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Cover illustration of The Three Io Brothers, depicts an animated hurricane scaring the birds

by Keri Kodama

There lived three ‘Io brothers on the island of Hawai‘i. They had just left their nests and were on their way to make their living in the world. Each had bought his own house on the mountainside.

One day, on their way home, they came to a big cluster of animals gathered around a single panicked rat. “A monster is coming! A monster is coming!” the rat cried, waving his arms around madly.

The ‘Io brothers looked at each other. The third brother, who was the smartest and most responsible of the three said, “What are you talking about? Everybody knows there are no such things as monsters!”

“You don’t understand!” the rat chattered. “I was watching television and I saw it on the news. Pueo was the one who made the announcement.”

“Well, tell us more about this monster!” a mongoose shouted.

The rat exclaimed, “I’d be happy to. The monster is as white as a ghost. He flies as high as the clouds, and he is so big, he covers the entire sky. He is so strong, he can blow down houses of all sorts and has a hole in his center that looks like an eye. Not to mention, he’s the meanest kind of monster around.”

“But what should we do? Can we drive him away?” asked the second brother.

“Of course not. He’d blow you away!” the rat said.

“Well, we have to do something,” said the third ‘Io, “but what?”

“Let’s ask Pueo. He’s wise so he should know what to do,” suggested the first ‘Io brother.

So the three brothers went to Pueo’s house to ask him for advice about the monster.

“That monster is called a hurricane, and it is certainly something to worry about,” Pueo said as he sipped his tea.

“Can we stop it?” asked the first brother.

“No. You cannot stop a hurricane. But you can prepare for one and survive if it strikes,” said Pueo.

“How can we do that?” the ‘Io asked together.

“Stock up on non-perishable food such as canned goods. Water is also extremely important. Have flashlights in case the power goes out and extra batteries. If you have a propane stove, keep that handy. Also, have a battery or crank powered radio so you can listen to the latest weather reports from the National Weather Service and instructions from the emergency managers. And make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit.

You will need enough supplies to survive on your own for at least five to seven days.”

The ‘Io brothers all went home and checked the weather reports. The hurricane would not come for a few days, giving them time to prepare. The third brother set off immediately to get everything ready, including boarding up his windows and strengthening his house. His two brothers, however, decided they had more than enough time and continued playing.

Then five days later, the hurricane arrived.

“My name is ‘Iniki!” he announced with a voice like thunder.

“I shall blow all your houses down!”

The first and second ‘Io brothers were shocked, terrified, and certainly not ready. They flew quickly to the store to buy supplies but the store had already sold all of their products to the early birds. Then they flew to Pueo’s house.

“Help us Pueo! Can’t you do something about the hurricane?” they begged.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t stop ‘Iniki. You should have been better prepared,” said Pueo through his door.

Finally, they flew home and hoped ‘Iniki would miss them.

He didn’t.

“Those houses look so easy to blow away!” So with a big breath of wind, ‘Iniki did just that. He also poured rain and unleashed large waves on the island. ‘Iniki blew the first and second ‘Io and their houses away.

The two brothers and their ill-prepared homes landed KERPLOP! right at the third ‘Io brother’s front door.

“Help us brother! Save us from the hurricane!” they cried.

“He can’t get you here!” the third brother said confidently and pulled his soaked brothers into his home.

‘Iniki arrived at the third ‘Io’s house.

“Hooray! Another house to blow down!”

But no matter how hard the hurricane blew and rained, the third ‘Io’s strong house stood firm.

“Oh! What a strong house!” ‘Iniki exclaimed.

“I am too tired. Flying over land takes too much energy. I am going back to the sea.”

An exhausted ‘Iniki left the island, having used up all the energy he had gathered over the ocean.

The ‘Io brothers came out of their house. Thanks to the third brother’s preparations, there was only a little damage.

“Thank you brother, for letting us in,” the two brothers said.

“That’s what brothers do,” replied the third ‘Io brother.