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The Shark Man
Kalei was an extraordinarily beautiful woman.
She lived in Waipio Valley, a lush and secluded place were high chiefs
lived and sacred temples were built.
She would often come down to the black sand beach to bathe in the surf.
One day, Ka-moho-alii, the king of all sharks in the region,
was swimming at the mouth of the valley. He caught sight of Kalei and was enchanted.
That night, he came ashore and took the form of a mighty chief.
He spent days in Waipio Valley, joining the people in their food and sports,
always looking for the beautiful Kalei.
Ka-moho-alii eventually found Kalei and in time they were married
and expecting a child. Ka-moho-alii never divulged the secret of his identity.
Just before their child was born, Ka-moho-alii told Kalei to keep
special watch over it and to never let it eat any type of animal flesh.
Then he disappeared.
Soon, Kalei's son was born and she named him Nanaue.
She was surprised to find an opening in his back and kept him well covered with kapa cloth.
She took him to bathe at Waipio Falls and kept him from eating meat.
As Nanaue grew to manhood, the opening in his back grew to be a
terrible shark's mouth with fierce teeth which would snap at fish as he swam.
Then came the day when Kalei could no longer protect her son.
Nanaue's grandfather took him to the men's eating house
where women were not allowed.
There he was offered various types of meat in abundance.
He developed a voracious appetite.
Nanaue always wore his kapa cloth to hide his back and
avoided swimming or fishing with the other men.
Instead, he would go away by himself.
Then, when the other's were in deep waters, a shark would suddenly appear,
dragging them down and tearing off limbs.
Many people disappeared and a great fear came over Waipio Valley.
Kalei suspected that the disappearances were Nanaue's doing
and worried that he would be discovered. He began to be bold in selecting his victims,
often asking his friends where they were going swimming and
then intercepting their return to shore. People began to suspect that
he had some sort of powers and feared him.
One day,the high chief called upon all of the men of the valley
to work in the taro fields. It was a very hot day and everyone worked
bare-backed except for Nanaue. The worker beside him snatched his cape
from his back and exposed the terrible shark mouth.
A cry arose from the men, "A shark man! A shark man!"
Nanaue attacked the men nearest him as he tried to make his way to the sea.
The mouth on his back snapped and tore gashes in men's arms.
However, Nanaue soon found himself surrounded.
He was thrown to the ground and bound with ropes.
Everyone crowded around to wonder at the mixture of shark and man.
The high chief ordered that a great oven be built.
Everyone worked together to dig the pit, build the fire and place the stones within.
When it was finally time to place the shark man into the oven,
Nanaue assumed his shark form and escaped from his bonds.
He rolled down the hill into one of the rivers that led from Waipio Falls into the ocean.
No one dared to follow Nanaue into the water, instead the men ran
along the river hurling stones and spears as the shark swam to safety.
Nanaue never returned to Waipio Valley.
The next sighting of Nanaue occurred on Maui.
He settled near Hana and married a chiefess.
There, he secretly fed on the people of Maui until he became bold
and was seen changing shape and eating a victim.
The Hawaiians there launched canoes and hunted Nanaue out of Maui's waters.
Nanaue settled on Molokai and soon people began disappearing
after going bathing or fishing. The kahunas (priests) of the island
got word from those of Maui that there was a dangerous shark man in the islands.
All fishermen were warned to keep a sharp look out for this dangerous predator.
Finally, the fishermen's efforts paid off and Nanaue
was seen changing into his shark form. A great battle was waged
in which Nanaue was entangled with ropes and nets.
He was stabbed with spears and beaten with clubs until
the water ran red with his blood. The kahuna chanted prayers
and incantations until Nanaue's strength was gone.
Then the people dragged the great shark to shore.
They cut the body into small pieces which were cooked in a great oven.
Thus the islands were rid of the ruthless shark man, Nanaue.
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