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A Chamorro Legend of Creation

I lived on the island of Guam for three years and enjoyed many of the folk stories. I rewrote this one about the Legend of Creation.

The Story of Creation

Fuana Rock

Fuana Rock

Chamorro Story Teller

Chamorro Story Teller

The Story Begins

“Come children,” Leanna says as she takes the hand of 7-year-old Hiro ‎and his sister, 5-year-old Mona. The other children follow. They troop across the green mowed field toward a recently built lean-to of bamboo covered in coconut leaf thatch. They sit cross-legged in front of the opening to this strange little house.

A gray-haired, bare-chested man holding a long spear exits the hut, followed by two young people. One is a handsome, rugged-looking, brown young man wearing a lei of shells with a long red cloth cinched around his waist. His beautiful sister wears a white V-neck ruffled blouse and a knee-length skirt patterned of red, yellow, and orange tropical flowers. A ring of tortoiseshell sits like a crown on her long brown hair. The two nod to the children and walk to the side. The gray-haired man watches them go, then faces the audience. He wears a green wrap-around cloth, no shoes, and several strings of shells and shark’s teeth. He taps the end of his spear on the ground, looks solemnly at the crowd, and announces, “Erensia, the storyteller, has agreed to tell you about the great Puntan and Fu’una Legend of Creation.” He strides to the side and stands as if on guard.

The children’s eyes widen as they look expectantly at the opening of the thatched hut. An older woman with long colorful beads dangling through her beautiful white hair, appears in the doorway. She smiles. The breeze carries the perfume of her pink Plumeria lei. Her long red and yellow flowered muumuu kimono dress shimmers in the daylight. Erensia lowers her head in greeting. She raises her hands in a slow, gentle motion to encircle the group then steps toward the center where she kisses the air and says, “Håfa Dai and welcome. We are all brothers and sisters, may we forever love and cherish each other.”

Mona and Hiro glance at each other and nod. Leanna beams.


Puntan and Fu'una, the beginning of creation

“Do you know how we came to exist here on Guam?” Erensia begins in a whisper. “It all began before there were sky, and ocean.” She looks up and points toward the sky, then down and moves her hands up and down to show the ocean.

“Long, long ago before anything existed, a mist covered all the universe. A strong young man with powers unheard of and beyond belief existed. He was brother Puntan, who had no father or mother, but only a sister Fu’una.”

The two young people who had entered earlier, walk beside the storyteller and join hands.

“They lived for many years with only the two and were happy, but Puntan felt his spirit dying, and he looked at Fu’una.”

The two young people face each other.

“Puntan had many spiritual powers, but he knew his time was over, so he gave his powers to his sister and told her to create a world where she would live happily forever.”

The young man gestures to the young woman as in a hula, while the storyteller continues.

“Take my eyes, he told her. The right eye would be the moon and the left the sun. Put them above to light your way. My eyebrows would make beautiful rainbows to give color for you to see.”

The young man turns from Puntan showing his back.

“The land beneath your feet will be my strong back. Create the Earth from me.”

The young man turns again facing Puntan. They touch.

“I give you all my powers to mix with yours so you will enjoy a beautiful world after I am no more.”

The young man leaves into the hut. Fu’una uses her arms and hands as in a hula creating the moon, sun, rainbow, and earth.

“She creates the world, but Fu’una misses her brother. She cries so hard that oceans, rivers and streams fill the earth she created from Puntan’s back.

“She made the sunshine, the moon glow, rainbows of color, the earth, oceans, rivers, streams and waterfalls, but she was unhappy. She wanted people to inhabit the world she had created. What should she do?”

The hula continues.

“Thinking about Puntan, she threw herself onto the earth she had created from his back and transformed herself into a rock jetting out from the sea. From this rock sprang people to inhabit the Earth called Guam.”

The hula ends. Fu’una leaves entering the hut.

“This is the creation story of the Chamarro people here on Gaum. Whenever you travel to Umatac Bay, look at the giant rock protruding from the sea. We call this rock, Fouha Rock, or creation point..

“Remember, brother, maga’låhi, and sister, maga’håga, respect each other for you are powerful. Both protect the family, property, raise children, and provide for each other.”


Maga’låhi and Maga’håga

The storyteller bows, turns and enters the hut. The gray haired, bare chested man speaks from the front of the hut. “Children, respect your maga’låhi and maga’håga. Thank you for listening. Si Yu'os ma'åse'.” He bows and enters the hut.

The children clap and talk among themselves. Leanna stands. “Boys and Girls, we will meet together in the playground for our lunch and then return to class. The children run and join others already playing.

“Hay, maga’håga,” Hiro runs after his sister. “How come Puntan had no Mom and Pop?”

“They died, silly.” Mona says.

© 2021 Margaret Best

Comments

Thelma Alberts from Germany on July 22, 2021:

What a beautiful legend of creation! I love this story. Thank you for sharing.

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