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The story of Bodu Takurufan part 21
As told by the famous Buraara Mohamed Fulhu
and written by Al-hajj Ibrahim Ibn Ismail Feeboa

Now Listen!

When Mohamed Takurufan left Ceylon, the Maldive treasurer's son Tufashana Takuru said to his father that he had to go to Thiladhunmathi to fulfil a pilgrimage vow. 'Please ask Andhiri-Andhirin for permission,' said the son.
The treasurer mentioned this to Andhirin.
'Tell Tufashana Takuru that before he leaves for the pilgrimage he must come and report here.'

When he heard about this from his father, Tufashana prepared the ship and on the day of his departure he went to Andhirin's offices with the ship's captain.
'Which island are you going to for your pilgrimage?' asked Andhirin.
'I'm going to Hathifushi in Thiladhunmathi atoll.'
'Tufashana,' said Andhiri-Andhirin, 'if you raise your sails in Male' harbour just to go to Hathifushi, that's OK. And after fulfilling your vow, the sail you raise in Hathifushi must bring you straight back to Male'. Don't even get close enough to see Utheem or Baarah, even from the mast, OK?'
Tufashana agreed and left Male' harbour.

He went out through Kagi channel and crossed the two channels of Kaashidhoo and then into Faadhippolhu. Travelling through that atoll he crossed the Baraveli channel and went into Miladhunmadulu, sailing through the two halves of this atoll and stopped at Hathifushi. There he fulfilled the holy vow and on his way back he said, 'After coming all the way up here, we shouldn't go without seeing Viyazoaru.'
'Didn't Andhirin tell you not to sight Utheem or Baarah, even from the top of the mast?' said the captain.
'If we go away without visiting the atoll chief after being up here and he found out, then even if he comes to Male' tomorrow he will think that I have bad feelings towards him because I haven't visited him after coming to his atoll. I'm not returning to Male' without seeing him.'

| The ship's course was altered downwards from its original line and they went to Baarah harbour. Tufashana said there was no need to moor. 'Stay here holding the post. I'll return after seeing Viyazoaru.'
When Tufashana entered Viyazoaru's house, the atoll chief jumped up and said, 'What brings you here today, come in!'
Tufashana sat on the small bench and the atoll chief sat down on the big bench.
'I have fulfulled a pilgrimage vow at Hathifushi and I came to see you.'
The atoll chief turned to Mohamed's wife Siti Mava Rani and said, 'My dear daughter, in the atoll we treat the government treasurer like the king of Maldives. Similarly for his son. Today Tufashana Takurufan has come to visit. Hurry and arrange a way for 'bileiy meeru kuraaney gotheh'.'
This is not a good time,' said Siti. 'How can there be a way of making bileiy meeru?'
So she prepared some coffee and sweet and spicy crushed areca nut. Siti lifted the mid-door curtain and came into the outer house. At that moment, the eyes of Siti and Tufashana met.

Tufashana decided he wouldn't leave the island without sharing a pleasant conversation with Siti. The two men ate and chewed the flavoured areca nut and talked about various things until the atoll chief excused himself and went outside. Tufashana lay back on the small bench pillow and began to ask Siti one question after another: 'Kamana, 'faiy silubeh alhaa dhevvashey', Kamana can you give me a glass of water?, Kamana can you give me a piece of betel.'
Every time she tried to walk out, Tufashana would say something and she would reply. He lay there as she stood at the mid-door and the two bantered until the sun had risen up five steps.
'I heard people say that you are here on a quick stop,' laughed Siti. 'You arrived just as the sun hit the earth, and now it's almost noon!'

