100 Day Project Day 6 (Red Cave Shrimp)

100 Day Project Day 6 (Red Cave Shrimp)

6/100 - Red Cave Shrimp

Ok so this illustration comes with a story cause these shrimps are found in the waters of one island of Fiji and is an important part of a Fijian legend! I’ve abridged it slightly to fit into an IG caption!

As the legends goes there was once a beautiful chief’s daughter called Yalewan-ni-Cagi-Bula (which means Maiden of the Fair Wind) living on the Fijian island of Vatulele. Her great beauty was told far and wide and she received many offers of marriage but though beautiful on the outside, Yalewan-ni-Cagi-Bula had a scornful heart refused them all.

On the main land, Vita Levu, there was a chief’s son who heard about the beauty of Yalewan-ni-Cagi-Bula and decided to ask for her hand in marriage. He prepared for his trip to Vatulele and set off with many gifts including a very special one that he was sure would win him the heart of Yalewan-ni-Cagi-Bula.

That gift was the greatest delicacy of Fiji, giant prawns from Vita Levu, wrapped in leaves and made with a coconut milk sauce.

But Yalewan-ni-Cagi-Bula could not be persuaded by the gifts and told her ladies in waiting to take the chief’s son to Ganilau (Cave of the Eagles) and throw him off the tallest cliff above the caves.

As the young man fell into the water he dropped his precious gift of red prawns and they fell into a rocky pool at the base of the cliff, with the leaves they were wrapped in scattering around the rocks.

The young man survived the fall and sadly returned home, pining for the loss of Yalewan-ni-Cagi-Bula’s love for the rest of his days. He did attempt to build a bridge of rocks between their islands, the remains of the foundations can still be seen by the village of Votualailai.

As for the prawns, when they hit the water they came back to life and retained their cooked, red colour rather than turning back to grey. And they can still be found on the island of Vatulele, their pool surrounded by the leaves of the plants they were wrapped in.

As a result they are sacred to the island and nobody may harm them. For anyone who tries to steal or disturb them will be shipwrecked.