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Traditonal Tale by Latellik Johnson

Note: The interviewee is noted by initials, the interviewer by [Q].

[LJ] In the old days when there was a civil war in Arno: Arno itself. The eastern group fought against the western group. When they came across a person in the other group, they would kill them. They did this to see who would rule Arno atoll. Who among them would be chief the eastern group or the western group.

The reason why I know this story is because I heard to it from the people who really know about this incident. The group that came fighting westward kept on fighting until they were at Lukwoj [an islet in the Arno atoll].  A man from the eastern group suggested, “Let’s wait and see. Here and Bikareej [another islet in the Arno atoll] are the only places we have not fought. For if we are victorious, then it is clear that this atoll belongs to us, but we have to go and investigate. 

“Can you ask our warriors if there is one among them who can foretell the future to see if it is a good idea for us to step on that island?” and one of them stood and released his bwe [an item used for divination]. “Heavy” he proclaimed. The leader asked, “What?” The soothsayer repeated, “Heavy.” “It is clear then that we should wait,” the leader said.

Now, you see, in the time while they were waiting, a big storm blew up from Kiribiti and Mili. Both Kiribiti and Mili were damaged by the storm. People from those islands floated to Arno and some immigrated to the eastern islets and others lived in the western islets.

Now, two guys, Didimao and Laninmade, and Laninmade’s other name is Jamule. This guy, Jamule, lived on the south end of Bikaarej. In the small islets in Bikaarej there were not many plants, but there were other people who lived on the other small islets near Bikaarej. The other big guy --  Didimao -- lived in the northern part of Bikaarej where Tarmoj, Jaiton, and Injiinmej and others lived, but the battle did not really end.

The reason why the people could settle on Arno atoll is because Rilong’s brothers [Rilong was the strong warrior] were still alive at that time living between Pitpitrong and Kapito.

And so the fortune teller said, “I do not understand why my bwe is heavy, but it might be because Rilong’s brothers are still living there.” . . . The group of people who came and built shacks in those places, they waited until the bwe was clear but because it took a long time, some of them went ahead and waited on the other islets, and then when the fortune teller tried again, the bwe was good.

They separated a couple of the men and said, “You guys go and see if it is clear for you to make something. You should see if you can find the men who spoke because there were some men who came from Lukwoj and spoke about what is happening in Arno. There were two men who were waiting in Pitpitrong to see what is happening with the war.

OOOhhh, so that is the reason why the bwe was heavy! So where are these men now? They are living in the center of the island. They went with the others to speak and they separated three men so that they could go westward to find ways to get the guys. In the middle of the war, the boy, Rilong’s brother, was born.

It was the first Rilong born, I don’t know if anyone on Arno has had the name after him.

[Q] So that means that there were two Rilongs? One Rilong named Rilong?

[LJ] No, none, he was the only Rilong at that time.

[Q] So who do those two other boys belong to?

[LJ] As to the boys, I do not know their mother’s name, but I know their father’s name.

[Q] And their father’s name is?

[LJ] Their father’s name…..but he used to live over there, somewhere at Laura in that town named Mweta. That is where Rilong’s father crafted Rilong’s spear. When they say this and that, have you ever heard the story of that spear, who made it, and where it was made? It was made there in Mweta.

[LJ] There wasn’t any other Rilong.

[Q] So there wasn’t any other Rilong. Only one Rilong and those were his brothers.

[LJ] As to that, I don’t really know the names of those two guys. I am uncertain because I was hurried [when preparing]. The reason why I know these stories is because I would sit and listen to the stories told under the breadfruit tree, and I also tried to see this woman -- now where was she from? So that is how I know the story. One night, it was a night when Laibinbwij, the guy from Bikaarej and I spoke. Laibinbwij knows the story from his great- great- grandmother. When the chief landed, over there [Bikaarej], they were the ones who first saw him. Then the chief, Didimao, took one of the old women to be his wife and they had three sons. 

[Q] Let’s skip this part. So start from where Rilong was born.

The Story of Rilong

[LJ] They went and stayed there, but they brought word from the north and said, “Well, the word from here in the middle is that the two older brothers of Rilong are dead.” “What?” “They are dead. Get the youngest and go.”

Then they used the bwe to see if the boy would be safe if he stayed. It was bad. The best thing to do was take the baby boy, leave, and find somewhere for him to be safe. For the men reasoned, “If his two older brothers are dead, we need to take the boy and go since he is the surviving chief. There is no other.”

