Crossword Story: “The Island, The Volcano & The Missionaries” Part 6 of 10

The sea surrounding the island abutting the village was an important part of their religion and mythology, called Mal in their native tongue. According to local folklore, Mal or the sea brought the first villagers to this island on the back of an enormous fish. Also, whenever a villager passes on, their body is never buried on land, but is instead sent out to sea to be reunited with Mal. (much to the chagrin of many missionaries). Father Ted, the abbot of the missionaries, acted nice in front of the villagers; but behind the scenes he and his henchmen (fellow priests and missionaries) often made decisions on behalf of the village(rs) which more often than not harmed rather than helped their vulnerable community. For instance, on a daily basis, he disrupted village rituals to impose Christian values on non-Christian villagers, or oft attempted to proselytize the youth of the village without their family’s consent or approval. Also, most of the people of the village were scantily clad due to the climate and wore footwear made from plants. The missionaries pushed the villagers to switch to leather shoes, in exchange for cash-crops. of course. Naturally, the missionaries and especially the priests disapproved and especially the priests tried to abolish the practice of burying the dead at sea; but the villagers were very resistant to change this particular custom. (to be cont’d)

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