Wolohu’s Sunday School
Wolohu’s Sunday School is our correspondent Wahanui’s account of a great madness that befell the valley of Hi’ilawe on the Island of Hawai’i in the 1830s.
Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian islands in 1778, then returned the following year to Kealakekua Bay on the island of Hawai’i. There, he made himself persona non-grata with his Hawaiian hosts and was eaten, sort of, for his trouble.
For many years thereafter, the basket containing the remains of England’s Great Navigator-Cook’s head, actually-is faithfully watched over by its caretaker, Waha, a priest who believes it to contain the bones of the god Lono. But at last, unable to constrain his curiosity, Waha opens the basket, and seeing that he has been defrauded, he curses the head of this white devil, and proclaims a contagion of madness upon those who had profaned his sacred trust, and their descendants in perpetuity.
The contagion, in the form of syphilis, arrives in Hi’ilawe with a shipwreck, Bennie. The disease is communicated to his rival Wolohu, who becomes progressively deranged as the disease ravages his already peculiar brain. Wolohu comes to view the Christianity preached by the valley’s resident missionary, Bertram, as a cargo cult that cries out for new leadership. Its treasures, piled high in San Francisco, await their redeemer. But Bertram has lost his touch, and Wolohu is determined to prevail in the Battle for Christmas.
The madness persists into modern times, when a crass and avaricious developer, Avery Bagwell, stumbles into possession of the long-lost remains of Captain Cook, and perpetuates the curse… with compound interest. It proves a fine madness indeed.
Wolohu’s Sunday School. Read it here, or buy at Amazon.
Untold treasures await you in The Great Hawaiian Bazaar!
If you have a taste for history, we invite you to WisdomMaps: The Future of the Past!