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The story of Bodu Takurufan part 22
As told by the famous Buraara Mohamed Fulhu
and written by Al-hajj Ibrahim Ibn Ismail Feeboa



After eating he lay asleep on the big bench at Viyazoaru's house until dawn when a young man called out, 'Mohamed Takurufan's new ship is sinking!'
Dhandehelu jumped up and yelled out, 'During the reign of Andhiri-Andhirin, the atoll chief gets as much coconut and tree timber as he wants. He builds a ship for the brothers and after only a day's long-line fishing, there's not a single rigid plank left in the boat!'
Dhandehelu continued blaming Viyazoaru as he picked up a large pot, big enough to cook twenty kilograms of rice, and went aboard the new ship and screwed the corks back in and bailed out the water. Then he removed all the corks again and went back onto land.

Again that afternoon a young man called out, 'Mohamed Takurufan's new ship is sinking to the bottom!'
Dhandehelu complained loudly again about the atoll chief. He put the corks back in and bailed the water out. Then he removed the corks and went down to the dhashu side and pulled the caulking out of the two ends of the kankashi before returning to dry land.

Dhandehelu went down to the new ship twice a day, abusing the atoll chief as he bailed out the water. This continued until one morning at dawn when a young man called out again about the sinking boat, Dhandehelu got up but this time he didn't do any bailing. Instead, he walked up and down in front of Viyazoaru's house abusing the atoll chief, accusing him of laying there with his two soft pillows at either end of his body and stretching his legs as if everything was ok, even though the new ship needed to be beached. The atoll chief wasn't able to sleep and he got up and told Dhandehelu to go and bail the boat dry.
'People will come to the beach and drag the ship ashore with rope and timber slips,' promised the chief.

Dhandehelu agreed and went aboard the odi with a wooden bailing scoop. He bailed without putting in single cork back in. When the atoll chief came to the beach with the rope and timbers, he noticed Dhandehelu was still bailing vigorously. 'Is the bilge water level dropping?' called the chief.
'If the sea level falling? Then the water level in here will drop too!' yelled Dhandehelu. 'In that case, attach the rope to the ship the way it is,' decided the chief, 'Give the rope to the men and bring it out to the ship!'

So the rope was put around the odi and people began to pull it ashore. The atoll chief examined the hull and discovered everything Dhandehelu had said was true. Water was pouring out of all the fatholhu and gaps in the planks. The chief got nearer the vessel and leaning over the gunwales he peered inside. 'Dhandehelu, I was thinking of going to Male' this year in this ship, and leaving the old boat here. But this thing won't even get to the next island! The ship is like the beak of a crow. It's not even worth sheltering!'
'Atoll chief,' said Dhandehelu, 'all this new palm and tree timber shouldn't be left in the sun and rain!'
'What's the use of sheltering this thing? It's not even capable of getting us to the next island. I paid for the two brothers to build this boat. I provided the meals and wages. So why should I bother sheltering it?'

The atoll chief and Dhandehelu argued, and finally an awning was built over the vessel. A large ceremonial fabric was stretched above the ship and tied down with weights. White sand was spread around the boat, and pillows arranged on the fresh clean surface. Dhandehelu then returned to Utheem, and stayed there with the brothers.

This story pauses here.

Now listen!

After clearing the front hold and bailing out a couple of leaks, Tufashana Takuru sailed to Male' and he said to his father the treasurer, 'Would you ask Andhiri-Andhirin for the heads of the two Utheem brothers?'

Next day the treasurer weighed out gold equivalent to the weight of 125 cowrie shells and presented the gift to Andhiri-Andhirin who asked what it was for.
'My son, Tufashana wishes to be granted the heads of the two Utheem brothers.'
'Have you seen the two Utheem brothers? said the king. 'I have, and the day I saw them they had strong heads and necks. What have you brought?'
'I have this gold,' said the treasurer.
Andhiri-Andhirin showed him an equivalent amount of gold, and returned his gold to him saying, 'Do not attempt these sorts of things. Go home and stay out of trouble.'

'Father, did you get the heads of the Utheem brothers?' asked Tufashana as the treasurer arrived back.
'This is a very serious matter,' said the treasurer carefully. 'I couldn't get permission today.'
'Father! This treasurer's position from Andhiri-Andhirin is useless! Wouldn't it be better to hit a pile of shit with a stick and have some splatter on your body? At least you would have the smell on you for a while. So you are seriously telling me you couldn't get the head of someone in Maldives?'
Son, this is a major matter. If we keep making our request in a respectful manner, we'll get what we want.'

Next day the treasurer put two weights gold in a tray and offered it as a gift to Andhiri-Andhirin. 'Didn't I tell you yesterday not to pursue this matter?' said Andhirin. He showed more gold to the treasurer, and then sent him home, where Tufashana protested with the same angry barely comprehensible words as before.

Next day, the treasurer brought Andhirin three weights of gold and the king simply showed him more gold and sent him home again. Eventually the gift increased to seven weights of gold and then Andhirin said, 'I have given you the same advice a father would give to his son. You have rejected it. When the matter is a person's death, don't worry about others, just think of your own. So I give my permission if you think you can do it.'

