“The Inseparables”- Cook Islands

Our first Pacific Islands legend of 2019 is a short and sweet story that comes to us from the island of Mangaia in the Cook Islands. This is one of my favorite legends and can be found in the book, Tales Told in Hawaii.

Don’t forget that you can view all of artist, Tara Bonvillain, illustrations on our Website in one place. Simply click here to view them.

Enjoy the story!

The Inseparables 

Boy and Girl Inseparable were twins who loved each other dearly. But they had a mother who scolded from morning until night. One night as they lay on their grass mats and wept because they had been spanked for nothing at all and sent to bed hungry, they heard their mother say to their father, “Come, let us have a feast of fish. No, you shall not wake those children. They shall eat cold fish in the morning.”

The twins wept as they smelled the fish cooking and hunger gnawed at their stomachs. Girl Inseparable said, “Let us flee away forever.”

As they stole into the moonlight their tears made a dotted trail across the slanting shadows of the coconut grove and along the rock wall of the mullet pond. They climbed the cliff that stood close to the sky and their tears fell into twin basins in the rocks. Girl Inseparable gazed into her tearpool and saw the young moon reflected there. “Let us become stars,” she said. She took hold of Boy Inseparable’s girdle and together they leaped into the sky.

When the parents finished their feast they found the tear-wet pillows of the twins. They searched for them and at last found a path of teardrops which wound through the coconut palms, past the mullet pond, and up the trail to the cliffs. The father gazed into the tearpool and saw a reflected two small stars. “There are our Inseparables!” cried he, pointing to the sky.

The Inseparables (Cook Islands)

“The Inseparables,” illustration courtesy of Tara Bonvillain, copyright 2019.

The parents wept and wailed and begged the children to return. The mother wiped her tears with her long black hair and said, “If they will not return, we too shall become stars.” And they leaped to a place in the sky.

To this day some of the children of the Pacific sing of the Inseparables in sorrowful little voices that make your heart ache. They point out the small twin stars of Scorpio. The two larger stars of Scorpio are the parents who have never been able to overtake their children.

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