A Red Woman Was Crying:

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Crocodile Kills His Father

Told by Mesiamo, 1970

 

     Sipita was one of the Hornbill ancestresses. She gave birth to Uiawa, the crocodile. Before this, there were no crocodiles.

     When it was born, she wrapped it up and hid it. When she would go to the toilet stream she asked her husband to take care of the package. As Uiawa grew, she moved it into larger and larger baskets. Her husband never looked inside.

     One day, she put Uiawa in a basket made from black-palm fronds, put it in the rafters, and told her husband not to look inside. But he did look inside, saw Uiawa, and was afraid.

     He cut Uiawa into pieces.

     Sipita returned from the water and cried for a long time.

     But Uiawa had not died. “Tomorrow,” Sipita told Uiawa, “all the people are going to a feast. I’ll decorate my husband with feathers and flowers,” and she did so.

     On the way to the celebration, the men had to cross a river.

     Uiawa was waiting there.

     When he saw a man with feathers and flowers he knew it was his father, so he grabbed him and killed him.

     All the men cried out, “What’s this?”

     Uiawa killed them too.