Marshallese Legends and Traditions


Two women, Lerikinmeleltele and Lerikinmoletelong, lived on Aur. The first had a son, Jebokerei; she said to her sister "Look after my boy; I want to fetch food." But the other one bit off the boy's finger and cooked it. The mother smelled the dish in the bushes. She came and asked "What kind of a smell is that?" As the boy cried the sister answered "I killed a jekad bird, and am cooking it now."

Then the mother asked again "Why is the boy crying so much?" And the sister answered "He is very hungry; do give him something to eat." Then she fed him except that she did not notice the loss of the finger. It went on this way for days. Each day the guardian bit off one of the boy's fingers without the mother noticing it.

It was only when just the thumb was present that the mother saw the mutilated hand, and said "Why didn't you tell me that the boy is ill?" She did not suspect her sister's brutality. Finally the boy died wailing. Then the mother shouted "Why did you take so little attention? I think you killed him." But she did not find out for certain.

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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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