Marshallese Legends and Traditions

How a large pool was formed on Mejit


There are only two pieces of land that are not atolls in the Ratak Chain of the Marshalls, Jemo which is uninhabited, and Mejit, on which people live. On Mejit there is a very big pond in the center of the island that people say was made by a monster a long time ago. At that time there were only two inhabitants there, an old man and his wife. Each evening the old man would go to the center of the island to make copra,[38] and he would remain there into the night. His wife would stay at their home preparing food. One night while away from home, the old man saw something shining in the distance, but he did not go to investigate to see what it was.

The next night the old man returned to his place of work in the middle of Mejit. He suddenly realized that the shining area had become larger, and that it was a pond reflecting moonlight. He returned home to tell his wife that he was going to spend the whole night there to see what was happening. The next evening, his wife prepared food and the old man left to visit the pond.

During the night he noticed that someone or something was working to make the pool larger. He returned to the area several more nights and watched. Then one night he realized that it was a monster working on the pond, and the old man, very much afraid, hurried home to tell his wife. They realized that their lives were in danger from the monster, so they made a plan to slay it before the monster killed them. The man would lure the monster away from the pond, and his wife would entice the monster into their house.

The old man went to the pond for a final visit. When he saw the creature leave the water, he threw stones to attract him. When the monster chased the old man, he ran towards the house where his wife was standing in the doorway. The old man went quickly inside, hid, and waited. When the monster saw the old lady, he ran into the house after her, and was stabbed in the back and killed with a spear by the old man who was hiding behind the front door.

Today the island of Mejit is peaceful and the monster is just a memory. His pond, though, is in the center of the island and is enjoyed as a swimming place by all of the people.


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Bibliographic citation for this document

Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (1998). Marshallese Legends and Traditions Second edition. Albury:
URL: http://marshall.csu.edu.au/Marshalls/html/legends/le-2-6.html

CONTACT:
Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, P.O.Box 789, Albury NSW 2640, Australia.
e-mail: dspennemann@csu.edu.au


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