Of the Plandok and Kikura seeking for Bamboo Shoots.
Translated from the spoken Narrative by the Rev. W. Crossland.
(N.B.) — The Plandok is the smallest of the deer species, and does not
stand above a foot high. The Kikura, or Kikoora, is the smallest of the turtle
species, about the size of the palm of a man’s hand. The Kra is a long-tailed
monkey, and the Bruang is our old friend Bruin, the bear.
** Hallo, Cousin Kikoora ! where are you going ? ‘* cried the Plandok, as
he spied his old friend dragging himself along.
** Well, cousin,’* he replied, ” I am going to get some bamboo shoots to
boil for breakfast.”
*’ All-right,” said the Plandok, ‘* We will go together.” So away the two
went till they came to a clump of bamboos.
** Cousin Plandok,” said Kikoora, ** You go round that way and I will
go round this.”
” All-right,” said the Plandok. So off they went singly. Presently the
Kikoora saw a snare hanging about a foot above the ground, so he stopped to
look at it. ** Ah ! ” said he, ** that’s a beautiful cornelian necklace ; never saw
anything like it. It’s too high for me to reach it, and, even if I could, it
would be too big for my neck. I wish Cousin Plandok were here. I am sure
he could reach it, and it would fit him exactly. He would look quite hand-
some with it round his neck. I’ll go and tell him.” So off set Kikoora in
search of the Plandok, and found him amongst the bamboos. ” O, Cousin
Plandok ! ” said Kikoora, **come along; I have found such a splendid necklace
of cornelian, but I could not bring it as it was too high for me to reach it.”
** Nonsense ! ” said the Plandok, ** you are only making fun.”
” Fun ! nothing of the kind,” said Kikoora. ** Come yourself and see it.”
** Well, I don’t mind,” said Plandok. So off they set, the Kikoora leading
the way at a snail’s pace.
When they got to the place the Plandok looked about, but could see no
beautiful necklace, so he asked the Kikoora where it was.
Legends — Plandok and Kikura. 343
” Why,” said the Kikoora, ” Cousin Plandok, are you blind ? Can’t you
see it ? ” pointing with his snout to the snare.
” Call that a necklace,” said the Plandok.
“Yes,” said Kikoora; “only go close up to it, and then you will see.
Your eyes are not so sharp as mine.” So the Plandok went close up, and
putting his foot on the bit of wood holding the snare down, he sent the snare
on to his neck, and the next moment was suspended high.
” Ah ! ah ! ” said the Kikoora ; and off he crawled into the thicket.
Presently a man came along, and the Plandok hearing him, made believe
to be dead, turned up the whites of his eyes, stretched out his limbs, and
hung his jaw.
” Ah ! ” cried the man, ” the snare’s up, and there hangs a Plandok, but
it’s as dead as a carcase.” So he cut the string and threw, as he thought, the
dead Plandok on the ground, and went on to look for more game. Up
jumped the Plandpk, and bounded off in search of treacherous Cousin
Kikoora. While on his way he came upon a pitfall carefully covered over
with sticks, and then leaves and grass on the top. Over it he lightly jumped.
Not long after he met the Kikoora.
” Hallo, Cousin Kikoora ! ” said the Plandok, ** come along, and I will
show you the most comfortable bedplace you ever slept upon. I would have
slept there myself, only it was not quite big enough for me, and perhaps
not quite strong enough.”
** Well, I don’t mind,” said Kikoora, ** if I do go and take a look at it.”
Away the two went, and the Plandok soon pointed out the covered
pitfall. ” See, Cousin Kikoora,” said the Plandok, ” how neatly all the grass
is laid ; you have only to crawl on those small sticks and then you can go to
sleep there for as long as you like.”
” Yes, Cousin Plandok,” said Kikoora, ** but don’t you see the deep hole
there ?” shoving out his snout to point below.
” Where ?” said the Plandok, coming up behind him ; and then giving
him a kick with his foot, sent poor Cousin Kikoora to the bottom.
** Now, are you not quite comfortable, Cousin Kikoora ?” cried Plandok.
” O yes ! ” he replied ; ” but how am I to get out ?”
” I’m going,” cried the Plandok.
