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Unit 1 GW BOOK


The following extract comes from a story based on the Hawaiian legend of Kalea, a young princess on the island of Maui. In this extract, her father asks what she thinks of the suitors who have come to request her hand in marriage.

1As you read the text, think about these questions

a) How does the writer makes the reader interested in Kalea?

b) How does the situation turn out for her?

Kalea, Princess of the Waves

‘Well,’ said my father, sitting in his high-backed chair. ‘Which one of the great chiefs will you choose? What about the Chief of Hana?’

I didn’t reply. Above us, I could see the highest mountain on the islands, the volcanic Haleakala, shrouded in grey cloud. A storm might be coming. This was rare but it matched my mood: I didn’t want any of the old men my father had proposed. Since early childhood, I had had the freedom of the island, swimming in the emerald sea, chasing my brother Kawao over the golden sand. I knew deep down that I had been spoilt and couldn’t remain a child forever, yet marrying some chieftain from another part of the island was the last thing I wanted to do. My father’s face darkened like the sky above the swaying palm-trees.

‘Kawao,’ he sighed, gesturing at my brother who was sitting on a long log, trying to keep out of the argument. ‘Make her see sense!’

‘It’s true, Kalea,’ he said. ‘Father is right. Our kingdom is under threat. You have a chance to marry the Chief of Hana. It will unite our two families and keep the peace.’

‘Keep the peace?’ I scoffed. ‘If I ever marry it will be to a prince who loves the sea and surf as much as I do, not to some boring old law-maker! For now, the only husband I want is my onini.’

So saying, I raced out, clutching my surf-board under my arm and headed along the winding track that led to the beach. Even before I reached it, I could hear the waters of the Auaa Channel surging wildly under the breath of the south-wind, the kona. My heart leapt as I saw the giant waves, falling in a froth of emerald and silver.

I plunged into the surf and lay flat on my board, paddling away from the shore. Here was my home, the place I cherished dearly for the pull of the current, the taste of the salt and the sun bronzing my limbs. No one in my father’s kingdom commanded the waves as I did. Even now, under the darkening skies, I did not want to return. All my thoughts were on the next bigwave, the one that would carry me like a flying horse through the air.

When the perfect one came, I stood up on the board and allowed the billowing water to lift me. Suddenly I was racing along, the wave curving over me, challenging me to go faster than ever before. But just as I reached my highest speed, I heard a crack of thunder. A spear of lightning arrowed from the sky. For a split-second, I lost my concentration. I wobbled and tottered around. Could I stay standing, or would I be swept away, pulled under the churning waters? I flung myself onto my front and clutched the board with my hands. At that moment, the giant wave exploded over me, and sent me hurtling for the shore. All I could do was hang on for dear life. The sloping beach hit me like a wall.

Where was I? The breath had been knocked out of me, and I lay on my back gasping, staring at the black clouds that raced across the sky. I’d made it! Half-conscious, I stared again. The clouds seemed to be forming themselves into a face, a shape, a body. A body! Could I be imagining it? My heart pounded. It was a young man, a handsome man. He was in a canoe, furiously plunging his oar into the waves.

But then the image vanished. The black clouds dissolved and the sky turned an instant blue. I gradually pulled myself up. My brother appeared, running onto the beach.

‘Are you hurt, Kalea?’ he cried, his face creased with worry.

‘No, Kawao,’ I said, slowly, looking at the volcano which was now as clear as a charcoal drawing. ‘Everything is fine.’

Original material © Cambridge University Press 2019

DMU Timestamp: August 30, 2021 20:40

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