The Mango Tree in the Cemetary

Informant: Female/73 years old/Portuguese Ancestry
Location: Hilo, Big Island

Growing up during the 40's and 50's, we used to roam the neighborhood as children. During that time, one of the popular things to do in the neighborhood was picking fruit.

There used to be this mango tree in the middle of the cemetery right next door to my house that had the biggest mangoes that I can remember.

Being small children, the only way we could attempt to get those mangoes was to climb onto this nearby headstone, and then climb onto the mango tree.

However, no one could ever get the mangoes. Everybody that I know that has climbed that tree to pick the mangoes, fell off trying to do so. But they wouldn't just fall off. Victims of the mango tree have described it more as being pushed or flown off. Many times, this would result in a broken bone or some other serious injury.

I remember there was this one day I went with one of my friends to try and get the mangoes. She climbed onto the headstone, and then onto the tree. The way that she was on the tree, she should have fallen straight down. Instead, it seemed like she flew a good distance away from the tree and she broke her arm.

After that, the tree was cut down. To this day, I cannot remember anyone ever being able to get the mangoes by climbing on to the tree, only by using a fruit picker.