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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2186453
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2186453
A fairy tale...
"La’akea":
Polynesian name, La’akea is derived from the elements ‘la’a,' meaning ‘sacred, and devoted’ and kea, meaning ‘white clear’. Combined the name translates as ‘clear sacredness’


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When the world was new, and the human race was young, an ambitious god called Tawhiri took it upon himself to create a mass of land in the center of the great ocean. "I'll call it an island," he told the other gods. "It'll be so beautiful, the people there will worship me as their favorite God."

One of the elder gods, Atiu, chuckled at this declaration. "Humans are still learning, you'll need patience."

"You'll see," said Tawhiri. "I'll be the most beloved of all."

So the god created paradise for the humans to enjoy, and in return they adored him.

After a while, the humans became busy with the business of living. Obtaining food, building shelters, birthing babies, and establishing order amongst them detracted from their duty to worship Tawhiri. He became unhappy with the increasing lack of attention he was receiving from his islanders.

"They're vulgar, and stupid," he complained to the other Gods. "They lack civility and gratitude, they have ceased to worship me properly. I'm inclined to show them my power cannot only give, but take from them when I am displeased."

Tawhiri caused horrible disaster to befall the people. He sent famine, war, disease, and storms from the sea so powerful, the people thought the gods sent hell to the island.

The other gods grew tired of his childish, prideful nature, so they created another island. They stripped Tawhiri of his power and banished him there, alone, until he could learn how to behave. They created a palace for him with every comfort he could need, and they gave him a chance, once a year to prove his change for the better.

They decreed to the islanders that a young woman, preferably of nobility and beauty, was to be sent to consort with Tawhiri once a year for exactly three days. If they fell in love, the gods would know Tawhiri had allowed kindness into his heart and his banishment would be lifted.

And so it went. For years, a young woman was sent to the island for three days in an attempt to charm the god. Despite their stunning beauty, noble bloodlines and interesting personalities, each returned from the island rejected. "Clearly," they thought, "we are too inferior."

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One year, a particularly savage typhoon tore through the island, killing many and laying waste to their resources.

A farmer, well liked in the community, had been killed in the storm, leaving his wife and young daughter, La'Akea, to attempt to salvage what little was left of their modest farm.

The selection of the woman sent to Tawhiri was scheduled to happen the next week, and La'Akea volunteered herself to go to the god's island. "But why?" asked her mother. "You aren't born of nobility, we have nothing to offer him. I need you here to help rebuild."

"I know, mother, but it's only for three days," she said confidently. "I want to go to that island and try to persuade Tawhiri to have mercy on us, if for no other reason than to ensure this doesn't have to happen to any other family."

La'Akea said goodbye to her mother and her friends, boarded her tiny boat, and began to row toward Tawhiri Island.

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The island was beautiful, but she could sense an odd sadness there. As she drifted into the lagoon where the god would meet her, she couldn't help but notice unlike on her own island, the birds didn't gossip happily in the trees. She heard no frogs talking about where to find the juiciest mosquitoes, she didn't even hear one melancholy plea from a sloth looking for a mate. Even the palms stood more rigid in the breeze.

Tawhiri stood at the shore, waiting for La'Akea to land. He looked her over, arms crossed, and huffed. "You won't do, I know this already."

"Apologies. I can go now if you wish."

"No." Tawhiri said curtly as he turned to walk toward the jungle. "I'm sure you're useful for something." He called over his shoulder, waving a hand dismissively.

"You may camp on this portion of the shore." Tawhiri nodded towards a small alcove shaded on one side with palms and open view of the ocean on the other.

Overwhelmed with gratitude, La'Akea exclaimed to Tawhiri, "Thank you so much! It's breathtaking!"

"There's no proper shelter, and it's swarming with mosquitos, but it will provide shade under the palms." Tawhiri studied her. "My palace is on the top of that mountain," he pointed to the top of the single majestic mountain occupying the island. And with that, he turned heel and strode away.

La'Akea tidied the small clearing and started to make a shelter when she realized Tawhiri was right, mosquitos were everywhere.

Hidden behind an enormous fern, Tawhiri watched, curious as she searched up and down the coast. "Stupid girl, she thinks there's somewhere else she can go without mosquitoes."

She stopped at a growth of citronella plants. Tawhiri looked on puzzled as she bowed, then took some cuttings. When she returned to her clearing he was shocked to see it flanked on three sides with mature citronella.

He stormed over. "How dare you move my plants!"

La'Akea touched the leaves gingerly. "I didn't move them. I guess they just felt like growing here."

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With her shelter assembled, and a fire crackling, La'Akea went looking for her dinner.

Once again, Tawhiri watched hidden, waiting for her to fail.

