Puff the Magic Dragon of Hanalei

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Does “Puff the Magic Dragon” still live in the hippy town of Hanalei?

The popular 1960s folk song by Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton has often been connected with this North Shore Kauai town of Hanalei, or in this case, “Honah Lee.” The song references to a mythical land called Honah Lee, where the “magic dragon lived by the sea and frolicked in the autumn mist.”

The sleeping “dragon” that protects Hanalei Bay.

Turns out, the dragon didn’t quite live in Hanalei. But rather, the reference was a “serendipitous coincidence,” according to Peter himself in an article by The Garden Isle. And as much as it may seem like a hidden reference to smoking marijuana, it’s not. The article clarifies that the song’s about the “innocence of childhood lost” and inspired by an Ogden Nash poem about a dragon.

This unveiled truth about the hit song, however, doesn’t dispute the popular belief that a dragon lives among Hanalei’s sea cliffs. Many say the green hillside that wraps around the bay looks like a sleeping dragon. Its head faces south, directly in front of the pier, while its tail gets lost in the landscape.

Dragon or not, the magic of Hanalei can still be found floating along the peaceful crescent-moon bay. It remains hidden among the trees and nestled in the bosom of the verdant valley, protecting the sleepy town of new and old aged hippies. It’s in each and every sunset and each and everyone you meet. There’s magic wherever you look.


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