Variations: Bonguru


According to the mythology of the Solomon Islands, there was once a time when the waters flooded the Earth. This great flood, the Ruarua, engulfed all of the islands, even the 4,000 feet high San Cristoval hills; those drowned in it turned into stone pillars, which can still be seen at Mwata. It was Umaroa, leader of the Muara clan, who saved his people by taking them, a sacred stone, and pairs of all the animals on board a great canoe. When the waters receded, Umaroa made landfall at Waimarai in the Arosi district, and offered a sacrifice in thanks. From there an adaro descended from a rainbow and guided them to their new home.

Umaroa is now buried there, and his sacred stone was laid on top of him. The area is now rich with magic, and visitors have to observe certain rules to avoid bad luck. Any trees cut down and left there will cause the lumberjacks to wander in circles, always returning to the cut tree. If there is a rainbow above the river, it cannot be crossed without making an offering to the adaro first. Names have particular strength there; ropes cannot be called ari but instead must be referred to as kunikuni (“to let down”), otherwise snakes will be summoned immediately.

Of the spirits there, the most terrifying is Boongurunguru, the “pig-who-grunts”, the demon pig of Umaroa. He takes the form of a huge boar with ‘ama’ama ferns growing on his flattened head, and a buzzing nest of hornets located under his chin. He leads a herd of boars, all of them Boongurunguru, through the forest, goring and trampling anyone in their path. The appearance of a Boongurunguru foretells death; if the entire herd enters a village, everyone there will die. The boars get smaller and smaller as they approach a village, finally sneaking in at the size of mice, but they are no less deadly at that size.

If one hears Boongurunguru grunting and mentions that there must be pigs nearby, they are immediately surrounded by hundreds of venomous snakes – in front, behind, on either side, and falling out of the air.

This is because Boongurunguru has standards, and objects to being called a pig.


Fox, C. E. (1924) The Threshold of the Pacific. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., Ltd., London; Alfred A. Knopf, New York

Mackenzie, D. A. (1930) Myths from Melanesia and Indonesia. Gresham Publishing Company, Ltd., London

Ragache, C. C. and Laverdet, M. (1991) Les animaux fantastiques. Hachette.