Photo: 3 boars race across a road under a tree canopy at Parco Naturale Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli, Toscana, Italy
Photo: Carlo Cafferini / carlocafferini.com
When I first came to Hawaii, I was on an archaeological expedition to Mauna Kea, part survey and part excavation in the untamed forest of Haka’lau Preserve, above 7,000 feet on the slopes of Mauna Kea.
We explored some settler’s cabins, some German, and others English. One of the ruins, which had belonged to a fur trader, still had an orchard with apples that I was able to pick. Another settler’s cabin had masses of wild pink roses growing in a huge wall, like a forgotten garden, and giant soft, sweetly scented White English roses that probably exist nowhere else now, no doubt brought to Hawai`i on a ship.
I did not have much in common with the University of Hawai’i anthropology students, who would not even do Renaissance court dancing because it was European, and in the late afternoon and evenings I would go to the forest and get lost in it. There were giant koa trees and many native Hawaiian honey creeper birds which sang beautiful songs. Some were lovely iridescent shades of red, such as the ʻakepa.
One day I found a glade within a forest of giant trees and climbed on a huge log which was so high that my feet were slightly off the ground when I sat upon it. I began to sing a song called “Weep You No More, Sad Fountains” .
Suddenly, a giant boar appeared out of nowhere. I do not use the word “giant” lightly because this boar was literally the size of a horse and must have weighed upwards of 400 pounds. He came right up to me and sat in front of me, and even sitting where I was, up high on the branch, his eyes were level with mine. He had huge tusks, but his eyes seemed intelligent, and human, and he watched me while I sang the song, and when I finished it, he melted into the forest.
When I told the natives about the Great Boar, they all said, it was Kama’pua’a, the God of the forest, of the tree ferns, of mist, and rain, in other words, a God with the exact same attributes as our God, Freyr, a God who also is associated with a great boar. Like our Gods, Kama-pua’a is a shape shifter, who, according to legend, can appear, as mist, and rain, or as a fern.
After the excavation was over, I once went back and stayed in the same park cabin with a hiking group, and left every evening to try and find the boar. I was a little worried when I saw signs about pig hunting in the area, but this was the sort of boar that might have bested the hunters of Atalanta herself, so I had hope of seeing him again and indeed, the last night before I left, I did. Just as I was thinking that I would never have another chance, as I came out of the forest of giant trees, I saw him, in the dusk, just before darkness, standing looking at me. So, perhaps the moral of the story is that we should never give up the hope of experiencing or accomplishing miraculous things, even when we least expect it. (-;
© Seana Fenner 2018