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
"Lepeka, weíre going to go and pick
coconuts and Keoniís coming with us to help. Would you like to come?" her
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
SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK! The parrot
didnít like the noise. The bees didnít like the noise either. 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.
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
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
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
"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."