Moniter Lizard

Legend of Guali'ik {gecko/lizard}

{A Modern Chamori Myth for Kids} Written by: Norbert Perez

Once upon a time in the paradise Tano' Agrihan and beyond, there lived a Patgon (child) Tano' named Guali'ik.

Guali'ik was a nice little boy. He was obedient and helpful at home. He was friendly and well-liked by the other famagu'on (children). But most especially, he was adored by the girls and women because of his naturally good looks. He was handsome.

The boy spent most of his time in the company of his Guelo' (grandfather). He enjoyed learning the art of canoe building, which was his grandfather's trade. But his greatest passion was sitting around the guafi (fire) and listening to the manamkos (old people) tell stories of the past. This facinated him so much that he would pester the manamkos' constantly for more and more stories.

The grandfather was enamoured by the patgon (child), not because Guali'ik was the youngest of his grandchildren but because of his insatiable appetite for knowledge. The boy's desire to learn the ways of the Taotao Tano' (people of the land) reminded him so much of himself when he was growing up in Tano' Guahan and beyond.

"Maila', lahi! Maila'!" (Come, boy! Come!) the old man called to Guali'ik.

"Maila'! Fata'chong guine!" (Come! Sit here!) he added, motioning for the boy to sit next to him.

"Hu'u, guelo'!" (Yes, grandfather!) the boy answered, as he plumeted down on the mat beside his grandfather.

Green lizard on wall  "Taiguini nai mafa'tinas i traban gaga' hayu," (This is how you make the lasso for the wood animal) the old man said as he displayed the little lasso made of nipa bark strand.

The boy looked intensely at his grandfather and the lasso he was weaving before him.

"Taiguini nai magodde-na i traban gaga' hayu," (This is how you tie the lasso for the wood animal) the old one remarked. Then he continued, "Un godde halom na' mafnot, taiguini. Kumu humalom i gaga' hayu guini, ni' si maknganiti ti u linaknos." (You tie it in tightly like this. Once the wood animal goes in, not even the devil can let him out)

"Hafa maknganiti, guelo'?" (What is a devil, grandfather?) the boy asked, eying the old man.

"Si maknganiti nai ayu i anitin baba!" (The devil is the bad spirit!) the grandfather echoed.

"Hafa anitin baba?" (What is a bad spirit?) questioned Guali'ik.

"I anitin baba nai ayu i Kakahna. I binaba yan tinailayi matattitiyi nai!" (The bad spiirit is the witch doctor! They follow the bad and evil ways!) the grandfather replied.

"Hafa tinailayi, guelo'?" (What is evil, grandfather?) the boy asked.

"Ai lahi-hu!" (Oh, my boy!) the old man said realizing that the conversation was getting out of hand. "I tinailayi nai ayu i binaba; ayu i ti maolek; ayu i ti dinanchi," (Evil is that which is bad; that which is not good; that which is not right) the old man added.

"Yanggen ti maolek, hafa na ma tattitiyi?" (If it isn't good, why do they follow it?) the boy questioned with much interest.

"Sa' manbaba nai na taotao," (Because they are bad people) he retorted.

"Hayi tiningo'-mu baba na taotao?" (Who do you know is a bad man?) the boy asked.

"I Kakahna nai baban taotao," (The witch doctor is a bad man) the grandfather said.

"Hafa nai na baba i Kakahna?" (Why is the witch doctor bad?) the boy quibbed directly.

"Baba nai i Kakahna sa' ha espipiha pao na' tailayi i taotao," (The witch doctor is bad because he looks for ways to bring bad things on the people) the old man said.

"Para ha' guenao!" (Stop there!) he added, holding up his hand to silence the boy. "Atan i traban gaga' hayu! Atan taimanu macho'gue-na" (Look at the wood animal lasso. Look at how it is done) he commanded.

"Hu'u, guelo'!" (Yes, grandfather!) the boy obeyed.

The old man stood up and reached for a nearby kamachili branch. He took a separate nipa strand and tied the lasso to the branch, setting the trap in place. Green lizard on a branch

The gaga' hayu was a pesky little animal and in great abundance. Although it was the main staple of the local fowl, the Ko'ko' (quail), the critters were reproducing far more than the demand seemed to require. Thus, the gaga' hayu were everywhere.

Guali'ik, being so inquisitive, spent hours observing the gaga' hayu. He would lie on his belly underneath a palm tree, watching and listening to the chattering calls of the reptiles. Sometimes, he would imitate the mating calls of the male gaga' hayu as he observed the reactions of the female and the other males. He became so good at this that he could actually converse with the little creatures.

"Tchk! Tchk! Tchk!" Guali'ik called out.

"Tchk! Tchk! Tchk! Tchk!" replied one of the gaga' hayu near him.

"Tchk! Tchk!" Guali'ik responded.

"Tchk! Tchk! Tchk! Tchk!" the gaga' hayu came back.

"Tchk! Tchk! Tchk!" Guali'ik cooed back as he rose to a kneeling position, still eying the animal.