Tufashana put all his strength into his legs and ran back to the beach. The crewmen still hadn't anchored the ship! They were holding on to the mooring pole and waiting. Tufashana went straight aboard the ship and grabbing the big mooring spike he lifted it high. Thrusting down hard, Tufashana smashed some holes in the boat. Then he went back into the island and spoke with the atoll chief again.
'Chief, my boat's leaking so much I can't get back to Male'. Please let us bring it ashore.'
What else could the chief do?
He called 'Yoi' and gathered the islanders and ropes and slippery logs before the crowd moved down to the beach. The ship was built for travellers. It was pulled on to dry land by its front mast. After the grounding, Tufashana didn't try to repair the ship. He went up onto the island and lay on the small bench in Viyazoaru's house, joking with Siti Mava Rani Kilegefan. That day, as the sun went down to the afternoon, Siti's servant Aihaa Goyye was on the south side of the house when she yelled at the top of her voice, 'Tomorrow at noon the sail of Mohamed Takurufan's trading ship will appear.'
Tufashana jumped up and asked what she was saying.
She's just an immature silly girl,' snorted Siti.
They continued talking and Goyye kept on yelling occasionally about Mohamed and the sail.
'My lady, I don't care about what sort of person she is, tell me what she is talking about.'
'She's a silly girl, but if she says the same thing three times it isn't false. Tomorrow at noon, the sail of Mohamed Takurufan's trading ship will appear.'

Tufashana jumped up and ran with all the strength in his legs. When he caught up with the atoll chief he gasped, 'Would you please get my ship quickly back into the harbour?'
'The boat was beached at noon with the high tide. Now it's late afternoon and there isn't a drop of water on the reef. When the tide is high again at midnight I can get the vessel launched.'
'This isn't the sort of trip that can be delayed. It's a very quick trip. Can you get the boat launched?'
What could the atoll chief do?
He called a 'Yoi' and gathered the people, ropes and timber again and went to the beach. The ship had been grounded on the high tide with the mast up and the water nearly washing into the island. Now, with not a drop of water to be seen on the reef, it took well over 'dhevarun evvaru' for the people to launch the boat. It was dragged to the water and Tufashana had to clear the front hold and was bailing water from leaks as he left Baarah.

That day when the sun set, the carpenters left the new ship and slept. Dhandehelu sailed to Utheem and before he went to sleep he told Hassan what had happened on Baarah that day. Later, Hassan dreamt that the sail of his brother's ship would appear. He jumped up and called out, 'Sister-in-law, Mohamed's odi sail will be appearing. Make a hamper.'
'I'm the mother of a baby, Hassan. What hamper can I make? Haven't people ever heard of hampers made by the single women in Baarah?'
Hassan went to the mosque and performed the dawn prayer. He returned to the palace for breakfast and when Dhandehelu had eaten, Hassan went up the shed and brought down malaafaiy and placed it on a piece of cloth. 'What are you waiting for, Dhandehelu? Hurry into the kitchen and bring a bit of everything women use for cooking and put it in this malaafaiy and wrap it up.'

Dhandehelu ran into the kitchen and brought a lump of each thing women used in cooking and put it in the malaafaiy and wrapped it. Taking another malaafaiy from the sister-in-law along with what the men had made, Dhandehelu and Hassan went out to the beach, climbed aboard the boat and set sail hard for Kelaa and Dhapparu. When the Ceylon trading ship's sail appeared, they approached from the windward side, and Hassan said to Dhandehelu that he had a plan that Dhandehelu must follow.
Dhandehelu agreed.

'I'm not going aboard the trading ship today,' Hassan explained. 'When it tows our boat, I'll remove the corks and sit here bailing water. You go aboard and when Mohamed asks you to hurry up and give the hampers to the crewmen, you take the lot on deck and call out to everyone. Mohamed will tell you again to get the crewmen eating and hurry things along. Dhandehelu, I don't want you to remove the top of the bundle until Mohamed is near it. When he stands next to the hampers, the sound of your hands being placed on the top of the bundle and the sound of you falling onto the taffrail holding the top of the bundle with your back to the trading ship, must be the same. That's what you must do.'

Their odi sailed close to the windward side of trading ship and Hassan called out asking if the news from Ceylon was good. Mohamed replied it was, and asked if the news from Maldives was good, and Hassan called back that it was. When he was being towed by the trading vessel, Hassan removed the corks and bailed out the water that started leaking in.

On the trader, the crewmen looked at each other and commented that usually they received only half of one hamper. 'This year they brought two! In that case we'll be receiving a whole one.'

