The many dimensions of a Kuni Folktale

Alan Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Engaging with a superficially simple folktale from the Kuni of Papua New Guinea, I identify a number of far-flung and quasi-universal themes as well as some widely distributed Melanesian ones. I suggest the main function of the etiological folktale is to obviate aspects of everyday existence, then to restore and reaffirm them. I attribute the grip of etiological tales, more generally, to a human drive for explanation. An added attraction for the Kuni is the sense of solidarity gained in public semi-ritualised retellings. Finally, I analyse some of the 'inside' meanings contained in this tale of Kolukolu and the Moon.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)417-436
    Number of pages20
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher. The following article appeared in Jones, A. (2019). The Many Dimensions of a Kuni Folktale. Anthropos, 114(2), 417-436 and may be found at


    • etiology
    • folktales
    • Kuni
    • obviation
    • Papua New Guinea


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