The boy started to laugh as he stood up and brushed the dirt and grass from his body. He heard his mother calling and he instinctively started walking in the direction of the house. He called out to the little gaga' hayu, "Tchk! Tchk!" and he turned and ran directly home.

When he got home, the boy found his Guela' (grandmother) and Guelo' (grandfather) sitting next to the guafi (fire) eating briskly on some boiled lemmai (breadfruit) and bar-b-qued guihan (fish). His mother gave him his portion, which he hungrily admired as he scampered next to his Guelo' (grandfather) and sat down. He laid his food spread on his lap and began to quickly devour the soft lemmai (breadfruit).

"Mmmm! Mannge' i lemmai, Guelo'!" (The breadfruit is good, grandfather!) the boy said.

"Hunggan! Gof mannge' magahet!" (Yes! It is truly very good!) the old man responded.

The boy's mother placed a small bamboo cup filled with sping water next to him and said, "Mungnga makano' gotpe i na'-mu, Guali'ik." (Don't eat your food too fast!)

"Hu'u nana!" (Yes mother) he answered.

"Baba bumoka taiguenao!" (It is bad to eat that way) the woman added.

"Hu'u nana!" (Yes mother!) the boy replied.

Just then, the boy dropped his food spread on the ground. He quickly stood up and looked in the direction of the kamachili tree. His face showed an immense terror. He started running through the brushes, the shortest distance to the tree.

His grandfather was surprised. He followed the boy's movements with concern. He cried out, "Hafa lahi chetnot-mu?", as he set his food down on the ground and stood up. He quickly ran after the boy.

When Guali'ik reached the kamachili tree, he found his pet gaga' hayu caught in his grandfather's trap. The creature was wiggling and struggling desparately to get free of the lasso. The nipa strand was snugged tightly around its neck. He kept calling out, "Tchk! Tchk! Tchk! Tchk!"

The boy grabbed at a stick, which was laying on the ground nearby and used it as a guaoli (extension pole) to pull the kamachili branch down to his reach. He cried out to the little animal, "Tchk! Tchk!", as he grabbed at the branch, breaking it off in the process. He sifted through the leaves and broken branches until he found the gaga' hayu, still wiggling to get free.

The old man arrived and saw what was happening.

The boy was crying now, as he pleaded with his Guelo' to help him set his friend free. He said, "Ai Guelo', laknos i ga'-hu gi traba! Ma'ase' Guelo', laknos i ga'-hu gi traba!" (Oh grandfather, free my pet from the lasso! Mercy grandfather, free my pet from the lasso!), as tears trickled down his face.

"Ai lahi-hu! Maila' magi ya bai hu pula'!" (Oh, my son! Bring it here and I will loosen it!) the grandfather replied. He reached forward and fingered the nipa strand to loosen the lasso. The gaga' hayu was now motionless and very still.

The boy took the lifeless form of his pet and held it in the palms of his hands. He quickly started blowing air into his palms to revive the little critter. And he continued his chattering, "Tchk! Tchk! Tchk! Tchk!", as his grandfather watched in wonder.

Suddenly, the gaga' hayu gave a little jerk, as it miraculously came to life. The boy opened his palms and the animal jumped on to his shoulders, full of zuberance and life.

"Tchk! Tchk!" it called out.

"Tchk! Tchk! Tchk!" Guali'ik replied, his face already glowing with happiness and excitement.

"Tchk! Tchk! Tchk!" the gaga' called out, jumping up and down.

"Tchk! Tchk! Tchk!" the boy responded with a chuckle.

"Un tungo' ha' hafa ilelek-na?" (Do you know what he is saying?) the old man questioned the boy in amazement.

"Hu'u, Guelo'! Magof sa' hu na'i gue' aniti ta'lo!" (Yes, grandfather! He is happy because I gave him a new spirit!) the boy said.

"Ya hafa ilek-mu? (And what did you say?) the guelo' asked.

"Hu fa'na'an gue' si Guali'ik sa' ga'-hu." (I named him Guali'ik because he is my pet!) the boy added.

"Kao magahet na un tungo' i fino' gaga'?" (Is it true that you know the language of the animal?) the old one asked curiously.

"Hu'u guelo'! Hu tungo' i fino' gaga'!" (Yes grandfather! I know the language of the animal!) Guali'ik said.

"Hayi lahi fuma'na'gue hao?" (Who taught you this boy?) the grandfather replied.

Hekkua'! Hagas ha' hu ekungok i fino'-niha ya hu fa'na'guen maisa ha' yu'!" (I don't know! For a long time I listen to their language and I just taught myself!) Guali'ik answered.

"Maolek nai lahi! (That's good, boy!) the old one congratulated him.

"Nihi guelo'! Bai hu konne' i ga'-hu guali'ik tatte' gi gima' ya bai fa'nu'i si Nana." (Lets go grandfather! I will take my pet guali'ik back home and I will show mother!) he said, as they started walking home.

As generations passed, the exploits of the boy Guali'ik became known throughout Oceania. His god-given talent to speak the language of the gaga' hayu became an inspiration to all the Taotao Tano'. And the gaga' hayu became know as gaga' Guali'ik throughout the entire universe.

The End.

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