The Story of a Big Bird Called Kambi as told by Lelyame Yongapen

This is the story of a big bird called Kambi that took care of a small, lost egg that hatched into a baby boy. This story about how man came to live on this land was told to me by my father when I was a small girl.

Once upon a time there lived a big Kambi bird up in the big forest near a big, roaring river that ran down. Early one morning, after a big flood overnight, he flew down to the shore to see if any food had washed down by the river. He came up to an old trunk of a fern tree and saw something white in between the holes of the fern stem. The Kambi bird very carefully picked up the egg and flew back home. He made a warm nest to put the egg in and looked after it carefully. As the weeks passed, the egg changed size. It grew bigger and bigger each day. After five weeks, the egg was very big and on the first day of the sixth week the egg had small cracks. The Kambi waited patiently to see what was inside. To his surprise, the egg cracked open to reveal a wonderful baby boy. The poor Kambi bird was very, very happy. He thought of ways to feed the baby and flew all around to get food for him to eat. As the weeks and months passed, the baby boy grew up. As the years passed, the boy grew up to be a strong young man. While the boy was growing, the Kambi built a house for his son. He named his son Lelyakali Kimala which means “man from the sky.”

The son stayed in the house with his father the Kambi. His father went to all areas of the world to collect all kinds of food for he and his son. The Kambi stayed at home the until his son was strong enough to take care of his belongings—like pigs, garden, decorations, spears and things like this. One day, the father felt he may not be able stay any longer, so he flew all around and selected the best, most beautiful girl anyone could ever imagine. He took the bride and gave her to his handsome, only son and the two married. They all happily lived together for a short time until the poor old Kambi died. The couple cried bitterly for their father and his son buried him next to their house. The couple lived happily after. The End.

Photo: Lelyame with teacher Susan Des Baillet and her 3rd grade class at Grattan Elementary School in San Francisco.