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Old 06-08-2002, 08:17 AM
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A Legend from the West New Britain Province

Origin of the Oil Palm and Coconut

A legend from the West New Britain Province

Once there lived a family on the Island of Tuaha far away from the mainland of Bali. The name of the father was Mataio, his wife, Kue, their son Uva and their daughter Tapu.

In everyday activity, the father would go fishing with his son while the mother, with her daughter, would go into their garden to get taro to go with their fish in the evening.

One night, the father told his son that they would go fishing far away from the island where they lived so they might catch a lot of fish.

While the father was saying this, the two-headed monster was hanging on their roof listening to what he said.

So the monster flew off to the reef and told all the fish in that kingdom what would happen the next day.

The next morning, the father and his son set off to the reef where they had decided to fish. When they came to the reef, they threw their anchor down and started fishing. While they were fishing, the monster swam under their canoe and cut off the string where they had tied to their anchor.

The canoe then began drifting away from the island where they lived. The two-headed monster came out of the water and commanded,
"Give me all the fish that you have caught" ! The two saw the monster and were very frightened by his appearance.

At that moment, the father told his son to throw the fish that they had caught to the monster while he started to paddle as hard as he could towards their island. When the boy finished throwing the fish in the canoe, he called out to the monster, "I have finished throwing our fish to you and you have eaten them all; what shall we give you next ? "

The father told his son: "Cut my body into pieces and throw them down to the monster, except my head. Keep my head and show it to your mother and your sister, so that they won't worry too much about me."

When the boy finished cutting up his father's body, he called to the monster, with tears dropping form his eyes like rain, "You have eaten up my father's body, and my mother plus my sister will be saddened to hear what has happened." The greedy monster shouted back, "Now it is your turn ot cut up your body and throw it down to me."

There was no hope of escaping, so the boy did what he was told. Bit by bit, the boy chopped his body up, and at the same time, he sang a sad traditional song. The mother heard the son singing far in the distance.

When she and her daughter ran down to the beach, they could find only two heads in the canoe.

With tears that ran out from their eyes, they took the two heads and buried them close to their house. The two heads grew; the father's head turned into a coconut tree, while the son's head became an oil palm tree.

From that day onwards, whenever you husk a coconut, you see the face of a human being, and the same applies to fruit of the oil palm.


A legend from West New Britain Province told by TAKAE TALINGAPUA from Kumburi village on Unea Island in West New Britain. Takae attended Malabunga High School before going to Sogeri National High, and Nelso was a student at Cameron High School.
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