Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Nov 15, 2016

"Ho'i"

There’s a story about a little boy named Kaipo who went looking for his dog in the forest just beyond his backyard in Manoa. He was so concerned when he saw his puppy run just past the big trees that he naturally followed after him, but he did not tell his parents where he was going. A neighbor saw the boy run into the woods but thought nothing of it, naturally thinking that the boy's parents were going to call after him. It wasn’t until a few minutes later, that the neighbor noticed that the boy had not returned. He immediately went next door, to alert the boys his neighbors as to what just happened. Just as he knocked on the front door, the boy appeared at the bottom of the steps behind the neighbor, simultaneously, the boy's parents opened the front door. Both the parents and the neighbor were shocked to see that the boy's hair had grown past his knees and that his clothing was worn, tattered and very old. The neighbor was shocked because the boy had only been gone for less than five minutes. The parents were equally as shocked because the clothes that their son wore, was the clothes he had on when he left the house to go play in the back yard. They’d just bought it brand new from the store, two days previous. When his parents asked their son the whereabouts of his dog, he related a strange tale.

He said he chased his puppy, Kenny, when he saw him run out of the backyard and into the forest. He hadn’t gotten too far from his house when he found the dog, and he wasn't concerned because he could still see his home from where he was standing. He said that suddenly a fog came through the trees and covered everything, making it hard to see. I thought if he just walked toward where he'd just seen his house before the fog rolled in, that he would be home in no time. Except that when the fog finally cleared, he wasn’t at home, he was standing in the middle of a Hawaiian village. There were people there and they all spoke Hawaiian and looked at him strangely, but no matter the circumstances, they took him in and he became a part of the village or the larger ohana. He learned how to hunt, fish, and even helped when the men went in the mountains to take down a big koa tree that would eventually become a canoe. He talked about the kinds of prayers and ritual that were performed before the might tree came down. All the men hauled the big acacia to the waters near a place called Kalia where it was carved and hewn by the expert canoe makers. He then said, that as he got older he took a wife and had children and that he lived peacefully under the protection of their Konohiki who took good care of them. Kaipo also recalls going down to a bay called, "Mamala" where he would trade Kalo, 'opae and a variety of medicinal plants for fish and salt. He knew the names of all the moon phases and the proper nights when planting and harvesting should take place, or when fishing was best. There were also nights when one stayed home and remained silent, for those particular nights were kapu to the gods. He also mentioned with great sadness that one of his four sons was taken to be sacrificed at a heiau called, "Kane La'au" while another son left with a group of men a few years later, on a fishing expedition. That son, and the men were never seen again. There were happy times as well, the birth of his 'Mo'opuna' as he called them, filled his days with joy and laughter. He and his remaining two sons were participants in skirmishes here and there when small raiding parties from Kaua'i or Maui would sneak into their village to claim victims for their newly built temple.Taking the life of another human being was devastating but it was neccessary to the survival of his family and the families of others. He had lived to the extremities of old age and had finally prepared himself to die, his wife, children, and grandchildren were gathered around him as he took his last few breaths. Suddenly, a Kaula or seer appeared in his home and knelt at his side and uttered a simple phrase in Hawaiian,

“Ho’i”

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Kaipo then said, when he came to he was lying on the ground in his back yard, still the same as he was before he chased after his puppy, Kenny. When his parents asked him again as to the whereabouts of his pet, the boy simply replied that the dog, like himself, had lived a long life and died of old age.

“It was the strangest thing,” the neighbor told me. “But it’s as true as I am 94 years old.”


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