Because when the boy was born, the previous chiefs were dead, not one survived. The last civil war in Arno wiped out the chiefs of Arno. No one was left to be called high chief, local chief, or the like. There were only a few people left in Arno. Then they said, “We need to flee with the infant because he is our only chief. If he dies, we don’t know what will happen. We might not have any chief in this atoll, so it is better to take him and escape.”

They took the boy and fled that night to Kilepman. When they were at Kilepman, they found a way to get them to Bikaarej, and that is the place where they would stay. The men took a circuitous route around the island with the infant chief and an old woman. They found a large piece of driftwood at a place famous for molmol [a medium sized fish] and they said, “Here is a piece of driftwood, it might be big enough to hold the boy.” “That is good,” came the reply.  They pushed the driftwood to the deeper water that same night, so they could put the boy and the woman on it.

They pushed it across the channels and around the islets to Bikaarej. They pushed the driftwood from evening until morning and that is when they pushed the boy chief and the old woman to Bikaarej. The people on Kilepman helped the three men loosen the log from the shore and push it to deeper water. They found ways to hold the log so that it would not roll. An old woman on Kilepman used her magic to calm the water, make the weather good, and close the sharks’ mouths. That evening they pushed the log to Bikaarej.

So they pushed that night, that night, that night, and when night was through, and the rooster had crowed for the second time, they arrived at Kapinbok. The group did not notice [they were being watched] until the people stood on that land.  The people on the shore said, “Look, there is a boat on the shore of the small islets. We don’t know why.” Some said, “Go, speak with them and find out what’s happening because there was fighting in that region and we don’t know these people’s business.”
Some men went to see what they were up to and said, “Hello, why are you here? Do you come for war or...” “No, we come in peace, and we are fleeing with this boy because his older brothers were killed last night and because he is the last chief. We are keeping him safe.”

The people of the land said, “Bring him so we can go speak with Jamule on the small islet to the north.” They brought him to Jamule [the chief of that island] and said, “Well, there is a boy, they say he is a visitor, what shall we do with him?” Jamule asked, “Where is this boy from?” “He is from Arno, but the reason why we fled here is that they told us his older brothers were killed last night.” 

Jamule said, “Who does he belong to?” (Well, this is the only thing that I didn’t learn from Injinmej. I did not ask what the boy’s mother’s name was, but Injinmej kept talking without revealing her name.) The islanders said, “We don’t know, but they say that this boy is royalty. His older brothers were also chiefs, but he is the only chief left and they told us to save him because he is the last chief left in Arno.” So they brought the boy to Jamule and he said, “Umm,” because the prince was so young that he could not stand on his own. So all this time, the boy was with Jamule, well, the guy did what he should. After half a month, he looked for signs to determine if it was good for the boy to stay on the islet, and he said, “Well, that is bad.”

When Jamule used his magic to see where the boy would be safe for the boy to stay and grow up trouble free because he was the only royalty at that time… when he used his magic, he found that it was better to take Rilong northward. He said, “Check with the man to the north, see if he can save the boy.” When he used his magic to fortell, it was really good, so they took the boy so that he could look after him.
[Q] Who would look after him?

[LJ] The Gilbertese man, Didimao.

[Q] A question, who was trying to kill Rilong?

[LJ] The group in the east, I don’t know the chief in that part of the atoll, but the plan was that they would march and observe. From here to Matolen they belong to the group in the east, but from Matolen and on… (and because the plan was that they [the royalty] did not want to leave the people that is why there is royalty in Matolen. The high chiefs of Matolen are Abjje and his family, even today, they are the chiefs.) Well they were part of the eastern group.

[Q] So these were the people who were going to kill Rilong?

[LJ] Yes, these were the people, they were going to fight to see who won that place. They wanted Kopjeltaken. It is clear that if they conquered this island, the whole atoll would belong to the eastern group.

[Q] So, they took the boy chief to Didimao.

[LJ] They took him to Didimao, and Didimao asked, “Well this boy, where is he from?”  They said, “Well, man, this boy, they say he is the last chief.” “Hmmm. Take care of him. Take care of him. Bring him so that we can look after him for it is clear that we need to save the Marshallese culture.” So, they gave him the boy to take care of.

