Being "The Bottle Imp" by
Robert Louis Stevenson , 1891
Put into Basic by R. L. Lockhart, 1935
Reprinted, June 1945 by
U.S. Naval Training Center,
Miami, Florida, U.S.A from
Psyche Miniatures, General Series
There was a man on the Island of Hawaii, to whom I will give the name of Keawe ; because the fact is that he is still living, and it is necessary to keep his name secret -- but the place of his birth was not far from Honaunau, where the bones of Keawe The Great have their resting-place in a stone hollow. This man was poor, a lover of danger, and a hard worker ; he was as good at reading and writing as a school-teacher. In addition, he was a first-rate seaman, and had been for some time on an island steamer, and had taken a fishing-boat down Hamakua way. At last it came into Keawe's mind to see something of other countries and other towns, and he went as a sailor on a vessel going to San Francisco.
This is a beautiful town, with a beautiful harbour, and thousands of moneyed persons ; and specially, there is one slope which is covered with great and important-looking houses. Upon this slope, Keawe was one day taking a walk with his pocket full of money, viewing the great houses to right and left of him with pleasure.
" What beautiful houses these
are !" he was saying to himself, " and how
happy are the persons living in them, who
take no care for tomorrow!" The thought
was in his mind when he came up to a
house which was smaller than some
others, but complete in every detail and
like a plaything made with loving care ;
the steps of that house were like silver,
and the flowers edging the garden walks
were a pleasure to see, and the windows
were as bright as jewels. Keawe came to
a stop, surprised at what he saw. He
became conscious that a man was looking
out at him through a window so clear
that Keawe saw him as you see a fish in
smooth water. The man was quite old,
with no hair on his head, and a growth of
black hair on his chin ; his face was
very sad, and from his lips there came the
sound of a man whose heart is bitter. And
the fact is that Keawe looking in at the
man, and the man looking out at Keawe,
had an equal desire to be like one another.
Suddenly the man gave a smile, and,
motioning with his head, made a sign to
Keawe to come in, and went to the door
of the house.
" This is a beautiful house of mine,"
said the man bitterly. " Wouldn't you be interested to see the rooms ?"
So he took Keawe all over it, from the
wine-store to the roof, and there was nothing there which was not the best of
its sort, and Keawe had no words for it all.
" Truly," said Keawe, " this is a beautiful house ; if I had one like it for myself,
would be laughing all through the day. How is it, then, that you are so unhappy? "
" It is quite possible," said the man,
for you to have a house like this in every
detail, or better, even. You no doubt have some money? "
" I have 50 dollars," said Keawe, " but
the price of a house like this will be more than 50 dollars."
The man gave thought to it. " It is sad
that you have no more," said he, " because it may be a cause of trouble to you
in the future ; but I will let you have it for 50 dollars."
" The house? " said Keawe.
" No, not the house," was the man's answer, " but the bottle. Because, you
see, though it seems to you that I have been smiled on by chance and am very
well-off, all my money, and this house
itself and its garden, came out of a bottle about the size of a pint measure. This is it."
And, opening a safe, he took out a
bottle with a round base and a long neck,
the glass of it was white like milk, with
changing colours in the grain. Inside,
something was darkly seen to be moving,
like a shade and a fire.
" This is the bottle," said the man,
and when Keawe gave a laugh, " You are
doubting me? " he went on. " Put it to
the test then, for yourself. See if you are
able to get it broken."
So Keawe took the bottle and kept
dropping it violently on the floor till he
was tired ; but it came back off the floor
like a rubber ball, and was not damaged.
" This is a strange thing," said Keawe.
" Because, by the touch of it, and by the
look of it, the bottle seems to be of glass."
" Of glass it is," the man made answer,
even more unhappily than before ; " but
this glass was tired in the flames of
Inferno. There is an imp2 living in it, and
that is the shade we see moving there ; or
so I take it to be. If any man will give a
price for this bottle, the imp will take his
_____________ 2 . One of Satan's band of servants.
orders ; all his desires -- love, a great name,
uses like this house, yes, or a town like
this town -- all will be his for a word.
Napoleon had this bottle, and by it he
became King of the Earth ; but he let it go
at last, and then came his downfall. Captain
Cook had this bottle, and by it he made
the discovery of so great a number of
islands ; but he let it go, and was put to
death upon Hawaii ; because when it is
exchanged, the power goes and the safe-keeping.
