> 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 the honey bee, celebrating without first boiling down the coconut syrup.
Once coconut syrup, dripping from the cut flower stem, is collected it is thickened
by boiling. The honeybee, however, collects his nectar, puts it in the hive without boiling
it, then proceeds to fly around noisily as though celebrating the completed task.
Hence, to talk or boast loudly about successes and accomplishments when one has none;
to make plans but never carry them out; to celebrate without cause.
> 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.
> 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.