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The story of Bodu Takurufan part 19
As told by the famous Buraara Mohamed Fulhu
and written by Al-hajj Ibrahim Ibn Ismail Feeboa



When the Ceylon sailing season arrived Viyazoaru went to Utheem in the tax boat. 'What brings you here,' said Mohamed Takurufan when the chief arrived once again outside new palace.
'The trading season is coming. I've come to ask you if you would make the trip again this year.'
'I'm willing to do it if you want me to, atoll chief. You find crewmen when you return to your island and organise the ship. I'll send Dhandehelu to do the work.' The chief agreed and returned to Baarah, and as soon as they heard about the coming trip he had enough crewmen to make the voyage. Mohamed Takurufan told Dhandehelu to go to Baarah and prepare the trading ship. He was told to undo the awning from the odi and caulk it at a particular time on a particular day, but this time he didn't say when the ship should be launched.

Dhandehelu agreed to his instructions and the crewmen were placed in his charge when he arrived in Baarah. He slept on the big bench in Viyazoaru's house. On the day Mohamed had mentioned, Dhandehelu and the crew removed the awning and began to caulk the ship and paint it. Dhandehelu was asleep on the big bench and the island was quiet when Kamba Aisa Rani Kilegefan came out calling his name, 'Dhandehelu, Dhandehelu!'

'Yes?'
'Wake up!'
'I am awake now.'
'Get up.'
Dhandehelu sat up.
'What did Mohamed say to you?' she asked.
'He didn't say anything. Each year he tells me to bring back the trading ship to Baarah and unload it and cover it with the awning and then to accept what the atoll chief hands over after he does the accounts. And not to discuss anything else.'
Aisa became angry and said, 'You keep talking about the trading ship. You're obsessed by it! What did Mohamed Takurufan talk about with you?'
'He didn't say anything else,' Dhandehelu insisted. 'Every year he just says the same thing.'
'Look Dhandehelu, tell me what Mohamed said.'
'Now I recall something.'
'So... if you remember, then tell me.'
'Mohamed told me that the awning was to be removed and the caulking done on a particular day at a certain time. And the ground charcoal and oil was also to be painted on the boat at a certain time on a particular day. But this time he didn't tell me when to launch the ship.'
'You're far too wrapped up in this trading vessel, Dhandehelu. Wake up!'
'I'm sitting here wide awake.' And I'll stick to these two stories until the sun comes up, he thought. I'll tell her the story of the ship in two different ways, like I am at the moment... But if I have to keep arguing then I won't be able to get any sleep tonight. It might be better to bring things to a quick end. 'My lady, perhaps I'm having trouble understanding you because you're speaking to me in Gujarati and Hindi. Ask me in Dhivehi.'
'Dhandehelu, a while ago Mohamed Takurufan was trying to marry Vaaruge Siti Mava Rani Kilegefan. What has happened about that now?'
'There's no way that's going to happen, is there? Mohamed has to screw his head back on, doesn't he?.'
'Dhandehelu, don't bring up the past. Tell Mohamed he shouldn't be leaving for Ceylon this year without marrying Siti.'
Dhandehelu agreed to do that, and lay down to sleep. He got up at dawn and he painted the boat at the time Mohamed had instructed.

He'd had been given no orders about when to launch the odi, so he returned to Utheem in the tax boat. Mohamed was lying on the big bench of the new palace, on his side with his head resting in his hand when Dhandehelu arrived. Amina Rani Kilegefan was sitting on the swing holding Kalafan on her lap. Dhandehelu smiled from one corner of his mouth and walked in, placed his elbows on the big bench and leaned over and whispered to Mohamed all about the argument with Kamba Aisa. After finishing he stood up stretching, and Amina Rani said, 'What are you men talking about so intimately?'
'I'll tell you what I am trying to hide, my lady. Mohamed asked me if I undid the awning and caulked the ship on the day he told me to. I said yes. He asked me if I painted the ship on the right day. I said yes again. And because he didn't tell me when to launch the vessel, I've returned without doing that.'
'I'm not that stupid!' yelled Amina. 'I'm well aware there's no other man in the atolls north of Male' that Siti Mava Rani Kilegefan is more fond of than Mohamed. I am staying married to Mohamed as long as he says I am a wife of his in any island he travels to. So there's no reason we have to discuss things in Gujarati or Hindi.'

