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Mukeis iru mer pe ike. Able Mukeis au weserweser le. Wi ubi detuaklare: -Ki nole mari lagkak. Ma au weserweser, ma no naoa.- Mukeis ide tubaru ni kepol eper tug u. E ge Bi kikem damos kega: -Ma kari nakaueret?- Bi de abi detager: -Ma no naoa. Ki mari toner umele.- E ge bakiamulu Serar I damos kega: -Mi nabakiamulei?- Serar ide abi detuger kega: -Ma no naoa. Ki mari tonur umele.- E ko bakiamulu Gob I damos: -Meriba mi nabakiamulei?- Gob ide abi kega : -Ma no naoa.- E gu Pilauar i damos kega: -Meriba mi nabakiamulei?- Pilauar ide abi detager: -Ma no naoa. Ki mari tonar umele.- E ge no akailu we ge ekueilu. E oka butuger, able mer e etkalu kega: -Mi Bi ra nar darapei, le mi urgei asemulei. Mi Serur iru nar darapei, le mi argei asemulei. Mi Pilauar ira nar darapei, le mi argei asemulei. Mi Gob ira nur darapei, le mi argei asemulei.- Able Mukeis iru mer pe ike. Keubu e bakiamulu galbol nogge balu, nar crap, le ereg esemulu, ga bakiamulu nerut nar crap, le ereg esemulu. Able neis nar nab darager darakair. Wi eirsilei Zuzgiri ge. E ko eirsilu. Sina esemuda able mer Mukeis ira.

This is the story of Mukeis.

Mukeis was a very greedy man whom others would not have as a companion. They said : -We don't want you. You are a glutton. You may not come with us.-

Carrying his water in one hand[1], Mukeis went first to Bi and said to him: -May I go with you [in your canoe]?- But Bi refused to have him aboard, saying: -You stay behind. We know your greedy ways.-

So Mukeis went to Serar, and then he went to Gob, and after that to Pilauar, but each of these men also refused to take Mukeis with him. -We know your habits,- said Serar and Gob and Pilauar.

Mukeis stood on the beach and thought for a while, and then he said: -We'll wreck Bi's canoe and eat everyone in it. We'll wreck Serar's canoe and eat everyone in it. We'll wreck Pilauar's canoe and eat everyone in it. We'll wreck Gob's canoe and eat everyone in it. There will be nothing left of canoes and people.- That is what Mukeis said.

After he had finished speaking, Mukeis went and entered the form[2] of a living whale, wrecked two canoes, one after the other, and ate everyone who had been on board each. He then chased the other two canoes, but these he could not overtake, and they ran ashore at Zuzgiri. Mukeis also landed at Zuzgiri.

So ends the story of Mukeis.

This myth belongs to the island of Dauar and is said to be very old. Two reasons were advanced in support of the great age of the story: -the men were really animals; the men had no clan.- Given here are an edited and a re-translated version of the story recorded in Meriam in the Pasi MS (Reports, III, 24243). A detail which Pasi omitted is that the men who escaped from Mukeis while he was a whale turned to stone after they landed at Zuzgiri. Mukeis abandoned the whale Nog (form, or shape), left it behind as a lifeless whale, and stepped ashore as a man. Then the whale Nog turned to stone. It would be in keeping with other myths of Torres Strait for the spirit of each of the five characters in this story either to adopt the Nog of another living creature, or to take a previously non-existent shape or form and become the first ancestor of a new species of living animal creature. At any rate, there are sea-birds called Gerar, pilauar, gob, and bi, and the Meriam word for rat is Mukeis.

1. The Meriam includes the word kepol, i.e. -separately-, indicating that the water was for his own use, and would not be shared with anyone else.

2. Nog ge balu: nog, form; ge, into, at; balu, entered. Here Mukeis, as a man, entered inside a whale. While he was inside the whale, he retained his own human appearance, mind, and personality, and the actions and thoughts of the whale were those of Mukeis. The whale was possessed by him. Nog also means -mask-. Thus, the donning of an animal mask by a man was a dramatised presentation of the belief in the transformation of human to animal or animal to human.
Keywords: Meriam culture, Meriam history, myths

Lawrie, Margaret 1970, 'Myths & Legends of the Torres Strait', University of Queensland Press.
Author: Sharp, Nonie
Source: Lawrie, Margaret