While Didimao was taking care of the boy, there were two women staying there who had drifted from the east [Kiribiti and Mili], in the canoe belonged to Didimao. Another man who came in a different boat closed the ocean. When Kiribiti was damaged, the people came in a boat and the sharks ate the people in that group. This man [from Mili?] closed the shark’s mouth because all of those people who came from Kiribiti in a damaged boat were begging for mercy, so the two groups decided, “Let’s go along together on the same course, to death.” So they came together, but the reason they arrived at the atoll in the east is because they traveled with Lo’s group. Lo, this was the guy that closed the sharks mouths from when they met in the east until they arrived at Bikaarej.

So, when the boy chief who was brought to them was raised, and was ten or twelve years old, he started…

He [Didimao] said, “Hey boy, come here.” And the boy asked, “Why?” Didimao said, “Come here so we can learn something -- sit over there.” He said, “When I do this [makes a motion like thrusing a spear], make sure you don’t blink.” These were examples of the teachings that Rilong gave to the boy.

[Q] Rilong or Didimao?

[LJ] Yes, Didimao! And he taught the boy, saying, “When I do this, don’t blink.” And then the boy asked, “Will you stab my eyes?” “I will not. But when I do thrust my spear at you, you must not blink.” So he suddenly thrust his spear at the boy, and the boy blinked. They tried one time, two times, three times and that his how he taught the boy. Finally, one time Didimao said, “Well, come here. When I thrust my spear at you, you must not blink. When I thrust my spear at you, will you blink?” The boy said, “I will not.” And when he thrust his spear at the boy, the boy did not blink. When Didimao charged again, the boy did not blink. After the third time, Didimao said, “We are done studying.”

Later they said, “Well, we have to bring food to the visitors who drifted here because it isn’t good that he doesn’t have a place [land] so we have to care for him and bring him food.” The people of the island brought food to the visitors, the boy chief and the Kiribitese. They ate. That is how it was until Rilong was twenty-something.

Didimao said, “Hey boy, have you eaten fish? This thing, fish?” And Rilong said, “Yes, how do we catch them?” Didimao said, “I will tell you how to catch these things called fish.” So this is how he taught Rilong as he grew older. He said, “Go and cut a small branch of a kone tree and bring it from the small islet over there where the land juts out into the lagoon.” The boy cut it and brought it.  He had said, “This long and that thick.” He went and cut it and brought it. So Didimao whittled and whittled until he had shaped a spear. Then he said, “Go and spear a fish for us. Do you think you can, so we can eat? People are eating fish in the other places, but we are not, and we don’t know when they might bring us some.”

Well, where they were, people often brought food to the Kiribitese. That is when that place became a place for the Raej clan [said to be the warriors—houses oceanside]. This is Didimao’s clan. All of his sons… one had a mother who was older and the other one, however, his father was a Kiribati-ese man, but the father of the other was younger than Rilong’s grandfather, Didimao’s mother.

So, Rilong the boy went westward to fish and when he returned. He hadn’t caught anything… the head of the spear. The boy said, “Gosh, there were a lot of fish, but I couldn’t hit any.” Didimao said, “Soon you will be able to. Well go and bring another branch.” This was about the fifth time the boy had brought him a branch. Stepping  back, he said, “Well this is the last day, this is the last day I am going to try to bring us fish,  if I can’t catch any, then it is clear that we are not blessed.”

So, the boy went and brought a branch, and Didimao whittled and whittled and he very carefully made a spear. When he was done, he said, “Well, you only need to bring us one fish that will be enough for us to eat. The food that people brought them were taro, banana, breadfruit… When the boy went to fish, a school of fish called audam [type of fish] were feeding near the tidal pool. As they are feeding, their tails break the surface. He quietly sneaked up to the fish, finally crouching near the tidal pool. He sat and watched as the fish were feeding. He thought, “Which fish should I aim for?” He chose a fish that he wanted.

He stealthily stood, and when he lanced his spear, he hit the fish in the gills. The fish didn’t move -- it was bent around the head of the spear. He said, “I am blessed. It is clear that I am blessed,” and he returned home almost immediately. Didimao said, “Hummm. It is clear that we are blessed.” The boy said, “Well, elder, here is our fish.” Didimao asked, “Where are the people, the women? Tell them to come and cook our fish.” They cooked the fish and the two ate it.

