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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Kimo and the Tiki

Kimo carefully carried a piece of sandalwood that his teacher had given to him at school. The whole class would be carving their own tikis and the best one would win a prize. The piece of wood was about two feet long and a foot wide. It had been awkward carrying it home, but luckily it wasnít a heavy wood. "Iím home, Mama and Papa," he called, opening the front door.

"What have you got there?" his papa asked, taking the wood from his sonís arms and putting it on the table.

"I have to make a tiki for school," he answered.

"Would you like me to help you draw up some plans and designs?" his papa asked.

"No, Papa. I have my own ideas," Kimo replied and went to his room. He took a piece of paper and drew a picture of what he wanted his tiki to look like. He wanted it to have a lot of teeth and narrow eyes with bushy eyebrows slanting towards a pointed nose. It would have war paint on its cheeks and circles carved around the eyes.

The next day he took his picture to school. The teacher had the children show their drawings to the class. She liked Kimos. She thought it looked authentic. When he went home that night he had to ask his mama and papa what authentic meant. "It means that your tiki needs to look like the tikis did long ago. It has to look real," Papa explained.

Each day after school Kimo spent an hour carving his tiki. It was hard work and he had to be very careful not to cut himself. He had to use sharp objects to carve the sandalwood. His mama and papa insisted on watching him as he carved, just in case. His mama would sit and make flowery leis with plumerias, orchids and hibiscus while she watched him carve his tiki. Kimo didnít like the smell of all the flowers. When his papa supervised, heíd practice his drums. He told Kimo how their ancestors had been great warriors and had beaten the drums when preparing for battle. Kimo loved listening to the drums, but sometimes wished that he could be alone when he did his carving.

The weeks went by and Kimo finished his tiki. He added stripes to the cheeks to resemble war paint and then it was complete. He stood back and looked at it. It was kind of scary. The eyes frightened him. Kimoís parents told him what a good job he had done and that it was one of the best tikis theyíd ever seen.

Rain fell all night. Papa told Kimo heíd better take the tiki into the house or else the rain would cause it to swell up and ruin it. He helped him carry it into Kimoís room. "Are you sure you want it in your room?" his papa asked. Kimo insisted it be put on top of his desk, which was right next to his bed. Kimo lay in his bed, surrounded by darkness. His eyes kept wandering to the tiki. Its eyes were even more frightening in the dark. He turned his back towards it so he wouldnít have to look at it, but he could still feel those scary eyes looking at him. He pulled the covers over his head and tried to listen to the breeze blowing through the trees, but still he could feels those tiki eyes staring at him. He put his pillow over his head, trying to block out all the images and light, but still, no matter what he did, all he could see was the tikiís face.

He finally fell asleep. In the wee hours of the morning he woke up again. The moon was shining brightly into his room and right onto the tiki statue. The moonbeams lit up the eyes. Kimo screamed. Mama and Papa came running into this room. "Mama, take the tiki out of my room, please?" Kimo begged.

Mama gave Papa a secret little smile. "Kimo, I tried to warn you that tikis donít belong in bedrooms. Iím sorry, son," Papa said. He picked it up and carried it out of Kimoís room. He put it on the floor by the front door. Kimo slept well the rest of the night.

The next morning he carried the tiki to school. He passed other children carrying theirs. Kimo looked at them and thought that his looked better.

In class, the teacher asked all the children to put their tikis in a row against the wall. Each child carried theirs over and set it down on the floor. Nobody knew which one belonged to who, neither did the teacher. She walked around the room, passing by all the tikis, looking at each one carefully. When she sat back at her desk, she said, "Iíve made my decision. I like this one the best," and picked up Kimoís tiki. "It looks like an authentic tiki."

Kimo smiled. He knew what authentic meant now. "Whose tiki is this?" the teacher asked. Kimo stood up and walked to the front of the room. The teacher told the other children that their tikis were very good. She explained that they would all be put on display in the front hall of the school, but since Kimo won, his tiki would be in the center, on a pedestal for all to see.

The other children were happy for Kimo. His was the best and they all agreed. He felt so proud because he had work so hard and did it all by himself. He heard a lot of the other children say how scary the eyes looked.

That afternoon Kimo went home and told his mama and papa about winning the contest. Mama gave Kimo a new hat that she had made for him. He was glad it was made of palm fronds and not flowers. Papa gave Kimo his own new knife so that he could carve more pieces of sandalwood.

When Kimo went to bed, the wind was howling. He thought he heard conch shells blowing and the murmuring of warriors on their way to battle. At one time he thought he felt the presence of the great king Kamehameha in his room, telling him how proud he was.

When Kimoís mama and papa snuck in to have one last look at their son that night, they noticed the proud smile on his face. "Good night, my little Kimo," Mama whispered. They tiptoed away and shut the door softly behind them.

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