Hawaiian Legends of Volcanoes by W.D. Westervelt
Hawaiian Legends of Volcanoes (1916) is a collection of Hawaiian folktales and myths by W. D. Westervelt. Connecting the origin story of Hawaii to the traditions of other Polynesian cultures, Westervelt provides an invaluable resource for understanding the historical and geographical scope of Hawaiian culture. Drawing on the work of David Malo, Samuel Kamakau, and Abraham Fornander, Westervelt, originally from Ohio, became a leading authority on the Hawaiian Islands, publishing extensively on their legends, religious beliefs, and folk tales. When Pele came to the island Hawaii, seeking a permanent home, she found another god of fire already in possession of the territory. Ai-laau was known and feared by all the people. [...] Time and again he laid the districts of South Hawaii desolate by the lava he poured out from his fire pits. Beginning with the origin story of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, Westervelt introduces his groundbreaking collection of legends on the volcanic nature of the Hawaiian Islands. Despite his fearsome power over creation and destruction, Ai-laau disappeared the moment he became aware of Pele's presence. Having traveled across the limitless ocean, her name was already known far and wide, along with her reputation for strength, anger, and enviousness. Establishing herself within the crater of Kilauea, Pele quickly took command over the gods, ghost-gods, and the people inhabiting the islands. Central to Hawaiian history and religion, Pele continues to be celebrated in Hawaii and across the Pacific today. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of W. D. Westervelt's Hawaiian Legends of Volcanoes is a classic of Hawaiian literature reimagined for modern readers.