Saddle Road

“There’s a well-known road called Saddle Road, connecting Kona to Hilo. West Side to East Side. They paved it so it’s safer and quicker now. But it used to be very pot-hole-ey…It’s dangerous to drive there at night because fog settles there since it’s at high elevations… I hate that road…I never go on it. It’s a lot of open farmland so there aren’t a lot of people on it.

Anyway, there are two variations I know of. One of them is that if you’re driving at night and you see an old woman, you have to pick her up and take her where she wants to go. Supposedly the next time Kilauea erupts, if the lava flow is heading towards your town, the lava will go around your house. Supposedly it’s because this woman is Pele, the goddess of fire. If you don’t pick her up, and Kilauea erupts, then the lava will destroy your house. The second variation of this story is that there is a woman with a dog who you’re supposed to pick up….Supposedly a man picked up a women with a dog and took her where she wanted to go, and when Kilauea erupted, the lava missed his entire town.”

Context/Analysis: The legends of Saddle Road are significant to the informant because she does not like the road. This is how she travels to Kona from Hilo, so it’s very familiar to her. She would rather go around the Island, which would take roughly 7 hours, but when she must use the road she doesn’t hesitate. Ultimately she tries to avoid driving down saddle road at night to avoid the responsibility of picking up strangers in her car. The informant first heard of the legend at a slumber party she attended when she was younger. The girls were looking to tell scary stories about their own island. They wanted to know the legends of home. Ultimately, this legend suggests the traditions of old Hawaii: how the belief of the ancient goddess Pele is still significant today and is still widely believed by most Hawaiians. Hawaiians use this myth as an explanation for the travel-path of the lava from Mount Kilauea.