The Stories:

The Story of Moro - Moro and Gura - The Origin of Coconuts

Silimala - Pig&Frog.

Oral Histories of some of the families of West New Britain.

Click here for The story of Viliku

Click here for The Story of Gavu

You may also read the following stories in Tok Pisin:

Akono na Silimala - Pig na Rokrok


The Story of Moro

Told by Jakob Mua Laupu, pictured below.


Recorded in 1975 by Dorothy & David Counts

This story is a pelunga. The events occurred in the mythic past, and while the facts recounted may, or may not, be historically true the story contains truths about the human condition and about how things came to be the way they are today. Kaliai cite pelunga to demonstrate their rights to land and to explain the presence of natural formations.

This afternoon I'll tell the story of Moro. I've heard this story in several parts, so I've combined the segments that I know to make a complete story. There may be more episodes that the old men tell, but I only know the part that I'm about to recount.

There was a powerful man named Moro who probably originated near the Mai Mountains. He left Mai and came to northwest New Britain where he settled on Kalimarime Island in the Kove area. This island was like a two-story house. Moro lived in the bottom part while humans lived in the top. When the people who lived on the surface offered food to Moro he refused saying, "No, it's all right. You go ahead and eat without me." We cannot know whether he had a food supply of his own or whether he just didn't need to eat. He lived there for many years until one day, for some reason, he decided to leave Kalimarime and go into the forest.

He went to live in a huge tree, the base of which sits in a hole that is big and round like a bomb crater. The tree sprouted from the hole and continued growing until it was very tall. This huge tree is still there today.

The tree was Moro's hiding place. Occasionally he would leave it and reveal himself to humans, hoping to seduce a women to be his wife. Each time he tried this the men of the community chased him with spears, and he returned to his tree to hide. After many years his courtship was successful. The woman he seduced has many names, but I know her as Galiki. They married and the two of them came west down the coast to Denga where they settled. Moro's wife gave birth to two sons. The older one was named Aikiukiu, the younger child's name was Aisapel. Moro made it a practice to visit villages where the people gave him shell money when he was ready to return home.

Now, Moro had a huge pig. One day some men in Mahua village near Denga decided to hold an ololo, a mortuary feast at which many pigs are killed. Moro's in-laws were among those who sponsored the ololo, and they sent word to him asking for his special pig for their ololo.

Moro replied, "Oh, so you'd like to include my pig? Very well, you may have him on the condition that when he is killed you cut off the head and return it to me, for me and my family."

They agreed, and took it away for the ceremony.

They danced and sang until dawn. Then they grasped the hands of those who were to receive an animal. They did this until everyone had received his pig. Moro's pig went to Galiki's brothers, who butchered it.

The next morning Moro sent his wife with instructions to get the head of the pig and bring it to him. However, when she arrived they told her, "We had just enough pigs for everyone. That pig was ours and we've already butchered it and distributed it. There's none left." They found scraps from other pigs -- a bit of leg from one, a leg from another, a piece of skin from still another, and the head from yet a different pig. They gave these odds and ends to Moro's wife to take to him.

When she arrived home Moro looked at what she had brought. "Hey, what's this? These are just scraps from other pigs. They distributed our large pig among themselves, but they didn't give you its head. Who's responsible for this?"

He was furious but he didn't act immediately. He waited until the pork was cooked, and the longer he thought about it the angrier he became. Finally he grabbed his spear and went down to Mahua. When he got there he asked the men, "Where is the head of my pig?"

They replied, "What? Why should we return the pig's head to you? We ate it ourselves!"

"On whose authority? I told you that the head of my pig was to be returned to me. Why did you keep it and eat it?"

Then they fought. We can't be certain, but it must have been that Moro no longer wanted to live and permitted the men to spear him. He fell, and they speared him again and again. So it was that Moro was killed! Then they sat and wondered, "What should we do with the body?" They discussed the problem for a while, until finally the bigman of the village said, "It's alright. I've got an idea. Put him up here on this stone." They lifted him so that he lay breast up, and they butchered him. They didn't use a knife or a piece of obsidian. Instead they removed a sliver from a piece of bamboo and sharpened it until it had a keen edge. They pierced his body with it and pulled, slicing him open and cutting out his liver. Then they covered it with leaves and placed it on the fire to cook.

Moro's ghost arose and returned to his men's house. There his blood spilled out and ran across the ground until it reached Denga, cutting a ditch which became the course of the Pisomasmasi Creek. The origin of this creek bed is the furrow cut by the flow of Moro's blood.

After a while Moro's oldest son asked his mother, "Mama, when is Papa coming back?"

She replied, "Who knows? He must still be there. He hasn't come back yet." However, he would never return, for the men had already speared him.

Then Aikiukiu asked, "Mama, why did you two get meat while I didn't get any? I'm really hungry for some pork. Go to your kinsmen and ask them for a little piece of pork for me to eat."

Moro's spirit heard this exchange. "So, my son asks for pork. All right, go and see your brothers and ask them to give you something for the child to eat."

Now the pork had all been distributed among the villages so that there was none left. However, Galiki's kinsmen lied and told her that there was still some left. She said to them, "My oldest boy has been begging for pork, so I've come to ask you if you have a little that you might give me to take to him."

They answered, "There's not much left; the pork's almost all gone. But you can take this little bit here." Now, the portion that they offered her wasn't a small piece of meat. It was huge. And it wasn't pork. It was Moro's liver. She started home with it, but as she carried it down the trail it began to disappear until, by the time she reached home, only a tiny portion was left inside the leaf wrapping. She put it down and said, "You were crying for pork but they had none left except the liver. Here it is. You two boys divide it and eat it."

The little boy, Aisapel, opened the wrapping and saw what was left. "Hey, Mama, there's not much here. There's just a little bit. Come and see." His mother looked and said, "Oh, forget it, Son. You're the youngest, so you do without. There's not enough here for two. Give it to your brother."

"Okay. He can have it."

So the oldest boy ate his father's liver. Before he'd finished his meal his body had begun to change. His legs were no longer legs, but they joined and grew longer. The change crept upward along his body until he had assumed the true appearance of Moro from his breast and shoulders down. He had become a snake.

They carried him to the men's house, but the building exploded. Their father's eyes began gleaming like the beam of a spotlight, and he began crying for his liver. The mother realized what was happening and said to her sons, "Children, I think we'd better flee. This is the doing of a spirit. I think your father has been murdered and this is his ghost. If we don't escape he'll destroy us. Let's go!"

The younger boy saw that his brother was no longer human and said to his mother, "Mama, maybe we should forget about him and leave him here. Let's just the two of us go."

His mother responded, "No, never! He's my firstborn child. I can't desert him. I must protect him." Galiki put her older son [in a tia 'coiled Lolo basket'] on her head and, holding her younger child by the hand, she fled Mahua. They went along the north coast of west New Britain towards Bariai until they reached Iboki where they stopped to listen. They heard the monster, who was no longer Moro, call out his new name, 'Atetegu' 'my liver'. His liver, inside the boy's belly, replied, "Huooah!"

When they reached Iboki he called again, "Atetegu!" The boy, now at Lauvore, heard his father's call and they ran faster. They had passed Lauvore, Taveleai, and Ketenge when once again they heard him calling, "Atetegu!" The thing in his son's stomach answered each call, and they continued to flee. They passed Atiatu, Pureling, Karaiai, the mouth of Pilao Creek, Tamuniai, and Tamu until they reached the mouth of the Eli River. There the older boy said, "Mama, let's rest a while. Let's stop so you can cook a bit of food for us to eat. We're hungry."

