> When the purple swamp hen appears, it brings remembrance
There is a song (Oumachas) from which this saying derives: Once there was a young couple who made love in a secluded spot in the taro garden. While they were lying together a purple swamp hen darted out of the brush startling the couple. Eventually love cooled, but thereafter whenever the girl saw a purple swamp hen while she worked in the gardens, she recalled her lover. Hence any occurrence that brings back fond memories.
> Like the duck of Ngechur, he became industrious after growing old.
The idiom is applied to a person who has more or less vegetated into maturity and old age and who, already far past his prime, suddenly tries without success to do all the things he might have done when younger. It may be used with reference to an elder who tries to be a dandy.
> It's like the rat of Ngerard, which eats up all your coconuts and (then) all of ours.
It's a decision, plan etc. that will backfire. A pet rat owned by Mad, chief of Ngaraard, ate the coconuts of most of the chief's neighbors, then, still hungry, ate the chief's own coconuts.
> 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.
> If it is my lunch it can be divided, if it is yours then it cannot
Two men habitually trapped fish in the same region of the lagoon. One would occasionally ask the other to join him at lunch, the other would always refuse. One day the man who refused arrived with no lunch. When the usual invitation was extended the man refused, saying that, anyway, he had no lunch. The invitation was insistently pressed until the reluctant one gave in. As they split the taro between them the one who shared made the above statement. The idiom is a mild rebuke of a retentive person