Description: A mother's trickery and lies cause Gelam, a skillful hunter, to flee his island in a wooden dugong and travel eastward - a  journey that eventuates in creation of the islands of Mer, Waier and Dauar.

The story of Atmer and Gelam told by Elimo Tapim, Dauar from State Library of Queensland on Vimeo.

The Gelam song is sung by Fr Elimo Tapim and Mrs Renah Tapim, Mer

Storyteller: Elimo Tapim
Translator: Aicey Day
Language: Meriam Mir
Dialect: Meriam Mir
Island: Mer (Murray)

Transcription and translation

Ka iaka Atwer iba Gelamei darataute
I will tell the story of Atwer and Gelam.
Atwer iba Gelam ei wi odarali ei wi able, able kaur ge nei abra, Moa
Atwer and Gelam lived on an Island called Moa.
Able kaur ira nei wi odarali ei
That is the name of the Island they lived on.

Atwer ide tabara able kebe werem tabara ikuari, nade e akaida aule aule baidari,
Atwer gave her son, when he became of age,
E ge eudige abra Meriam sarik abra dirsiri
she started making him a Meriam weapon.
Meriam sarik abra dirsiri, abi ikuari abi
Made a Meriam weapon and gave it to him.
E obaskeli gair gerger ge weiekiamdari utlam, obakesli ebur otitimedli,
Every day after awaking from sleep; he would go to hunt for birds,
Wotaisi tabara Apu waiaisweli.
and give to his Mother.

Derged derged le e tabara waidagi, derged kak le ia otaisi Apu tabara waiaisweri.
He would keep all the fat birds to himself, and would give his Mother the lean birds.
Gair gerger ge e obakesli able ebur otitimedli,
Everyday he would go to hunt for birds,
derged derged ebur ia tabara otidagli, e derged kak ebur taba Apu de otadaisi
and would keep all the fat birds and would bring to his Mother all the lean birds.

Mena, nerut kerker ge abi apuet ide abi dasmeli?
Then one time his mother noticed what he was doing? "Naluglam kari wermet derged kak ebur kari naisweri, tabara pe derged derged ebur tidagi  tabara"?
"Why is my son giving me lean birds and keeping all the fat birds for himself"?

E ge eudige nerut kerker ge, eudige okabatagri, okabatagri,
At another time she thought to herself and planned.
E eudige bakamudari, nade abra werem abra bakamu ko ebur atimde,
When her son would go hunting for birds again, she went as well,
E ge bakamudari, keper ge berderu tabara op desauwi tabara,
but she went to a lagoon and rubbed her face with mud
Berderu tabara op tabara desauwi esemulei,
She smeared her whole face with mud,
E bakiamuda nade abra werem dawer able ebur itimli,
and she went, when her son was out hunting for birds,
E bakam abim osmeidari, e bakam abim osmeidari
she came out, showing herself to him.

Abra werem egremada abi erdari abi, e ababuse dikepuarer, lamar pe dali.
her son looked and saw her, and he thought it was a ghost. Lamar ise abi ikaida, e ge eudige able ebur, sarik kem tidikri korider temrida meta em.
She scared him like a ghost, so he dropped his weapon and birds and ran home.
Korider temrida meta em tabakamudari
Ran all the way until he reached home.

Abra Apu abra korider, tabakamudari able keper ge tabara niu tabara op tabara itimurit tabara,
His mother ran to the lagoon and splashed her face with water,
Able berder adem taba oplam adem dikupamarte esemri.
and cleaned all the mud from her face
Tabakamudari meta ge osmeidari. Abra werem tabakamudari taba ge, e ge abi itmeri abi,
and reached home. Her son arrived and she asked him,
E ge abi itmeri, "sa Werem mape nako bakamuda"?
she asked him, "Son, how did you go"? e ge eudige abi iker, "nole Ama, ka bakamudari, ka bakamuda peka ebur itir epe lamar osmeidari karim,
Gelam told his mother, "No Mum, I went hunting for birds then a ghost appeared for me,
lamar osmeda, ka pe able geum ge korider temrilu".
A ghost appeared, I was scared so I ran".

