This is one of a few stories that I heard while traveling through the Big Island. And one I remember well for a few reasons. One, just driving and seeing the destructive landscape that’s just nothing but black lava rocks and what seemed like dead trees growing on them.
As the story or legend goes:
There was once a man named O’hia who was deeply in love with a lady named Lehua. Pele, the goddess of fire or the goddess of volcano had met O’hia and wanted him for herself. She made several advances and he continued to refuse her advances, for he only had eyes for Lehua. This enraged Pele and if she couldn’t have him nobody could so she turned him into a grey ugly tree that looks dead. Lehua, distraught pleaded with Pele to return O’hia back to her. Pele refused. Eventually Pele felt remorse and she sought out Lehua. She told Lehua, that she would not return O’hia back but she could turn Lehua into a flower that only grew on Lehua. She agreed and she was turned into a flower.
Pele’s path of destruction can be seen all over the island, and the O’hia tree grows wherever Pele has left her mark (on lava rocks) and on this tree, a red flower can be seen, the Lehua. So in essence, O’hia is always with Pele and Lehua is always with O’hia. It is said if you pluck the flower from the tree, it is not only bad luck but the weather patterns will change into rain like tears as you’re separating two lovers again.
This way, O’hia Lehua will always be together. Nice story isn’t it?