Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Io on a desert island (No 11)

After being hijacked by the Greek goddess Io on the way home from Britain to Australia I found myself being charmed by her to such an extent I was now travelling the Pacific with her on a strange quest to find the legendary Pacific creator god Io, her namesake.
Missed an episode? Just click on Io in the Labels menu for the tale so far.
Now I am sure you don’t want me to recount a travelogue of our visits to Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga and then Fiji. But I must say that as tourists we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves we saw spectacular scenery, awesome waterfalls, met and spoke to scores of islanders or Io did as she was could speak any language. I am not sure she was asking them about the old religion but she certainly had them mesmerized and no wonder, she shone!
Me? I was just tongue tied! She loved the feasts and dancing displays which she thought were put on just for her. We swam in hotel pools, walked on deserted beaches and I even managed to get her into a little outrigger canoe for a paddle off a beach in Samoa. She was a bit frustrated that she couldn’t swim nude as there seemed that such activity was pretty much frowned on there.
All the while I juggled my duties as guide, researcher and her demands as her lover but as before I was denied the details of the last by Io wiping my memory after each encounter. Except that is for a wonderful feeling of love and warmth I experienced all the time I was with her.
However I found a luxury resort on in Tonga that had fales on the beach where we could stay in utmost privacy, just strolling over to the main resort when we needed to for drinks, dining and entertainment. It was on a tiny island remote from the main Island of Tongatapu and I could see an almost visible change in her demeanour. She relaxed. My guess was that she did not expect to be found by any of the enormous pantheon of Greek gods and their hangers on who were only too ready report back to Zeus and the others of who was doing what in their idle moments.
I had already done some research and found that according to legend Zeus had not actually made love to her. He only touched her finger which was enough to make her pregnant and she bore a child for him, her son Epaphus. Then recalling her warning that I was never to tell any of the other Greek gods of our sexual relationship I finally realised that this was all about face. Nobody, god or man had ever made love to her properly until me. Finger touching might be fun but even a Greek goddess feels like getting down to the real thing for once in her life.
“Io, who is going to find out? Surely if Zeus knows I am travelling with you he will suspect?”
At this Io laughed out loud. “No, no, it is not Zeus that I am worried about; he is always up to his bleary eyeballs with nymphs and maidens whenever he feels like it.” She paused and then continued “That is when he is not on the bottle. I think it was a matter of face with him that after Athena had me banished and chased by the gadfly when I did get to Egypt he was still determined to have me but was so hopelessly drunk that the best he could manage was a touch of the fingers. Oh, heaven’s I’ve done it again. I’ve told you another secret. And am I talking with an Australian accent?” She grinned then touched my fingers as a demonstration of what Zeus did. “No, no, it is not him; but do you know how many minor gods and goddesses are sneaking around looking for the dirty on anyone better than themselves. I couldn’t risk that. But now for the first time I feel that we are alone. As there is virtually no one here except the staff; I won’t wipe your memory now.”
I said not a word. All this was totally illogical to me but why argue? She had already stripped and was pulling at my tee shirt as her face crinkled with laughter.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Ahu and Hatiti talk to Moana (No 41)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

Moana was still sleeping but Hatiti was already stirring and fetching the little ones to feed them as Ahu busied herself outside.

“We are so lucky to have the two houses next to each other perhaps we could join them together, Hatiti. Would you agree with that, as the other one is really the house that was built for you to live in?”

“I have never thought of it as my house, but our houses. Of course it would be a good idea to link the two. But let us not talk about that; tell me about Moana; should we be concerned that she lives with us now as she is almost a woman?”

“Let me tell you what Ahuahu told me last night Hatiti, before Moana wakes. Come we will sit outside.”

Ahu told Hatiti about young Moana the wild little girl now growing into a woman who had lived in Ahu’s old village at Gannet Island. She had run away from the conflict between to the two villages to their north with the encouragement of Ahuahu who had advised their village chief of her background. When Ahu told Hatiti about Moana’s eye on the chief’s son Paikea, Hatiti laughed out loud causing the baby at her breast to cry with surprise and both women giggled with the thought of this little 13 year old from a different village should aim so high. Then Ahu explained that Paikea himself was smitten.

“It is not surprising that the chief did not permit her to stay with them then.”

With that Moana came out to greet them. “Is it that late, Ahu?’ she said looking at the sky, “I must have needed that sleep.”

“Come and sit, Moana. Tell us your story and why you have come here. Ahuahu told me there has been more fighting. What has happened to your family? Do they know that you have come here?”

Ahu knew her father had been killed and that her mother had fled with the younger children but she needed Moana to tell the story again in case there was more that Ahuahu should know and to check if Moana was being truthful.

Moana recounted the tale exactly as she had told Ahuahu.

“Where do you think your mother has gone? Do you think she is safe with your brothers and sisters?”

“Did you know that my mother and Hi’ilei’s wife Kiri were related? The only place that she may have gone is a village beyond the mountains to the west. I think that is where Kiri went with her children, back to her family but I do not know where that is.”

“Does she know that you have come here?”

