Traditional stories from Melanesia



The island of the Dancing Spirits


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Li-ko Tamate ponu: mwaliko iote da emel’ iape. Pe da-tilu pe Teanu. Kulumoe iada Aneve.
Here is the story of the Tamate spirits. Once upon a time, there was a man and his wife. They were both from Teanu island, from the village of Aneve.
Li-te li-te ra, ka la-ko kape la-le ne basakulumoe iote re, Tetevo. La-l’ la-romo dapa iada, dapa ne da: ai’ ada dapa, tili’ adapa dapa, gi’ adapa dapa, nga pon –
They were living their life, when one day they decided to travel to a different island, Utupua. They were going to visit their families, their relatives: their fathers, their siblings, their uncles, and so on.
La-ko kape la-le ponu, nga nanana: la-le, lai-odo ngaten’ ada.
Two days before they were going to travel, they set out to make preparations.
Lai-au jebute, la-kidi puluko ada, lai-ali buioe ada, la-kamai ponu.
They harvested some taros, picked some betel leaves and areca nuts, brought those together.
Vono i-sodo, lai-ejau / mwalik’ iape i-ven’ i-la vongoro ne belemele i-abu i-vo. Emel’ iape i-maili iawo i-tau jebute.
The next morning, the husband climbed to take some almonds down from the shelf. Meanwhile, his wife had lit a fire, and was cooking taros.
I-tau jebute awoiu ponu, i-lu; mwalik’ iape i-vo vongoro awoiu pon i-wete.
Once the taros were cooked, she scraped them – all while her husband was cracking almonds, and crushing them.
Awoiu pon, emel’ iape i-tau jebute moioe ponu, i-loko i-ka i-le ne monone ka i-wete. I-wete awoiu ka i-ejau mama ada.
Once the taros were cooked, she put them in a mortar and began to squash them. Once the taro was all squashed, she made into a pudding.
Awoiu ponu, ka emel’ iape ka i-wapono.
Then she proceeded to reheat it.
Vono i-sodo, kape la-le Tetevo pon.
The next morning, they were thus ready to travel to Utupua.
Vono i-sodo pon, la-/ i-elele kuo iada i-abu, la-loko ngatene ada i-le: namolo iada, buioe ada me puluko, none ada, pon, mama po lai-ejau.
And as they were dragging their canoe down to the sea, they took their luggage: their clothes, their areca nuts and betel leaves, their food, particularly the pudding they had prepared.
Wako po ka la-viñi dapa iada pon, Aneve, la-ko “Keba ba-le Tetevo na!”
And then they told their families in Aneve: “Alright, we're leaving now for Utupua.”
La-la bavede i-vio pon, ka la-vesu bavede i-le.
They hoisted the sail, and took out to sea.
I-le, la-koie Tetevo. Kulumoe / La-l’ la-koie ne kulumoe pon, Tetevo.
They sailed on towards Utupua. They approached the island of Utupua.
La-koie ka la-le teve dapa iada pon –
They landed there, and went to stay with their relatives.
La-te ra ra, bwara kata kape ebieve iune bwara metele tuo, nga pon.
They remained there for quite some time, maybe a whole year, or at least six months.
Pe ngiro mamote i-ka ne tevie ne / i-aka i-lui, li-ko ne ngiro Tangake ma i-vio tevie na.
But the wind was still blowing the wrong way: it was the easterly wind Tangake, that was blowing from here.
Lai-te Tetevo ra ra ra ra – ka i-le ne velesebe: ngiro ka i-kamai tevie ne Palapu.
So they waited on Utupua, on and on and on — till they reached the middle season: that’s when the southerly wind Palapu finally began to blow.
Ka la-vete la-viñi dapa iada pon Tetevo “Ia keba ka ba-tab’ ba-le na.” Dapa li-ko “O, wako.”
When that time came, they told their relatives on Utupua “Alright, it's now time we went back.” — “Yes, sure” they replied.
Ponu ka li-le ne sekele li-au jebute, li-kidi puluko, li-ali buioe ada –
So they went to their garden, harvested taros, picked betel leaves, climbed for areca nuts…
Li-kamai ponu, li-wete mama ada. Wako li-wapono.
Back in the village, they prepared some pudding… all the way to the reheating stage.
Von’ i-sodo ponu pon, la-ko “O, keba na ka ba-tab’ ba-le kulumoe iaba na.” Li-ko “Wako.”
