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The King of Sharks – American Folktales - Hawaii

As the story goes, the King of Sharks noticed a beautiful young girl swimming near the shore. As soon as he saw her beauty, he fell deeply in love with her. He wanted her to be his wife; therefore, he changed his appearance into one of that of a young handsome man. He placed a feathered cape of a chief around himself and followed her to her village.

As soon as the King of Sharks walked into the village, everyone was very excited to have a foreign chief visit them that they prepared a magnificent luau with a large feast and many games. Of course, the King of Sharks won every game and the young beautiful girl was very delighted with his proposal of marriage.

The King of Sharks and his new bride lived close to a waterfall. While in his human form, would swim every day in the pool of water just beneath the falls. On some occasions, he would stay under the water so long that his bride would worry about his safety. However, he told her there was nothing to worry about; he was just making a place at the bottom of the pool for their son.

Just before the birth of their son, the King of Sharks returned to his people. He gave his wife instructions to keep his feathered cape around the shoulders of their son at all times. When the little baby boy was born, the young girl noticed a mark on his back that resembled a mouth of a shark. At this moment, she realized her husband was the King of Sharks.

She named her son Nanave. She did as her husband had requested and her son wore the feathered cape at all times. Nanave as he grew older would swim every day in the pool close to their home. His mother would watch from time to time and would see a shark swimming beneath the water.

Before long, Nanave would visit the pool every morning wearing his feathered cape. He would ask the fishermen as they passed by where they would be fishing that day. Then he would jump into the pool of water and disappear for hours on end.

Soon, the fishermen noticed that they were catching less and less fish. The people of the village were becoming very hungry since the supply of fish was become less on a daily basis. The village chief called all the people to the temple and told them that a bad god was living among them. He said that the god was stopping the fishermen from catching fish. He vowed to us his magic to find the bad god.

The chief placed a bed of leaves on the ground and asked every man and boy of the village to walk upon the leaves. If they were a god, their feet would leave no marks, as with human feet they would bruise the leaves.

Nanave’s mother knew that if he walked upon the leaves the villagers would discover that he was a god and they would kill her son. As soon as it was his turn, he ran across the leaves, however, he tripped and as he fell, a villager tried to catch him, grabbing only his feathered cape. As soon as Nanave’s back was revealed, so was the shark’s mouth on his back.

The villagers began to chase Nanave out of the village. He ran far ahead of them and dove into the pool. The villagers filled the pool with rocks as they threw them into the pool after Nanave. His mother knew that he was safe from harm, as the King of Sharks had created a safe passageway for his son to return to the ocean.

From this day forward, no fisherman ever tells where he will be fishing afraid that sharks will come and scare the fish away.

The King of Sharks mythology.

 The myth of The King of Sharks.

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