Once upon a time, the children of the gods had gone too far into stealing the wealth of the gods, and Ucheleanged ordered that the world be inundated. As the messengers came down to earth, they caught some delicious looking Meas (rabbit fish) and strung them with a vine. On their way, they came upon a woman named Dirrabkau and her son NgiselaEos. They asked Dirrabkau to grill the fish on the fire for them to pick up on their return. When they left, Dirrabkau began to removing the taro she has been cooking from the pot on the fire. She cut the taro in half and put a fish between the slices and fastened them with coconut leaves. She wove a basket for the lunches of taro and fish and packed it well. The messengers came and took the basket, thanked her and left. When they came to the hill to rest and prepared to eat their lunch, they opened the basket to find the cooked taro fastened with coconut leaves, but no fish. They were disappointed and said to each other, “How devious that woman Dirrabkau is for giving us cooked taro but no cooked fish.” When they unfastened the taro, they found that the fish were being cooked inside hot taro. Brilliant, they exclaimed. They were thrilled and sp appreciative they went back to her house and warned her that a flood is coming. They instructed her and her son to prepare a raft so that she would survive the coming flood. Unfortunately, she too was killed along with all the people of the land when her raft overturned. After the waters cleared, the messengers returned to find her dead on top of Mt Ngeruach. Finding her dead, they brought her back to life and she became Milad.
Milad lived in the cave of Ngebesek of Ngeremlengui. She lived there and then gave birth, giving birth to Imeungs stone first, a boy, the Melekeok stone who also a boy, then third to Ngerebungs stone, a girl who was their only sister, and fourth to Oreor (Koror) stone who was a small boy.
Milad distributed her children. Melekeok was very proud [tekeok], so she took him to the East Coast, and Oreor was very hard-working (Sureor), so she separated him from the others. Imeungs was a big and steady person so she kept him by her side and Ngerebungs was the only sister so she put her next to him (Imeungs).
And, Milad distributed her children and when that was done she threw their markers, and that stone went to Ometochel field, that field between Ngeremlengui and Melekeok, and it was thrown and that is what that field is called the place of throwing. And she took Ngemolei and put it in front of Imeungs and Ngerutoi she put in front of Melekeok, and Okerduul she put in front of Ngerebungs and Ngedmeduch she put in front of Oreor [these are the names of small islands in front of the districts]. And that is how they are marked, those four children of Milad.
Thus Koror was born, the youngest son of Milad, separated from the others because he was hard-working [the meaning of his name Oreor – Sureor, the root verb, means active/diligent, [McManus 1977:307]. But Koror had certain other characteristics of a youngest son: he was considered brash, restless, and sometimes mischievous.Steve Umetaro, 1972:46-51 my translation
According to Koror historians, the gods then took special care of Koror to ensure its prosperity and safety:
Koror State was blessed as it is situated in the Southwest of Palau. Koror became an independent island isolated from the entire big island of Palau called Babeldaob. It was isolated and independent, and the gods came down to survey Koror and set its boundaries. And they found as they measured the island with their hands spread, that lengthwise it didn’t quite fit the proper measure. So they began discussing among themselves how to find a proper size for the land. So they sent Libuchel channel cutting through Ngermelachel (Malakal) and set it aside from Meyuns and Ngerkebesang, so at high tide the place is submerged and divided by water but at low tide you can walk across. So also the same thing was done with the rock islands behind Koror, so that when it is high tide there is a channel and at low tide one can walk across.
By Koror Historian Kloteraol Santos
Once there lived an old man and his wife. One day the wife went to her taro patch while her husband remained at home. While she was away, the husband was turned into a nut tree by an evil spirit and when she returned he was nowhere to be seen. She called out for him but could get no answer and she knew something strange must have happened. She then called out the names of all the plants nearby hoping for a response. She called the lemon tree, the banana tree, the pineapple plants, the breadfruit tree and the many others but she got no response.
For a while she sat down to rest and then remembered that she had not called out to the nut tree. So she gathered all her strength and shouted loudly to the nut tree. She shouted so loudly that she caused a branch of the tree to bend and the blood dripped down from it. The wife then cried because she knew that her husband had been turned into that nut tree.
She then remained alone until one day she felt a stirring in her wound and she knew that she was pregnant. Soon she delivered a beautiful baby girl and as the girl grew up she asked about her father only to be told that he had died a long time ago and not to think about him.
The girl was very obedient and her mother treated her kindly. She was well looked after and fed but was told she must never eat the nuts from the nearby nut tree. The girl obeyed her mother's wishes.
The girl eventually became very curious about the nut tree and one day while her mother was working in the taro patch, the girl picked some nuts from the tree and cracked them. When she was about to eat the nuts, her mother suddenly appeared and the girl felt very ashamed for disobeying her mother. What she did was to put the nuts in her mouth so her mother could not see them and ran towards the sea. Her mother saw what happened however and followed the daughter begging her not to swallow the nuts. The daughter continued running into the sea and was turned into a dugong and then disappeared.
The girl had the nuts in her mouth but had not swallowed them when she was turned into the dugong. Today, one can see a bulging in the jaws of the dugong where the nuts were in the girl's mouth.
When a death occurs on Palau,
immediate relatives of the deceased have specific responsibilities. The head of
the clan of the deceased notifies all relatives who, with the help of others in
the community will build a coffin and the deceased's sister will prepare the
body for burial. The body is then placed in the centre of the Abai or community
The sister-in-law of the deceased is responsible for bringing food which should be served to the visitors. In this she will be helped by the female relatives from both sides of the family. In return, the female visitors contribute such gifts as cloth, soap, fine woven mats and Palauan money to the sister-in-law.
The burial ceremony takes place after one or two days, but when a chief dies it might wait up to four days. While the body is at the community house, there are specific places where the sister of the deceased sits while the other relatives sit opposite to each other. When a married man dies, the four grandparents, if they are living, sit opposite each other in pairs at the coffin. The wife's place is at the foot on one side while the mother takes the foot at the other side of the coffin. This is because at this time the wife will be too grief-stricken to be close to the head of her husband. The sisters sit at the head and are expected to place their faces close to the face of the dead brother and wail loudly in a manner that is forbidden to the wife. The wife is expected to weep, but must keep her composure.
Food is served to visitors at this time in accordance with the particular designated order. The chief is served first, then the women around the coffin, and then those who are outside, and lastly, those who are cooking food. Either a man or a woman from a higher clan will serve. The reason for this is that the server must be familiar with high clan customs to ensure that the chief is properly served. Should this not be done, the parents of the dead person may be fined in Palauan money.
The burial site is selected by the chief, the father of the deceased and the closest relatives. Palauan have different cemeteries such as community cemeteries, high clan, low clan and family graveyards. The time of burial will then be determined by the elders after the grave has been dug. It is customary to bury the dead between 3 and 5 p.m. Before the burial, all the sons, daughters and sisters will make a final visit to the body
before the coffin is closed.
The coffin is carried from the community centre, head first, cradled in a rope sling between bamboo poles. The first to leave will then be the sisters who carry with them two woven mats. The others follow in procession to the cemetery and upon arrival one mat is placed in the grave. The coffin is placed on this mat and the other mat will cover the top of the coffin. After the coffin is lowered into the grave, the mourners walk by, each dropping a handful of soil into it.
After the burial, everybody returns to the community house where the body had been kept and food is served. After this, they are free to return to their homes. On the seventh day after the burial, the relatives visit the grave and enclose it in cement. This is the final day of official mourning.