Tuesday Tales #27 : Oyou Ovi

Reading Time: 12 minutes

Origin : Penan Community, Be Perau, Silat, Baram
As told by : Ding Usang
Translated and transcribed by : Jayl Langub
Edited by : Adrian Jo Milang
Sketch by : Loretta Livan 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)

(15 minutes read)

There lived Oyau Ovi. He lived with his sister. Oyau Ovi was fond of hunting. One day he went to the forest to hunt wild boar. While walking he saw a Flyeater (bird).

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Flyeater.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” replied Oyau Ovi.

“Why don’t you blowpipe me?” asked the Flyeater.

“Are you fat? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Well, Oyau Ovi, I don’t have fat that thick, for my body is not even as big as the head of a notched-log ladder,” replied the Flyeater.

Then he walked and saw a Plain Pygmy Squirrel, digging into a tree. Its body lie prostrate on the branch.

“What are you doing, Oyau Ovi?” asked the Plain Pygmy Squirrel.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” replied Oyau Ovi.

“Why don’t you blowpipe me?” asked the Plain Pygmy Squirrel.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Well, Oyau Ovi, I don’t have fat that thick, for my body is not even as big as the head of a notched-log ladder,” replied the Plain Pygmy Squirrel.

Then he walked on and saw a Four-Striped Ground Squirrel.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Four-Striped Ground Squirrel.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” replied Oyau Ovi.

“Why don’t you blowpipe me?” asked the Four-Striped Ground Squirrel.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Not only is my fat not as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder, my body is not even as big as a notched-log ladder,” said the Four-Striped Ground Squirrel.

“Well, in that case, I don’t want to blowpipe you because your fat is not as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder. I only want to blowpipe an animal that has fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder,” said Oyau Ovi.

Then Oyau Ovi walked on and saw the Giant Squirrel.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Giant Squirrel.

“Well, I am looking for a game for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Why don’t you blowpipe me?” asked the Giant Squirrel.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Well, I don’t have fat that is as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder. My body is not even as big as the head of a notched-log ladder,” replied the Giant Squirrel.

Then he walked and he saw the Small-Toothed Palm Civet.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Small-Toothed Palm Civet.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” replied Oyau Ovi.

“Why don’t you blowpipe me?” asked the Small-Toothed Palm Civet.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Well, I don’t have that much fat, Oyau Ovi, but during the fruit season you can see traces of fat when you cook me. In fact, during the fruit season, I can store fat in my skin,” replied the Small-Toothed Palm Civet.

“I don’t think I want to blowpipe you. I am looking for a wild boar that has fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder,” said Oyau Ovi.

Then he walked on and saw the Masked Palm Civet.

“What are you doing, Oyau Ovi?” asked the Masked Palm Civet.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” replied Oyau Ovi.

“Blowpipe me, then,” said the Masked Palm Civet.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“I am not fatty. I have a little fat deep in my flesh,” replied the Masked Palm Civet.

“In that case, I am not going to blowpipe you, if you don’t have a lot of fat. If I blowpipe, your fat must be as thick as the head of the notched-log ladder,” said Oyau Ovi.

As he proceeded on, he saw the Bearcat.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Bearcat.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” replied Oyau Ovi.

“Blowpipe me, if you are really looking for a game,” said the Bearcat.

“Why? Do you have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Ah, I am not fat now, but during the fruit season I do have some fat,” replied the Bearcat.

“Then I don’t want to blowpipe you,” said Oyau Ovi.

After meeting the Bearcat he saw the Grey Leaf Monkey.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Grey Leaf Monkey.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Then why don’t you blowpipe me?” said the Grey Leaf Monkey.

“Why? Do you have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Well, I am not fatty, but I have a little fat,” said the Grey Leaf Monkey.

“Well, I don’t want to blowpipe you. I will only blowpipe an animal that has fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder,” said Oyau Ovi.

He left and saw the Bornean Gibbon.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Bornean Gibbon.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Why don’t you blowpipe me?” asked the Bornean Gibbon.

