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    Wednesday, June 19, 2019-7:36:02P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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BC’s Tales of the Pacific | Tik and Lap and the huge fish

ONE of my favorite island stories comes from Pohnpei.  It is the story of two fearless brothers who go on an amazing journey.

Tik and Lap were two brothers who were excellent swimmers and fishermen. They kept their family well fed by using their skills to catching many fish. Their mother worried that because they were very confident they would get into trouble. She told them, “I know you are good swimmers and good at catching fish. However, you must respect the ocean. There are strong currents, hungry fish, and other things that can hurt you if you go too far.”

One day the boys went fishing and swam far out to sea. They saw smoke in the distance and thought there must be people on another island. Perhaps they had food and the boys were hungry, so they swam all the way to the other island and saw many people having a feast. The island chief liked the boys so he invited them to join the feast and they ate until they were stuffed, then the chief gave them a lot of food to take back with them, so much that they needed a canoe to carry it all.

When they returned home they told their mother everything that happened. She said, “Boys, I’m glad that you met those people and their chief was nice, but when he gave you the gift of food and a canoe, he expected you to return a gift to him. You must think of something you can give in return.” The boys decided to use their skills and take the chief a large fish.

They went fishing all day to catch a lot of fish, and by midday they stopped to eat. As they opened a coconut for a meal a large wave washed them over and they dropped the coconut into deep water. Without looking, the boys dove into the water to get the coconut.

As they dove deeper into the water after the coconut a giant fish saw them and swallowed them whole. The stomach of the fish was dark and stinky, smelling of fish guts. “I don’t want to die this way!” the boys said.

“I have an idea, let’s make a fire and grill the fish.” So the boys started a fire inside the stomach of the giant fish and he started to burn from the inside out. The pain was great so the fish swam around, dragging his belly on the rocks to stop the burning. He swam into the shallows and into the deep but nothing helped the pain. Finally the great fish died and floated to the surface.

The boys climbed out of his mouth and saw an island in the distance. It was the island where their new friends lived! So they swam to the island, dragging the giant fish behind them. When they arrived at the island they presented the fish as a gift to the chief. “This is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me!” he said. “We will always be friends.”

The boys eventually returned to their own island where they told their mother all about the giant fish and their great adventure. She was proud of them for being so skilled and so brave. She also knew they had learned a valuable lesson. “Now do you have respect for the sea, even though you have great skills?” They answered, “Yes, now we know that even though we are good swimmers and fishermen, there are many things about the sea we must respect. We also understand that it is important to repay a kindness with another kindness.” She smiled and said, “Now you are becoming real men.”

BC Cook, PhD lived on Saipan and has taught history for 20 years. He travels the Pacific but currently resides on the mainland U.S.