Mohamed called out to his brother and asked him why he wasn't coming aboard.
'I can't,' shouted back Hassan. 'This boat is leaking too much. I was thinking of beaching it before we came today. The boat was in the deep, but we hadn't grounded it and fixed the leaks. If I come aboard, it won't be able to take us to the island. Dhandehelu! Take these two hampers to Mohamed.'

When Dhandehelu climbed on, Mohamed told him to feed the crew so they could complete their journey. Dhandehelu took the larger hamper onto the deck and called out to the crewmen. They came from wherever they were and waited expectantly.
'What's the hold up?' called out Mohamed. 'Get the crewmen eating so we can finish our journey.'
Dhandehelu seemed not to hear, and Mohamed called out a little louder. Still no reaction. He called out a third time but Dhandehelu didn't respond. He moved towards Dhandehelu and put his hands on his shoulders. He turned around and looked at his master and Mohamed asked why he was delaying giving food to the crew.
'Because I haven't been told.'
'Even though I've told you so many times? You didn't hear me?'
'Today my ear on that side is blocked,' Dhandehelu explained.
'Give the food to the crew so we can complete this journey,' said Mohamed carefully.

Dhandehelu bent over the hamper and unwrapping the bundle, he folded back the four corners of the cloth and held on to the two sides of the top of the large hamper and tried to work out a way to fall over the taffrail at the stern. He still hadn't removed the top of the hamper, so Mohamed came a little closer and touched him on the back. Dhandehelu looked up and Mohamed asked him what was the matter, and told him to stop mucking around. Dhandehelu stretched his arms wide and slapped down his hands on both sides of the hamper. Holding the top he dropped over the taffrail with a similar loud noise. Dhandehelu ended up sitting on the broken taffrail with his back to the trading ship. Hassan was sitting in the boat being towed, with his back to the trader as well.

When the top of the hamper was removed, the crewmen looked in and then up at each other and put their heads down. Mohamed went to the stern and called out, 'Hassan, come aboard!'
Hassan screwed in the corks and bailed the boat dry, before climbing aboard Mohamed's vessel. The bow shelter was set up and the two brothers ate the food from Amina's hamper. Dhandehelu ate some too and the rest was shared among the crew. Whether there were two hampers or one, the result for the crew was the same. They only got half.

Mohamed told Dhandehelu to go to Baarah with the trading ship and to unload, ground, and cover it with an awning. 'Come back with whatever Viyazoaru gives you after he has done his calculations and don't discuss anything.'

Mohamed grabbed his writing case and luggage and climbed into the boat. He returned to Utheem with Hassan. After spending the night at the palace they went to the mosque for dawn prayer and then returned home for breakfast. Then they sailed to Baarah. After securing their boat in the deep, they went to the boatshed and Mohamed spoke with the master carpenter.
'Didn't I tell you not to ruin the new boat while I was away? You've ruined the construction!'
'Viyazoaru kept asking about the pringle spar and that was why the wood was put in position,' said the carpenter.
Mohamed had gone to Ceylon after the eighth plank was attached. 'Whatever you've built after the eighth plank should be cut off and removed from the hull.'
The section was dismantled and then master carpenter continued building the ship.

Each morning when the sun hit the earth, Mohamed was in the boatshed and 'nu liyaa kamoariyeh nuliyaa kathudu iyyeh' was not driven in. When the carpenter had attached a top plank to the eighteenth plank, Mohamed said, 'Master carpenter, if we put another thick board around the outside of that top plank, the ship will get the full power of the sail.'
The carpenter obeyed his instructions, and then the top lining was fitted and the gunwales completed.

The hull was finished, so the master carpenter built the ship's mast seat. Then he took his workers into the Baarah forest and cut down a coconut palm and shaped it into a mast. With the mast fitted, everything was done, and Mohamed asked the carpenter for the price of the ship.

Without reducing the fee by a single paisa, Viyazoaru paid him. The master carpenter distributed the payment among the workers and then Mohamed told Viyazoaru to send the men back to their islands.
'I'll take the four master carpenters back to their islands and return,' said Mohamed.