The next morning, they said “Alright, we're now ready to return to our island.” — “Alright” they said.
Ponu. Li-loko ngaten’ ada i-le ne kuo wako ponu; la-la bavede iada i-vio, la-vesu ka la-ka.
So — They collected their luggage, stowed them on their ship; hoisted the sail; and set out on their trip back here.
La-vesu bavede kape i-ka / la-ka la-ka la-ka –
They sailed this way, sailed on and on and on…
La-kovi vono basakulumoe na, ka la-kovi basakulumoe iot’ aplaka Teanu re la-ka la-ko “E! Kia na ka la-kovi basakulumoe iakia na ta!”
But then – they missed the area of our island here; they also missed the small island of Teanu over there. They thought “Oh dear, we've actually missed our island!”
La-le, mamote somu tae, bwara nga ne to ñe na ka Tekupie. Ka la-romo temotu iote apilaka.
They sailed ahead, till they reached a point that's not too far away – roughly the same sort of distance as between here and Tikopia. That's where they caught sight of a small islet.
Ka pon. La-ko “E! Temotu iote apilaka pon!”
“Hey!” they said “Look at that small islet over there!”
Pon, ka kuo iada ka susuko se. I-le i-le i-le, kape la-koie / ka vitoko pe la-koie ponu la-lengi dapa.
They headed their canoe in that direction, till they could land. But as they were about to land, they heard some voices.
Pe kulumoe ponu, kulumoe iaidi mwaliko tae: ponu ngatene pon ñoko Tamate.
In fact, that island was not occupied by humans: there were nothing but creatures called Tamate.
Ia pon tadoe tae. Pon i-ovei pe i-vete piene samame idi mwaliko.
They were not exactly gods: they were able to communicate with humans.
Ponu kulumoe iadapa ñoko, temotu pon.
They were the only inhabitants on that land, that islet.
La-ka la-koie ka vitoko pon, mwaliko iape ka i-madau i-ko “E, kape la-koie, dapa na kap’ li-abu kia!”
So as the couple came closer, the man was struck with fear: “If you and I land there, those people will kill us!”
Pon i-la visone iape i-ka i-ngago.
So he took his bow, and strung it ready.
I-ngago wako, i-la puro kula i-vio ne waluko. Tilu i-labu sam’ visone.
Once he'd bent it, he tied a few arrows around his hip, and held two others together with his bow.
Ka bavede iada, ka la-bu / lai-bu / la-bu.
They furled their sail,
Ka i-la i-le i-abu i-wene, ne kuo.
put it away in their canoe.
Ka i-viñ’ emel’ iape i-ko “U-wai i-ka! U-wai u-mabui! Kiane ’tapu!
Then he said to his wife: “Paddle this way, gently! Don't go too fast!
La-koie nga dapa li-ko li-abu kia, ene kap’ ne-korone n-abu iune we tilu, tete o / wako na. Awoiu dapa ka li-abu kia viri.”
When we land, if they want to kill us, I'll do my best to kill one or two, or three – before they start killing us.”
La-koie pon ini i-vio i-labu visone, wako kuo i-le i-sai.
As they came closer to the coast, he stood in the water, holding his bow, and docked his canoe.
La-sai ponu, dapa li-abu li-ka.
As soon as they landed, the islanders came down towards them.
Li-ka ponu, li-ko [ive?] Li-wokobe da.
In fact they came to … to welcome them!
Pon la-ka la-koie la-sai.
So the couple came further inland, and left their canoe.
Li-ko “Ia oo!” Dapa li-ko “Oo!”
“Hey ho!” they said. – “Hey!” the islanders replied.
Teliki iadapa semame dapa li-abu li-ka, li-wokobe da po la-sai kuo.
Their leader walked down with them: they all came to welcome the couple and drag their canoe inland.
Wako, ka li-vete / teliki iadapa i-vete “Kupa na kupa mwaliko tae. Ka kaipa mwaliko na ia kupa na ngatene nga na, na ba-romo kupa na!
At that point, their leader said “In this island, we are not humans as you are. We are creatures like this… but you can see us!
Wako, kape pe-loko dapa gete enone nga pon, da meliko viñevi, le-loko temamene iamela le-le moe pon i-vio.”
So now, we'll send our boys and our girls to collect your luggage, and bring it to the houses you see up there.”
La-loko ngaten’ ada ka li-le ne moe wako ka li-elele kuo iada i-vene.
So they took their luggage, and they all walked towards the hamlet, while also dragging their canoe inland.