And if a man is not pleased with
what he has, bad things will come to him."
" But still you are talking of exchanging
it yourself ? " Keawe said.
" I have all I have need for, and I am
getting old," was the man's answer.
" There is one thing the imp is not able
to do -- he is not able to overcome death.
And it would be wrong to keep from you
the fact that there is one thing against
having the bottle ; if a man comes to
death before exchanging it, he will be
burned in Inferno for ever."
" That certainly is something against
it," said Keawe. " I will have nothing to
do with the thing. I am happily able to
do without a house, but there is one thing
I would not be able to put up with, and
that is to be in the power of Satan."
-13- " Dear, dear, it is no use running away
from things," was the man's answer. " All
you have to do is to make some use of the
power of the imp, and then let another
person have it, as I do you, and be in
comfort for the rest of your days."
" Well, I see two things," said Keawe.
" All the time you seem as troubled as a
girl in love, that is one ; and the other is,
that you are letting this bottle go very cheap."
" I have given you the reason why I am
troubled," said the old man. " It is
because of my fear that I will not be on
this earth much longer ; and as you said
yourself, to get into Satan's power at one's
death is a sad end for anyone. As to why
I am letting it go so cheap, there is a
strange condition about the exchanging
of this bottle. In the early days, when
Satan first put it on earth, the price was
very high, and Prester John got it first
for millions of dollars ; but it is only
possible for it to be exchanged at all if it
is exchanged at a loss. If you let it go for
as much as you gave for it, back it comes
to you again. So naturally, the price has
kept falling in these hundreds of years, and the bottle is now surprisingly cheap.
I got it myself from one of the important persons living on this slope, and the price
I gave was only 90 dollars. I may let it go for as high as 89 dollars and 99 cents, but
not a cent dearer, or back the thing will come to me. Now this is a trouble for two
reasons. First, when so strange a bottle is offered for as little over 80 dollars,
everyone gets the idea you are tricking him. And second -- but there's time for
that -- and there's no need to go into it. Only keep this in mind ; it has to be metal
money you get for it."
" How am I to be certain that all this is true ?" was Keawe's question.
" Some of it you may put to the test straight away," said the man.
"Give me your 50 dollars, take the bottle, and give it an order to put 50 dollars back in
our pocket. If it does not do so, I give my word I will take the bottle again
and let you have your money back."
" This is not a trick ?" said Keawe. The man again gave his word, very seriously.
" Well, I'll take a chance, so far," said Keawe, " because that will do no damage."
And he gave his money to the man, and the bottle was handed over.
" Imp of the bottle," said Keawe,
" give me my fifty dollars back." And, as
the man had said, the minute he made
his request his pocket was full as before.
" Certainly this is a bottle with very strange powers," said Keawe.
" And now good-morning to you, my
good man, and may Satan go with you for me !" said the man.
" One minute," said Keawe, " I've had
enough of this amusement. Here, take your bottle back."
" You have taken it at a smaller price
than I gave for it," the man made answer,
rubbing his hands. " It is yours now ; and
as for me, my only desire is to see the
back of you." And with that, sounding
the bell for his Chinese servant, he gave
him an order to take Keawe to the door.
Now when Keawe was in the street,
with the bottle under his arm, he gave
some thought to his position. " If all is
true about this bottle, I may have made
a bad exchange," said he to himself." But
possibly the man was only tricking me."
The first thing he did was to go over all
his money ; the right amount was certainly there -- 49 dollars American money
and one Chili bit. " That seems true enough" said Keawe. " Now I will make another test."
The streets in that part of the town were as clean as the boards of a ship, and
though it was the middle of the day, there was no one about. Keawe put the bottle
in the drain at the side of the road and went on. Twice he gave a look back, and
there was the round, milk-coloured bottle where he had put it. A third time he had
a look back, and made a turn into another street ; but the minute he had done so
something came pushing up against his arm, and there was the long neck ! And
as for the round base, it was fixed into the pocket of his over-coat.
" And that seems true enough." said Keawe.
He then went into a store and got a corkscrew, and went with it to a secret
place in the fields. And there he made an attempt to take the cork out, but whenever
he put the instrument in, out it came again, and the cork as solid as ever.
