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The story of Bodu Takurufan part 4
As told by the famous Buraara Mohamed Fulhu and written by Al-hajj Ibrahim Ibn Ismail Feeboa


During Nasuradeen's reign, he had a daughter. The king built a separate palace for her on the south side of the mosque where hands were amputated. If someone committed theft during the reign of king Nasuradeen, the person's hand was chopped off in front of that mosque. The king also considered amputating the foot of the person who, years before, had kicked him and his brother. The king sent a letter to that tax collector and when he opened the letter this is what he read: 'Hey tax collector, when you travel across Huvadhu channel heading for Male', collect all the live cowrie shells you can find without leaving the ship, or I'll have your foot chopped off.'

The tax collector was most unhappy about the letter, and his sadness spread through the atoll. His household had about 144 toddy men and among them was a man called Three Palms Mohamed. Why did he have such a name? Because each of the other toddy men could tend nearly 144 palms every day, and all he could manage was three! The whole atoll knew this!

One day the toddy man walked into the kitchen, hung up his implements and demanded food.
'Three Palms Mohamed, you only have your hunger to think about,' someone said. 'The noble tax collector has received a letter from the king in Male'. It has made him very unhappy, and his misery has spread throughout the atoll.'
'What was in the letter?' asked Mohamed, wondering what had made his master so distressed.
'It said he must collect live cowrie shells straight from the sea as his odi sails to Male' or his foot will be cut off!'
'I can help with that problem,' announced Three Palms, 'if I get to marry Don Kamana, the collector's daughter.'

He ate his food and left, while the people in the kitchen gossiped about what had been said and the story spread from mouth to ear until it reached the tax collector. He sent for the toddy man and told him he was aware of his comments and wanted to know if he really knew how to satisfy the king's command.
'Yes sir,' Mohamed assured him, 'if I am permitted to marry your daughter Don Kamana, then I can make it happen.'
Without hesitation, the tax collector gave permission for the marriage.
'Get the odi ready, sir, and set up a reciting hut at the beach and pick the flowers. Let me know when everything is ready.'

When it was all done, Mohamed went to the new hut and offered flowers to the ocean as he made his recitations. Then he found the tax collector and woke him up. 'Tomorrow morning, sir, during the first hour of sunrise, leave for Male' in the odi.' Mohamed went off, and the tax collector sent for the crewmen and they all recited travel prayers before sailing away just after daybreak. From the moment they entered Huvadhu channel, cowrie shells began crawling up the hull and into the boat. There were so many, the crew had to bail them out like water to stop the vessel from sinking. The cowries didn't stop climbing in until they entered Vaadhoo channel just south of Male'.

The tax collector had fulfilled every demand in the royal letter so king Nasuradeen couldn't punish him. The monarch formally accepted the island produce and cowries, and gave permission for the tax collector to leave in his odi. After finishing his trading, he sailed back home.

Two years later, king Nasuradeen decided to do the same thing again and sent the tax collector another royal letter which made him even unhappier than before.

'Oh my dear people, last time the letter demanded something that could actually be found around here. Now the king wants coco-de-mer, not cowries, or my foot will be amputated! Where do these things grow? This is a serious problem.'
The people in his house dropped their heads onto their chests in sadness, and distress spread throughout the atoll.

Mohamed entered the kitchen with the toddy from three palms, hung up his implements and demanded food. Then he noticed everyone had their heads down and tears were falling as they cried out, 'All you ever know is your own hunger!'
'What's happened?'
'Another letter has come from Male' and the tax collector is really worried. At least cowries were available on the reefs. The letter is demanding that coco-de-mer be taken aboard between Huvadhu and Vaadhoo channels or his foot will be chopped off.'
'That's nothing,' said Mohamed just like he did the first time. 'Serve the food. With God's help, and provided this time I really do marry the man's daughter, I can sort this out.'

