I believe the word in question is "Menehune" (also occasionally
spelled "Minehune" or "Menihune.") If it is said that "You have a bit
of the Menehune in you," this would mean that you are impish or
In Polynesian folklore, the Menehune are a race of small, rather
mysterious beings similar to leprechauns, pixies, or elves. Although
they may sometimes be troublemakers, they are not evil.
"The folklore of many nations around the world include stories of
magical little people. Although most people easily recall the
leprechauns of Ireland, in Hawaii the mischievous Menehune roam the
deep forests at night.
Menehune are said to be about two feet high, although some are only
six inches high and capable of fitting in the palm of someone's hand.
The creatures are usually naked, but their long straight hair falls to
their knees to keep them warm and discreet. Each menehune has a
distinct personality and appearance; no two are identical.
Furthermore, their spirits are always changing; one could be malicious
and dangerous one day, and harmless the next. Nonetheless, they are
cunning creatures, and therefore should be avoided, unless a special
favor is absolutely needed of them."
"In Polynesian mythology, the Menehune are similar to fairies. They
are trickster beings, though usually merely mischievous and not cruel.
The chiefs of the Menehune are called Alii Menehune.
The Menehune range from six inches to two feet (15-60 cm) tall. They
are always naked but are covered by long hair. They are afraid of
owls. When they become too mischievous and cause too much chaos, the
owl god, Paupueo, sends all the owls to chase them into the forest."
"Menehunes.....An old Hawaiian legend reveals the story of the
Menehune, or Hawaiian Elf. They are thought to be very small, from 3"
to 12" tall, with pointed ears and stocky bodies. To keep from being
seen they only come out at night. During the day they live underground
in lava tubes or holes dug into the earth. The Hawaiian goddess Ra'i
Ra'i was chosen to watch over the little Menehune folk and she knew
that they loved to play and make mischief. She would urge them to do
their work first and this was when they would be helpful to people in
need. It was this way that rock walls and fish ponds appeared
miraculously overnight, without anyone seeing or hearing them at work.
The only way anyone knew they were there is because they would find
tiny little footprints left behind. Sometimes people have found
mysterious little red marks on their skin, which some believe is where
a mischievous Menehune has pinched them."
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