Mokan was a loner who walked the reef at low tide, catching fish with bow and arrow and cooking them in an earth oven. Full, he would take a drink of fresh water at Babud, a crevice pool in the rocks nearby.
One year kuki, the northwest wind, failed to bring monsoon rains and Babud pool dried up. Having a raging thirst after a large meal he set out to find another source. Nearly resigned to death, he found a beautiful pool of clear spring water surrounded by clean white sand. Ecstatic, he wallowed in it and drank in delight, singing over and over:
Mokam wazider buzar köi buzar (e) dangal wazider (e), Mokanan nguki taraika köi gab
(Here lies Mokan, his belly as big as a dugong’s. Mokan is filled to overflowing, with water from Mokan’s well.)
Eventually he got up and carefully swept the sand around the perimeter as a precaution to identify footprints of trespassers, then went home afternoon.
Meanwhile, Geinau, and her daughter Wiba living nearby, had become desperately thirsty for water, so Geinau took her kusul (large baler shell) and went in search of water late in the day. She miraculously stumbled upon Mokan’s pool and, filling her kusul with water, hurried back to Wiba.
Mokan, arriving back at his pool the next day after hunting, noticed Geinau’s footprints. Furious, he waited in the bushes for her return. When she appeared, and kneelt by the pool, Mokan shot and killed her with an arrow then hid her body. Again, he carefully swept around the spring, wildly dancing and chanting.
Worried why her mother hadn’t returned, Wiba traced her footprints to Mokan’s pool, guessing by the swept sand what had happened. Fossicking around, she found Geinau’s body and planned revenge. Hiding amongst the sand palms, Wiba spied Mokan striding to the pool, again, chanting his song. After laying his bow and arrows down, he waded into the water, drank his fill and floated contentedly, thinking of Gelam, the legendary boy who turned into a dugong, and who called in at Iama (Yam Island) on his way to distant Mer Island to the east. Was he, Mokan, not like Gelam? Surely his great body looked similar, no?
Wiba crept stealthily from her hiding place, stole Mokan’s bow and arrow and shot him in the back as he lay face down in the pool. Mortally wounded, Mokan staggered from the water and turned into stone. Today, visitors to the pool must ritually pour water on greedy Mokan’s rock nearby to pay homage to him, or risk him draining and drying it up altogether.