Asal Antu Gerasi, selukai ngau pasun – ari Telichu

The Story of Telichu:

Telichu and his younger brother Telichai loves to hunt animals for food. They owned a number of dogs they trained for hunting down animals. They were soon became expert hunters and spent many days in the jungle away from the comfort of their longhouse. They do not need to plant rice as they could barter trade their smoked or fresh meat for rice grains with their fellow people.


As the brothers grew into adulthood, Telichu physical appearance became noticeably very strange from that of his brother Telichai. His body had grown to be very hairy and as big as the trunk of a Tapang tree when they hunt in the jungle alone. His eyes were as big as saucers with ears as big as a winnowing basket. His height was as tall as the sibau raras tree. He also began to consume raw meat from the game he caught. Telichai became very frightened as the result of his brother’s strange transformation. It was only when they arrived home from their hunt that Telichu’s appearance began to transformed back to normal again. As time went by, Telichai began to feel the fear of going out hunting with his brother. All these fear were not told to his immediate family and their people. During the night of the full moon or thunderstorm, Telichu became restless and would go out hunting alone.


One full moon night, Telichai decided to follow Telichu on a hunting trip. Before they left, Telichu instructed Telichai to tie a yellow band around his wrist. Telichai asked him the purpose, to which Telichu replied, “With the yellow arm band, I can recognize you from other animals.” Telichai dared not asked any further.


When they left their house and entered the forest, Telichu’s appearance began to change into a hairy demon. They both separated to hunt after agreeing to meet at their base camp after they have caught their game. Telichai caught a wild boar and brought it back to their camp. There, he heard his brother Telichu was already there with his game, sitting in the shadow of full moonlight. Telichai then light up the camp fire to process his kill. It was then that he saw his brother sitting quietly, eating a freshly killed game he had caught. He had fully transformed into a demon huntsman, most feared by the Dayak.


Telichai nervously asked his brother the cause of his strange appearance. He answered that he had turned into an Antu Gerasi, a type of demon that hunts the unfortunate souls of human beings who disobeyed the warnings revealed to them in dreams and omens. He also told them that he could no longer live with them. He also taught Telichai how to protect themselves from these demon huntsmen by burning the bark of a lukai tree during the night of full moon and during thunderstorm. It is during these nights that the demon would come out to roam the earth and feed on souls of the unfortunate human.


Before they went their separate ways, they divide their hunting dogs equally. Those that followed Telichu into the demons’ world turned into a type of lizard called Pasun. The Ibans believed that, if they hear this Pasun lizard nearby, a demon huntsman is not far away and they should quickly abandon their work activity and return home to burn lukai bark. It was because of this incident that the Iban people believe that the present day Antu Gerasi is the descendants of Telichu.


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