Akono and the Animal Helpers Told by Maoki of Kandoka 1/18/76


There was a big village where a woman and her two children lived. During a time of hunger they left the village and went to live outside it and look after their pigs. When the older child went to find breadfruit or other food in the bush, he kept it and ate it by himself. When the younger went food gathering he shared with his mother and his older brother. One day the little brother went into the bush to find bread- fruit. He looked out to sea and saw an island and thought "I'll go out and look at that island. Maybe there's a bread-fruit tree out there." He found a piece of a canoe and took it to his mother and asked her if she knew how to make one. His mother did, so she hollowed out a canoe. Then he cut poles and she made an outrigger and a bed for it. When it was finished, he asked her how to make it go. So she instructed him how to make a paddle and a pole.


One afternoon he told his mother, "Tomorrow morning when the first birds cry, get up and cook me two breadfruit." She did so, and he took them and left on the canoe. As he went he caught a huge turtle. He was about to spear it when it said to him, "Ah, don't spear me brother." He listened to the turtle and it swam underneath the canoe and carried it on his back to the island. He pulled the canoe ashore and, carrying his knife and spear, went into the bush. He finally came upon a little stream. The bed was nearly dry and was full of crayfish. He started to catch them and they said to him, "Ah, sorry, you can't catch us, Brother. Let us go." He listened to them and left them there. He went on and found a huge breadfruit tree full of fruit. He climbed the tree and knocked the fruit down. He raised his hook to pull down a branch and caught a flying fox who was in the tree eating the ripe fruit. He saw the flying fox and broke off a limb with which to kill it. As he approached with his club, the flying fox said, "Oh, sorry brother, don't kill me. Leave me alone."


He listened to it and the flying fox told him, "This breadfruit tree belongs to a tambaran, a vohoku [a wild man; a cannibal; an inhuman monster that can take human shape]. If, while you are gathering the fruit you hear a sound like a roaring wind, don't climb down for the tambaran is coming. If he comes to the base of the tree and tells you to come down, don't do it. Instead tell him to come up. If he does, and you fight up in the tree, try to work him around so that he comes close to me."


As the boy gathered the fruit he touched a leaf of the tree and knocked it loose. The leaf flew straight to the house of the vohoku. He asked the leaf,


"What knocked you off the tree? Did a limb brush you or did the wind blow you down?" Nothing happened.


"Did my food knock you off?" At this the leaf flew into the tambaran's anus and came out his mouth. So the tambaran arose and went carrying his spear. The flying fox heard him and said "There, do you hear him coming? Here comes his wind first. When he comes do as I told you and move him toward me." When the vohoku got to the breadfruit tree he looked up and saw the boy in the top.

"You come down."


 "No, you come up."


The two argued until finally the tambaran climbed up and they fought. The vohoku tried to grab the boy, but he dodged out of reach. The boy kept moving out of reach until the tambaran was standing next to the limb where the flying fox was hiding. Then the flying fox sank his teeth into the creature's nose and beat him in the eyes and face with his wings, and the two fell out of the tree. Then the flying fox told the boy to come down and carry his breadfruit. He had started when his warriors, the crayfish, came to help him. They carried his load to his canoe and pulled it into the water. Then the turtle swam underneath the canoe and carried it to shore. When he got home he sent his mother to admire his breadfruit. There were so many it took her three loads before she could get them all home. Then she made a fire and cooked the fruit.


Meanwhile the older brother was still out searching for food in the bush. Their mother had cooked two of the breadfruit and the little brother had just carried one of them to the veranda and was starting to eat when the older brother returned home. He saw his little brother with the food and asked him where he'd found it. The boy told him. "Oh, in the bush. There aren't many. I only found two and brought them for mother to cook and us to eat.


The elder brother replied, "No, I've been out in the bush all day and I didn't see any breadfruit tree like that."


Then the little brother told him, "If you do as I do, you can find the tree."


