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Stories From Kiribati


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Why Ray Fish Live In The Lagoon

Posted by Amota Eromanga on June 7, 2012 at 3:35 AM

One day, Rimwimata was out fishing. To his amazement, he had caught a mermaid instead of a big fish. She was Nei Tengarengare, daughter of the king of the sea - Bakewa. She was as beautiful as the ocean and for this; Rimwimata fell in love with her at the first glance.

The wedding preparation started. Rimwimata's parents and relatives began to gather food for the wedding feast. As they did so, they laughed at the idea that the bride could only prepare nothing.

"She has no family, even no parents to support her wedding, sea orphanage, what a pity, hahahaa!" the women spoke mockingly among themselves.

Yes, they thought Nei Tengarengare had no parents and therefore no one would bring any food for her during the feast. But on the wedding day, everyone was amazed to see plenty of food being brought up onto the reef from the sea. The food was brought in by Nei Tengarengare's people. Seeing all these, Rimwimata's people felt ashamed.

After some years, Nei Tengarengare became homesick so she asked to visit her parents. Despite the fear of the sea world, Rimwimata finally had enough courage to accompany his wife. Down there, Rimwimata, made a big mistake! He had a secret love affair with the younger sister-in-law. At the trial, he was sentenced to death. He would be eaten by sharks on the dawn of the next day.

Knowing that he could do nothing, he begged the swordfish, to take him to the surface. The sympathy of the swordfish brought him to the surface, where then two ray fish brought him safely to the shore. Rimwimata had escaped death and thanked the swordfish and ray fish for their help.

Everyone at the bottom of the sea was furious at the escape of their prisoner. They decided to punish those involved in Rimwimata's escape. Upon knowing this plan, the swordfish sprang and ate them all.

To these days, ray fish stay inside the lagoon! It is their punishment for helping Rimwimata. Once they leave the lagoon into the ocean, they will be eaten by the sharks whom still looking for them.


Categories: Legends & Myths

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