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These legends, collected in the late 1950s, are
typical of the longevity and vitality of the indigenous folklore of the
Hawaiians and of the introduced folklore of the immigrants. The hidden
fibers of a culture are the folklore and legends of the various people
that inhabit a locality for any length of time. The fibers interweave,
and the resultant fabric is rich in color and design. After time, the
fabric is most difficult to unwind. This is the state of "Hawaiian"
They were collected by Richard Paglinawan
and William K. Kikuchi, who were enrolled in Dr. Luomala's class in
Folklore and Mythology (Anth 269) at the University of Hawai'i at
Manoa. Both of us were influenced by Dr. Luomala's teaching and her
great efforts in helping us. Our lives were touched and forever changed
by our stewardship under Dr.
Katherine Luomala. We dedicate this issue of AAOK
to her memory .
The two stories of sharks are ancient Hawaiian stories usually found among native Hawaiian informants. They believe that a person who has a shark as its guardian spirit ('aumakua) will never be harmed by these creatures. They manifest their association with sharks by having parts of their body as shark forms such as a mouth on their back, shark-like eyes, and physical capabilities of the shark such as phenomenal swimming abilities or an ability to change into a shark when in the water. The shark's association with humans could also be traced to the Hawaiians feeding and caring for sharks. Therefore, certain sharks were considered to be guardians and protectors of the Hawaiians.
Shark Man of Waimea