there
would be some danger. Grandma reminded me that Pele's spirit could be quite
cruel and destructive. I assured Grandma that I would be very careful and that I
respected the power of the Fire Goddess.
The next morning, I woke up early. I put my camera and lunch into my
backpack, and left to meet the Goddess of Fire.
When I arrived at the base of the volcano I started my climb. After an hour, I looked down.
Far below me, the earth
looked like a lush green carpet. I could see the blue ocean
surrounding the peaceful island. Suddenly
I felt the earth
tremble. Some rocks started to slide down the
calm puffy smoke from the volcano turned into black clouds.
sky looked dark and scary. I thought that this might be a
warning, a signal from Pele, telling me to stop.
I stood there thinking about what I should do. Should I go on further or
should I stop? I then did a very strange thing. I began talking to Pele. I told her
that I was not there to disturb her, but rather to become her friend. I told
her that I did not have magical powers like she did. I said that I had heard so
many wonderful stories about her and I wanted to write a story. I promised not to take any of
the lava rocks from the volcano. In other words, I asked
for permission to continue up the mountain. Finally, the earth stopped
I got my camera and began taking pictures of the awesome site. Many different colored
flames caught the camera's lens as if Pele was doing a dance for me. In my eyes,
she was truly the Goddess of Fire.
Map and flag of Hawaii. Honolulu is the capital.