Kikoora, finding it was no use to try and climb up the sides, drew in his
head and got into a corner and went to sleep. Not long after, a man came to
examine the pitfall. ” Ah ! ” said he, ” here’s profit ; what is it ?” He
looked about and could see nothing, till at last he caught sight of the Kikoora
in the corner. ** Oh, by my father and mother, as I’m alive, if it is not a
Kikoora!” So he knelt down, put in his hand, and took the Kikoora out.
Then he tied the Kikoora to a stick with a piece of split cane, and left it
there, whilst he went to see after his fishing baskets.
” Krsl, krsl, krsl,” cried the Kra. ” Why, Cousin Kikoora, what are you
doing there, hugging a stick, as if you were warming yourself by a fire ?”
” Warming myself! ” said the Kikoora, indignantly ; ” if you only knew
how nice it is to be tied to this stick, you would only too gladly change
344 ^’ Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and BriL N. Borneo.
Down dropped the Kra from a branch, and came jumping up to the
Kikoora. ” Well/’ said he, you do look happy/’
” Happy ! ** replied the Kikoora, ” I should think I am ; just as if I was
going to be married. Now let me alone, and don’t trouble me.”
” But,” said the inquisitive Kra, ** don’t the cane hurt you ?”
‘* Not a bit,” said Kikoora (and how could it when he had such a shell
‘* Is it really so nice ?”
” Yes,” said Kikoora.
‘[ But you look so queer,” said the Kra, ** cuddling a stick.”
” It is not the looks, but the feelings,” replied Kikoora.
** There is something in that,” replied Kra.
*’ Would you like to try for a minute ?” ask Kikoora of the Kra.
** Well, if it really is so comfortable, I don’t mind exchanging places just
for a minute or so,” said the Kra.
** Then,” said Kikoora, “just unloose this bit of cane.”
The Kra unloosed the cane, and then lay down on the stick, to which the
Kikoora bound him tightly, so that he began to cry out : ** Don’t tie it so
hard. Cousin Kikoora ; it hurts.”
“Yes, I dare say it does; but it is only at first, and if you were not tied
.fast you might wriggle yourself off, and never know how nice it really is,”
As soon as the Kikoora had tied the Kra tight, he shambled away.
When the man came back he was amazed at the change. ” By my
father and mother,” said he, ” as I’m alive, the Kikoora has become a Kra.”
The Kra finding himself in a fix made believe to be dead. The man tied
his hands and legs together, slung him on a stick, and carried him home on
his shoulder. When he got to the foot of the ladder, a man in the house
cried out, ** What have you brought home a dead Kra for ?”
** Dead,” said the man; ** he was alive just now.” So when he got into
the house he looked at the Kra, and thinking it really was dead, he threw it
on to the floor of the verandah, and went into his room. The Kra
immediately bit the thongs from his hands and legs, jumped into the outer
verandah, and from there on to the betel-nut trees, then on into the jungle,
crying all the time, ” Krsl, krd, kra.”
Out came the man and heard him, ” Oh, by my father and mother, the
dead Kra has come to life ! ”
On went the Kra skipping from tree to tree, and when they were far
apart, swinging himself on to another by holding on by his tail, and, when he
had got swing enough on, letting go, and falling amongst the young branches
of the next. At last he caught sight of the Plandok and Kikoora. ” Halloo,
Cousin Plandok, Cousin Kikoora ! where are you off to ?”
” Is that you, Cousin Kra ?” said the Kikoora ; ” why we are going to
look after uncle’s fishing baskets. Will you come with us ?”
” Oh, yes ! ” said the Kra, ** we’ll all three go together.” So on they
went — the Plandok, pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, with his little hoofs ; the Kikoora
dragging himself along ; and the Kra skipping about from branch to branch —
Legends — Plandok and Kikura. 345
till they came to the river. In jumped the Plandok and swam across, keeping
his head well above water; in walked the Kikoora, and went to the bottom,
and so walked across in his own fashion.
** Oh, wait for me, Cousin Plandok ! ” cried the Kra ; ** however shall I
get across ? There are no trees here.”
“Jump upon that log of wood,” said the Plandok, ** and you can steer
with your tail.” So the Kra did, but all his efforts to steer across were
The stream was strong, and he was fast being carried away, when he
spied Gamilang (a large fish) sunning himself. ” O Cousin Gamilang ! ” cried
the Kra, ” do come and take me across. Fm no weight to speak of.”
