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But it was my poor, despised, deserted, friendless, vagabond dog-my four-footed pensioner! owned by nobody and disowned by everybody-my poor, downfallen, shabby, mangy, hungry-looking Newfoundland ! My eager, over-anxious, worried-looking brute! It was for him my heart went out! And I resolved to be his true friend until I should see him in better condition again!
I christened him Ponto, for I discovered he had lost his name, so far as I could recollect such things, and would not come to me, call what I might! So, as I say, I gave him at once a pretty name! And to make him try to recollect it, I gave him a nice bone with it.
When first I saw him, I was sitting at nightfall (which is a very beautiful time at the Islands, you must know — all nature seems then to be going to dreamland, so quiet is it- perfect repose) on the veranda, and I was quite startled in seeing this big, unkempt, untidy, collarless, gaunt, big-eyed dog rush into my place, his head up, and staring about from tree to house, and then to pond, in a most expectant manner! He gave one bound toward the water and greedily lapped his fill. Then, quietly and shamefacedly, on seeing me, shambled along in the direction of the cook-house; and finally, left the yard, disappointed and disconsolate-looking! It was closed and not a bone to be seen!
In a day or two he came again at the same time and place; and seeming surprised to find the pond still there, he took another drink! I spoke to him this time, in cheerful tones, and told him that he'was welcome to a swim in the cool water as well, for he looked very warm and tired, and I really wished he would take a bath. His coat, which had not been cut or trimmed for many a day, looked so dusty and rough! A bone was awaiting his coming, for I knew he would scent that basin of water again; they are not so plentiful in Honolulu! He gained a little confidence with the sound of my voice, and gradually looked about the garden. Finally he discovered the bone, and gave one quick, sharp bark, as thanks, before he picked it up!
He was not a greedy dog at all; he was a thoroughbred, and had been well-trained. May be his master went to the Coast or to the Colonies, and left him behind with a friend, or gave him away! Likely he was dead !
The climate does not favor animals, unless they have good care. The sun spoils their hair and they get to look, often, very shabby. He took his bone under a big tree, and after a while I saw him bury it, and depart for the night. Day after day he came; and finally, with petting, and feeding, and coaxing, he strayed away no more, but with a new and handsome collar, became my own dog and protectorPonto.
You may have read that beautiful legend of the Blessed Saviour, who came one night to the marketplace of the city with some of His disciples, and while
they went to prepare the supper, He mingled with the crowd gathered about a dead dog. He listened to their heartless and cruel taunts : “ Good enough for it, miserable cur!” “Look at its hangdog face,” said another. “Kick it out of sight!” said a third. But God the Saviour, who created all things, quietly said, “Pearls could not equal the whiteness of its teeth!”
“He prayeth well who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast:
All things both great and small.
He made and loveth all.”
R EING prayed to death.”
1. Among the many superstitions of these most superstitious people, the natives, are many quaint and harmless ones—many, too, like to our own (and, doubtless, learned or caught from the early missionaries and others) foolish and ludicrous; and not a few of their own—Hawaiian-born and bred—that are not only dreadful, but positively terrible, in their significance !
It is not for me to say how far or how fast mind acts and reacts upon mind, when primed and loaded with an eager, greedy desire to destroy, for instance, some hated, hunted and doomed victim!
A certain number, a secret conclave, will “pray Maiola to death "--and certain it is that Maiola sometimes dies! Maiola I knew very well, and saw him almost daily for a few years; he was one of the very finest-looking of his race-tall, well-formed, handsome, and strong and healthy, for anything I could see to the contrary. Suddenly he began to fail in strength, and in spirits as well, went to another island for a change-came back again, growing all the while, month after month, weaker, more helpless, and more dispirited-lying all day in his hut doing nothing. When the natives were questioned they would look at one another, glance following glance in quick succession; he was being prayed to death-so they evidently believed! That was simply all, and all there was about it; his people would do what they could, all they could ; but medicines, doctors, hospitals were to their minds all “no use.” He was "being prayed to death”—and die he must, and die he did! To my mind, he simply took a violent cold, as the natives do
-very susceptible to a chill-neglected it, would not go to the hospital (“Queen Emma's Hospital,” which is very well managed); asthma followed, quick consumption, dropsy, and the poor fellow paid the last debt! “Maiola is dead.” And for one night, and a small part of a day only (in this climate), may we, his relatives, sing our weird, unearthly meles in his praise -telling in odd, plaintive chant his good deeds and noble qualities; send for all his friends and ours to come and mourn and sing and wail with and for us; cry, and laugh, and smoke (passing the pipe around from mouth to mouth), and eat fish and poi; then we will give him Christian burial, cover his grave with leis and blossoms, and come away content that all is well with Maiola.
And these superstitions can never be wholly uprooted in any nation or people so long as the world stands, and we are still mortal beings.
“However lightly it may be ridiculed, yet the attention involuntarily yielded to it whenever it is made the subject of serious discussion, and its preva