The following is a story from ancient times handed down from generation to generation about the diagnostic priest, Ka-maka-nui-'ahai-Lono ("the big-eyed commemorative stone of the God Lono," who was the messenger who followed and cured the sick), and his apprentice, Lono-pu-ha, who became an expert in the priestly class of healing with herbs:
On the island of Hawaii, Chief Lono ruled the district of Ka'u. While plowing the taro fields, he injured his foot with a digging stick. Fortunately, a diagnostic priest named Ka-maka-nui-'ahai-Lono was passing through the area, and Lono's retainers were able to persuade the priest to remain and attend to the wounded foot of their Chief.
After examining the injured foot, the priest gathered the leaves and seeds of the nightshade plant, and pounded the herbs mixed with sea salt. He placed the herb mixture on the wound and wrapped the foot with a covering of coconut sheath. When the Chief had recovered from his injury, the priest departed and continued on his healing journey around the island.
When Chief Lono learned Ka-maka-nui-'ahai-Lono had left his residence, he decided to become a follower of the diagnostic priest. When Lono caught up with the priest, he shared his strong desire to enter the priestly class of healing with herbs. He explained how he made the decision to give up all material possession and rulership over his lands, and to begin the training of diagnosing, herb cultivation, and medicinal usage of herbs and other natural resources.
Ka-maka-nui-'ahai-Lono was deeply moved by Lono's sincerity. The priest ordered Lono to open his mouth. Without questioning, he listened and opened his mouth for the priest. The priest accepted Lono as his student by ceremoniously passing his spittle to Lono. According to ancient Hawaiian tradition, this rite passes on the master's great knowledge by deeply imbedding its profoundness within his chosen apprentice.
From that moment on, the priest issued Lono a new name, Lono-pu-ha. He became proficient, and later deified, in the training for healing the sick and cultivating herbal plants for restoring the health and wellness of the people of Hawaii.
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