His mother replied, "If we waste time cooking, the spirit will devour us."

"It'll be all right. Put my brother and me down. We'll wait here while you quickly cook some taro and greens. When we've had a good meal we can go on."

They had stopped on the far bank of the river's mouth when Moro called, "Atetegu!"

His liver heard him. "Huooah!"

He called, "Aginigao. Ngalati." 'Wait for me. I'm coming.'

They did not waste time but quickly made a fire and cooked taro and greens. The food was done as Atetegu approached, and Galiki divided the taro between Aisapel and Aikiukiu. Then they waited for their father. When he reached the river he called, "Hey! This water is deep. How'd you get across?"

The mother replied, "It's not deep. It's only up to my waist. Come on!" Then they waited while Atetegu entered the water. When he got as far as the middle of the river he missed a step, lost his balance, and fell. When this happened, Aikiukiu threw a taro out past the mouth of the river into the sea and some greens upstream so that, as their father lost his balance, a crocodile came from the interior and a shark swam in from the ocean. The two of them picked Atetegu up and asked Aikiukiu, "What do you want done with this? Shall we turn it loose to accompany you, or what?"

Aikiukiu replied, "No, I don't want him. Kill him." So they tore him apart and the pieces sank into the river.

They continued on a little farther until finally Aikiukiu said, "Say, Mama, leave the two of us here while you go up onto that hill. There are parrots squawking and flying around up there. Go and look. Perhaps they're eating mangoes. If they are, some of the fruit may have fallen near the base of the tree. You can gather them for us to eat."

She left them while she climbed the hill. There she found a huge garden full of taro, sugar cane, and ripe bananas. She gathered just a little of the food, only three taro and a few ripe bananas, and took it down to her children. "Boys, you told me to go up there and I found an enormous garden that belongs to someone. There must be a village near here. The garden is so large that there are entire patches of taro. It's huge. There are ripe bananas, sugar cane, and all kinds of food."

Aikiukiu replied, "Mama, of course! That's why I sent you. Why didn't you get plenty of food?"

"I would have got more if you had told me. As it was I didn't understand, so this is all that I brought."

"Oh, that's all right, Mama. This is enough."

They cooked the taro, scraped it, and ate. Then they resumed their trek. They left Mait and passed Lulu, Kokopo, Gurisi, and finally rounded the point that marks the far boundary of Bariai. Then they reached Ulo Point and went along the curve of the bay. They continued down the coast until they reached Susulu. Then the older son said, "Let's stop here and wait while Mama investigates this hill. If it looks all right we can go up to the top." She left the boys and climbed to the top of the hill where she found good level ground. She returned and said, "Boys, it looks like an excellent spot. Let's go up there and the two of you can see how you like it."

As they started up the hill, Aikiukiu spoke. "When we get to the top, we'll look around and find a house made of permanent materials." Then there appeared a permanent house for Aisapel and their mother, and one some distance away for Aikiukiu. Aikiukiu said, "Mama, this is where I want to stay. There's a house for you and Aisapel over there, and there's another one for me. Put me in my house."

After a while Aisapel began to wonder, "Mama, how can we live here? What are we going to eat?"

His brother overheard this and asked, "Mama, what did my brother say?"

"He just said, 'We have houses to live in, but what are we going to eat this evening before we go to bed?'"

Aikiukiu replied, "Okay. Go stand over there and look all around you." His mother did so, and wherever she looked taro, bananas, sugar cane, and all other kinds of food appeared. The forest had become a huge garden.

This is how they lived. They ate, they slept, and they threw their food scraps about until the place began to stink. One day the younger son asked, "Mama, what are we going to do about all these rotting food scraps lying around here? We need something to help us get rid of them. If we had some pigs they'd eat the scraps and keep the place clean."

His brother overheard him and he asked. "Mama, what did my brother say?"

"He just commented that we need something to help us get rid of all these food scraps that are lying about the place. He said that if we had some pigs they would eat our garbage."

"Oh, all right. Take a clam shell and hit it."

His mother struck a clam shell and all kinds and colors of pigs appeared: white ones, black ones, red ones, big ones, and little ones. They kept coming until the place was full of pigs.

They lived contentedly for a while, until one day the younger brother said to his mother, "We have pigs to help us eat our scraps, and the place is now nice and clean. But I'd like to have something to awaken us at dawn. We sleep too late. What could we find to wake us at sunrise?"

Aikiukiu asked, "What did Aisapel say?"

"Your brother said, 'We sleep much too long. We need something to awaken us at dawn.' He's wishing for something to tell us when it is morning."

"All right. Scrape some coconuts and then throw them away." She did so, and when she threw away the coconut scrapings chickens appeared until the place was full of them. And so they lived without working for their food.

One day Aikiukiu said to his mother, "Mama, I want to call for a Bariai woman to come and be my wife." So she sent word to Bariai and a woman came, and the two of them were married. I don't know her name, but she was a good woman and was satisfied to know her husband's brother, Aisapel. She respected her husband's wish to remain hidden and never saw his face. Instead she talked with him through the walls of his men's house. She heeded the warning given by the boys's mother. "You have come here to be married, but you must remain out here with me and never try to see your husband for he must hide. You understand that it is through his power that we have all these things."

She replied, "Okay, Mama. I've married your son and I've heard your warning. I understand. I'll leave him alone."

They lived in this way until one day Aikiukiu again said to his mother, "Mama, there's only one woman here and that's not quite right. I want one more wife. I'd like you to summon a wife for me from the people of Lolo."

She sent word to the Lolo people of the interior, and they sent a girl whose name was Aveta to come and be his second wife. After they were married Aveta was not satisfied with things as they stood. She wanted to know whom she had married. "Why did they send for me to come and be married? And to whom?"

As time passed, her curiosity grew. She saw the good life that they led, and she knew that they had food without having to work for it. She realized that whatever they wished for came to pass, but she was so obsessed with her desire to see the man she had married that she wasn't satisfied with all the good things she had. Her mother-in-law warned her. "I know that you are curious about your husband and that you are constantly sneaking around trying to see him. I warn you! My son must remain in his men's house. We can only follow his instructions and hear his voice. Be content to stay outside and do not try to see him. Follow the good example set by his first wife, the woman from Bariai. She doesn't act the way you do. She is satisfied with her lot. Why can't you be content instead of being restless and intrusive? Stop it! You may not see my son. He must stay hidden away in his house."

But Aveta gave no response.

One day Aikiukiu had an idea. "Mama, where is my brother Aisapel?"

"He's here."

"Tell him to come to me."

Aisapel sat down near the door so that his brother could talk with him. "Look, my brother. We left our father and came here to live a long time ago. We're here a long way from home and I've married two women. Why haven't we done anything to make a name for ourselves?"

Aisapel replied, "You're the oldest. You make the plans and give me instructions, and I'll do as you say."

"Okay, I'll tell you what. Tomorrow the women will prepare food for you and put it on the canoe. The next day you go to Kove and to Volupai to get pigs so that we can give a mortuary feast."

Aisapel agreed and said to his mother, "My older brother has told me of his plans. Today you and his wives are to gather food and cook it for me. Tomorrow it will go on the canoe, and I'll retrace our journey here in order to find some pigs."