As they were eating, Didimao massaged the boy’s arm and said, “You are really a healthy boy. If you had stayed there…” But [like this] he was massaging the boy’s arm, his legs, and his whole body, and you see that thing they say, “Anjin lo iena.” Well he massaged the boy’s body and, in doing so, was passing his skill to the boy. But the thing is, I don’t know the name of “anjin lo iena,” but the god who gathers the atoll, that god is called kotba. You know that song they sing, “in Kotba uj eo (from 19:52 to 19:56 could not be transcribed).

Didimao asked, “Where are the women? Call one to us.” Then Didimao said to the woman,  “You go to the tip of the islet and watch.” The civil war hadn’t ended, yet he asked the woman to go to the tip of the islet and watch. She went to the tip of the islet, and when she looked, she didn’t see any water all the way to Bikaarej, just canoes. The people were bringing the tribute westward to where they were. Food for the young chief… The visitors said, “Which is the chief, the one they fled with years ago, the youngest brother of the two who were killed?” “Oooh, so that is the boy they fled with? That is him.” Can we include this place, Jabonwod, and those nearby….When they saw they were coming from Tutu and Taklep, and those places to the north. “Go and see what is happening in the Southern Islets first.”

When everyone in the atoll came together, Didimao said, “Sail out and take Rilong the boy and see what is going on out in the ocean.  Cruise near Aur, but make sure you don’t set foot on those atolls. Take him on a trip northward, and then return so that we can see what is happening on the ocean. Separate three canoes for Rilong, and make sure you take my canoe. Two of the canoes will guard Rilong’s canoe, and Rilong will choose who is to go with him.” Everyone knows that there is a ridge of shallows that can be followed to Aur because of this story. That is why the captains never get lost while taking this path. The path, at night, is lit by bioluminescent animals from one end to the other. When you take this path, you will go straight to Aur.
Upon his return, Rilong said, “Why didn’t you teach me that we can sail during the night to the northern islands and then come back?”  Didimao asked, “So, how was your cruise?” Rilong answered, “I did not know that there was a path from here to the northern islands.” Didimao said, “I wanted you to go on that trip because when you go alone, I don’t want you to get lost, I wanted you to know that you should follow the bioluminescence.” “It was really clear, as we sailed, it was lit all the way.” “Well, this trip was meant to give you this information, so that whenever you sail there, you will know.”

The next day, Didimao said, “Well,” he whispered to Rilong, “I am going to call a meeting. So that we can test your skills, so I can determine your skill in spearfishing, in arms and check the soundness of your spear.” Rilong asked, “How will you test me?”   Didimao said, “You will see.” That afternoon, he called on all the clan heads, he said, “Let everyone know that tomorrow morning, there will be a test.” We will call the test Walep, and he said, “Men, dig a hole from here to there.” He showed them how long and deep he wanted it made. “Dig the hole there.”

The men came and dug the hole and they asked, “How big?” He said, “This big.” This is the reason why they began to dig graves this size -- they took the measure of the grave in Bukaarej. And he asked them to make the grave seven feet long, but how deep should it be? Gosh, what is the dimension? Well, this is where they took the depth and length of a grave. He said, “Well, today, all of the clan heads will come to the meeting, for we are going to have a trial so that . . . I can see how my boy, my son, will do, including sailing to Arno, Arno [In the Marshall Islands, the atolls are named for the largest islet in the chain, in this case, Arno.]

“This is a disaster,” the men said. They said, “We will only eat when the meeting and the trials are over.”

Then Didimao said, “Now, the clan head from those lands over there, come.” He came. Didimao said to him, “Here, take this spear. Go and stand near the hole.”  So, the clan head and Rilong went and stood near the hole. Didimao said to Rilong, “Here, take the spear you caught our fish with.” Rilong looked at the spear and said, “My clan head [to Didimao], your spear….” Then Didimao said, “It doesn’t matter if it isn’t good. This is the spear you used for practice.” So Rilong went to the hole, but he kept examining his spear. Rilong said to himself, “This is not a good spear.” And Didimao said, “Well, you two, go ahead and use the spears to fight, so that we can see who is strongest.  If one of you dies, we will throw him into the hole.”

All the clan heads were thinking, “You two start now.” The clan head from those islands over there marched northward aiming to pierce the boy, but the boy grabbed the spear and turned it back on the clan head and pierced him instead.

Didimao said, “Throw him into the hole.” Where is the clan head for that land over there?” “Here he is!” “Tell him to come here, call him. [Turning to the clan head] Here is your spear, go over there and we will see who will prevail. If one of you dies, we will throw him into the hole.”

