Biw

Description: Biw, the mangrove pod, and Githalay, the crab trigger, create a chain of events that end in the sea becoming salty.

The story of Biw told by Harriet Ober from State Library of Queensland on Vimeo.

Storyteller: Harriet Ober
Translation: Leonora Adidi
Language: Kala Lagaw Ya
Dialect: Kalaw Kawaw Ya
Island: Saibai

Transcription and translation

Kapu kut, nguzu nel Harriet Ober.
Good afternoon, my name is Harriet Ober.

Ngath kay sena Biw adhi umaypa.
Iam going to tell you the story of Biw.

Na Biw gimal puzipu, Githalay apal niparuy,
Once there was a mangrove pod Biw, hanging in the mangrove tree. On the muddy ground below lived Githalay the mud crab.

Na nanga Biw mulupa paraydhin nanga, nan Githalay ludanamoedhin,
One day Biw fell from the tree and pierced the shell of Githalay.

Na kedha Githalay “Igoeri igoeri igoeri !” ,
Githalay cried out in pain "Igoeri igoeri igoeri !"

“Kake Akul aya ina Biw papathamoeypa”
“Akul come ! help me and cut Biw”

Na Akul seyki ngapa nan Biw papathamoeyn.
Along came Akul the mud mussel and cut up Biw with her shell.

Na kedha Biw “Igoeri igoeri igoeri !”
Biw cried in pain "Igoeri igoeri igoeri !"

“Kake Muy aya, ina Akul muypunoethaypa”
"Muy come and burn Akul !"

Na Muy seyki ngapa nan Akul muypunathan.
Along came the fire, Muy, and roasted Akul.

Na kedha Akul “Igoeri igoeri igoeri !”
Akul cried in pain “Igoeri igoeri igoeri !”

“Kake Woer aya ina Muy woesimpa”
Woer come and put out Muy.

Na Woer seyki ngapa nan Muy woesiman
Along came Woer the water and put out Muy.

Na kedha Muy “ Igoeri igoeri igoeri ! “
Muy cried in pain “Igoeri igoeri igoeri !”

Na kalanu aw na Guziguz seyki ngapa nan Woer wanidhin.
Along came Guziguz the jellyfish and drank up Woer.

Kalanu na Guziguz mura dhawgi githalay loegiya noeypuyaydhin.
Guziguz lapped up all the water in the crevices where the crabs and mudskipper dwelled.
Nuy kalanu garkaz gathapa uzaraydhin, nuydh nan Guziguz imadhin,
A man named Kimus went walking along the shore, he saw Guziguz.

Nuydh kalanu nan dagulan pagadhin.
He pierced her with his spear.

Na kalanu woer adhapadhan “bubu bubu bubu bubu bubu bubu”
Water came gushing out

Thana kalanu Malugal aw waru aypulumaypa memayidhin.
Then the people from Malu went hunting for turtle.

Thana waru woerapun uthudhin, thana na kuniya tidemidhin thana kalanu nan waru pugadhin.
They speared one turtle, and returned home, where they butchered the turtle.

Thana yoel pathadhin, thana kalanu nan yoel malupa adhathayadhin.
They cut out the gall bladder and threw the gall bladder into the sea.

Na kalanu malu gidhthayaydhin theralnga.
It caused the sea to become salty.

Matha kedha muwasin nguzu moegina adhi. Eso.
That is the end of the story. Thank you.

The meaning of the story

Ina nabi adhi nanga zugubaw thonarpa buwaylthoeyayzinga.
This is a story about the seasons.

Zugubaw nelayl kedha,
The names of the seasons are

waku doebu moelpal
Waku Doebu Moelpal the rainy season

sageraw thonar
Sageraw Thonar the time of easterly gale force winds

naygayiw thunar
Naygayiw Thunar the time of northerly winds

baydhamaw thonar
Baydhamaw Thonar the dry season

kukiyaw thunar
Kukiyaw Thunar the time of strong westerly winds

in nuy zey nanga kasa thanamuniya kawbibidh nurepa.
and Zey. Zey blows in from the south, changes direction and fans the island from all the wind directions.

In nanga waku doebu moelpal nanga, dharbanu mura woer zilamiz.
During Waku Doebu Moelpal, the rainy season, the gardens become water-logged.

In nuy na sager nanga, nuy minakay kawragil gub,
The Sager wind, the easterly wind is very troublesome,

nuy kasa matha watha wathiya payepa. Nuy wathaw gub.
It blows throughout the year.

Naygay, in na naygay nanga, dhawdhayngu ngapa nukowab gub balthayan.
During Naygay the time of the northerly winds, the soft north-westerly wind blows in from Papua New Guinea.

Thana puyl nis noeridhoemoeyn, dharbanu ayde kayn nikil guythwayamoeyn
Leaves fall from the tree and new shoots spring up in the gardens.

Baydhamaw thunar nanga, pupul mura woeydhameoyn, boeradhar pismuliz,
During Baydhamaw Thonar, the dry season, the swamp dries up, and the swamp bed cracks up.

senabi thunara nanga lak kayn apawloegal poepathoemoeyn,
Also during this time, new garden beds are tilled for planting,

apawlag balbaytidan, kayn nagun lak uthun.
the gardens are prepared for planting of new crops.

Kukiyaw thunar nanga, mabaygan malu ay lumayginga, malu gegayadhmizin.

During Kukiyaw Thunar the time when the westerly blows, people do not fish or hunt in the sea,the sea becomes very rough and murky.
In nanga nuy zey nanga, nuy kasa thanamuniya dhadhiya kawbibidh nurepa.
The Zey wind. Zey the soft cool breeze blows in from the south, changes and fans the island from all the wind directions.

Matha kedha muwasin, Eso.
That is all, finished, thank you!

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