Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The magician of Sarawak

In Sarawak, long, long ago, there were two Dayaks called Simpurai and Laja. One day, they were bathing in a stream. They left their clothes on the bank. They did not know that an­other man, Apai Aloi, was watching them from behind a tree. When they were not looking, he ran out and stole their clothes. He hid them under some bushes.
When Simpurai and Laja had finished their bath, they were surprised to find that their clothes were missing.
"Who could have taken them?" Simpurai asked. "Listen! Who's that coming?"
It was Apai Aloi. He stopped when he saw them. "Well, well, what's the trouble?"
The two young men told him that they had lost their clothes.
"Leave it to me," Apai Aloi said' "I can find them for you. Didn't you know that I am a magician? If I think about it to­night before I sleep, I'm sure I shall be able to see in a dream where your clothes are."
They all went home to Apai Aloi's house where they stayed the night. Next morning, Apai Aloi told Simpurai and Laja to follow him. He pointed to the bushes behind which he had hidden their clothes. 'That's where your clothes are," he said. "I saw them there in my dream last night."
Simpurai and Laja were very impressed. "You're really a re­markable magician," they said. "You must let us give you some­thing in return."
Apai Aloi shrugged. "I'm not very interested in money," he said.
"Then let's give you ajar"' the young man said. "It's a very valuable old Chinese jar." (To this day, old jars of this kind are very valuable in Sarawak.) They gave him a jar worth nearly two hundred dollars.
Apai Aloi danced all the way home with it. He showed it proudly to his wife and family. Soon all his neighbours beard about it and he became famous as a magician.
Before long, a man of another village lost his diamond ring. Apai Aloi was called in to find it for him. When he arrived at the village, some men asked to speak to him privately.
“We know that you're a clever man so before you find out for yourself we'd like to tell you that we found the ring on the road where it had been dropped. What shall we do?"
"You'd better hand it over to me."
Apai Aloi then hid the ring in a well opposite the house of the man who had lost it.
That night, the man gave him a big dinner which all the vil­lagers attended. The celebrations went on until late at night.
When Apai Aloi got up the next morning, he cried out. "I know where the ring is! It's in the well in front of your house. I saw it in a dream last night."
Then the owner of the ring ran to the well and looked down inside it. He could see his diamond ring twinkling like a star in the water. He dived into the water and brought it out.
"You're really the best magician in Sarawak," he said. "Please let me know what your fee is."
"My usual fee is a jar," replied Apai Aloi.
And then a very old man came up to him. The old man looked at him for a long time. He then said, slowly and clearly, "If you tell lies, God will punish you."
"I don't know what you mean," Apai Aloi answered. He hur­ried home but the old man shouted after him, "You'd better run. Your enemies are following you." Apai Aloi ran as hard as he could but lie tripped over a root. The jar was broken.
When he reached his house, he covered his head with a blanket. His wife asked him what was the matter.
"I was given a very large jar but an old man told me that my enemies were chasing me. So I ran and fell over and broke the jar. I'm going to sue the old man in front of the king tomorrow. "
When the king heard the case the next day, Apai Aloi said, "Your Majesty, I am a professional magician. I was asked to at­tend an important case. My fee was a jar. As I was going home afterwards, the old man told me that my enemies were chasing me. I believed biro, so I ran as fast as I could. Then I fell down and broke the jar. When I turned round, there was no one fol­lowing me."
The king asked the old man what he wanted to say.
"Yes, Your Majesty, what Apai Aloi says is true. I admit that I deceived him. But I wanted to teach him a good lesson and do to him what he did to others. He is not a magician. I saw him hide the diamond ring in the well. And the men who handed over the ring to him saw him do so too."
The king asked the men who had given the ring to Apai Aloi. They agreed that what the old man had said was correct.
The king stood up. "I dismiss the case," he said to Apai Aloi. "If you tell lies and deceive people, you must be ready to face the consequences."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Minah and the fox

