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Dog Gods of the Ko'olau Mountains

See Also...
  The Wizard Stones

dog petroglyph

Pa'e, Poki, and Kaupe

(Sterling and Summers 312)

There is a sort of rounded hill on top of this place facing Ko'olau. A supernatural woman lived on Konahuanui [the highest peak in the Ko'olau Mountain Range, above Nu'uanu and Manoa.) She used to face the Ko'olau side and peer down on the people on the road to Honolulu.

... a brindled dog ('ilio mo'o) was one of the forms taken by the beautiful mo'o woman who dwelt on Konahuanui. The people of Ko'olau feared the dog when they returned home at night and when they had to they hurried home in the early evening. ("Na Anoai o Oahu Nei,"Hoku o Hawaii, Feb.11, 1930, "Oahu Place Names")

(For background on the mo'o, or water lizard god, see "Mo'o" in " 'Aumakua of Kona, O'ahu").

The Dog Pa'e
(Sterling and Summers 316; also in Pukui, Folktales of Hawai'i (44)

Pa'e was a large brindled dog that came from somewhere in the Ko'olau mountains on O'ahu to seek adventure in the villages that border the sea.

All went well until he was spied by the servants of a chief, who thought what a fine feast he would make for their chief if he were in an oven. So they caught him and roasted him and, placing him in a good-sized calabash, they tied a net about the calabash, thrust a pole through the handle of the net and started on their homeward journey over a narrow mountain trail with their load swinging from the pole between them.

As they reached the top of a cliff, they saw a pretty 'ehu woman sitting beside a pool of water. She called, "P'ae! Pa'e!"

"Here I am," answered the dog from the calabash.

"Where are you going?"

"I am going with these men to visit the land of the chief." The men were so frightened that they stood rooted to the spot.

"Come here to me, Pa'e. Let us go home to gether," said the woman.

Pa'e immediately jumped out of the calabash. He showed no trace of the roasting; he was once more the sleek, fat brindled dog from the mountains. He ran with delight to his mistress, who, throwing her arms about him, dived with him into the depths of the pool.

Then the frightened men, realizing that this dog was the pet of one of the mo'o of the Ko'olau mountains, ran away as quickly as they could, not daring to look behind them.

From that day, all brindled dogs were looked upon with superstitious awe in Hawai'i as under the protection of the spirits of the lizard goddess, and a brindled dog is called 'ilio mo'o or "lizard dog" to this day.

The Dog Poki
(Sterling and Summers 316)

Several men went to Ko'olau from Honolulu to get baked dog. On their return with their baked dog, when they arrived at the top of the Nu'uanu Pali, they heard a voice calling from the pali of Lanihuli. It called out: "Where are you going ?" Then the baked dog which they were carrying answered: "I am going to wherever they take me."

Upon hearing this voice of the baked dog, the men dropped everything and ran quickly to their village. Their family saw them approaching and asked: "What is this?" The men told them of the happening on their trip--of their returning with the baked dog and hearing the voice from the pali and the answering voice of the dog which they were carrying.

"Auwe! That was no other but the dog of the country, Poki", answered the family.

To this day is the saying: "Oh, I am going to wherever they take me."

(Davis, Mrs. Kekuahooulu, of Kailua, Oahu, dictated in Hawaiian, June 4, 1952, translated by Dorothy Barrere)

Poki in Kahauiki
(Sterling and Summer328)

Kahauiki ridge (between Kalihi and Moanalua) is, according to one of my informants, a favorite spot of Poki's. If a person is traveling mauka and Poki is observed going in the same direction, all is well. But if Poki is met, or seen lying across the road, one had better take the warning and return home or disaster will be met with. (Stokes, J.F.G. Miscellaneous Notes, Bishop Museum)

Poki in Moanalua Valley
(Sterling and Summers 329)

Poki is an [spirit] not peculiar to Moanalua but which has been seen in many places on the island. The most vivid description, however, was from a European living in Moanalua. It happened many years ago as he was returning from Honolulu on horseback. The moon had just risen, flooding the tops of ridges with light, which emphasized the blackness of valleys. He had just passed Fort Shafter and was beginning the descent into Moanalua when, with a sudden jerk, his horse stopped and stood trembling. In the distance arose the wailing of dogs. Glancing about, the rider saw coming off the ridge to his right a pale form. As he watched, it left the ridge and passed over the dark valley. It was a shapeless, white form, a mist convulsed with movement, but slowly and stately moving over the invisible treetops, clear and distinct against the black silhouette of the Ko'olau Range. As the apparition passed over the settlement, there preceded it the whimpering and wailing dogs, but in its path there followed a deathly stillness. Even after it was lost to sight, its presence could be followed by the ever attendant wailing. (McAllister Arch. of Oahu)

Dog Petroglyphs in Nu'uanu
(Sterling and Summers 299)

Opposite 'Alekoki pool in Nu'uanu stream in Nu'uanu Memorial Park grounds are two groups of the most remarkable ancient Hawaiian rock pictures or petroglyphs yet found on O'ahu.