When Bodu Ban'deyriyaa returned home Thufaashanaa thought his father had failed again.
'Son, didn't I tell you on the very first day that this was a very important affair? And that if we respectfully pursued the matter then we'd get what we want? Today he gave permission to cut off the heads of the Utheem brothers if we can find a way to do it.'

Tufashana got up at dawn and after breakfast he ran down near the harbour beach and walked up and down. As ships arrived from the north and lowered their sails, he called out, 'Which island is your vessel from?'
The reply came that it was a ship from such and such an island.
'Have you seen the tax boat from Thiladhunmathi?' he would ask.
The answer was 'No'.
When the Faadhippolhu tax boat arrived, the crew said they hadn't seen the Thiladhunmathi boat. The same reply came from the southern Maalhosmadulu tax boat and the one from southern Miladhunmadulu.

Next day, Tufashana was back at the beach, and the sun had just risen into the noon sky when a ship from the north entered the harbour. He called out asking where the vessel was from, and the reply came it was the tax boat from northern Miladhunmadulu atoll.
He asked whether they had seen the Thiladhunmathi tax boat, and this time the answer was 'Yes, it came out of the atolls with us into the open sea.'
In that case, it won't be long before it arrives, thought Tufashana and he stayed there calling out to each arriving ship.

Between noon and afternoon prayer time, a boat from the north appeared. The main sail was up, along with the gaff topsail and jib, and a red flag flew from the topmast. It cruised along between the two Bandos islands and below Aarah, below Galufalhu, and above Dhoonidhoo. When its sail was lowered in Male' harbour, Tufashana called out asking which island the ship was from.
'Who's the moron calling out to this ship?' came the response. 'Flying this flag and sailing between the two Bandos islands, who else would it be except Viyazoaru the atoll chief!'
'Andhiri-Andhirin will not give permission to land in Male' unless you are carrying the heads of the two Utheem brothers,' called out Tufashana.
'You can say what you like, I'm not leaving without paying my respects to Andhiri-Andhirin!' retorted the atoll chief.

When the boat was secured, Viyazoaru entered Andhirin offices and the king spoke with him. 'What brings you here, atoll chief?'
'I come with the tax boat to Male', but I have something to ask as well.'
'What is it?'
'Were you asleep and dreaming when you gave the order to bring the heads of the two Utheem brothers?'
'Atoll chief!' exclaimed the king, 'Once he started, the treasurer would not cease his entreaties. Every day without fail for seven months, he shamelessly kept asking. I gave him the sort of advice a father would give to his son. When he refused to take that advice, I told him that when the matter is a person's death, don't worry about others, just think of your own. So I guess in a way I gave the treasurer permission to cut off their heads.'
'I am only an atoll chief,' groaned Viyazoaru. 'If I receive an order from the treasurer, I must obey it. Now I'll be responsible for the murders!'

The atoll chief paid the state taxes, did whatever trading he had to do and returned to Baarah. He didn't bother to anchor the boat or unload it. He went to his house and lay on the bed facing the wall with a sheet over his body. The chief's wife, Kamba Aisa Rani Kilegefan heard that her husband had returned from Male' and she lifted the mid-door curtain and came out to find him lying there beneath the sheet. She climbed onto the low bench, touched him and asked if he had returned from Male' with a fever.
'My lady, you women don't have to worry about the winds and currents.'
'Oh, so my atoll chief is caught in a strong wind and current, are you? Were you flogged and banished when you went to Male'?'
'Flogging and banishment would have been better than this. As far as you're concerned, as long as you have glittery dresses cut to flow beautifully from your body, you're satisfied. As the sun rises and sets, a day of life on earth passes away.'
'Viyazoaru, when you went to Male' you weren't flogged and banished. Has your atoll chief title been taken away? If not, then what's the big problem that has befallen you during this reign of Andhiri-Andhirin?'
'My lady,' replied her husband, 'it would be better if the atoll chief position had been taken away from me. But it isn't that. You women don't have to deal with serious problems. For you, it's a major matter if the hen laying the large eggs dies, or if the scooping bucket you use to bathe breaks. These are the problems of ladies.'
'So, if you weren't flogged and banished, and haven't lost your title, then what terrible thing has befallen you during this reign of Andhiri-Andhirin?'
'My lady, I'm telling you... Listen... Mohamed Takurufan is our navigator and sextant expert as well. He is also our son-in-law, but without delivering his head and the head of his brother to the capital, I no longer have permission to land in Male'.'
'So, when you go to Male' you learn from Andhiri-Andhirin that you can't land there without the heads of the two Utheem brothers. Then you return to the island and lie down without eating, facing the wall wrapped in a sheet. Do you think the Utheem brothers will chop off their their heads for you? You were the main astrologer who worked out the auspicious time and helped Andhiri-Andhirin to capture the Maldives. So check the best time to decapitate the two brothers, and then go to Utheem if you want to do it.'

