Early one morning an old woman was harvesting ʻuala (sweet potato) for breakfast. ʻAuē! She found several ʻuala had been eaten, leaving vines and leaves scattered about the garden! Assuming it was a turtle, the woman called her husband to help locate the culprit. ʻAuē! They found a little girl, Keahiʻāloa, sound asleep amid the vines. ʻAuē! ʻAuē! It appeared that the hungry child had eaten hurriedly, then fallen asleep from utter fatigue. Living miles from their nearest neighbor, they took the girl for their own. Delighted, they named her Honu.

Soon it became clear that Honu possessed gifts of magic and could forsee future events. And when she returned from exploring the mountainside or sledding down grassy slopes, she always returned adorned with sweet-scented maile, scarlet lehua blossoms or mokihana.

Years passed, and Honu revealed her plans to care for her elderly parents. They could live like chiefs, she said, if they would follow her guidance. She trekked to the mountains for ʻawa and taro, returning by noon to cook the taro and pound some into poi. That afternoon, they went fishing on the nearby reef. As they prepared for sleep, Honu reminded her parents of a stranger’s arrival in the early morning.

At daybreak, the son of a land agent appeared. The stranger had wandered off the path while inspecting the chief’s fishponds and got lost in the darkness. He reached the couple’s home, hungry, tired and shivering with cold. The couple welcomed the young stranger, and Honu served him food. He asked his hosts if Honu was their daughter, then ventured, “What would you say if I asked for her to become my wife?”

The couple suggested that he ask Honu directly. He did, and Honu accepted. The young man returned to his home and announced to his parents that he had found a wife. Preparations began immediately on a new grass house, mats, bed coverings, clothes and all things the couple would need.

About this time, Honu’s birth-parents learned that their child had been neglected and lost by her aunt. Her father was furious with his sister-in-law and chided his wife for giving his child to her irresponsible older sister. He ordered his wife to make 40 fine mats, 40 coarse mats and 40 sheets of fine tapa in 10 days or suffer punishment. Sympathetic relatives helped her meet the deadline, then she and her husband boarded a canoe to Kauaʻi. While at sea, her father was visited by his ʻaumakua, who offered to guide the father to his child, saying her house would have a rainbow resting on it.

Five days before the wedding, Honu warned her parents their sleep might be disturbed by rustling sounds and mild vibrations from outside. They might smell smoke and also hear chopping and grinding of stones from outside. Her parents agreed to stay in bed and ignore the disturbances. On the first morning they found two booths, covered with coconut leaves, built beside the house. The next morning, they found carved wooden bowls and platters. On the third night, a huge pile of firewood was out front. And, on the next morning, the firewood was gone and the bowls were filled with cooked and pounded taro. This confirmed her parent’s suspicions that Honu’s forest companions were menehune.

They said nothing, as they knew the work was of good spirits. That night they heard the rattling of pebbles on the beach and, in the morning, they found all manner of ocean delicacies had been prepared.

As the guests were seated for the wedding, a rainbow appeared above the house, guiding Honu’s birthparents to them. Her father wept and declared his love and sorrow for Keahi‘āloa’s mistreatment. Keahiʻāloa told her father of the elderly couple’s loving care and her great love for them. Her parents readily consented to her intended husband and the young couple married the next day.

After the wedding feast, Keahiʻāloa rose and said, “Children of a younger brother or sister should not be given in adoption to an older sibling, lest they die. An older sibling’s child should only be given to a younger sibling so they can prosper.” To this day, descendants of Keahiʻāloa adhere to their ancestor’s recommendations.