> Like Kerosene, poling his canoe with no obvious destination
Under the German administrator Winkler before World War I, a Palauan named Ngirakerisil (Mr. Kerosene) was employed as a canoe operator. Daily he would take the tireless administrator to a different part of Palau to inspect the various economic programs (largely coconut planting) instituted by the now legendary Winkler. The operator, least of all, could predict where they would be going next. The idiom is applied to any aimless person or action; indecision; a changeable person.
> He's like Chelebesoi of Ngeriil, dead in a fishtrap not his own.
A man named Chelebesoi (also the name of a fish) was robbing another man's fish trap when a head-hunting party came by and removed his head. He lost both his head and his reputation. The idiom may apply to one who gets hurt while trying to do someone else's job.
> Without looking afield, it was cut down behind the house.
From the folk tale concerning Mesubed Dingal, the inventor of the Palauan kite (see also No. 73). After his wife had been kidnapped, he constructed a kite using feathers from all the birds of Palau and he needed also wood from an Edebsungel tree to fashion the body of the bird-kite. After looking all over Palau and being on the point of giving up, he found the tree he needed behind his own house. The saying may be applied to anyone who does things the hard way, or who goes far afield to find something which is close at hand.
> Like the insects which stays at ashes of fire but doesn't burn.
You're near a situation which needs immediate attention but you don't lend a hand.
> Like Beachedarsai's food, only a little but it does not disappear.
Beachedarsai and a friend, one day, went to heaven. On arrival they were very hungry, so they visited one of the gods who provided food for them. The "food" was one tiny piece of taro and a bit of fish. Beachedarsai thought to himself that this would hardly suffice, but he picked up the taro and ate it. As he did so another piece appeared on the plate. He ate the piece of fish and another piece of fish appeared. His friend also ate and on his plate as well a new piece of taro or fish appeared as each was consumed. When they were satisfied, there remained on their plates a piece of taro and fish. The idiom is applied to any small blessing, such as a small but steady income, or Western meals that, in contrast with the Palauan tray full of food, are served in small portions, and so on.