Next morning, Mohamed told Hassan and Dhandehelu that the three of them must launch the ship when the sun is up seven steps high. 'We cannot afford to be late,' he said. 'We better hurry now.'
They went to the beach, got on the boat and sailed to Baarah. When the boat had been secured, they went to the trading ship shed. 'We must launch the ship when the sun rises seven steps,' Mohamed reminded his brother. 'To launch it, lay down soft logs, and tie up tharapparu and kaalagu. Get things ready.'
'Older brother,' said Hassan, 'shouldn't you do first things first? You go up into the island and do what you have to do when the sun rises seven steps. At five steps, I'll launch the trading ship into the sea.'
Mohamed didn't argue, he went up into the island and on that day when the sun was seven steps up, he married Siti Mava Rani Kilegefan. Later when the sun was at five steps, the time chosen as auspicious by Hassan Takurufan, the trading ship was launched for the year. The two brothers returned to Utheem, and Dhandehelu stayed in Baarah to prepare for the voyage.

Back in Utheem, Maarandhoo Ali Kateeb, Mohamed and Hassan's older brother on their father's side, arrived in a boat and at Utheem harbour. He went to the new palace and both Mohamed and Hassan jumped up and said, 'Older brother, what brought you here today?
'Mohamed my boy, and younger brother Hassan, I have an idea I want to discuss with you.'
'Tell us, we're listening.'
'Maldives has lost its religion these days,' said Ali. 'People of courage won't delay doing something about it. You two are Viyazoaru's favourites. Under Andhiri-Andhirin, the atoll chief will do anything you ask. Pretend that your grandfather's old trading ship has now worn out. Ask Viyazoaru to mention it to Andhiri-Andhirin and get permission to cut palm and tree timber so we can build a ship for us to conduct a campaign to bring Islam back to Maldives.'

Mohamed and Hassan accepted what their older brother said, and the three of them had a meal together. Ali returned to Maarandhoo and carried on as island chief. Meanwhile, Dhandehelu prepared the Ceylon trading ship and loaded food, drinking water and firewood aboard. Then he loaded the tribute and other cargo and left the ship in Baarah harbour before returning to Utheem where he told Mohamed the ship was ready to sail.

Next morning, Dhandhelu carried the writing case and luggage aboard their boat and they all sailed to Baarah. Mohamed went up into the island until he reached Viyazoaru's house. The atoll chief jumped up and said, 'What brings you here today, come in!'
Mohamed sat on the small bench and the atoll chief sat on the big bench. 'We have come to ask a favour of you.'
'I'll help if I can,' said the atoll chief.
'The ship we've been using to trade around the atoll since the time of my grandfather is now worn out. We've come to ask if you would mention this to Andhiri-Andhirin so he will give us some palm and tree timber and we can build a new boat for trade in the atoll.'
'By the time you return from Ceylon, I'll have been to Male' and I'll try to obtain the palm and tree timber for you.'

Mohamed and the others went aboard his boat and across to the trading ship with the writing case and luggage. 'Return to the island with Dhandehelu and take care of the funeral and burial rites, Hassan. Conduct the Friday prayers with forty men and look after the island. By the will and power of the Almighty, on the Friday after next I'll show you the top corner of my ship's sail. Come out above Kelaa and Dhapparu to watch for me.'

The two men returned to Utheem, while Mohamed sailed the trading ship out between Baarah and Hanimaadhoo and set course for Ceylon as Maldives disappeared. The ship eased into harbour and after securing the vessel Mohamed left it in the care of his Ceylonese moslem friend, as usual, and stayed on the soft bedding at his house, eating three different meals a day.

His friend delivered the tribute and took the thousand fish he was given. He sold the remaing trade goods for money, and then sold the money for new things. The ship prepared for travel, loaded with food, water and firewood. Gifts placed aboard and the departure permit obtained. 'The vessel is ready to sail,' the Ceylonese man told Mohamed. 'It's time to return to Maldives.'

After sleeping, the two men woke in the morning and had breakfast. They took the writing case and luggage and said goodbye to each other at the wharf. Mohamed boarded the ship and it left the harbour. As Ceylon disappeared, course was set for Maldives.

Meanwhile the atoll chief had gone to Male' in the tax boat and tied the vessel in the harbour. He went to Andhiri-Andhirin's offices. 'What brings you here?' asked Andhirin.
'I came with the tax boat, and to ask you a favour.'
'What is it this time?'
'The atoll trading boat belonging to the two Utheem brothers dates from their grandfather's time. It's now worn out. The brothers have asked me to request palm and tree timber so they can build a new ship.'
'I give my permission to cut as much palm and tree timber from the atolls north of Male' as the brothers want for their ship,' said Andhirin. 'If there isn't enough timber available, the brothers can inform Male', and I'll send palm and tree timber from the south of Male'. You are saying that their old boat is worn out. So it wouldn't be strong enough to to transport the timber. You arrange, with the co-operation of the brothers, for the people of the island where the timber is cut to organise a government boat to carry the timber to the island chosen by the brothers. Another thing, I don't know if the brothers have gathered enough to provide daily meals for the carpenters who build the ship. So you should provide that for them. When the boat's completed, I don't know if the brothers have saved enough to pay the builders. So you will have to pay them. Just one more thing, from now on, the two brothers don't have any excuse to land in Male' and I won't give them permission, OK?'