La-le ponu ka lai-te pon. Ka pon dapa moro abia ponu, Tamate pon pe li-te ñi pe li-mako li-mako, nedemo, tomoro, nedemo, tomoro…
The couple stayed there several days. Every single day, the Tamate creatures who lived there would keep dancing on and on – during the night, the day, the night, the day…
Li-mako li-mako, ne, po li-pinoe.
And that dance they were doing all the time, that was a major ritual dance.
Ka basakulumoe ponu, temotu apilaka pon, vilo pe i-vio ene pon, vilo tamwaliko tae. Pon vilo pe li-e ñoko. Ne temotu pon.
That island, that little islet, had only good plants and trees. There were only edible plants on this islet.
Nga vewo, bale, iliro, luro, teno, takalamu, doko…: wonone pe li-e, vilo iote tae. Ne basakulumoe pon, o temotu pon.
There were chestnuts [Inocarpus], breadfruit [Artocarpus], ambarellas [Spondias], coconuts, lychees [Pometia], avocados [Persea], walnuts [Dracontomelon]…: all sorts of edible fruit, and nothing else. Such was that island, that little islet.
La-te la-te pe ngiro mamote i-aka i-kamai Palapu: kape la-ka / la-tabo la-ka Teanu metae.
They remained there for a while, because the Palapu wind was still blowing south from here: so they were unable to get back here, to Teanu.
La-te ra ka labiou bwara metele tuo ka awoiu.
So they stayed there quite a long time, perhaps six months at least.
Awoiu pon, ngiro ka i-lubi. Ka i-lubi amjaka i-tabo i-lui ko…
Finally, the wind changed course, allowing them to return.
Pon, ngiro ka wako ka la-viñi teliki iadapa: “O, keba ba-tab’ ba-le Teanu na pe ngiro ka wako.”
As the wind conditions improved, the couple said to the chief: “Well, we'll be going back to Teanu now, the wind is better now.”
Ia teliki iadapa i-ko “Wako. Minga kape ba-le?” I-ko “Mobo.”
“Alright,” said the chief. “When will you leave?” – “Tomorrow.” they said.
Pon. Ngasune nga pon.
That's it. That's how it went.
Li-l’ li-odo ngatene ada.
So they went to prepare their luggage.
Li-bi ua vilo nga pon, nganae nga bale, vewo, iliro, iuko, teno – nga pon, li-kamai.
They collected various fruits, like breadfruit, chestnuts, ambarellas, cabbages [Burckella], lychees…
Ka von’ i-sodo, ka pon teliki iadapa i-viñi da / mwalik’ iape / emele pon da mwalik’ iape i-ko “Ive? Ba-romo kupa wako we tamwaliko?”
The next morning, the chief came to see the couple, the man and the woman, and asked “What do you think? Do you think we are beautiful, or ugly?”
“E! Ba-romo wako! Ba-rom’ kaipa wako!”
“We think you're beautiful! You people are really superb creatures.”
Ka teliki iadapa i-vet’ i-ko / teliki pine i-ko “Ive? Awa kela ne dapa gete kula ’none ba-ko ba-lui, we tae?”
“In that case,” said the chief, “would you like to take some of my boys with you?”
Ka mwaliko pon i-ko “Nga eo u-re dapa! U-ko ne-la dapa kula ne-lui pe ni-romo wako ka ni-romo makone iaipa wako po pi-pinoe.
“Well yes,” the man replied, “if you allow them! Tell them I'll take a few of them with me, because I find them superb, and I really loved your dances.”
Me ne-lui me ne-wasi ñe dapa enone, Teanu.
I want to show them to my relatives on Teanu.
Pe kupa ponu makone enga-kula ia na iote ni-romo ka wako tamwalikose!”
In our place, we do have a few dances already, but this one I saw here was absolutely fabulous!”
I-ko “Wako.”
“Alright”, said the chief.
Ka mobo kata kape la-ka ponu: li-elele kuo iada i-abu li-loko ngatene ada i-le awoiu, namol’ iada –
So the next day, they were getting ready, dragging down their canoe, bringing together their luggage, their clothes…
Wako, teliki iadapa i-ko “Kape ne-la / ne-viñi dapa teva. Kape le- / u-la u-lui. Ka tili ene, et’ adapa: Takulalevioe.”
Then the chief came to them, and said “I will tell four of our boys that you'll take them with you. As for the fifth one here, this is their mother: Takulalefioe.”