"Oh, all right."

She spoke to her daughters-in-law, and they gathered food and cooked it all night. The next morning they put it on the canoe while Aisapel loaded paddles and poles.

The first place he stopped was Alaido, where he left a pole. At Mereka he left a paddle, at Namaramanga he left a pole, at Babat he left a paddle, at Mangaro he left a pole, at Kokopo he left a paddle, at Gurisi he left a pole. In this way he made his way eastward down the coast. Finally he arrived at Bulu where they people asked, "What have you come for?"

"I've come on behalf of my brother and myself. We want to sponsor a feast, and he has sent me to gather pigs."

"Oh, all right. You stay with us tomorrow, and the day after you can leave to go back."

The next morning they told him, "Let's make a box on the bed of your canoe." That day they cut limbs and made a box to fasten on the canoe platform. The next morning they caught and tied up two pigs while the women prepared food for his trip. The following day they loaded the food on the canoe and put the two pigs inside the box, and he left on his return journey.

As he travelled west down the coast he pulled in to each place where he had left either a pole or a paddle. At each place he received a pig together with the thing he had left. He stopped at each Kove village, and then he came to Maningamatai just this side of Iboki. There he pulled ashore and found water for the pigs. He left after he had watered them, but he had gone only a short way when he heard an explosion coming from his brother. "Oh what can that be?" He heard a second explosion and began to hurry, poling his canoe as rapidly as possible. He went ashore at Lauvore, and there he broke open the pig box and turned out the pigs which ran off into the bush. Then he hurried on.

Meanwhile, at home Aikiukiu's mother and two wives had gone to cultivate taro. The mother and the Bariai wife carried their hoes, but Aveta deliberately left hers behind. When they were nearly to the gardens, Aveta said to the other two, "Say, wait for me while I go back and get my hoe."

The old woman responded, "No, you must not go back. You can use mine to cultivate your taro."

"No, I must get my own."

The other wife supported her mother-in-law. "No, you mustn't go. These two hoes are enough for the three of us. We can take turns using them. After I've worked for a while we can change and you can use it."

The women argued with Aveta, but she prevailed. The two women waited while she ran back to the settlement. It was her actions that caused Aikiukiu's explosion.

When she got home she called, "Aikiukiu, where are you?"

He responded, "Why do you want to know?"

"I want to take a look at you."

"Why do you want to see me?"

"Because I do! We are married, after all! Married people surely are allowed to see and know one another. Why did you bring me here, supposedly to be married, and then not let me see you for so many months? I have been here for months but I am married in name only. I have never even seen you."

"My mother has already warned you about this. Why are you so wilful that you insist on seeing me?"

She answered, "I'm tired of all this talk," and she opened the first door to the men's house. When she opened the second one he told her, "Go back! You mustn't open these doors." She ignored his warning and opened the third door. Again he warned her, "I'm telling you. Go back! Why are you obstinate?" She didn't reply but opened doors four and five. Aikiukiu spoke again, "That's enough! Stop there! Leave me alone!"

"No! I intend to take a look at you."

She opened doors six and seven and Aikiukiu said again, "I'm warning you. If you insist on this you're in danger."

She opened eight, then nine, and only door number ten remained. He gave her his last warning. "Aveta, that's enough! If you go through with this you'll die.!

She retorted, "I'm not afraid of you. There's no rule of marriage that's like that." As she opened the final door, Aikiukiu raised his tail and -- BANG! -- he killed her. The force of the blast tore apart the house and part of it was thrown out to sea. Aisapel heard the noise and hurried home. His mother and the Bariai wife also heard and ran down the path. Aikiukiu waited for his brother, his tail in the water and his head up. When Aisapel reached the shore he ran to his brother. "Brother, why are you deserting me?"

"I'm waiting for you." Aikiukiu commanded, "You climb up." Aisapel did so and the two of them turned and went into the sea.

As they left the cove, their mother and the first wife arrived. Their mother called to them, "My sons, why are you leaving me?"

"You can't come. You must stay here. Just the two of us are going." Their mother began to weep, but to no avail. She remained behind, and Aveta was turned into stone.

When they reached Kilenge they went ashore on an islet named Kulukulu. This islet had no soil but was made entirely of stone.

Now there was a Kilenge canoe which had gone on a voyage to Siasi. On the way back it was caught in a cyclone, and was torn to pieces. Everyone was drowned except two men named Aikiukiu and Aisapel. These two were washed by the tide to Kulukulu. They swam around the island without finding anywhere they could come ashore. Aikiukiu was in his house but Aisapel had gone for a walk. He looked down and saw the two men drifting in the sea, so he called to them. "Hoy! What are you two doing there?"

The man named Aikiukiu answered, "We were returning from Siasi when we were lost at sea. A cyclone tore apart our canoe and tossed us overboard. We don't know what happened to our mates. Only the two of us were washed here by the currents."

"I see. Wait here for a minute."

He ran to tell his brother. "Aikiukiu! Two men have been washed to our little island. They're drifting offshore."

"Oh! Well, show them how to come ashore."

He returned to the two men and told them, "Swim this way." They did as he instructed and found a little sandy beach. After they waded ashore, Aikiukiu asked them, "What happened to you?"

They replied, "There were a number of us who had taken a large canoe to Siasi. We were on our way back when a cyclone hit us out at sea. It sank our canoe and everyone went down with it. We don't know what became of the others, but they've probably all been eaten by fish. We were the only two to survive, and we drifted until we came ashore here."

"I'm so sorry. But it's okay. You can stay here with us. Later we'll find a way for you to get home."

That afternoon Aisapel asked, "What are your names?"

"My name is Aikiukiu and this is Aisapel."

"Really! Your names are the same as ours. You see, we're brothers. Aikiukiu is in his house, and my name is Aisapel."

"That's wonderful! The four of us share names and we're companions on our little island."

The day passed and they slept that night. The next morning they were sitting around talking when one of the newcomers asked, "Say, Aisapel. What is there to drink?"

Aisapel went to his brother and said, "Aikiukiu, these poor fellows are dying of thirst. They need water."

"Okay, don't worry. The three of you go find some coconut palms. Climb them and get some coconuts to drink and some to bring back with you."

Aisapel led them on a search to find a coconut palm. Then he sent his namesake to climb the tree while the other two waited on the ground. The human Aisapel climbed the palm and threw down some nuts, one, two, then three. He had dropped the third one when he happened to look toward Kilenge and saw smoke from the cooking fires. There was no wind and the air was clear, and as he looked he could see the Kilenge villages. Sorrow overcame him as he watched the smoke, and he began to cry, for he thought of his family. His tears fell and hit Aisapel's shoulder. Aisapel put his tongue to the moisture and asked, Are you crying?"

He replied, "No, I'm not crying."

"Yes, I think you are crying."

The two men argued until the Aisapel up in the tree admitted it. "I'm sorry, Brother, I'll tell the truth. I looked out and the sea is so smooth that I could see Kilenge clearly. I saw the smoke from the cooking fires of our home and I thought of my children and their mother. So I wept."

"There, there. Never mind. Come on down." He climbed down and Aisapel husked the coconuts and divided them between Aisapel, Aikiukiu and himself. The Kilenge men asked, "If we drink these coconuts what will we take to Aikiukiu?"