"This is some new sort of cork," said Keawe ; and
suddenly he was shaking, and his skin became wet, because he was in great fear of the bottle.
On his way back to the harbour he saw a store where a man had all sorts of bits
of things from the far-off islands, faces cut in wood which had been part of some
strange old religion, old bits of money, pictures from China and Japan, and all
the different things which sailors come back with in their sea-chests. And here he
had an idea. So he went in and said he would let the man have the bottle for a
100 dollars. The man of the store gave a laugh at first and said he would take it
for five ; but, truly, it was a strange bottle -- such glass was not ever made in any
glassworks he had knowledge of, so beautifully bright the colours were under
the milk-white, and so strange was the shade which one saw through the middle.
So, after had some argument about the price, as is the way of storekeepers,
the man gave Keawe 60 silver for the thing, and put it on a shelf in his window.
" Now," said Keawe, "What I got for
50 -- or a little-less, because one of my dollars was from Chili, -- I now have 60 for.
Now I will see if another point is true."
So he went back to his ship, and when he got his chest open, there was the bottle,
which had come more quickly than himself. Now Keawe had a friend on the ship whose name was Lopaka.
" What is wrong with you ?" said Lopaka. "Why are you looking into your
chest so strangely ?"
They were by themselves in the front part of the ship, and Keawe, making him
the story secret, gave him an account of everything.
This is a very strange business," said Lopaka ; " and you will probably get
into trouble about this bottle. But there is one point very clear -- that you are
certain of the trouble, and you had better have what profit there is in the thing.
Make certain what it is you have a desire to get from it ; give the order, and if it is
done as requested, I will take the bottle over myself ; because I have an idea to
get a sailing-ship. and go trading through the islands.
That is not my idea," said Keawa ; "but to have a beautiful house and garden
near the sea at Kona, the place of my birth with the sunlight coming in at the door,
flowers in the garden, glass in the
windows, pictures on the walls, playthings and beautiful coverings on the tables, in
every detail like the house. I was in today -- only a floor higher, and with terraces
about it like the King's house ;
and be living there without care and having a good time with my friends and relations."
" Well,"' said Lopaka, " let us take it back
with us to Hawaii ; and if all comes true, as you say, I will take the bottle and
make a request for a ship."
" They were in agreement about this, and
it was not long before the ship went back to
Honolulu, with Keawe and Lopaka, and the bott1e. A very short time after
landing they came upon a friend on the sands who said he was very sad at the
news of Keawe's loss.
" I have no idea what there is to be sad about," said Keawe.
" Is it possible that you have not had the news ?"' said the friend. " Your
father's brother -- that good old man -- is dead, and his son -- that beautiful boy --
came to his end in the sea."
Keawe was full of regret, and while he was crying and feeling very unhappy, all
memory of the bottle went out of his head.
But Lopaka was deep in thought, and after a time, when Keawe seemed a little
less overcome, "I have been giving thought to this," said Lopaka. " Had not
your father's brother lands in Hawaii in Kauai ?"
'No, " said Keawe, " not in Kauai ; they are on the mountain-side -- a little
way south of Hookena."
"These lands will now be yours went on Lopaka.
" And so they will." said Keawe, and went on crying for his relations.
" No," said Lopaka, " do not go on crying at present I have a thought in my
mind. What if this is the doing of the bottle ? Because here is the place ready for your house."
" If this is so." Keawe made answer,
" it is a very poor way to give me my desires by putting my relations to death.
But you may be right ; because it was in such a position that I saw the house with my mind's eye."
" The house, however, is still not there," said Lopaka.
" No, and probably will not ever be !" said Keawe ; because though my father's
brother has some coffee and ava1 and bananas,2
it will not be more than will keep me in comfort ; and the rest of that
land is black stone from the fire-mountain."
" Let us go to the man of law," said Lopada ; " I have still this idea in my mind."
Now when they came to the man of law, they made the
discovery that Keiwa's father's brother had become very well-off
in his last days, and there was a great amount of money.
" And here is the money for the house !" said Lopaka.
If you are interested in a new house," said the man of law, " here is the card of
a new house-designer, who is said to be a very good man."
