My wife and I lived in Hawaiʻi for twenty years. Below, I’ve included the parable of the prodigal son written in Hawaiian Pidgin, a local lingo spoken by those who were born and raised in Hawaiʻi. It’s spoken quickly and is difficult to understand unless you’re a kamaaina (local). I’ll share the part about the other brother next time—that story is not so nice!
This extract is from Luke 15:11–28 in Da Jesus Book: Hawaii Pidgin New Testament, published by Wycliffe Bible Translators in 2000.
Jesus wen tell, “Had one guy dat get two boys. Da younga boy wen tell his fadda, ‘Papa, give me my share from all you get.’ So da fadda wen split all he get an give da boys dea share. Afta dat da younga boy wen get all his stuffs, sell his share an take da money, an go one far place. An ova dea he spend um all, cuz he no stay in charge a himself. Den, afta he spend all his money, get hard time ova dea. No mo food da whole place. An da boy, he no mo notting. Den da boy wen go by one guy from dat country, an da guy wen send him out inside his fields, fo feed da pigs. Man, da boy stay so hungry he like eat da pods da pigs was eating, an neva have nobody dat give him notting!
“Den he wise up an tink, ‘Eh, how come?! All da guys dat work fo my fadda fo pay, dey get mo plenny food den dey can eat. Me, I so hungry ova hea, dat I litto mo mahke [die]! Mo betta I go back wit my fadda. Den I tell um, ‘Papa, I wen do bad ting agains God in da sky, an agains you. I not good nuff fo be yoa boy. Let me work fo you fo pay, so den bumbye I pay you back.’ Den he wen leave da place an go to his fadda.
“He still far from da house wen his fadda wen spock him. His fadda’s heart fill wit pity an he run. He hug his boy an kiss him. Da boy say, ‘Papa, I wen do bad ting agains God in da sky, an agains you. I not good nuff fo be yoa boy.’
“But da fadda wen tell his worka guys, ‘Come quick! Hurry up! Go get one robe, da bestes one, an put um on him. Put one ring on top his finga an shoes on top his feet. Go get da bestes young cow an kill um. We goin make one party an eat an dance an sing! Cuz dis my boy. Jalike he wen mahke, but now he come back alive! Cuz he was lost, but now we find um!’ An dey wen make party.
“Da older boy, he stay working inside da fields. Den he come near da house, an he hear da music wit da hula. So he aks one a da kids, ‘Eh, wass da haps?’
“Da kid tell, ‘Yoa brudda wen come back home, an yoa fadda wen tell da worka guys fo kill da bestes young cow, cuz yoa fadda wen take him in, an everyting okay now!’”
I’m going to finish this story in Hawaiian Pidgin next week, but it’s the first part of the story that is the essence of Jesus’s message. It’s a beautiful parable about agape and a father’s unconditional love for his son, whom he forgives instantly, celebrating his life and caring deeply for him in spite of what the young son has done to his father, the rest of his family, and himself. What a story! So much insight in so few words.
It reminds me of what I must do on a daily basis.
I hope you enjoyed reading this story in “da Pidgin,” which most tourists in Hawaiʻi don’t hear spoken that much, even though it is the main language of the locals.
What does the parable “Da Story Bout Da Lost Boy” say to you?
3 thoughts on “Da Story Bout Da Lost Boy: Part One”
It doesn’t really speak to me. Sorry.
It says to forgive the sins of others if they repent. Take back your addicted child if they can show that they are clean. Never give up loving your own family. And your pidgin was perfect for a mainlander!
I read it aloud to myself, and the simple and direct hearing of the story in simple language brings home the simple yet profound message that God loves you. Thank you for sharing it with us.