He knew citronella had already blabbed to the other plants that this girl was kind and generous, so he wasn't surprised to see her return to camp with enough breadfruit, mango, and yams for days.

"Well, she thinks she's so clever, let's see how well she can fish with no line." He rubbed his hands together.

La'Akea stretched her back and looked toward the sky. A flock of gulls were gliding over the beach, and La'Akea called to them. Two came down and perched on the sand in front of her. She knelt, speaking to them before they flew away.

Hot and sweaty from a long day of physical labor, she waded into the ocean for a swim. She dove underneath the waves, then emerged laughing and slapping the water. Tawhiri thought her mad until he saw a pod of dolphins swimming beside her, playing and laughing with her.

La'Akea embraced her new friends and waved goodbye before wading back to shore. The sun was setting, and Tawhiri noticed for the first time that she was, in fact, a beautiful girl. He hadn't thought as much at first, in fact he found her a bit plain. Standing on the shore with a serene smile, enjoying the sun on her face, he thought she might be the most beautiful woman sent to his island so far.

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Tawhiri was waiting for her when she got back to her temporary home.

By the fire, lay a neatly piled feast of squid and shellfish. "Oh great! The gulls found some, I'm glad it wasn't too much trouble."

She stoked the fire, clearing a hole for the mollusks to rest, then covered them to cook.

"Are you staying for dinner?" she asked cheerfully as she got busy arranging large logs of driftwood around the fire.

"Why on earth would I want to eat here?" Tawhiri spat.

La'Akea smiled and sat on one of the smooth driftwood logs. She twisted her long black hair, wringing out the seawater from her swim and drying it by the fire. "I take it you haven't made friends with the other inhabitants of this island yet."

"I don't need friends. I have unlimited power and omnipresence." Tawhiri sniffed and looked away.

La'Akea poked thoughtfully at the embers with a long stick. "Well, not anymore, I suppose?" She looked up at him. Her eyes glowed as if the fire had adorned them with its brilliance.

Tawhiri realized he needed to collect himself. "I must leave you now." He said suddenly.

"I understand." La'Akea moved closer toward him. Tawhiri's breath caught in his throat as she drew near. "You're welcome to stay and dine with us if you change your mind."

He was about to ask who she was referring to, but was interrupted by an amazing sight.

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A family of mongoose came scampering to the fire, followed by a rainbow of birds, chatting frogs, chirping bats, and even two sloth who had apparently finally found each other. La'Akea patted the space on her log, gesturing for Tawhiri to sit next to her. He did as he was told.

La'Akea served fruits to the birds, the sloths, and the bats. She served up shellfish to the mongoose family, and gave an enormous palm leaf filled to the brim with mosquitoes to the frogs.

Others joined in the party as the night went on. The gulls stopped by, the dolphins gave their regards from the ocean, and jokes and stories were shared around the fire. A good time was had by all.

After everyone had moved on to their cozy nests, nocturnal roaming, and burrows, Tawhiri bade La’Akea good night. Later on as he tossed and turned in his extravagant bed, he realized he did not want to be without her.

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For the next two days Tawhiri joined La'Akea in playing with the dolphins, climbing to the tops of the trees to say hello to the Sloths, and marveling at the theater of the brilliantly colorful island birds dancing to lure mates.

La'Akea was much loved by everyone. The plants appreciated her courtesy, the animals enjoyed her company, and they were all pleasantly surprised to hear Tawhiri laugh loudly at her jokes. He left the palace, opting to sleep near her around their cozy fire instead of his downy bed. He seemed to be the most grateful on the island to be in her company.

Day three arrived too soon, and sorrow descended over the island. La'Akea said her goodbyes to her new friends. The skies clouded, the jungle grew quiet, and Tawhiri stood in silence at the shore, watching as she prepared to launch her boat.

"Thank you so much for allowing me to stay these three days," she said cheerfully as she shook his hand.

"Don't leave!" He blurted out awkwardly. "I don't want you to leave. Please stay."

La'Akea looked at Tawhiri affectionately, and pulled him in for a long hug.

"I'd love to stay, I've had a great time with you."

"So you'll stay with me?" He pleaded.

"It breaks my heart to leave you lonely, but I have to get back to my own island. My mother needs me, my friends need me, and the whole island needs me to help rebuild."

Tawhiri looked down at the sand. "I'm sorry," he whispered softly. "I was being selfish and immature when I sent that storm. I'm ashamed of my behavior."

With that, the island rumbled and drifted loose, breaking free of the anchor with which it was bound. It drifted toward La'Akea's Island, gently coming to rest close by. The sea hoisted a bridge fashioned with its floor between the lands, joining them.

The animals of both islands greeted each other with joy, and the people gave loud thanks to the gods for giving them this beautiful miracle.

And as Tawhiri embraced his true love, he did too.















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