The two brothers took the four men on their old boat and stopped at Kaashidhoo, then Rasdhoo in Ari atoll, and next at Himithi and finally at Isdhoo where the last of the master carpenters lived. Mohamed and Hassan returned straight to Utheem.

At his home island, Mohamed prepared undercoat paint for his new ship. Meanwhile in Baarah, Viyazoaru had a new sail sewn together by the islanders and then he waited for Mohamed. On an auspicious day during an auspicious month, the two Utheem brothers got up at dawn and went to the mosque and performed the dawn prayer before returning to the palace for breakfast. After Dhandehelu had eaten, the three men went to the beach and sailed to Baarah. Mohamed secured the boat and went up into the boatshed.

At the auspicious time, Mohamed began painting the hull. Dhandehelu inserted laurelwood seed paste between the planks while the brothers continued painting. When they'd finished, Mohamed told Dhandehelu to prepare the paint for the top coat. When it was ready, Mohamed touched the paint brush on the odi. Dhandehelu painted the ship and when he was finished, he waited impatiently. Maybe it was due to his affection for the new ship that he did not even make time to go to Viyazoaru's house to eat! Instead, Dhandehelu ran from one end of the boat and to the other. He bent down and inspected both sides of the ship and then stood up and said to Mohamed, 'Will this odi sail fast?'
'Haven't you heard old people say that when you have a fish on your line, not to mention its name?'

The new vessel was prepared for public viewing and the two brothers returned to Utheem. There, Mohamed said to Hassan, 'We need to speak to the learned man about what we're planning to do. Prepare the boat.'
Hassan concurred and readied the vessel and that night after late night prayer when they came back to the palace and everyone had had eaten, they sailed with Dhandehelu to Nolhivaranfaru and secured the boat in the harbour there. They went into the island and stopped in front of the learned man's door. Mohamed called out his name and asked him what would be the right time to launch the new ship they'd just finished.
'Is that right!' said the teacher as he brightened his chandelier oil lamp and opened his big book. He took a reading and checked the results. 'If what you're saying is correct, then tomorrow after sunrise when the sun is seven steps high, the ship should be placed on view.'

They accepted his advice and said their goodbyes and sailed away, stopping at Baarah. There they secured their boat in the harbour and spent the night on the big swing in Dhaburuh street. When it was light, Mohamed said to Hassan and Dhandehelu, 'You two can launch the ship without missing the time the learned man gave us, but we can't launch the thing without telling Viyazoaru. I'll come back after seeing him.'

Leaving them in charge of the ship viewing ceremony, Mohamed went into the island while Hassan and Dhandehelu wandered over to the boatshed. 'We are launching the ship without holding a hymn singing ceremony... In that case, we'll do it when we're at sea. Dhandehelu, tie together the softwood logs underneath the left and right side, and have the ship ready to go.'

Meanwhile Mohamed visited Viyazoaru's house where the atoll chief jumped up and asked him what had brought him there and told him to come in. Mohamed sat on the small bench and told the atoll chief the ship was ready to launch. 'I came to see if there's a good time this month?'
The atoll chief was a particularly good astrologer. He opened a large book and did a reading and some calculations and said, 'If what you are saying is correct, then there is only one moment to launch the ship and that is when the sun is at five steps today.'
'If that's right, you should launch it when the time arrives,' said Mohamed, and in case the chief went somewhere else to avoid the launching, Mohamed stayed there talking to him.

Dhandehelu laid out the softwood rolling logs on the left and right beneath the hull, and Hassan climbed up on the ship and 'odige dhiha mohaafaa' and began to say grace and give praise to the Almighty. When he finished the prayers, Hassan entered the boatshed with a large roll of white material one hundred and twenty feet long. He folded it into a tight mat and held it against the stern of the ship as put his shoulder against it.
'Dhandehelu, remember how important this ship is. Don't drop it!' warned Hassan.
Dhandehelu grunted his agreement, and Hassan praised and gave thanks to the Almighty and remembered the saints. At seven steps after sunrise, at the time the learned man had suggested, Dhandehelu pushed against the ship. As he leaned hard into the stern, the vessel slid away from the bracing log and it didn't stop moving until it had reached the deep water. Only then did Dhandehelu pull back from the ship. When he checked the piece of material there were only three layers left intact, the rest was shredded.

