Hawaii State Library

Legends of Hawaii


Murals in the Edna Allyn Room
Interpreted and Created by Juliette May Fraser, 1934-1935

The murals in the Edna Allyn Room were painted by local artist, Juliette May Fraser (January 27, 1887-July 31, 1983). In 1934, Fraser was invited to create a work of art for a public place by the Federal Work Progress Administration. For 3 months she received $35 a week to work on the project. When the funds ran out, she continued on her own until the murals were completed. The murals, which extend from floor to ceiling, depict Hawaiian legends. Additional panels in the room display various marine life and Hawaii flora and fauna. The murals were unveiled on March 14, 1935 to the general public. They received conservation treatment in the summers of 1984-1986 and again in February 1992.


How Kana Brought Back the Sun, Moon and Stars (no.1)

Kahoaalii was insulted by the actions of Niheu. He punished everyone by hiding the sun, moon and stars in a deep pit in a far distant part of the sky. Kana, the youth who could stretch himself upwards, and his brother Niheu were sent by their grandmother, Uli, to retrieve the stolen items. With help from Uli’s sister, Luahinekaikapu, Kana found the hiding place, lifted the great stone that covered the pit, and released all the birds that cry before the dawn, the stars, the moon, the rooster, and finally the sun. Story found in Colum’s "The bright islands". H398.2 C

The Arrow and the Swing (no.2)

Hiku, while searching for his lost arrow, Puane, met and fell in love with Princess Kawelu. Hiku stayed with Kawelu, but later left her to climb up the mountain to visit his home. She tried to follow him and got lost. Kawelu died of a broken heart and Hiku, realizing his loss, planed to bring her back from Milu’s kingdom, the Land of the Dead. He made two swings from ropes of morning glory vines. Hiku descended on one of the swings to search for Kawelu. While a distracted Milu played on one of the swings, Hiku found Kawelu and brought her back to the land of the living where they lived happily ever after. Story found in Colum’s "At the gateways of the day." H 398.2 C

Kahawali and the Holua (no.3)

Kahawali, chief of Puna, and champion holua (sled) racer, was challenged by a woman to a race. He beat her easily. She insisted that they try again and noting that his holua was superior to hers, she asked Kahawali to trade sleds. Thinking that she was merely a troublesome woman, Kahawali insulted her, and threw himself on his sled. Pele became enraged and began to chase Kahawali with lava and fire, destroying everything in her path. Kahawali fled for his life. Story found in Thrum’s "Hawaiian Folk Tales". H398.2 T

The Woman from Under the Sea (no.4)

Konikonia, King of Hawaii, heard about a beautiful woman named Hina who lived under the sea in Lalohana. He was determined to make her his wife and went to the kahuna for guidance. Konikonia was instructed to build life-size wooden images of men and leave them along a path that went from the ocean floor to Konikonia’s door. Hina followed the images to the king’s door and Konikonia won her love. Story found in Colum’s "At the gateways of the day." H 398.2 C

Aukele the Seeker (no.5)

Aukele is thrown into a deep pit by his jealous brothers. He escapes and is told to journey to another island. He joins his brothers on the canoe for the island and as the canoe came near the land, four great white birds flew to meet them. Aukele, knowing the birds to be the brothers of Namaka, the queen of the islands, warned his oldest brother that he should declare that their canoe was on a peaceful journey. His older brother ignored his pleas and declared that theirs was a war canoe. Aukele knowing of the danger, threw his magic calabash into the ocean and jumped out of the canoe. Queen Namaka made the canoe and everyone on board disappear from sight. Aukele alone was saved and by the aid of magic, reached the land where adventure awaited him. Story found in Colum’s "At the gateways of the day." H 398.2 C

Punia and the Sharks (no.6)

One day, Punia decided to get some lobsters for his mother. The lobsters were kept in a deep sea cave, heavily guarded by sharks and Kaialeale, their king, the same shark who had killed Punia’s father. Punia stood above the lobster cave and announced that while the sharks were asleep he would dive from a nearby cliff and steal the lobsters. He then threw a stone into the water and as the sharks rushed toward it, he dived into the cave and escaped with a lobster in each hand. Each day, Punia was able to fool the sharks and each day, he blamed one of the sharks, Kaialeale had the sharks killed one by one until he was the only one left alive. Punia then avenged his father’s death by building a fire in the shark’s belly and forcing it up on the beach where the villagers destroyed him. Story found in Colum’s "At the gateways of the day." H 398.2 C

The Flood (no.7)

The brothers of Hina missed having her in their ocean home and set out to find her. They took the form of pao‘o fish and the waters of the sea rose in great swelling waves over the land. Konikonia, Hina, and his people fled to the highest mountaintop and climbed the highest trees. Hina was content to stay on land and hid from her brothers. When they were unable to find her, the waves receded and the brothers returned to Lalohana in the ocean. Story found in Colum’s "At the gateways of the day." H 398.2 C

The Menehune and the Owl (no.8)

Kaukiuki, a menehune, boasted to the others that he could snare the legs of the moon and slow down the night. The other menehune did not believe him and laughed. Kaukiuki went to the highest peak to wait for the moon, but the owl of Kane arrived and the two had a staring match. When at last the owl flew away it was too late for him to try to snare the moon. The following evening, he tried again, but could not reach the moon. Because he had boasted of a thing that he could not do, the other menehunes punished him by turning him into a stone. Story found in Colum’s "At the gateways of the day." H 398.2 C

The Princess of Pali-uli (no.9)

Kahalaomapuana, the youngest of the five Maile sisters, journeyed to find her brother, the “Prince of the Shining Heavens.” The “Great Spider of the Sky” let down a spider web which she climbed up to reach him. Kahalaomapuana received permission to bring the prince down from the heavens to get the Princess of Paliuli, Laie, to be his bride. Laie had been made an outcast by Ai Wohi, the deceitful brother of Kahalaomapuana. Story found in Colum’s "The bright islands". H398.2 C

Umi the Conqueror (no.10)

Umi was raised as a commoner, although his father was King Liloa. After the death of the king, Umi’s brother takes over the kingdom. Umi goes to war with his brother and wins the kingship of Hawaii. He marries Piikea, the beauty of Maui. Upon his death, each person placed a stone upon a pile to honor him. The six pyramids of stone, representing the six districts of Hawaii, are a lasting momentum to the great king. Story found in Colum’s "The bright islands". H398.2 C

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