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Unit 1 GW BOOK

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Reading

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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.

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1As you read the text, think about these questions

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

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b) How does the situation turn out for her?

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Kalea, Princess of the Waves

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‘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?’

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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.

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‘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!’

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‘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.’

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‘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.’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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Original material © Cambridge University Press 2019

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DMU Timestamp: August 30, 2021 20:40

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