Cik Othman lived with his wife and six daughters in a small village on Pulau. Pinang. All his six daughters were pretty. But although many men wanted to marry the girls they did not find anyone they liked. As time went by and they became older, Cik Othman and his wife worried that their daughters would never many.
One day, Cik Othman and his wife were surprised to see a fox approaching their house.
"What do you want, Mr. Fox?" they asked.
"I want to marry one of your daughters."
"Ha, ha, ha! Who has ever heard of a fox marrying a girl?"
"Well, why don't you ask whether any of your daughters would like to marry me? I may not be a man but I'm kind and honest."'
The eldest daughter refused. "What, marry a fox! Oh, no, no!" she cried.
All the other girls refused except the youngest daughter, who was called Minah. She was the most beautiful of all.
"I don't think Mr. Fox is so bad," she said. "At least, he's kind and honest which is better than a lot of men."
There was a great shout of laughter from her sisters.
After she married Mr. Fox, all her family, friends and neighbours teased her about her husband. But they lived very happily together.
Minah never knew what her husband did for a living. He use(] to leave the house at dawn arid return late at night. One day, she decided to follow him. He went to the beach. She could hardly believe her eyes. Her husband took off his fur and changed into a handsome young man. He stepped into a boat and rowed out to sea.
As soon as her husband was out of sight, she came out from behind the thick bushes where she had been hiding and took away his fur. That evening, when her husband returned, he could not find his fur. Minah jumped out of her hiding place. "Don't change back into a fox,', she cried. "You look so much better as you are." 
"Are you ashamed of me then?" he asked.
"No," she answered, "but it would be nice for everyone to know that you're really a man."
As soon as her sisters knew that her husband had changed into a man, they became jealous. But Minah did not take any notice of them.
Then her husband told her that he had to go away on busi­ness. "I shall be away for several months," he said, "but when I return I shall be a rich man."
Minah was very obedient. Although she was not happy, She allowed her husband to go.
Her sisters were very pleased. "Your husband has left you," they told her. "He'll never come back. Perhaps he has changed into a fox again."
However, one day the villagers came running to her house to tell her that her husband was returning. He was leading back a fleet of ships full of treasure—silk, golden plates, jade and precious stones.
Minah dressed herself in her best clothes and went to the beach to wait for her husband. Her sisters went with her.
Suddenly, her sisters seized her, and bound and gagged her so tightly that she could not move. They put her in a boat and pushed it out to sea.
Her husband's fleet approached. The first ship passed without seeing her. Ship after ship passed in this way. The last ship was her husband's ship, decorated with brightly-coloured flags.
"Stop," her husband ordered. "What is that boat over there?"
When the boat came alongside, he recognized his wife ly­ing at the bottom of the boat.
"Minah, what has happened?" he called out.
He jumped down into the boat and set her free. He carried her back to his ship. When she felt a little better, she told her husband everything that had happened.
"Really your sisters are very wicked," her husband said. "We must teach them a good lesson." He told her to stay in his cabin.
When he landed, Minah's five sisters were waiting for him, dressed in their best clothes. "Where's my wife?" he asked.
"We don't know," they said. "We saw her go to the beach but we didn't see her again after that."
They gave a big dinner for him which was attended by many rich and important people. As they served him with the best food and wine, he told them of his adventures, and how he had captured a pirate ship full of treasure.
"As I was approaching the harbour," he said, "I saw a small boat floating in the water. There was a young woman in it who had been tied up by robbers and left to die."
He clapped his hands, and some of his men brought in his wife. Minch was dressed in shining silk with sparkling jewels in her hair. Her sisters almost fainted.
"I'm not going to hand you over to the police," Minah's hus­band told them. "But I want you to leave this village and never return again. I hope this will be a good lesson to you for the rest of your lives."
No one knows where the sisters went but Minch and her husband lived happily ever after.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The story of minangkabau

 Do you know which part of Malaysia follows the customs and traditions of Minangkabau in west Sumatra? It is the area around Negri Sembilan and Naning, Malacca.
The old name for Minangkabau is Alam, or "the world". The people of Alam were well known because they were clever and hard-working. The country was green and beautiful. About six hundred years ago, the king of Java sent an army to Alam to tell the people that he was king of all the golden islands of In­donesia.
When it reached Bukit Batu Patah, the army commander said to the leaders of Alam, "You had better surrender The king of Java is very strong. Otherwise we shall attack your country and kill many of your people."
"To fight is easy," replied the wise men of Alam, "but who knows who will win? Why should we kill each other? Let's find a better way."
"Very well," said the army commander. "What do you sug­gest?"
"Let us each bring a buffalo to fight. Your buffalo can fight with ours. If your buffalo wins, then we shall surrender to the king of Java. If our buffalo wins, then we shall continue to be free."
“Excellent," Said the army commander.
After a few days, he told the wise men of Alam that he had found a buffalo to fight for the King of Java. It was so huge and 11crce that when the wise men of Alam saw it they cried, "Oh, we're lost. Where can we find a buffalo strong enough to light with it?"
So they held a meeting, and after talking for many hours, they made a plan. One of the men took a young buffalo calf from its mother. Another man fastened nine sharp pieces of iron on to the tips of the calfs horns. They did not allow the calf to drink any of its mother's milk for a day and night. Then, they went to see the army commander. "We have found our buffalo," they said. "We are ready."
There was a great shout of laughter when the king of Java's soldiers saw the little calf.
The wise men of Alam and all the assembled villagers kept quiet. When they let the calf go it ran straight towards the large animal. It thought it was its mother. It pressed its nose into the stomach of the big buffalo, looking for milk. The big buffalo gave a great cry of pain as the sharp pieces of iron fastened to the tips of the calf's horns stuck into it. It pushed the little calf aside and ran away as fast as it could..
The people of Alam shouted, "Minangkabau! Minangkabau! (Our buffalo has won)."
The king of Java's soldiers stopped laughing. They had lost. There was nothing left for them to do but to leave the country. The people of Alam were still free. But they changed the name of their land to "Minangkabau" or -The Buffalo's Victory". And that is why to this day the roofs of their houses are made to look like buffalo horns.

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