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The story of Bodu Takurufan part 12
As told by the famous Buraara Mohamed Fulhu
and written by Al-hajj Ibrahim Ibn Ismail Feeboa



Now listen to this!

By the time Utheemu Kalhu Ali Kateeb Takurufan went to his death bed, he had taught everything he knew to his grandsons Mohamed Takurufan and Hassan Takurufan, the sons of Hussein Takurufan. As he lay there dying, he told Hussein to always keep the odi for trading in the atoll, or at least try. And not to abandon trading, because if he kept it up he would always be reasonably wealthy. With this advice and his will clearly understood, he died from his illness. Kateeb Takurufan's burial was followed by ten days of recitations at the graveside and a further ten days at home, while the people of the island were fed two meals.

When the rites were completed, Hussein Takurufan remembered that his father had changed the island kateeb document into Hussein's name during the reign of Dhon Bulhaa. But now it is Black Mohamed's reign, thought Hussein, and he decided to go to Male' and check on the status of the document. He prepared a vessel with crew, provisions, trade goods and gifts and sailed off. The odi went through the two parts of Thiladhunmathi and then into Miadhunmadulu. Passing through the two sections of this atoll, it went out into the Baraveli channel and across Faadhippolhu. The odi came out through Maakolu into Kaashidhoo channel and into Male' atoll. They eased into the capital's harbour and anchored at Guraalu Thun'du.

Hussein took the gifts to the palace and Black Mohamed asked why he had made such a long trip. Hussein explained that his father had died and he had came to Male' to verify the status of the kateeb document.
'It was during my brother's-in-law reign that the document was changed,' said Black Mohamed, 'so in my reign it is Hussein Takurufan who holds the kateeb's position in Utheem.'

Hussein handed the gifts to the treasurer, paid his respects and left the palace. Then he traded his goods, loaded the purchases and sailed out of Male' harbour. He went through Kagi channel, across Kashidhoo channel and entered Faadhippolhu through Maa Kolu. Then into Baraveli channel and through the two halves of Miladhunmadulu before entering Thiladhunmathi and finally easing into Utheem island.

The mooring rope was laid and tied onto the seaside pole, and the odi moved towards the beach where the land rope was fastened. They turned the odi into the beach and dragged it aground, finally covering the vessel with an awning.

Hussein Takurufan was the kateeb of Utheem. He kept trading around the atoll and took the fish he bartered to Male' before returning once more to Utheem. His son Mohamed Takurufan used to catch birds on the island's sandspit.

After holding power for a long time Black Mohamed became ill and died. As the drum beat, the two regiments were summoned and Black Mohamed's body was prepared for burial and placed in a coffin. The two regiments asked the high officials to nominate the new king for the throne before the burial and they decided it would be the son of Black Mohamed and Shirazi Kamana. He was made king and Black Mohamed was buried with funeral rites. Official documents were sent around the country proclaiming Hassan as the new king.

Though he was married, Hassan had no children and he didn't reign long. He became ill and died. Once again the two regiments were summoned and they asked for a new king before they buried the dead one. The high officials agreed there was no direct heir to the throne and in that case the responsibility of ruling should fall on a sayid, a person related to the Prophet Muhammad. 'We select for the throne, Sayid Kaleygefan who is married to the daughter of Black Mohamed and living in the royal palace. So Kuda Sayid Kaleygefan was placed on the throne and they buried king Hassan and held his funeral rites. An official document was sent around the country proclaiming king Ali as the new monarch.

Now listen!

King Ali realised he couldn't rule on his own. He knew that he partly owed his ascendancy to Gaafaru Kalu Ubusheymu, the deceased Fashana. Therefore he summoned Matukala, the son of Ubusheymu. On the next auspicious day, the umbrella was raised over this man's head by king Ali himself, symbolising that they reigned together. Matukala moved into one of the houses in the palace's inner sanctum.

Now listen!

Mohamed Takurufan the son of the Utheemu Kateeb Hussein Takurufan used to wait until he heard the snores of his sleeping father before getting up quietly and going outside. He'd stop at the door of the first house he came across and call out 'Madam! Madam!'
The woman would answer respectfully, 'Yes, sir?'
Did you go to the muddy area of the beach today?' The muddy area was used by women to bury coconut husks and soften them for coir.
If the woman said, 'No, I didn't go there today' then Mohamed would go to the next house and inquire there.

When a woman said she had been to the muddy area, then Mohamed would tell her to brighten the flame of the lamp in the inner room and hang it on the middle room hook and open the front door. Then Mohamed would enter the house and sit on the small bench bed and ask the woman to bring out her basket of coconut husks. He'd then remove the fibres that had been missed by the threshing stick.

Then he'd leave the house and find a frond that had fallen from a coconut palm. He'd cut it into two strips and arrange the strings of fibre on each strip and put one of them in the shelter for beached odis. With the other he'd go to the sandspit just as the light started to fall on the ground, and lay out his trap. Then he'd pick a bird and chase it. When the bird went past one end, he'd chase it from the other side and into the trap.

After performing the dawn prayer at the mosque, Mohamed's father Hussein would walk along mosque street down to the beach and look around the sandspit. There he would see his son running from one side to the other. Sometimes he'd be crouching down sitting on his haunches, and other times he'd be lying on his stomach. When he saw all this, Hussein would grab the bird trap and break it into pieces and take his son home by the hand. 'Mohamed my son,' the chief would say, 'trapping birds is a stupid thing to do. Stop this game. Hassan is younger than you and yet I get more help from him! If I go trading in the atoll he's there with me. When we barter some fish he'll be there chasing the crows away and protecting it. On the days I'm in the island attending to the weaving loom, Hassan is there with me making smoke with bits of husk. If a cotton string breaks he'll re-attach it for me.'
Thus did the father advise his son.