The atoll chief agreed completely with everything his wife said, and he got out of bed and went into the bathroom and bathed. Then he ate until he was full before opening a large book and taking a reading. He found that if he was able to look into the eyes of the two Utheem brothers during the first hour of sunrise next day, then he would easily be able to remove their heads. After sunset the atoll chief ate and then lay down to sleep.

That same night on Utheem, the two brothers performed the late night prayer and returned to the palace to eat. When they'd finished, Mohamed said to Hassan, 'Since our father died, we haven't done any weaving so we shouldn't sleep tonight. We must both go to the looms and rotate the spindles.' They worked through the darkness and at dawn the brothers went to the mosque. After eating breakfast, they went back to their looms and set up two lots of yarn. The brothers faced different directions as they sat at their looms. Mohamed sat towards the land side and Hassan sat facing the sea horizon.
'Hassan,' said Mohamed, 'today the atoll chief is arriving. Do not, under any circumstances, look at him or say a single word to him.'
Hassan agreed, and the brothers sat there weaving.

Meanwhile the atoll chief got up, ate breakfast and left Baarah in the tax boat. Seeing him arriving at Utheem, Hassan commented to his brother, 'The atoll chief is arriving early today, isn't he?'
'Didn't I mention he would be here today? Don't say a word to him, or look at him, regardless.'
'I'm not speaking to the atoll chief,' huffed Hassan. 'I just said the atoll chief is coming to Utheem in the tax boat.'
The two brothers continued with their weaving.

The chief's boat was now just off Utheem and Hassan again told Mohamed what was happening.
'Look Hassan,' snapped Mohamed, 'cut out the talking!'
'Me!? I'm not saying anything!'
They continued to weave.

The atoll chief sailed in through the Utheem harbour channel and started to secure the boat.
'Viyazoaru has thrown the rope onto the outer mooring pole,' announced Hassan.
Mohamed complained again, and Hassan insisted once more that he had no intention of speaking to the chief.

When the vessel had swung towards the island, the chief came ashore to attach the land-side mooring rope.
'Viyazoaru is driving his mooring spike into Utheem,' declared Hassan and he and Mohamed had the same argument again.

After attaching the second rope, the chief came towards the brothers and their looms. Hassan told his brother what was happening and Mohamed protested again and Hassan made his usual excuses. The two brothers continued to weave.

The atoll chief made his way towards them and when he reached the point where the light and dark sands meet, Hassan told his brother where the chief was walking, and they bickered once more as Mohamed told his brother to be quiet.

The atoll chief arrived and stood between the looms. Mohamed didn't look at him. Neither did Hassan. They just continued to weave. The chief shook the handle used to pick up the hoopstrings. He hit the clamps, tapped the flat strip of timber used bring the strings together, and threw the shuttle. Viyazoaru broke into a sweat and out of it. But during the first hour after sunrise, neither Mohamed nor Hassan would look at him. They kept on weaving despite his attempts to attract their attention. When the second hour after sunrise was over, the chief broke into a sweat for a second time and came out of it. The brothers didn't look up. When the third hour began, Mohamed realised Hassan would actually remain silent. If I sit here without saying a word too, thought Mohamed, we won't be able to sort anything out. He turned to the atoll chief and acted surprised. 'Aha! My dear atoll chief, have you been here long?
'I've only just arrived,' he sneered.
'Hassan,' said Mohamed, 'we both sit here and weave, while the atoll chief has arrived with things to discuss. You should keep an eye out for such things.'
'Older brother, I was ignoring your wishes. If I keep checking that people going fishing are catching baitfish, or those who have baitfish are going out to sea, or that those who went to sea are trying to catch fish, or that those who went to the reef are collecting cowrie shells, then I wouldn't be able to do any weaving! So I just sat weaving and keeping up with you today.

' Mohamed got up from the loom and took the atoll chief into the island. Hassan followed behind. Mohamed went into the palace and the atoll chief sat on the big bench. While he got comfortable, Mohamed told Amina that Viyazoaru had arrived. 'Quickly, organise something for him, a tasty betel preparation.'
'This is an inconvenient time,' she protested. 'I'm not sure if I can make the betel properly.'
She was just saying this when Hassan arrived and lent against the sliding door frame.
'Hassan,' she said, 'in the small bench there'll be a bunch of bananas ripening for the baby. Go and organise something that will make the betel tasty for atoll chief.'

Taking a round decorated food box, he went up into the bench and there was a bunch of bananas, ripe and ready. Not a single banana had been plucked from it. Without any hesitation, Hassan removed all the bananas from the bunch and put them into the box and took it back into the palace. He placed the box beside the atoll chief and stood to attention.

Dhandehelu came in from outside and stopped at the palace door. He looked at each person's face and then put his head down as he brought in a jug and basin and poured water for the chief to wash himself. The chief then turned to the box and took a bite from a banana. He moved the piece around in his mouth but was unable to swallow. Finally he spat it out.
'Hey atoll chief,' said Mohamed, 'I thought you collect the tax in Thiladhunmathi. Yet you don't seem to like bananas.'
'It isn't that I don't like bananas. It's due to what I'm thinking about. I just can't eat.'
'So what's on your mind today?' smiled Mohamed.
'I'll tell you. Listen! You're the navigator and sextant expert. You're the Utheem island chief and my son-in-law as well. But I am not allowed to land in Male' unless I have the heads of the two brothers.'