” Oh, yes ! I dare say,” answered the Gamilang ; ” you want to play me
‘* No ; I only want to get across to Cousins Plandok and Kikoora.”
** Are you speaking the truth ?” asked the Gamilang.
” Truth,” replied the Kra. So the good-natured Gamilang came close to
the log, and the Kra jumj)ed upon his back.
Half-way across, the Kra spied a stout stick floating down close at hand.
” Cousin Gamilang, wait just a moment till I get hold of this stick that’s
‘* What do you want with a stick ?” asked the Gamilang, suspiciously.
” Oh ! only to help me up that slippery bank.”
Having got the stick, they went on, and just as they got to the bank, the
Kra fetched the Gamilang such a knock on the head that it killed him. The
Kra immediately called to his friends, and the three dragged the Gamilang on
to the bank. They were not long in rubbing off his scales and cleaning him,
and then they set to work to boil him. The fire was burning up well, and the
iron basin was on it, and the fish inside just beginning to give off a delightful
savour to the three hungry ones, when they heard a noise — ** Ugh ! Ugh I
Ugh ! ” — and out came Bruang from the thicket.
” Hallo, Cousin Plandok ! what are you doing here ?” ask Bruang.
** Oh ! we three are just going to get breakfast ready.”
” Ugh ! Ugh ! ” said Bruang, ** it smells well.”
The three debated what they were to do ; for if Bruang breakfasted with
them there would be very short shares, as his paw was large and his mouth
larger. Bruang being deaf could not hear what they whispered. At last
Plandok cried out, ” Here Bruang, make yourself useful. Take this dirty iron
pan to the river, and scrub it with sand till it is quite clean.”
Off went Bruang with the pan, and scrubbed and scrubbed till he thought
the pan was clean enough, then he went back.
** Call that pan clean ! ” said the Plandok ; ** why, let’s have a look at
your paws. Cousin Bruang.” So the Bruang put up his paws, and they were
as black as soot, as they always were.
“There,” said the Plandok, ” look how black your paws are ; you have
not half cleaned the pan.”
Off shambled Bruang again, and scrubbed away, and then came back
again. Again they asked to look at his paws, and they were still black, so he
346 H. Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and Brit, N. Borneo.
was sent off again. In the meantime the three set to work and ate up the
fish and vegetables, and when Bruang came back, he found the fire out, the
pan empty, and all his friends gone.
Story of the Deer, Pig, and Plandok.
Mr. Brooke Low’s Papers.
** They lived up in Tilian and used to go out to fish, but somehow or
other their fish used to disappear in their absence, so they resolved that one
should remain behind to find out the thief. The deer offered to stay at home
and the other two went out to fish. Presently came a giant and sniffed up
the smell of the fish. He came to the house and called out, * Who’s there?’
* I am here,’ says the deer. * Oh, are you. I don’t care for you. I am
hungry. I must have some of that fish.’ ‘ Oh, but it isn’t mine,” said the
deer ; ‘ it belongs to the pig and plandok, and they would never forgive me if
I gave it away or allowed you to take it.’ * That’s all very well,’ says the
giant, ‘but I am hungry, the fish smells nice and I must have some, so
you had better give it to me or I will have to eat you too.’ So the deer was
shakey and had to let the giant have his own way after all, and the fish ,
disappeared jar after jar, and when the fish was all finished the giant went
away. When the other two came home and found the fish all gone they were
vexed with the deer for his softness and resolved that the pig should take
charge this time. So next morning after salting the fish and putting them in
jars the deer and plandok went out to fish and the pig stayed at home. Soon
came the giant and bellowed out, * Hullo, who’s there ?’ * I am,’ says the
pig. * I say, you have got some nice fish here and I am mortal hungry, so
you had better let me have some.’ * Oh, but I can’t,’ says the pig;’ the fish,
you know, does not belong to me.’ * That will never do,’ says the giant ; ‘ I
am hungry, do you hear, and I must have it, so you had better make no bones
about the matter or I shall eat you too.’ So the giant ransacked the jars and
the pig was fain to look on. When he had finished, and not before, the giant
bade him good bye and went off. Presently the other two came home and
the plandok was vexed and said, * You are muffs. I see I must do it myself.’
