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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Little Conch Shell Blower

Lepeka snuck into her brotherís, bedroom, stopping to peek and make sure nobody had seen her. On the table sat his conch shell. The pale, pinkish-brown shell was almost too big for Lepeka to hold, but if she used two hands, she could hold it for a short time. She put her mouth to the hole and blew hard. Nothing happened. She tried over and over again, but only ended up making her cheeks and lips sore. "I wish I could blow the conch shell as good as Keoni does," she pouted, putting it carefully back on the table. Keoni and most of the other boys in the village could blow the conch shells without any trouble. Lepeka thought Keoni was the best. He could make sounds that could be heard on the other side of the island. Just once, sheíd like to make a noise.

"Lepeka, weíre going to go and pick coconuts and Keoniís coming with us to help. Would you like to come?" her mama called.

Lepeka didnít feel very much like picking coconuts. She was too young to climb the tall coconut palms or to carry them. They were heavy. Besides that, she didnít like the way the shells scratched her arms. They were rough and hairy. "Iím going to stay home, Mama," she answered.

After the family left, Lepeka sat outside on her front porch. The sun felt warm as it beat down on her suntanned face. Her feet were bare and she wore a beautiful red muumuu with yellow and pink flowers on it. She looked at all the colorful flowers growing in her garden. The hibiscus bushes were in full bloom with yellow blooms, just like the ones on her muumuu. The scent from the plumeria tree filled the air with a sweet aroma. Big yellow and black bumblebees buzzed from one tiny honeysuckle flower to another.

SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK! A bright blue, purple and green parrot flew by. It landed in the banyon tree that shaded her house. Lepeka laughed with delight as she listened to the parrotís noisy singing. "You are a pretty parrot," she said, watching its head bob up and down.

Just then she remembered that Keoni was gone; so was her mama and papa. She could practice blowing Keoniís conch shell. "I can bring it outside," she smiled. Carefully, she carried the shell from his room and took it out to the porch. She sat, cross-legged on a straw mat, held the shell tightly in her hands and raised it to her mouth. She took a deep breath, pursed her lips and blew into the shell. Nothing happened. She tried it again. She took an even deeper breath and blew until her cheeks puffed out like a blowfish and her eyeballs nearly bulged out of her face. This time a little screech came out.

SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK! The parrot didnít like the noise. The bees didnít like the noise either. BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ!

Lepeka was excited to have made any kind of noise! "I did it! I did it!" she shouted. She tried again and again, making a little more noise each time. The parrot flew away. The bees flew to another bush in a different part of her garden. She took one more breath and blew into the conch shell as hard as she could.

AAAARRRRRUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! Lepeka jumped up, giggling. She was so excited and nearly dropped the shell onto the porch. She put it down on the mat and started to dance around. Her long brown hair bounced up and down as she wiggled about. The flowers in the lei that she wore around her neck bounced up and down. "Iím sure they heard that on the other side of the island," she giggled.

As she was dancing around on the porch, her mama, papa and Keoni came running back to the house. "Whatís the matter?" asked her papa.

Lepeka stopped dancing. "What do you mean, Papa?"

He asked again, "Whatís the matter, Lepeka? Who blew the conch shell?"

Keoni noticed his shell lying on the mat. "My shell! Whatís it doing out here?" he asked.

Lepeka got a huge smile on her face and proudly replied, "That was me! I blew Keoniís conch shell, just like he does!"

Mama, Papa and Keoni looked at the shell. Keoni picked it up. "You? You blew my conch shell? How could you? Youíre too little!"

"Let me have it and Iíll show you. I can do it now! I can do it!" she excitedly exclaimed. Keoni handed his little sister the shell. She put it to her lips, took a deep breath, pursed them and blew until her face was purple.

AAAARRRUUUUUUUUUUUUU! Papa started to laugh, so did Mama.

Keoni stood still, staring at his little sister. He couldnít be angry with her. In fact, he was proud of her. They dropped the coconuts that they had gathered and sat down on the mat. "Tell us how you did that," Mama said.

"I just practiced, Mama. I blew and I blew until I did it. The parrot didnít like it and the bumblebees didnít either, but I did!" She blew into it again and out came a loud AAAARRRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! Lepeka laughed so hard that she nearly fell off the porch.

"She really can do it!" Keoni said, surprised. "If you keep that up, one day youíll be better than me," he said to his sister.

That night, as Lepeka lay asleep in her bed, Keoni came into her room and put his conch shell on her table. She would see the gift when the sun kissed her cheeks in the morning. He smiled and sat down on the bed next to her. He caressed her soft hair and then tiptoed quietly out of her room. "Iím proud of you, my sister, the little conch shell blower."

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