Moana shook her head, “She left before I did but she knew that I would not go with her, but look for you, Ahu.”

“And Ahuahu you mean?”

Moana was silent for a moment but then with her head bowed she said “You and Ahuahu escaped from the village. It was not a good place to live with the threat of fighting all the time. I wanted to feel safe and happy too. I will help you Ahu.”

“Don’t you think you would have been a help by going with your mother and the children? If you could not do that why will working for me and Hatiti be better? Life is not a game anymore Moana, you will soon be a woman but you must gain respect by your actions before good things happen for you.”

Moana hung her head and she rocked as the tears flowed. Hatiti went over to her and put her arms around her. “Moana you do not know me I am Hatiti, Ahuahu’s wife too. Every life is filled with both joy and sadness. At the moment people here will look on you with doubt when they find out you left your mother when she was in danger. We will teach you how to be a good wife and mother. Life is exciting enough as it is without tempting fate by rash actions.”

Ahu nodded, “Do you want to stay here with us to find out how you can be a useful member of the village or should Ahuahu arrange to take you back up to mother’s village where the kakas call?”

Moana looked up immediately “How did you know the village where my mother came from?” She then burst out crying again. “Please may I stay here, I will be good and help. Please Ahu, please Hatiti.”

“First you need to wash yourself; you do not even smell like a woman but like a fungus. Next you must never lie to any of us again, in this house we only speak the truth and say it with love.”

“Ahu, I have a confession. I spoke to Ahuahu at Gannet Island because I had seen Paikea with Ahuahu in our village. I could have escaped with my mother but I came here instead.”

“Doesn’t it feel good to tell the truth, Moana? We love you even more now.”

“We cannot promise anything Moana, said Hatiti, whose arm was still wrapped around her. “But we will show you how best to win Paikea, but it cannot be done by throwing yourself at him as he will just walk all over you, use you and never marry you. You must been seen to be discreet and show respect especially to his mother and father. They are the ones to be impressed.”

Then Ahu spoke. “Remember Moana, his parents are looking all the time to make matches for their children. You must be strong and respectful and worthy of their desires. But they are traditional they do not want to see a modern girl flaunting herself in front of their son. They will want to see you working in the Taro plot, they will see you looking after ours and other children or even going fishing with Ahuahu. When they look at you your eyes will be lowered and they will only ever hear good of your name. In that way everything you want could be yours.”

Kaka – a small screeching parrot

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A visitor from the north (No. 40)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (For previous episodes click on Ahu in the labels area)

It was the day after the celebrations that once again Ahuahu was summoned early in the morning to the chief’s house. There to greet him were not only the chief but Atarani one of his wives. She was standing with her arms wrapped protectively around a young girl…Moana. Also there was Paikea who was looking very embarrassed. Ahuahu quickly took in the situation and spoke to the chief straight away.

“I see we have a visitor from the north. I fear she has brought us bad news.”

“You know this girl?” asked the chief.

Ahuahu nodded “She is Moana from Gannet Island; I have known her since she was born. Has she spoken with you?”

The chief shook his head, “She was found just outside the village, she asked for you and Ahu but was brought here first. Sit down and see if she will talk to you.” They all sat down and Ahuahu asked permission to begin.

“Moana, the last time I saw you, you told me you were frightened that there would be fighting between your Gannet Island village and Rocky Outcrop. Is this why you have run away?”

Moana nodded.

“Has there been much fighting? You must tell us what has happened.”

“Please do not send me back.”

“Won’t your mother want to know where you are?”

Moana shook her head. With that Ahuahu looked to the chief and said “Moana has always run free since she was little. She is independent and strong but headstrong. She is a survivor.”

Moana then interrupted “My father was killed in the fighting with the Rocky Outcrop men. My mother has fled but I do not know where. She knew I would look for you Ahuahu.”

“What about the rest of the village Moana?”

“It has been burnt, the women and children that the Rocky Outcrop men wanted have been taken but I know nothing more as I was hiding.”

“So you disappeared into the forest unseen?”

Moana nodded in reply.

Ahuahu turned to the Chief. “If you agree I will look after her, Ahu knew her well and she can adapt to our way of life here. Even Hatiti will make her useful.”

The chief looked dubious. “She could stay here and be a help to my wives instead.”

“Yes that is an option too, but perhaps it would be best for her to talk to Ahu and feel safe here first and then we can decide later. I need to talk to you alone so perhaps now Atarani can take her to Ahu while I discuss this other matter.”

The chief nodded to Atarani his first wife and she took Moana to Ahu while the room was emptied.

“What is it you want to say, Ahuahu?”

“I must tell you more of my trip to Gannet Island with Paikea. We spoke with Moana there secretly, she said then that fighting was about to occur. Paikea and Moana looked at each other as we were talking even though they are both young, it may not be good for them to be in the same whare. We must be sure that all that she has said today is the truth. Ahu will determine that.”

The chief grunted and nodded as Ahuahu continued. “I told her back then that if she was in danger she should come here. But at her age she has not learned to lower her eyes when she looks on a boy. She may be in danger not of the fighting but of being in love.”

