Children's Stories


Los Angeles Times - Come Into the Sea (A five-part series)


Come Into the Sea - Part 1
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Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Patricia Rust
Date: Jul 31, 2006
Start Page: E.14
Section: Calendar; Part E; Calendar Desk
Text Word Count: 386
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THIS was it. She had made up her mind she was going to see it. The green flash.

Pretty Pualani let the darkening shoreline waters tickle her toes. The late-day sky looked like mango sherbet with streaks of seashell pink running through the strips of orange-colored clouds.

Pualani loved her Hawaiian island, but she loved the kai (sea) even more and was as much at home in it as any fish. She heard soft singing sounds coming from the water. "Come into the sea," they said.

She hooked her bright eyes to the sky like a fisherman to his he 'e (octopus). This time Pualani was going to see the bright, startling green flash that was supposed to come with the soft setting of the sun.

Pualani knew she mustn't look directly at the sun, so she patiently waited until it was just about to drop and disappear below the horizon.

The setting sun started to dip into the kai as Pualani walked farther out into the foaming surf. "I'm going to see you, green flash," she said, as she looked out to sea.

Soon the saltwater had risen high on Pualani's chest and she could no longer walk into the sea. Swimming far past the shoreline, her determination was as strong as ever. A wave splashed and lapped over her face. "Oh, what if I missed it!"

Pualani continued to swim toward the sunset, thinking that by doing so, she could make it flash green.

"It must have happened when the wave got me," she mourned.

As she was about to turn around and swim for shore, the slipping sun shot lime-green colors, rainbow bright, but only for a split second, then it was gone.

"I saw it! I saw it!" Pualani told the sea and sky and the world around her. "I saw the green flash! It was more beautiful than any fish in the sea. It was more beautiful than the green diamonds that come from our volcano Kilauea!"

But what Pualani didn't see was the tide coming in.

Tuesday: Uh-oh.

Kids, to learn more about the green flash talked about in the story, go to bishopmuseum.org/planetarium/greenflash.html.

This story will be on

The Times' website at latimes.com/kids.

Credit: Special to The Times




Come Into the Sea - Part 2
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Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Patricia Rust
Date: Aug 1, 2006
Start Page: E.14
Section: Calendar; Part E; Calendar Desk
Text Word Count: 350
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SUDDENLY Pualani could not touch the bottom. She was treading water -- the same water that had tickled her ankles only slightly earlier. She felt dizzy, and in her confusion swam over a shallow reef, which protected the shore from sharks, and into the unprotected and unpredictable sea.

The trade winds kicked up and Pualani thought she heard her Hawaiian ancestors singing into the night.

Pualani was scared. She hoped the current would take her home as it sometimes did, but tonight the deep sea wanted her. She called for her family. "Mom, Dad, please come get me!" but the trade winds only carried her cries farther out to sea.

Then the moon showed itself, which gave Pualani light to see the sea that was rich with sea life and fish. She had heard stories of playful and smart nai'a (dolphins) rescuing people. She didn't know whether this was true, but right now she hoped it was. "Dolphins, do you hear me?"

Then she saw it. A fin, sticking straight up from the water. The moonlight made it shine and she knew it was the fin of a shark. She had heard her uncle's tales about the shark being a friend and protector to her family. "But what if this one is hungry?" she thought.

Those were the last thoughts she remembered. When she awoke, a bright sun was warming her cheek, like a morning kiss from her mother. Then she heard the squeaks and whistles of dolphins. She rolled to one side, her body resting on warm sand, and watched them jumping and playing. She was so happy to be alive and in the company of dolphins.

Pualani looked around and saw nothing that looked like home. There was only nature here, palm trees wrestling with sunshine and wind playing with the fern fronds like butterflies with flowers. Where was she?

Wednesday: Pualani is safe on an island, but how will she get home?

This story will be on The Times' website at latimes.com/kids.

Credit: Special to The Times




Come Into the Sea - Part 3
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Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Patricia Rust
Date: Aug 2, 2006
Start Page: E.14
Section: Calendar; Part E; Calendar Desk
Text Word Count: 338
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"THE dolphins must have saved my life!" thought Pualani as she dashed into the blue denim waters of the sea so she could be with them. She held out her arms, "Me ke aloha (greetings) my friends, my sea, ohana (sea family), mahalo nui loa (many thanks)," Pualani said. "You are all wonderful, akamai (smart) friends."

One of the dolphins gently placed his jaw around Pualani's foot. She bent down and stroked his tongue, the way her uncle had taught her.

Pualani's opu (stomach) growled softly and she realized that it must be time to eat. She went to get some papaya and coconut and saw a Hawaiian cardinal with his red breast singing in the tree. It made her think of her father and how much she wanted to go home to her family.

