Douglaspperkins, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Douglaspperkins, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Curse of Pele and the Stubborn Man

Shaka Guide

Listen to audio story here:


Pele is known for her fiery anger - so this story, about Pele getting her revenge, is fitting.

As the story goes, in the late 1800’s, there was an American sea captain who had a ranch on the slopes of Mauna Loa. One day while riding his horse, he came across a cave with a curious looking stone resting on a mat. Not believing in the superstition of Pele, he took the lava rock home and put it in his garden. His Hawaiian friends, upon hearing this, pleaded with him to return the stone, claiming that it was a sacred object, placed in the cave to worship Pele.

Being a strong Christian and stubborn man, he refused.            

Shortly after, Mauna Loa erupted and a river of lava covered part of his ranch. The man’s Hawaiian friends came, begging with the captain to return the stone. But again he refused to do so. That night Pele’s lava changed course and approached this man’s house. But firm in his faith, he stayed put, with his hands clenching the bible throughout the night. Smoke and heat filled his house like an oven, yet he stubbornly remained in his house all through the night.

When the friends returned the next day, to their surprise, the lava flow had forked right before his house, leaving him and the house untouched. They found him sitting on a chair clenching his bible. With a stern look on his face he said “God has saved me. What do you think of your Pele now?”

The friends responded “we are happy you are alive. But the stone is no longer in your garden. As we left last night, we took the stone and returned it to its proper place.”

After that, the American sea captain was never the same again.

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