They kept on going, and going, and going, and going, and going until there were nearly ten dead. Then he said, “Ok, stop and let’s bury the dead, and those who are still alive, will continue.” That afternoon, they ate and they kept eating until evening, and Didimao said, “Well, we will gather here again, maybe tomorrow morning.” The clan heads went home and they said, “This is not a good situation!”

But the reason why Didimao could come up with those rules… not a half a year passed until they [clan heads] said, “It is good. We like Rilong as our chief.” The place Arno, the chief there, would have been the Kiribiti from the Raej clan.

About half way through the night, he brought Rilong and said, “Hey Rilong, come here. Do you want to cruise Arno?” Rilong said, “Yes. For I heard people say that I used to have relatives there. They said my older brothers were there. It is true that there is war?” Didimao said, “Well, yes, that is the reason why they brought you here and I took care of you here, for you are the only one left -- there is no other chief besides you.”

Rilong said, “But was there a…” Didimao said, “Well, your brothers died a long time ago. There is no word from there because they have fled to distant parts. They have not had an opportunity to collect themselves.” Didimao continued, “If you want to go there, you will have to wait until I can find some people to go along with you.”

You see, the man… (What is the name of the woman from Mili, who used to live there but came and found her love in Laura? What is the name of Lipotak’s father? The father of Lipotak and Lebon and umm Rakinmeto -- that’s the guy!) Well, he will come with you. This man stays in Mili, but he occasionally comes to this atoll and then he goes back to Mili.

When the man from Mili came, the war had not yet started in Arno, but he used to come and stay with the chiefs from there, and he knew Rilong. [Inaudible]. But where are you going? Well, see if you guys can take them and fight all the way to Mili. . . .

That morning everyone was busy. Didimao said, “Call the women here so they can come, do their magic, and see if it is good for the boy Rilong to sail to Arno.” The women came and checked the signs. They said, “Well, it isn’t a very good time for the boy, but what does he say? Does he still want to go?” Didimao said, “He said he is going there to visit his relatives there.” One of the women said, “Well, make sure he does not stay on the shore of the lagoon because we are afraid that there might be some danger. Place him where you think he won’t be in danger: where he does not stand out. We are afraid there is still some danger heading his way.”

Then Didimao said, “We know well all the clan heads came and sat with Rilong under the pandanus tree near the wooded area.” [Inaudible]. [Rilong went to Arno]. He did not talk that first day in Arno. Then he started to ask the older people, “I heard that there was a war going on in this land. I came to find out who holds the land here and how much they hold. Those who have little or none, I will give land.” They talked among themselves and then said, “Well, that weto used to belong to a family…” Rilong said, “Geez, so now who is there?” They told him, “Well, there is this woman and her child, and a boy, and his grandfather.” Rilong said, “Well, let’s see what we can do. We will distribute land to those people over there, nearby.”

While they were talking, a man came running. He said, “Grab a spear.” The people were surprised and jumped to their feet saying, “What do you mean, spear?” He said, “Spear! The ocean is gone!” Rilong said, “Three men, go to the oceanside to see what is going on.”

When the mnessenger went to the oceanside of Bilma, he said, “The ocean is covered from Delap to here [with canoes filled with warriors]. Some of the canoes have already landed and some others are still in the channel.”

Rilong said, “Men, what do you think this is?” The women -- the diviners that Rilong had called upon before -- they were going to see if the trip would be beneficial. These women came and put a spell on Rilong. They gave him a spell to make him attractive, they made him brave, and invincible, they also did other spells over the boy. And when they were done, they returned [to Pikaarej].

[Here is Rilong preparing an ambush] At the time when he sent the men to the oceanside, and said spear, the old man said, “Geez, what is this?” But the group here should not have come eastward to the atoll, they should not have come to Arno because they were not yet ready. So two men came rowing in the middle of the night. The third went at night to notify Langiluuj.

Langiluuj had just returned from war and he brought captives from atolls in both Ralik and Ratak chain, and they came and stayed in this land. The guys who were rowing arrived that night and said, “Hello everyone!”  They said, “What’s up?” Langiluuj said, “Where is the chief?” “He is here, he lives in those houses.” He said, “I want to talk with him.”

