Thursday, November 03, 2022

The Boy Who Was Afraid by Armstrong Sperry | Book Reviewed by Sonal Nagajan Sheda Adani Public School

The Boy Who Was Afraid tale is written by Armstrong Sperry. This tale is mainly divided into 5 parts. It is the tale of a boy who was afraid. It is a story of old times and the people of Hikueru sing this story in their chants and tells it over the evening fire. It is the story of a boy Mafatu who was afraid of the sea. But the end is very much interesting. He is able to overcome his fear and make his father proud.


Mafatu, a young boy, was very much afraid of the sea from his childhood. This fear developed in his mind at a very young age. Once when Mafatu and his mother visited the nearby sea. It was the season of storms. Everyone there left the place on time, but Mafatu and his mother were late to leave the place. It was their bad luck. Suddenly they were caught by a huge wave.

Somehow, they managed to get out. Mafatu was safe but his mother was in a bad condition. His mother gave him a goodbye hug and left him forever. Mafatu then never visited the sea. He was not allowed to go there. He used to stay home and make nets and other tools. He had two friends Uri, the dog, and Kivi, an albatross. Kivi’s foot was smaller.

Mafatu picked it up and provided food. Soon it learned to fly and search for food. Now, again, it was the season of storms. All young boys in the village learned to kill and use different types of tools except one i.e., Mafatu. Kana, the boy of Mafatu’s age acted to be friendly with Mafatu. He informed Mafatu about the bonitos which had arrived and it was the duty of all young boys to catch them the very next morning.

Kana was excited but Mafatu was afraid. Mafatu did not utter a single word. He was thinking about the next evening when each and every boy except him would come back with bonitos. All the fathers of the village would be proud of their boys except his father i.e., Mafatu’s father. He was not able to muster up the courage to go to sea. He was standing under the tree. He heard the boys discussing the next day’s activity.

One of them commented on Mafatu’s fear of the sea. They were making fun of Mafatu. One of them called Mafatu a coward. This hurt Mafatu a lot. He decided to go far away from his village, to an island where no one knew him. He decided to overcome his fear and become a brave boy and make his father feel proud. He decided that he would come back with a great transformation, from an afraid one to a strong boy.

Mafatu was very nicely able to sail. He had Uri with him. Suddenly he felt that ocean currents have fastened. He saw the burst of lightning and the huge waves in the sea. This sea that he has always feared was rising to claim him. Just as it had claimed his mother. He started reciting a prayer. The boy was frightened. He saw a large wave. He closed his eyes. He thought that it was the end of his life.

When he opened his eyes, everything was safe. But he noticed all his tools had made way with the waves. Uri too was scared. He had no food with him.

Far away he was able to see his mysterious destination. But his way was not too easy. He again came across the lightning and huge waves. He was powerless to guide his craft. He was tired. He was struggling for survival. He was swimming somewhere ahead on a strip of beach. He was not able to see Uri anywhere. It broke his heart. After some time something solid came under his feet. Sand.

He finally stepped out of the sea. He was exhausted. He was sad to lose Uri. He stumbled and fell on his knees in one of the shallows. He slowly walked ahead. He was able to hear the talks and laughter of people over there. Suddenly he heard a shrill cry, he turned back, and Uri was over there. He lay without moving. Before Uri drank, he touched the boy’s cheek with his hot palms.

This was all about the first two parts of this tale. This book has more three interesting parts,


Hey, I am Sonal Nagajan Sheda, a student of Adani Public School, Mundra-Kutch. Reading books is one of my habits since childhood. I like to read new and different types of books.

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