The chief laughed, “She may be small but does appear to be plucky with a strong will. You are right she is better with Ahu than here if Paikea is mooning over her. Do you think that she travelled all night to get here?”

Ahuahu laughed, “No she was watching us as we harvested the whale these last few days. I saw her high on the hill top. She must have left her village many days ago.”

“You saw her? I wish I had sons as plucky as her to survive days alone in the forest.”

“She is resourceful and knows her own mind that is certain. She will be safe here even if the Rocky Outcrop men do take over the Gannet Island village. They may be closer to us but should not come further south as the fishing here is not as good as there. They have been poaching those rich waters for years.”

Ahuahu returned home just as Atarani was leaving; Ahu smiled and whispered to him, “Moana is lying down and is sleeping. You are not planning on a third wife are you?”

Whare - House, Dwelling

Aloha Io (No 10)

Synopsis ( for previous episodes of Io click on Io in the labels area)

After being hijacked by the Greek goddess Io on the way home from Britain to Australia I found myself being charmed by her to such an extent I was now travelling the Pacific with her on a strange quest to find the legendary Pacific creator god Io, her namesake.

Despite getting the maps out and checking possible flights available with the various airlines in our search for this other god Io in the Pacific, my Io still labouring under the impression that the quest would be something like the voyage of the Argo with lots of adventures on the way with no one knowing what the outcome would be. I was having my suspicions that getting a result was far less exciting for Io than undertaking the quest itself. She would have been happy to have sailed around the South Pacific experiencing a new found world for her and free from the boring task of being a goddess in a region where no one believed in you anymore. Something like the politicians of today.

I shut the atlas up and put the flight schedules away and told Io of the difficulties we were likely to face. “There will be very few if any people in the South Pacific that believe or even know about the ancient gods.”

She looked surprised. “They probably worship secretly then.”

“That is possible, but since the European settlers came two hundred years or more ago, almost all native islanders have adopted in one form or another of the imported religions. You know, Christianity in its various forms then there are the Hindus and Muslims in Fiji; probably Confucianism and Shintoism as well with Chinese and Japanese traders….” As I rattled all these off I could see she was getting frustrated and interrupted.

“So what do you suggest?” She condescendingly asked.

I breathed a sigh of relief. “We can go to Hawaii first and then with our elastic timetable work our way back slowly checking out some of the smaller islands to get a feeling of the area. You might be able to sense any belief in historical gods. Then I suggest we finish up in New Zealand to check the records in the libraries there for any reference to this old god.”

“But won’t they lie?”

“No, current day historians want to record the old ways even though they are different from our own.”

She looked at me as if searching my brain for any deceit. She found none so leapt on to me giving me a hug saying, “Shall we go tomorrow?”

“As soon as we can get the flights arranged. But you need a passport can you manage that?” Mrs Violet Inarchus looked at me in disbelief. “Just checking” I said.

We flew out of Adelaide for Sydney to get a connection for Hawaii. From there we were going to work our way back to Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Rarotonga and then to Auckland, in New Zealand. Even I thought there might be pleasure mixed with the hard work.

Secretly I had Googled the Pacific god Io on the computer and had some understanding already of the legend of this creator god. Knowing that Io could read my mind I had extreme difficulty in blanking that information out when we were together. This was done by a strategy I had learned over my many human years. I kept my mind firmly on how beautiful Io was and showing her how stupidly in love with her I was. In other words I couldn’t keep my hands off her and she not unnaturally thought that was her due. Clearly this was not difficult. She didn’t ask what I was thinking about as she always thought it was her!

Io was not impressed with Hawaii. I don’t know what she expected but when I told her there was a natural phenomenon named the Iao’s peak that may be somehow connected to the old religion she perked up a little. However when we got to the park, there were all these signs saying keep to the designated footpaths she blithely ignored these and I meekly followed in her footsteps to view this awe inspiring mountain rising out of the ground by ourselves. I was explaining how the various languages in the Pacific were all related and the differences were all in the enunciation so that Iao may well have been Io originally but now a glottal stop in the name had somehow become an A. She was mesmerised by the mountain and just waved my explanation away and stood in silence contemplating the view. She then turned to me with a worried look on her face and said, “We must get away from here. We should not have come to this sacred place. Can’t you feel it?”

It was no use protesting and saying “Isn’t that why we came” or “Shouldn’t we should visit the libraries to check. She merely said “We are too far north let‘s go to Tahiti next.”

