Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ahu and Hoata’s feathered cloak (Part 17)

It was autumn and already the rains had started and the cooler weather had arrived. Ahu knew that one guaranteed way of keeping warm was to visit the sulphur pools just outside the village and to sit in them and warm up that way. The problem was that eventually she had to get out and it would feel colder than ever.
Tangaroa was toddling around everywhere and now wanted to go with his father Ahuahu in the canoe when he went fishing. Ahu resisted his demands but eventually agreed he could go so long as she was in the boat too. Ahuahu was pleased as the family got into the canoe and they set off from the beach and headed out to sea.
Ahu gripped the side of the canoe with one hand and Tangaroa with the other as they passed over the breakers and headed for calmer water where the gentle swell was easier for them and Ahu was able to relax. Ahuahu told Tangaroa about the fish they could catch and the tides and the birds overhead and then got him to look back to the shore to see the beach they had set out from and the tree and the rock to use as markers. The little boy looked as he was told and then looked back to his father. Ahuahu’s heart burst with pride as the little boy pointed to the gulls and the shadows in the water as though he was taking everything in. When Ahuahu looked back at Ahu her could see she was leaning over the side. She was not well and the swell was making her nauseous, so he steered the canoe around and headed back to shore.
Ahu staggered out of the boat but did not take Tangaroa with her but indicated to him to continue with his lesson but said, “Do not let me lose sight of you.” So the canoe took off again as Ahu settled down on the sand keeping watch. Ahuahu did not stay long but merely paddled the craft around and spoke to Tangaroa all the time, then he headed back to the shore again. The little boy was delighted with his first ride in the canoe and ran up to Ahu and wrapped his little arms around her beaming all over his face. After Ahuahu had stowed the canoe in the dunes he came up to Ahu and sat down beside her.
“I am sorry Ahuahu” Ahu said, “The new baby does not like the sea. Perhaps it is a girl?”
“I knew what was the matter as soon as I saw you feeding the fish” he said smiling pulling her to her feet. “If it is a girl she will have time learn to love the sea as Tangaroa does.”
Happier on dry land, Ahu bent down to pick up Tangaroa. “No, I will carry him," said Ahuahu. Ahu shook her head; “I need him to keep me warm” as she cuddled him close to her.
Hoata was outside her house when they returned to the village. She beckoned Ahu to her as the two boys went on back home. They went inside her house and she said to Ahu. “Atahai told me that you gave Ngaire your feathered cloak. Is that right?” Ahu nodded. Hoata went on. “Now that winter is approaching you should have a warm cloak to replace that one. I have two; you may have one of mine.”
Ahu looked doubtful. “Were they not gifts to you?”
“One was” Hoata replied, “The other one belonged to Kamaka’s first wife. Come on in and you choose which one you would like.”
Hoata brought both cloaks out for Ahu to see. One was edged with white feathers with darker brown feathers making up the main body of the cloak which Ahu kept on touching. “Do you like that one?” she asked.
“It is beautiful,” said Ahu.
Hoata picked it up and draped it around Ahu’s shoulders.
“It is yours now.”
“I will cherish it forever, Hoata; you are like a sister to me.”
Ahu then whispered in Hoata’s ear to tell her she was with child.


  1. A delightful episode. I remember Dad's parental pride after teaching me difficult elements of the art of joinery; or how I felt when teaching my kids to ride their bikes, etc. Ahuahu must have enjoyed the boat ride as much as Tangaroa.

  2. Awww I had a feeling she was pregnant again. I hope this lovely family has a happy ending. It's such a gentle, picture filled tale of love and a simple way of life. |You tell it all so well!

  3. A new baby and a cloak of many colours..I wonder if it will be a girl..girls can bring storms and choppy waters..They are settling into their village..always good ..Jae :)

  4. Your opening paragraph took us to the hot springs and we have these around here where I live!!
    There are around twenty-one hot water springs, in a five-kilometer radius of the temple there. According to tradition, the hot water is the blood of demons and giants, slain by the goddess. Though according to scientists, their proximity to the former volcano in the region accounts for their creation. Pilgrims who visit the temple also have a holy bath in the springs. Really cures all aches and pains ;)
    Your story again has been nicely gift wrapped and presented very well!!

  5. I love the presents in this tale. One is the cloak, but the more important gift is the time the father takes in the training of his son.

  6. Another enjoyable installment! Ahu's life seems very blessed - a husband, child and friend who all love her very much.

  7. Good stuff! I like the bit about 'feeding the fish'.

  8. A new life - this story will run for another generation! Great stuff.

  9. aw I loved this a new baby and a gift of a warm coat blessings.

  10. I also knew Ahu was pregnant as soon as she fed the fishes. It's been long enough and she certainly wanted it.

  11. You don't know how much I appreciate this gift of family and life beautiful you give for my enjoyment and escape. Thank you.