“Why? Do you have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Well, I don’t have that much fat. I have a little fat, enough for one meal. My fat is not as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder,” said the Bornean Gibbon.

“Well, I don’t think I will blowpipe you,” said Oyau Ovi.

From there he walked and saw the Red Leaf Monkey.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Red Leaf Monkey.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Blowpipe me then,” said the Red Leaf Monkey.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“No, I am not fatty. My fat is the same as that of the Grey Leaf Monkey.

There is little fat in my stomach,” said the Red Leaf Monkey.

“Well, I don’t think I will blowpipe you. If you had fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder, then I would blowpipe you,” said Oyau Ovi.

Then he walked on and saw another climbing animal, the Pig-Tailed Macaque.

The Pig-Tailed Macaque asked the same question as asked by the other animals. So did all the other climbing animals such as the Long-Tailed Macaque.

He walked on and saw the Sun Bear.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Sun Bear.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“In that case, Oyau Ovi, blowpipe me,” said the Sun Bear.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notch-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“No, I don’t have much fat,” said the Sun Bear.

“Then I won’t blowpipe you. If I blowpipe you, I must make sure that you have fat as thick as the notched-log ladder,” said Oyau Ovi.

From there he walked on and met the Barking Deer. The Barking Deer did not have fat as thick as the notched-log ladder.

Then he met the Sambar Deer.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Sambar Deer.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Then why don’t you blowpipe me?” said the Sambar Deer.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“No, I don’t have much fat, but I have a lot of meat because I am big. If you take me you will have meat to eat for a long time,” said the Sambar Deer.

“Well, I am not looking for meat; I am looking for fat,” said Oyau Ovi.

After that he met a Tembadau.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Tembadau.

“Well, I am looking for a game for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Well, blowpipe me then,” said the Tembadau.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“No, Oyau Ovi, I don’t have that much fat. I am larger than the Sambar Deer. If you take me you can have meat for a long time”, said the Tembadau.

“Well, I don’t think I will blowpipe you. I am hunting for fat,” said Oyau Ovi.

From there he walked on and saw the Rhinoceros.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Rhinoceros.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal”, said Oyau Ovi.

“Blowpipe me then,” said the Rhinoceros.

“Why? Do you have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Well, no. My fat is as thick as that of the Sambar Deer and the Tembadau. I don’t have much fat, but I am large. If you take me, my meat will last you one month,” said the Rhinoceros.

“No, I don’t want to take you. I am only interested in fat so that I can use it for a long time,” said Oyau Ovi.

“I will not blowpipe you,” said Oyau Ovi.

“That’s fine with me,” said the Rhinoceros.

From there he walked on and saw the Wild Boar.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Wild Boar.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Blowpipe me then,” said the Wild Boar.

“Why? Do you have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Well, I don’t have that much fat. My fat is only about one inch thick,” said the Wild Boar.

“If I blowpipe you, you must have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder,” said Oyau Ovi.

He walked from there, and saw another Wild Boar.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Wild Boar.

“Well, I am looking for a game for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Blowpipe me then,” said the Wild Boar.

“Why? Do you have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“I don’t have that much fat, my fat is two inches thick,” said the Boar.

“No, I am not interested in two inches of fat. I want fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder,” said Oyau Ovi.

He walked from there, and saw another Wild Boar.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Wild Boar.

“Well, I am looking for a game for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“In that case, why don’t you blowpipe me?” asked the Wild Boar.

“Why? Do you have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“No, I don’t have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder; my fat is three inches thick,” said the Wild Boar.

“That’s not enough. I want fat that is as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Well, I just wanted to let you know, Oyau Ovi, in case you were interested,” said the Wild Boar.

From there he walked on and saw another Wild Boar.

“What are you doing Oyau Ovi?” asked the Wild Boar.

“Well, I am looking for a game for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Blowpipe me, if you are looking for a wild boar,” said the Wild Boar.

