Friday, August 27, 2010

Mau, The Master Navigator (#FridayFlash)

The Ma'ohi tell Mau's tale on the beaches where the fishers bring in the numbfish dragged nets filled with i'a. While the cooks gut and skin the i'a, mixing in the seaweed, salt, and limu to create poke, the fishers build a fire and begin the tale, hoping to attract the children who would rather play in the sand than expend themselves to learn the master navigator's way.

Voices boom around the fire as the sun sets. The stars haven't risen yet, won't speak until the bellies have been filled with poke. The story echoes and if the Ma'ohi are lucky, it plucks a chord in a child's soul.

Mau lived in an island village where the breadfruit grew lush beside the coconut and taro root. All was plentiful until one year absent rains turned the leaves brittle. Salt seas surrounded them where the God's sacred numbfish lived. Mau watched his people waste away and one day he paddled his koa board into the surf.

The cycle of day and night ended with dawn painting the horizon a pale yellow. The gray sheen of a numbfish broke above the water with its triangular wing-fin gliding beneath Mau's fingers. Mau had touched the sacred fish. He praised it and pledged his life to feed it, sliding off the koa board and into the salt waters. The numbfish bumped its head against his body, pushing him back towards the board. Words, a foreign language, flooded into Mau with blue-tinged images. Shining light streaked above him and he, master navigator, was the first of the Ma'ohi to read the star-writing. The words told of a school of fish swimming on the other side of the island. The numbfish towed Mau's koa board to the bay where Mau thumped the i'a against the koa before stacking the i'a. He brought the food home to the starving villagers.

Mau, the father navigator.


  1. Surprised there's not more comments here Aidan I thought this was cracking, love the 'numbfish' and the 'starwriting', really epic tale in flash form.

  2. I loved the tone of this one. It had a very mythic feel to it, and the ending reinforced this. It was like watching a dream play out on the shore.

  3. I really like the rhythm of the writing here and the storyteller quality of it. It made me feel like I was sitting around a fire listening to a long ago tale. Nice one!

  4. @Adam, thank you. I've been enjoying this world.

    @TS, thank-you, I did want to create the mythic quality. I worried that it was a little-too dreamlike. I'm glad it worked.

    @Shannon, glad I could craft the fire for you, thank-you for the comments.

  5. Aidan

    this is much different than your previous flashes. i liked it a lot. very well researched and articulated. the tone, the storyline, the weaving.... well done. :)


  6. Not too dreamlike at all. I think it's just how a myth should read. Nice work, good details.

  7. I had a little trouble with the exotic words but I agree that the story has a very mythic feel to it. Very nice.

  8. Loved the native folklore feel to this piece. Fabulous writing.

  9. @Annie, Thank-you, it helps that I'm working on a short story set in the same world (not a myth, but I thought adding myths would be nice).

    @Valerie, thank-you it is always good to hear the details work especially on a short piece like this where you have to be careful to make the details work.

    @ganymeder, it was one of the things I had to balance, I wanted the foreign words (even non-foreign like poke were unusual and probably not known.) I tried to make them obvious, but it was hard. Glad you liked it.

    @GP, thank-you, I'm glad that the piece managed to capture the native folklore.