Stories From Kiribati

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Kaiboia and Butaritari

Posted by Amota Eromanga on August 8, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Many years ago, at Buariki village on Tarawa lived Kaboia and his wife. He was nothing but lazy bones. He didn’t cut toddy or went fishing and his bwabwai pits were the only ones in the village that lay uncultivated. All he loved doing was staying home - sleeping on his buia; while young men in his village would go fishing, cut toddy or work inside their bwaibwai pits located out in the bush. His wife often encouraged him to stop being lazy and be active like the others but he just couldn’t listen.

An important feast to honor the gods was planned and agreed to be held soon in the village. It was compulsory whereby every family must bring three dried salted fish, two bwaibwai (taro) and two coconut shells full of kamwaimwai (syrup) to the mwaneaba. At the day of the feast, all the families in the village brought the required items except Kaboia and his wife who had nothing to bring.

The village people weren’t complaining but only reminded the couple to prepare the items before the next feast. The next and similar feast came and still the family of Kaboia didn’t bring anything at all. This time, people began complaining about the lazy couple. The old men of the village called Kaiboia to a disciplinary meeting and informed him that he must bring his contribution of fish, bwabwai and kamwaimwai to the next feast. He was given no other choices. At the third feast, Kaiboia brought nothing. Now, everyone in the village was really angry because the couple had never brought any foods to the gods. They decided to punish them.

Kaiboia was afraid of the punishment so he began working hard. He started cutting toddy and working in his bwabwai pits. One day, he prepared his fishing gear then set off on his small outrigger canoe. He paddled northwards where he met other fishermen on the way. They mockingly laughed at him knowing that it was his first time to fish. They were also certain that he knew none of the fishing grounds at all. Kaiboia did not care at all; he just paddled further away from them. As he reached the spot - in line with Abaiang island - he paddled a little further so the island was just behind. He floated and began fishing.

Not long, his fishing line was tugged so he quickly held back tightly. The pull increased hence Kaiboia kept holding back. “A very big fish!” he thought for the pull was incredible. He kept pulling his line hoping to see a huge fish. Alas, what he had caught appeared on the water surface. He couldn’t believe what he saw. It wasn’t a big fish but an island! He called the island Butaritari (smell of the sea).

 

Categories: Legends & Myths

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