Once upon a time, two girls and a boy were sitting on a beach, watching the water wash over the stones, while boats out on the horizon bobbed up and down. They had been walking for a long time and they were tired. They soon grew sleepy and decided to sleep under the coconut trees, they bade each other a good rest and slept.
In the morning, they woke up.
- AAAA! The girl with hair screamed.
- EEEWWWW! the girl with no hair stuck her tongue out in disgust.
- Get it off me!!!! shrieked the boy. For there on his arm was a large, ugly, bumpy, scaley lizard. It made a noise. - Tu, ko, tu, ko. - it stared at all three humans, swivelling its eyes to take in their horror.
- It's a tuko!!! AAAAAAAAA - this was the girl with hair again.
- Oh no, we won't be able to get it off! - the boy shook his arm, hoping it would take the hint and leave him be. But the tuko is known for sticky feet, once it lands on a human, it's stuck!
- Wait! I remember what my mom told me when I was young, said the girl with no hair. Look for a mirror, if the tuko sees its reflection in the mirror, it'll jump off by itself!
The ran around to look for a mirror. The boy found a shard of reflective glass, shouted to the girls to help him. He kept shaking his arm vigorously hoping the tuko would jump off, but the tuko was not going to oblige. It had found a perch and it was sticking to it.
The girl with no hair took the glass and pushed it as close to the tuko's face as close as she could. She twisted it near it's right eye, she turned it to the left. Nothing. The tuko was not afraid of its reflection and it simply stuck its tongue out the girl. -tu, ko!" it said.
- It's not working, bawled the girl with hair. -He's going to be stuck with it forever!!!
- No!!! I can't live with a noisy lizard on my arm! We have to get it off. Wait, what about one of you take a match, light it and try to scare it with fire? The boy asked his companions.
- That sounds really mean! But let's try! The girls ran to look for a match and a flint. They lit the match and poked it as close to the tuko without burning the boy. The tuko twisted to look at the flame, but didn't budge. It flicked it's tongue twice, then looked away from his tormentors. -tu, ko!" it seemed to be a brave lizard.
- Nothing is working! You're going to be stuck with it forever. The girl with no hair faced the boy with a sigh. She felt sorry for him, but was thankful she didn't have to be the one with the tuko.
- No wait, there's still one more thing we could do. The girl with hair looked out at the waves. How about you jump into the water, and keep your arm stuck way down deep into the water? I don't think the lizard can breathe under water right?
The boy cried - I can't swim! What if I drown? I'd rather be stuck with the tuko than die from drowning. Oh, why did we have to sleep under the coconuts?? Why me? Why?
- Let's go to the village. Maybe someone will know what to do. The girl with no hair pulled him on his other arm, as far from the lizard as she could, and dragged him towards the village.
When they got to the village, they asked everyone what to do about the tuko. One man said to cut it off with his machete! One woman thought it was a snail and said to pour salt over it. A child suggested beating the tuko with a paddle. But the boy with the tuko balked at all the choices. He didn't want to get his arm cut off, or be beaten, or salted. He started to cry, and was feeling sick from looking at the scaley lizard flicking its tongue at everything.
The village chief was asked for his help. He thought carefully, trying to avoid looking at the tuko on the boy's arm. He thought for many minutes, thinking how to help the poor boy. He finally stood up. He walked out to the beach; everyone in the village, and the two girls and the boy with the tuko followed him. He pointed to a small island, shaped like a hat and spoke - That is your only hope. You must go to that island with the tuko. - He said to the boy.
The boy was given a boat, and he climbed into the boat. He took the oars and started rowing out to the island. He rowed for hours, rowing over small waves, rowing over bouncy waves, he rowed and rowed towards the hat island. He grew tired, but the tuko didn't care. It stayed on his arm, it flicked its tongue. It looked at the waves, it stayed on his arm. "Tu, ko, tu, ko."
Finally, the boy grew closer and closer to the island. It had a sandy beach, and a steep slope on both sides with a flat top, like a boxy hat. No trees grew on the island, nobody lived on the island. It looked very quiet, very empty. They boy grew scared, but he had to try getting the tuko off his arm.
He landed the boat on the beach, and stepped on the rocky sand. The sun was very hot, and there were no clouds in the sky. The boy felt tired, and sweaty, and hot, and scared. He walked on the sand for a few minutes, looking around and up at the big hat rock. Suddenly, he heard a soft sound behind him. He whipped around and nearly fainted when he saw what was crawling towards him. A swarm of tukos, tens, hundreds of them, No, thousands!!!! They crawled over the sand, the pebbles, the stones, the rocks, towards the boy, towards the tuko on his arm. He ran to the boat, but he wasn't fast enough. They caught up with him and crawled up his leg and his shorts and his shirt. They crawled up to his face, flickering their tongues. They crawled up to the tuko on his arm. And then, just as the boy was about to collapse with fear, they all jumped down. Including the tuko on his arm!
He was free! His arm no longer had a tuko stuck to it! He watched as the tukos, the thousands of them all crawled away, around the hat rock. He didn't want to find out where they were going or what they were doing. He was free! No more tuko, his arm was free!
He jumped back into the boat, and rowed home.