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Hainuwele

From Academic Kids

Hainuwele, 'The Coconut Girl', is a figure from Indonesian folklore. While hunting one day on Seram, a man named Ameta found a coconut, something never before seen on Seram. Ameta took it home. That night, a figure appeared in a dream and instructed him to plant the coconut. Ameta did so, and in just a few days the coconut grew into a tall tree and bloomed. Ameta climbed the tree to cut down the coconuts but in the process slashed his finger and the blood dropped onto a blossom. Several days later, Ameta found in the place of this blossom a girl whom he named Hainuwele, meaning Coconut Girl. Hainuwele had a remarkable, though rather unpleasant talent: when she "answered the call of nature", she excreted valuable items. Thanks to these, Ameta became very rich.

Hainuwele attended a dance in the village, at which it was traditional for girls to distribute nuts to the men. Hainuwele did so, but when the men asked her, she gave them the valuable things which she could excrete. Each day she gave them something bigger and more valuable: golden earrings, coral, porcelain dishes, knives, copper boxes, and glorious gongs. The people gradually decided that what Hainuwele was doing was sinister, and they decided to kill her. They dug a pit in the center of the dance ground and pushed her in, covered her over, and danced the dirt firmly down.

Ameta, missing Hainuwele, went in search for her. When he found out what had happened, he exhumed her corpse and cut it into pieces which he then re-buried around the village. These pieces grew into the various tuberous plants, giving origin to the principle foods the people of Indonesia have enjoyed ever since.

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