"Don't worry about it. He was concerned for the three of us. He won't want any. Don't worry about him."

When they had finished drinking they returned to the house, and Aisapel went to talk to his brother. "Brother, when we went to get a drink today, Aikiukiu and I waited while Aisapel climbed up a coconut palm. He saw his home from up there and he wept. I insisted that he come down, and I noticed that Aikiukiu's eyes looked sad too. They're both homesick and want to go home."

"Oh, that won't be hard to arrange. Tell them that they can go home tomorrow." He told them the news and they responded, "But we don't have a canoe."

"No matter. You'll still leave tomorrow."

Early the next morning a huge pile of food appeared from nowhere and a big canoe washed up onto the beach. Aikiukiu said, "All right Aisapel, give them their canoe and let them go home."

Aisapel informed them, "Here's your canoe. Your food is already aboard. It's time for you to go."

He led them to the beach, and when they were on board he said, "Wait just a minute." Then Aikiukiu said, "Aisapel, get two pisopiso (a kind of cane that grows in clumps). Lash one to the prow of their canoe and one to the stern. Then instruct them as follows: 'When you go ashore, take good care of these plants. Take them with you so that when the people come to pull the canoe ashore they'll be safe.'"

Aisapel fastened the two plants onto the canoe and instructed them: "Aikiukiu, take care of the one on the prow of the canoe. Aisapel, you are responsible for the one on the stern. When you reach land, Aikiukiu you remove yours and Aisapel you get yours. When your friends come, they'll be safe in your hands. When everyone comes to greet you, and make a fuss over you and ask about your adventures, you'll be holding them and won't forget them. Then you'll have them to use on your canoes. That's all I have to tell you. Now just sit down on the bed of the canoe and it will run by itself."

So the two men sat down on the bed of the canoe and it began speeding over the water. It travelled quickly, and soon they were nearly to Kilenge. People there saw them coming and ran to the beach saying, "Hey! Where's that big canoe going? It certainly is moving fast." As it came closer they recognized Aikiukiu and Aisapel. "Remember our friends that went to Siasi? Here's two of them returning. But where are the others? Is that them or are they from somewhere else?"

"No, that's Aikiukiu in front and Aisapel in the rear."

As they came closer the people could see that there were indeed just two of them. When they reached shore, the people clung to them weeping and laughing, and the two men forgot about their pisopiso. The people held onto them and pulled them out of the canoe, and in the confusion they neglected to pull the prow of the canoe up onto the beach. The waves tugged at it and worked it loose from the beach. So the canoe drifted out to sea. Then the two plants fell over and worked loose from the canoe.

Finally the two men remembered, and one said to the other, "Aisapel, those two things of ours! What happened to them?"

"Oh no! That's right!" They ran to see but it was too late. The canoe had drifted out to sea and the two plants had fallen into the water and floated away. They tried in vain to reach them, but the wind blew the plants out of their reach. They waded out until they could no longer touch bottom and they had to swim, but still they couldn't get them.

A strong wind blew the plants back to Kulukulu. Aisapel saw them and exclaimed, "What happened that you two came back?"

"Papa, those men did not appreciate us. They left us behind while their friends rejoiced over them. We waited and waited but they didn't come, so we've returned."

Aisapel went to Aikiukiu. "The two plants have come back."

"What happened?"

"They say that no one remembered to get them. They waited and waited, and finally they ran away."

"All right. Bring them to me."

So the two brothers left the Siasi Islands and Papua New Guinea and headed for America, the land of white-skinned people. There they found an orphan (perhaps he never had parents but just appeared one day). He had seduced the daughter of a bigman of America, so the people had driven him away and he was living in exile in the forest. He had cleared a path through the brush to the beach where he found his only source of food, crocodiles.

As Aikiukiu and his brother came closer to the American, Aikiukiu said, "Alright now, we've tried the different people of Papua New Guinea and none of them respected us. Let's see how this man treats us. I'll stay here while you go and tell him about me. If he will accept me, come and get me."

So while Aikiukiu waited, Aisapel turned himself into a crocodile and swam into the bay. He climbed up onto the beach and lay on the sand as though he were asleep. When the American saw the crocodile sleeping there on the sand, he crept back to his camp to get his axe. Then, looking carefully from side to side, he returned to kill it. But when he got close to where the crocodile had been he found nothing. He searched for it, but Aisapel had turned himself back into a man and was hiding. Finally, as the American continued to search, Aisapel asked, "Brother, who are you looking for?"

"I'm not looking for anyone. I'm looking for some game I saw sleeping here. I've brought my axe to kill it, but I don't know where it went."

"Well, Brother, that was me. Just me."

What? Good grief! You? Where are you from?"

"Oh my dear brother, I'm from Papua New Guinea. I've come a long way, and here I found you."

The American inquired, "Is there someone with you or did you come alone?"

"No, my brother's with me."

"Where is your brother?"

"He's over there."

"What are your plans now? What are you going to do? Will you stay with me or are you going somewhere else?"

Aisapel replied, "No. We've come from Papua New Guinea in search of a place that will accept both of us and let us stay. We've not yet found such a place, and so we've come here."

"Oh, that's too bad! Look, I'm alone here. Go and get your brother and the three of us will live together."

"That's very kind of you, Brother, but I must tell you something. My brother isn't like us. He's quite different."

"How so? What's he like?"

"Well, he looks different."

"What does he look like?"

"Like a snake. The bottom part of him is like a snake, and the top part is human."

"Oh, that's all right. Go and get him and let me take a look at him."

"Okay, stay here while I go get him."

When they got back Aisapel said, "This is my brother." The American took Aikiukiu's tail and kissed it. Then he lifted his middle and kissed it. Then Aikiukiu said, "All right, stand up." Aikiukiu coiled around him until he could lay his head on the American's shoulder and put his tongue in his mouth. The American said, "Very good. Don't think that I'm afraid of you. I like you." Then Aikiukiu released him and turned into a man, and the three of them lived together.

One day Aisapel asked, "Brother, do you really trust us?"

The American replied, "I do. I want the three of us to live here together." A little later Aisapel spoke again. "My brother wants to do something to you." "What does he want to do?"

Aikiukiu brought out a knife and said, "I want to cut you."

The American responded, "Go ahead. You may cut me." He stood quietly while Aikiukiu slit his throat. His head was severed and fell from his body, and the blood poured out. When it was finished the head rejoined the body and the American was whole again. Then Aikiukiu said, "That's all. You've passed every test. I'm very grateful. We are truly companions now."

One day Aikiukiu said, "I think I'll give you something that you can use in your big villages. You take it to the other Americans and ask them if they would like it. If they would, call the adults and children together and teach them all."

So he instructed him, and when he had finished the two brothers waited while the American took the gift to his people. When his fellow countrymen saw him coming they said, "Oh-oh! That man who ran away before has come back." Some of them hated him and wanted to kill him, but the bigmen said, "No, don't kill him. What's done is past. He's one of us and he has come to tell us about something. If we want to try it he will teach us how."

He told them, " I learned about schools in the forest. I'd like to try them here and see if you think that they are a good thing." Their response was to bring together all of the children of America and to build a school where they were given the first education. From the first school in America the knowledge spread until everyone knew about it. Everyone agreed. "This is excellent. Where did you get the idea?"

He answered, "I'll tell you everything later."

