Today I continue new blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts under the Following Folktales label.
It is getting more and more difficult to find books for the islands I'm looking at. This time I accidentally ran into a small little volume in a digital archive. The upside: You can read it online too!
Goree Ramarui, Rita Limberg
Palau Community Action Committee, 1970.
This tiny collection is only 24 pages long - but it still contain the condensed version on no less than 30 folktales and legends, and even the bare bones are very much enjoyable. The book(let) opens with introducing the traditional crafts of Palau, ending on storyboards.
|source of image|
One of my favorite stories was the one about a "dandy," Ngiratumerang, who was accused by other men of being a coward. In order to prove them wrong, he went and found a master to teach him the martial arts. In the next battle, he killed five of the enemy's best warriors, proving everyone wrong. I especially liked the way he proved his courage to the master: He climbed a tall, thin betel nut tree until it bowed all the way down and he had to reach the top upside-down.
Another fun story was that of Skin and Bones, who used to be brothers. One day, they were attacked unexpectedly. Since Bones did not want to drag his skin-sack brother after him, he put Skin on like a shirt... and ever since then, we have skeletons inside out body.
There was even a tale about where the first dugong came from. According to legend, she had been the daughter of an overbearing mother, who eventually ran away into the sea.
|Picture from here|
I found another version about the origin of Palauan money (see image on the right). I also learned that the legendary Yapese giganic stone coins were also brought from this island. I also found a second version about how women originally gave birth via C-section - in this one, it was not another girl who taught them better (like in the Micronesian collection), but the spider-god husband of a pregnant woman. There was another monster-heron (this time, defeated by a spear-throwing technique learned from actual herons), and another vagina dentata, this time with two biting eels hidden in the wife's lady parts... I expected to see more Palauan stories repeated from the previous collection, but I was happy to find that most of the 30 were new to me. As short a read as it was, it was definitely enjoyable.
The Marshall Islands.