Menehune: The Master Builder

July 13, 2020

Menehune: The Master Builder

When the ancient Hawaiians first arrived in Hawai‘i, legend has it that they found dams, roads, and fish-ponds that were supposedly built by an ancient race of people known as Menehune. Ancient Hawaiian stories describe the Menehune as mischievous craftsmen who were small in stature – most only growing to be about two feet tall. They lived deep in the valleys and forests of the Hawaiian Islands and were thought to have possessed special powers related to excellent craftsmanship – in fact, they were known for building things in the dark and finishing them overnight.

One of the most famous legends of the extraordinary constructions of the Menehune is about the ‘Alekoko Fishpond on Kauai. The pond was estimated to be built over 1,000 years ago and it was supposedly built for a princess and her brother. It is said that one night, as the Menehune were working on the fishpond, the princess and her brother couldn’t resist taking a look at how they were doing it. They watched the workers from the mountains above. When the Menehune discovered that the children were watching, they turned the pair into stone pillars. To this day, there are two gaps left in the fishpond wall because they were interrupted by the princess and her brother – and the pillars still remain in the mountains above.

Make sure if you spot a Menehune in the valleys of Hawai'i that you let them continue on with their work, or you might turn to stone! 

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