When the sun was at seven steps, Mohamed at Viyazoaru's house knew that the two men would be trying to launch the ship.
'Chief, if we go now, we can launch at the time you say. Shall we go?'
He accompanied Viyazoaru to the boatshed and as they entered, Hassan was just walking back in after the launching.
'Hey, Hassan,' complained Mohamed, 'didn't I tell you particularly that I was coming with the chief to launch the odi?'
'I wasn't sure when you'd be coming back. So I launched it.'
'Didn't I say to you that we'll launch the ship when I come back from seeing the atoll chief? Did you launch it on your own?'
'Is a single person able to launch a sailing ship?' said Hassan.
'The atoll chief said to launch at five steps after sunrise today. It is not yet five steps, if anything it may be only seven steps. Who helped to launch the vessel?'
Hassan replied that people from three boats had helped launch the ship and then left. He pointed out the sails on the horizon above Maafahi Muraidhoo.

Mohamed went aboard the new ship. 'Dhandehelu,' he called out, 'bring the ship's fittings. Hassan, there in the little wooden box is the atoll chief's casting net. Go and catch some mullet baitfish and bring them here.'

Hassan took the net but he didn't go to the beach to catch baitfish. Instead he walked along the road through the island bush area. The ship had its bow grounded against the shore of the island and Dhandehelu was on board doing its fittings. The atoll chief decided to go back into the island until the two brothers left in their ship. He sat on a nearby swing.

'Dhandehelu, do you think you could bring the mast?' asked Mohamed.
'Why not?' came the reply. 'Though it's now so wide and long, it was once only a knob that poked out of the eye of a coconut, isn't that right?' Dhandhelu went inland, stopping beside the atoll chief and saying, 'Isn't there an old mast we could use for the brothers' ship?'
'What do you want an old mast for? The new mast made specifically for the ship must be there!'
'The new mast is still laying in the forest where the coconut palm was cut down. Can we bring it out today and sail away?'
Without waiting for an answer, Dhandehelu ran off with all the strength of his legs into the forest and stopped beside the mast. He put the middle of the mast on his shoulders and started running towards the beach. Sitting on the swing, Viyazoaru heard someone inland breathing hard and rapidly. He turned and saw Dhandehelu carrying a raw timber mast on his shoulders and running towards him. The atoll chief began to shake severely.

On his way to the beach, Dhandehelu decided to see how much real status the atoll chief had. He rested the bottom of the mast on a mooring log.
'Hey Dhandehelu,' shouted Mohamed, 'that's not the way people load masts aboard a ship! Bring the 'nee' end onto the dhan'digan'du.' It seemed that Dhandehelu couldn't hear. Mohamed said it again but Dhandehelu didn't seem to hear. After repeating himself three times, Mohamed himself took hold of the mast and pulled it into the ship. Holding the mast in the middle he rotated it above his head and placed it on the 'kafi' and then attached the valaveri of the mast. After placing the valaveri on the mast and putting on the vanolhu, he took the forestay and went up to the front of the boat and raised the mast, tying the forestay onto a hook. Holding the forestay in one hand and the mugulu in the other he pulled the mast and secured the mugulu. As he was straightening himself up, Dhandehelu, who was standing on dry land, said, 'Mohamed, that is a raw timber mast. 'Kolhu vathah dan'bu faibaane ey'. Loosen it a bit. The mast isn't something to be tightened and tightened.'
'If it needs loosening, keep it loose. Time to go and fetch the sail.'
Dhandehelu agreed and went up to the atoll chief. 'Is there an old sail around for the brothers' odi?'
'What do you want an old sail for? The new sail made for this vessel is up in the roof of the boatshed.'
'Is that right?' said Dhadahelu. He went shed and turned the sail onto the wrong side as he put it on his shoulders and walked towards the ship.
'The sail is being carried the wrong way!' shouted Mohamed. 'Turn it over!'
Dhandehelu didn't seem to hear. After telling him three times without effect, Mohamed approached him and put his hand in the middle of the sail rope and pulled it towards his chest and turned it over until it lay the right way up. Then he gathered the ropes of the sail.

