Marshallese Legends and Traditions

Tales of Social Custom

Throughout this collection the stories have an underlying lesson for the audience. They have within them many rules for behaviour. The actions and characteristics of heroes acted as role models for young people; rewards and punishments were delivered according to social custom.

All the stories collected could be considered to be within this section, had not another story-line made it logical to place them elsewhere. The four stories that do appear cover marriage, family, cooking and appropriately, story-telling.

Family was, and is, the basic social institution, and most stories speak of the value of kin. The story from Aur is strange in that it is the only one in which a matrilineal relative is not to be trusted.

"The Story-telling Spirit" implies that legends and tales put an audience to sleep. We hope not in this case.

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Bibliographic citation for this document

Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (1998). Marshallese Legends and Traditions Second edition. Albury:

Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, P.O.Box 789, Albury NSW 2640, Australia.

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