Sitting on the small bench, Mohamed moved towards Viyazoaru and said, 'That's not the sort of problem to make someone to lose their appetite. Here's my head. Cut it off and take it to Male'.'
'I can't do that!' exclaimed the chief.
'You come in here but you can't cut off my head!' mocked Mohamed. 'Do you think you'd be able to take our heads if we cut them off with our own hands and give them to you?'
The atoll chief paused a moment and mumbled, 'Then I wouldn't have to cut them off with my own hands. If you give them to me, I'll take them!'
'I can cut of our heads and give them to you now,' reasoned Mohamed. 'But then you have to go to your island with our heads and get your ship ready, and then by the time you reach Male' the heads will be rotting. So, go to your island and remove the awning from the new ship and get it ready for travel. We'll bring our heads along and you take us to Male'. When you stop in Male' harbour, our two heads can be cut off and handed to you. You can take them into the offices of Andhiri-Andhirin with the blood still dripping. Andhiri-Andhirin will be even kinder to you than he is now. There's no reason to worry about another person's death. Just worry about your own. So, there's no reason not to be eating. Just eat as much as your stomach can take.'
The atoll chief turned again to the food box and ate all the bananas without leaving a single one.

Afterwards, he returned to Baarah and cut away the awning on the Jumping Baitfish, which had become the name of the new ship. He readied the vessel and when he mentioned he was going to Male', foreigners from the island poured into the boat. It was as if a woman skilled in packing firewood in a basket had packed the people into the ship the same way. The atoll chief waited.

Meanwhile back in Utheem, Mohamed said to Hassan, 'Things are coming to a climax. Get the boat ready.'
That night after the late prayer the brothers returned home for dinner. Dhandehelu ate as well, and then they took the writing case and luggage to their boat and sailed to the island of learned man. They stopped in front of his house, calling out his name.
'Who is the young man yelling? Is that the Utheem brothers? Stop making so much noise and come into the house. Didn't I tell you the first night that except for us, there are no other moslems in this island? Come in quietly!'
The teacher opened the door and said, 'What are you doing here at this late hour?'
'We are on secret business, learned man,' explained Mohamed. 'Things are coming to a climax. Tell us the right time to cut Viyazoaru's throat.'

Taking the two brothers with him, the teacher went outside, shutting the door of the house and walking to the ocean-side road.
'Hassan,' said the learned man, 'don't raise your voice, ok? We are going to the road where the ghosts come up from the sea.'
If we're going to a road like that we had better have a stick, thought Hassan, checking on both sides of the street looking for a length of wood. Next to a bush, he noticed a chopped mangrove tree where someone had cut down as a keel piece for a twenty foot boat. He took a stick from the pile and walked on towards the ocean-side.

When they reached the road, they looked out onto the horizon and each time a constellation came up, the learned man would tell Mohamed its name and also mention the names of constellations in the middle of the sky and the unseen ones below the skyline as well. When the teacher pointed out a constellation to him, Hassan would say that now the moon would be in such-and-such constellation, wouldn't it? Hassan showed off his knowledge to teacher and they continued their discussion until midnight when the tide started coming in.

The teacher saw a momentary glow in the area where the sea and reef meet, and he said to Hassan, 'Didn't I tell you at the start that this is the road where the ghosts crawl out the sea? Don't make any noise. A ghost is coming up now!'
'Don't be frightened, teacher' said Hassan. 'You too, older brother, don't worry. If the Almighty is willing, I won't return without killing the ghost.'
Running hard, he went down onto the reef straight towards a pile of rocks a short distance from the edge of the reef. When he looked closely where the glow had appeared he noticed an especially large rock that had risen from the reef edge. The rising tide and waves broke across the rock as it glowed. This was what the island people had identified as a ghost.

Hassan had his piece of hard mangrove wood in his hand, and raising his arm he hit the massive rock, breaking it into pieces and sending the debris crashing back down over the reef edge. Hassan called out at the top of his voice, 'That ghost won't be coming back onto this island again!'
A constellation rose above the horizon and the learned man told Mohamed that it would reach the middle of the sky the following night at a certain time late at night. 'When the constellation reaches the middle of the sky, stab your knife into Viyazoaru's throat. At any other time, no bullet or lance will penetrate his body. Even when he rests, he stays rock-hard. But as that constellation reaches the mid-sky, his body will be like a piece of dough.'

The teacher was pointing out the constellation as Hassan returned. 'That ghost can no longer come onto this island,' said Hassan as he looked where the learned man was pointing. 'Older brother,' he said, 'can't you tell when the teacher is saying to cut Viyazoaru's throat? The constellation rising on the horizon just now is the one, right? It will reach the middle of the sky tomorrow night at a certain time, won't it? The teacher is saying to use the knife when the constellation reaches that position, isn't he?'