" Better and better !" was Lopaka's cry. " Here is all made clear for us. Let
us go on and do as we are ordered."
So they went to the house-designer, and he had designs for houses on his table.
" You have in mind something out of the common," said the house-designer.
" What about this ?" and he put a design before Keawe.
__________ 1 . Alcohol made from a plant of that name in the South Sea Islands.
2 . Long yellow-skinned fruit.
Now, when Keawe saw the design, he gave a cry of surprise, because it was the
picture of his thought put down in every detail.
"There is no getting away from this
house," was his thought. " Little as I am pleased with way it comes to me, it's
going to be mine now, and I had better take the good with the bad."
So he gave the house-designer a full account of what he had in mind, and
what he would have in the house, and about the pictures on the wall and the
little ornaments on the tables ; and he put a straight question about the price for
which the man would undertake to do all this.
After questioning him on a number of points, the house-designer took his pen
and did some addition ; and when he had done, the amount named was, to a penny,
what had come to Keawe.
Lopaka and Keawe, looking at one another, gave a motion of the head.
It is quite clear," said Keawe to himself, "that I am to have this house
whatever my feelings. It comes from Satan and it is my fear that I will get
little good from that ; and of one thing I
am certain. I will make no more requests as long as I have this bottle. But the
house I have got, and I had better take the good with the bad."
So he made his agreement with the house-designer, and they put their names
to a paper ; and Keawe and Lopaka got taken on by another ship and went to Australia
because they had made a decision between them that they would do
nothing about it, but would let the house-designer
and the bottle-imp do the building and ornamenting of the house at their pleasure.
The sea-journey was a good one, but all the time Keawe was keeping in his breath, because he had given his word to himself that he would give voice to no more requests, and take no more from Satan. The time was up when they got back. The house-designer said that the house was ready, and Keawe and Lopaka took tickets in the Hall and went down Kona way to have a look at the house, and see if all had been done in harmony with the thought in Keawe's mind.
Now the house was on the mountain-side where one might see it from a ship. Higher up, the thick wood went up into the clouds of rain ; under it the black stone had made sharp slopes down to the sea, and here was the resting-place of the old rulers. There was a garden about that house, in which were flowers of every colour ; and there were papaya trees on one side and breadfruit trees on the other, and straight in front, in the direction of the sea, a ship's high sail support had been put up with a flag on the top. As for the house, it was three floors high, with great rooms and wide terraces on every floor. The windows were of glass, of such good quality that it was as clear as water and as bright as day. There were tables, seats, cupboards, shelves, and every possible comfort in the rooms. There were pictures on the walls in gold frames ; pictures of ships and men fighting, of the most beautiful women, and of strange places ; nowhere are there pictures of so bright a colour as those Keawe saw hanging in his house. As for the ornaments, they were most beautiful ; clocks sounding the hours, and music-boxes, little men with shaking heads, books full of pictures, war instruments of great value from all sorts of strange countries, and playthings for the amusement of a man living by himself.
And because no one would be happy living in such rooms, and would only be interested to go through and see them, the terraces were so wide that a town full of persons might have been quite happy living upon them ; and Keawe was not certain which gave him most pleasure, the terrace at the back, where you got the land wind, and were looking out over the fruit trees and the flowers, or the front terrace, where you took deep breaths of the wind off the sea, and, looking down the sharp wall of the mountain, were able to see the Hall going by about once a week between Hookena and the slopes of Pele, or the sailing-ships going up and down with wood and java and fruit.
When they had seen everything, Keawe and Lopaka took a seat by the door.
"Well" said Lopaka, "it is all as you were picturing it to yourself ?"
"There are no words for it," was Keawe's answer. "It is better than my picture, and I am overcome with the pleasure of it."
"There is but one thing to give thought to," said Lopaka ; "all this may be quite natural, and the bottle-imp may have nothing whatever to do with it. If I took the bottle and got no sailing-ship after all, I would have put my hand in the fire for nothing. It is true that I gave you my word ; but isn't it natural for me to make a request to you for one more test ?"
"I have given my word to myself that I will take no more from the bottle," said Keawe. "I have gone in deep enough."
"This is not a request for anything more which I have in mind," was Lopaka's answer. "It is only to see the imp himself. There is no profit in that, and so no cause for shame ; but if once I saw him, I would be certain of the thing. So do this much for me, and let me see the imp ; and after that, here is the money in my hand, and I will give you the price."