"Oh, when I go I'll do as you do."


So the boy said, "When you go in the canoe, if you find a turtle, don't kill it."


"And if I don't kill it what will I eat for breadfruit?"


"Then if you find that island and see a little creek, don't kill the crayfish in it."


"And if I don't, what will I eat with my breadfruit this afternoon?"


"Then if you climb the breadfruit tree and you find a flying fox, don't till it. Let it alone."


"And if I don t kill it, what will I eat with my breadfruit this afternoon?"


 The younger brother said no more. He gave his advice and let it rest. The older brother slept in the men's house until five o'clock the next morning. Then he left in his canoe. In the middle of the sea he found the huge turtle and raised his spear to kill it.


 "Oh, brother, don't spear me. Let me go."


 "Why should I let you go? If I do what will I eat with my breadfruit this afternoon?"


Then he speared the turtle and pulled it on the bed of his canoe. He continued on his way until he reached the island. He pulled his canoe ashore, and went exploring carrying his knife. He found the creek and saw the crayfish. He started to kill them and they cried to him,


"Don't kill us. Let us go."


"Why should I let you go? If I do what will I eat with my breadfruit this afternoon?"


So he killed them all. He went on and found the breadfruit tree and climbed up. He began knocking the fruit down and found the flying fox. He broke off a limb and went to kill it and it said, "Oh, brother, don't kill me. Let me go." He paid no attention to it but killed it and threw it to the ground. As he threw down the fruit he knocked a leaf from the tree and it flew directly to the vohoku. He saw it and exclaimed, "Ah, I think my meat has come back again." He hurried to the tree and called up to him. The man responded, "All right, move away a bit while I come down." The tambaran moved back and he came down. The man tried to hit the tambaran with his spear, but he dodged and each time the brother missed. Then the vohoku threw his spear and pierced him at the same time that the man speared him. The two fell together locked in a clench. They shouted and cried until neither of them had any voice left and they fell on the ground so that the skin of the man was covered with leaves and grass.


Meanwhile his little brother waited for his return. By afternoon his mother became concerned. The younger one asked, "Why are you worried about him? Does he ever think about us? He hasn't come yet," The boy thought, "I think the vohoku has already eaten him." Then he called to his mother, "Mama, tonight when the birds cry put two breadfruit on the fire and I'll go find my brother tomorrow."


She did it, and early the next morning he took his breadfruit, got his canoe and paddled away. The big turtle met him and carried his canoe. He went ashore and when he found the creek he saw that there were only a few crayfish left. He found the breadfruit and looked up and saw his brother's faeces all over the leaves of the tree and the nearby bushes. He saw the two of them lying there. He called to them, "You two can't fight. Rest a while." They heard him and sat down to rest a while.


Then he came close to his brother and whispered, "When you fight again lead the tambaran over to me so that I can fight him too." Then he told them to fight again. The two of them arose and started fighting again and the older brother moved the vohoku around so that his brother was directly in back of him. Then the younger brother took his club and broke the tambaran's head. He cut the vohoku into pieces, made a big fire and put the body of the vohoku on the fire. He found the tambaran's house and killed his wife, chickens, pigs and burned everything. When he returned to the tree the older brother had everything ready to go. As they started back to the canoe the crayfish appeared and carried the breadfruit for the younger brother as they had the first time. They put the load down in the bush near the beach rather than out in the open, and the boy carried it the rest of the way to the canoe. Then he pulled his canoe down into the water and asked his brother to let him put some of his breadfruit on the older one's canoe because his own was overloaded. The older brother replied, "And why didn't you bring a big canoe so you could carry your own breadfruit?" Then, ignoring his brother's request for help he paddled off. The younger brother started home and a large turtle came, lifted his canoe and carried it to land, far ahead of his brother. When he reached home he told his mother to carry his breadfruit to her house. It took her two loads, and then she cooked two of them. He was eating one when his older brother finally reached shore.