For a year or two he waited while the idea of education spread. Then he told them, "This powerful thing that I brought you was taught to me by two men from Papua New Guinea who must remain hidden. You must follow their teachings."

So it was that schools were established in America. At first there were only a few, but the knowledge spread from one group to another, from America to Germany and England, and then to all countries. The schools which white people have came originally from us. We were the source of knowledge which we gave you. You built many fine schools and brought the idea of schools and education back to us. Unfortunately that's all of the story I know.

Moro and Gura

Told by Suksuk Lukas of Bolo


Recorded by Dorothy Counts in 1975

This story is a pelunga. The events occurred in the mythic past, and while the facts recounted may, or may not, be historically true the story contains truths about the human condition and about how things came to be the way they are today. Kaliai cite pelunga to demonstrate their rights to land and to explain the presence of natural formations.

Once our ancestors lived in a place called Giu. One day, when all the men had gone into the forest to hunt pigs with a net called a ubin, Moro appeared. All the men had gone hunting while the women stayed in the village to cook food. In the afternoon two men returned to the village and the women gave them baskets of food to carry to the hunters in the forest. Then, when the women were alone in the village, Moro came following a mountain ridge.

As he stood looking down on the village, it began to rain and the wind began to blow away the thatch on the roofs of the old houses. One woman named Galue climbed up on her roof to fasten down the thatch and, as Moro watched, the wind lifted her fibre skirt so that he could see her body. So he went down to the Vanu river and approached the village.

As the women baked taro and other food, Galue decided to get some leaves to cover the taro in the stone oven. As she broke leaves for baking, Moro moved closer so that when she had finished gathering the leaves he was close by. Then he turned himself into a kapul a 'tree wallaby'.

The woman exclaimed, "Hey, I smell a tree wallaby." She looked around and saw him on the limb of a nearby tree, but when she broke the limb to get him he disappeared. "Where did it go?" she wondered. She searched without success, but when she looked up she saw a man standing watching her. "What are you looking for?" he asked. She told him that she had seen a tree wallaby but when she broke the limb and it fell, the creature had disappeared. "That was me!" he told her. You see, he had tricked the woman because he had seen her body and he desired her. He told Galue of his desire and she refused him. Then he said, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Moro. I'm a pura, a powerful spirit. When I speak, you obey. What do you mean, you refuse?" Then he turned Galue into a tree and she shook with fear. He let her stand there for a while, until she saw what could happen to her, then he turned her into a woman again and warned her, "If you refuse me again, I'll do it again." This time she agreed and they copulated. When they had finished, he said to her, "You go get your leaves and cook your food. I'll go home now, but in four days you return here and I'll come for you."

"If you take me, what will my husband do?"

"Forget him. I want you and I'll have you."

Then Galue took her leaves and went to cook her food, and Moro returned to his home. She waited four nights thinking, "Oh, this man will come for me." and she wept. She mourned every afternoon and when the others asked her, "What's the matter? Why are you crying?" she responded, "I'm crying for my husband."

After the fours days had passed, when it was time for him to come, all the women went to plant taro sets, all except Galue who told her friends, "I'm going to gather firewood first. Then I'll go and get food. When her companions had all left, she saw Moro coming. "What's going to happen now?"

"I've come to get you. Let's go."

So Galue was forced to go against her wishes. Before they left she collected her fibre skirts and red croton leaves, and she insisted that Moro go first so that as she followed him she dropped them behind her leaving a trail for the others to follow.

Finally they reached the Dit, a small stream which is a tributary of the Vanu River and, when they reached the Vanu, Moro changed the course of the river lifting the river bed so that it fell in a waterfall as high as a coconut tree. Galue had dropped her skirts until they reached the Vanu where the waterfall would block those who were following them, so then she tossed her skirt pieces into the water and they floated downstream.

When the women returned to the village they saw her skirt pieces and wondered where she had gone and why she had thrown her skirt into the water. One woman said, "She told me that she was crying because a man was coming for her. I think he has taken her away." The others agreed and followed the trail she had left until they reached the waterfall where they could follow no further.

Moro took Galue as his wife and they went to live on Vulu Mountain on the Talasea Peninsula, the one we can see from here. They made their home there and after a while she was pregnant. Then she went to his house to tell him, for he was in snake form and he lived in a men's house apart from her. When she was very pregnant and it was nearly time for the child's birth she began weeping. Moro heard and asked her why, so she responded, "I'll soon give birth to this child."

"What do you want to do?"

"I want to go back to my village. I want to have my child at home."

"All right then, go home to your kinsmen."

So Galue came home to Giu and told them, "It's me. After you left Moro came and got me. We are married and I am pregnant by him. "I've come home to have my baby."

"What do you want to do now?"

"I want to go to Etiklau where my kinsmen have gone."

"All right. God to your kinsmen." So she followed her relatives to Etiklau and after a while the child was born.

Now this man of magic (papait man) looked and saw that his wife had given birth to their child, so he went to get them. When Moro arrived he asked her, "What is this child's name?"

"Ai, I've not given him a name yet."

"My son's name is Gura. Let's sleep now and tomorrow we'll go."

The next morning the arose and returned to their home on the mountain. If we look hard we can see where they live, at least that's what my grandfathers told me. They lived there until one day when Gura was about six years old, old enough to play at spearing fish and such.

At this time Galue's kinsmen tied their pigs for a big feast. She looked and saw that her kinsmen were planning a feast and that they were tying pigs underneath their houses. She heard them say, "Tomorrow we'll have our feast and we'll kill these pigs." When she realized that the feast would be the following day she said to Gura who was playing nearby, "Eh, you're big but you don't want to go to visit my relatives. They are tying up pigs for a big feast. You are big but you don't want to visit them so that they'llgive you some pork to bring here for us to eat."

The child heard her and said, "Mama, what did you say? What did you say, Mama?"

"No, nothing. I said, 'What are you playing?' That's all."

"No, I heard you. That's not what you said. What did you say?"

"No, that's all I said."

"No, what did you say about my going to see my relatives, your kinsmen?"

"I only said, "You are big now. You should go see your kinsmen. Tomorrow they are killing pigs for a feast."

"Ah, so that's what you said."

That night they slept and the next morning he put on his barkcloth loin covering. He went to bed a child, but the next morning he was a grown man. So he put on a loin cloth and he left. He came down the Talasea Peninsula and came west until he got to the Aria River. He stood up straight like a tree and walked on the water across the big river. He came here and found that everyone had left for the celebration. Everyone had gone by a woman and one man who was crippled with sores on his leg. The sores had become gangrenous and the man, near death, slept in the men's house.

The woman had carried her baby to the gardens where she had made a bed for him. She placed the child, who was about two years old, on the bed and she worked cultivating the taro with a baler shell how [melo aethiopicus Linne) we call an oli. She had been working a long time when the child became hungry and began to cry. As Gura came down the trail he saw the woman working and said to her, "Why is the child crying? Go see about your baby." The woman went to see about the child and he said, "Tell me. Why is the child crying?"

"It's nothing. He's tired of waiting while I work and he's crying. That's all."

"That's not so. He's hungry."

Now the taro was just newly planted and still small but he said, "Go on. Pull up a taro and cook it for the child to eat." The woman laughed at him, "Eh, this taro isn't ready to eat."

"You're wrong. It is ready to eat. Go on. Pull some up and see."