So the next morning after salting the fish and putting it in jars the pig and
the deer went out and left the plandok at home. As soon as they were gone
the plandok put a bandage round his forehead and lay down. Soon came the
giant and said, * Hullo, who’s there ?’ * Only me,’ says the plandok; ‘come
up, whoever you are.’ * What is the matter with you ?’ says the giant. ” Oh,
I have a headache,* says the plandok. * To what do you ascribe it,’ says the
giant. *Why, can’t you think?’ says the plandok. * No, I can’t, says the
giant. * Why, it’s owing to the smell of the fish ; it’s nearly overpowering, and
now doesn’t it strike you that you have got one too ?’ * Well I think I have,’
says the giant. * Can you give me any medicine for it ? ‘ * Well, I have no
drugs, but I can bandage you up like this, and it may do you good, do you
know, if you were to try.’ * Well, do try,’ says the giant, and so he was
ordered to lie down on his back at full length, and the plandok bandaged his
head and drove the pegs so as to fasten him to the ground. * Now don’t you
feel any pains in your ankles too ?* ‘ Well, I think I do ; suppose you
Legends — Story of a Plandok, a Deer, and a Pig. 347
bandage them too.* So the plandok bandaged his ankles and made them fast
to the floor. * Now don’t you feel the pain shooting up your legs ? * * Well,
do you know, I think I do.’ So the plandok bandaged his legs and secured
the ends to the floor. By this time the giant began to feel uneasy, and
finding he was unable to move he said it was painful, but the plandok said it
was all right and began pegging away to make him more secure, and the giant
continued to roar with pain until the plandok threatened to drive a peg
through his temple. When the pig and deer came home and found the giant
their prisoner they shouted for joy, and then they fell upon him and killed
MiLANAU Story of a Plandok, a Deer, and a Pig.
Mr. Brooke Low’s Papers.
** A plandok went out for a stroll and fell into a pit. He could find no
way to get out. Presently came a pig to the mouth of the pit and looked in
and asked him what he was up to. * Oh, don’t you know,’ says the plandok,
* the sky is going to fall in and every one will be smashed unless he has a hole
to hide in.’ So the pig leaps in. The plandok gets on his back, but finds he
is not yet high enough to bound out. Next comes a deer and looks in and
asks the pig and the plandok what they are doing. * Oh, don’t you know,’
says the latter, * the sky is going to fall in and every living thing will be
crushed to atoms unless it has a hole to hide in.’ So in leaps the deer. The
plandok then makes the deer get on the back of the pig, and he clambers on
the back of the deer and bounds out of the pit and leaves the other two to
starve in the pit. The deer and the pig, wroth at being tricked, scratch the
earth on all sides of the pit and raise a mound in the centre of it the level
with the mouth, and then spring out of it. They follow the trail of the
plandok, vowing vengeance, and soon overtake him ; but the plandok climbs
a tree, from the boughs of which a bees’ nest is suspended. * Come down,*
say the pig and the deer, * for we mean to kill you.’ * Oh, no,’ says the
plandok, *at all events not to-day. Why do you want to kill me?’ * Because
you deceived us and left us in the lurch with your lies. Didn’t you say that
if we had no hole to hide ourselves in we should be crushed by the falling of
the sky?’ *Oh, yes,’ says the plandok, *but I got the king to putofi’the day.’
* That won’t do,’ says the pig ; * you must come down for we mean to have
your blood.’ * I can’t,’ says the plandok, * because the king has got me to
watch his gong’ (pointing to the bees* nest). * Is that the king’s gong ? ‘ says
the deer : * how I should like to ring it ! ‘ * So you may if you let me come
down and get at a distance before you strike — the noise would deafen me.’
So the plandok sprang down and ran away to a distance. The deer took up a
stick and struck the nest, and was instantly stung to death by the bees. The
plandok then bounded away and the pig after it in hot pursuit, and crowded
him so that he had to take refuge in a tree, round the stem of which a cobra
was curled. *Come down,’ says the pig, ‘that I may kill you, you false caitifi”.’
* Well, not to-day,’ says the plandok ; * put it off” till to-morrow. I am set
here to watch the king’s girdle’ (pointing to the cobra) ; * now, isn’t it pretty?
