Is it just us - or is the whole world stupid?
The karim lek courtship tradition of the Upper Simbu

A bamboo trap killed his son in the sugarcane garden

The fencelineJIMMY AWAGL

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Paga Hill Development Company
Award for Writing for Children

AN elderly man earned his income and cultural prestige from growing sugarcane. He had a hectare of land with a variety of sugarcane. He spent much of his day farming in his garden.

There was a court case in the village one day and he decided to take time off from gardening to attend the case.

While he was away, some village youths went to his garden and stole with the most valuable sugarcane. They dragged the long canes along a ditch and exited the garden over a fence.

The elderly man returned to his garden in the afternoon after the court case. To his dismay he discovered that some of best cane was missing.

He looked around and saw where the grass and weeds were crushed.

He saw some unfamiliar footprints. He followed the track the thieves had used, finally reaching a hideout beneath a shady tree.

The thieves used this site to eat the sugarcane. The waste was all that remained. He saw the waste and filled with rage.

The old man returned to the village and alerted the village court leaders and community members.

“Anyone stealing sugarcane for the second time will be responsible for his own deeds,” he said.

Later he went to the garden with a matured bamboo which he sharpened until it was like a blade.

He set up a human trap on the fence line, located near where the thieves had walked.

“I set up a trap along the fence to catch the thief,” he told the villagers, “Whether boar or being if should not enter through my fence.”

Sometime after in the late noon one of his adopted sons returned from a hunting trip and raced across his father’s sugarcane garden. He thought he was on the right path.

But the fence line and the trap looked alike. The poor boy had his first foot on the top of the fence when he met his fate.

The trap released the sharp bamboo blade which penetrated his abdomen. It cut the intestine and forced out a massive amount of blood.

He threw himself into the garden beneath the sugarcane, his face in the soil and his feet and arms stretched out wide.

At dawn on the next day, his father went to the sugar garden and discovered his adopted son dead.

“I thought it would be others but it was you, poor son,” the old man mourned.

He returned to the village and reported the tragedy to the leaders and they rushed to the scene and brought the corpse back to the village.

There was no one to blame but, these days, the old man still enjoys the life of the sugarcane while the adopted son enjoys life after death for jumping over the forbidden fence.


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Jimmy Awagl

Thanks Francis. We all know the wages of being a thief. A criminal deserves to die as such.

Francis Nii

Poor old man killed his own son and escaped repercussions. If it was another person, he could have paid compensation or held accountable for manslaughter.

A double lesson.

Jimmy Awagl

Great Angra Sil. The bo- kunogl is just like any other form of crime and it will happen as death follows us as we go around home or garden.

It happens without our notice but by our actions. The poor guy buried without any bel kol.

Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin

Mir ee ye golka kondo, poor boy! Sugar cane em pispis nating ya!

Good lesson for us; we must control our anger, even if our fingers itch to throw a bush knife or an axe at someone.

If we don't put a lid on our anger, we might end up in Bomana like some of those short fused ones or kill innocent people like in the Bo-kunogl story.

Jimmy Awagl

The father closed his mouth and returned home and buried the corpse without being blameless.

Philip G Kaupa

An unfortunate scenario Jimmy.

Jimmy Awagl

Philip & Arnold great analogy. The common thief escapes from the trap while a genuine casual bo kunogl yal pays the price.

Philip G Kaupa

One of my cousins missed an arrow for that Bo-kurpi. It's good that some lazy ignorant thief pays the price so the general community learns.

Jimmy Awagl

The wages of stealing is death. Unfortunately his adopted son caught the full bolt of the bamboo blade. He was pronounced dead at the very instant.

A great recount of your similar experience of being a bo- kunogl yagl (sugar cane thief).

Arnold Mundua

Bo-kunogl is the term in Kuman for crimes committed under this offence.

It reminds me of an incident involving myself in my youth days. But I was fortunate to have not either paid a price for the crime or being caught.

I escaped but learnt a lesson afterwards. Good story.

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