Maui Girl

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

19 January 2007

Chapter Six: A Walk with Friends

“Let’s go for a walk before we all have to leave”? Suggested Tony.
“Yes, this will be the last chance to get to see you for quite some time.” Pleaded João.
Smiling, Rose agreed, and they raced off down a windingly steep path through some kukui trees and over some rocks and across a stream. As they waded across the cold stream, they laughed and chattered, totally unaware of the stranger hidden from their view watching them.
He stepped from behind a tree, as the three reached the streams edge. “So we meet again!” he greeted them with a crooked grin.
Rose gasped in shock at his ragged appearance and swarthy look. His skin had a sheen that looked feverish, his eyes were glassy and desperate. Tony and João pushed a frightened Rose behind them. Her heart was beating so loudly, she was sure the stranger could hear it.
“What do you want? And who are you?” Tony asked. His voice quavered a little as he protectively sheltered Rose from any possible attack.
The stranger said, “Please don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you. I’m sick and I’m starving. Please listen!” he begged.
João, Tony and Rose stood rooted to the spot, as they listened to the strange story unfold.
“My name is Augustine Cunha, Gus for short, and I am a carpenter by trade. I had gone to the island of Flores in the Azores to work. I had been apprenticed for 2 years in my village of Castelo Branco on the island of Faial. Because I was considered a skillful craftsman, I was offered permanent employment on the island of Flores. I was making enough money to send my parents half the amount and could still live well off the rest.

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