Saturday, May 19, 2012

Why Dayaks like hornbills

 Why Dayaks like hornbills story

One day a Dayak named Ketupong went into the jungle to hunt birds. He saw one with strange red eyes. He raised his blowpipe to his mouth. “Psst” the dart hit the bird. He bent  down to pick it up. Suddenly it changed into a beautiful dress made of bird’s feathers. He put it in the bamboo
container he used for his darts. It was so finely made and soft that it could be folded up into a small space.
“Have you seen my dress?” he turned round to see who had spoken to him. There was a lovely girl standing behind him. He did not know where she had come from.
“Yes” he said “here it is. But I shan’t give it to you unless you promise to marry me.” He had never seen such a lovely girl before and his mother was always telling him to get married.
The girl agreed, provided that he never asked her to tell him her name. they were soon married. The next year, they had a son. Ketupong and his wife (he just called her “wife”) were very happy together. They loved their son dearly. However, Ketupong often noticed that his wife was looking up at the sky. “What are you looking at?” he asked. But she only shook her head.
Then he saw his wife weaving two coats. They were a bright green color with an unusual pattern like bird’s feathers.
“who are you making those coats for?” he asked.
“they are for you and our son,” she answered. “When they are finished, you can wear them to fly up into the sky.”
“I don’t want to fly,” he said.
“Silly, she smiled. “Don’t you know who I am? I am Inchin Temaga, daughter of Singalang Burong, my house is in the sky.”
Ketupong was surprised. He had heard of Singalang Burong. He was the Dayak God of war, a great general who had never lost a battle. “In that case, my wife must be a fairy,” he thought to himself.
Suddenly, his wife’s body became covered with feathers. In a few minutes, her arms changed inton wings. She rose into the air. He tried to stop her but it was too late. She flew up, up, into the sky. “Come back! Come back!” he dried. Her voice came floating down, “If you want to visit me, wear the coats I have made for you.”
Years went by. All this time, the son was sad that he could not see his mother. He looked so unhappy that his father did not know what to do.
“take me to my mother,” the boy cried. “I want to see my mother again.”
“But how can I?” asked his father. Then he remembered the coats which his wife had left behind. So they put on the coats. They immediately felt much lighter. Soon they were able to fly up into the sky. They saw a great palace in front of them.
The palace gates opened and a man wearing a splendid Dayak war dress appeared. He was Singalang Burong
“Welcome, Ketupong!” he roared. “My daughter and I have been waiting for you. Why have you been so long?”
Then Inchin Temaga appeared. She was not very pleased to see her husband as she had heard that he had remarried.
“Go back to earth!” she told him. “I know that you now have another family there. Our son can stay here with me. My father can teach him a lot. He can follow you later.”
So Ketupong had to return to earth.
Singalang Burong was very pleased to see his grandson.
At about that time, one os Singalang Burong’s men was killed by a giant named Jubang. Singalang Bulong showed his grandson the correct way to pay respects to the dead. He told him to pack all the dead man’s belongings into a box. “The box cannot be opened,” he said. “until we have taught the giant a good lesson. We must cut off his head.”
The next day the boy went with his grandfather to look for the giant.
On the way, Singalang Burong taught him how to use magic and how to look for good and bad signs.
Soon they reached the longhouse where the giant was staying. They decided to wait outside until it was dark. When they entered the longhouse. Singalang Burong gave a terrible shout. He threw his spear at the giant. The Giant fell to the ground. He then leapt forward and cut off the giant’s head with one blow of his sword. All the other people living in the longhouse, who were the giant’s prisoners, were set free.
When Singalang Burong and his grandson returned home with the giant’s head, everyone was happy. They held a feast which lasted three days and nights.
After the feast was over, Singalang Burong pointed to the carving of a strange-looking bird on top of a tall pole.
The bird’s beak was pointed in the direction of the giant’s house.
“What’s that, grandfather?” the boy asked.
“It’s a hornbill. It is one of the sacred birds of the Dayaks. We believe that it will help us to beat our enemies in battle.”
“Why do you use a hornbill, grandfather?”
“Don’t ask so many questions,” said the old man. “Probably because it’s such large and strong bird. Anyway, its head and tail feathers are very beautiful.”
Later when the boy returned to earth, he taught his father and everyone living in his father’s longhouse what he had learned from his grandfather.

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