"There is only one thing I am in fear of," said Keawe. "The imp may be very disgusting-looking ; and if you once saw him, you might be even less ready to take the bottle."
"I am a man of my word," said Lopaka. "And here is the money between us."
"Very well," Keawe made answer. "I am interested to see what he is like myself. So come, let us have one look at you, Mr. Imp."
Now, the minute that was said, the imp put his head out of the bottle and in again, quick as a snake ; and there were Keawe and Lopaka turned to stone. The night had gone before they had a thought to put into words or a voice with which to do so ; and then, pushing the money over, Lopaka took the bottle.
"I am a man of my word," said he, "and have need to be so, or I would not give this bottle so much as a touch with my foot. Well, I will get my sailing-ship and some dollars for my pocket ; and then I'll be handing this imp on as quickly as I am able. Because, there is no doubt about it, the look of him has given me a great shock.
"Lopaka," said Keawe, "do not have a bad opinion of me ; it is true that it is night, and the roads are rough, and the way by the resting-place of the kings is a bad place to go so late, but the fact is that after seeing that little face, I will not be able to have any sleep or any food, or to go down to my knees till it is far from me. I will give you a light, and a basket to put the bottle in, and any picture or ornament in all my house which is pleasing to you ; and go now, and take your sleep at Hookena with Nahinu."
"Keawe," said Lopaka, "most men's feelings would be wounded by this behaviour ; specially when I am such a good friend as to keep my word and take the bottle ; and as for that, the night and the dark, and the way by the resting-place of the kings may be ten times more of a danger to a man who has done this great wrong, and has such a bottle under his arm. But for my part, I am in such fear myself, that I have not the heart to be angry. Here I go then ; and may you be happy in your house, and I do well with my sailing-ship, and may we be kept out of Satan's power in the end though we have been the owners of his bottle."
So Lopaka went down the mountain ; and Keawe went on to the covered walk in front, watching the light going down the road by the stone hollows where the old dead are put to rest, and hearing the sound of the horse's shoes ; and all the time he was shaking and gripping his hands together, and requesting his Maker to take care of his friend, and feeling overcome with pleasure because he himself was safe from that trouble.
But the day after came very brightly,
and that new house of his was so beautiful
to see that he had no memory of his fears.
One day came after another, and Keawe,
living there, had not an unhappy hour.
He had his place on the terrace at the
back ; it was there he took his food and
had a look at the Honolulu newspapers,
and was to be seen all day ; but when
anyone came by they would go in and have
a look at the rooms and the pictures. And
the house became noted far and wide ; it
was named Ka-Hale Nui -- the Great
House -- in all Kona ; and sometimes the
Bright House, because Keawe kept a
Chinaman who was all day dusting and
polishing, and the glass, and the gold,
and the beautiful materials, were as
bright as the morning. As for Keawe
himself, he was not able to go through
the rooms without a song on his lips, his
heart was so full ; and whenever ships
went by upon the sea, he put up his flag.
So time went on, till one day Keawe
went as far as Kailua to see some of his
friends. There he had much food and
drink ; and went off as early as possible
the morning after, journeying as quickly
as his horse would go, because of his great
desire to see his beautiful house ; and in
addition, the night then coming on was
the night in which the dead of old days go
walking in the sides of Kona ; and,
having had something to do with Satan
once, he had all the more fear of meeting
the dead. A little past Honaunau, looking
far into the distance, he was conscious of
a woman bathing in the edge of the sea ;
and she seemed a well-made girl, but he
gave no more thought to it. Then he saw
her white under-dress waving in the wind
while she put it on., and then her red
holoku1. By the time he came level
with her she was dressed and had come up
from the sea, and was waiting by the
wayside in her red holoku, and she was
clean from the bath, and her eyes were
bright and kind. Now when Keawe saw
her he came to a stop. .
" I had an idea I had seen everyone in
this country," said he. " How comes it
that I have not ever seen you ?"
" I am Kokua, daughter of Kiano,"
said the girl, " and I have only been back
a short time from Oahu. Who are you? "
" I will give you my name a little
later," said Keawe, getting off his horse
" but not now. Because I have a thought
in my mind, and if I made it clear
who I was, you might have some knowledge,
of me, and would not give me a true
answer. But first of all, let me put one
question : Are you married? "
1 . Dress of a Hawaiian woman.