The chief asked, “Who is this?” “Well there are two men, they said that they want to talk with you.” “Where are they from?” “They came from Arno.” The chief said, “Boy, isn’t that the place where there was fighting? And these men, why have they come? Didn’t they die in the conflict?” “I don’t know -- they are coming to speak with you.

Reporting the purpose of their visit, the visitors said, “Come let’s go and see the atoll, our atoll, for there are no people, but there are papaya, potato, pumpkin, breadfruit. These foods are really healthy and you can just pick them while sitting down.” “How can that be?” “There are no people on the island because of the war you heard about. Come, so we can take care of the atoll. We will go, stay there, and look after that atoll.”

Arno could have belonged to this atoll. The chief said, “Well, let me think about it, this seems like a good thing.” He did not care about anything, this guy Langilojet.  But Langilojet lives in this atoll. He took Rilong’s older sister as his wife. Her name was Luwemman. The name of Rilong’s father is Lodejilo, he stays there in the lagoonside of Mweta. And those men left that evening, they did not wander, but they stayed with the clan head of Laura.

That evening the clan head said, “Well, now you have to quickly sneak back to Arno because the reason you came is clear. Go ahead and tell them to get ready because I may be delayed since I am waiting for something [inaudible from 32:46 to 33:52]. The people are bringing a thank you gift, and I will make room for those who are alive.”

When Lodejilo heard, he crafted a spear for Rilong in the lagoon at Mweta. When it was done, he tied a pandanus leaf to the spearhead. When he tied the pandanus leaf to the spearhead, it was not because it did not have meaning, it has meaning. He sent two men to take the spear to Rilong saying “Here is a spear from your father. He said to take care of it, it is your protection.

The boy Rilong said, “You mean, my father is still alive?” “Yes, he is there, he said to take care of the spear, it is your protection. Don’t place it on the ground. Let it stand near the door where you sleep. Make sure it doesn’t lie on the ground. The spear will meet the time.”

Rilong said, “Where are the clan heads?” “They are here.” “Then notify them that as he gets out of the canoe, each man is responsible for his part. Half an inch from the ground downward. The place where you will be sitting, guard it and no one should move from his spot. Stay and wait for my command.”

Rilong said, “Hey, Monen?” (The man who took the name of Monen? Who belongs to the clan Lautildik, well, he is named for this Monen.) Rilong said, “Come and stand there near the coconut tree and make sure you don’t move a muscle.” This guy Monen was the type of man who, when he plans on doing something, will stick to his plan.

Rilong said, “Monen, go and stand there and make sure you don’t move. Don’t move a muscle. You listen to me.” And the guy Laibine, said, “So this boy is going to stand….” As soon as Rilong left, Monen said, “These commands are the type we don’t want to hear. If we are supposed to do one thing, then what is the reason for doing another thing [that we don’t want to do]?” He took his arms and he went and stuck them in the ground near the coconut tree and…

He often dug around his spearhead with his toes in order to see if it was as deep as the instructions indicated. When he looked at it, by uncovering it, he covered it back up because the sand on it was thick. So he covered it up again, using his foot. Once his spear was almost disappeared, he stood up and stayed there.

Rakinmeto said, “Well, how is it there? What is the word?” “Well, you tell me,” said Rilong. Rakinmeto was a chief.  (You can still hear the chant of Rakinmeto.) For there was a woman that came, this was Atibi’s wife, she said, “Do you guys see this man here? Tell him to come. We are here to find out how the clan head is doing.” The woman, I think, was related to Rakinmeto. She said, “You are responsible for watching that place.” And Rakimeto said, “Not one clan head should move or talk. Stay at your post and wait for my command.” They said, “Oh, ok.” Some of them said, “Guys, make sure you don’t start talking, and stop answering.” “Yes, we will stay and wait for his command.” Then a sentry cried out from his post, “Someone’s coming.” This was the first time “Etoor ekon ale in” was used.

[Q] Rakinmeto cried out?

[LJ] Rakinmeto cried out, “There is someone coming.” He said, who is it? Then Rakinmeto said, “Wait, let me see. Well, it is only so and so.” “Well, they are not our people.” The guy said, “Make sure when you go there, don’t go too near, go and then wait because I am going to get ready and then I’ll be on my way. Don’t start anything.”
Q] Langinlojet?

