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,"
"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
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
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
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.