I never saw a more handsome waist-belt in my life.’ * That is true,’ says the
• ‘ – ‘ 1*
348 H. Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and Brit. N, Borneo.
pig, and how I should like to wear it but for one day ! ‘ * Well, so you may,’
says the plandok, * but be careful, or you may spoil it.’ So the pig got into
the folds of the snake, and was, of course, crushed to death ; and the plandok
got off, having outwitted his enemies.”
*’The Alligator- Bird has the richest note of any I ever heard. It is
beautiful to hear him in the early morning, by the river side, singing to his
old friend the alligator (so goes the tradition), who has come to demand
payment for an alleged debt, when the bird answers, * You know I have
nothing wherewithal to pay you — there are my feathers, take them if you will,
take them, — it is all I have to pay you with.’ This bird in appearance is
something like the thrush.” (Grant, p. 154.)
The Reason why Alligators are afraid to eat Dyaks.*
A Story of Mount Pbninjauu.
” Once upon a time, a Dyak belonging to the Peninjauh village was
returning home after his day’s labours, and, as he wended his way up the
steep ascent which leads to the houses, what was his astonishment to find
himself preceded by a large and comfortable-looking male alligator. ‘ Where
are you off to ? ‘ said the Dyak to the btiai (alligator) — he was not at all afraid,
for in case the buai made himself disagreeable, he had his sword, and had,
moreover, an advantage in the steep, rocky ascent, to which the beast’s legs
were plainly unaccustomed. ‘ I am merely taking a walk for my amusement.’
* Why not pay our village a visit ? ‘ asked the Dyak ; * we shall be glad to see
you.’ (He thought it best to be civil at all events.) * Most happy,’ answered
buai, so on they jogged together, bathed together at the spout, at the entrance
to the village, and btmi became the Dyak’s guest. He made himself so agree-
able to the family, and related so many wonderful stories about himself, what
he had done, and especially what he could do, that the credulous Dyak
thought it would be no bad * spec ‘ to offer him his daughter in marriage. He
did so, and buai became his son-in-law. (Be it here observed, that it is
customary among the Dyaks, when a youth marries a girl, for him to enter
his father-in-law’s family, who, after supplying necessaries, enjoys the profit of
his son-in-law’s labours.) The Dyak, however, soon had cause to repent of
his bargain. Not one stroke of work, not even in the way of fishing, would
buai do, and when remonstrated with, he merely opened his mouth, showed
his teeth, and grinned in a threatening manner. All day long did he lie
basking in the sun, and at meal-times (O ye store-boxes of paddy !) how he
did eat ! The Dyak’s treasured hoards of corn, laid up against a rainy day,
were soon devoured utterly, and then buai began to run in debt for rice with
the neighbours, exacting forced loans by significant displays of his saw-like
^ This story is supposed by the Collector (Wm. Chalmers) to be the genuine ofif-spring of Dyak
imagination. It is a rare thing, even for a person living among them, to hear a story that is worth
recording ; in the largest tribes, there are never more than two or three of the elders who have any
acquaintance with history, and different tribes have different versions of the same events.
Legends — Why Alligators are afraid to eat Dyaks. 349
grinders, to the shame and disgrace of his father-in-law and all the family.
(It is one of the greatest of shames among the Dyaks to be in debt.) At last
matters grew so desperate, that one day they all laid wait for buai, caught him
unawares, and hacked him to pieces. The news of their brother’s shameful
conduct and merited punishment soon reached the ears of alligator * society,’
and so deep a feeling of ignominy was felt thereat, that to this day an alligator
will never stay to look a Dyak in the face — much less will he presume to eat
** A rival historian of the same tribe, however, affirms that the following is
the correct account of the matter : —
‘* In the olden times, a certain Peninjauh Dyak was walking by the side
of the Sarawak river, when he saw an alligator lying on a mud-bank,
apparently in great distress, and evidently not shedding * crocodile tears.’
* What news ? What is the matter with you ?’ asked the Dyak. * O my
poor brother ! boo-00-oo-oo.’ * What is the matter with your brother V
** * He is lying at the point of death, and no medicine that we alligators
have is of any use to save him. Oh, my friend, do you know medicine ?’