Like a puppy dog I cancelled the hotel booking and just followed at her heels doing everything she asked.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The girl at the barista

I have a few loyalty cards in my wallet. They are all for coffee shops that I frequent. I used to spread my custom around, not only in the town where I live but also when I went to the city. Being an old fool I quite often would present the wrong card for stamping which would be politely returned while I scrabbled around for a Cibo or Coffee Club card instead.
There is one, 'Il Kafé', I tend to use a lot as I get a free coffee for every five I’ve had. So I go there often. I try to convince myself that is the reason I go there so often. It may also be because they sell a yummy fruit bun called a Danish Swirl. I have selected it so often instead of me asking them what I want they ask me if I would like a Cappuccino with a Danish Swirl. Sometimes they will say “The usual?” and I will nod in return. They don’t all call it a Danish Swirl but a variation of that so each girl behind the counter will ask Curl? or Twirl? or Snail? Or whatever they think the sticky bun’s name is.
I retreat to a seat after picking up the daily paper from the rack. This saves buying the paper so this makes the coffee even cheaper. There is always one there which makes visiting this café such a pleasure.
Normally I choose a table for two and face out of the café on to the shopping mall. I don’t watch the passers by but I read the newspaper. I face in that direction as there is problem if I face in. There is a beautiful girl behind the counter sometimes working the barista machine or preparing food or may even be out in the kitchen doing chores there. She is stunning. She is blonde with a flawlessly beautiful face and eyes that sparkle with laughter. When she looks at me I melt. Her hair is usually pulled back in a little chignon almost at the top of her head. So I stare out into the mall lest I stare at her.
I have the wit to know that she is not for me of course but she makes me feel young so why not go to the café to feel young I say. Yes we have spoken, not only of fruit buns and coffee but when we do, I stumble over my words like a sixteen year old talking to a girl he fancies for the very first time. She won’t stay working there long, she will study and get a job she really wants to do rather than serve coffee and buns to old men who sit staring out into the mall rather than at her. I can see she already has determination and success written all over her beautiful face. One day when I go back for my coffee and bun she will have gone and that will be good for her and for me.
But for the moment as I get up and put the daily paper back in its rack and walk out of the café she sometimes sees me go and we smile and I am strangely at peace with the world. But alas I don’t even know her name.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Whale is beached (No 39)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand.

The village chief arranged that the cliff tops above the bays to the north of their village were patrolled each day. It was on the tenth day when the wind blew up from the south east that the lookout ran back into the village. He told the chief of a young whale probably a male that had been washed into the shallows and could not return to deeper water as he was already touching the bottom.

Quickly a recovery party was assembled and Ahuahu was assigned the task of taking some of the villagers and their boats to sea to discourage the other whales from coming in close as well.

“We may be too late, but we could taint the water there with blood or other offensive material to put them off.” said one man.

Ahuahu shook his head, “I think they may ignore that if they are already calling to each other.”

“Try to get between them and the stranded one then,” said the chief.

Ahuahu nodded and set off down to the beach with a group of men from the village. His friend Kamaka who was with him shook his head, “I am getting too old for this, and I will stay on shore to help there. If it is weak and distressed we should kill it quickly.”

With that Ahuahu was gone and Kamaka and the other men who would be on the beach set off in a different direction. Meanwhile the women were preparing their knives and containers to retrieve the precious harvest.

Luckily the stranded whale had been caught between some rocks and the other whales could not reach it and were frustrated that there were so many boats in the water.

The chief summoned the village priest and asked him to speak before they touched the whale. The tohunga called out and thanked Tangaroa the god of the sea and Paikea the tame white whale of legend for thinking of them. And while he was singing these praises the chief’s son Paikea did not know whether to weep or to be proud as he had never been involved in this ceremony before where his own name was being sung with great honour.

Out at sea Ahu and the other fishermen waited quietly, wondering whether the whale would make one last attempt to escape the rocks. All he could think of was that his elder son was named after the god of the sea and hoped he was with Ahu on the beach to be a witness to momentous event.

The chief on shore then made the sign that the whale should be put out of its misery and several harpoons were thrust into its body. Once again they heard the tohunga call out and wish it well on its journey back with Tangaroa.

“We must get the boats ashore now,” called out Ahuahu, “There is much work to be done there. But do not overload the boats. The bounty is for us not the sharks.”

The village was busy for two days, cutting the flesh and loading the blubber in whatever could hold it to take it back to the village.

When they had completed all they could do the second evening, the village men and women all left either by boat or carried their loads back to village. The beach was deserted except for the screaming of the gulls and a persistent sea eagle as they attacked what was left of the carcase. High on the cliff above the beach the scene was watched a small figure wondering what to do.

Ahuahu returned home after unloading his boat and Ahu looked aghast and laughed “What is that come to frighten us. Is it some demon all covered in blood and smells so bad?”

“I have already washed in the sea, do you want me to go back and do it again?”

“No husband,” replied Hatiti “we were much the same when we returned. Let us get the children to sleep then we will wash you again.”

Then Ahu called out from the far corner of the house, “There will be a hangi and much celebration tomorrow the children are already excited.”

“We must all get a long sleep tonight then. I really need it.” said Ahuahu.

The two women looked at each other in the near darkness and smiled with their eyes sparkling as they both shook their heads.

Tohunga - Priest

Io is impressive and I am impressed (No 9)


Somehow I had been hijacked by the ancient Greek goddess Io to accompany her on a quest to find the ancient god Io once revered by Pacific islanders hundreds of years ago so that he or she could assist the old gods of Greece to be worshipped once again. Now before you say I am crazy just remember I was the one that was hijacked! For previous episodes just click Io in Labels on the side bar.

