Reporting PNG: culture and visa control

Warmil’s bride from another cosmos


An entry in The Crocodile Prize

A KIND HEARTED BARI YOUTH named Warmil, who had lost his father during the warfare with the Gena, settled with his mother and three small brothers at Morua Kaupa Nil Awil. His mother was called Kokil Gup Ku. His three brothers were Kipir, Kulkan and Arkal Ku.

Warmil grew up and soon filled the vacuum left by his father. He was strong and had already matured by his teens. At sixteen he built a hut and made a couple of gardens with the help of his three brothers for their mother. Kokil Gup Ku was very fond of them all. One dawn the sun emerged with its splendour in the east. Mt. Elimbari and the red burning ball of the sun rubbed shoulders. The horizon in the east sent out yellow reddish rays to the Galkope land.

The early red burning ball of the sun in the horizon foretold yet another hot day even though a long streak of white cloud covered Porol, Woti, Bakl, Willa and Dinima. Young Warmil took his hunting weapons and strolled down to the river delta. Half way down he felt trickles of sweat on his forehead.

“It is very hot and humid. Where shall I go?” He had yet to decide between Kel Au Suna, Kel Gar and Sin Kaula. “I must keep a vigil in the hut beside the water drop at Kel Au Suna. It’s quite hot and the birds will frequent the hollow for water. The last time I killed birds that equalled all the fingers on both my hands.  I’ll try and go beyond that now and include my toes,” thought Warmil.

The delta sieved the Wara Simbu, which snaked its way down from the north and the Wahgi River, which pushed its way east. At the Y‐junction he saw the different coloured rivers blend with ease as they in unison squeezed through the basalt rocks to the south east.

In the evening Warmil said, “There is a good full moon. I will go and check the ul tree for possums.”

He strolled down to Kel Au Suna. However his mind was occupied with the images of drowned men and women that were killed when they were cast out during the fighting at of Kel Au Suna. Pictures of dead men facing up and women facing down floating at Kel Au Suna filled his mind. Fear gripped him and he flinched at every sound produced by the creatures of the land as well as the rustling sound of the river. He cursed and knocked his head with his right hand. The scary pictures in his head vanished. He took a deep breath and walked with care following the Wahgi River towards the ul tree.

Out of the blue he saw a figure in the evening light picking the fruits of the ul tree and he felt his adrenalin set in motion. He rubbed his eyes with his right hand. The figure didn’t look like a possum or that of any other animal. He swayed his head left and then right to make sense of what he saw.

When he got his bearing right he didn’t believe what he saw. It was a young girl with a fur roped skirt and a band on each on her biceps. She also wore a necklace made of possum testes and had a light coloured bilum over her frizzy hair. The rays of the moon were reflected on her oiled breasts and goblet navel.

“Yal Kane!” winked Warmil to himself. He shivered and his pores bulged with goose bumps. At the same time he perspired in the full moon as if the sun was right above. “She is only human. I can jump forward, grab and tame her. Should she struggle to free herself I can wrestle her to the ground and hold her firmly until she gives in. I am a man,” he assured himself under his breath.

While the girl was still busy picking the fruits, Warmil left his weapons and crawled forward. When he was close enough he leapt forward and grabbed her. He firmly wrapped his hands around the trunk of her bare upper body just as she flinched. He clamped her in a vice-like grip.

She struggled but to no avail. Then she changed herself into all the many animals found in the area, including snakes and lizards. In this way she thought Warmil would be afraid and  let her go. However Warmil held on to the being he held previously with conviction despite the changes of shape. In the end she succumbed to the grip of Warmil and returned to her previous being; a beautiful young girl.

Warmil held her for a couple of minutes to make sure she didn’t change her being again. He smelt the natural aroma of the wilderness in the girl. That fragrance was what Adam smelt when he first met Eve in the Garden of Eden. The struggle came to an end and Warmil eased his grip and pulled his hands off with utmost reverence for the young girl. She took some time to regain her composure and then looked at Warmil with eyes sparkling  like the moon above.

“I am a gil ap who used to live in the wilderness and fed on the fruits. Your night is my day; hence, I came to harvest. If you were a lesser man you would have panicked and let me go. But you were truly courageous. For this reason, I am at your mercy.”

Warmil’s heart beat doubled. He had never seen such a beautiful girl before. “You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen in my life. Who am I to let you go? I will make you my bride.”

As they stood and looked into each other’s eyes the full moon just above them was bulging with envy. It shone with such splendour that a rat running into the dry leaves below or an owl sitting on the branches of these huge trees above could be easily spotted. Warmil lead the gil ap to his home with joy and pride. His mother and his three brothers were already fast asleep. He removed the logs piled across the doorway and they entered the family hut.

At dawn his mother took the gil ap to Morua Kaupa Nil Awil. The Bari men in the men’s hut exited and shouted euphorically when they saw the girl. She was then officially made a woman and wife of Warmil. A feast was made at Morua Kaupa Nil Awil that afternoon. Kokil Gup Ku and the men at Morua Kaupa Nil Awil didn’t know that she was a gil ap.

Warmil and the gil ap lived with joy as a couple. Never once did Warmil beat her, as was the custom of his clansmen with their wives. In the years that followed she had these children; Mor, Alauro, Bale, Dama Kuri and Daral.

In later decades animosity brewed as Warmil added a couple of women to his household as second and third wives. In one such quarrel she made known to her children that part of her being was from another cosmos. To this day the gil ap’s descendants and their legacy are called the Warmil Gauma. They make up the bulk of the Bari ΙΙ sub tribe.

This is an extract from the novel ‘The flight of Galkope’. Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin was born in the Simbu Province. He studied to become a Catholic priest but quit soon after completing his philosophical studies and attended the University of PNG. He is the Senior Policy Analyst at the National AIDS Council Secretariat.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)