“Losing Immortality”- Vanuatu

Today seems like a good day to post a new Pacific Islands legend. I haven’t posted one in awhile. This legend comes from Vanuatu and can be found in the book, To Kill a Bird with Two Stones by Jeremy MacClancy. Enjoy!

Losing Immortality

According to a widespread custom story, the first men and women did not die. When old and their skin wrinkled and tired, they went to a nearby river where the running water gently pulled their old skin off, so that they emerged young again.

But once, the daughter of an old woman did not recognize her mother when she returned from the river as a young woman. Her mother tried to persuade her that it was only her skin that had changed and that she was still the same person. But the daughter would have none of this; she wanted her mother back and began to cry.

Full of regret, her mother returned to the river, found her old skin and put it back on. Her daughter saw her when she cam back and was delighted that her mother had reappeared.

But her mother was old again and old people die, which she did eventually. So it is from that day that the people of these island lost their immortality and began to die.

Losing Immortality(Vanuatu

“Losing Immortality,” illustration by Tara Bonvillain, copyright 2020.

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