Maldives Culture -
Maldives Culture - maldives island
Latest Updates arrow Buraara - Bodu Takurufan arrow Buraara - The story of Bodu Takurufan part 20
Latest Updates
Advanced Search
Free Dhivehi-English Dictionary
Presidency of Mohamed Nasheed
Gayyoom's Dictatorship 1978-2008
Buddhism and Islam
Ibn Battuta 1343-45
Pyrard 1602-07
Rosset 1885
Maldives 1900-1922
Maldives 1924-1953
Majlis rule 1954-57
Suvadive Republic 1959-1963
President Nasir 1969-1978
Abdul Hakeem Hussein Manik
Maldives History
Maldives Art
Scripts of Maldives
Maps of Maldives
Traditional Stories
Magic - Fanditha
Photographs - Modern
Photographs - Historic
Ships of the Indian Ocean
Social Customs
Modern Stories
PDF Print E-mail
The story of Bodu Takurufan part 20
As told by the famous Buraara Mohamed Fulhu
and written by Al-hajj Ibrahim Ibn Ismail Feeboa

They stopped at Olhivaranfaru, secured the ship and went onto the island. Stopping in front of the learned man's house, they called out his name. 'Who's the young men calling? Is that the Utheem brothers?'
'Yes,' said Mohamed.
'Quieten down and come into the house. There's no moslems on this island, except us,' said the teacher as he opened the door. 'What brings you here so late at night?'
'This is a secret, master. Maldives has lost its religion. We three brothers are thinking of building a ship to sail around and bring Islam to Maldives. Could you tell us the best time to cut down the timber?'

The learned man lit a lamp flame in a coconut shell and opened a book and took a reading before doing some calculations.
'According to what you're saying, you should cut down the palm timber tomorrow when the sun rises seven steps.'
'Which island should we cut it from?' asked Mohamed.
'From Naagoashi.'
'Why from there?'
'Do you remember what happened on Naagoashi?'
'I hear old people say that Kanamana and Naagoashi are two islands without any protection.'
'You heard incorrectly,' said the learned man. 'Old people say that if ship-building timber is cut from Naagoashi then the island will lose its protection from the sea, and if it is cut down in Kanamana, the sky loses its shield.'
'From which section of the island should the palms be cut down?' asked Mohamed.
The teacher checked and said to take the palms on the eastern side.
The two brothers accepted the advice and said goodbye. They went down to the beach, boarded their boat and sailed back to Utheem.

Next morning after dawn prayer at the mosque followed by breakfast, the three men took knives and an axe and sailed off to Naagoashi. They secured the boat and the two brothers and Dhandehelu went inland and found a suitable palm at the east end of the island and waited under it. As the time indicated by the learned man drew near, Mohamed told Dhandehelu to climb up the palm. Dhandehelu climbed and sat against the trunk, as Mohamed took steps and counted. At the precise moment mentioned by the learned man, Mohamed told Dhandehelu to take a chip out of the wood and Dhandehelu did as he was instructed.
'There's no difference between hard black coral from the sea and this timber!' he exclaimed.

Mohamed told him to come down and when he descended the palm was felled. They left the round section of trunk closest to the buttress of the palm for bodu keeli, and chose the second section for the new ship. The man checked more timber and cut down the palms they selected. Then they left for Kanamana and felled palms there. They sailed on to Miladhunmadulu atoll where they cut palms according to the instructions that had been sent by the atoll chief. The people on the islands tried to split the palm trunks but Mohamed stopped them. 'There's no need to do extra work. Just take the chosen logs as they are to Baarah harbour.'
So the islanders began to transport the logs to Baarah without splitting them. The brothers went on to Maalhosmadulu and after cutting down palms from both parts of the atoll they moved on to Thiladhunmathi. There they cut more palms, leaving the buttress section for bodu keeyah and taking the second section for the ship.

After cutting the palms, they started on tree timber. This they cut from Thiladhunmathi and Miladhunmadulu. Then they started gathering ironwood from Faadhhippolhu and Miladhunmadulu atolls.

The men returned to Utheem and waited as timber poured into Baarah harbour to be carried ashore by people from the atolls. Maybe the Utheem brothers are trying to build two ships, thought the atoll chief. After all, Andhiri-Andhirin is giving them as much timber as they want. Viyazoaru stayed in Baarah wondering about all this.

