Mondays Finish the Story by Barbara W. Beacham
Scatterings of Blood River ©JLeahy Memoirs
Once upon a time in a land far, far away, beyond the blue fog of Torrest Straits lived many tribes in Papua New Guinea. Amongst them, a fierce warrior named Katham led the Ahe people.
Seeking fertile land Katham attacked Tikeleng, Apo and Aluki tribes for the Lahe coastline. The early 1900s battle took place near a large river. Positioned in the thick tropical forest Katham and his warriors fought till his last coastal enemy fell. Katham and two ardent followers returned inland. They crossed the river, which they named Bu-dac, meaning Blood River, because it was red and filled with floating bodies. The three heard loud splashing. Katham approached the shallow bank cautiously thinking an injured enemy was still alive.
To his astonishment, he found a toddler struggling for air and Katham picked up and hugged the baby boy. The baby threw up water and cried. Without other survivors, Katham returned home, named and raised the toddler as his son.
Based on our (Ahe people’s) history as told by my grandmother, Geyamlamuo Poaluawe Baim. Budac remains a river where our people wash daily. The toddler’s three generations are still part of our family. Our village Wagang remains in the position Katham fought for. Thank you Barbara for a perfect picture to inspire my oral history.