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Captain Cook in Hawaii (Page 3)
These idols were busts of a gigantic size, made of wickerwork, and curiously covered with small feathers of various colors, wqrought in the same manner with their cloaks. Their eyes were made of large pearl oysters, with a black nut fixed in the center; their mouths were set with a double row of the fangs of dogs, and, together with the rest of their features, were strangely distorted.
The third canoe was filled with hogs and various sorts of vegetables. As they went along, the priests in the center canoe sung their hymns with great solemnity; and after paddling round the ships, instead of going on board as was expected, they made toward the shore at the beach where we were stationed.
As soon as I saw them approaching, I ordered out our little guard to receive the king; and Captain Cook, perceiving that he was going on shore, followed him and arrived nearly at the same time. We conducted them into the tent, where they had scarcely been seated when the king rose up and in a very graceful manner threw over the captain's shoulders the cloak he himself wore, put a feathered helmet on his head, and a curious fan into his hand.
He also spread at his feet five or six other cloaks, all exceedingly beautiful, and of the greatest value. His attendants then brought four very large hogs, with sugar canes, coconuts, and breadfruit; and this part of the ceremony was concluded by the king's exchanging names with Captain Cook, which amongst all the islanders of the Pacific Ocean is esteemed the strongest pledge of friendship.
A procession of priests, with a venerable old personage at their head, now appeared, followed by a long train of men leading large hogs, and others carrying plantains, sweet potatoes, etc. By the looks and gestures of Kaireekeea, I immediately knew the old man to be the chief of the priests before mentioned, on whose bounty we had so long subsisted.
He had a piece of red cloth in his hands, which he wrapped around Captain Cook's shoulders, and afterward presented him with a small pig in the usual form. A seat was then made for him, next to the king; after which Kaireekeea and his followers began their ceremonies, Kaoo and the chiefs joining in the responses. I was surprised to see in the person of this king the same infirm and emaciated old man that came on board the Resolution when we were off the northeast side of the island of Maui; and we soon discovered amongst his attendants most of the persons who at that time had remained with us all night.
Of this number were the two younger sons of the king, the eldest of whom was sixteen years of age, and his nephew Kamehameha [future king of the united islands], whom at first we had some difficulty recollecting, his hair being plastered over with a dirty brown paste and powder, which was no mean heightening to the most savage face I ever beheld. As soon as the formalities of the meeting were over, Captain Cook carried Kalaniopuu, and as many chiefs as the pinnace could hold, on board the Resolution.
They were received with every mark of respect that could be shown them; and Captain Cook, in return for the feathered cloak, put a linen shirt on the king and girt his own hanger round him. The ancient Kaoo, and about half a dozen more old chiefs, remained on shore and took up their abode at the priests' houses.
During all this time, not a canoe was seen in the bay, and the natives either kept within their huts or lay prostrate on the ground. Before the king left the Resolution, Captain Cook obtained leave for the natives to come and trade with the ships as usual; but the women, for what reason we could not learn, still continued under the effects of the tabu-that is, were forbidden to stir from home, or to have any communication with us.
The quiet and inoffensive behavior of the natives having taken away every apprehension of danger, we did not hesitate to trust ourselves amongst them at all times, and in all situations. The officers of both ships went daily up the country in small parties, or even singly, and frequently remained out the whole night. It would be endless to recount all the instances of kindness and civility which we received upon those occasions.
Wherever we went, the people flocked about us, eager to offer every assistance in their power, and highly gratified if their services were accepted. Various little arts were practiced to attract our notice or to delay our departure. The boys and girls ran before, as we walked through their villages, and stopped us at every opening where there was room to form a group for dancing.
At one time, we were invited to accept a draft of coconut milk, or some other refreshment, under the shade of their huts; at another, we were seated within a circle of young women, who exerted all their skill and agility to amuse us with songs and dances.
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