'Hassan,' said Mohamed, 'to comply with the command and will of Allah and build the ship and do what we three brothers have decided, we need to bring a specialist carpenter for the right side of the vessel. He is a leader and must be named with an 'is' and he must be from a leading island also named with an 'is'. For the left side we need the specialist carpenter Himithi Maavadi Kaleyge, so we can't wait any longer. Let's bring those carpenters! Get the boat ready.'
'What island has an 'is' name?' Hassan asked his brother. 'Who has an 'is' name?'
'The island with an 'is' name is Hadhunmathi atoll's Isdhoo, and the man with the 'is' name is Isdhoo Ismail Maavadi Kaleyge.'
Satisfied, Hassan and Dhandehelu loaded the ship with food, drinking water and firewood and then they waited.

One night after returning from late night prayer, the three men ate and then collected their writing case and luggage, and boarded the boat. Leaving Utheem harbour, they passed away below Finey, above Nolhivaran, below Keylakunu, below Kattala Fushi, below Neykurendhoo, below Feydhoo, below Bileiyfahi, below Maaroshi, below Kumburudhoo, above Gaabodurashu, below Keekimini, below Gallaalaadhoo, below Bolissafaru, below Dhekenanfaru, below Erivaru, below Fushi Velavaru, below Vevethi, below Holhudhoo, below Vihafaru, above Maakurendhoo, above Dhonaveri Kadoodhoo, then out into Baraveli channel.

Crossing Baraveli channel they sailed into Faadhippolhu, then above Madivaru, below Naifaru, and out through Maakolu. Then away below Kashidhoo, below Gaafaru, in through Kago channel, and out of Maahalu middle harbour and below Thulhaagiri. They sailed above the two Bandos islands and above Aarah, below Feydhoo, and out through Gulhi Falhu.

They crossed Vaadhoo channel and went in through Velassaru channel and across there and below Bolifushi, below Maniyafushi, below Furahu, along Maadhiggaru channel and out and below Dhagethi, below Kururah, below Finolhu, below Dhidhdhoo, below Hiyafushi, outside Kadoodhoo and then they sailed past Ariadhoo in the north side of Nilandhe atoll, and went in through Fushi channel, below Minimasgali, away from Dhiguthun, below Kudathun, and then out into Nilandhoo channel.

They went in through Fushi channel in southern Nilandhe atoll below Maagalu, below Ribudhoo, below Hudhufushi, out along Maahalu and out though Kuda Huvadhu channel and in though Kolhumadulu Maa channel. They kept to the outer side of the reef, below Kakolhas, above Kudadhoo, below Vandhoo, above Fodhdhoo along the way of Thilafashu, and then sailed out into Veymandoo channel. Then below Dhabidhoo, and above Funa-Gaadhoo, and the two brothers arrived off Isdhoo.

They eased into the island and secured the odi. The three men landed and questioned a few people until they found themselves in front of the house belonging to the famous carpenter. Maavadi jumped up. 'What are the Utheem brothers doing around here? What has prompted your journey?'
'We've come to ask for a favour, Isdhoo master carpenter.'
'Since it's a request from you two, I'll help if I can.'
'This is a secret,' whispered Mohamed. 'Maldives has lost its religion. If the Almighty commands and wills that the three Takurufan brothers sail through the country and bring Islam, would you come and build the ship?'
'A ship is about to be built for the three Utheem brothers! That's why I haven't been able to get enough sleep for the last fifteen days and nights.'

The carpenter came to the beach with his tools. He boarded the boat and they all left Isdhoo and went out through Vadinolhu. Not being able to get onto Veymandoo channel, they went in through Thimarafushi channel and took the shallow sea on the outside of Kanimeedhoo and then below Fodhdhoo, below Kafidhoo, and along the Burunee reef and in through Hani channel and Burunee and Maa Eboodhoo channels. Then towards the outside of Ribudhoo, below Maagalu and out through Fushi channel and below Dhe Thun, taking the outer edge of Minimasgali, and easing into Himithi island.

The boat was secured in Himithi deep, and they went up into the island and asked around before finding the house of the carpenter there. He jumped up and asked what had brought the Utheem brothers there.
'We've come to ask a favour,' said Mohamed.
'Anything you two ask, I'll do it,' he replied.
'Maldives has lost its religion. Can you come and build an odi for us so we can travel around and bring Islam to Maldives?'
'Because of your ship building preparations, I haven't been able to sleep for ten nights!' The Himithi carpenter took his tools to the beach and boarded the boat.

