In Hawaiian folklore, the Menehune are a legendary race of small people, only very rarely seen, who live deep within the woodlands and seldom frequented valleys of the Hawaiian Islands.
And, on Friday, May 24, 1929, during morning recess at Waimea Elementary and Junior High School, Kauai, one of these little people was vouched for as being seen by many students on the school’s grounds and on the property of the Waimea Foreign Church (now the United Church of Christ).
On that day, a teacher observed over a score of pupils of all nationalities, both boys and girls of all ages up to 14 and over, running out of the schoolyard, apparently chasing something onto the premises of the Rev. J. L. Martin, then away on vacation.
They were wild-eyed and yelling “There he goes!” and “Head him off!” and the like, and when that teacher and other teachers arrived at Rev. Martin’s house, they saw that several students had encircled it, while perhaps a dozen had crawled underneath.
“Watch that crack!” “Don’t let him get out!” “Keep the house surrounded!” they shouted.
“Stop this at once and get back to school!” a teacher demanded.
“No, we must catch him.”
“The Menehune, he ran right past us, a little man a foot tall with a long beard,” they exclaimed.
“We saw him, we must catch him; look, there are his footprints.”
The students finally returned to school, but at noon lunch hour, they, accompanied by other students, resumed their search for the Menehune at Rev. Martin’s place, along with a few elderly Hawaiians who showed up after learning what had occurred.
Later, when Principal Dallas McLaren (Waimea Elementary and Junior High School principal from 1928 to 1935) questioned each student involved in the incident, every one of them told an identical story.
That afternoon, when school was pau, a number of Hawaiian men and women persisted in carrying on the search until dark, but to no avail.