The learned man then told Mohamed not to put Hassan in charge of matters. 'He's a man without patience. He doesn't worry about the exact order and position of the constellations.'

The teacher returned to his house with the two brothers. The young men said goodbye and went down to the shore. There they saw their fifty foot ship, but the planks were underwater!
'Dhandehelu!' shouted Mohamed, 'you stayed up all night but the vessel is full of water and sinking. What have you been up to? If you do this sort of thing, you'll have to take responsibility for it. Are we going to be accused of plundering the islands? This isn't just another island to be looted. You two will have to live on the sea, so I have collected some drinking coconuts and loaded them on the ship to make life aboard a bit easier.'

The three men sailed off in the Jumping Baitfish and Mohamed told Hassan that he had a good plan. Hassan agreed to cooperate and Mohamed said to Dhandehelu, 'I'll tell you to cut a drinking coconut for the atoll chief. Pretend you don't have the knife you were carrying in your belt when we left the island. Hassan, I'll ask you for a knife, but you pretend you don't have your knife either.' They continued to discuss the plan and make decisions until they reached Baarah. The two brothers stayed on the big swing on Dhanburuh street for the night. Dhandehelu moved their boat to the front of the new ship and loaded the drinking coconuts onto the Jumping Baifish. Then he secured the boat and went onto dry land.

When the sun was about to rise, Mohamed went into the island and entered 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 thought you'd have the ship organised to travel to Male' and take our heads there,' said Mohamed.
'Yes, it's all prepared. When you're ready to go, we can leave.'
'Why give us any choice, Viyazoaru? We'd prefer to stay on our island for the rest of our lives, but Male' is waiting impatiently for our heads. So if the ship is ready we shouldn't delay any more, should we?' 'In that case we'll leave,' agreed Viyazoaru.

After having something to eat, they went aboard and punted the ship out of the harbour and raised the sail, holding the two halyards and pulling so hard that the ship tilted onto its side. As water reached the gunwales, the Viyazoaru scrambled over to the rudder and hugged it, saying to Dhandehelu, 'See, I told you this would happen.'
'Dhandehelu,' said Mohamed, 'it might be a new ship, but there's no need to sail so fast. Pull in the main sail a little.' Dhandehelu agreed and 'mai riyaa baah keeli dhashah jasaa', and as the odi moved along it sailed 'aiy boadhashu laafai niyaa maigai.' So there was no need to even fidhu heyriyaa. Because of that, the foreigners who boarded at Baarah ate out of their own food bags.

The odi passed through Thiladhunmathi and went sailing through the two halves of Miladhunmadulu and then out into Baraveli channel as the sun set and darkness fell.
'Hassan,' said Mohamed. 'since we left the island this morning the chief has been at the rudder. He's the oldest person on the ship, we can't leave him there.'
Mohamed took the rudder from the chief and told him to go under the shelter. Hassan then asked to take over the rudder and Mohamed moved aside. The atoll chief went under the shelter and lay down resting his head on the faththee.
'There should be plenty of drinking coconuts aboard, Dhandehelu,' said Mohamed. 'Have you peeled one for the atoll chief yet?'
'When you two brothers have to go somewhere, you get impatient,' grumbled Dhandehelu. 'I've made an unfortunate mistake, and I don't know what to say.'
'What have you done?'
'I forgot to put the small knife in my belt as we were leaving. Can I borrow yours? Then I'll be able to peel a drinking coconut for Viyazoaru.'
'I forgot to bring mine too,' commented Mohamed. 'Hassan, can you give us a knife to peel a drinking coconut for the chief?'
'I forgot mine as well,' came the reply.

As the chief lay resting and about to sleep, he heard Mohamed say, 'This is great, isn't it! No one brought along anything sharp!' Viyazoaru sat up quickly and opened a box under the shelter and took out a knife with a blade like a big foot and as shiny as mercury. Holding it by the blade, he offered it to Mohamed.
'This knife should be big enough to peel a drinking coconut,' sighed the chief.
Mohamed took the knife and Viyazoaru lay down again.

Hassan grabbed the knife and a coconut from Dhandehelu, and at the first attempt he removed the husk from one side. Then he sat on the edge of the shelter roof and looked out at the horizon. The constellation shown to them by the learned man was just meeting the skyline. From where he sat on deck, Mohamed's gaze swept from Viyazoaru's throat to the sharp point of the knife and out to the constellation in the sky.

The brothers sailed on, as Viyazoaru fell asleep and began to snore. Hassan said to his brother, 'Stab the knife into this throat before he wakes up!'
'Keep quiet, Hassan,' hushed Mohamed as he kept his eye on the throat, the knife and the constellation.
'Can't stab him because he's your father-in-law?'
'Would you please be quiet,' retorted Mohamed.
They sailed across Baraveli channel, entered Faadhippolhu atoll and then went out through Maakolu. While they were sailing in the ocean, Dhandehelu did nothing except peel the drinking coconuts at the front of the vessel and throw the husks into the sea from both sides of the boat. Old people have an ancient saying that white husks shouldn't be dropped into the open sea because they may attract great white sharks.