They sailed out to Tholhi channel and along Ariadhoo channel between Ariadhoo and Kudadhoo, above Dhidhdhoo and along Rogali. Then above Kururah, above Kudarah, above Dhagethi and out into Viligilivaru channel, below Vilimendhoo, below Mahibadhoo, below Omadhoo, below Meedhoo and below Ari Atoll. The brothers eased into Rasdhoo, taking aboard island's master carpenter, before sailing above Male' atoll and stopping at Kashidhoo, where the Kaashidhoo master carpenter joined them. They sailed on to Faadhippolhu. There they picked up more carpenters and then went on to Maalhosmadulu and Miladhunmadulu atolls and hired all the carpenters they could find. When they entered Thiladhunmathi, they took aboard even more builders and finally everyone arrived at Baarah. The brothers had collected 39 carpenters.

'Hassan,' said Mohamed, 'with regard to our plan, we must include the Kelaa master carpenter.'
The extra man was brought to Baarah, bringing the total number of carpenters to forty and they all stayed at Baarah eating and gaining strength. After a short time, an auspicious month arrived and then an auspicious day. The two brothers got up at dawn and went to the mosque to perform the dawn prayer. Afterwards they ate at the palace and Dhandehelu also had his breakfast. The three went to the beach, boarded the boat and sailed to Baarah, securing the vessel in the deep. It was still the first hour of sunrise when the men walked into the island.

They asked the Isdhoo master carpenter to mark the lines on the timber for the afore stern piece with a long piece of cotton string soaked in ink. In the second hour of sunrise, the Himithi carpenter was ordered to mark the piece of timber for the aback end stern piece. At noon, the Rasmaadhoo carpenter was instructed to mark the timber selected for the keel. In the second hour after noon, the Kelaa carpenter was ordered to mark the cuts for the planks next to the keel. Then the brothers returned to Utheem.

The carpenters cut out the pieces and rested again, eating and gaining strength. Meanwhile, Mohamed told Hassan that they should go and visit the learned man to ensure the Almighty continued to bless and support their plan. 'Prepare the ship.'

Hassan and Dhandehelu readied the boat and one night after late prayer they all had dinner and the three men sailed off for Nolhivaranfaru and secured their boat in the deep water there. Mohamed and Hassan went into the island and stopped in front of the learned man's house and called out.
'Who's that calling my name?' hissed the teacher. 'Is that the Utheem brothers? Don't make so much noise, come in! We are the only moslems on this island.' He opened the door of the house and invited them in. 'So why are you travelling all this way at night?'
'This is a secret. Maldives has lost its religion. Tell us the right time to begin building this ship we'll be using to bring Islam to the islands.'

The teacher lit the oil lamp chandelier and opened a big book. He took a reading and made some calculations and then said, 'For what you want, drive the middle bracing log in the ground tomorrow when the sun is up seven steps, and then clip on the middle keel piece.'

The brothers accepted his advice and said goodbye. They sailed on to Baarah and spent the night on the the big swing at Dhaburuh street. As the day began, Mohamed said to Hassan, 'Let's lay the ship without missing the time advised by the learned man. I'll go and check on the construction with the atoll chief. No matter what, try and begin laying the ship without missing the times.'

As he walked across the island, Mohamed met his leading crewman.
'Where are you going?' asked Dhandehelu.
'To see the atoll chief so we can start building the ship.'

Mohamed continued on his way and Dhandehelu went to the boat shed and found Hassan there.
'Dhandehelu, there's no bracing log here. Go and find one.'
When Mohamed comes back with the chief, that will be the time to find the log, thought Dhandehelu. He didn't bother about it just then.
I bet Dhandehelu doesn't look for a log, grumbled Hassan to himself. He took an axe into the forest and cut down a coconut palm, shaping it into a bracing log where it fell.

Meanwhile, Mohamed entered Viyazoaru's house and the atoll chief jumped up, asking him what had brought him there and inviting him in. Mohamed sat in the place of honour on the small bench and the chief sat on the big bench.
'Chief, we have gathered carpenters and I have come to ask if there's a day this month when we should begin the construction?'
The atoll chief was particular about astrology. He got up and opened a big book and did a reading. 'With regard to what you are saying, the no other time this month to begin construction except today when the sun has risen five steps,' declared Viyazoaru.
'Will you start the work at that time?' asked Mohamed.
Making sure the atoll chief didn't go anywhere until the construction was underway, Mohamed stayed at the house talking to him.

