Description: A dutiful wife and her children become outcasts after a shaving incident with her angry husband.

The story of Koemuthnab told by Matilda Bani, Mabuiag from State Library of Queensland on Vimeo.

Storyteller: Matilda Bani
Translator: Dimple Bani
Language: Kala Lagaw Ya
Dialect: Mabuiag
Island: Mabuiag

Transcription and translation

Wa kaypa kulay, si miyar kuyku mabayg,
Long ago, there lived a chief

nungu nel Kawmayn, Pulunu.
called Kawmayn, on the island of Pulu.

Pulu na seenu moegi lag kalanu Mabuyginu,
Pulu is a small island at the back of Mabuyag

Kawmayn si miyar, nungu ipil a kazil muray.
This is where Kawmayn lived with all his wives and children.

Na sena nungu kulay ipi noe, nanu nel Koemuthnab.
Koemuthnab was the name of his first wife.

Nuy koeyma nabeka nagay kedhamayka,
He seemed to depend heavily on her.

na nungungu koey kazilayg,
She was the mother of all his children.

sena warrigal kazigigal nungungu.
His other wives did not have children.

Za noe kedha aymaynga,
If there was something taking place

wa, nuy nabeka yapoeybi aymayka.
He would have her do all the preparations.

Mabaygal noe kedha ngapa Puluka mayka miyar noe,
When people were about to visit Pulu

nuy nabeka muli nubeka yathapathayka wagel kayne mabaygal mangi, nubeka imayka.
He would ask her to shave him, before their arrival.

Nadh nuyn yathapathan.
She would shave him.

Nabeka noe senaabi zageth noe mina koey ubigizi zageth, wati zageth, nadh noe nuyn yathapathan noe.
This was the task Koemuthnab didn't want to undertake.

Nuydh nabeka senaabi zageth mura thonarnu nan yapoeybarngul kedha nadh ayman senaabi zageth.
She was now being asked frequently to do this work,

a wagel kayne mabaygal mangi nubeka imayka
before people arrived.

Sa wara goeygayi nubiya ya mangaydhin Bawangu
One day, word came from Baw

kedha mabaygal Bawangu ngapa nubeka imayka,
that people wanted to visit Kawmayn

nuy ya kuniya wiyadhin kedha ayewal, thanamun ayewal madhin.
He sent a message back that they were welcome to visit him.

Sena goeyga noe gasamdhin kedha thana mangay kazil
When the day came for the visitors to arrive,

a, nuy nabeka mulaydhin Koemuthnabnaka kedha
Kawmayn said to Koemuthnab,

"aye nidh ngoena yathapathayk, mabaygal mangay kazil Bawangu".
"People are visiting me today from Baw so come and shave me".

Wa sena wadh nabeka mina ubigi zageth,
This is the job Koemuthnab really didn't want to do

senaabi zageth nabeka mina ubigi zageth.
because she didn't like it at all.

Nanu kedha noe galpis nge miyaydhin kedha nuydh nan lak yapoeybadhin a senaabi zagethka nanu senaabi kerketh,
When Kawmayn asked again, Koemuthnab lost her temper.

Wara na zilmaydhin koezi na uupi madhin nungu yathaka pathayka noe,
She grabbed a knife, went over to Kawmayn,

yatha noe pathadhin,
began to shave him

nungu wakay malaw pathadhin.
and in the process she cut off his vocal cord.

Nuy mina warkidh nabiya, nanungu ubigasidhin, nuy lak, kuniya nabeka galpisan miyaydhin, mina koeyma nanungu ubigasidhin,
Kawmayn became very angry at Koemuthnab.

nan adhaka wiyadhin sizi Pulungu kedha ni pa adhaka, nidh ngayka wati za ayimngul.
He didn't want her anymore so he sent her away from Pulu.

Thanamun adhaka wiyadhin noe, na kazin araydhin, na uzaraydhin adhaka,
So she took her children,

nuyn moegidhadhnga kuyku gima nithadhin, wara moekazil nabiya pasiya,
put her young child on her head, with the other children around her,

maluka adhaka uzaraydhin
walked down into the sea.

Si gar na malu adha thanuraydhin, kuniya nagaydhin noe, nuy matha siyar nge thanamunya wagel. Kawmayn, kasa nagay,
She looked back but Kawmayn didn't stop her.

senaabi thonara, na gar kula aymaydhin.
She walked into the water and turned to stone.

Ni noe nagi noe Puluka noe, nuy lak Kawmayn lak kula aymaydhin, nuy a nungu ipil.
Kawmayn and his wives also turned to stone.

Nuy kay Pulunu zey dagamunu sika, ni noe kedha thonara mangi noe, nidh iman kedha Kawmayn kay zey dagamunu sika,
Today at Pulu, you will see Kawmayn standing on the southern side of the island

adhaka kidh naka nabeka Koemuthnabnaka.
looking out toward Koemuthnab.

Koemuthnab napa adhal sika kazil muray,
Koemuthnab is standing in the sea with her children,

sena gar moegi kula nanu kuykunu gimal matha sika,
moekaziw kula, moekaazi seenu kula aymaydhin nabiya gima,
the small rock on top of her head, her young child still sits.

wara moegi kulal pasiya nabiya, nanu wara kazil.
The small rocks around her are the other children.

Na sena adhal sika.
She is standing out there.

Nuy Kawmayn iinu zey dagamunu sika, ipil pasiya nubiya.
He is standing to the south with is wives.

Si kedha thonarnu senaabi kulal matha mimic Pulunu.
Today you can still see these rock formations on Pulu.

Ina gidhaw kuth. Koeyma eso.
This is the end of the story. Thank you very much.

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