The atoll chief said nothing. He paid his tax and did his trading. Then he left Male'.

In the past, there had been no government sponsored voyages in Maldives. It was a system that Andhiri-Andhirin arranged during his reign for the Utheem brothers to facilitate the building of their ship. Back in Baarah, the atoll chief unloaded the tax boat, and beached and covered it with an awning. And further north, Mohamed Takurufan approached Maldives from Ceylon in the trading ship as that night Hassan dreamed that the corner of his brother's sail appeared.

He jumped out of bed and called out, 'Sister-in-law the corner of the sail is going to appear. Make the hamper. He went to the mosque and performed the dawn prayer. He and Dhandehelu eturned for breakfast and taking the food and drink the sister-in-law gave him. They boarded the boat and left Utheem harbour, sailing hard to the north and above Kelaa and Dhapparu. Mohamed's topsail appeared and they approached the trading ship from the windward direction. 'Is the news from overseas good?' called out Hassan as always.
'Yes, is the news from Maldives good?' replied Mohamed.
Hassan confirmed everything was fine and his boat was towed behind the ship. The hamper went aboard into the ship's front shelter and the two brothers ate. So did Dhandehelu, and the remaining food was given to the crewmen. When everyone had finished eating, Mohamed Takurufan told Dhandehelu to take the ship to Baarah. 'When you arrive there, unload the vessel and ground it. Cover it with the awning and come back with whatever the atoll chief gives you after he makes the calculations. No need to mention anything.'

Dhandehelu sailed the ship to Baarah while the two brothers returned to Utheem in the boat. Dhandehelu did as he had been instructed and that night the atoll chief decided to do his calculations so Dhandehelu could return home. When Aisa heard his pen scratching at the paper, she lifted the mid-door curtain and said, 'What are you doing?'
'I'm thinking of paying Mohamed Takurufan and sending Dhandehelu off tomorrow.'
'How are you doing the calculations?'
'In the same way as before, I suppose.'
'It isn't your ship,' said Aisa. 'and they aren't your goods. It is a government treasury vessel carrying government treasury goods. So do the calculations in a way thar Mohamed doesn't take a loss. Even if you have to.'
'Lady, exactly how do you want me to do it?'
'Divide the goods into thirds and give one part to Mohamed Takurufan and you take the other two thirds.'
The atoll chief did as she advised and one third was set aside for Dhandehelu. Then Aisa went to the outer house and took half of Dhandahelu's portion.

The leading crewman left for Utheem at daybreak next morning with what remained. It was the same amount as previous times.

One day Viyazoaru thought he shouldn't wait any longer without telling the two brothers about his trip to Male'. He went to Utheem in the tax boat and leaving it secure at the harbour he went up into the island and arrived in front of the new palace.
'And what has brought you here during the offseason?' asked Mohamed.
'I've come to see you two about the matter you asked me to raise in Male'.'
'You haven't got permission, have you?'
'And why wouldn't I? The royal pronouncement was that you may cut palm and tree timber from any island of your choice in the four atolls north of Male'. If there's no acceptable timber, then you may inform the capital and timber will be sent from south of Male'. Because your old boat won't be strong enough to carry the timber, I was told to get the people of the islands where you cut the timber to transport it at government expense. I was also given responsibility for the daily meals and payment of the carpenters, just in case you hadn't saved enough for such expenses. However, from now on you are not allowed to land in Male'.'
'There's no particular reason for me to go the Male',' said Mohamed, 'since you send me overseas every year.'
'When are you intending to build the ship?'
'It looks like you're in charge of everything, Viyazoaru, so it will be difficult for you if the boat is built on our island. Don't you think it should be built on the island where you live?'
'How big do you want it to be?'
'Why do you ask that?'
'So I know the size for the ship building shed when I return to my island.'
'It will be fine as long as it gives us enough room for building.'
'And what is enough room?'
'If the shed measures seventy-two feet, I don't think we'll have any difficulty building the odi.'

Viyazoaru agreed and returned to Baarah. He took the people with him and cleared an area on one side of Dhan'buruh street and built a seventy-two foot shed. Then the chief wrote letters and sent them to every inhabited island in the four atolls north of Male'. In Utheem, the two brothers cut palm and tree timber. All to be sent to the harbour of Baarah where the chief waited for a response to his letters.

The brothers waited in Utheem for a short time and then Mohamed said to Hassan, 'If the Almighty wills, we had better not delay meeting a Learned man and discussing this plan we have in mind. Prepare the boat.' Hassan prepared the vessel. One night after returning from late night prayer, the two brothers ate dinner and after Dhandehelu finished, the three men went down to the beach and aboard the boat. They sailed off to Nolhivaranfaru island.






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