7. Two Brothers and the Ailaya, as told by Theckla Inial

In this final pil, we again have the story of two orphan brothers. The brothers live with their uncle and his wife, and the woman (the non-blood relative) is particularly neglectful of them, feeding them only scraps of food.

Still, they grew, and one day they establish for themselves a garden alongside the couple. But before the taro of their garden has fully ripened, they are overcome with despair, thinking about the loss of their parents and the neglect that they have lived with for so long. They recall another uncle who is beside the Ailaya, and they decide to follow him.

The Ailaya, as described in this book’s introduction, is understood as a portal to the afterlife and the place to where the spirits of the deceased travel. As such, following someone to the Ailaya suggests that they wish to meet death. Dramatically they dress themselves in their finest customary attire, including shell money given to them by their parents, and proceed to destroy their food garden.

Their song is a lament on how they feel and what they plan to do. Their uncle hears their cry and follows them through the landscape. At every point where they stop to sing their song, he struggles to reach them but by the time he arrives they have moved on. Finally their uncle meets them at the top of the Ailaya, but his words have no effect, and together the brothers face their fate.

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