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Off the News

For Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Once upon a time, an Irishman came to Hawaii

During President Barack Obama's brief visit to Ireland, Prime Minister Ena Kenny gave him an Irish author's three children's books about Hawaiian legends to bring home to daughters Malia and Sasha.

A Hawaii legislative Commission on Legend and Folklore commissioned Padraic Colum in 1922 to write two of the books. Colum spent four months in Hawaii in 1923, studying Polynesian traditions and literature in the Bishop Museum and in the field before writing "At the Gateways of the Day" (1924) and "The Bright Islands" (1925). He wrote "Legends of Hawaii" in 1937.

"It just confirms that if you need somebody to do some good writing," Obama said, "hire an Irishman."

Tell your story and go down in history

Neighbor islanders: StoryCorps wants you to tell your tale.

The oral history project, which runs edited versions of ordinary people talking about their lives every Friday on NPR, is here getting Hawaii's stories. Only a select few will be edited for radio, but all 164 to be recorded will go in a special Library of Congress collection for the ages.

Oahu slots are booked up, but those with other-island tales, check it out online starting Thursday ( The link's on the right.

Posterity awaits.

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