A common story throughout Micronesia is of cetacea that emerge from the sea in the form of humans to watch village celebrations and activities in secret. One such tale comes from the Ulithi people of the western Caroline Islands (in what is now The Federated States of Micronesia). In ancient days, two ‘dolphin women’ emerged from the sea to watch the local village men dance. They did this for several nights in succession. One evening, however, the trails that the dolphin women left behind on the sand were noticed by one of the village men, and he became suspicious. He lay in wait the following night, and after the women had emerged from their dolphin bodies he hid the tail that belonged to one of them. This dolphin woman was therefore not able to return to the sea, and stayed in the village to become the man’s wife, and the mother of his two children. One day, by chance, she found her tail, which her husband had been secretly storing in the roof of their home. She put the tail back on and made her way down to the beach. Before returning to her oceanic home, she implored her children never to eat dolphin meat, and thus it became taboo for any member of the village to ever harm or eat dolphins.
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