The children all married came with their partners for tea that afternoon. Luckily I bought a few cakes and pastries so they would feel welcome. It was good that they didn’t arrive all together so Io could practice her cousin persona out on the first ones and I would try to give hints if possible to make it more practiced for the others. It went without a hitch. Somehow she looked now to be in her forties. They were not surprised when they learned of her marriage to this fictitious Inarchus fellow, and she gave the impression that he and she were living virtually separate lives because of his business dealings leaving her free to wander the world at his expense.

I thought her clothes were a bit frumpy and wouldn’t have thought they could have come out of her red handbag. She had pinned her hair up rather primly that made her look a bit dull. She now had some chunky gold rings on her fingers and looked a lot older with her eyebrows plucked and a little too much makeup on as though she was covering those little laughter lines around her eyes and at the corners of her mouth. She seemed to have put a bit of weight on too. Where had my angelic Io gone?

While I made some more tea I could hear her say to them “I’ve been trying to persuade your father to come with me on a little trip around the South Pacific. But he said something about there is only a lot of water and coconut palms to see.”

“I can hear you,” I said from the kitchen, “I would rather go to New Zealand…later.”

I started to wonder what Io had put in their tea when one after the other they started saying things like “Oh, you should go Dad,” or “It will stop you staring at the walls here.” There was even a “Do it while you can.” from my son.

“What is the cell phone reception like out there,” interjects Io. “My husband Theo does like to know where I am all the time, poor love.”

I listened to Io in amazement. Where did she get all that from? If she was not careful she would ruin it for us. As I went back in to the lounge area, Io had found the Atlas and opened it up to the pages we were looking the previous night. She was primly pointing to some of the islands with fingers that I had not noticed before, her finger nails were now ridiculously long and painted an awful purple colour and I could swear she had put on a few more years as we talked. And was that a girdle under her dress?

“I’ll think about it” I said, “If I can scrape a few dollars together.” All the kids knew I hated very long painted fingernails and especially gaudy colours. Damn Io, she had been delving into my brain again. Was nothing sacred to her? Just what was sacred to a goddess?

I knew now I was really in love with her. Clearly as a middle aged pushy and frumpy woman they all knew she was not my type and no threat to me in the kids’ eyes and we could start planning the trip immediately.

After they had all gone and while I was washing up Io transformed back into her usual youthful self.

“Do I get a reward?” she teased wrapping her arms around me.

“No!” I lied. However I tried to quash this thought; “Why does she need me, just what ideas are being fostered in her mind?”

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Ahuahu reports on his journey (No 38)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (For all of the Ahu stories click on Ahu in Labels on the side bar)

Ahuahu and Paikea returned to Black Sands and went immediately to the Head Man’s house and was welcomed with, “Come in Ahuahu and have a meal with us.”

Ahuahu said “Gladly, but I should let my wives know where I am; they will worry if I am not back by nightfall.”

“I will send young Tui to tell them you are with us,” said the chief.

So Ahuahu sat down with the family and ate with them and after they had finished and the women had cleaned up the chief asked Ahu how their day had been.

“There is good news and bad news,” started Ahuahu. “The good news is that there is a pod of whales out to sea looking as though they might stay a few days as they are breeching and there are mothers with calves so they might stay for a little while to rest. The journey north may have been too tiring for them. Should the weather change it is possible they could be pushed on shore by the tide. There are a number of little rocky bays below the high point where we observed them which is but two hours from here not half way to Gannet Island. If the gods are generous one may be stranded on shore and not have the energy to get back to deep water. It will be a welcome gift.”

While Ahuahu was speaking Paikea sat with his mouth open. He couldn’t believe he was hearing such detail in Ahuahu’s observation as he had been there with him. He could not have said the same things.

The chief looked at Paikea, who seeing he was expected to say something blurted out “I have learned much today father but I do not know what we should do now.” The chief again looked at Ahuahu who then went on.

“I believe we should send just one lookout up to where we saw the whales early each day to see if any have beached during the night. But our man should look as though he is on the move hunting on land so he should not stay there all day lest he is observed.”

The chief nodded “That is good advice and what else did you do?”

“We got as far as Gannet Island village but our meeting was strained. We were not made welcome. A friend I had there has died and the villagers are nervous and suspicious. I heard whispers about a possible raid on the Rocky outcrop community much further north. But it may be just women’s talk. It did not seem to be a good time to talk of sharing the spoils of the sea if they have weapons in their hands.”

Once again Paikea was amazed at how Ahuahu had interpreted their visit to the village and their conversation with the beautiful Moana in this way.

Once again his father turned to him for his opinion.

“I have learned much on this trip father, Ahuahu has taught me a lot.”

The chief then nodded and grinned at Ahuahu, “The boy seems impressed, go home now to your wives so I can find out what Paikea really thinks.” He stood and Ahuahu did as well and then he whispered “My boy likes you, I can see it.”

