Sikau, Kapul oan taim Dok (Wallaby, Opossum and Dog) – Sepik story

Sikau, Kapul oan taim Dok

This story was told to me by Yangas, a Kwoma man from Hemkwa Clan, Sepik River. This is a direct translation of it.

Note: sikau = wallaby, hemkwa = kumul = bird of paradise, kapul = opossum.
Yangas: Sikau is the big sister of the opossum. This story belongs to Hemkwa Clan, but everybody knows it. (Sikau is a sub-clan of Hemkwa – m.n.)

The dog and opossum were friends. One day, the dog tricked the opossum: he folded his years to make the opossum cut his years. Opossum thought the dog has short years, so he cut his too.
When he came back, the dog raised his years. Opossum saw it and said: eiiii, he tricked me like this.
Opossum told to sikau: the dog tricked me like this, and I cut my years. Sikau herd this, and she felt sorry: ooh, what happened to the years of my little one.
Then, sikau talked to her little one, the opossum: you keep your mouth, and stay easy. I’ll reply to the dog, same as he did to you. And the two stayed.

Now, the dog, he was feeling smart for what he did. The dog used to pass by the house of the two sisters.

Yangas from Sikau Clan is checking his wallaby (sikau) mask, which he prepares for a singsing ceremony.

The dog came to see the older one, the sikau. He saw this: sikau is fat, his belly is going down. The dog asked: what are you eating to be so fat?
Sikau talked to him like this: I’ll tell you what I eat, you’ll be big and fat like me, your belly will go down like mine.
Listen to me, you gonna be really fat. You go with your mama and papa to the bush, to work the garden, or to scrub sago, or… You guys go into the bush, you must stay behind them. The soup which I know to eat, to make me so fat, the two will make it and leave it behind. Naa, you must go and eat this soup, and you’ll be fat like me.

One day, he goes to the bush, to work sago. They go to work sago.
The father feels to go to toilet. He goes in the bush. The dog had listened to what his friend sikau said, and follows it. The father goes in the bush and he follows him to the hide, and goes directly and sniffs the smell of poo. So he eats. He follows what sikau had told him, and he is eating. He ate all. In the afternoon, they return to the village.
Next day again, the same. Afternoon they come back, and the dog goes to visit the sikau.

The dog tales her: this food you told me to eat, I did. Sikau gets up: good you ate it all, you gonna be fat like me. Then, she talks: what have you done to my little sister? She cut her years! She talks to dog this way. She stands up, beating with her tail: What have you done to my little one, she cut her years?! Now I returned it to you, you have eaten shit! And she beats with her tail on the ground.
Then she talks to her little one, the opossum: you go up and stay on the top of the tree. I’ll stay on the ground, and face him. He will chase me, or fight with me, or eat me.

Now sikau stays on the ground and opossum on top of the trees. And the dog is eating shit. And the dog is chasing the sikau, and she is beating with her tail on the ground, in the bush. You hear it when you go there, to Wagu and those places, you hear she is beating with the tail for her sister.
The story finishes like this.
It’s not a long story.

sikau 2

Yangas Vikapa, from Sikau Clan is checking his wallaby (sikau) mask.

sikau 3

Sikau mask, carved by Yangas Vikapa, a Kwoma artist from Sikau Clan

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