At home, the two sons and their father would eat breakfast and when the chief went off to the loom, Hasan would go with him and help. But Mohamed left the house to take the other trap he'd stashed from the beachside shelter and return to the sandspit. In the evening when he went to the mosque, the chief would find his son out on the spit again. He'd send Mohamed off to the house and break his trap to pieces. Mohamed would receive some more advice from his father who'd then go off to the mosque for the late evening prayer. After returning from the mosque the kateeb would eat his dinner and then lie down to sleep. When he heard his father's steady breathing, Mohamed went out to collect more fibre from any woman who had been to the muddy area that day. He'd pick out the strings her threshing stick had missed and make them into loops, stacking them on his fingers and then go in search of an old frond. He'd arrange the loops on strips of frond and, leaving a spare trap in the beach shelter he would go out to the spit again and chase a bird around again.

His father would find him there, as usual, when he went to the mosque. He'd break the boy's trap and lead him home. After breakfast, when the father and Hassan went to the loom, Mohamed would head for the shelter and get the other noose set and attempt to trap a bird. Each day when the kateeb returned home after going to the mosque for midday prayer, lunch would be ready for the father and his two sons. He would tell Hassan fetch his older brother and the young boy would go to the spit and tell his brother to come and eat.
'Yes, brother,' Mohamed would say politely and leaving the trap at the shelter, they'd return home and all eat together beginning with the serving of water. After lunch, the chief went out to the loom and Mohamed Takurufan returned to the spit. In the evening there was the usual breaking of the trap and lots of good advice for Mohamed. That night as the advice continued, Mohamed agreed what his father was saying was true and kind, and also that he should not behave stupidly. After dinner the chief lay down to sleep.

The two brothers lay down on the big bench bed, and Mohamed said to his younger brother that what their father had said was true and kind, and one should not behave in a stupid manner.
'The banana grove on the southern side is overgrown,' said Mohamed. 'We should get up in the morning and transplant it. Let's go to sleep early.'

When he heard this conversation, the chief thought that at last his son had come to his senses. A short time later, Mohamed heard the sound of drizzling rain. He knew that there would be terns nesting on their stomachs on the sandspit. Restless, he began to roll from side to side. As he struggled with his emotions, the chief began to sleep. So Mohamed got up quietly and opened the front door. This woke his father and he asked who was there. Mohamed replied that it was him.
'Where are you going?'
'To relieve myself at the beach.'

The chief came with him so he wouldn't be alone. Mohamed went a certain distance with his father before turning around and coming back to the house and lying down to sleep. When he heard the chief's snores again, Mohamed got up quietly but once again his father heard him open the door and after a few questions accompanied him towards the beach. Mohamed turned around again a short distance from the house to go back to sleep but because it was dawn, the chief decided to continue on to the mosque.

Mohamed went to the house next door and found some string and made two traps and took them to the beach. When the chief found him there, he broke the trap into pieces and took him home, giving him good advice on the way. At home, the three of them had breakfast and when the kateeb went out, Mohamed grabbed the extra trap from the shelter and went back out onto the spit. In the evening on the way to the mosque, Hussein found his son once more. He went out to the boy and gave him good advice and sent him home. That night, when Mohamed heard his father's snores, as usual he got up quietly and opened the front door. The chief woke up at the sound, but time he thought maybe it wasn't a good idea for a father to follow his grown up son when he goes out at night-time. He decided not to bother his son.

Mohamed went around visiting houses and wanting to know who had been to the muddy area processing coconut husks that day. He made another two traps and placed one in the shelter and took the other out onto the sandspit. The chief would break both traps during the course of the day and Mohamed would be up at night, during the time when people fall asleep and footsteps subside before sunrise, making two more traps. The chief would break the traps to pieces between sunrise and sunset. In the light of both sunrise and sunset he would give good advice to his son.

It was during this time that the kateeb's wife and mother of his two sons said, 'Hussein, sometimes silly children do come to their senses. Try and organise the transfer of the kateeb's document to Mohamed's name.'

Her husband though that was a good idea, prepared the odi and taking gifts he sailed to Male'. After anchoring in the harbour, he handed the gifts to the treasurer at his house and then went to the palace. King Ali asked why he was travelling so far from home and the chief said he wanted to transfer the Utheem kateeb document into his son's name. And so it was done. King Ali consented to the transfer, and Hussein paid his respects and went away to trade before he left Male' with his new supplies. Arriving back at Utheem, he unloaded the odi and hauled it up onto the beach before covering it with an awning.

He then went into the middle of the island calling 'Yo!' and read out the kateeb document naming Mohamed Takurufan as island chief. A sermon feast was served to the islanders on Mohamed's behalf. Then Hussein said to his son, 'Catching birds is a childish thing to do. You shouldn't behave that way. You will have to take responsibility for funeral and burial rites on the island. You'll be leading the Friday prayer with forty men. The welfare of the island will be in your care. So you can't behave like an idiot!'
'What you are saying is true and for my benefit. I shouldn't behave like a child anymore.'

After his name was transferred to the kateeb document, Mohamed slept in his father's older sister's house. Why? Because that would stop his father complaining when he got up to make the traps between sunset and sunrise.

But Hussein still broke the traps each day between sunrise and sunset.




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