Sunday, January 30, 2005

Legend of Halu'u

A long time ago in the days of the Great Maga'lahi Atdao (Sun), the lord of the paradise Tano' Guam and beyond, there lived a simple fisherman named Halu'u.

He was a man with simple means and simple dreams. He lived with his wife and family in a very modest home made of latte stones and palm leaves. His life was simple because he believed that simplicity brought happiness and meaning to his existence.

Since the Great Maga'lahi Atdao (Sun) became the exulted ruler of Tano' Guam and beyond, there has been peace among the peoples of Oceania, which stretches from the Mongolian kingdom in the West to the Indio continent, far to the East. The Great War with the yellow warriors of Mongolia had united the many peoples of Oceania under one ruler supported by the Council of the Gods. The Great War bought peace and cooperation among the seafaring explorers who inhabited the islands of the Pacific.

And now, the people were happy and lived in harmony because they were at peace with themselves; at peace with the sea; at peace with the lands; and at peace with the Gods.

Halu'u was never an ordinary Taotao Tano'. His physical features portrayed a man of great agility and great strength. He was quite tall, muscular and remarkably handsome. His brown skin and long, wavy hair made him look more like a god than a man. He was a Matua. Wahoo Game Fish

On this day, as in every day, Halu'u was out beyond the reefs in his masted canoe trawling for toson (Wahoo). It was here that Halu'u first encountered the giant Gaga' Tasi (sea animal) many seasons ago. He was massive and enormous in size with pointed nose and wide dorsal fins. He was a daily visitor to these fishing grounds and Halu'u sometimes wondered whether the Gaga' Tasi came-by to feast on the tosons or just to taunt him.

"hafa che'lu! Kao guaha minaolek?" (Hello brother, any luck?), asked the Gaga' Tasi in a sarcastic tone.

Sige! Sige! Mungnga yu' ma kasi, pa'go!" (Go away! Go away! Don't tease me, today!), replied Halu'u.

"Hafa ga'chong! Kao ti ya-mu yu'?" (What's the matter my friend. You don't like me?), the Gaga' Tasi asked.

"Hagu na gaga' ti ga'chong-hu," (Animal, you are no friend of mine), echoed Halu'u.

"Ha! Ha! Ha!, Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughed the creature.

"Chalek nai, atmariao!" (Laugh, you crazy!), said Halu'u.

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Hunggan ya-mu yu' sa' ya-hu hao!" ( yes you like me because I like you!), the Gaga' Tasi cried back with a snicker.

"Sige! Atmariao!" replied Halu'u as he threw his long harpoon spear and narrowly missing the fish.

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughed the Gaga' Tasi as he swam away from his reach.

Halu'u disgustedly reeled in his harpoon on to the canoe. He thought out loud, "One day, one day I will catch you with the tip of my spear and my people will have you for dinner."

In seasons past, Halu'u has been haunted by the Gaga' Tasi. For too long, he has been unsuccessful in catching any toson because of the dreaded creature. Each day he came to fish and each day the Gaga' Tasi has frustrated his efforts. As the sun rises in the talo'ani (midday), Halu'u could be seen paddling his canoe back through the Tomhom (Tumon) channels, dejected and somber. Another day, another failure.

"It would be nice to return with the Gaga' dragging at the ends of my spear. Then the Taotao Songsong (village people) will rejoice at my feat. But today will not be the day. I am coming home with nothing," Halu'u said to himself.

"I have to find a way to catch the Gaga' Tasi," he thought. "Maybe if I use my Taotaomo'na spear. Maybe if I use more sennit rope. Maybe....Maybe..." his thoughts died out as he stepped off the canoe and on to the sandy shores.

"Tata" (Father), he heard his youngest son Ayuyu calling from the distant shoreline. "Tata! Alula! Mamamaila' i pakyu!" (Father! Hurry! The typhoon is coming!), the boy cried out.

"Sige, hanao nahgong gi kantit!" (Go, take shelter in the cliffs!), Halu'u ordered. "Sige! Sige!" (Go! Go!), he shouted.

Hearing his father's commands, the boy obediently turned around and headed for the cliff-lines, where all the Taotao Songsong took refuge from the impending storm.

The winds were blowing hard now and the rains came. Halu'u was suddenly struck with a passionate desire to seek his revenge on the Gaga' Tasi. He ran home and secured his family's belongings. He took a large spool of sennit rope, his Taotaomo'na harpoon and returned to the shore. He quickly commandeered his proa (ancient Chamorro fishing vessel) back through the channels. He fought hard against the winds and the rain enroute to the fishing grounds. And that was the last time the people of Guam ever saw Halu'u again.

When the pakyu subsided, the Great Maga'lahi ordered a search party to go out and find Halu'u. They searched for days and days. They searched as far North as Agrihan and as far South as Belau. After weeks of searching in vain, the party returned and reported their fruitless efforts to the Maga'lahi.

As is the custom of the land, a ceremony was held at the shorelines to honor and remember the passing of a Taotao Tano'. The men of the Songsong began exchanging ideas and thoughts about Halu'u and what may have happened to him.

"I think he was overcame by the winds and the rain and he was swept out to sea," one Matua said.

"I believe the pakyu swept him all the way to Mongolia and he is now the prisoner of the yellow people," another cried.

"If you ask me, I think Halu'u was eated by the Gaga' Tasi," a third man added.

Just then, the Great Maga'lahi Atdao overheard the rumors circulating among the men. He interceded and said, "Don't fear, my good people. Our brother Halu'u is alive and well. I spoke to him just last night in my dreams."

The people were shocked. They begged and pleaded for the Maga'lahi to them more ...

The Maga'lahi continued, "Here is what happened. Halu'u went back to the sea to seek his revenge on the Gaga' Tasi. He found the abominable creature in the fishing grounds and he speared him. As big as the animal was, fifty canoe size, he dragged Halu'u and his proa all the way to Sa'ipan and back. He dragged him all the way to Chuuk and back. Somewhere enroute to Guam, the Gaga' Tasi thought he had rid himself of Halu'u because the canoe hit a small mass and it broke up. But Halu'u saw this in time and he grabbed at the sennit rope. My people, Halu'u is still riding the great beast until he tires."

The people awed in wonder. Then they smiled and rejoiced. They hugged and congratulated each other on the mighty feat of thier brother, Halu'u.

The Maga'lahi went on, "My people, let us celebrate the great feat of our brother. We can now fish for the toson. I proclaim this day in honor of Halu'u. Let us know this day as "Ha'anin Halu'u" and let us know the dreaded creature as "Gaga' Halu'u"."

As generations past, the Gaga' Halu'u became known only as "Halu'u". Every shark in the ocean became known as "Halu'u". And up to this day, the seafarers and seamen continue to report sightings of the long-hared Matua riding a giant shark and shouting victoriously, "Ha! Ha! Ha! I have you now, Gaga'."


Blogger Dakini said...

Good story. Thanks for posting it for others to read. ;)

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