Ittaniti awakened before dawn. Today was much like any other day. He felt fit and happy. As he walked to the spring under the trees he took pleasure in the gentle breeze that blew the sleep from his eyes.
As he bathed, the water on his smooth dark skin began to sparkle and he felt the sun warm on his back. He rubbed fresh herbs through his sleek black hair and tied it neatly back from his face.
His fish trap nestled in the shallow water. Ittaniti chose the plumpest fish, enough for the villagers to share for their evening meal, the others he set free.
When he returned the smell of freshly baked bread made his lips moist with hunger. He ate and chatted happily to his family. His pet parrot’s scarlet crested head shook with imitated laughter.
His father went off to collect fruit and coconuts for lunch. Little Maroya gulping and gurgling stared at her mother’s smiling face.
Giant boats with wings! Had they come from the sky? They flew across the sea and glided between the coral reefs. Fluttering wings were now still. Oars pierced their way through the sides of these giants and they came nearer.
Against the brightness odd shaped silhouettes waded ashore. Ittaniti and his friends, clutching their hunting spears, grouped together as these strange creatures stepped on to their island.
One of them came forward. His body was covered in layers of cloth and Ittaniti could see little of his face. For most of it was covered in hair, looked pale and sickly, like a leaf which has been denied the light of the sun.
The creature beckoned. Ittaniti stepped cautiously forward. The hair on the face parted and a voice uttered the word ‘Shalom1”.
1 ‘Shalom’ is a Hebrew greeting meaning ‘peace’ as the official interpreter for Columbus' fleet was Luis de Torres who was Jewish. Torres was chosen as fleet interpreter because he spoke Hebrew and Arabic, which, for some strange reason, would enable him to communicate with the people of China or India, which is where Columbus thought he was going!