Again, the collector heard of Mohamed's words and summoned him.
'This new letter is causing me a lot more worry than the last one. What can we do about it?'
'Marry me to your daughter and I'll take care of it,' Mohamed said.
'I'll marry her to you, just fix the problem.'
'This time I won't be doing it for something cheap like a grouper fish,' Mohamed warned.

On the next auspicious night, the tax collector allowed his daughter Don Kamana to marry Three Palms Mohamed. Mohamed stopped tending his palms and spent all his time sitting around looking at his new wife. Eventually he received a summons because he was ignoring his master's problem with the letter. As before, Mohamed ordered the preparation of an odi for the journey to Male', the building of a reciting hut at the beach, and the gathering of flowers. When the collector had organised all these things, Mohamed recited for three nights and then offered flowers to the ocean. He told the tax collector to leave for Male' next morning during the second hour after sunrise.

The collector took Mohamed's advice and after reciting travel prayers together, he and his crew left for Male'. They entered Huvadhu channel and a thick flotsam of husks surrounded their odi and seemed to stay with them as they sailed. The husks knocked against the hull and an old man asked for one of the nuts to be brought aboard.
'Young men, this is what's known as a coco-de-mer,' he said.
They brought aboard all the husks they could find until they entered Vaadhoo channel where the flotsam completely disappeared. The collector moored at Male' harbour, delivered the tax produce to the treasury and then did his trading. He had fulfilled all the instructions in the royal letter so he was given permission to leave Male'. He returned to his island and stayed there.

Three years later, king Nasuradeen once again wrote to the Huvadhu tax collector. This time the letter didn't go into details; it ordered him to Male' without conditions. The king had made up his mind - I'm going to chop off the foot of the man who kicked my brother and me that day.

Now listen!

From the time he married Don Kamana, Three Palms Mohamed was completely enchanted and spent all his time looking at her. On her part, Don Kamana never even spoke to him.

The collector wanted to talk to Mohamed about the latest royal letter, so he summoned him.
'My son, I have received this royal command to go to Male'.'
'In that case, I shall accompany you there,' said Mohamed.
'Then we should prepare for the trip,' the father-in-law suggested.

Mohamed ordered the odi set for launching on a particular day and when it was ready and the day had arrived, the collector asked Mohamed to name the best hour for their departure. Mohamed told him to gather the crewmen and start the travel prayer, while he himself hurried back to his wife and massaged her back and told her to think kindly of him while he was away in Male' with her father.

When the prayers were over, the collector told his men to fetch Mohamed. The son-in-law said he wouldn't be much longer and returned again to his house and massaged his wife's back and asked if she would be missing him while he was gone. Don Kamana didn't say a word and Mohamed kept repeating himself, making no attempt to leave. Someone was sent from the beach to fetch him and when Mohamed finally arrived at the water's edge, the collector took his son-in-law's hand and led him aboard a dingy and out onto the ship as it left for Male'.

When they anchored the vessel at Guraabu Thundi in Male', Mohamed climbed onto dry land and drove a mooring spike into the earth. As he did this, the daughter of king Nasuradeen began to scream as if someone was driving a stake into her stomach. There was nothing she could do to relieve the pain. Medicine and fanditha men came to treat her but they couldn't help and even sorcerers from the south found themselves powerless. The king asked if there was anyone else who might be able to help and some people mentioned the Huvadhu tax odi had arrived late that afternoon.
'Maybe there is a sorcerer on board,' they said.
Under orders from the king, people went to the waterfront and called out to the odi, asking if there was a sorcerer aboard.
'Yes, one sailed with us,' came the reply. 'He got off to moor the boat and we haven't seen him since. He must be somewhere on the island.'

The people were ordered to find this man and they searched everywhere until they discovered him sleeping on the large bench bed in a house at the beach near Lonu Ziyaaraiy Kolhu. They woke Mohamed up and took him to the palace.

