The story of Makapasapa and Sasaap – from Sepik


I heard this story from Kowspi brothers, Chiphowka and Agatoak, two Kwoma artists from Wani Clan, Sepik River.
It’s a long story which connects two clans, Wani and Hemkwa, from Blak Wara – Waskuk Hill area. I transcribed it as I recorded it, and I did a direct translation from Pidgin, a language without tenses, conjugations, numerals, or genders.
(If you have curiosity and patience to read it till the end, I’d like to hear your feedback, as I’m preparing to transcribe more stories.)


Haus tambaran or haus boy:  spirits’ house, men’s house, or warriors’ house is a powerful place, the gathering of ncestors’ spirits. Pillars, crossbars and roof are carved and painted with mythological spirits and scenes. Men gather there to find strength and guidance, to debate, chill and share stories. A haus tambaran belongs to one or more clans, which have the “paternity” over the ritual artefacts from tambaran and their stories. Kaipuk, a big-man from Kwoma, told me the tambaran is like a mask of the clan.
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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.
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Why does the flying fox laugh? – short story from Sepik

Why does the flying fox laugh?

Miwoia (gecko) gets underneath the limbun’s skin (palm tree), when it’s dry, and leaves marks.
If you remove the bark, you can see them!
The marks are writing. Miwoia writes to apkwas (flying fox). When apkwas is reading it, it erupts in laughter. The flying fox is laughing, it must be that gecko is writing something funny.
Sometimes gecko knows how to draw the dick and the bolls of apkwas. When seeing them, apkwas loughs.
Gecko is a joker!

A Kwoma story, told by a few men from Tongujam, Blek Wara, Sepik River.

apkwas – flying fox spirit, painting on sago bark, by Maukos, Wani Clan, a Kwoma artist from Tongujam. The painting is part of Haus Tambaran (spirts’ house) Yaukam, of Gusem Clan, from Tongujam. (Gusem – The Eagle is a subclan of Wani – The Pig)

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