Ngibtal, Legend of the Breadfruit Tree

In the old days, there was an island called Ngibtal, near the village of Ngiwal, and on its shore an old woman lived alone. She had a son named Mangidabrutkoel, but she never knew where he was or what he was doing, for he usually traveled to other villages.

The people of Ngibtal used to pass by the home of the old woman each day as they returned from the sea with their fish, but none of them ever offered her any of their catch. Though the old woman was particularly fond of certain fish, she was never able to eat them.

One day, after a particularly long absence Mangidabrutkoel came home to visit his mother, and she took the opportunity to complain to her son that while others had much to eat, she never had a fish for her pot. Mangidabrutkoel listened to his mother's complaint and, before setting out on his next trip, he went out into the yard of his mother's house.

Coming to a breadfruit tree growing by the water's edge, he chopped off one of its branches, and where the branch had been, water immediately gushed from the tree and flowed to the rhythm of the waves on the shore. With each surge, a fish leapt out of the tree.

This tree became the envy of all the other villagers and they complained. "While we must go out to sea for our fish, the old woman can get all she wishes by sitting under her tree." Finally one night, an envious old man stole over to the wonderful fish-bearing tree and chopped it down.

The water that had before flowed forth intermittently now burst out in a torrent and soon the whole island was flooded. To this day, the site of the island, with its stone pathways and platforms can be seen from the water's surface just off the shore of Ngiwal.

Story borrowed from Belau National Museum