Tuesday Tales #19 : Long Lake’ Belavan

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Long Lake’ Belavan

Origin : Tubau Kayan

As told by : Hureng Emang

Translated by : Adrian Jo Milang

Sketch by : Adrian Jo Milang 

(This is Tuesday Tales, where we highlight folklores and personal stories from indigenous peoples from all across Borneo. These are stories shared with us. We strive to edit it to the best of our capabilities for your enjoyment. We welcome your feedback at hello@thetuyang.com)

One day five brothers named Ben Aya’, Ben Ujo’, Ben Ura, Ben Ua and Ben Iking decided to go hunting. They had to take up the responsibility as their father had passed.

Therefore their mother packed their meal and said 

“Anih baha asat avan kelo’ te mulat, anih baha pulut avan kelo’ te nyeput”

“This is asat and glutinous rice for you all when you hunt with your blowpipe”

So they made their way to  the forest and made a hunting hut. Once the hut was completed, all of them forgot what their mother told them earlier. Ben Aya’ made his way back home to ask their mother. 

Once their mother told him he made his way to their hut. When he almost arrived at their hut he tripped and fell to the ground and forgot what their mother told him.

So he told his younger sibling Ben Ujo’ to go back to their mother. Ben Ujo’ went and got the message and made his way back to their hut. On his way he was distracted and forgot what their mother told him. 

Next Ben Ura went and he forgot too, then the same thing happened to Ben Ua. Lastly, Ben Iking went. To help himself remember Ben Iking kept on muttering their mother’s words as he made his way to their hut and told his brothers.

After having their meal, they went to hunt and caught many animals, birds and fish. They gathered at the hut and smoked what they caught. Ben Aya’ stayed to look after their gain while the rest went for a bath.

The scent of the smoke went up to Lake’ Belavan’s house. He made his way down and followed the scent to their hut. When he arrived he shouted 

“Ha’ ha’ ha’ akui Belavan Aya’ kuman henya’ ji tuka’, kuma sihe ji paha’, kuman anak lima’ ula’”

“Ha’ ha’ ha’ for I am the gigantic Lake’ Belavan,  he who eats a container full of salt,  he who eats an entire smoker full of meat,  he who eats five fatherless child.” 

Ben Aya’ was frightened and ran away to hide. Lake’ Belavan ate all the smoked animal, birds and fish. 

The next day, they went hunting again and so it’s Ben Ujo’ turn to look after the smoked gains.

Lake’ Belavan smell the smoke and made his way again. Upon arriving he shouted 

 “Ha’ ha’ ha’ akui Belavan Aya’ kuman henya’ ji tuka’, kuma sihe ji paha’, kuman anak lima’ ula’”

Ben Ujo’ was shocked and ran into hiding. Then when they all went back to the hut, again everything was gone. Then the next few days, the same happened to Ben Ura and Ben Ua.

Until it was Ben Iking’s turn to look after their gains. As before, smelling the scent of the smoked animals, birds and fish, Lake’ Belavan made his way to their hut and said 

“Ha’ ha’ ha’ akui Belavan Aya’ kuman henya’ ji tuka’, kuma sihe ji paha’, kuman anak lima’ ula’”

Upon hearing those words, Ben Iking giggled and said to himself so this is the culprit that had been scaring my brothers and eating our smoked gains!

While he was giggling Lake’ Belavan saw his blackened teeth and said 

“Child I like to have teeth like yours!” then Ben Iking replied “Do you? Stay here then and let me get the ingredients to make your teeth similar as mine!” 

Ben Iking went to look for the mix to make poison for darts and brought it back to the hut and said to Lake’ Belavan 

“Lie down and let me tie you up so you won’t move too much!” Lake’ Belavan then laid down as Ben Iking tied him up with rattan

“Now open your mouth and let me pour this down your throat” Lake’ Belavan opened his mouth and Ben Iking poured the tasem poison down his throat.

Lake’ Belavan started to feel ill and his vision became blurred and ask Ben Iking what’s happening. Ben Iking said  “It’s working hold on!” 

Lake’ Belavan started to feel out of breath and felt his impending demise, so he told Ben Iking, 

“I have five daughters on top of the Belavan tree please go and take them as your wive and for your siblings too.” therefore taking his last breath.

Ben Iking chopped Lake’ Belavan apart and threw his limbs into the river nearby and in turn changed into a rapid. He then made his way to the Belavan tree and coated it with oil. 

After doing so, he went back to look for his siblings and told them what happened. They all went together to the towering and tall Belavan tree. Ben Aya’ tried to climb first but he slipped down, so did the rest. 

Now that the oil coat is gone, Ben Iking went up and saw among the five daughters one was the most beautiful of them all. He covered her in soot then went on to lower them down to the ground. 

When he met his brothers on the ground he said to them, “I will take her, the unlikely one of them all as my wife.” 

So they went home and bathed their would be bride, his siblings were surprised to see Ben Iking’s beautiful wife, but they couldn’t say anything as they had sworn their words. 

Moral of the story :  Do not give in too quickly, there’s always a way to solve a problem. 

This story was told to tell the younger generations in the community the names of their fingers and what they were used for. 

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