Mwaliko pon i-ko “Wako.”
“Agreed,” said the man.
Dapa tieli’ adapa na li-vene ne kuo same da pon, bavede i-vio po ka li-ka!
So the four brothers climbed on the canoe with the couple, and away they sailed!
Li-ka li-lui bavede kape la-ka ne kulumoe iada pon, la-ka Teanu.
They were travelling back to their island, towards Teanu here.
La-ka la-ka la-ka la-ka – pe ngatene ponu, nga ebele ko, Tamate pon li-romo nga mwaliko. Ka nga tadoe i-ovei pe i-tomwoe.
So they sailed on, and on, and on – Now, those ‘Tamate’ creatures, remember they looked just like people; but like spirits, they knew how to become invisible.
La-ka la-ka la-ka pon, ka li-tomoe mina kuo iada! Ka li-tabo li-le ne temotu iadapa pon.
So as they were still voyaging, suddenly the Tamate disappeared from the ship! They returned to their own islet.
Io, ka kulumoe temotu iadapa ponu, enga ini Veluko. (Ka ni-mui pe ni-vete temotu ponu, enga ini Veluko.) Pon.
The small island they were coming from was called Veluko. (Sorry I forgot to name the island: it was called Veluko.)
Ka tabo la-le! Li-le awoiu.
And so, they had disappeared! Vanished in the air!
La-romo kuo iada moli.
The couple realised their canoe was suddenly empty.
“E! Menuko iakia ka li-tomoe!”
“Hey! Our friends have vanished!”
Mwalik’ iape i-ko, i-viñ’ emel’ iape, i-ko “E! La-tabo la-le! Ene awa ene ni-ko la-lui, pe teliki ka i-re se kia.”
The man said to his wife “Let's go back! I really wanted to take them with us, and the chief had allowed us to!”
La-bu bavede iada i-wene ponu la-tabo; la-wai i-le.
And so they furled away their sail, turned around, and began paddling away.
I-le i-vagasi Veluko ponu, teliki ka i-romo dapa : “E! Kaipa ka pi-tab’ pi-ka?” I-ko “Mm!”
They paddled back to Veluko. The island's chief saw them, and shouted “Hey! So you guys are coming back?” – “Exactly!” they replied.
– Ia po ini i-ovei. – I-ko “E! Ba-lui ponu dapa na ka li-tabo li-ka!
The chief understood what had happened. “I see, he said, you two tried to take the boys with you, but they came back here!
Dapa na ngatene nga tevie mwaliko, tevie nga li-romo nga tadoe.
You know, these creatures are partly human, but in part they're a bit godly too.
Li-ovei pe li-tomoe, li-ovei pe li-tabo li-ka, nga ponu.
They can go invisible, they can come back here, and so on.
Ia eo, awa eo i-vian’ tamwase?” I-ko “Mm!”
But you, you seem to want them badly?” – “Oh yes!” he said.
Ka teliki iadapa i-ko “Wako. Na kape ne-tab’ ne-viñi dapa le-vene ne kuo teve kela, ka pe telepakau adapa telepakau pe na, i-dai kulumoe na, Teanu ka iote basakulumoe iote pine na.”
“Alright, said the chief. I will tell them again to climb on your canoe with you two. You know, their culture is the one we have here, around this island; but for them, Teanu is another major island.”
Nga, ive, da viñevi nga li-te ne manoko kape le-mokoiu nga pon, ne? Ngatene pon kape li-te / li-ka li-koie ne moe nga pon tae.
(You know – when women are in their periods, they also have them in their sleep, right? In such moments, it is taboo for them to come inside our houses.)
Ka i-viñi i-ko “Namolo i’ emel’ iono po va nga i-te ne manoko, kape i-la i-kawi ñe dapa, me kape le-tabo le-tomoe metae.”
So the chief explained: “Your wife's skirt, whenever she is in her period: if she covers the Tamate with it, then they won't be able to disappear again.”
Ka mwaliko po i-ko “Wako.”
“Oh really,” said the man.
Po li-vene ne kuo po i-viñi emel’ iape: i-la namolo iape iote po ra nga metele i-ka i-te ne manoko i-la i-kawi ñe dapa.
As they all climbed on the canoe, the man explained everything to his wife; so she took her cloth where the monthly period had come, and she put it on the Tamate.
Pon bavede i-vio pon ka la-ka. La-ka la-ka ne basakulumoe iote aplaka re, la-koie Teanu la-koie ne Adie Vono. La-ka la-koie ne Aneve tae.