Hassan made the bracing log and carried it into the boat shed. He checked and found there wasn't enough time for incense smoke and fire, and recitings of praise to the Almighty and for grace. He placed the log on the ground and said grace and praises to God before going outside. Hassan counted as the sun rose seven steps and he ran back into the shed and gave thanks and praise to the Almighty and remembering the great holy men and the words of the learned teacher, he drove in a construction brace for the ship and clipped on the middle keel piece. Then Hassan went off with an axe into the Baarah forest and cut a branch from an Indian mulberry bush. He took it into the shed, sliced it in half and sharpened the two stakes.

The sun was at seven steps when Mohamed thought, Hassan should have started construction by now. 'Atoll chief,' said Mohamed, 'we can start the time you suggested if we go now. Let's go!'
The chief and Mohamed entered the shed just as Hassan was stretching himself after driving in the two stakes on both sides of the bracing log holding the first timbers of the new ship.
'Look Hassan,' complained Mohamed, 'didn't I mention particularly that I'd be bringing the atoll chief to set up the ship for us? Now you've decided to start any old time! The exact moment the atoll chief suggested hasn't yet arrived. He said to do it at about five steps after sunrise today. It's only around seven steps. Remove the bracing, and the ship-building can begin at the time the atoll chief suggested. Do it now!'

'The time Hassan set it up was auspicious,' interrupted Viyazoaru. 'Best to leave things as they are.'
'Isn't the atoll chief meant to know the most auspicious time?' protested Mohamed.
'It has already been set up at the most auspicious time,' sighed the chief. 'Don't be angry.'
'If you aren't upset, then neither am I,' Mohamed conceded and he walked off and brought a master carpenter to the shed.
'What is the length of your odi?' the builder asked.
'Fifty feet,' said Mohamed.

Accompanied by other workers, the master carpenter entered the shed and joined the three keel pieces. The end sections were fitted and the workers went to the woods for tree bark fibre. Stretching the fibre along the keel from the bow to the stern, the master carpenter took the measurement. The length was exactly fifty feet.

'Master carpenter,' said Mohamed, 'this isn't a ship for travelling from one island to another carrying trade goods. If the Almighty commands and wills this will be a ship used by us to bring Islam to Maldives. If we can load just five men and a water container, that will suffice. Build it with speed in mind.'
The carpenter nodded and he went into the shed with his workers. He attached the first planks to the keel. The hard side of the timber was on the outside and the softer timber faced inwards. After finishing the first planks, the master carpenter said, 'Mohamed, if the Almighty commands and wills, a better vessel than this has never been built before and will never be bettered in the future. This is what people will say when I've built this ship!'

The carpenter built the ship with interlocking planks. Mohamed had cut the timber whole, one large piece from each single tree, and the builders used half sections of these logs. While the planks was being added in this way, Mohamed fitted large dowelling through to the keel and more dowelling into the stern. He inserted some Instanbul Koran paper wrapped Bo tree leaves for good luck and profit.

In the morning when the sun burst onto the earth, Mohamed would be there in the boat shed. When the sun set and the workers left the ship, he'd go back to Utheem and sleep. Mohamed would be awake for dawn prayer and breakfast and then arrive at the shed in Baarah as the ground lit up. Any dowelling in the boat had to be inscribed by Mohamed. This is how the ship was built.

The seventh plank was being fitted when the atoll chief said the Ceylon sailing season was about to begin. 'This ship might not be finished in time to sail there and back this season, do you think?'
'Viyazoaru, a coconut timber odi is easily worn out in the Ceylon current. If we are to go this year the old ship must be renovated.'

The atoll chief agreed and while the forty carpenters continued working on the new ship, he sent orders to the islands and assembled yet more carpenters at Baarah. They received daily meals and wages as they patched up the old trading vessel, replacing rotten dowelling and generally renovating the boat. When they'd finished, the atoll chief told Mohamed the vessel was repaired and suggested it was time to go to Ceylon. Then the chief worked out his payment to the workers and they were sent back to their islands.
'Find crewmen and get things ready,' Mohamed told Viyazoaru.

