Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/382

This page has been validated.
360
[ch.
Stories.
 

2. The Three Fish. Ureparapara.

The story of the Watwata (an Ostracion) and the Sole. The two were scratching one another, and the Sole said to the Watwata, Scratch me. But the Watwata said. No, you shall scratch me first. And the Sole scratched the Watwata, scratched him well. And the Watwata said, Brother, you have scratched me badly, but the Sole said, No, it is all right. And the Watwata said, Well! now I shall scratch you in my turn. After that he scratched him, scratched him extremely thin. And the Sole said, Well! you have scratched me badly, but we two will play hide and seek. And the Sole said, You shall hide first. After that the Watwata hid, and got out of sight under a stone. The Sole sought him and found him. After that the Sole hid in his turn, and buried himself in the sand; and the Watwata sought him in vain. But the Song (a fish which shews its teeth) stood and laughed at it; and he has grinned so ever since. It is finished.

 

3. The Rat and the Rail. Ureparapara.

A Rat and a Rail (Porphyrio) were taking a walk together, and they found a gaviga-tree (eugenia) with ripe fruit. They stood under it and disputed as to which of them should climb up. The Rat said, Rail, climb up! The Rail said, You! So they disputed till the Rat climbed up. Then the Rail begged of the Rat, Brother, give me that black ripe one; but the Rat ate it, and threw him down the stone. Then said the Rail again, Brother, give me that one, it is very ripe indeed; but the Rat ate it all, and again threw down only the stone. Thus the Rail begged again and again for fruit, and the Rat treated him in the same way. At last the Rail made one more petition to the Rat, Brother, give me that one that is red ripe; and the Rat took it and threw it down upon the forehead of the Rail, and there it stuck fast. Eh! brother, said the Rail, you have made game of me, my brother; but make