It was quite dark when he returned home both women greeted him in turn but the children were fast asleep. Hatiti hoped he would choose to sleep with her and tried to keep eye contact with him so he would understand. Ahu on the other hand saw how tired he was and needed a rest so spoke to him quietly.

“Will you tell us of your journey today Ahuahu while we rub your body so that you can sleep well?”

“It is good to be home. Yes, I will tell you both what has happened and Hatiti will learn of our past before we came to Black Sands.” But before he did this he went to see the children and bent over them in turn and whispered a few words to each of them. He spoke to Horowai last and brushed his lips on her forehead and he turned to rejoin to the two women and saw that Hatiti had been watching him and her eyes were full of tears that he had shown his love for her daughter in this way, but they said not a word.

Later as they massaged his body he told of his journey up to Gannet Island and the sighting of the whales. Then Ahu explained to Hatiti that the dead man Hi'lei used to fish with Ahuahu and they had been friends so there was nothing left now to link them with that village.

Then Ahuahu spoke again. “That is not quite true, little Moana spoke with me but now she is nearly a woman. She wanted to return with us. She and Paikea could not stop looking at each other. He is in love for the first time.”

Ahuahu did not tell the women of the possible fighting with the village at the Rocky Outcrop again. So Ahu told Hatiti of the day Tangaroa their first child was born when Ahuahu was drenched by a wave as he fished off the rocks and how little Moana had seen it happen, she had run back and told the whole village laughing all the time so when he finally returned and saw Ahu and baby she had already heard the story. With that they settled down and slept peacefully holding on to each other.

When Hatiti woke in the night hearing Aotea cry for his feed Ahuahu was facing her fast asleep but with his right hand holding on to her calf.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Io and I start planning the trip (No 8)

No one believed in the ancient Greek gods any more. So Zeus and his cronies were a little worried (when they were not drunk). So they were not worried a lot. However the wind god Aeolus discovered in his travels that there was a different belief system that perhaps they should investigate that might get people enthused once again so that their temples would be rebuilt, offerings made and supplications considered as in the old days.
Aeolus said the name of the god was Io which coincidentally was the name of a female dignity in the pantheon of Greek gods whom Zeus himself had pursued much to Io’s cost and Hera’s irritation. It all turned out well in the end as she finished up swimming across the Bosporus along the coast of the Mediterranean to the Nile so the Egyptians adopted her and named her Isis a benevolent goddess who kept the masses happy; and then three and half thousand years later, me happy too.
Before I met her Grecian Io was summoned to help Zeus as she had the same name as this new god and was to select a suitable human with the Oracle’s advice to help her in her quest to meet up with other Io to see if his doctrine could be useful in Greece.
However the Oracle indicated that an old Australian traveller flying home from a holiday in England was the one to help them…me! As the oracle tended to give advice in riddles it is possible she didn’t mean me at all. But Io just latched on to me and here I am.
It was necessary for me to be very strong and not let Io seduce me yet again.
I just had to retrieve some self respect. I had purchased the latest Sue Grafton novel V is for Vengeance at Heathrow Airport on the way home so I insisted on reading that when I got into bed. Unusually for the author reading this book required a lot more concentration than normal so by the time I put the light out Io was fast asleep.
In the morning however when I woke, we were as usual stark naked curled up together and as before I couldn’t remember a thing…damn it! However she had such control over me that she had implanted at feeling of utter love for and reliance in her, in my brain. But enough of that, you don’t want to know that do you? Our plan however was to find this elusive god Io her namesake in the Pacific region.
I told her straight away as we were discussing it in bed that there was no way I could afford another holiday just now. This was because we were not just doing a package tour of Fiji for ten days all organised on some resort island but an in depth research project to discover the roots of religious beliefs in the area.
“How much do you think we need then?” asked Io. I think I have some money with me. She reached for her red handbag and fossicked around inside and drew out a little pouch of coins. My heart fell; even if they were rare Greek coins from 3000 years ago we could never get rid of them, except one at a time under the counter as it were, so long as they weren’t freshly struck but looked as though they had been dug up and worn down with many transactions.
But they weren’t ancient Greek, they were British gold sovereigns worth their weight in…gold, probable value $1600 each. They were all dated in the last 50 years. So they were completely legitimate for virtually any transaction. I could have been a collector buying one or two a year for the last 20 years and now with their value so high I could make a killing on the market. Total value? About $150,000!
The family were coming down to see me that afternoon. I glanced at the bedside clock. Still only a quarter to eight. So there was plenty of time to sort the house out and plan our strategy with them before then. I wondered whether Io would be willing not to wipe my memory if we played around a bit now.
She put the bag of coins back in her bag. Turned back to me and nodded, reading my thoughts and showing me an ample glimpse of her flesh..
“On one condition” she said, “If you ever get to speak with any of our gods, not that you are likely to, never, ever let on we were lovers.” She paused, “Especially Zeus, or Hera, or even Hermes as he is such a blabber mouth; and not even Poseidon because he has a soft spot for me too. Well absolutely no-one as they have so little to do now all they do is gossip and get drunk. While she was still naming all the tattlers I got out of bed, had my shower, used a new razor blade and dressed. I would just have to be satisfied that I had made love to her but I would never remember any of the details afterwards. As I went into the kitchen wondering what a goddess would like for breakfast I could still hear her mumbling other god’s names with whom I shouldn’t discuss my closeness to her. While I searched the cupboards for ambrosia, I could still hear her as she wound up with, “Robin, the very worst person to talk to is Echo.”
To be continued

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Whales sighted on the way to Gannet Island (No 37)

The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand.