Meanwhile Hassan was walking with the casting net along the road in the island bush area. He didn't go down to the shore. As he strolled along, he glimpsed the sea where the undergrowth were thinner, and looking through to the water he saw a patch as dark as soot close to shore. Remaining on the road, Hassan prepared the net for casting and threw it over the bushes and into the sea where it spread out gracefully. He ran through the scrub and into the shallows and lifted the net by its centre. When he had a close look, Hassan realised it was a school of tiny mullet. None had escaped from the net. He took just three of them and released the rest before carrying the fish and the net back to the ship.
'That's the atoll chief's casting net,' said Mohamed to his brother. 'Rinse it in fresh water and hang it on the corner of the shed. There, you'll find three fishing lines about 500 metres long. Bring them back.'

As Hassan walked into the island, he decided to rinse the net in a special way. He went near the well and dropped the net into a mud puddle. He stepped on it and covered the net in muck, and then rolled it up and threw it inside the shed. Hassan took the three lengths of fishing line and returned to the beach.

They all left Baarah harbour and sailed out of the atoll between Hanimaadhoo and Baarah. As the islands disappeared into the water behind them, Hassan said to his brother, 'You've gone outside Maldives. Maybe you should have left me ashore to look after my sister-in-law.'
'I'm not leaving Maldives,' said Mohamed. 'We can only test the speed of this ship if we get outside the atolls.'

The ship sailed along and as the islands sunk in the sea, Mohamed told Dhandehelu to climb up the mast and take a sighting. Perched high above the new vessel, Dhandehelu looked in the direction of the islands and they appeared like swirls of smoke.

Further along, they reached a place in the sea where two opposing currents met and there was no dominating current. The ship cracked loudly.
'Shall we riyalun baineh alhamaa,' asked Dhandehelu.
'Look Dhandehelu,' said Mohamed, 'we have only just launched this ship from its blocks. Just leave things as they are.'

They went through the currents and further out they hit more. It seemed for a moment that the sail was too small to counter the force of the current, but the boat sailed on and passed through again. After sailing on for a while longer, Mohamed called out for Dhandehelu to turn the ship around. The boat turned and straightened as it sailed back towards Maldives.
'This is the area where the Ceylon people come to catch wahoo fish,' Mohamed said to Hassan. 'It's easy to catch here. Join the three pieces of line and attach the mugoo to the kafi; put a baitfish on the hook and throw it into the sea.'
Hassan did all this and as he was washing his hands, Mohamed eased the ship off the wind a little and tightened the mathi ega.

Hassan was stretching himself when he noticed the baitfish and it was skimming on top of three waves and hitting the rudder. When it hit, the line became very tight, and as soon as it tightened it skimmed across the waves and hit the rudder.
'We won't catch anything with this baitfish!' said Hassan. 'It doesn't seem to touch the water. The bait is always jumping around on the tops of waves!'
'Dhandehelu, Hassan has named this ship,' declared Mohamed. 'And its name is the King of Success, OK?' Then he told Hassan to roll the line into a ball on his hand, and throw away the baitfish.

Hassan untied the line attached to the kafi and began to roll the line into a ball and when the baitfish was almost in his hand, the boat was entering the Baarah harbour channel. Dropping the baitfish at the entrance of the channel, Moahmed and Hassan left the ship at five steps after sunrise.
'Hassan,' said Mohamed, 'don't let anyone else know about the speed and power of our new ship. You too Dhandehelu, don't tell anyone!' Mohamed and Hassan sailed back to Utheem in the old boat.

Dhandehelu moored the new ship at Baarah and pulled out the corks and jumped outside the boat. He pulled out the caulking from the two bottom hull planks, and then went ashore.

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