And so they sailed, heading this way. They were sailing towards Teanu, the little island over there. But then, they chose not to land at Aneve: instead, they approached the island from the other side, the Andie Fono side.
La-koie ne tevie ponu, la-koie, vele, Anboi.
They docked on the other side, at Aniboi.
La-koie ponu, la-lui Tamate ka et’ ada pon / et’ adapa pon, ae, Takulalevioe. Enga ini iote li-ko, ae, Takole. Takulalevioe, o Takole.
So they landed together with the Tamate and their mother, Takulalefioe. (She had another name, Takole. Takole, or Takulalefioe.)
La-wamu ne bonge iote pon. La-wamu i-wene pon, awoiu da ka la-tab’ la-ka.
The couple decided to hide them in a cave. They left them there, and then came back to the canoe.
La-le, la-le la-koie ne kulumoe iada, Aneve. Ka li-te.
They paddled a little, till they reached their village Aneve, and stayed there.
Li-te ra, wa-ini, li-ajau none, ka li-le ne toplau, li-anu kava. Li-anu kava awoiu, ka li-vongo viri.
So they lived in their village for a while. One day, the villagers had been cooking, had been going to the men's club to drink kava; and after kava, they were having dinner together.
Li-vongo awoiu ponu, ka mwaliko ponu i-ko “Uña teliki / teliki makumoso, ka uña teliki, ka dapa wopine peini kulumoe, ka dapa gete, ne-ko kape ne-viñi kiapa. Iote kape ne-viñi kaipa teliki na.”
When dinner was finished, our man made a declaration: “Dear elders, chiefs, leaders of our island; and youngsters too, I have something to tell you. Something I want to tell to all the dignitaries here.”
Dapa teliki li-ko “Wako. Nganae a-ko u-vete?”
“Alright,” said the chiefs. “What is it you want to say?”
Ka pon ini i-ko “Ene awa ene ni-ko kape, ae, l-apilo sekele / me kape l-apilo sekele.
“Well,” he started, “I would like everybody to go work in their garden.
Uña teliki ka idi abia na, kiapa abia na ne kulumoe na. Dapa po li-kila emele, dapa wopine.”
I mean, not just the chiefs, but everyone in the island: all the married men, all the adults.”
Ponu. I-vete i-wene ponu, ka teliki i-ko “O, wako.”
That's it. The chiefs heard his declaration, and said “Alright.”
Moro nga ne, pon, kape le-le li-apilo sekele ie mwaliko iote wako, mwaliko iote, mwaliko iote, nga pon.
The next day, they all went to make their gardens, each one his own.
Awoiu ra, awoiu pon li-tau.
At the end of the day, they set fire to the ground.
Li-tau sekele ponu awoiu, moro iote li-le li-teli avtebe.
Once they had burnt their garden, the next day they planted some taros.
Ne sekele ie mwaliko iote, ie teliki iote, teliki iote, teliki iote, wako dapa wopine.
They did so in the garden of one man, of another man, of a chief, of another chief – essentially, every adult in the village.
Wako dapa abia pon ra awoiu. Sekele peini jebute ka li-teli awoiu.
The same happened for everyone: their gardens were planted with taros.
Ra ra i-le ne to ebieve, vongoro ka i-mote.
Time went on, till they reached mid-season: this is when the almonds had finished ripening.
I-mote po, li-le li-bi vongoro adapa.
So people went to collect ripe almonds.
Li-bi vongoro we teliki iote, teliki iote, teliki iote, i-katau dapa awoiu, li-kamai, li-loko i-vene ne belemele li-sabisi li-maliawo boso.
People collected almonds for each and every important man in the island. When they had enough, they brought them to the village, stacked them upon their shelves, and lit fires underneath.
Pon ra kokoro. Vongoro ka kokoro ponu, ka jebute / avtebe adapa ka i-maili i-vene kata ka vitoko kape moso.
That's how they were able to dry their almonds. As for their taro, it had grown considerably, and was soon ready to harvest.
Ka i-wene i-le i-le i-le, jebute ka moso. Nga ponu.
The taro kept growing, until it was fully mature.
Li-teli avtebe, ia li-vo udo.
Not only had they cultivated taros, but they also planted bananas.
Udo, enga tilu: udo engaenga, abia na tae, na udo vaiene, ka udo vakaero. Udo peini kulumoe. Ponu.
