Coconut Trees With Twisty Trunks

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Title in Kulisusu: Ni'i Ngka'ulo-ulo

Told by: La Ode Umar M.

Date: 2013


Once there were seven young men, who saw a girl acting like a man. She wore men’s clothing including a fez cap. And she regularly climbed coconut trees with twisty trunks. The young men said to her, “You’re a girl.” She replied, “No I’m not, I’m a man.”

The young men replied, “If you’re a man, try climbing a coconut tree. If you can climb it, it means you’re a man, but if not it means you’re a girl. Come, let’s go to that island and climb coconut trees.” As it turned out, the young men weren’t able to climb, while the girl was able to climb quickly to the crown of the tree and lift herself into the fronds. The young men said, “It means he is a man.”

When she arrived at the top of the coconut tree, she looked over to her house. She saw the windows in the roof of her house, and her tears flowed and dripped down. The young men cupped their hands and caught her tears, and they licked them and it turned out they were salty. The young men said, “You’re a girl.” The girl responded, “Oh, no, my eyes were bitten by coconut ants and I rubbed them, so my eyes teared up.”

The young men said, “Let’s try peeing on this shell. If the pee reaches the shell, it means you’re a man.” So she peed, and it reached the shell, and the young men peed, and their pee also reached the shell. Said the young men, “Oh, you’re a man.”

Because they said she was a man, she said, “Since it’s like that, I want to return to my village.” They escorted her to the harbor, and she boarded a ship.

When she was a ways from the harbor, she took off her hat, and her hair fell down, reaching to her calves. Then she removed her men’s clothing, and it turned out she was a girl.

Then the six young men went crazy over her. They jumped into the sea and swam, trying to catch up with the boat. But there was one young man who had faith (didn’t go crazy). He didn’t jump in and swim, rather he just got in a dugout and rowed after the boat, and he arrived safely at the village. 

When he arrived at the village, the young man went alone to the girl’s father’s house and said, “Me here, I’m the potential marriage partner for your daughter, and I want to marry her because I'm the one who made it here.”

Then the two of them got married. Whereas the other six men drowned in the ocean deep.

The end.


We hope you enjoyed this story. You can download a print version (pdf) which gives the story in all three languages.


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