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Franz L Kessler

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This story is a legend of the Orang Ulu people, explaining the formation of a lake by a struggle between men and boars.

Today's Logan Bunut is the only freshwater-floodplain lake in Sarawak, Malaysia. The lake originated when a natural levee burst in the Upper Baram depression and engulfed a low-lying jungle area. Since 2002, Logan Bunut is a National Park hosting many endangered species such as rare cobra snakes, two species of crocodile, and the Borneo monitor. The forests surrounding the lake are developed for eco-tourism.

In Sarawak, however, mystic explanations are never far. Maureen, native of the area, told me the following story which I’m recording here. Right or wrong, truth or fantasy, it teaches the importance of keeping a balance between human needs and nature.


 



 

Dusk was about to fall as I stood next to Maureen on the terrace of the Logan Bunut lodge. A massive downpour of rain in the distance created a vivid sunset, and a rainbow shone above the lake’s eastern shore. We looked at the calm lake’s surface and screened it with our hunting glasses for crocodiles and wild birds. Then she said:

 “Some hundred years ago, there was no lake. Here, in this low-lying area once stood a prosperous longhouse. People of the Orang Ulu Tribe inhabited the wealthy village. You can still see the carved poles in the lake, where they buried their dead a long time ago.

 " They lived from growing rice on fertile fields, and hunted wild boar in the jungle. In those days, boars were very common in the forest. There were so many wild pigs that the villagers made pig hunting their main resource of food.

 "One day, the village’s most renowned hunter killed a huge boar. It was so big and heavy, that he couldn’t carry it to the village alone. He hid the dead pig in the forest and went to call help from the village. But when the hunters returned to the site where the boar was slain, they couldn’t find any trace of the wild animal. Exhausted and confused, they returned to the longhouse village.

 "During the following night, the hunter had a dream. The boar’s spirit came to visit him and said: “Stop killing boars. You have been killing too many of us. Please also tell the other hunters in the village, that they must stop.”

 "Although the hunter remembered the dream the following day, he kept it for himself and didn’t utter a word. Massive pig hunting continued the following day, and many boars were killed and brought to the village. But during the following night, many hunters had strange dreams. The animal spirits told them in many ways that the killing had to stop. The spirits said: “We also can kill you, if you don’t stop killing us.” The next morning, the hunters chatted about their dreams. They only laughed about them, and nobody took the dreams’ message serious. Only one lady understood what lay ahead, but despite her efforts the cruel slaughter continued unabated in the forests.

 "That was when the big rains started. Huge, dark clouds gathered over the area, and it rained for forty days, without interruption. As the nearby rivers were swelling and spilling, the wild boars gathered and dug tunnels under the levees, until these collapsed. A massive surge wave engulfed the low-lying depression, and everybody in the village drowned. Only the lady, who had understood the dreams and had felt mercy for the boars, survived huddled on a long pole in the middle of the lake.

 "As the waters of the new lake settled, and a shoreline appeared, she managed to swim to the shore, and told her story in the other villages of the Long Lama area.

She has died many years ago.”

 

© 2004 by Franz L Kessler

 
 
 
 


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Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 11/8/2004
nice write, franz; thanks for sharing! enjoyed~

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in america, karen lynn in texas. :D
Reviewed by Kate Clifford 11/7/2004
Nothing I like better then hearing the tales of what might of been. Thank you for the sharing.

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