PELE (pronounced pay-lay) is the Hawaiian Goddess of fire, lightning, and volcanoes. She is the personification of the female temper, and makes her home in Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, where her rages manifest as eruptions. Pele is a rather playful Goddess, often appearing to mortals, either as a tall, beautiful young woman or as a frail, ugly old woman. She is frequently accompanied by her white dog, Poki, whom she sends to warn mortals of upcoming eruptions. She likes to test mortals by asking for food or drink or for a ride to another part of the island. Those who are kind to her are rewarded, while those who are not are likely to have their homes destroyed by fire.
Pele also punishes visitors who take lava rocks away with them. Although "Pele's curse" is said to be an urban legend started by a park ranger to preserve the volcano, others insist that it is true. Tourists who take away lava rock or volcanic sand often find bad luck awaiting them when they return home. Pele is very protective of her home and her children, and the only way to remove the curse is to ship the rock back to Hawaii and ask for her forgiveness. Every year, thousands of rocks are returned, and there are even companies that will assist these guilty tourists, leaving the rocks and an offering in hopes of appeasing the angry Goddess.
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