Wi ge darawi lewer irwi ei, ut eididariei, nerut idim ge ko bakamudari.
Atwer and Gelam ate, then slept. When morning came he went again.

Nerut idim ge ko bakamudari, Nerut Idim ge ko bakamudari, bakamudari able ebur atimdem.
When morning came he went again, he went again to hunt for birds. Ebur atimde baka, abra Apu ko bakamudari, mokakalam berderu tabara op tabara desawi tabara esemri,
His Mother went again covering her face with mud,
E bakamudari. Werem pe abra dali abra ebur itimrili, e bakamuda e ge osmeidari,
Her son was hunting for birds and she came out, showing herself,
Abi wermet abi erdari abi,
her son saw her and was very frightened,
geum ge lu tabara tidikri korider temridari, korider temridari meta em.
he dropped everything and ran quickly home. Abra Apu ko tabakamudari able keper ge, tabara op tabara niu tabara itimuari able berder adem abi oplam ikeri.
His mother ran again to the lagoon, splashing water over her face to wash the mud off.

Mena, e abi mena abi mokakalam abi oka abi ordirdare, oka abi ordirdali abi.
She kept continued to keep frightening him and scaring him.
Nerut kerker ge ga namiredi wi lewer eroli, lewer eroli,
One day they were sitting having something to eat, ege abi Apuet able berder able oplam adem ikeri,
and the Mother had cleaned her face from mud,
taba oplam adem ikeri, no netat ge abi girip ge, girip, laip ge apek ge.
she had cleaned her face, but missed a spot of mud behind her ear. Able kebe berder ge able ege epkerder.
A small patch of mud was there.
Nade Gelam ide able berder abra derdari, e ge eudige okabatagri,
When Gelam seen the mud on her, he thought to himself,
"Karim, Karim kara Apu obasker, karim kara Apu obasker pe kari oka kari onardarer"?
"Ah, I think my Mother is the one that goes and frightens me"? "Ka ge ababuse odikepuarer lamar dali, epe kara Apu,
I thought all this time it was a ghost, but it was my Mother,
Apu odawer pe obasker kari oka kari onardarer kari.
my Mother always goes and frightens me.

Eudige dikepuari ese ka mena geka nawer ka, able kaur ge,
He thought to himself, "If I was to remain here on this Island,
kari Apuet mena able, able lu karim waikerer, able lu karim waikerer kari oka onardarer.
my Mother will continue to frighten me.
Debele pe ikeredi kai abi dakailu ka naba kiamulei, nerut gedim.
It would be better if I leave her and go to another place."

Nerut gerger ge etidari, e nole bakamda ebur atimdare,
One day he awoke, but he didn't go to hunt for birds,
e bakamda lu gem dasmerer.
instead he went in search of something else. E baka netat lu erdari e eudige ismidari,
He went and found a log and began cutting it,
ismidari e eudige etwaki, eudige etwaki deger orwai orwai,
after cutting he began to carve it into the shape of a Dugong,
deger etwaki esemudari, eudige igardi bakamudari,
he carved a Dugong and took it

gur ge abi akmeidari, gur ge abi itimedari ege eudige epi,
and threw it into the sea and it just floated on the surface.
auka perper, auka perper lu e no epi.
It was very light in weight and just floated.
E ge able lu erpeidari kei imuardari, kei imuardari Mabuaig iba narid Badu ei,
So he grabbed the thing and sent it floating to the Islands of Mabuaig and Badu
able deger erpeida kei imuardari,
that's where he sent the Dugong.
able kerker ge able deger darasmerer pe able sirid ge uridli, able sirid uteb ge pe uridli.
At this present time the dugongs are seen swimming in these shallow waters.

