Thursday, February 23, 2017


Luta (Rota) has its own version of the White Lady story. Here it is, written by Rich Mangloña. I have kept it as he wrote it, using his orthography. The English translation is mine.

Un tiempo gi manmaloffan, gi un songsong gi islan Luta,
(One time in the past, in a village on the island of Luta)

guaha un sen å'paka' yan bunita na påtgon palao'an mafañågu.
(there was born a very white and beautiful infant girl.)

Mafa'na'an Sosambra nai mañaina-ña.
(She was named Sosambra by her parents.)

Sigi mo'na i tiempo ya mientras mås gai idåt, mås umanåkko' i gapotilu-ña
(As time went on and as she grew older, her hair became longer)

ya mås atanon yan freska fasu-ña.
(and she became more attractive and her face more pleasing.)

Fuera ki i bunita-ña, kalålang yan suåbe lokkue' kumånta kulan un chuchurikan ånde'!
(Besides her beauty, she sang so gracefully like a kalålang bird or showy chuchurika.)

Pues annai echu sumottera, tai parehu buninita-ña giya Luta
(So when she became a young maiden, her beauty was without equal in Luta)

ya taya' na palao'an gi sengsong ti umeggu' yangin mamamaila'
(and not a single woman in the village wouldn't be jealous when she would come)

sa' ma lipåra na i man asagua yan nobiun-ñiha man gof ande'
(because they noticed that their husbands and boyfriends became show-offs)

yangin umuriya este na å'paka' hobensita!
(when this white young lady came around.)

Kada dia ma tågo' si Sosambra as nanå-ña para u hånao ya u krusa i sengsong
(Every day Sosambra was sent by her mother to and go and cross the village)

ya u fan lupok gi tupu' hånom giya Senhanom gi puntan songsong.
(to fetch water from the water well at Senhanom at the end of the village.)

Kada maloffan gi me'nan guma' siha, sigi kumånta mo'na ya i bos-ña tatfoi i kariñosa-ña,
(Every time she passed in front of the houses, she kept singing on and such was the sweetness of her voice)

ni i ga'lågu tampoku ti u fan håohåo!
(that not even the dogs would bark!)

Ma gef tungo' nai lalåhin i sengsong hafa na ora nai malolofan tenga si Sosambra
(The village men knew well what hour Sosambra often passed by)

ya ma nanangga ha' gi halom tano' gi fi'on i tipu' para u ma egga' yangin man lulupok.
(and waited in the jungle beside the well to watch when she would fetch water.)

Uttimo-ña, ti ma sungun esta nai famalao'an i sengsong ya man assoda' ya ma disidi
(In the end, the village women couldn't bear this anymore and they met and decided)

para uma puno' esti na palao'an i muna' fan atburutatao i asagua yan nobiu siha.
(to kill this woman who disturbed the husbands and boyfriends.)

Ma nangga un dia gi lemlem taotao ya ma chonnek i palao'an påpa' gi tipu'.
(They waited one day at twilight and pushed the woman down into the well.)

Sigi man achatgi sa' på'go nai ti u fan ma dingu nai lalahi
(They kept on laughing among themselves because now the men wouldn't leave them)

sa' taigue esta i å'paka' na palao'an.
(because the white lady is now gone.)

Gi sigente dia yan kada dia ma lipara nai famalao'an i sengsong
(The next day and every next day the village women noticed)

na kada måtto ayu na ora annai sesso maloffan i palao'an,
(that each time the hour came when the lady would often pass by)

man impirarao i lalåhin-ñiha ya pues man malingo ha' gi gima'.
(their men would get agitated and they would vanish from their houses.)

Man danña' ta'lo ya disidi para u ma ngelo' håfa bidan-ñiñiha i lalåhi.
(They gathered together again and decided to peep on what the men were doing.)

Annai ma rastreha i chalan, man ma sodda' i lalahi
(When they traced the road, they found the men)

na ma a'atan guato i tipu' ya gaigi un bunitata, å'paka', yan anåkoko' gapotilu-ña na palao'an
(looking at the well where there was a very beautiful, white and long-haired lady)

na ha tata'pang gue' ya sigi kumanta!
(washing herself and singing!)