Just then, the dolphins' squeaks and whistles grew louder. They sounded more like screams! Pualani ran to the shore and saw the dolphins butting their rostrums, or noses, into a shark. Even though the shark was big, she found herself in the water pulling the dolphins away. "Leave him alone. Leave him alone. I think this shark was sent by my family."

Soon the dolphins stopped and the mano (shark) didn't move. Most sharks move all the time. It was unusual for one to stop. Pualani touched the mano and felt its skin. It felt like sandpaper.

She remembered her uncle's stories of the human mana (spirit) being in the shark. Her uncle loved sharks and thought it was unfair that people didn't like them.

"They are great scavengers," she remembered her uncle saying, "and the ocean could not live without them."

"What would my mother think if she saw me right now?" wondered Pualani.

Thursday: Pualani's mother is worried sick about her.

Look for Thursday's Kids' Reading Room in the middle of Weekend Calendar with the comics. This story will be on The Times' website at latimes.com/kids.

Credit: Special to The Times



Come Into the Sea - Part 4
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Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Patricia Rust
Date: Aug 3, 2006
Start Page: H.3
Section: Comics; Part H; Calendar Desk
Text Word Count: 319
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PUALANI'S strong and sweet mother wished with all her heart that she could find her daughter. Everyone was worried sick.

Pualani's tutu (grandmother) went to see the kahuna (chief or priest), who told her to take food to the beach. Kahunas were keepers of special wisdom, so when Pualani's tutu said, "Come. The food is cooked. We must now take it to the beach," no one disagreed.

Pualani's family went to the same beach where they always went and looked out to sea. The sun was shimmering gold on the water's surface, and small waves rolled into shore. Pualani's mother cried on her husband's shoulder, "I do not think we will ever find our daughter. Especially if the sharks came in last night."

But Pualani's tutu was strong of spirit. She said, "Our daughter is coming home today because the sharks came in last night."

As the food was put out along the beach, Pualani's little brother pointed out to sea. "Look, look!" shouted Keoni. "I see the fin of a shark!"

Pualani's uncle stared into the sun. "It is not only the fin of the shark I see."

Pualani's uncle swam to the shark, and everyone thought he would wrestle it. Instead, he grabbed something else out of the sea. It was Pualani.

He pulled her up and out of the water.

"Uncle!" was all she could say.

Pualani's uncle placed her gently on the sand, then he went to pet the shark. "This shark is our aumakua (ancestral god). He has guided our Pualani back to safety." Her uncle stroked the tattoo on his thigh. It was the tattoo of a shark.

Her family quickly gathered around. Everyone was stunned, and no one as much as Pualani.

Friday: Did a shark really help Pualani find her way home?

This story will be on The Times' website at latimes.com/kids.

Credit: Special to The Times




Come Into the Sea - Part 5
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Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Patricia Rust
Date: Aug 4, 2006
Start Page: E.33
Section: Calendar; Part E; Calendar Desk
Text Word Count: 372
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"UNCLE, is the shark really special to our family?" asked Pualani.

"Yes. He is our spirit, the spirit of those who went before us, and he is the home of our soul."

"He could have bitten her," Keoni said. "I wouldn't want to swim with a shark."

Pualani's uncle said, "The shark has no desire to eat human beings. He bites what he believes to be food. No shark has ever eaten a human being."

"And he didn't bite me," Pualani said.

"He helped me find the way back here from a small, lonely island. I missed you all so much."

"Enough talk about sharks," her mother said. "Now it is time for our luau to celebrate the return of our daughter, Pualani."

Pualani hugged all those she had thought she might never see again. Then she looked at the shark, very still, in the channel waters of the reef.

"But first we must feed our aumakua."

The family tossed the shark a fish and the luau began. Pualani's father sounded the conch shell, and everyone ate and danced hula until it was time for the sun to set.

Pualani called for everyone's attention. "It's time for the green flash," she announced.

As they all looked out to sea, they saw their mano waiting in the channel waters. As the sun slipped away and a purple and pink sunset replaced it, the green flash appeared for only a second. Everyone laughed with delight.

Pualani looked for her shark. He was gone. Then she heard the soft singing sounds she had heard the night she had been swept away, "E komo mai ala moana," they said, "Come into the sea."

The author wishes to thank Wray Jose, Hawaiiana author and writer, for fact-checking this story. Jose is the 2004 "Preserve America" history teacher for Hawaii. To learn more about Hawaii and its sea life, go to www.waquarium.org. To learn about Hawaiian culture, visit the Bishop Museum at www.bishopmuseum.org. Patricia Rust is a founder and executive director of Power for Kids, www.powerforkids.com. She has written many stories about Hawaii.

This story will be on The Times' website at latimes.com/kids.

Credit: Special to The Times




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