Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How's this for a bedtime story?

While we were in Ukarumpa, Shiana had to write down one of the local myths, as they are studying myths and legends in her class at the moment. This is the one we managed to get from one of the workers at the guesthouse. Enjoy it (there are many more like it in PNG...):

Tumbuna (ancestor) Stori from Kainantu (translated from Tok Pisin)

This is a story Irami tells her children before they go to sleep at night:

"Once upon a time there was an old man called Kokibaro, and he was a cannibal, which means that he would eat people. He did not live near his people, but instead lived hidden in the bush a fair distance from his people.
One day 5 village boys decided to go out to hunt for birds. So they took their bow and arrows and off they went. Soon they came close to where the old man, Kokibaro, lived. One of the boys shot a bird that was flying overhead and the bird dropped down right near the house of Kokibaro. Kokibaro saw the bird fall and quickly grabbed the bird and hid it.
Soon one of the boys came looking for the bird. When he approached Kokibaro’s house it began to rain. Kokibaro saw the boy and said to him: “Why have you come here to my house?”
“Well,” said the boy, “I have come to find the bird that we killed.”
The old man said, “look, it is raining now, so why don’t you come and shelter in my house until the rain passes, and then I will help you look for it.” The boy saw that the rain was getting heavier so he agreed and laid down in the man’s house. Before long he became very tired and fell asleep.
Kokibaro worked quickly now. He lit a very hot fire and placed a large stone in the middle of the fire. When the stone was red hot, he removed it from the fire with some sticks and put it onto the boy’s chest, near his heart, and killed him this way.
It was not long before another one of the boys came to investigate why the first boy was taking so long to find the dead bird. Kakibaro did the same to this boy and to two more of them who came after him. Finally four of the boys were dead. The one remaining boy was suspicious and he decided to go back to his village, rather than to follow his friends.
When he explained what had happened to the adults in the village they were furious as they realised it was the old man, Kokibaro, who had killed their sons. So they began to plan a way to get rid of this man once and for all.
They invited him to a special party with lots and lots of food. When he came they asked him to help them get the food ready. They were preparing a mumu (cooking in a pit in a ground with hot coals and steam). After they had finished cutting up all the meat, and the fire had been made very hot, they asked Kokibaro to put the meat into the pit. As he was leaning over, a group of strong village men surrounded him and pushed him into the hot pit where the food was cooking. When he tried to get back out they poured boiling water all over him and then covered him up with leaves and cooked him. And that was the end of Kokibaro, the old man who liked to eat people!"

Sweet dreams children!!!


HH said...

Hmmm...not the sort of bedtime story I would want to tell my children. Sweet dreams?

Mrs. Bob said...

sort of similar to the "hansel and gretel's" of a former generation.

very pleasant bedtime stories.

Andrew and Natalie VanderHeide said...

You're right Mrs bob, except that in this country these are true stories, they are presented in the same way as your parents would tell you a story about your or their childhood! I used to love Hansel and Gretel, and stories like it, but somehow I always understood that they were make-belief (sugar-coated houses, etc). Just imagine however, that Hansel and Gretel was the true story of your grandmother's cruelty. Now that would put a different slant on the story, wouldn't it?? BTW, still read your blog diligently, and love it!

Mrs. Bob said...

for sure, that would make it very scary! as a kid i always did believe hansel and gretel was a true story, though... but it started with "in a far away land" so at least it wasn't a relative! and at least they got away in the end!

scary stuff!

(btw, i just reread my original comment... i hope you realized my last line was very sarcastic! ;)

Andrew and Natalie VanderHeide said...

yes... don't worry - i did pick up on the tone of your last comment. I've read your blog often enough to pick up on your great sense of humour!!