Nerut gerger ge ga bakamuda nerut lu ismidari.
Another day he went and cut another log,
Nerut lu ismidari, etwaki eudige bakamudari gur ge itimedari e eudige baitri kemer kemer,
he cut another log, carved it again and threw it into the sea and it just sank,
No kemer kemer baitri e ge abi terpeidari ke abi Daudai em ke abi timwadari,
it just sank so he grabbed it and pushed it towards Papua New Guniea,
able deger pe uridli, Daudai ge
which are those Dugong that you would find there at PNG.
Nerut ga ismidari;
He cut another Log;
Nerut gerger ge ga bakamudari, baka nerut lu erdari, nerut lu ga ismidari etwaki esemudari,
The next day he went out again and found and cut another log.
deger, deger orwai orwai etwaki esemudari.
Then he carved it into the shape of a Dugong til it was complete.
Ika dari bakamudari abi gur ge akmeidari, gur ge itimedari,
He took it and placed it in the sea
e ge no wapum baitri wapum baitri,
and it didn't sink as fast and was just floating below the surface of the water.
e ge eudige muige dikepuari "able lu pe dali, kaiaka able lu ge naba kiamu adem".
He thought to himself, "this is the vessel I will be leaving in".
Tigargdi taba kiamuda ikedidari, baka tabara Apu erdari, darawi ut eididariei.
He brought it up and left it, and went to see his Mother and slept.
Nerut gerger ge, e ge tabakamudari,
The next day,
e tabakamudari lewer kemer kemer aisi kurup lewer a sep lewer, kemer kemer aisi bakamudari,
he gathered food, he took all the fruit and vegetables
able deger ge keimer peke, keimer peke asgi,
and placed them inside the left side of the Dugong.
keimer peke asgi, asgi esemuda, gair lewer, sep ko adari,
He placed all food into the left side
debe sep, ko adari aisi bakamudari able ebur ge muige idagi.
and also took the best soil and placed it into the Dugong.
Lim iakaida kikem emrida ege tabakamudari taba tabara Apu tabara erdari. Wi ge lewer irwiei esemudariei.
It was in the afternoon and he came to see his Mother and they ate dinner.

E ge eudige akaida Apu tabara itmeri tabara, " Ama, aka ma idim ge nalu ikerer"?
Gelam asked his Mother, "Mum, what will you be doing tomorrow"?
E ge abi Apuet abi ikaidari, "nole kai nabakiamu mekikem iaka idim ge".
Atwer answered, "I will be going fishing in the morning". E ge eudigeabi ikaidari abi,
Gelam said to his Mother,
"ma baka mekikem, mise ma auka larr erdar, auka larr erdar, ma ge karim, kari tarabger".
"You go fishing and if you see a very big fish, you yell out to me".
Maia karim erer tekri iaka nabaka meriba able au larr askei'ei meriba".
"You will call for me, so I can go and spear the big fish for us".
E ge abi iker "Wau".
And Atwer answered "Yes".

Wi baka ut eididariei, idim
They went to sleep,
ge ekiamudariei, abra Apu, abi Apuet mekik tabara detrapi, abi sepem.
woke up,  and his Mother gathered her fishing gear and went down.
Bakamudari meskep ge ga ikueider mekikem.
She went and stood fishing on the reef.
E ge bakamuda daraweida, bakamudari, baka able deger ge tabadari, deger, deger ge tabadari, deger ge ga tabakamu.
Gelam went the other way, he then went inside the Dugong and came towards his Mother.
Tabakamu e ge tegremadari tabara Apu erdari, tabara Apu erdari, e eudige tabaitri, tabaitri, tabakamu abi doge ge maikakar ge bakamu abi doge ge maike ge bakamudari.
Gelam swam, and seen his Mother, he slowly sank and swam really close to his Mother.
Abi Apuet able larr erdari e eudige erer tekriei abim,
His mother seen the large fish and yelled at the top of her voice,
"Gelam, Gelam, ma tabakamu meriba auka larr imadali,
"Gelam, Gelam come there's a big fish for us here,
meriba auka larr imadali ma tabakamu akos".
there's a big fish for us here come and spear it".
E erer pe ekrili,
She was still yelling out,
ege abi doge ge maikakar ge bakamudari,
and he swam really close to her, baka adem, adem bakamudari, a ko tabakamu, ko taba.
then swam out a bit then Gelam turned and swam in again towards her.
Abra Apu pe mena, mena erer ekrili, ekrili abim
His mother was still yelling out to him,
"Gelam, Gelam ma tabakamu meriba au larr imadali, ma taba akos".
"Gelam, Gelam come there's big fish for us, come and spear it".

