Many hundreds of years ago when all the world was ocean the Great Seamonster swallowed a particularly large and tasty tuna fish. The fish stuck in her throat, but with her immense strength she ground it down and crushed it until all that was left was a compact stone, the size of a large pebble. Wanting to be rid of it, she coughed it up onto the surface of the sea.
It floated there, growing to become a reef, and then an island. The reef was strong and surrounded a large lagoon, in which was another tiny island. On the top of the island was a mound and near the mound was a tree, a fig tree, which birds from all over the world came to, and ate. The Great Seamonster was frustrated, since she was too large to reach the island over the reef.
The birds that came to eat the figs flew all over the world, dropping seeds into the ocean. The seeds grew to become islands themselves and where many seeds dropped together, mountain ranges formed. This went on for hundreds of years, and for all this time the Great Seamonster was frustrated, since she couldn't climb over the reef to reach the tree. Meantime, plants and animals, growing from the fig seeds, spread over all the new lands in the oceans.
The Great Seamonster nursed her rage and devised a plan. She hunted down a marlin and, as with the tuna fish, she swallowed it and crushed it in her gullet. Coughing it up, out came a pebble which floated on the sea and grew into a coco de mer. Soon the nut became the first woman, Kitani, who populated the world. Her children spread to all the islands.
Although the Great Seamonster had meant Kitani to find the fig tree and destroy it, Kitani was wise. She swam to the island of the fig tree and lived there for hundreds of years, looking after the tree. When she died, her children protected the tree. The Seamonster's rage continued.
Eventually people from other parts of the world, less wise than Kitani, found the island. They cut back the forest and ate the fruits from the fig tree. The fruit was so tasty they decided to dig up the tree and take it back with them, away from the island. None of Kitani’s people could stop them.
The fig tree died.
Soon the sea began to rise and the storms raged. Many died in floods. Land stopped forming. Mataki, a great-great-grandson of Kitani, knew there was only one way to stop the land falling back into the sea and the Great Seamonster swallowing up the land once again. He sailed the oceans of the world, looking for a seed, the first fig seed from the first tree. This seed, he thought, would grow once again into a fig tree if he planted it in the right place. He called to the birds, who led him across the oceans in his search. After many years, in a far-away city, he found a shrivelled seed. He placed it in water from the island lagoon, and through osmosis it absorbed the liquid and became plump and ripe.
Mataki took the seed and planted it on the island where the old fig tree had once stood. The tree grew, but very slowly, and it bore few fruits.
The island is Kitani, named after the first woman. Within its reef the tree Mataki planted grows on the small island, protected and beyond the reach of the Great Seamonster. Its seeds are still eaten by birds and fall into the ocean, or onto the land, creating new islands, mountains, forests, fields, villages, towns and cities.
On the island, a myth endures.