The ship reached the halfway point of the big Kashidhoo channel just as the constellation pointed out by the learned man reached the middle of the sky. Mohamed cut open a drinking coconut and asked Viyazoaru to check if it was any good. The atoll chief took it and placed his lips across the opening and slurped a little bit of fluid. He removed his lips and said to Mohamed, 'If you make the opening too large, it may not taste that good. As long as the drinking hole is small, it will be tasty.'
The chief put his lips back on the nut and began to drink strongly, holding his head back. Mohamed kept looking at Viyazoaru's throat, at the sharp end of the knife, and at the constellation up in the sky. It entered the mid-sky just as Viyazoaru's face was hidden behind the drinking coconut. Mohamed gave praise and thanks to the Almighty and thought of the great learned men, and then stabbed the knife up to its handle into Viyazoaru's throat.

The atoll chief was a very strong man. As he lay under the shelter he pushed his legs around the sides of the rudder and gripped Mohamed between them.
'Even though you are dying you try to bring my brother down too!' jeered Hassan.
He grabbed both ends of the chief's legs and pulled his body apart as a toddy collector splits a green frond. He pulled at the two halves of the body and dropped them onto the steering deck. Dhandehelu heard the sounds of the body hitting the deck and pulled out the rounded piece of heavy anchor timber. Hassan threw away the two halves of Viyazoaru's's body and then killed all the infidels foreigners he could find. As Hassan raised the edge of the shelter to go to the front of the odi, Dhandehelu lifted up the heavy timber in the darkness and said, 'As long as I am breathing none of you will escape your fate for trying to kill the Utheem brothers!' 'Hey Dhandehelu! Remember it's us down this end of the odi! No need to worry about the enemy down here. Aren't there any foreigners at the front of the odi?' 'All the infidels up there are dead.'
'Dhandehelu,' ordered Mohamed, 'throw all the corpses into Kaashidhoo channel, along with the bloodied pieces of thatching. Then use seawater to clean the ship.'

As Dhandehelu cleaned up, they turned the ship around and went back into Faadhippolhu atoll. Emerging into the Baraveli channel , they sailed through the two halves of Miladhunmadulu atoll and into Thiladhunmathi. The ship entered Utheem harbour and they moored it. Then Mohamed said to his brother, 'If we live here, the news will spread all over Maldives. We have to go, and if that's the case, we should take the toddy collecting couple with us. And if we take them, we'll need toddy collecting shells and wooden rungs.'

Hassan went off to the Utheem toddy man's house and called out. 'Hey, toddy man! Mohamed has decided we are leaving the island. He told me to take you with us. If you're coming, he said to bring your collecting cups and climbing rungs so you can start work in a new island.'
'If you two brothers are going, we are happy to go with you,' the toddy man and his wife replied.

Hassan returned to the Jumping Baitfish, and with Dhandehelu he loaded goods from his aunt's house into the boat and then took her aboard.
'Hassan, the toddy collecting couple are taking a long time, go and see what's keeping them,' said Mohamed.
Taking Dhandehelu, Hassan went back in front of the toddy man's house and called out. There was no reply. Hassan walked further into the house and called again. This time there was an answer. It came from the top of a coconut tree. Hassan noticed a heap of cups and climbing rungs lying nearby. 'There's enough here to start work in a new place,' said Hassan. 'and daylight is coming. Let's hurry now. Dhandehelu, you take there rungs and collecting cups.'

Dhandehelu packed the things into a bundle and loaded everything onto his shoulders. It looked as if he was carrying a small kitchen on his back. There were enough cups and rungs to work on 150 coconut palms. Dhandehelu loaded everything onto the ship and by that time, the toddy man had gone back into his house and packed his luggage. He shut up the house and, together with his wife, went to the beach and boarded the Jumping Baitfish. Hasan helped Dhandehelu load goods from the palace.
'Hurry, sister-in-law,' said Hassan. 'It will be light soon. We must travel.'
Amina Rani Kalegefaan was rushing to organise a bundle of clothes. She would fold a black scarf and put it in and tie it up, and then undo it soon after and put in a fan and tie it up, and then undo it again and put in a pair of slippers and tie it up again.
If a woman is going away somewhere she won't be able to leave even the sand beneath her feet, will she?' Hassan said. 'Hey, sister-in-law, daylight hours are approaching. We have to hurry.'

After loading, it was time to take the mother and child from the house. Hassan thought it would be a good idea that since they were leaving for the north, they should leave the house from the north side as well. He led the mother and child out through the north door. Shutting the door and walking out underneath the eaves, Hassan looked up and saw there was no north-east constellation in the sky, but a southern constellation instead. He turned around and went back into the house with the mother and son. This time, they left through the south door, shutting it behind them. Walking onto the beach, the mother slipped in a crab hole and Kalaafaan, who was being carried on her hip, cried out.
'This is what my son, Ma Futhu, has to go through because of his father,' complained Amina Rani Kilegefan. (This was a time when Kalaafaan was called Ma Futhu).

