Maui Girl

These stories from Donna Austin come from her rich Maui history and heritage.

01 December 2006

Chapter 5: Joao Breaks Horses

The black sweating horse stomped his feet and snorted loudly. João had been hanging on the horse like a limpet to the rocks on the seashore. Every bone in his body ached, especially his teeth, which had transmitting a staccato beat to his skull, leaving his brain numbed from the pain.
He slid off the exhausted and now compliant animal, glad for the solidity of the earth beneath his bare feet. Taking off his straw hat, he wiped his forehead with his sleeve.
“How did I do papa?” asked João, as he walked over to the group of men who had been spectators.
“I couldn’t have done better myself, João. You’ve learned your lesson well,” said his father proudly.
“Like father, like son!” said Shorty, a 6 foot 6 inch tall paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy). He slapped João good-naturedly on the back. “Maybe someday you’ll have your own ranch with your own horses and cattle.”
“Yes, I want to break horses, because there is good money in it and they’re paying $50 a horse at the sugar mills. Then I can use the money to buy my own land, acre by acre, and buy my own cattle, one by one. Beef will always find a market, and I can grow a small crop or two!” said João dreamily.
“That son of yours has his future all staked out. He certainly seems to know what he wants and how to go about it,” said Shorty admiringly. Shaking João’s hand, he said, “Keep dreaming like that, and maybe someday it will come true!”


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