National Geographic : 1927 Jan
THE COLUMBUS OF THE PACIFIC accompanied him, with the flesh of the sacrificial animals. "I had no great objection," wrote Captain King, "to being fed by Pareea, who was very cleanly in his person; but Captain Cook, who was served by Koah, recollecting the putrid hog (on the altar) could not swallow a morsel; and his reluc tance, as may be supposed, was not diminished when the old man, ac cording to his mode of civility, had chewed it for him." Thereafter when the visitor landed a native escort accompanied him, the people prostrated themselves be fore him, and presents of provisions were bestowed upon both vessels far in excess of their needs. The mon arch of the island, upon first meet ing Cook, removed his mantle and threw it over the leader's shoulders. THE GOD WEARS OUT HIS WELCOME Cook sailed away, unaware of the significance of this extraordinary hospitality. Encountering severe gales and being unable to find a bet ter harbor, he returned again to Kealakekua, to find the natives in different at first, and later hostile. The explanation of this reversal of feeling lay in the fact that the islanders construed Cook's first visit as a long expected second coming of their deity. Mo Once upon a time, it seemed, there had lived a god of peace and plenty TI named Rono. This god found his Hay wife, the beautiful Opuna, unfaith- frier ful to him, so he flung her over a about cliff. He mourned for a time, then whe left the island, so the legend ran, port 1 . . 'T look with the parting promise, "I will re- ing, turn in after times, on an island a ca bearing trees and swine and dogs." When the masts and sails of the Eng lish vessels were sighted, and later when the animals were seen on board, the islanders proceeded to do obeisance to Rono, in the person of Captain Cook. When Cook sailed away they consid ered the prophecy fulfilled; there had been no mention of his third coming, and their provisions were exhausted by the Photograph from Mildred Leo Clemens NUMENT TO CAPTAIN COOK AT THE PLACE OF HIS DEATH, ON THE ISLAND OF HAWAII he great geographer thought the exploration of the raiian group one of his major achievements. His ids in England smiled indulgently at his enthusiasm it an archipelago so isolated. To-day Napoopoo, re Cook was worshiped as a deity, is the shipping for most of Hawaii's coffee. Here the visitor s down on Kealakekua Bay, scene of Cook's land and the white shaft to his memory stands out like meo against a background of luxuriant foliage. lavish gifts. Even a god can wear out his welcome. Moreover, incidents had occurred upon the first visit which seemed to discredit the godlike qualities of the visitors. One of the crew died and Cook, unaware that he and his retinue were immortal in na tive eyes, buried him ashore. Then there was the matter of the fence about the 131.