Finally they were aboard and the Jumping Baitfish sailed out through Vagaaru channel. Maldives was left behind and the ship set course for Minicoy. The sun came up as they were travelling, and the day was about to begin as the two brothers sailed their ship through the Saalu Magu channel at Minicoy. The elders and lords of Minicoy were on the beach and saw the Jumping Baitfish approaching from the north. They said to each other that it must belong to an important man from Minicoy, otherwise the ship wouldn't be entering the lagoon that way. It eased into the harbour and when the crowd approached the boat they discovered it wasn't a lord from Minicoy, rather it was a ship belonging to two brothers who had come to stay on their island because Maldives was losing its religion.

The leading men of Minicoy went into the forest with the people and cut down coconut trees. They split the timber and cut it into lengths, while the rest of the people went onto the reef and brought up corals and broke them into useable sizes. Then on an auspicious day of an auspicious month, the grand building known as Dhivehi Palace was built on Minicoy. When the building was completed, the possessions of the brothers were unloaded and put in there. The Jumping Baitfish was beached and covered with an awning, and the two brothers were able to live there safely.

One day, a long time after they arrived, Hassan said to Mohamed, 'The three of us are hiding here, but what about the those few remaining moslems in Maldives?'
'Time to prepare the ship,' said Mohamed.
After sleeping that night they got up at dawn and had breakfast before Hassan took Dhandehelu with him to the ship and cut open the awning. They were fixing the leaks when two men came walking along the beach towards them.
'Where is the ship headed to?' they asked.
'It's about to go to Maldives,' replied Hassan.
'Would you take us?'
'Which country are you from?'
They said they were from Maldives and when Hassan asked which island and atoll, they said they were maternal brothers from Thimarafushi island in Kolhumadulu atoll. They had gone to Arabia and performed haj and visited Medina, but they were unable to return to Maldives because it had lost its religion. Hassan asked their names and learnt they were called Ali and Hassan.

Hassan Takurufan said before taking them, he would have to check with the vessel's captain. Hassan went to Dhivehi Palace and told Mohamed all about the men and their request.
'It seems to be the will of the Almighty that there are now five of us to restore Islam in Maldives. They are Ali Haji and Hassan Haji. If they want to go, we should take them with us.'
Hassan agreed and when he went back to the beach he told the pair that if they wanted to return to the Maldives they should help repair the ship. Hassan returned to Dhivehi Palace.

By the time the sun set that day, the two hajjis had finished repairing the leaks and they went into Dhivehi Palace. After the Utheem brothers had their meal, the three others ate in the kitchen and then the Haji brothers lay down to sleep for the night. Mohamed told Dhandehelu that a rock for the large stone anchor had to be found and then everybody went to sleep.

In the morning, after the Utheem brothers had been served and the other three had finished eating, Dhandehelu took the Haji brothers onto the reef to search for a large rock for an anchor. The brothers thought they had found one and called out to Dhandehelu.
'Big deal!' Dhandehelu said. 'We aren't trying to find the sort of anchor that Male' people use on the shallow side when the baitfish is thick near Dhoonidhoo. We are looking for an anchor suitable for deep water.' He walked away.
'These people are like Bedouin!' said the Haji brothers to each other. 'Maybe we can't do this trip with them.'
They went to where a lump of coral lay like a hard pan on the reef, and called out to Dhandehelu again.
'Maybe that'll be OK,' conceded Dhandehelu as he checked the rock. 'Roll it over and take the stone to the ship.' He walked off again.

The brothers rolled the stone around and carried it to the Jumping Baitfish. Dhandehelu arrived with an even bigger rock, and then he went up into the island and found the Utheem brothers. They all cut the two stones into shape and gouged a hole in the middle of each of them. Then the men went back into the island and they approached a young man.
'Would you show us Minicoy's beautiful mangroves?' asked Mohamed.
The young man protested that he couldn't, or he'd be put in the stocks. Mohamed grabbed his head and lifted him off the ground. 'Boy,' threatened Mohamed, 'if you don't show me Minicoy's mangroves, I won't even let your mother and father know when your funeral wake is held.'
At least I won't die in the stocks, thought the boy. I'll show these people where the mangrove is, and then run before they can stop me.

The Minicoy mangrove was barely visible in the distance when the boy pointed it out to them, and he ran straight back to the village. The Utheem brothers went where he'd pointed and Mohamed selected two long branches for poles. As they were pulled out through the forest, the leaves and side branches snapped off.
'Here Ali Haji, take one of the poles,' said Mohamed as he lifted it onto the man's shoulders.
Ali Haji tried to step forward, but the weight forced him backwards and he sank into the mud.
'You two Hajis carry one pole together,' ordered Mohamed.

As they walked away carrying the pole, Mohamed asked Dhandehelu if he was capable of carrying the other one to the ship.
'Why are you asking me a question like that?' objected Dhandehelu. 'I won't be staggering backwards like Ali Haji!'
He lifted it onto his shoulders and as Dhandehelu walked away, Mohamed saw that his leading hand was right. Dhandehelu didn't take any backward steps. He went straight to the side of the ship and when the two poles had been dropped there, the Utheem brothers cut a piece from the bottom of each pole for the stone anchors and drilled the sticks and kusa furaa. The remaining lengths were trimmed flush for punting and stacked to be loaded aboard the ship.

