Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Story of Hugo Mugo (5)

The Fish

The young tribesmen went out to fish in the sea almost everyday. Except for days when it rained or days when there were celebrations. They hunted for a special type of fish, basically fish with Hugo Mugo’s characteristics.  According to Kiro, there used to be a lot of Hugo Mugo Fishes. But it had since dwindled. It was harder to find them now, maybe due to overfishing.

When Kono felt better, he decided to follow Kiro out for fishing. Despite his experience of near drowning, Kono did not fear swimming. Instead he felt that he would enjoy swimming and he would be a good swimmer.

The young tribesmen and Kono would swim near to the rifts  where they could see the fishes. But not all fishes would be hunted according to Kiro. Only Hugo Mugo fishes. In the group, only Kiro was able to recognize Hugo Mugo fishes. Whenever Kono caught fishes, he would show it to Kiro. Sometimes Kiro would say that it was too small, or the mouth was too sharp or the scales were too dark. He seemed very knowledgeable about Hugo Mugo fishes. But why it that they never catch other fishes was unknown to Kono. Whenever Kono asked Kiro about it, he just said it was the advice of the Tribal Group Leaders who in turn, were receiving advices from the Hugo Masters. It was important for them to listen to the Hugo Masters. Once there were people who did not listen to the advices of the Hugo Masters, and they fell very ill and died soon afterwards. Though Kiro was knowledgeable in what type of fish was Hugo Mugo, he was also careful to keep the knowledge to himself. He would only say that certain fishes were Hugo Mugo and certain types were not. He would not want to share more than necessary. Kono thought the main reason Kiro got to where he was now, a leader of a section, was due to his knowledge of Hugo Mugo fishes. This knowledge was passed to him by the Tribal Group Leaders for perfoming well. The Tribal headsman was always chosen from a group of elite Hugo Masters. Kiro hoped to become a Tribal Group leader in 5 years’ time. But he always said that he still had a lot to learn. He would need to demonstrate to the Group Leaders, Hugo Masters and Headsman, that he was truly Hugo Mugo.

On the otherhand, Kono being a good swimmer liked to swim deep into the water. He saw many fishes there which was Hugo Mugo-like,but was always rejected by Kiro. Kiro could not really swim that deep. When Kono netted the deep sea fishes, Kiro would always say that they were not Hugo Mugo. Though Kono felt that Kiro was not doing the right thing, but out of respect for Kiro who had saved his life, Kono did not say anything and threw the fishes away.

Kiro said fishes from deep waters were not Hugo Mugo enough. He had brought back some of those fishes and when the tribe did not listen to the Hugo Master, people who ate the fishes fell very ill and died.

Whenever Kono asked about details on Hugo Mugo’s characteristics, Kiro became very quiet. One day Kono caught a big net of Hugo Mugo-like fishes but Kiro rejected them. Kono, feeling very disappointed, took the fishes and started to eat them. He wanted to show to Kiro that the fishes could be eaten. He vividly remembered that before he lost his memory, he had also eaten this type of fish. And he was still alive.

Kiro and his other tribesmen werer shocked. They all looked very worried that something bad would happen to Kono. By evening, when Kono did not fall ill, some of the tribesmen started to believe Kono. Kiro was very angry with Kono for challenging his authority. He told Kono that the Hugo Masters had locked up people who challenged the Hugo Mugo culture. Being Hugo Mugo was more important than being alive. Despite this, he reluctantly brought the fishes back to the Tribal Group Leaders. The tribal leaders, on hearing Kiro’s story, claimed that the fishes were not Hugo Mugo. They invited the Hugo Masters to certify their findings. The Hugo Masters arrived and claimed that the fishes were indeed not Hugo Mugo and should not be eaten. Kono challenged them and claimed that he had eaten the fishes and he did not fall sick. The Hugo Masters felt angry that they were being challenged and they decided to lock up Kono for the good of everyone else. Kono was supposed to reflect upon himself what was truly Hugo Mugo. And to repent for the wrongs he had done.

During this time, some of the younger Hugo Mugo tribesmen had started running away, as there were not enough food to go around. Whatever fishes they brought back that were considered Hugo Mugo, they were given to the higher status families like the Hugo Masters and Tribe Leaders. Sensing that things were not going well, the Hugo Masters decided to release Kono and to give him another chance to redeem himself. They say they would go with Kono, Kiro and others during the fishing trip to help them identify Hugo Mugo fish.

On the trip, Kono realized that most of the Hugo Masters had forgotten how to swim. The last time they swam was about 20 years ago. The Tribal Groups Leaders were slightly better, but they could only swim on shallow waters. Whenever Kiro and Kono brought back fishes, they would examine the fishes and give instructions on what type of fish should be kept and what should be thrown away. This no doubt displayed their authority to the other tribe members.

Kono kept asking them what exactly were Hugo Mugo characteristics, they just looked at him and told him. "My Son, it takes many years of experience to learn. You shall take your time to learn too."

The trip was fruitful, they brought back many fishes. The true success was due to Kono’s ability to swim deep and far into certain areas. However, the tribe thought the abundance of fishes was due to the presence of the Hugo Masters in the fishing trip. Around the campfire, the people started to dance. Chanting "Huuugoooo Muuuugoooo" around the campfire. Deep inside, Kono felt something was not right.

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