” * A little,’ replied the Dyak.
” * O do come and cure him.’
” * You alligators live in the water, and how am I brave enough to
venture down to your house — I, who cannot swim a stroke ?’
” * O I will manage that.’
” * But then consider the trouble,’ it was objected.
** * Only come and see the treasures of our house, gold and silver, gongs
and jars, mats and weapons ; and, if you doctor my brother successfully, you
shall have your pick — we will make you the richest man in Peninjauh— only
** Vanquished by these lavish promises, down went the Dyak, on the
alligator’s back, to the alligator’s house, which was built in a hole of the rock
on which Belidah Fort now stands. The house was decent and comfortable
enough, there was no lack of necessaries, but there was, at the same time, no
appearance of wealth. * The valuables are no doubt stowed away in the
garret,’ thought the Dyak. The sick beast was stretched on his back in the
midst of the floor — almost at his last gasp. . The Dyak bade him open his
mouth ; he did so ; down went the Dyak’s hand into his gulf of a gullet, and
up he brought a leg of a Malay, still covered with portions of a very dirty
pair of trousers, half-strangling the sick alligator in his determined efforts to
effect a clearance. The cure was complete ; the thanks of the alligator-family
were profuse, but no mention was made of a tangible reward to the expectant
and impatient doctor ; at length he ventured to mention that he would like
to see the riches of which he had heard so promising an account, and was
gruffly told that they did not exist, and that, instead of asking for anything,
he ought to be thankful that he was not eaten for supper. He was then
bidden mount the back of his deceiving guide, who set him ashore, angry,
wet, frightened, and dirty, then laughed in his face, and finally dived off.
From that time to this, however, alligators always run away when they see a
Dyak, lest the debt then incurred should be demanded, and a very dirty
350 H. Ling Roth.— Natives of Sarawak and Brit. N. Borneo,
action of their progenitors be thus unpleasantly forced upon their
Stories about the Orang Outan.
” A stranger or visitor might, however, load a diary with anecdotes of
Dyaks, who going to the woods, becoming orang-utans,” and after several
years, having borne many children, have returned and reverted to their
former condition. Or he might hear that females have become pregnant
by them, and borne twins, one as a human being, and another taking the
form of its jungle parent. There are many other fables of a like kind ; but
there is no truth in them, and they themselves are very far from believing
them. They would be indescribably horrified if such an experiment were
seriously proposed to them. To prove that such accounts are entirely
fabulous, they have similar ones about alligators, with whom they recount
stories of intimacy, and the probability of the one or the other is about equal.”
(Brooke i. p. 64.)
**The Banting people say the orang outans once helped them against
their enemies, and hence they do not injure these animals.” (St. John i. 72.)
The Turtle with a Pearl.
“The take [at Serai] was considerable, including fish of all sorts and
sizes ; but there have been regrets expressed that the monster turtle, which is
said by natives at times to appear upon our coasts, and to have a priceless
pearl imbedded in his skull, was not among the catch.” (S.G. No. 174, p. 28.)
How Rats came to be Eaten.
** I asked Kurow how long the Dusun had eaten rats. His reply was
that, * Once upon a time, a horde of rats,’ far more than ever followed the
* Pied Piper,* I should judge by his adjectives, * came and ate up all the rice
and kaladi.’ A conference was held by the then reigning chief in the head
house, and his advice was of stern, practical kind. * Talking is of no use,*
said he, * the rats have eaten all our rice : we have no other food left to us ;
ergo, we must eat up the rats ! ‘ * And so it was, and is to this day,’ said
Kurow ; but I fancied I could see a sly twinkle in his bright eyes — just the
same merry twinkle one expects to see in anyone’s face after having related a
palpably incredible story with all due solemnity ! ” (Burbidge, p. 87.)
Why a Snake has a Stump Tail.
a Fable of the Land Dyaks of Lundu and Sikalaus.
**They say that in former times one of their female ancestors was pregnant
for seven years, and ultimately brought forth twins, one a human being and
the other a cobra de capella. They lived together for some time, the snake
always keeping his head well out of the way for fear of hurting his brother
with his venomous teeth, but allowing him to amuse himself with his tail.
