Toko lived on the great craggily cliffs of the west wind.
Her house was built piece by piece out of driftwood until the wood began to grow as one with the jagged and dangerous rocks.
Toko was the only one who can climb the rocks safely.
When the ocean is filled with storms and danger Toko hunts for fish with her spear, catching lightening fish and electric eels.
On peaceful nights where the water stretched out like black glass and the moon reflected like spilt milk, Toko would paddle out looking for tiny glowing underwater stars…and mermaids.
Sometimes she would dive deep into stillness and blackness where there is no fear. In this way she grew strong like sea turtle, wild flower, and seagull.
She passed her days drinking seaweed tea, waiting for her father the general. He had left for battle and had not yet returned.
It was October and the monster that controlled the town of Sen-Oka was hungry.
All towns and cities have monsters and all monsters are hungry.
This monster‟s name is Cocodrillo. He walked into town and demanded payment—and all towns pay.
He took a young girl named Trudy. Her father was out drinking that night. So there was no fight, no yelling.
Cocodrillo took Trudy away in his monster cart.
The next morning Trudy‟s father awoke and wandered the streets; the guilt taking all the breath out of him. He ran from door to door asking for help. To everyone he screamed “it‟s not fair…she did nothing wrong.”
And at each house he heard the excuses:
“What can I do…I am only one person.‟
“I need to take care of my own family. I can‟t take care of yours.‟
“It is not my fault it is the elders and town leaders.‟
“It is how things have always been…and they always will.‟
“It is her fate. She was meant to be taken away. I shall not interfere.‟
“It is better that one girl is taken by a happy Cocodrillo, then all the girls by the Cocodrillo‟s anger.‟
“The world is filled with sad stories like this.‟
So Master Go, the drunken farmer, and Trudy‟s father wept, and this annoyed the town. They didn‟t like the sound of him, the sight of him, the smell of him.
So they pushed him to the edges of town towards the loud sea that would drown out the pitiful noises towards the waves and craggled rocks. They pushed him to Toko.
And Toko listened.
She was a daughter without a father, and here is a father without a daughter.
And because Toko‟s spirit was strong, and it had grown beautiful watching the sea, Toko knew what to do. She picked up her spear, ate some seaweed, and told Master Go, “I‟ll help you.”
And he smiled.
She took her little boat towards monster island.
Most people can‟t sea Monster Island. They think it doesn‟t exist. But to someone strong in spirit and pure of heart and clean of mind, it can be seen…just off the coast of any town—just beyond the fog.
She paddled and when the water began to boil, she knew she was near.
She was approached by the many monsters who live on Monster Island: the great purple cucumber who swallows people and buildings with its laziness, the fire monkey who breathes smoke on everything he desires, the weeping woman whose tears turn into floods of great destruction, but Toko ignored them and they had no power over her.
Toko stepped over the many prisoners of the monsters and walked straight to Volcano Lake. There she did the invitation ritual. She sprinkled magic dust on the ground and waited for Cocodrillo.
He was sleeping, heavy and deep monster sleep, but the magic dust was a challenge and he had to respond.
With flames flying from his mouth and claws clanging together like symbols, Cocodrillo attacked. Toko stepped to the side and jumped on Cocodrillo‟s back. In a rage of fury, he took her to the bottom of the sea.
“But this is no problem for me. This is where I go to think.” Toko said, and she rested there with the sea monster.
Cocodrillo raced up into the sky and zoomed down over the mountains and sea. Toko thought “how lucky she was that she could go flying in the air.” The more Cocodrillo flew and crashed into the water, the more comfortable she felt. She hugged him and moved with him one step ahead of his movements. It almost seemed as if she were leading him, like a dragon rider.
She was safe within the sphere of his raging claws and teeth and anger. And the secret to her flow, was that she never felt any anger and harsh thoughts against him, not for an instant.
Finally, he became so enraged he decided to drive himself full speed into the hard stone cliffs at the east edge of Monster Island. With all the negative energy he could muster he aimed himself like a dart towards the rocks. He would hurt himself to win.
And just before he reached the cliffs, Toko dove free from him and fell skillfully into a dive. She let herself go in between the rocks in the sea and paused for a moment. When she resurfaced she saw that Cocodrillo had been crushed into a thousand pieces.
But he was not destroyed.
Toko could see each of the pieces slide back into the sea, to spread across the world waiting to regain strength when the time is ripe, and where fruits need sunlight, warmth, good soil, and water, Monsters need only the negative energy of a thousand faces.
Toko found the drunken farmer‟s daughter Trudy, and together they rode the waves back to the village.
When Trudy saw her father, she ran straight up to him and slapped his face as hard as she could: “You will never drink again!” She shouted.
And so he didn‟t.
The town rejoiced over the destruction of Cocodrillo, and then quickly worked at bringing him back with tiny squabbles and other vices.
Toko went back to her home and looked out at sea, waiting for her father to return. And the stormy waters crackled against her protective rocks, soothing her with conflict.
-These challenges face us because there is work to do still-