The Utheem brothers went up into the island, while the htree remaining men caulked the ship. At sunset they went to Dhivehi Palace and served dinner for the Utheem brothers before eating their own meal and retiring for the night. At dawn they served the Utheem brothers and when they had finished their own breakfast, Mohamed told Dhandehelu that the time to launch the Jumping Baitfish was approaching. 'You three go and get the ship ready,' he said. 'Hassan and I will come and launch it.'
Dhandehelu told the Haji brothers to organise the ropes and rolling timbers and get ready to take the vessel into the sea.
'I'll hold onto the ship,' said Dhandehelu as the Haji brothers dragged the launching gear to the beach.

Meanwhile back at Dhivehi Palace, Mohamed told Hassan that it was time for them to launch the ship. Their sister decided to follow and see if they could do it. She walked through the forest and hid behind a tree and waited. Her brothers went next to the Jumping Baitfish and gripped the ropes on either side and Mohamed told Dhandehelu to get ready. 'Remember this is the Utheem brothers' ship. Don't drop it.'

Dhandehelu prepared himself and Hassan gave praise and thanks to the Almighty and thought of the great learned ones, and then they all heaved to launch the boat. From the moment they started pushing, the ship began moving and it didn't stop until it was floating. The Utheem brothers returned to dry land and their sister went back to Dhivehi Palace. She was thinking that with the help of the Almighty, her brothers would achieve what they intended.

That night, after the Utheem brothers lay down to sleep, Dhandehelu went quietly over to Ali and Hassan Haji, and Hassan Takurufan watched him whispering to them. Hassan thought Dhandehelu was discussing a plan to go out for a walk that night and he decided he wasn't going to let it happen.

Dhandehelu waited until he thought Mohamed and Hassan were asleep and then he woke up the Haji brothers by pinching their sides and ears. The three men were just about to leave when Hassan Takurufan jumped up out of bed and ran towards them, calling out, 'Dhandehelu, you are off on a night walk! You can't do that. Mohamed is saying we should leave tonight. Go and prepare the ship.'

Dhandehelu went off towards the Jumping Baitfish with the Haji brothers, while Hassan returned to Dhivehi Palace and woke up his brother. 'Mohamed, shouldn't we be leaving tonight?'
'Hassan, tonight is the third night of the mula nakaiy, the first month of the dry season. The wind will be very strong, and the seas rough. So we should leave after checking the weather.'
Hassan went down to the beach and told Dhandehelu that Mohamed had said they must leave tonight. 'Hurry up with the preparations.'

Hassan returned to the Dhivehi Palace and said the wind was just right for night travel. 'We must leave tonight,' he insisted.
'I haven't been outside,' replied Mohamed, 'but I can hear the wind coming up into the island.'

Hassan went to the beach and called out to Dhandehelu to bring the ship close to shore because Mohamed was coming. Then he went back again and told Mohamed that the wind was just right for travelling. 'We must leave tonight,' he repeated.
'Once Hassan starts something, there's no stopping him!' sighed Mohamed.

They took the writing case and went to the beach and climbed into the Jumping Baitfish. 'Hassan, since the sail is aboard, can you tie it up to the ilaa lee hisaabu?'
Hassan ilaa lee hisaabu badhefai and the ship glided away.
'I'm feeling a bit cold tonight,' said Mohamed to his brother. 'You take the rudder.'
'I've never sailed outside Maldives,' protested Hassan. 'I won't know how to do it.'
'Haven't you heard the song women sing for their babies?'
'I don't go around washing nappies full of baby poo! Of course I haven't heard the song women sing for their babies!'
'Listen then, Hassan: Departing from Minicoy Saalu, If you're running to the south, You'll arrive at Vagaaru'

Mohamed went under the awning and rested, while his brother sailed according to the song he'd just heard. The Jumping Baitfish entered Vagaaru channel and Mohamed told Hassan to take the ship to Maarandhoo. When they arrived, Mohamed suggested they take their older brother with them. Hassan agreed and they unloaded a bunch of areca nuts from Minicoy. (In the past, areca nuts were not grown in Maldives and the closest place they were available was Minicoy.) The nuts were a present for their sister-in-law. Mohamed and Hassan entered their brother's house without waking up his wife. For her, they left the present in case she was upset about her husband leaving with them. They woke up their brother and took him to the ship. They sailed below Maafahi and came out above Baarah. The Jumping Baitfish approached Baarah from the direction of the three Indian coral trees as the ocean wind blew across the island.

Mohamed mentioned to Dhandehelu he was going to ask him to do three things in a row that night.
I wonder what he is going to ask me to do, thought Dhandehelu as he rolled up his sarong into a g-string and went to the front of the ship to attach ropes to the big stone anchors and secure them to the vessel. Then he stood on the boom.








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