They had two sorts of bananas. Among the many possible types of bananas, most types they didn't have; they only had ‘faiene’ and ‘fakaero’ bananas – that is, local cultivars.
Awoiu ponu, li-vete li-ko kape le-mini ngapiene.
One day, it was announced that a festival would take place.
Kape le-mini ngapiene ponu kape / vele, Aneve.
There would be a festival in the village of Aneve.
Ra jebute ka moso pon, pon.
The taro was already mature at that stage.
Ka li-le, li-vokoiu longe. I-ka i-wene.
People began chopping firewood, and stacked it together.
Longe i-katau dapa abia pon awoiu li-kamai i-wene awoiu, li-le li-toe tepapa.
Once people had brought enough firewood for all the families, they went to cut slabs for the dances.
Li-toe tepapa li-bo li-bo li-bo, awoiu. Li-kamai i-wene.
They cut the slabs, chopped on and on, and when they were ready, they brought them to the village.
Ia jebute ka moso. Udo kata kape ka moso.
The taro was ready, the bananas were ready.
Moro iote, kata kape le-tetele pon, li-le li-toe blateno, vilo po li-ko blateno.
The next day, as the festival was almost going to start, they went to cut down a tree called ‘pole mallow’ [Sterculia banksiana], for the festival pole.
Li-kamai li-toe moboro peini, li-kamai pon i-wene ponu.
Then they also went to cut the rattan for the pole, and brought it to the village.
Vono i-sodo ponu, li-le / li-ae kie tepapa.
The next morning, they began digging holes for the stomping slabs.
Li-ae kie tepapa i-dadai awoiu ponu, li-iu.
They dug holes in a circle, all around the village area.
Li-iu tepapa i-dai awoiu, blateno ka li-toe li-kamai.
Then they buried the boards themselves all around the area; and they brought the festival pole they had chopped down.
Moro iote pon, li-vesu blateno i-vio.
They erected the pole in the middle of the village.
I-vio ka li-wabeiu ñe moboro teva: iote i-le nga ne, iote i-le nga ne, iote i-le nga ne, nga ne, me blateno i-vio, susuko, ne to.
They propped it up using four rattan canes: one attached on this side, one on that side, one on this side, one on that side – thus making sure the pole would stand straight in the middle.
Tepapa i-dai ka ne mane po, li-vo aero i-dai.
The stomping boards were laid out all around the dancing area; then they erected a fence around them.
Li-vo aero i-dai, li-ngago bauluko i-dai, me kape le-mako ne to.
They created that fence by tying together some coconut palms in a wide circle, so they could dance in the middle.
Pon li-le, vono i-sodo li-le li-au jebute.
The next morning, the villagers went to harvest their taros.
Li-kamai ponu, i-wene ne kulumoe, kata kape le-tetele kape le-pinoe pon ta.
They brought all their taros to the village, and got ready for the ritual dances.
Li-kamai ne aeve ka i-le ponu, ka li-vo vongoro.
The sun was already well ahead in its course, when they began crushing their almonds.
Da viñevi li-maliawo kape le-tau jebute.
The women lit fires to cook the taros.
Awoiu pon i-katau moe.
The same happened in each and every house of the village.
Awoiu pon, li-wete jebute li-wete vongoro awoiu pon, li-ejau mama.
Everywhere, people were smashing their taros, crushing their almonds, making pudding.
I-katau dapa pon. Moe iote tekumete tilu, tete, nga ponu.
Every family was doing the same. Each house had perhaps three or four large bowls to fill.
Awoiu, awoiu pon, i-le nga pon, aeve ka i-tavali ponu, dapa ka li-le li-vongo ne toplau.
When everything was ready – about when the sun was going down – the men went to have dinner in their men's club.
Teliki, samame dap’ wopine, dapa gete; da viñevi, ne mwoe.
Those were the dignitaries, the adult men, the young boys. As for the women, they were in a house.
Ne mwoe ie amwaliko po i-vete piene ñe ngapiene pon / makone ponu. Pe utele i-viane ini. I-ko kape li-ejau / le-vesu makone, ngapiene.
They were all in the house of the man who had called for the festival to take place. He was a prosperous man, and had called for a dancing festival in the village.
Ponu ka li-vongo awoiu ponu ponu, li-ko “Na ta! Kata kape le-pinoe na ta.”
Alright, so when everyone had finished their dinner, they all thought “That's it now! The moment has come for the ritual dances.”
