Traditional stories from Vanuatu




The mysterious Pixies




Let me introduce the story of the Pixies. I recorded this story on August 25th, 2003, in Qtevut [k​͡pʷtevut], a tiny hamlet located on the western coast of Gaua I., in the Banks group of islands.

The narrator is called John Star, a young chief and also one of the most active fieldworkers of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre.


The language of Dorig

Due to his multiple ancestry, John Star can speak fluently any of the four distinct languages of south Gaua (see my map): Dorig, Koro, Olrat (of which he is one of the very few last speakers) or Lakon. For this story, he chose to use Dorig, the language of his father. This language is still well alive with about 200 speakers. Most of them live in Dorig, a village located on the southeastern tip of Gaua Island (see it on Google Earth!). John Star is actually one of the few Dorig speakers who live outside the village of the same name.


The story of the Pixies

The story of the Pixies John Star narrates the story of dwarf creatures from the bush, which are called Watgōrgōr in Dorig, and which I propose to translate as ‘Pixies’. As the story shows, these small fairy-like people can be both helpful and harmful to mankind: after they kindly helped the hero carry his fishing canoe, they want to help him so much that they eventually cause him a lot of trouble… What happens exactly? You'll find out if you read the story!