E taba maikakar ge, maikakar ge ekueidari, maikakar ge ekueidari, eudige able aremlam osmeidari, able larr lam osmeidari, akaida abi ikaida,
He came up really close and then he came out from the top of the Dugong saying,
" Ama kaka peka nali Gelam, kaka peka nali Gelam, Kai mari able gerger ge ika mari nakailu mari".
" Mother, it is I Gelam. It is I Gelam, on this very day I am leaving you".
E ge eudige abi ikerer, eudige ge abi ikerer,
Atwer said to Gelam, "Ooh Gelam, ma mokak bakamu, ma mokak kari nakair kari. Ma no kara netat werem ma nali".
"Ooh Gelam, you cannot go, you cannot leave me.  You are my only son".

E ge eudige akaida abi ikaidari,
Gelam said to her, " nole Ama, ma umele ka gair gerger obasker ka ebur waitimder,
"No Mother, you know when I go out hunting for birds
ma pe obasker kari oka ma kari onardarer ma kari,
and you are the one frightening me, Berderu mara op mara odisauwer, ma obasker kari ma waiosmer,
rubbing your face with mud and then you would show yourself to me,
kaka ababuse dikepuarer lamar dali, mape kari ma oka ma kari onardarer".
and I would think it's a ghost but it's you frightening me".
"Ka kara idoni kara detauwerili, ka kara idoni batauwer, kaka mokak mena mari doge nawer,
I have made up my mind, I cannot stay here with you, Mise ka mena mari doge nawer ma able, ma able tonar ia ikerer karim, kari oka kai nardarer.
if I stay here  you will continue to frighten me Ka mari able gerger ika mari nakailu, ka naba kaimulu muris gedim".
I will leave you on this very day, I'm going to a faraway place".

Abi apuet ge abi nab ga abi demegrer abi, "Nole Gelam, Gelam ma mokak baka kari nakair ma no kara netat werem ma kara nali".
Atwer begged Gelam, "No Gelam, you cannot leave me, You are my only son" "Nole ama ka mari peka mari nakaireti".
Gelam replied "No mother, I'm leaving you now".
Baka able deger ge badari e baitri bakamudari, kei bakamudari ge Nagir e ge, Nagir ge akarikdari.
He went inside the Dugong and dived into the sea and surfaced at Nagir Island.
E eudige taba tauerikdari, taba tauerikdari Moa ra able paser derdare, e ke
He turned to look back and could still see the peak of Moa and said,
"nole ese ka ge ka nauwer, Ama pe maikakar ge pe dali,
"no if I stay here, Mother is near by", "kari Ama de kari otadasmer e able gur otadatupi otaba kari kari onardar.
"my Mother will see me and would swim across the ocean to see me".

Ege no kep kep lewer ge digi ge, kep kep lewer ge digi,
He took a little bit of the food out at Nagir Island.
ko baitri, ko baitri bakamudari, bakamudari ge Poruma ge akarikda,
he sank again and swam away until he surfaced at Poruma.
Poruma ge akarikdari ga tegremadari e mena able paser dasmerer ege akaidari,
He surfaced at Poruma and looked back a he could still see the Peak of Moa and said,
"ese ka geka nauer ka kari apuet kari otadasmer able gedlam e otabakamu".
"If I stay here, my Mother can still see me". Ege wader lewer ge ko ge digi,
He then took a little bit of the food out at Poruma,
ga bakamudari baitri Masig e ge akarikdari,
then swam and surfaced at Masig Island,
Masig ge temri akarikdari tegremadari,
where he stopped and looked back and said,
"Nole mena maikakar ge ike kari Apu em, ka ko ka nabakiamu".
"No, This is still to close to my Mother, I shall go further".