The makai group is conspicuous for the figures of dogs on the face of a cliff. The mauka group has simple human figures, most of them in a cave formed by a cleft in the cliff. The dog figures may be representations of the mythical dog of Nu'uanu, named Kaupe, who is supposed to have resided in this vicinity [Kaheiki heiau, dedicated to Kaupe, was on the ridge above 'Alekoki pool. See the two stories below.]. Some of the human figures have an arch from shoulder to shoulder, perhaps representing a rainbow, the sign of a chief.

For a more detailed description of these petroglyphs, see McAllister's Archaeology of Oahu, Bulletin 104, Bishop Museum, 1933, pages 83-84.

These figures may be quite ancient. Nothing is known of their history or meaning, but it is reasonably certain that they were made by the Hawaiians and not by some pre-Hawaiian people. These petroglyphs are quite exposed to defacing by vandals or the thoughtless, who already are carving names and initials over and around some of these ancient carvings. It is hoped that steps will be taken to protect these rare and inter esting marks of people who were the first inhabitants of Nu'uanu. (Emory, Kenneth P. "The Memorial Guide," Vol. 1, No. 2)

The Story of Kaupe
(S.M. Kamakau, Tales 26-27)

The heiau of Kaheiki is at Kaoihuihu [Ka'oehuehu] on the ridge between the Nu'uanu and Pauoa valleys. It was built by the Menehune for Ka-hanai-a-ke-akua. However, the kingdom was lost to the dog Kaupe. Kahilona, the kahu of the dog, lived at Kaheiki.

The dog Kaupe was the grandson of Kemo'o, and his parents were Ka-papa-i-kawa-luna and Lehu'ula. His house site and his heiau were close to John Meek's place at Lihu'e. During his time, it is said, many people were eaten by this dog, but the ali'i families were spared.

Kaupe went to Maui and ate men there and then went on over to Hawai'i where he captured a chief and returned with him to Lihu'e, O'ahu. The chief's father came to seek his son, thinking to die with him. Kahilona taught the father to pray, and this was the means by which the father saved himself and his son. . . .

The father was taught many prayers by Kahilona, and with his prayers he went to fetch his son at Lihu'e. He went at night, uttering the prayers until he reached the enclosure; he knelt outside the house, still uttering prayers. Then he went around the heiau looking for the signs that Kahilona had revealed to him, constantly uttering prayers. When the god and the dog Kaupe fell asleep within, the father went inside, praying. While he unfastened the boy, he kept on with his praying: "O Ku, O Lono, O Kane and Kanaloa, save the two of us! 'Amama."

The two fled to Ka-puka-ki. Kaupe followed them, raising a whirlwind of dust on the plain of Ke-ahu-moa. The two ran to the rock called Ka-papa-i-kawa-lalo at Ka-hau-iki (on the highway of Wai-koa'e), uttering their prayers. The mana of their god and the strength of the prayers saved them. Kaupe passed by and went on to Hawai'i. The two reached Kaheiki, the place of the kahuna Kahilona. He was sitting beneath the kuahu altar, praying for them. Kahilona advised Kahiki-manewanewa, the father of the boy, to return to Hawai'i and to follow his commands for the death of Kaupe. Kahiki-manewanewa followed all his commands, and this resulted in the death of Kaupe. Kahilona became an ancestor in the kahuna line of succession on )'ahu. The name of the young chief was Peheke'ula.

Kaupe, the Dog God in Hakipu'u
(Sterling and Summers 186-187)

Many a hapless Hawaiian who lived in the fertile valley of Hakipu'u on the windward side of O'ahu lost his life to Kaupe. Hakipu'u is still an excellent place to see Kaupe as a dog in the clouds hovering over the mountains. Hakipu'u is a narrow valley leading to the end of Kane'ohe Bay Just before you reach Moli'i Fishpond and Kualoa Point on today's Government road.

Kaupe would lie in wait above the narrow valley until some fisherman returned home in the early morning hours or Late in the evening. He would close down in his cloud form about the fisherman, lead him into a narrow place and there attack the man. Similar stories are told of Kaupe lying in wait above Paumalu Valley on the western side of Waimea Valley. (Taylor, Clarice Honolulu Star-Bulletin 9/53)


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