So the woman pulled up a taro and it was as large as the base of a coconut palm. "You see. You thought I was lying to you. Go on. Cook it for the child to eat. I want to ask you where all the men went.

"They've all gone to the feast."

"Ah, who's here in the village?"

"Only one crippled man. He has an infected, rotten sore that has nearly eaten through his leg. He's dying and he's sleeping in the men's house."

"All right. Cook this taro for the child to eat. I"m going to follow the other men."

Then he saw a banana which had newly formed fruit on it. "See this banana. When I come back it will be ripe and I'll eat it. You stay here and weed your taro while the child eats. You both eat and then go back to the village. I'm going on now."

Gura went into the village carrying the shield for the murmua or apotongo dance. The houses were lined up on either side of a central plaza with the men's house in the center. He looked inside the men's house and called out, "Who's sleeping in here, eh? Come on1 Let's go."

"Oh, everyone else has gone. I'm the only one here and my leg is no good."

"You'r leg isn't any good? I'll come inside and see." So he entered the men's house and saw that the sore had nearly eaten through the man's leg and that he was near death. "Ah, so your leg isn't any good, eh? Go on, get your spear. It's standing here, and here's your child. This is mine. Let's take our spears and shields and follow the other men. Go on. Get up! Get up! Go on and stand up."

The man did as he was told and as he stood the sore was gone and he was healthy again. "You see. You thought I was trying to trick you. Get your spear and let's go. Put on your loin covering and let's go."

So the man wrapped his loin cloth around him [this was the costume of our ancestors, a loin covering of bark cloth] and put his hand to his spear and shield. Then Gura said, "I told you what to do and you followed my instructions. So you are healed. Let's go now."

The two of them followed the other men. The village where the feast was being held was laid out so that one row of houses backed up to a river while the ficing line of houses was backed up to the forest on the other side. Gura and his companion stopped on the edge of the village near the river and watched as the people danced and sang through the night. When morning came they speared the pigs. Then Gura and his companion entered the village. All the others had finished dancing and were sleeping when the two of them came stamping the ground. As the men slept they ran into the village, Gura carrying his spear and shield and stamping the ground as he ran, and as he ran the ground began to shake. Moro's son ran and his running caused an earthquake that shook the ground until the houses of the village were ready to fall down. One man ran out saying, "What's happening. Look! Gura has come. Our sister's son has come. Gura is here."

"Ah, it's so. Let's go see him."

So his mother's kinsmen, his maternal relatives who were having a feast, came to greet him. "Ah, kinsman. You have just arrive, eh? Ah, sister's son, you come and the earth shakes and the ground wants to break open." So they greeted each other and when they had finished they all entered the village together. Gura decorated his eyes with lime powder and carrying his spear he and his companion entered the village. The others didn't realize who Gura was when he arrived. Theya asked, "Who is this man? Where is he from? So Gura and his companion with the sore leg arrived dancing and stamping and the earth shook.

They said to him, "Sister's child, come here and we'll distribute the pork now." Then they distributed many pigs until some had been given to all the villages and everyone had a share. The distribution took until evening, and then everyone took their pork and started home. When everyone had left, they said to Gura, "Oh, Sister's Child, the others have taken their pork and left, but you can't go yet. You haven't gotten yours yet, so you wait. While we are sleeping the women will cook your pork. Tomorrow it will be ready and you can go."

He agreed and while he slept the women cooked pig and taro for him. The next morning he called to his companion, "Come and stand here by me." Then they brought him the food and placed it on a platform they had constructed for the purpose, and when they had finished the food was heaped as high as a man. He took a small portion and ate it with some taro and slept again. The next morning he said to his companion, "Ai, my friend, you come and carry the pork." Then Gura took a small piece of meat and put it inside a little basket together with a bit of skin and a covering for the mean. His companion took the basket and they began walking, leaving most of the meat on the platform.

As they walked Gura ate a fruit called reo (it is called apim in Anem and ndoko in Aria, but there is no word for it in Tok Pisin) 'jackfruit', a fruit that we eat when it is ripe and falls from the tree. Gura ate one and planted the seeds from which the trees you see standing now were grown.

They left taking only a little of the pork and leaving most of it on the platform of the village. When they reached the home of the man with the sore leg Gua said, "Brother, take our pork and put it on that bed up there." They placed the meat on the boy's bed and it was full of meat. Then he said, "I'm going to get my bananas." He found the woman and said, "Go cut the bananas that I marked yesterday. They are ripe now. Go cut them and bring them here so I can eat them."

"Ai, they're still immature."

"No, I've worked on them." The woman believed him and went to find that they were completely ripe. She cut them and brought them back. "You see. Did you think I was fooling you?" when he had eaten his fill he said, "The rest are yours. You and the child eat the rest of them." Then he said to his companion, "This pork is yours. I'll just take a little for myself." He took a small portion and left a heaping pile of meat on the bed. "You stay here. I'm going now."

Then he went to the Aria river where he bathed. However he neglected to wash from under his eyes the lime poweder which had been placed there as decoration when he was dancing and singing with his mother's kinsmen. Although he bathed a little of the powder remained under his eyes.

As he neared his mother's home the chickens saw him and began clucking. "Who has alarmed the chickens?" his mother asked. "My son has gone to see my brothers and he hasn't come back yet." She looked and saw that her son came carrying pork. He threw the tiny portion he carried down on the platform and went into his men's house, for he had one men's house, his father had another, and Galue had yet another house of her own. As he threw the pork down he said, "Hey, Mama. I put some pork on the platform." She went to look and saw that the platform was covered with pork. Delighted, she went to make a fire. She gathered firewood and built a fire in her cook house, then she placed the meat in the stone oven. After she had put it in the oven she went to get taro and placed it with the pork.

Then Moro came and said to Galue, "Where has our son been?"

"He's just sleeping in his men's house."

Moro entered the men's house and saw the powder that Gura had failed to was away from under his eyes. "Ah, you are of the lineage of Moro. You are a spirit, a pura (pura is what we call white people in our own language) We are pura and we can't go wherever we please. We must stay here. Why did you go to your mother's people? You deceived me and went to the ceremony and brought back the pork that your mother is cooking here. You knew that we cannot visit among men."

Then, because he was angry with his wife and son he turned Gura into a snake and turned Galue into a crab. She still comes to us. When a crab came into our village my elders would say, "Galue has come. Tie up a pig for her." Then we would tie up a pig and place Sio pots, Siassi wooden bowls, pandanas mats, dogs, and pork before her. She would sleep with her mouth on her offerings because she is our kinswoman who has been turned into a crab. This story tells how that happened.

The Origin of Coconuts

A Kaliai story told by Jakob Mua Laupu

Recorded in 1975 by Dorothy Ayers Counts

Have you ever looked carefully at a coconut? If you have you know that it looks like a head. It has holes for eyes, a nose and a mouth, and it's hairy all over. And if you know that a coconut looks like a head, you know that there MUST BE a story: the story of where coconuts came from in the first place.

Long long ago there was a mean, ugly giant named Vohoku who lived on the top of a mountain. He was REALLY ugly. He had long, dirty fingernails, and sharp pointed teeth, and long, straggly hair that had never been brushed or combed. And of course, being a monster, he never took a bath. Vohoku was really a wicked giant too. He tore up houses, he stole pigs and chickens, he trampled gardens, and he especially liked to eat people whenever he could catch them. All the people were afraid of Vohoku and longed to find a way to get rid of him.