Ga baitri bakamudari, baka Erub ge akarik
He swam again until he surfaced at Erub Island.
Erub ge weiemridari ege egremadari,
He wanted to stay at Erub but he looked across,

Ege egremadari Mer i erdari, Mer i erdari, e eudige akaidari,
he looked across and seen Mer Island and said,
"ese ka naba ge ka taramrilu ka, kari ama ide umerer kari otadasmer kari, able ged lam".
"If I go and stay there, my Mother won't be able to see me from there". E ge wader lewer ga digi ge Erub ge, ale
He then took some food out and left it at Erub Island,
kemer kemer ge aisi lewer kemer kemer lewer a sep ga aisi Mer em bakamuda,
and the rest of all the food and soil he took to Mer,
Bakamu ge Mer ge temridari e baka e kikem ke eididari Naiger pekem eididari, Naiger em abra op abra dikeredi e eididari,
Gelam went to stay at Mer.  He laid facing the Naiger wind, the north east

Ale Naiger esmiri, Naiger esmiri abra nonor abra ditpi abra e ko batauwerikda,
The Naiger wind was blowing and tickled his nostril
e ko batauwerikdari e Ziai em eidida.
so he turned and faced towards the Ziai wind, the south east.

Ziai em eididari,
Turning towards the Ziai wind,
baiwi, baiwi, mena mamor eididari, mamor eididari ga ipereder.
he buried himself into the ground until he couldn't move.
Kiki lim ge Ziai, Ziai esmiri kikem, nonor abra ditpi abra
Late in the afternoon the Ziai wind began to blow and tickled his nostrils,
ege eudige siau esi, siau esi, neis wada, ge taba pit lam nausmedari,
and he sneezed, two seeds came out of his nose,
eusmerdari abi abi nonor lam, able neis kaur nardiredi maikakar ge abi doge,
it came out of his nostrils, which is the two Islands which are positioned close to Gelam,
Dowar iba Waier ei.
Dowar Island and Waier Island

Able mir peka detauti peka, pe kara able mir pe esemri able mir pe ikeredi,
This story I've just told, I've now come to the end of the story.
keriba, keriba mir, nade ge ople ge able gesep detami,
Which is our stories from when God created this world, gair lu daratagemda pa mi zogo ziawali ge dasmererda.
all creation as we see in the Bible.
Keriba pe nagri keriba mir pe nagri nako keriba kaur keriba tabakauder pa naridwerterda able orwai orwai.
This is our stories on how our Islands came to be in that position and of its special shape.
No kara able mir pe dike,  Au Esoau.
That is all I have to say, Thank You

Able neis wada ge nawer, ge abi nonorlam osmedari pe nardidari Dowar iba Waier ei, ge emrilu ge.
The two seeds remained, which came out of his nostrils, Dowar and Waier.
Abra Apu iaka dataute.
I will tell you about his Mother.
Abra Apu pe dikuwe abim ieswi, no epigemidari bakir pa ikueireder able kerker ge.
Gelam's Mother was standing there crying for him, changed into a stone where she stood.
Ese ma able gerger ge baka ma abi dasmeri abi, epe noko ikueiredi adge, meskep ge
If you go on this day, you will see her standing out when the tide is low.
nade pe meg otogrer, nade pe meg otogrer epe zeuber otabasker, meg otabasker, muige able bakir ge,
when the tide comes up and when the waves come rolling in, the tide goes inside the stone,
nako, nako pe noko obasker, pe noko muige otidirsir,
how it manages to go inside,
epe abra poni ge abra ale kebe i abra odisker
but Atwer's eye's you can see the tears run down,
able gur sus, gur sus ale otabakesle ale bakir kur ge pe onaselare epe,
ocean tears comes out and falls down
waike mokakalam e mena ikueiredi Gelam i iesoli.
which looks as if Atwer is still crying for her son GELAM.
Au Esoau Marim
Thank You

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