The gift of Kū is the gift of ‘ulu. The following mo‘olelo is one of several explaining the origin of ‘ulu, a sustainable crop with numerous health benefits, in Hawai‘i. The block print illustrations below were provided by artist and author Caren Loebel-Fried.
The god Kū, before he was known as a god, fell in love with a human woman and worked hard as a planter in her village. When a terrible famine struck, Kū sacrificed himself for his wife and children by disappearing into the ground. Standing over that spot, his wife's tears wet the soil and the next day a tiny green plant sprouted from the earth (plant emoji). The plant quickly grew bigger and bigger until it was a full size ‘ulu tree (tree emoji) with enough fruit to feed the entire village. That night, Kū came to his wife in a dream and told her how to peel and prepare ‘ulu for eating. The village was nourished again. But when villagers tried to take the fruit for themselves, the tree quickly sucked back into the ground. Kū again spoke to his wife and instructed her to dig up the keiki shoots to give to neighbors and friends. When ‘ulu is treated as a gift given with aloha, there is more than enough for everyone to feast!
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To learn more about ʻulu, check out the ʻUlu Education Toolkit.