[LJ] Yes. A group arrived and waited. When another group came…. “Someone is coming!” the sentry called. “It is not really clear who these people are, but they came and stopped by the group.” “Well, they are not our people.” That is why the sentry kept saying, “Someone is coming!”  “They are not our people!” “Someone is coming!”  “They are not our people!”
Then the sentry saw man who was big and burley. And he saw that this guy had a different  ‘uniform’ on. He shouted, “Well, there is a giant coming.” Rilong asked, “Who is it?” “Well, I don’t know, but the truth is that a giant is coming.”

Monen said. “My father.”

Rilong said, “I am here.” Monen said, “It is clear that this is the last person.” “No. No. No, said Rilong, “You have to wait.” “How is everything? Are we ready for battle?” someone asked, “who is that?” Another said, “It looks like the chief from the atoll in the west [Majuro].” Monen said, “Father, this is the last person.” Rilong said, “No. No. No. You see, if you… that guy is invincible, make sure you don’t bother him for if you do, then we [two] are dead.”

Monen said, “No. No. No. This is the last man. He will soon be here.” Rilong said, No. No. Don’t do that.” “No. No.” Rilong knew that his older sister was with Langilojet.” He said to himself, “It is not good that Monen keeps insisting.” They kept arguing and arguing until Langilojet arrived. He arrived while the two were arguing near the road. They were “No. No.” “No. No.” 

Then Rilong jumped off the rock he was sitting on while swinging his legs. He started chanting loudly. It was a chant for the spear his father had mad: “Pandanus leaves from the north are flying” [here implying that the captives from the north are running?] this is a phrase we don’t understand because it is short.  “Pandanus leaves from the north are flying”

Langilojet responded, “Let it fly and follow it.” But the reason why Rilong said, “Pandanus leaves from the north are flying” is because he knew that all of the people from all the atolls in the north had come to this atoll [Arno]. It is said that they had not yet put their canoes into the water in Majuro before the canoes began arriving in Arno because all of the people in the northern atolls had come. And that is why he said, “Pandanus leaves from the north are flying.” Langilojet said, “Let it fly and follow it.” And they started with their spears.

Langilojet and Rilong fought. Langilojet tried to beat back Rilong but he could not . . .  Every time he tried to spear Rilong, the spear was turned back on him. You see, the shark teeth that are about this long [motions with fingers]

[Q] Who got stabbed?

[LJ] Langilojet was stabbed. When the guy plucked his spear out, after it went into him…

[Q] Who was plucking?

[LJ] Rilong. When the spear returned and hit, it almost pierced him, but it did not. That is how it was. They kept on fighting and when it was clear that one could not beat the other, Langilojet said to himself, “It is clear that the best plan is to use his spear studded with shark’s teeth. It is clear that there is not anything I can do to him. I cannot beat him, I cannot even get close to him. It is clear that he really knows the way of the spear. The best solution is to use the shark-toothed spear.”

When Langilojet found he was getting weaker, he moved a little further away from Rilong. Lanilojet raised his spear in his left arm and he charged southward toward Rilong. He said, “…the middle [abdomen]..” That was his plan. While moving southward and raising his spear, someone shouted, “Cut the stomach of the arrow root.” You see, the arrow root when you cook it and stir it. When you stop stirring, it will be really calm. There was no obstacle to stay Lanilojet’s hand. Nothing to block with. Monen was standing there: he placed his spear on the beach and he was holding on to it. While Langilojet was charging southward, he was not yet near Rilong, but he jumped onto the trunk of the tree and he lanced his spear. And he said, “This spear is from your son because you refuse to stop fighting.” Rilong said, “Ummm.” He pierced Langilojet.

While the wounded Langilojet staggered to the lagoon, he tried to cling to a coconut tree because he was so weak. Rilong stabbed his abdomen. The others came with their spears and pricked him from his ankles to the nape of the neck. He looked like an urchin because of all the spears in his body. As he grabbed for the coconut tree, the tree fell and he flung it at his adversaries. He continued on, grabbing the branch of a pandanus, he also flung that at the men. The men yelled, “The chief has fallen.”

When they let the others know because the others came running from the sand of the lagoon to the sand of the ocean. That is how many men came to Arno.  So they retreated, while the others on the lagoon side, shouted, “Gizzard oh gizzard.” Then the others shouted, “The gizzard of the fish called iool.” What do these mean when we use them today?  They shouted, “Gizzard oh gizzard, gizzard of the fish called iool. Come, for the sun is setting.”

