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By Armstrong Sperry

Mafatu has been scared of the ocean for so long as he can be mindful. although his father is the nice leader of Hikueru - an island whose seafaring humans worship braveness - Mafatu seems like an intruder. All his existence he has been teased, taunted, or even blamed for storms at the sea.

Then at age fifteen, now not prepared to place up with the ridicule and jibes, Mafatu comes to a decision to take his destiny into his personal fingers. together with his puppy, Uri, as his better half, Mafatu paddles out to sea, able to face his fears. What he learns on his lonesome event will swap him perpetually and make him a hero within the eyes of his humans.

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On the base of the traditional crater, lengthy ridges of lava descended to the valley. Of a surprising Mafatu remembered an outdated story out of his youth: he have been advised how the youths of Tahiti slid down the lava slide on sleds of huge leaves! the idea had scarcely struck him prior to he was once wrenching off part a dozen nice leaves from a close-by banana tree. whilst he did so he stopped, unexpectedly alert. They have been fantastic bushes, thrice his personal top, with large leaves that waved within the wind like tattered banners. yet what stuck and held his awareness have been the stems the place fruit had grown: they'd been severed cleanly by way of a knife! His center gave an outstanding thump and hung hearth. He tested the stems with care. Tree after tree were stripped of fruit, and inside every week, too. Who had reduce those bananas? Well—he must discover! His lips have been grim as he set approximately making his “sled. ” He sure the leaves including a fibrous rope of vines and shortly had a toboggan so long as his physique. while Mafatu reached the lava slide, he set his sled in position and flung himself down upon it. With a shout and a shove he was once off. Down the typical slide he sped at terrifying velocity. bushes whizzed previous. Wind drove the air from his nostrils. The valley rushed to satisfy him. He mentioned with a bump in a thicket of cassi. As he extricated himself from the thorns he used to be nonetheless respiring with pleasure. Aué, yet that used to be enjoyable! He didn't cease to imagine how he might regain his plateau, for at that second his eye fell upon a extensive, well-defined course best down in the course of the jungle. “Aiá! ” he exclaimed. “This fantastic path used to be by no means made through the toes of untamed pigs! ” The boy stood there irresolute and unsure. a few premonition of probability stored him poised, alert, and cautious. He was once part tempted to retrace his manner and discover no additional. Then an overwhelming wish to comprehend who had made that direction instructed him onward. the path led towards the ocean, widening because it went. quickly it opened right into a cleared circle a few hundred ft in circumference. Involuntarily Mafatu began ahead, then drew again with a pointy cry. What he beheld crammed him with awe and it set him trembling. He observed a sequence of vast stone terraces emerging in a pyramid many ft excessive; on most sensible of this pyramid a gruesome idol, hideously gruesome, reared within the significant sunshine. It was once an historic idol, its contours softened with fungus and lichens, corroded via the rains of a long time. The roots of convolvulus writhed approximately its base. No wind reached this hidden circle, and bugs hummed within the sizzling air. Mafatu felt that he used to be stifling. His center pounded. A marae—a Sacred position. … Scarcely bold to respire, he complicated a step. Then he drew up brief. round the base of the idol he observed piles of bones, charred, yet now not outdated. The platform was once strewn with them. Bones too huge for canine, too huge for pigs. after which Mafatu understood. His middle congealed. This was once a motu tabu, a Forbidden Island. right here the eaters-of-men made their bad sacrifices to the Varua Ino. Mafatu stood rooted, not able to develop, powerless to escape.

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