They had said their goodbyes, written like this:
and once the octopus had cast its spell and disappeared down the pit wall, the girl cried again and her tears streamed down her face, running rivulets on her lips.
At one point that night, she thought about climbing down the hole wall, but it was a brittle wall and would have taken her down and made her sleep forever.
"Why," Toa asked herself, "Did the elders send me, powerless, and frail to kill a god like the boar?" Toa asked herself some version of this question three times a day for two weeks during the dry season: Once on waking; once at noon, when her skin cracked and she wished to be the red, puckered and suckered stick that had planted itself in the silt and slowly curled and uncurled with the breezes; and every night before she evoked her grandfather, just before sleep --he never came.
After those two weeks, Toa added another question: When will the Octopus return with the boar, so I can return with the boar?
Another two weeks and she added a statement to it all, and began to practice climbing trees. The statement was, "I will make it proud, while it is gone."
It took Toa two weeks before she could climb every tree in the forest she could get to in under half a day.
Another week and Toa could climb all the trees within a half day's run, so she started to go further, knowing she could climb trees high enough to be hidden, safe, while she slept like a sloth.