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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
A TALE FROM NEW GUINEA by Annie Ker
Start of Story
IN the old days there lived two lizards, Webubu and Nagari. Webubu was
plain of speech, and moreover was unable to cry aloud, but Nagari, by
stretching his long neck, could produce a sweet low sound, somewhat
after the manner of a whistle.
Nagari longed for companions, so he stretched his neck and cried "U-u-
u-u-u." Then many women, hearing the sweet sound, flocked to where
Nagari sat, and listened to his music. This pleased Nagari, and he
continued to sound his long note. "U-u-u-u-u," he sang, and the women
sat so still, one might have thought them dead or weeping.
Webubu, on the contrary, had no one to cheer him in his loneliness.
"What can I do," he said, "to draw women to me as Nagari has done? I
have not a sweet voice as he has. What can I do?"
As he was speaking a thought grew up in his heart, and he began to act.
He cut a slim piece of hollow bamboo, and pierced small holes in it.
Thus was the first flute (duraio) born. Webubu then built himself a
platform high in a corkwood tree, which we call "troba" on the beach,
and seating himself there he began to play his flute.
The women sat patiently around Nagari, while he sounded his one note,
"U-u-u!" But on a sudden, upon the still air, broke the sweet voice of
Webubu's flute. High and sweet were the notes which Webubu sent forth
from his flute.
"M! m!" said the listening women.
"U-u-u-u," sang Nagari.
"Ah, ss-ss-ss!" cried the women. "Deafen us not with thy 'U,' when we
would hear this strange music!"
Nagari was much troubled at this saying, and marveled greatly. Then
one woman made bold to rise up, and saying, "I shall return," she went
to seek the sweet music. Now this woman lied, for she never returned.
After a time, another woman arose and said, "Stay here, my friends; I
Then she went in like manner to look for the music. And she also lied,
for she returned not. And so with each woman, until Nagari was left
sitting alone as he had been at the beginning.
Now Webubu was still playing his flute on the platform he had built in
the corkwood tree, when the women came in sight. He was alarmed for
the safety of his frail platform, when he saw these many people
advancing, and he cried, "Come not up into the tree. Remain below, I
beseech you, O women!"
But the women were consumed with eagerness to be close to the music
which had taken their hearts, and they climbed, all of them, until they
were upon the platform of Webubu.
Then straightway what he had feared came to pass, and Webubu, and his
flute, and the multitude of women fell crashing through the branches of
the corkwood tree to the ground beneath.
And from that hour until now, all corkwood trees lean toward the earth,
as I will show thee, if thou wilt go with me to the beach where they