The Legend of the Island of Aki’i
Picture - #16
Disclaimer: Everything’s mine!
Somewhere out in the oceans of the world, there is an island named Aki’i. There are many villages scattered throughout the island and the villagers lead a simple-but-fulfilling life. Yes, it is an island like many others in the oceans…except for the enchanted woods near the waterfall.
Countless seasons ago, life wasn’t as pleasant on the island as it is today, and it was all due to an evil that plagued the island. Spanish explorers who briefly visited the island simply called him El Gigante. The Giant. Nobody knows where he came from, but for many moons, El Gigante terrorized the island. He ate almost everything on the island and easily killed most of its people by stepping on them and squashing them like bugs.
This greatly shocked and saddened the people’s gods, and yet the gods weren’t allowed to directly interfere with human affairs. They watched helplessly as more and more of the island’s inhabitants died suddenly under El Gigante’s foot while other island dwellers, who hid in caves or the rainforest, died slowly of starvation. Something had to be done, but what? The king of the gods, Ako, and his queen, Akumi, thought and thought and thought some more. Finally, they came to a decision. They could not directly interfere in human affairs, but they could choose an agent, a hero, to rid the island of El Gigante.
Kiko, an orphaned teenager and the strongest young man on the island, was their chosen one. Ako and Akumi assumed the form of water fowl and entered Kiko’s dreams one night and gave him their orders. There will be ten days of rain. On the night of the ninth day, you must sleep on the highest cliff on the island.
Kiko wondered about his strange dream, but being of a good heart and faithful nature as well as trusting his dreams, he climbed to the top of the highest cliff on the ninth day of rain and built a small shelter. He huddled inside it and waited that night, but nothing happened. Still, he waited some more until late at night, he fell asleep at last. Ako and Akumi again entered his dreams as water fowl. Again, they told him what to do. Tomorrow night, when you see the giant, hold up your right hand. A glove made of the sap of the rubber tree will cover your hand. Keep your hand up and a lightning bolt will appear. Throw the lightning bolt at the giant.
Yet again, Kiko wondered at his dream, but he did as he was told. He waited until the night of the tenth day of rain. That night, the storm was more violent than it had been the previous nights and lightning flashed in the sky, periodically lighting the island as if a full moon were out, and nearby thunder almost deafened him. Kiko watched as El Gigante spied him and approached him, and Kiko held up his hand. Suddenly, a glove made of the sap of the rubber tree covered it. A lightning bolt followed. Waiting for El Gigante to come closer and aiming carefully, Kiko finally threw the lightning bolt. The giant’s body gave one mighty convulsive heave and El Gigante staggered backward and fell, creating a deep canyon in the soft muddy ground beneath him.
Before dawn the next morning, the rain finally stopped. Afraid that the evil in El Gigante would seep out of his body and poison the land, Ako and Akumi stole the giant’s corpse. Water fell and tumbled in a turbulent river down the canyon, the roaring sound a permanent reminder of the night Kiko valiantly rid the island of El Gigante, and for each island inhabitant who died, a tree sprang up around the canyon. Ako and Akumi blessed and enchanted the land, painted a rainbow as a sign of their blessing, and then visited Kiko in his dreams once more. The island of Aki’i should be a place of contentment and peace. The woods shall be known as Peace Woods and no violence or harm shall come to those who visit there. So it came to be, and so it passes.
Story by: THE BARD OF NEW MEXICO
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