My Kind of Town
Don Chapman

The original Long Man

» The Tube / Kona Coast

The young Oahu chief Kaneloa dived with a spear from The Tube entrance into the undersea cavern known as the King's Cave, unaware that the queen had called off his marriage to the princess because, as a lowly chief of excrement haulers, he was unfit. Immediately he smelled the eel's hungry breath, felt the surge of water in the cave as the eel nosed around.

At that moment, Prince To'o the seer was at the Royal Chambers of Queen Tuberosa and King Kavawai, telling them and their daughter Princess Tuberosa La'a of the vision that came to him in the night.

"Prince Kaneloa, son of the original Kaneloa, grandson of Kamehameha's tryst with Princess Lani La'a, did not die -- he disappeared. He was in love with a young wahine of decent lineage, but even then there was a reason his line was called Long Man, and she was frightened and rejected him.

"Heart-broken, ashamed, he left the Royal Rotunda here and began to wander through The Tube, wanting to get as far away as possible, up to Kauai or even the Northwestern Islands. Along the way, he saw Royal Runners and reported hearing of the death of a prince named Kaneloa. The word got back to the king and queen here, Kaneloa is dead. The young woman had changed her mind by then, she missed seeing him, but it was too late.

"Meanwhile, Kaneloa changed his name to Kimo. He stopped to rest at the 'Iolani Palace Tube, and there met another wahine. He lingered with her, married into her ohana of excrement haulers, humbling himself before the gods. His first son was named Kaneloa, and so began a family tradition."

"You're sure?" the queen said, her head spinning.

"The gods confirmed it, as did the mana of the king's bones."

"Where is he now?" the queen said.

"I'm told he spent the night at the King's Cave, guarding against a return of the great mo'o."

"Oh no!" the princess cried. "That's dangerous! Daddy, send your Royal Runners to bring him back, please!"

And it was done.

To'o took the princess' hands in his. "My dear niece," he said, "we have found you not just a husband, but the best young man in all The Tube, descended like you from the gods and from Kamehameha."

"When you put it like that ..." the queen said. "We'll be happy to welcome young Kaneloa into the family. Er, back into the family."

In the King's Cave, meanwhile, as the great mo'o tried to force its way in, Kaneloa heard the sound of crumbling rock. The great mo'o was knocking away the solid lava rock, just as it once destroyed a Molokai fishpond. Kaneloa drew his spear back and lunged at the mo'o's nose, but just then the mouth opened and the last thing Kaneloa remembered was a loud slurping sound.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek. His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at dchapman@midweek.com

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