'Respected sorcerer, please help me with this problem,' pleaded the king as he explained that his daughter was suffering from severe stomach pains and unable to sit or stand despite the efforts of numerous fanditha and medicine men. Mohamed agreed to help and went straight down to the beach and called out towards the odi and the tax collector, telling him to land. They went to the mooring spike where Mohamed gave him three betel leaves.
'I'm going to do a fanditha for the princess. Wait until I get to the palace and then give me time to make the spell before you put one of the leaves into your mouth. Wait until you can taste the 'kulhi kulhi miununeema'. Lift the mooring spike out a little and hold it there. Wait until I have finished the next fanditha and put the second leaf into your mouth. When you taste the 'kulhi kulhi miununeemaa' again, pull the spike out a little more and hold it there. Wait until you've chewed the last leaf, then take the spike out completely and drive it in somewhere else. Afterwards get back on board and stay on the boat.'

Mohamed headed back to the palace and the princess, and began the fanditha. In the time it takes for a betel leaf to be 'kulhi miya', the king's daughter was able to sit up and lie down again. The king ordered that another fanditha be performed and Mohamed humbly agreed. Once again, only a short period of time passed, enough for a betel leaf 'kulhi miyey hayey', and the daughter was able to sit up and lie down. However, her stomach-ache was still there.
'There's so many blessings because of what you have done. Please, do another fanditha,' exhorted the king.
Mohamed obeyed and in a few moments, similar to 'bileiy gadehge kulhi miyey haa iru', the princess jumped up and said her pain was gone.

Meanwhile, after the three leaves were 'kulhi miyunumun', the collector pulled the mooring post out completely and set it in a new position. Then he returned to the odi. Three Palms Mohamed left the palace and went back to his friend's place and fell asleep again.

Next day at sunrise, anofficial informed the king the tax odi had arrived. The following Friday, the king returned to the palace after performing the as-ru prayer. He summoned the nobles and the person holding the ogaru sword and told them he wanted a chair placed in front of the Hand Chopping mosque. He then ordered a chopping block set up and as the servants followed the orders they asked each other who was the thief. At that time, anyone caught stealing had a hand chopped off in front of that mosque. 'Who is it?' This question went from mouth to ear as it spread around the island and people gathered to discover the answer.

Sleeping in the house at Lonu Ziyaaraiy Kolhu, Three Palms Mohamed heard the commotion and got up to see what was happening. When everything was ready, the king arrived at the mosque and sat in the chair demanding the presence of the tax collector. Three Palms Mohamed headed towards the crowd just as the escort brought his father-in-law before the king. The area was jammed with people and Mohamed squeezed through them like a fish wriggling through a net. As he reached the centre of the mob, the guard arrived on the other side with the collector. From her viewing pavilion the princess was also watching the spectacle.

King Nasuradeen gave the order to seize the tax collector and hold his foot in position. Seeing what was happening, Mohamed rushed towards them pushing his master's leg away from the block and placing his own foot there. He called himself a slave and told them to cut off his leg instead.

The king's daughter saw everything. She told the head minister to inform her father that amputating Mohamed's foot would be like cutting off her own. The minister ran straight over to the king and Mohamed's foot was saved. The temporary presence of the collector's foot on the block was accepted as fulfilment of the king's order and he was given permission to return to his island and allowed to keep his position. After leaving the tax goods at the treasury building and doing some private trading, the collector and his son-in-law sailed for home. The tax collector kept his position.

During the reign of king Nasuradeen there was one particular minister in the court who was very intelligent. Decisions might be made after discussions between the king and the court, but when this minister was asked for his opinion his aguments were so powerful that everything had to be completely reconsidered. After that, nothing was decided unless he was present in the king's court. He was given the position of chief minister and placed in charge of the entire court. He had studied nahuf and religious doctrine.

During his administration, many mosques were built and it was while the king was reigning in this generous manner that he became ill and died. After his death the drum was beaten and the two regiments were summoned. The king was bathed, dressed and placed in his coffin and the two regiments informed the officials and nobles that the body could not be buried until a new ruler was seated upon the throne. The court decided the chief minister was the best person to be the new monarch and he was seated on the throne. King Nasuradeen was buried at the Hand-Chopping mosque, his tomb was built and the appropriate rituals were carried out.




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