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PALAUAN LEGENDS
 

An old woman and her daughter lived in Ngerielb, a small hamlet of Koror situated close to the water.  One day their problems of poverty were compounded when the mother discovered that her daughter was pregnant.  In Palau's olden times, an unmarried girl who became pregnant without having made at least a formal arrangement for marriage was strongly censured by the community, and the girl and her family were stigmatized for life.  Thus, to avoid further disgrace, the mother cautioned her daughter to be particularly careful in observing all the traditional taboos on food for pregnant women.

The daughter diligently obeyed her mother's advice, and after several months, she gave birth to a baby girl.  The mother was still concerned that her daughter should observe the rituals and avoid food that she was not supposed to eat.  One day she cautioned her, "Daughter, you seem to like keam but it is not good for women who have just delivered.  I would advise you to abstain from eating it until you are strong."

One day, the mother went to the taro patch while her daughter stayed home to care for the baby.  The daughter could not resist eating keam, and cut one of the nuts open, finding that one side of it was a bit larger than the other.  As she was trying to get the meat out of the larger side, her mother came.  She was so surprised to see her mother that she left the house, went toward the dock, and with her mother and the baby following her, went to the edge of the dock and jumped into the water.

The mother pleaded with her to return and she began crying, but to no avail.  The daughter swam on further, finally surfacing as a dugong.  When the mother saw what happened, she lost all hope of her daughter ever returning.

The mother wanted to honor her daughter and to have people remember her daughter's fate.  She sighed and spoke to her for the last time.  "It is clear that you do not want to listen to me, so now your price is a kluk, and this price will be paid as a tribute to a married woman."

(Palauan people of ancient times believed mesekiu (dugong) to be sea mermaids.  Stories revolved around these gentle mammals shedding tears when threatened.  When a Palauan male wore a bone extracted from the mammals' spinal column, it was a display of courage and prestige.)

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Bairulechau - Ngerchelong Bai Stone Monoliths

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Chuab - Creation Story of Belau

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Mengidabrutkoel - Spider and Natural Childbirth

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Miladeldil - Woman Who Returns from Death

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Ngemelis - Turtle's Egg Laying Cycle

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Ngerchemai - The Canoe or the Turtle

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Stone Figure of the Woman & Child

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Ngerot - Discovery of Palauan Money

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Fish Bearing Tree of Ngibtal - Breadfruit Tree Story

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Osilek er a Ulong

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Surech & Dulei

 
 

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