When the atoll chief mentioned around Baarah that there a boat going to Ceylon again, there was soon enough crew. Meanwhile Mohamed was in the shed when the sun hit the earth each morning. Then came the auspicious month and on the auspicious day, Mohamed told the crewmen to get the trading vessel ready. They cut away the awning, caulked the ship and tapped the caulking in. Then they painted the timber and put the ship into the sea. They loaded it with cargo and food, water and firewood. Then the tribute was placed aboard, and the crewmen rowed the vessel into Baarah harbour. This was the day the eighth planks was fitted to the new boat. That night when the sun had set and the carpenters were gone, Mohamed returned to Utheem to sleep. He got up with his brother and went to the mosque at dawn for the morning prayer. After breakfast the two brothers collected the writing case and luggage and went down to the beach to sail to Baarah.

Securing their boat in the Baarah deep, Mohamed and Dhandehelu went to the boatshed, and when Mohamed saw the master carpenter he took him aside and said, 'I'm going overseas, and I don't want you to spoil the work. I'm placing Dhandehelu in charge. I've told him that when the builders go back to eat after driving the main dowelling into the planks, this is when he is to tap with the 'dheli jassa muguru and check the planks. If there's a plank that makes a flawed sound, he will cut and remove it from the maalhihu before the carpenters return from their meal. If Dhandehelu does these things, don't intervene.'
The master carpenter agreed.

Having given responsibility for the new ship to Dhandehelu, Mohamed took him to the boat and they went out to the trading vessel. Mohamed went aboard with his sriting case and luggage. He told Hassan to do the funeral and burial arrangements on Utheem and hold the Friday prayer with forty men, and to stay in the island and look after its welfare. If it is the will and command of the Almighty, you'll see the sail of my ship on the Friday after next. You'll see me if you come out above Kelaa and Dhapparu.'
Hassan and Dhandehelu returned to Utheem and Mohamed left the Baarah harbour in the trading ship.

It sailed out between Hanimaadhoo and Baarah, and as Maldives disappeared into the distance Mohamed set course for Ceylon. They arrived at the harbour there and Mohamed left the ship in the care of his Ceylonese moslem friend while he stayed at his house on soft bedding and eating three different meals a day.

Dhandehelu attended well to his duties. He was in the boatshed at Baarah each morning when the sun hit the earth. And when the carpenters went off to eat after placing the vakaru gandu on the maalhihu, he would take the dheli jassaa muguru and walk around tapping. If he found a faulty plank he would cut and remove it from the maalhihu and throw it away before the workers returned from their meal. They would grumble that as long as Dhandehelu was healthy, he wasn't going to allow them to finish building the ship. We should return to our own islands, they said to each other.
The atoll chief heard this talk.
'Look young men, this is what you do for a living,' said Viyazoaru. 'If you weren't here working, you'll be working for someone else. The sun will rise and set, and there'll just be one less day in the story of your lives. Here you have all meals provided, and money for wages. Clothing is handed out monthly. So if dhan hama for you men, then that's all right isn't it?'

The carpenters admitted to themselves that Viyazoaru's words weren't completely false, so they stayed in the Baarah shed doing whatever Dhandehelu wanted. He continued to check the planks when the carpenters went off to eat, and he would remove and discard any faulty planks he found. Dhandehelu seemed to be always present in the boatshed, and theen nuhigaa ireh from one house to another in the island. When the sun set and the carpenters left the ship, he returned to Utheem to sleep. If there was a quarrel between a couple on Baarah or a dispute between two people, he would talk about it with Hassan Takurufan before lying down to sleep for the night.

Eight or nine days after Mohamed left for Ceylon, the atoll chief came into the boatshed and questioned the master carpenter.
'This way you are building the ship, which piece of timber supports the sail?'
The atoll chief was persistent and the carpenter indicated a piece of timber that was as heavy enough for the sail and continued with his building.

Meanwhile Mohamed lay on his friends soft bed and ate three different meals a day. The ceylonese moslem delivered the tribute to the appropriate people and taking a thousand fish in commission, he sold the cargo from the odi for money, and then sold the money for more goods before preparing the ship to leave. He went back to his house with the departure permit and said, 'Dhivehi lord, it is time to return to Maldives.'

They got up at dawn and had breakfast and took the writing case and luggage to the wharf. There they said goodbye and Mohamed went aboard the ship and sailed out of the harbour. When Ceylon disappeared behind him, Mohamed set course for Maldives.

<Previous   Next>
top of page

Maldives Culture, Powered by Joomla!; free resources by SG web hosting