Pon li-le. Dapa kula li-vio li-dadai mane, i-katau uña tepapa ponu.
And so it began. Many people were standing in a circle around the area, along the stomping boards.
Dapa kula li-le, nga mane i-wene na, dapa kula kape le-le le-tetele i-ka re. Nga ne ole nga ne moe ie Kaluiki re.
It was a long line of people! Imagine the middle of the dancing area is here: the line of people started all the way over there in the bush, coming this way; a bit like between the beach and Kaluiki's house over there.
Li-tamava ene i-ka. Li-tamava ene i-ka pon, buro pe li-oburo, kape le-ka pon le-ko:
Then they began the ritual chants. Their song started over there, coming this way; their chant sounded like this:
Eie kio nupu
Ila vasongo kia e nupu
Ila vasongo kio o nupu
Ila vasongo kia e nupu
Ivo utele ke
Ivo utele ke iou nupu
Ila vasongo kia e nupu
Ila vasongo kio o nupu
Ponu. Li-tamava ene i-ka i-ka i-ka i-ka, i-vene i-ka i-le ne mane.
That's right. Their chant started all the way over there, and came this way towards the middle of the area.
I-vene i-le ne mane ponu, li-wate tepapa.
And their chant was growing towards the middle area, they began to stomp the boards.
Pe dapa ka li-vio i-dai tepapa nga pon, li-wate tepapa ponu, ka li-pinoe pon ta.
All the men who were standing in circle by the boards, began stomping them, jumping and dancing around.
Li-tetele ka nga li-ko ngapiene po ka li-pinoe.
That's how they launched the dancing festival.
Ka ngapiene ponu, kape moro tilu me tete nga pon tae: kape metele iune!
That sort of festival doesn't last two or three days: it can take up to a whole moon!
Noma li-katau ñe metele po li-romo metele i-ka ra ra ra i-tomoe, li-ko “Ka metele iune pon!”
(In the olden days, people would follow the changes of the moon; and when it finally disappeared, they would say “Alright, it's been one moon!”)
Ponu. Ae, ngapiene o makone po kape metele iune.
And so, the dancing festival ‘ngapiene’ can last for a whole moon.
Ka mwaliko pon i-viñi dapa teliki, po i-kamai tamate pon, i-ko kape i-le po kape i-viane ebele ngapiene, i-ko / nga nanana, mobo ngapiene awoiu.
Now, the man who had requested the chiefs – that man who had been bringing over the Tamate, felt that the festival was soon going to hit its final day; like he was yesterday, and the festival would end tomorrow.
“Kape ene awa ene momobo, pe revo i-ma nedemo, ra momobo, revo i-ma;
“Tomorrow,” he said, “the tide will be low during the night, and remain low till the morning;
kape idi abia ponu na Aneve na, li-abu li-le li-vio n’ ole: dapa wopine, da viñevi, uña teliki, da meliko, me kape le-romo kape keba ba-kila menuko iaba le-ke le-da noma re le-ka re, Nom’ Nomianu re.
well, I would like everyone here in Aneve, to walk down to the beach and stand there – the men, the women, the chiefs, the children… I want everyone to watch as my wife and I invite our friends to come out and turn up around that point over there, around Nom' Nomianu.
Kape ba-woi okoro, bai-oburo, dapa ñepe na kape le-mako i-ka.”
The two of us will stamp bamboos and sing, and as for them, they will come dancing this way.”
Ka dapa li-ko “Nganae?” I-ko “Tae! Kape ba-vete mou, ka pe-romo, dapa ñepe kape le-mako i-ka, we le-pinoe i-ka.”
People asked “What shall we do?” – “Nothing,” he replied. “My wife and I we'll send the signal, and you'll see them come dancing, perform ritual dances as they'll be coming this way.”
Ponu. Dapa abia ponu li-ab’ li-le n’ ole.
Alright. So everyone walked down to the shore, at low tide.
Revo i-ma, da po la-woi okoro, kape la-mede i-ka pon, ponu ka lai-oburo.
The couple was there, stomping bamboos, and ready to guide the dancers with their song.
Buro pe li-mede i-ka pon li-ko:
And so they led the dancers with a song that went like this:
Mule muleia
Mule muleia
Labiou tae, li-romo dapa ka li-mako i-ke, li-da noma iote pon, Nom’ Nomianu.
Right at that moment, people saw the dancers come out of the bush, as they turned around the cape of Nomianu.