Not far from Vohoku's mountain there was a family of fifty brothers. They lived with their mother in a hole in the ground where they could hide from Vohoku. The oldest brothers were grown men with beards, and the younger ones were teenagers. All of them were grown up except for Akono, the youngest one, and he was only about eight years old.

The fifty brothers lived in their hole in the ground for many years, but finally they became restless and wanted to have an adventure.

"Why is it," one asked, "that this giant can roam around the countryside stealing animals, tearing up our houses, stomping on our gardens, and eating people?"

Another agreed. "Why has nobody tried to stop him? Does he have magic powers? Is he terribly strong? What is his secret?"

"This has got to stop" they agreed. Let's go find this mean giant and get rid of him for once and all."

So the brothers took their spears and their shields down from the wall where they had been hanging. Then they rubbed their bodies with sweet smelling oil and set off to find the giant.

They walked for miles until they reached the foot of the mountain where Vohoku lived. Then they climbed until they reached the mountain top. But he wasn't home. All the walking and climbing had made the brothers hungry, so while they waited for Vohoku to come back they cut a stalk of the giant's ripe bananas and began to eat. Now, as they cut the bananas one of them -- a tiny, very ripe one -- fell from the stalk and rolled down the side of the mountain. It kept rolling until at last it came to rest at the giant's feet.

"Oh ho!" said Vohoku when he looked down and saw his little banana lying there. "What happened to you?" The little banana lay still.

"Did the wind blow you down?" The little banana didn't move.

"Did a limb fall from a tree and knock you off?" The little banana just lay there.

"I know," said the giant. "Someone came to steal you and you have come to warn me." At this, the little banana began to dance around the feet of the giant.

"Aha!" he said. "Okay! Here I come." And the giant started up the mountain. He was so angry that he began to puff and blow, and the force of his breath blew the trees over before him. The brothers heard the wind blowing! "Oh oh!" they said. "Get ready. Here he comes."

When Vohoku reached the top of the mountain he found the brothers sitting on his veranda and resting on the ground in front of his house. And they were all eating his bananas. Some of the brothers were roasting them in the fire. Others were peeling them and eating them raw. But every one of them had a mouth full of bananas.

"ARGGGGGGHH!" he roared. "How DARE you? You are supposed to be MY food. I am supposed to eat YOU. You are not supposed to steal from me. Nobody has ever dared to come here and cut my bananas before. Get ready to fight!"

With that, he ran into his house and came out bringing many, many spears. Then the fight began. But it was a strange fight indeed. Although the giant threw many spears at the brothers, they slid right off of their bodies which -- as you remember -- they had covered with sweet smelling oil. And, although the brothers threw many spears at the giant, his ugly old hide was so thick that the spears bounced off and fell to the ground. So, although there was a lot of yelling, and spears flew in every direction, nobody was hurt. And this went on all afternoon.

All of the brothers were trying to fight Vohoku except for the youngest one, little Akono. While his brothers fought, Akono carefully cooked bananas and put them in piles for his brothers to eat after they had killed the monster. When had fifty piles of bananas all neatly lined up, he went to watch the fight. He watched for a while, until he got very hungry.

"Hey, you guys," he called. "You aren't doing any good. Why don't you come and eat now. You can fight some more later if you want to."

"We can't stop or he'll kill us" they called back. "You're so full of bright ideas, what do you suggest we do about him while we eat? Why don't you try and fight him for a while?"

"Okay," replied little Akono. "You come and eat and I'll kill him for you."

Vohoku threw his spears at the boy, but Akono ducked and dodged until all the monster's spears were gone. Then he threw his spear straight at the creature's eye, and the giant fell over dead. When they saw the monster fall, Akono's brothers ran over and began to jump up and down on him and pound on his body. "Wait," called the boy. "Give me his head. You can do what you want to with the rest of him, but I want his head."

The brothers sang and danced until it began to get dark. "Now that this ugly thing is dead," they told each other happily, "we don't have to live in a hole in the ground any more. We can build houses and make gardens. Our children can play outside. We don't have to be afraid any longer." When the sun began to go down, they collected their spears and called to Akono, "Come on. It's getting dark. It's time to go home."

"You go ahead," Akono told them. "I've got something I want to do first. Don't worry about me. I know the way home."

After his brothers had started down the mountain, singing and shouting to everyone that Vohoku was dead, Akono tied a rope around Vohoku's head and began to pull it down the mountain behind him. It bumped and it bounced along behind Akono, and it made so much noise that finally the brothers heard it, even over all the noise they were making. "What's that racket?" they shouted. "What are you pulling behind you on that rope?" When they saw what Akono was dragging along they were disgusted.

"Yuk!" they cried. "Yechh! What do you think you're going to do with that? Eat it? It'll stink the place up. Leave it here."

"No," replied Akono. "It's mine and I'm not going to throw it away. It makes a lovely noise thumping along behind me and it doesn't catch on the bushes or anything. You fellows go on."

"Blech!" the brothers said. "Let's hurry home and lock the door. We can't let him bring that thing in."

So the brothers did just that. But little Akono never planned to take it home. Instead he stopped on the edge of the gardens. There he dug a hole and he planted Vohoku's head. "Now we'll see what happens," he said to himself. Then he went home.

His brothers were watching out for him. "Look out! Here he comes.

"Is he dragging that thing?"

"No. His hands are empty. What did you do with it, Akono?"

"Oh," said Akono. "I was just teasing you. I never meant to bring it home. I threw it away in the forest."

So, his brothers unlocked the door and let Akono come in.

During the following days the brothers were busy building a house and planting their gardens, so that a couple of weeks passed before Akono could visit the place where he had planted Vohoku's head. He was pleased to find that something had already begun to grow there, but it looked like a ginger plant. Akono broke off one of the young leaves and crushed it between his fingers. Then he smelled it. "Ah, it IS ginger all right. But I have plenty of ginger already." So he uprooted the plant and threw it away. "Maybe something else will come up," he thought. "I wonder what it will be."

Several weeks went by before Akono went back again. This time he saw that there was a young black palm growing from the place where he had planted Vohoku's head. "Rats!" he said. "We already have plenty of black palm to make spears from. I want something else to grow." So, once again he pulled up the plant and threw it away.

The next time Akono went back he found a new plant growing, one that he had never seen before. "Now, this is more like it," he said. "I'll let it grow and see what it becomes." He carefully pulled up all the weeds growing around its base and built a small fence around it to protect it from animals who might try to eat it. Then he waited.

Now, you must remember that this was a special plant. It did not take months and months to grow tall, as palm trees usually do. Instead it grew very fast, so that in only a few weeks it was taller than Akono and little coconuts had begun to form in a circle around the neck of the tree. Akono was so happy that he did a little dance around the base of the palm. "What will it be?" he sang. "What will my new plant be?"

Finally some of the nuts became ripe and fell onto the ground. Akono picked up one of the fallen nuts carefully and broke it open. It looked good. It smelled good. But Akono was a wise and careful boy, and he knew never to eat anything unless he first knew what it was. "It smells wonderful, but what is it? Will it make me sick?" He thought about it for a long time. Then he called his dog and gave a little bit of the coconut meat to him. "Here Dog," he said. "You try it." Dog happily gobbled up the coconut and smiled at Akono, his tail wagging. "He likes it," Akono thought, "but let's see if it makes him sick."

