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No Ke Kumu ʻUlu (The ʻUlu Tree)

Kū, the great Hawaiian akua (god) of the uplands, forest, and the deep sea, comes from the faraway land of Kahiki to settle in Hawaiʻi as an ordinary mortal. After a time, he takes a wife and raises several children, while providing for them as a mahi ʻai (a farmer, planter), and lives in peace, dignity and plenty. Then, the rains no longer come; the streams and springs begin to dry up and the crops wither. Without food or water, his ʻohana (family) and the people are faced with the hardship of famine. Unable to bear their suffering, Kū sacrifices himself by burrowing deep into the earth. Soon, from the spot where he descended, the sprout of a breadfruit tree appears. The first of its kind in Hawaii! Ku's generosity and his amazing ʻulu plant, or breadfruit helps to save his ʻohana and the people from the famine. Today, the ʻulu tree continues to grow throughout Hawaii and its nourishing fruit is still treasured as a food source. 


  • Retold by Kawehi Avelino
  • Illustrated by Eve Furchgott

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