At this Kokua gave a happy laugh. " It
is you who put the questions," she said.
" Are you married yourself? "
" No, Kokua, I am not," Keawe made
answer, " and gave no thought to it till
this hour. But it is this way. I came
upon you here at the roadside, and I saw
your eyes, which are like stars, and my
heart went to you as quickly as a bird.
And so now, if you will have nothing to do
with me, say so, and I will go back to my
place ; but if you are of the opinion that
I am no worse than any other young man,
say so, and I will come to your father's for
the night, and tomorrow I will have a talk
with the good man."
Kokua said nothing, but she was
looking at the sea and she gave a laugh.
" Kokua," said Keawe, " if you say
nothing, I will take that for the good
answer, so let us be stepping to your
She went on in front of him, still
without talking ; only sometimes she
gave a look back, and then quickly away
again, and she kept the cords of her hat
in her mouth.
Now when they had come to the door,
Kiano came out, crying to Keawe by name.
At that the girl took a good look at him,
because the story of the great house had
come to her ears ; and certainly it was a
good offer. All that night they were
talking very happily together ; and the
girl was not at all at a loss under the eyes
of her father and mother, but made sport
of Keawe, because she had a quick tongue.
The day after, he had a talk with Kiano,
and saw the girl by herself. .
" Kokua," said he, "you made sport
of me yesterday ; and there is still time
to make me go. I would not say who I was,
because I have such a great house, and I
had a fear that you would give much
thought to that house and very little to
the man who is in love with you. Now
you have knowledge of everything, and if
it is your desire to see me no more, say
" No," said Kokua ; but this time she
did not give a laugh, and this one word
was enough for Keawe.
This was how Keawe made love. Things
had gone quickly ; but so goes the archer's
stick, and the ball of a gun even quicker,
but they come to their mark. Though
things had gone quickly, they had equally
gone far, the thought of Keawe was like
a song in the girl's head ; to her it seemed
that his voice was in the waves coming
against the walls of stone, and for this
young man she had seen only twice, she
would have gone from her father and her
mother and the islands which were her
birthplace. As for Keawe himself, his
horse went like the wind up the road
under the wall of the mountain in which
the bones of the rulers were resting, and
the sound of the horses' feet, and the
sound of Keawe's song of pleasure, went
through the hollows of the dead. He came
to the Bright House, and still there was
a song on his lips.
He took a seat on the wide terrace
and had his food, and the Chinaman
was surprised at Keawe, hearing him
bursting into song in the middle of his
meal. The sun went down into the sea,
and the night came ; and Keawe went up
and down his terraces lighted by oil lights,
high on the mountains, and his song
came strangely to men on ships.
" Here am I now up on my high place,"
said to himself. " Existence may be no
better ; this is the mountain top ; and all
about me goes down lower to something
worse. For the first time I will put lights
in the rooms, and have a bath in my
beautiful bath with the warm water and
the cold, and go to sleep by myself in the
bed in the room to which I will take
So he gave the Chinaman his orders, and
had to get up from his sleep and get
the great fire started ; and working down
under the earth, by the boilers, the sound
of Keawe's voice lifted in song, and his
happy laugh, came to his ears from the
lighted rooms. When the water was
getting warm, the Chinaman gave a cry to
Keawe, and Keawe went into the bathroom ;
and his song still came to the
Chinaman's ears while he was putting
water into the beautiful stone basin. And
the song went on, broken from time to
time while he was undressing, till
suddenly it came to a stop. The Chinaman
was waiting, all attention. He gave a cry
up the house to Keawe, to see if all was
and Keawe gave back the answer
" Yes," and said he was to go to bed ; but
there was no more sound of a song in the
Bright House ; and all through the night
the sound of Keawe's feet came to the
Chinaman's ears, going round the railed
walks without rest,
Now this is what had taken place : while
Keawe was undressing for his bath, he saw
on his skin a sort of growth like the yellow
growth on a stone, and it was then that
he put a stop to his song. Because he had
seen that sort of growth before, and it was
a sign to him that he had got leprosy.1 Now, it is a sad thing for any man to
get this disease. And it would be a sad
thing for anyone to go from a house so
beautiful and of such a size, and to go from
all his friends to the north of Molokai
between the great wall of stone and the
rolling waves. But what was that in
comparison with the position of the man
Keawe, he who had come upon his love
but yesterday, and had become certain of
her only that morning, and now saw all his
hopes broken, in a minute, like a bit of
1 . Disease causing slow destruction of the parts
of the body attacked.