There was harmony in the extended family of Ahu, Ahuahu, Hatiti and their four children. The children were all happy as nothing had changed for them. Both Ahu and Hatiti were happy they both had a husband who loved them who was gentle and kind and tried not to show favour to either of them. Ahuahu worked hard to provide for his extended family but he did feel the pressure of being pulled at by everyone, not only his wives but also by Kamaka who kept asking whether his daughter Hatiti was with child again as he wanted a grandson.

As winter approached Ahuahu told the village headman he should travel north to see if the annual migration of whales had started so that they could capture one if it beached in one of the coves north of their village. This would provide the village with blubber for oil and meat for drying and bones for weapons and carving in the quieter winter months. He thought about going with Kamaka but he did not want the whole of the journey being chided by him for not getting Hatiti pregnant.

The village chief asked if he would take his eldest son Paikea whose name meant Tame Whale. “He should bring you luck” said the chief, “and his eyes are sharp.”

Ahuahu laughed “He does not need good eyes to spot a whale but I will gladly take him.”

“If we get close to Gannet Island village we should tell them too so they may share in the rewards,” said Ahuahu “May I approach them on your behalf?”

The chief looked a bit concerned and said “But if we find one first surely it is ours.”

“We do not want to get into an inter village skirmish when so much of the catch will be wasted in any case. The sea birds will even be pecking at us while we are harvesting the catch so we do not need strife from our neighbours as well.”

“That is what I like about you Ahuahu you plan things out. Paikea listen well to Ahuahu you will learn valuable lessons from him.”

They left early and although they could see signs of whales on the horizon none were close to shore. They had made their way over the hills and far out to sea they could see a small pod breeching and few mothers protecting their calves.

“There is nothing close enough for the moment we will go on to Gannet Island and I will pay my respects to them and call on a friend of mine Hi’ilei from so many years ago.”

Paikea the chief’s son nodded and so they descended through the wooded area close to shore. When they emerged, Gannet Island was visible with countless birdlife circling the island and diving into the sea in the rich fishing grounds.

“If this is where you lived why did you leave, Ahuahu? Fishing would be so easy here.”

“The best thing about this village is that is where I found Ahu and married her. But I am happier at Black Sands, Paikea, even though the fish do not jump into the boat by themselves as they do here! We will pay our respects in the village then I will see if I can find my old friend Hi’ilei. Let us see what reception we will get. Do not offer any information when we speak.”

The boy nodded in reply. They approached the chief’s house and dutifully greeted him and his companions.

“What brings you here Ahuahu?”

“This is Paikea our head man’s son. I have been asked to show him the country between our villages. We did not think we would reach this far north so quickly, but he is young and walks fast. But now that I am here I would also like to meet with my old friend Hi’ilei who was not well the last time I saw him. How is he?”

“Alas he is with our ancestors now and has been there for over a year.” Here the chief indicated the direction of the burial ground.

“I am grieved to hear that. Then I will talk, if I may to Kiri his widow and give her my wife’s greetings.” He said.”

“Again the chief shook his head. “She and the children have long gone she does not live here anymore.”

Ahuahu felt that he had not been told the whole story but as it would be rude to continue the conversation, he merely thanked the chief for his welcome and said that Ahu his wife would be saddened.

“It will be dark before we get back to Black Sands we should start back soon.” Surprisingly there was no protest at this with a request to eat with them so Ahuahu once again thanked the chief for his welcome and Paikea did likewise and they left the way they had come.

As they approached the beach once again a young girl ran after them, “Ahuahu, Ahuahu” she called. They stopped and turned and a pretty girl of 12 or more years came up to them. “Do you remember me, Ahuahu?”

“Moana, I remember you. Only you say my name as you do. You fetched me when I was fishing on the rocks when Ahu was having her first baby. It is good to see a friendly face here. I will tell Ahu I have spoken to you.”

They all sat down on the sand now while Paikea stared intently at Moana.

“Do you want to tell me something, Moana?” asked Ahuahu.

“Take me with you; I do not like it here anymore.”

“What has happened?”

“They are planning to attack the Rocky Outcrop settlement again”

“How do you know this?”

Moana pulled the hair from ears grinning “Look how big they are, I hear everything.”

Ahuahu laughed but then was serious “This is not good news Moana. We cannot take you. They would think we have stolen you and there would be fighting between our villages too. Later on if you are in real danger run away and head south to our village. But do not mention this to anyone at all and do not say you have spoken to us.”

Moana nodded in agreement. She then looked at Paikea and said “I am Moana.”

Paikea who was only about 15 himself said, “My name is Paikea”.