All that day Akono carefully watched Dog, and Dog carefully watched Akono hoping for some more coconut. The next morning Dog got up bright and early and eagerly went with Akono back to the coconut palm. This time when Akono opened a nut, he gave a big piece to Dog and he tried just a little bit himself. "Golly, it really IS good!" he said. So Akono husked several nuts and he and Dog ate until they could hold no more. Then Akono picked up one of the shells and looked carefully at it.

"My gosh! Look at that! It's the head of a man. It really is. There's his face. There's his eye and there's his other eye. That's his nose. There's his mouth, and there's his chin." He pushed a straw into the mouth and it went in all the way. "Yep! That's right. It really is the head of a man. But it's a wonderful food too."

Now Akono had a secret, and every day he would slip away to visit his coconut palm. Every day he tried something new with the nuts, and so he discovered that the liquid of green coconut is delicious to drink. And he made coconut pudding and coconut cream, and maybe he made coconut cookies and coconut cake and coconut pie too. I don't know. I do know that he found many ways to eat his coconuts and that he was very happy.

Finally, a year had passed since the brothers killed the Vohoku and they planned to have a party to celebrate. "Don't you worry about things," Akono told his brothers. "I'll bring the food. I have a surprise for you."

When the day arrived, Akono brought out plates and bowls and trays of new food. His brothers tried it all and it was delicious. "Little brother, what is this? It's food fit for the gods. Where did you find it? Where did it come from?"

"Here, let me show you something" he replied. Then he gave each of his brothers a green coconut with a straw through the mouth. "Try that," he said.

"Oh, this is a wonderful drink. Now you HAVE to tell us. Where did you get it?"

"You really don't know?" asked Akono. "Just look at this coconut. See! There are its eyes. There is its nose and mouth and chin. Look at its hair. It's the head of Vohoku. It's the thing you were so upset about. I planted it on the edge of the garden and this is what grew."

As Akono explained, the older brothers all looked carefully. "He's right," they said. "Little brother, you've outsmarted us all. And you've discovered a wonderful new food. We'll share them with all our neighbours and plant them everywhere. And you did it."

So, that's where the first coconuts came from. We have a smart little boy and a mean old giant to thank for this delicious food. And the next time you see a coconut you can see his face for yourself.


The Story of Pig and Frog

The story of Pig and Frog is what the people of Kaliai call a ninipunga. Ninipunga are usually animal tales, told at night around a fire for the entertainment of both children and adults. While they often have a moral aspect, as do Aesop's fables in the Western tradition, they are not perceived to be "true" or to relate to real people or events. This story was recorded in 1975. Dorothy & David Counts. The story teller is Benedik Solou Laupu pictured below.
   Pig and Frog went to climb a mango tree and pick the fruit. When they reached the base of the tree, Frog said to Pig, "Pig, you stay here at the foot of the mango. I'll climb up our tree." Pig replied, "All right. You go up and knock the mangoes down. I'll stay here and fill our baskets with the fruit.

So Pig stayed on the ground at the foot of the tree while Frog climbed into it. When he had gotten well into the tree, he held onto a limb while he kicked the branches, knocking down the fruit. But Pig did not fill the baskets with the mangoes. Instead, he ate them.

Frog reached out to pick a ripe fruit and called to Pig, who was named Gaitae (which means "pig shit"): "Gaitae, this is my mango, this ripe one here. Put this one in my basket, not in yours." Then he threw it down. However, Pig ate it instead of putting it into Frog's basket. Soon Frog climbed to another limb and shook it so that the mangoes rained down. "Okay, Gaitae, now you can fill the baskets right up with mangoes!" So Pig filled Frog's basket with hard unripe mangoes, but he ate all the others - all the ripe ones.

Then Frog picked three ripe fruit. "Ahh, Gaitae, these three mangoes are mine - these nice ripe ones. Put them in my basket." He threw them down, and Pig gobbled them up. It went on like this until the mangoes were all gone. Pig ate and ate and ate, and still he wasn't full . Then Frog called out, "That's it The mangoes are all gone. I'm coming down now." Pig quickly gobbled down more of those that were left in Frog's basket, so that only half were left.

Frog climbed down and when he reached the foot of the tree, he asked, "Gaitae, where are my mangoes, the ones I threw down?" You see, as he climbed down, he had looked into his basket and wondered, "Gee, my basket isn't very full. What happened to all those mangoes I threw down for myself?" Then he felt of the ones that were left in the bottom of the basket and discovered that they were all hard. Not a single ones was ripe.

"Hey, Gaitae,! Where are all my ripe mangoes, the ones I threw down for you to put in my basket? Feel these! There is not a ripe one among them! They are all hard!"

"No, that's them. Those are the ones you threw down. I put them in your basket."

"Oh no, they are not! Now Frog was angry, for he realized what had happened. "Ahhh, Pig has eaten them all!"

Finally he had, "Pig, you stay here under the tree while I go off to pee." Now, Frog lied to Pig when he said he had to pee, because he wanted him to wait there. He knew someone who could make it rain, so he went and called up to this fellow, this bird with a white neck like a hornbill (his name is Vokomu). "Say, dear cousin, cousin Vokomu, I'd like you to do me a favor. Would you please make it rain. Cause it to rain so hard that the river floods. Then we'll see who's the better swimmer, my companion or me. Could you do this for me, because I'm angry with him for eating all my mangoes. I'm cross, and I could use a little rain."

Vokomu complied and began chanting for rain, "ummmmmm, ummmmmm, ummmmm." Frog returned to Gaitae, who was looking with alarm at the sky growing dark It was completely black by the time Frog got back, and he said, "Oh, Pig, grab your mangoes and let's go! Look! There's going to be a dreadful storm! It's going to start raining any minute now."

It was already raining up-stream and when Pig picked up his basket it was too late. The rain came pouring down. They tried to hide at the foot of a tree, but it didn't work. They tried to cover themselves with brush, but they were soon soaked. "Oh, Pig, it's no use. We might as well just go through the rain. We don't want to be caught here after dark. Then what would we do?" So they walked until they reached the bank of the river. Then Pig asked, "What do we do now?"

Frog replied, "Ah, friend, it'll be all right. Give me your basket. I'll carry it over." He took Pig's basket and jumped over to the other side of the river. There he set the basket down, and then he returned for his own which he carried across. Then he said, "Say, Pig, I think I'll stay over here. Why don't you follow the bank to the head of the river. You can jump across there. If the current carries you down, I can grab you."

Pig took Frog's advice and went to the head of the river where he tried to cross. He jumped, but he wasn't strong enough to swim against the current, so the flooded river caught him and carried him downstream. Frog watched Pig being swept along by the current and when he came near, Frog called out, "Ahh, Pig, Do you regret it now? You gobbled up all the best mangoes, so now do you regret it?"

"Yes! I do! I''m so sorry! Frog, grab my hand! Grab my hand!"

"I don't feel like it. I don't feel like grabbing your hand. You're too greedy." Frog laughed, and laughed, and laughed until his teeth fell out. That's why to this day, you'll never see a frog with teeth.

Meanwhile, the current tossed Pig about and carried him on down stream until he was gasping for breath and defecating in fear. As this happened his stools turned into the shell of the freshwater snails that we call rurue, the ones you see clinging to the rocks in the river.

More stories: pig&frog Silimala

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