For a time he made no move, seated on
the edge of the bath ; then he got up
quickly with a cry, and went running
outside ; and back and forward on the
terrace he went, like one without hope.
"Very readily would I go from Hawaii,
place of my fathers," was Keawe's
thought. " Very readily would I go from
my house, the high-placed, the house of
windows, here upon the mountains. With
my head high would I go to Molokai, to
Kalaupapa by the wall of stone, living
there with my disease upon me, and
sleeping there far from my fathers. But
what wrong have I done, what crime is on
my head, that I saw Kokua coming clean
and sweet from the sea-water at sundown ?
Kokua who takes a man's heart ! Kokua,
the light of my days ! Her I may not ever
be married to, her I may see no longer, on
her may I no longer put my loving hand ,
and it is for this, it is for you, O Kokua,
that I am crying so bitterly !"
Now you may see what sort of a man
this Keawe was, because he might have
gone on living there in the Bright House
for years, and no one been any wiser
about his disease ; but that was nothing to
him if he had to give up Kokua.
And again, he might have got married to Kokua
even as he was ; and so a number of men
would have done, because they are like
animals. But Keawe's love for the girl
was a man's love, and he would not do her
any damage or take her into any danger.
A little after the middle of the night,
there came to his mind the memory of
that bottle. He went round to the back
part of the house, and again saw with his
mind's eye the day when the imp had put
out his head ; and at the thought his
blood became like ice.
" An unnatural thing is the bottle,"
said Keawe to himself, " and unnatural is
the imp, and it is an unnatural thing to
put oneself in danger of the flames. But
what other hope have I to get better from
my disease and be married to Kokua ?
What ! would I get the better of the imp
once, only to get a house, and not take a
chance with him again when Kokua is the
It then came into his mind that the day
after the Hall would go by on her way
back to Honolulu.
" That is where I will have to go first,"
was his thought, " and see Lopaka ;
because the best hope I have now is in
that same bottle I was so pleased to see
the last of."
He was able to take no sleep ; the food
would not go down his throat, but he
sent a letter to Kiano, and about the time
the steamer would be coming, went on his
horse to the resting-place of the rulers by
the edge of the sea. The rain came down ,
his horse was uncertain on his feet.
Looking up at the black mouths of the stone
hollows, he had a feeling that the dead
who were sleeping there and were done
with trouble were happier than he ; and
he was surprised by the memory of how
quickly and with what high hopes he had
gone by the day before. So he came down
to Hookena, and there were all the men
and women of the place waiting for the
steamer, as was their way. They were
seated in the outhouse before the store,
exchanging humour and news ; but Keawe
had no desire to say anything about the
pain in his heart, and he took his place
among them, looking outside at the rain
falling on the houses, and the broken
waves rolling against the stones, and he
had a tight feeling in his throat.
" Keawe of the Bright House is
unhappy," said one to another. Truly
he was, and with good reason.
Then the Hall came and the
fishing-boat took him out to it. The back part of
the ship was full of white persons who had
been to see the fire-mountain as is their
way ; and the middle part was full of
Kanakas, and in the front part were
bulls1 taken from Hilo and horses from
Kauai ; but Keawe took a seat away from
the rest in his trouble, and kept a watch
for the house of Kiano. There it was, low
down near the sea among the black
masses of stone, and shaded by trees, and
there by the door was a red holoku, no
greater than a fly, and going back and
forward like a fly upon its business.
" Ah, ruler of my heart," came his cry,
" I'll put all my existence in danger to
make you mine !"
Not long after, it became dark, and the
ship was lighted up, and the white men
were seated at the table, with cards and
whisky, as is their way. But Keawe went
walking up and down by the railings all
night ; and all the second day, while they
were steaming under Maui and Molokai,
he was still walking up and down like a
___________ 1 . A bull is the male animal of the cow.