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 related to us by Benedik Solou Laupu from the village of Kandoka in Kaliai, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. It was recorded in 1975. Dorothy & David Counts. Below is a picture of Benedik Solou Laupu dressed in costume.


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.

The End

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