Rilong said, “Where is Rakinmeto?” “He is in the pandanus tree near the lagoon.” “Tell him to set sail and take his sons who are on the beach. Take the fastest canoe, choose the bravest man and go to the channel [to cut off the retreat].” He said, “We will fight from here and kill from here, so go and cut the mooring line to their canoes and set their canoes adrift. When you get there, bring the men but make sure they don’t get to Bikaarej.”
[Q] Well, they cut the mooring line and?

[LJ] They let the canoes drift away. When the others had retreated they said, “Man, there are not canoes! Let’s get to Bikaarej, that is the most important objective.” Some of the canoes that had drifted, had their masts cut and the sails were freed from the booms because Rilong said, “Make sure no sail rises. Cut them all down and slash everything else.”

But Rakinmeto and his men had already set sail to the channel and made ready. When the canoes in retreat came, he said, “Form up.” You see, one man cannot lift the rocks because they were so large. He said, “Form from the abyss to the lagoon.” They were forming and forming there and he said, “You guys keep on working, but can you take a look over there? They are still far away. Keep working, but make sure not a man talks. I will be over here to keep watch on the approaching canoes. But can you look to the deeper water?”

When the fins of the sharks broke the surface in the deep water, they were really long because they have eaten people. The observers said, “It doesn’t matter, we have to keep going because the tide is coming in, but you see there is no canoe or anything else, how will we get there? We will have to swim all the way to Laura.” Some of them liked the plan [inaudible] those who could, made it to Majuro, but the shark fins were appearing -- they had started eating.
But the other group kept going and going. Then someone said, “Now is the time.” But one of the members of the crowd on the eastern side of the group started chanting. “Rekal kobkob nejin Rakinmeto im bung nai jon, billiik im billiik im jabbilik arar.” [Sons of Rakinmeto and fall there] Some shouted, “Arar kaujbarbar bwin lolo.” [Also chanting]. They brought the wounded chief and when they touched his body, the chief said, “Now is the time.” Then the group fled [inaudible]. “We cannot reach them, there is no reason [to continue]” They went and went and went without accomplishing anything. They got up and walked on the reef toward the setting sun. [Inaudible] They went and went and they said, “Well, we should go back and set sail, for what can we do?”

When they returned to the place they had moored the canoes, the canoes were gone. They saw just one canoe drifting from afar, but it had no mast: “We don’t know where these canoes are. We don’t know if they drifted to Majuro or to other atolls. We don’t understand where they drifted!”

They ate a little bit and that is when they started to figure out which places belonged to whom. When Rilong went back to Bikaarej, he gave some land to Didimao. Rilong said, “My clan head, it was a success.” Didimao said, “That’s really good, what’s  next?”

Rilong said, “You see the two of us are brothers are gone, but we could have taken some lessons from them. What would they have done [to thank you]? “This atoll belongs to us. Who knows? Maybe we could also own the atoll to the west -- it is still undecided.”

Didimao said, “No, no, no, no this atoll is enough.” Rilong said, “Oh well, I will give you six wetos, Kilepman, Eominma, Ene-Loklap, Arjekaan, and the two Lomero.” The places where the chiefs nowadays are trying to take back from the people. Rilong said, “You will find Namrik -- tell him to apportion the land among the three of them. One man, gets two wetos.” These wetos are called Marojinkot, taken with the head of your spear. (Well you see I got rid of some of the chant and the part of the story where they flee with Rilong on the ocean. But we, we will make another time to fill in the gaps. Because the boy, they fled with him and raced him on the ocean, and I have abbreviated this version so that you know the Kiribitese are the reason why there is a chief for Arno.)

Rilong asked, “Didimao?” Didimao answered, “I am here.” Rilong said, “What is the name of your mother’s clan?” “Well, it is not appropriate to tell you my mother’s clan.” Rilong said, “Hey, take it easy, tell me your clan.” Didimao said, “My mother’s clan is Raej.” “Hey, what do you call it again?” “Raej.” “It isn’t Raej.” Didimao asked, “Then what is it?” Rilong answered, “Raiej.”
I spoke in the Nitejela [Congress for the RMI] using a microphone. The name of my clan is Raiej, the highest branch. It means it is the highest of all of the clans in the Marshall Islands from the north to the south, and from the east to the west. Raiej are the trees and  bushes that grow oceanside east of the chief. Do you know why? Because you took care of him and you raised him on the ocean. Well this will stay in the story I only told you the beginning of the story. Well, this is the end of the first part.