*7 Beeckman at Banjarmassin says (p. 37): “The natives do really believe that these [the
Oran-ootans] were formerly men, but metamorphised into beasts for their blasphemy ;” but whether
he refers to the Malays or Biajous is not clear.
Legends — Spooks. 351
When they grew up the cobra left the house to dwell in the forest, but before
leaving he told his mother to warn her children, that should, unfortunately,
one of them be bitten by the hooded snake, not to run away, but remain a
whole day at the spot where the injury was received, and the venom would
have no poisonous effect. Not long after, he was met in the forest by his
brother, who, under the effect of surprise, drew his sword and smote off his
tail, which accounts for the blunted appearance observable in all his brethren.
The superstition of the snake curing the bite is believed ; the wounded person
being still allowed to remain twenty-four hours in the jungle.*’ (St. John i. 72.)
Men with Tails.
** Men with tails are spoken of by some of the people, but this is clearly
a myth, and no source can be traced for the legend. It cannot apply to the
tail-end of the waistcloth, which is worn by all Dayaks alike, but it may have
come from the Malays, who may have applied it to the Dayaks — the Malays
themselves wearing trowsers.” (Leggatt.)
A reference to Mr. Bock’s investigations as to the existence in Borneo
of men with tails and the comic character of the explanation will suffice here.
** In Bintulu there are several places of legendary interest scattered within
the limits of the Residency. Between Pandan and Labang is an islet without
a name, which is washing away. Conspicuous at the head of this island is a
red-leaved durian tree, and tradition has it that if this tree ever shed its
leaves, there will be famine and pestilence (lapar and penyakit) throughout the
land. The island is a favourite resort of pigs and deer, and was, during
his life-time, the favoured haunt and farmstead of the late Orang Kaya
Tumanggong Gunong. Some distance up the Binyoh, a feeder of the
Pandan, there is supposed to exist a lake called the Penyilam, difficult of
access. Its waters are said to be salt and sea-green, and to teem with sea-
fish. A regular aquarium in fact of snakes and sharks The sky is here dark
with tempest — thunder and lightning never cease — and furious gusts of wind
for ever ruffle the surface of the lake. From a rocky isle in the centre of this
inland sea, wizards and sorcerers screech out their diabolical staves at the
howling storm, to the furious accompaniment of drums and cymbals. No
genuine Bintulu dare approach the place, and when I proposed an expedition
to visit it, I met with a point-blank refusal on all sides, a circumstance which
led me to conjecture that the whole thing was a myth, and existed only in the
minds of the credulous.
** At the junction of the Long Koyan with the Blaga, there is a pool of
water, from the centre of which rises the stump of a camphor tree of
enormous girth, and the legend is that it is guarded by an ogre, and contains
a mine of wealth, which cannot be worked without the propitiatory sacrifice
of a human being. On one of the hills in the Koyan, where tobacco grows
wild, there are said to be the bones of a dragon, crushed to death by the
falling of a tree. On the sea shore at Kadurong Bay are the remains of a
gigantic house some centuries old, as is evident from its present situation, for
352 H. Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and Brit. N. Borneo.
the place on which it stands and which is now the sea beach, must have been
at the date of its erection the bank of the river Sabatang. Its origin and
association are lost in the mist of the past. Not even the oldest inhabitant
can bestow the slightest information concerning its history, save that in
general terms, it was the abode of a tribe of spirits, abandoned to man-eating
propensities. There is absolutely no one that can throw the faintest light on
the subject.” (S.G. No. 134, p. 60.)
** At about a day’s journey from the Tatau village, up the river Buan, is a
mountain called the Ga Buan. Near the top of this mountain is a large cave,
which is said to be the abode of a ferocious tiger, who has the power of
making himself invisible when he feels an inclination to make a meal off a
human being. Several people have been taken by him whilst working in the
jungle. Their companions declared that they heard a noise like thunder
proceed from the direction of the cave, and that very shortly after one of their
number disappeared in a mysterious manner, and was never seen again. No
one has disappeared since the time that the orang putih first came to Bintulu.
I rather hurt the feelings of the men by suggesting that the noise might
possibly be thunder, and that there were a great many ways of accounting for
the disappearance of a man in the jungle, besides that of being taken by
invisible tigers.” (E. P. Gueritz, S.G. No. 122, p. 6.)