Story About the Coming of the Fire (Transcription)

By Simon James
Sari Primary School
Grade Eight

Long, long ago in the village of the Nucks there lived an old woman named Tapu Enda Ipali. In those days, the people cooked their yams, taro, and other vegetables by leaving them in the sun to cook.

Tapu Enda Ipali cooked food for ten young hunters and she always cooked the food in this way. When she was alone, she liked to hide in the house. Then, she took the fire from her own body and cooked her own food by boiling it in the water.

One day a piece of Tapu Enda Ipali’s boiled yam and taro got mixed up with the food that she was giving to the hunters. When they tasted this soft tasty yam and taro the hunters asked Tapu Enda Ipali how she cooked it. She did not tell them. They wanted to find out her secret. They sent their fastest runner to watch her. He hid in Tapu Enda Ipali’s house. When he saw Tapu Enda Ipali cooking the food with fire from her own body, he jumped up and grabbed the fire stick and ran away. As he was running, he fell over a fallen tree where Molopai the Snake lived. Then the fire stick started a big fire. The snake tail started to burn.

When Tapu Enda Ipali saw the bush fire she shouted some magic words to the cloud. The rain fell and put out the fire. But Molopai the Snake was in the tree and he did not get wet. His tail was still burning. The hunter used the snake tail to start the fire again. He ran back to the village and told the people to go and get the fire. Since then, every village has had a fire to use for cooking and for hunting animals in the grass and in the bush.

Fire was very important to early people. People saw fires a long time before they knew how to make fire. They saw trees set on fire by lightening. In dry warm weather they saw grassland set on fire. We do not know how people learned to make fire for themselves. Once they learned to make fire, they used it for many different purposes. They used it for hunting, for frightening wild animals away, for keeping themselves warm at night, and for cooking.