Marshallese Legends and Traditions

Animal Tales

Children everywhere love to be told stories. These animal tales were no doubt used for the little ones - the youngest children - especially at bedtime.

There are few land animals on the islands so it is the animals of the water and the air that play the major roles - the crab, needlefish, whale and sandpiper.

It is said that good storytellers would act the parts of the animals to make it more exciting for the children.

Beneath the fun, however, was a more serious element. The children were learning rules of behaviour, about good and bad. The stories ended with a moral: don't boast, learn to cooperate, remember that all living things depend on each other to survive. These lessons are as valuable today as in the past.

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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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