The island of Papua is rich with local languages and beliefs spreading through the provinces. Some produced numerous oral and written folklore using their local languages to pass on the way of life of Papuan to the future generation. Children love to hear stories, fairy tales, and folktales. Exploiting their fondness, parents or grandparents can transfer their knowledge and moral values using storytelling.
Not limited to that, folklore narratives also provide people with a method of expressing emotions and storing knowledge. Folklore can be said as an identity specific to a tribe. The descriptions carry mythology, philosophy, and ancient knowledge that establish an identity for the whole society. That is the reason why folklore is an invaluable cultural heritage for the tribe members. So, here are several examples that portray the way Papuan life is.
Several Folktales Portray the Way of Life of Papuan
1. The Origin of Cendrawasih Bird
During ancient times in the Fakfak region, an old lady lived with her son, Kweiya, in the Bumperi mountains. The old lady, Baria, married an older man named Bone and had two sons with him, Kiara and Niko. While living together, Kiara and Niko were very jealous of Kweiya to the point of planning evil schemes against their older brother.
On one fateful day, Kweiya fell for his little brothers’ trap. Due to this, he went to the forest to calm down his fuming anger. However, Kweiya got lost in the woods. At home, Kiara and Niko lied, saying their older brother did not want to live with their parents anymore.
Baira tried to find the truth about this matter. She went to the forest while shouting her son’s name. After a long time, Baira found a strange bird that responded to her calling. While the bird could only say “Ek, Ek, Ek,” Baira knew it was her son. Seeing a thread wrapping around the bird, Baira tried to tuck the thread around her arms. The next moment, she turned into a bird and flew away with Kewiya.
The story is trying to tell the way of life of Papuan: excessive jealousy will bring you more harm than good. Do not be jealous of your brothers or sisters because you cannot take away the damage that has occurred to them.
2. Biwar, the Dragon Slayer
This story tells a journey of a young man from Papua who has become a Dragon Slayer. Long ago, a water dragon killed Biwar’s father and uncle. The dragon destroyed the boat his family took on a voyage to find food.
The only survivor was Biwar’s mother, who was pregnant then. Biwar’s mother went deep into a forest to hide their presence from the dragon. Several years later, Biwar became an intelligent and strong man. Knowing the situation of their fate, Biwar tried to put an end to the misery.
The man designed an effective plan to kill the dragon using the terrain of its lair. After luring the dragon out, Biwar pushed a massive rock toward the dragon. It fell and killed the beast.
After this, Biwar and his mother went back to live in the village. The people welcome them with open arms. Hearing the fantastic story, the people started to call Biwar a dragon slayer.
This story wants people to be brave and stand firm against adversity. It is similar to how Biwar tried his best to change his fate.
Folklore functions as a means to pass on the knowledge and culture of the way of life of Papuan. The folktales have particular moral values to give to the next generation. Through the two stories, children can learn about bravery and emotion.