“I will remember you”, she nodded shyly and reluctantly lowered her eyes.

They then got up, Ahuahu went up to Moana and gave her a hug and let their faces touch then they went their own ways. Later as they walked on the bluff overlooking the sea Paikea said “You did not mention the whales to the chief.”

“No. That seemed an unwise thing to talk about. But I will explain to your father that we should handle them by ourselves if there are any.”

Paikea was silent for a bit but then said. “Moana was very pretty…and strong and bold.”

Ahuahu laughed. “Don’t worry, you won’t have you rescue her, she will find us if she has to but she is too young to marry yet.”

“Don’t tell my father what I just said about her.”

“We didn’t see her, Paikea. There are much more important things we have to tell him”

“Even though I didn’t see her, I will not forget her, I wanted to hug her too Ahuahu.”

Io speaks the truth…I think (No. 7)

The continuing adventures of me and the Greek goddess Io who I met on a trip back to Australia. She has come for a purpose which is very difficult to determine.

Io my current companion in Australia was to all intents and purposes a Greek goddess who somehow had managed a flight from Athens to Australia without a ticket or passport. She had invaded and upset my ordered and normal (and dull life and was now trying to convince me she was on a special mission to try get the current population of the world to take the Greek gods seriously. I think that was the gist of her argument.

Willingly (although she was sexily persuasive) I let her take control of me in that we made love, but in her cunning way she arranged it so I could never remember the details afterwards only that I was desperate to have her again. Anyhow she told me that Zeus had caught wind or more likely was informed by the god of the winds Aeolus of a new belief in a god that was neither male nor female; that was the beginning and the end and had the ability to influence of the way people would be, think, exist and interact with each other and with the world.

I had already put two and two together and was just about to say that Zeus was just a little late to catch on. Was he so totally inebriated that he missed a special event 2000 years or more years ago, especially with Bethlehem and Jerusalem on his doorstep and Paul traipsing all over their territory? But then Io interrupted my thoughts and said that the god’s name was Io the same as hers!

Dumbfounded I was jolted into speechlessness while Io slowly explained what Zeus had found out from Aeolus. Aeolus tended to roam the whole planet without much restriction, blowing in and blowing out as it were. He tended to report anything of his travels when he felt like it, to Zeus and the others but nobody could hold him down. You can catch a chill but not the draft that made it, as it were.

Luckily, on one of the gods binge ups of which there were many in their current slack period since the fall of the Roman empire, Aeolus got so drunk that he spilt the beans about this god that he had heard about that was both positive and negative; was both passive and active as well as being eternal without forebears but was himself the precursor.

“Now you can see why I was summoned can’t you.” She said.

I nodded doubtfully. “But it can’t be you or what you can become as you have got a mother and father.”

Io nodded, “This Io is entirely different. Zeus reckons that if he can get him on side, the old belief in the pantheon of gods can be reborn. Unfortunately they also reckon because I have the same name I might be able to be the best go-between.”

”Just where do I come in?”

“Oh that is simple. You have got to help me find him…or her.”

“Why pick on the person that has the least chance of helping.”

“That’s simple. I was sent down to the temple of Hera with an oracle to check out all the visitors.”

“That must have been a long job. How long were you there?”

Io thought a bit then said “One hundred and fifty nine years.”

“You waited for me for one hundred and fifty nine years, even though I wasn’t even born back then?”

Io nodded, “It was quite fun really. Most days were pretty slack so I would get the Oracle to come up with something about one of the visitors and I would implant an expectation of a future event in the person’s mind. We thought it was good game. Most visitors went away from the old temples strangely uplifted and inspired.”

“That sounds like propaganda but isn’t that against the rules?”

“What rules?” Io responded in amazement. I had forgotten that I was speaking to a goddess; of course there were no rules.

“So it was a bit of a disappointment for me to put an end to all that was it?”

“Oh no, I had strict instructions to make you happy.” She then took my hand and stroked it “I have, haven’t I? Because you have made me happy.” she said. “You aren’t quite my equal but you are pretty good…even though you are a mortal.”

“How do you expect me of all people to help you find this god that I have only just learned of from you?”

“Have you got an atlas?” she asked.

“I thought you had him, holding everything up.”

She laughed out loud grinning at me “That’s just what I love about you.” I found the atlas and opened it up. She immediately pointed to the Pacific Ocean. “Aeolus said something about a large body of water and a sprinkling of islands at the other end of the earth from Greece.”

With her hair streaming out over the pages and the beautiful scent of her body now invading my nostrils, all my reservations about this ridiculous quest faded from my mind and I was overtaken by a surge of desire for her body. This was precisely what she intended of course. The sparse clothing on her body slipped from her as she continued to study the map, revealing a glimpse of her thigh and a peek of her breast.

“I am tired now Io, it must be jet lag. Let’s discuss this in the morning. You can sleep in the single bedroom if you want.”

As you can see I really did try to act detached and sensible.

“No, that won’t work,” she said. I have strict instructions to protect and look after you.”

Remembering her being drunk and incapable that afternoon, I could see we were in for a roller coaster ride.