Tuesday Tales #24 : Kungkakap

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Origin : Tubau Kayan
As told by:  Hureng Emang
Translated by: Adrian Jo Milang
Edited by: Juvita Tatan Wan
Sketch by: Christine Luiten, Pinterest

(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 Burieng Besieng was drying and pounding paddy. After pounding so long she took a rest and went to the river to bathe.

While she was bathing, she was surprised to see a lot of dead fish floating on the river. So she ran back up to her verandah and hastily pounded the paddy that made her mortar thumps loudly because she wanted to run down and collect the bloated fish. 

On a tree nearby, the Tiong bird heard the loud pounding and started to dance to the sound. While the Tiong danced, he shook the tree and a branch fell on Lake’ Payo. 

Surprised by the falling branch, Lake’ Payo ran and stepped on Lake’ Dengen, the hairy nosed otter’s child and killed him.

Lake’ Dengen was angry and went to look for lake’ payo and ask him 

“Why did you run over my child?”

“A branch fell on me and I was shocked” Lake’ Payo answered. So Lake’ Dengen went to ask the branch

“Why did you fall down?”

“Tiong’s dancing shook the tree and I fell down” the branch answered

Lake’ Dengen went to ask Tiong, “Why were you dancing, did you know the tree branch fell on lake’ payo, and in turn lake’ payo ran and stepped on my son and killed him?”

“ I got excited upon hearing Burieng Besieng’s pounding” the Lake’ Dengen made his way to Burieng Besieng and asked her

“Why did you pound the paddy in your mortar loudly, did you know tiong got excited and danced to the sound shaking the tree, then the tree branch fell on lake’ payo’s head and in turn lake’ payo ran and stepped over my child and killed him?”

Then Burieng Besieng answers 

“I pounded hastily because I saw a lot of dead fish floating on the river”

Lake’ Dengen went to ask  the fish

“Why are you all bloated and dead?”

“We died because of overeating, we ate so much blossoms of the upieng  fruits.” said the fish

Lake’ Dengen then went to ask the upieng blossom

“Who made you flourished and fall down into the river upieng blossom?” 

“We fell down because Kungkakap scratch us off of our tree.” the upieng blossom replied

Lake’ Dengen went on to look for Kungkakap and asked

“Kungkakap,  do you know the upieng blossom that you scratched fell into the river and the fishes feasted on them until they were bloated, seeing the fish Burieng Besieng pounded her paddy so quickly and loudly the sound from her mortar made Lake’ Tiong excited and danced to it. Lake’ Tiong dancing made a branch fall down on Lake’ Payo’s head in turn shocking him making him run over my child to death”

“This is all your fault, Kungkakap” said Lake’ Dengen 

Kungkakap felt guilty and ashamed of his actions, he flew far away to Air Upa’, the ruler of Air Upa’ took him into his care. Months after his leave, animals started to starve because no other animals can scratch fruits to make them fall as well as flourish the fruits like Kungkakap did.

All the animals in the land tried to look for Kungkakap to no avail. Finally, Henyap To’ the butterfly went to look for him. He flew far and wide until he found Air Upa’

Upon arriving he looked for Kungkakap and asked him to return. Kungkakap refused because he was still ashamed of what he did. Kungkakap told Henyap To’ to take his eggs and ask for the other birds to take care of it. Once the eggs hatch his offspring will continue his work in his steed. 

Henyap To’ flew back with the eggs and told the birds to brood it. Soon enough Kungkakap offspring hatch and started to do their forefathers work, bringing back fruits to the land. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *