AS TOLD BY PAPA SII TO BAKA BINA
Baka Bina’s ninth book, Tales From Faif, is due for release before the end of December. It includes for extracts from the popular Cry Me a River series, two from the Pineapple series, four legends and three contemporary stories - KJ
A LEGEND - Alonaa was bored. He did not like the idea of babysitting the terror cousins –the three girls, Teniso, Sukare, Panikame, and two boys, Nana-Muni and Metty-Mahn, who were smaller than him.
The girls were terrors - more like terriers - who were too troublesome to look after.
Away from the village, at the garden or the big river, Alonaa would rule with a big stick and the small ones responded.
In the village, the big people screamed at you if you ear-boxed the smaller ones.
Yesterday he took the small ones to the Venevetaka Eddies to go swimming. The day before that they went to Iye Numuko to stone fish at the small creek there.
The previous day before that, he took them with him to Sogopex when he went with an axe chopping up opena, ghohuno and mesinopa trees looking for tree grubs.
The terrors were all noise and crying if they could find a reason to do so. If one of the girls was not crying, the two boys were crying.
They always had something to be angry about with each other and Alonaa found it a chore to rule over them.
However, as the eldest of the cousins he was required to babysit and he wished the school holidays would be over quickly so he could get back with other boys his age.
Today his luck ran out once more. It was babysitting duties again. Mummy had gone to town and told all the children, all six to remain at the hauslain.
Alonaa got them to play hop scotch. The three girls did well, the two small boys ran havoc. So they stopped.
Next they tried kicking balls. But the small ones wanted to catch and run with the ball. So that stopped.
Then they tried hockey, a make believe hockey game where a piece of thong was cut up as a puck and, using a stick, they tried to bat this pluck to each other.
The girls could barely hit the puck and the two boys always ran into it or did whatever they could to disturb the girls.
It needed big children to play this - and away from the village, not in this small yard.
As the sun climbed past the tall trees and the shadows shortened, Alonaa thought what they could do next.
He looked into the big pot of kaukau that Ma had cooked for them. Even though it was half empty, there was still plenty left. So they would not be hungry before Ma came in.
He was out of ideas. He thought maybe they could of make bows and arrows and to go lizard hunting.
But that was what boys were interested in. The girls showed no interest in either bows and arrows or hunting.
What about small mumus? Mum did not go to the garden and the raw kaukau in the house were the ones she had bought at the market.
She would certainly not agree to them wasting them in small mumus.
Alonaa was thinking that perhaps Papa Sii would have some kaukau in his house. The problem was that the house was locked. Papa Sii would have taken the keys with him.
Alonaa was not sure if there was any kaukau to be harvested from the garden on the other side of the creek.
He knew there would be plenty in the main garden at the hauspik. He could take this riotous group there. But they’d been there twice in the last three days and there was no more fruit to pick.
He perked up when a “Whao!’’ shouted from the fence fronting the village. Alonaa looked eagerly towards the familiar voice.
Papa Aishi had shouted from his market stall beside the fence to acknowledge his presence and to say that he was back.
He had gone early to the main market to buy things he could resell in the village square. He was setting out these on a small table.
“Papa Sii – ii,” the children all shouted in reply to his ‘whao!’
Alonaa was glad an adult had come who would look after the terrors. Now he could wander off to find his peers.
“Alonaa!” Papa Sii called. “Come and get your scones and ice blocks.”
Good old Papa Aishi always bought scones and drinks from his market money.
“Ah-ha,” Alonaa thought aloud. “Story time, children.
“Okay kids, let us go to Papa Sii and he will tell us stories.”
“We’re coming,” they chorused in unison.
“Hurry, get the mats and pillows. We will go sit with Papa Sii and he will tell us one of his stories.”
Nana-Muni and Metty-Mahn always liked the story about Piku-Piku and Asukena and they shouted in repeated singsong, “Piku-Piku! Asukena! Piku-Piku! Asukena!”
They scrambled into the house and pulled at the roll-up mats Ma had stacked up in the corner.
Panikame challenged them for another story and called out “Giririripo’ne”, adding an extra ‘ri’ which sounded like fun, and they all burst out laughing at the mistake.
“Giriripo’ne,” Sukare corrected her.
“‘No, it’s Ghilipo’ne, not giriripo’ne,” Alonaa pronounced the name correctly. “Our language does not have the letter ‘r’ and the letter ‘g’ sounds like ‘gh’.”
The correction was lost on the girls. It did not matter to them.
The two small terrors had raced to the stall and were demanding Piku-Piku and Asukena.
Papa Sii looked at them.
“Ah, you two are here. Come and look at this!”
He held a squirming insect that was trying to escape from his hands.
The two terrors took a close look. He told them to wait for Alonaa.
Nana-Muni was impatient and tried to pry Papa Sii’s hand open. Alonaa arrived and warp-boxed his ears.
“Okay, roll out your mats,” he ordered the two boys.
The girls arrived with the mats and Alonaa unscrambled the old mosquito net they normally used as sunshade.
He dug stakes in the ground and strung up the shades while the girls ran back to get bean bags they used as cushions. These were going to be pillows they could rest their heads on.
As the sun drifted across the top of the sky, Aishi pulled out a clear glass bottle. He showed it to Metty-Mahn and asked him what was inside.
Metty-Mahn grinned from ear to ear and looked back at the girls. It was his favourite insect, shiny and black. He shouted, “Piku-Piku!’” and forced the bottle from Papa Sii’s hand.
Papa Sii took out another bottle, a green one. It was a bit difficult to see inside it. But they could see something scrambling around.
Nana-Muni took the bottle from Papa Sii’s outstretched hand. He took some time unscrewing the top of the bottle. A huge grin crossed his face.
Part 2 tomorrow