Descended from the Hawaiian royal line, Jonathan Napela became one of the first—and most influential—converts to the Church in Hawaii. A man of intelligence, social status, and wealth, he used his considerable position to further the gospel in his native land. He developed a lifelong bond of brotherhood with Elder George Q. Cannon, helping to translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian and establish a gathering place for the Hawaiian saints in Laie, Oahu. But when his beloved wife, Kitty, was stricken with leprosy, Jonathan made the defining decision of his life. He would leave his life of privilege to become her caretaker and spend the rest of his life on Molokai, the island of lepers. To those who suffered similar heartbreak and banishment, Jonathan’s self-sacrifice became their lifeline. Based on true story, this is an extraordinary novel of a man who chose love in the face of death.
She stepped out of the cooking house and moved into the yard. “My heart is full of joy today. My feet and fingers wish to talk of this joy.” Slowly she began to sway, her feet moving smoothly over the packed ground, and her gnarled fingers floating
through the air, painting pictures with each movement. “I will tell the story—na wai ‘eha. The four waters of Maui.” She began to chant:
Fed by the tears of heaven and the hidden pools of
Oh, life-giving waters
You flow down to the children of the land.
The fingertips of the rising sun reached over the barren peaks of Ukumehamo, and the fisherman felt the warmth on his back. He stood on the reef, the waves gently lapping around his knees.
“Hee mahola,” he chanted.
“Eia ka leho.” Here is the cowry.
A red cowry to attract the octopus to his death.
“Eia ka koa, he laau.” Here is the spear, a mere stick. “He lama noka hee mahola,
no ka hee-palaha.” A spear of lama wood for the octopus that lies flat.
Catherine Keliikuaaina Richardson walked beside his son in regal splendor. Her brown hair hung in waves down to her knees. She wore a white holoku in the style that was part missionary and part Hawaiian. Long sleeves covered her arms and a high collar came up to cover her neck.The soft fabric hung loosely from a square yoke that was edged with white ruffles. On her head she wore a wreath of bright yellow ‘ilima flowers woven with ferns and the golden tail feathers of the o-o bird. Her golden brown skin glowed in the morning
light and the sight of her drove reason from Waaole’s head.
Jonathan chuckled as he helped Catherine and then his father into the carriage. He leaned over and whispered to him.
“When we are out of sight of the village we will take off our suit coats.” He climbed up, took the lines in his hands, and commanded
the horses to walk on. As he waved to the villagers, Jonathan smiled. It was a smile that felt its way through his entire body. Today was a good day.
Gale Sears is an award-winning author, known for her historical accuracy and intensive research. Gale received a BA in playwriting from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in theater arts from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the bestselling The Silence of God and several other novels, including The Route, Christmas for a Dollar, Autumn Sky, Until the Dawn, and Upon the Mountains. She and her husband, George, are the parents of two children and reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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