This morning I gave the children's segment story at church in Colac, my version from a story told to us from Ratu Marika. The theme was prayer. I used a scattering of pictures from the internet as I didn't have time to make new drawings as I intended and these were put on the data projector. I had a Fijian fishing basket which was passed around the congregation.
Here's the story:
The fisher girl Taraivini – a story as told by Ratu Marika
This is an old story from the Fiji Island of Gau about a teenage girl named Taraivini. She lived with her Mum and Dad in a village. From the 1930s. She loved to catch fish or to find mussels and cockles to give to her family to cook. One day a group of fishermen took their canoe out into the deep sea to find a good place to spear fish near a small deserted island and they took Taraivini with them.
When they reached the small island the men were spearing fish and Taraivini searched for cockle shells and caught small fish. She found a place around the corner of rocks.
After three hours she returned to the main beach to find the canoe gone, the fishermen gone. Far out to sea she saw the canoe. They had left her behind!
She was alone. What to do. She prayed and prayed. To stay or to swim. It was almost dark.
She decided to swim, tied her basket to her waist and started swimming. Occasionally she found a rock to stand on or a reef to have a short rest, but then it got so dark she couldn’t see her village or even the island.
Back at the village Taraivini’s parents were desperate and angry that their daughter had been left behind, all alone. The fishermen said she would have stayed on the little island and tomorrow they would fetch her. Taravini’s mother was crying wanted to beat the fishermen with sticks, but instead decided to pray to God. She and her husband went to the village church to ask God’s protection of Taraivini. Ask and it will be given you, the minister had told them in one sermon.
Then Taraivini’s Dad had a good idea. Prayer isn’t enough. Let’s be practical. Let’s go to our beach and make a bonfire so that Taraivini can see the light of it. So they did so, built a big fire and it lit up the sky.
Taraivini saw the light at last and knew which way to swim and almost exhausted she reached the beach and home. Her parents hugged her hugely of course, knowing that their daughter was alive. They thanked God. Their prayer was answered.