Li-ke pon ka li-romo ka dapa ka li-madau li-ko “Ponu nganae pine ponu? Pon tadoe? Pon tepakola? Kape i-e idi? O kape i-abu idi?!”
Everyone was struck by fear: “What are those big creatures? Are they gods? Are they monsters? Are they cannibals? Are they going to kill us?!”
Ia li-romo wako. Li-romo dapa wako. Ui! Li-romo wako, ia idi li-madau.
But they were beautiful. Oh, so beautiful. Those creatures were superb, and yet people were scared.
Ponu. Ka li-ko kape le-tabo le-le le-koie ne moe iadapa nga pon, dameliko, da viñevi wopine, nga pon.
The children, the women, they all wanted to run back and hide in their houses!
Ka da la-ko “Tae! Pe-madau etapu, ponu menuko iaba.
“Don't leave!” said the couple. “Don't be afraid, these are our friends.
Pon tadoe tae. I-abu idi tae. Tepakola tae.
Those are not gods, or monsters. They don't kill.
Pe-rom’ kape le-mako i-ka teve kiapa kape le-ven’ le-le le-mako, ne mane.”
Watch them: they'll come towards you dancing, and then they'll dance on towards our village area up there.”
I-ka i-ka i-ka ponu, dapa kula mo ka li-wo.
But as they came closer and closer, some of the villagers ran away!
Li-le li-wamu dapa ne pwa moe, mata dapa / li-koie ne moe mata dapa i-ke, nga pon.
They ran to hide under their houses; but from their shelter they kept looking out.
I-ka i-ka i-ven’ i-le, la-woi okoro ne mane. Li-le li-mako.
The dancers kept coming closer, moving up towards the dancing area, where the couple was stomping their bamboos.
“E, io! Makone iote nga pon ne! Na la-viñi kiapa na –”
People were amazed: “Really? That couple had been telling us about a dance, and so THIS is it!”
Awoiu pon ka mwaliko ponu ka i-atevo na “Ba-ko le-mini ngapiene pon, me kape pe-romo menuko iaba pe ba-kamai, ka kape dapa ñepe na le-ka le-mako ka li-romo makone ponu wako.”
Indeed, our man had been promising exactly that, when he had explained “Let's hold a large festival, so you can see the new friends we brought along, so you can watch them dance, and see how majestic their dances are.”
Ka ponu makone ponu, peini tamate ponu, makone peini kulumoe tae. Ponu pe da la-la la-kamai.
Because those dances came from the Tamate: those were not dances from our island. They were introduced by that couple.
Ka na kupa pi-ovei ra i-vagasi nanana.
So that's how we came to know those dances, and know them still today.
Ka pon basavono pon awoiu, ka ngatene ponu ka i-tomoe. Tamate pon.
After the time of my story, the creatures themselves disappeared – those Tamate creatures.
Ia dapa ka li-romo i-katau kape li-ejau ngapwae.
But the people had had the time to figure out how exactly they were going to proceed.
Ngaliko: kiñe tamate, lusa ini, temaka ene pe moloe, ene po koro, ene po nga-toloto, ene ka ene nga-toloto –
That is: they could observe the grass skirts, the dancing gear; which part was red, which part was white, which part was blue, here and here…
Be mata, pe noma, mata pon, be mata pon! Tilu.
Also, their antennas – since originally, the Tamate's eyes were antennas.
Na ka li-tobo ponu pe ka mwaliko ka i-koene, mata ini i-ke me i-ro’ idi ne – po i-romo kape i-mako vele, ña i-tabau. Pon.
And then here, there should be two holes, so that the dancer wearing it can actually look around; so he can see where he's dancing, and doesn't fall down. That's right.
Ka po Tamate ka i-tomoe dapa ka li-ovei.
And so, people had the time to meet the actual Tamate before they disappeared.
Ponu. Piene pein’ Tamate nga ponu. Mijaka nga ponu. Kuledi nga pon.
That's all. Such was the story of the Tamate. It's just a small story, a short story like this.
Kape ka li-ovei i-le ra ra ra nanana awoiu. Kupa pi-ovei pe li-ejau tamate.
People discovered them, and passed on their knowledge all the way to us today. That's how our generation was able to make Tamate headdresses too.
Ka pi-ovei buro peini: buro peini pon, pe li-kamai.
That's also how we got to know the song that goes with it: it came to our island together with the Tamate.
Nga pon. Bwara ponu ka awoiu pon.
That's right. I think that's all.