Man lalangu todu i famalao'an sa' ma tungo' na espiritu ayu i ma li'e'
(The women became faint because they knew that what they were seeing was a spirit)

ya taya' siña esta ma cho'gue sa' ha atgimat esta todu i lalahin i sengsong!
(and that there was nothing else to do because she had bewitched all the village men!)

Alas uttimo ma fa'na'an si Sosambra palao'an man eggu'
(In the end the jealous women changed Sosambra's name)

utimo-ña ma tulaika para PALAO'AN MANEGGU'!
(finally to JEALOUS WOMAN!)

Gi prisente, gaigi esti na tupu' na ma haffot gi fi'on i guma' ridondo gi Songsong Village.
(At the moment, this well is buried next to the Round House in Songsong Village.)

Ma sasangan na yangin lemlem taotao, guaha nai ma li'e' buttun a'paka' na palao'an
(They say that at twilight one can see the figure of a white lady)

na sigi lumikuku guihi na lugåt sa' ha espipiha i tipu'-ña!
(who continuously goes around that area because she is looking for her well!)

The current Guma' Redondo (Round House) in Luta for public gatherings


Atanon. When you add the suffix -on to a word, it means "capable of." Atan means "to look" so someone or something atanon is capable of being looked at, that is, pleasant to look at. Kanu'on means something edible (able for you to kånno'); tufungon means something countable (tufong) and so on.

Chuchurika. The more known word for this bird is chichirika, but in every language there are differences, depending on the place.

Echu. Rarely heard nowadays. It comes from the Spanish word hecho, meaning "made." Sometimes you can see on something you buy from a store, Hecho en México. Made in Mexico. In Chamorro, echu means something ready to be, ready to become, just become or has become.

Lipåra. I believe most Chamorro speakers say repåra or ripåra, using the R because the original Spanish word is repara. But many Chamorros don't like the R sound and change it to L.

Krusa. Also rarely heard. Borrowed from Spanish. It means to cross, as in "cross the road."

Tatfoi. Rarely heard and such a pity because it's such a nice word. It means "such that" or "so much so that." It comes from the Spanish tal fué, meaning "it was such that." Tatfoi i minalate'-ña na ni håyeye malago' kumontra gue'. Her intelligence was such that no one wanted to oppose her.

Tampoku (tampoko). Another Spanish loan word. It means "not even." Tampoko yo' ti ya-ho hao. Not even I like you.

Lemlem taotao. Means "dusk, twilight, sunset." But the word lemlem itself means "to be surprised or confused at first" by a change in the thing's appearance, as when you don't recognize someone you know at first because he has grown taller since you last saw him.

Rastreha (rastrea). From the Spanish. Spanish rastro and Chamorro låstro are the traces or marks left behind, like footprints or stains. Rastrea is to follow signs left by these marks.

Atgimat. To bewitch as in to make someone fall in love with you or someone else. It sounds suspiciously like a Spanish derivative but I have been unable to find the Spanish original.

Lumikuku. Most say lumiliku. Liliku means "to wander about" or "go around."

Eggu'. Eggu' is not generalized jealousy but specifically the romantic or sexual kind.


  1. Hi Påle,

    Do you think atgimat comes from the Spanish word alquemar (alchemy)? I'm thinking alchemy was associated with magic or sorcery back then.


    1. That is an interesting suggestion Joaquin but I cannot find alquemar in any Spanish dictionary. The phrase "al quemar" means "upon burning," but I cannot find a word "alquemar." What to do?

  2. Wow, I'm from the island of Rota and I have never heard this story before. Definitely gives me the creeps. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Påle',

    Maybe this is a dialectal thing, but in your translation for

    para uma puno' esti na palao'an i muna' fan atburutatao i asagua yan nobiu siha.
    (to kill this woman who disturbed the husbands and boyfriends.)

    As a taotao Luta myself, I understand atburutao in this context to mean excited and not disturbed. So I read this as "to kill this woman who is getting the husbands and boyfriends excited".