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Legends of the Wailuku

312 pages
Library of Alexandria
THE WAILUKU. Fed from the great watershed of Hawaii far up the densely wooded flanks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea—often snow-capped in winter—the Wailuku River roars through the very center of Hilo, principal town of the Island of Hawaii. There are many vague stories as to why the Wailuku River was so named. In the Hawaiian tongue Wailuku means literally "destroying water." In olden times before there were bridges and Other safeguards the river wrought considerable damage to property and during the rainy season it took its toll of human lives. Legends connected with the Wailuku tend to confirm the belief that it was named for its violent habits. Long ago, so one legend goes, the much dreaded Kuna (dragon) blocked the gorge below Rainbow Falls with intent to back the waters up and drown the goddess Hina, who dwelt in the great cave for which the falls form a curtain. How her son, the demi-god Maui, came to the rescue, saved his mOther, and finally hunted Kuna from his lair up the river and slew him, is told in the legend, "The Last of Kuna