> 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.
> You think only of Present, not of Future.
Chelechang (Present) and Chrechar (Future) were brothers. Present was the favorite of his mother. These are the words of Future reprimanding his mother. The idiom is used of those who inadequately plan for the future.
> 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 lightning, a big, unnecessary noise.
Lightning rarely strikes in such a way as to cause serious damage in Palau. May be applied to any unnecessary fuss or oratory at a meeting.