Marshallese Legends and Traditions
The story of Aao
Irilik was a great Irooj, long ago in the
In such a land, Irooj Irilik was happy, but he wanted one thing more. He wanted to bless his favorite son, Pejwak, in a special way. Irooj Irilik had many children. Some of them would take the forms of birds. One of the Irooj's sons was luckier than Pejwak. He was Jekad, who was smaller and quicker than Pejwak.
"Jekad will always look out for himself very well" said the Irooj. "It's my simple, friendly Pejwak whom I wish to bless. What can I find that will give him good fortune, that will make him handsome and clever, and that will last forever for him, his children, and his children's children?"
Irilik talked about it with wise men. "Pejwak doesn't need anything " some of them said. "An Irooj and his family have everything."
"Oh, no, not everything "replied the Irooj. "Sometimes a person born in a lowly family is more handsome, more clever, and more lucky than an Irooj's child."
"That's true" agreed his friends. "How can that be?"
"It's because such a person has
The Marshallese word
A man with
"I must send a messenger to get some
He learned that the only
"I'll have to send a giant to get it" said Irooj Irilik.
In those days, there were giants, ghosts and other monsters on earth. Irilik called one of them, an enormous giant.
The giant started from
Then he tried to get between
He went north of
The giant sent by Irooj Irilik was so large that he hid the sun, but he was still not so large as Lawin Bikar. Lawin was so large that the wind, made by his hand passing over the rope, blew the giant backwards, clear out of sight in the ocean. And when he moved his hand the other way, the wind brought the giant back to him.
The giant blew back and forth for quite a while. Finally, Lawin Bikar stopped rolling the rope fibers.
"Who are you, and what brings you here?" he asked.
Lawin Bikar said "Well, there is only a little
"Where does she live?" asked the giant.
"In a deep hole at the end of the reef" replied Lawin Bikar.
The reef lay ten miles north of
"What's the matter? Didn't you get the
"No, the eels on the reef bit me" said the giant.
"Then I'll go with you" said Lawin Bikar.
He picked up the giant from
When they got to the end of the long, rocky reef, they saw the great, ugly head of the Mother Eel. It came out above the water from her cave among the rocks of the ocean. Her mouth was open. Lawin Bikar took the giant out of his belt and put his head into the water.
"Swim under the water and get some of the
The giant would not do it. He shook like a child when he saw the huge mouth and terrible sharp teeth of the Mother Eel. Lawin Bikar picked up the giant and swung him close to the mouth of the eel, back and forth, back and forth. The eel opened her mouth wider with each swing.
The poor giant nearly died. He was afraid to put his hand into the eel's mouth and take out the
When the eel's mouth was wide open, he put in his arm and reached far back in her throat. With his finger, he
took some of the
"Here it is!" he cried, holding up his finger.
Then he carried the giant back across the reef and gave him the The giant waded back, holding the When the giant got back to
The giant waded back, holding the
When the giant got back to
"Greetings, my good friend!" Jekad said, trying to talk like his brother.
"Are you Pejwak?" asked the giant.
"Yes" said Jekad.
And so the giant spread the
Then along came a larger, dark-brown bird. "I'm Pejwak" he said to the giant. "Have you
"Oh, oh, I've been fooled, I've been fooled!" cried the giant. "I've given your brother the
He looked at his finger and saw that just a little of the
Pejwak's descendants can be seen today in the
Pejwak kept on being the favorite son of the great Irooj, Irilik. In olden times, when the Marshallese
heard the Pejwak crying before sunrise, they said "There will be plenty of food and fruit this year. Pejwak has
just come from his father Irilik in
When they heard that crying before dawn, the Irooj and the people came together and gave prayers of thanks to Pejwak and Irilik for the coming harvest. The priests talked to the people. Afterwards, there was a happy feast.
As they fly over the waves, their bright eyes look into the blue water. Their beaks are turned
downward, ready to snatch. Each dive brings up a fish.
|select from the following...|
Digital Micronesia-An Electronic Library & Archive is provided free of charge as an advertising-free information service for the world community. It is being maintained by Dirk HR Spennemann, Associate Professor in Cultural Heritage Management,Institute of Land, Water and Society and School of Environmental & Information Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia. The server space and technical support are provided by Charles Sturt University as part of its commitment to regional engagement. Environmental SciencesInformation Sciences
|Marshall Islands Kosrae CNMI Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Guam Wake Pohnpei FSM Federated States of Micronesia Yap Chuuk Marshall Islands politics public health environment culture WWII history literature XXX Cultural Heritage Management Micronesian Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences CNMI German Colonial Sources Mariana Islands Historic Preservation Spennemann Dirk Spennemann Dirk HR Spennemann Murray Time Louis Becke Jane Downing Downing|