“Why? Is your fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Well, I don’t have that much fat; but I do have five inches of fat,” said the Wild Boar.

“Well, I don’t want to blowpipe you if you don’t have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder,” said Oyau Ovi.

From there he walked on and saw Avung, the King of Wild Boar, he much larger than the other wild boars

“What are you doing, Oyau Ovi?” asked Avung.

“Well, I am looking for a game, for a red-coloured animal,” said Oyau Ovi.

“In that case, take me,” said Avung.

“Why? Do you have fat as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“Yes, my fat is as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder,” said Avung.

Then Oyau Ovi stripped fat off the Avung, but he did not kill the Avung. He just stripped the fat from the skin of the Avung. Then he went home.

He and her sister did not have knives, big or small, as the knives were all taken by Ukun Pengate, the Giant. All the people in their longhouse had been killed by the giant. The only survivors were Oyau Ovi and his sister.

The name of Oyau Ovi’s sister is Utan.

“How are we going to eat this game? We don’t have a cutting knife; we don’t have a cooking pot as everything has been taken by the Giant,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Well, we can’t do anything about that, we have to go ask the Giant for a cooking pot,” said Utan.

“How do we do that?” asked Oyau Ovi.

“If we ask the Giant, we might end up being eaten by him,” said Utan.

“I don’t think he will eat us. If he comes to eat us, we can throw some of this blood at him,” said Oyau Ovi.

Then his sister asked for a cooking pot, a big knife, and a small knife.

“Granduncle, I have come to borrow a cooking pot, a big knife, and a small knife. We, my brother and I, want to cut some tapioca leaves,” said Utan.

“Oh, grandniece, I have plenty. I have plenty of big knives, small knives, and cooking pots. I don’t think you are preparing tapioca leaves. I am sure you have caught something huge,” said the Giant.

“No, it’s not an animal. Do you think we can catch an animal?” said Utan.

“Take whatever you want, grandniece. I have plenty of knives, big and small,” said the Giant.

Utan took a cooking pot and knives, both big and small. Then Oyau Ovi stripped the animal.

“Oh, I broke a knife,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Oh, don’t worry, I have plenty,” said the Giant.

Oyau Ovi got another knife from the Giant and hid the other. Then, he pretended to strip the animal.

“Oh, I broke another knife,” said Oyau Ovi.

He hid the knife and took another. He did this many times with both big and small knives. Then they cooked some of the meat. The cooking pot was huge and so was the animal. It was truly fat. The fat was as thick as the head of a notched-log ladder. They cooked. The meat was not yet cooked, but the Giant came and ate it. He finished all the meat in the huge cooking pot in one mouthful.

“If this is the way things are going, how are we going to have anything to eat,” whispered Oyau Ovi to her sister.

“How are we going to please him?” asked Utan to her brother.

“Granduncle, we know of a demon, and I, your grandnephew, am so afraid of it,” said Oyau Ovi to the Giant.

“Why are you afraid of it, grandnephew?” asked the Giant.

“We are so afraid of it. It talks a lot,” said the two of them, the brother and sister.

“Oh, that demon, my grandchildren, I am also a demon. The demon from the back of the sky, the demon underneath the earth, the demon from the river mouth, I can eat them all. I am not afraid of any demon. It’s all right, don’t be afraid,” said the Giant.

“Well, it’s like this, Granduncle. This demon is invisible; you can’t see it, only hear it’s voice,” said the two of them.

“If we go there, the demon will go there. If we hide there it knows where we hide,” continued the two of them.

“In that case, my grandchildren, I don’t think I understand this demon because, I don’t know what it looks like,” said the Giant.

“That’s why we are so afraid. We can’t see its body, we can only hear its voice around us,” said the brother and sister.

The brother and sister discussed a plot.

“If the Giant hides in the bamboo clump on the river bank, you call out ‘in the bamboo, in the bamboo’. If he hides behind the leaf wall of the longhouse, you call ‘behind the wall, behind the wall’. If he goes to the longhouse gallery, you call out‘in the gallery, in the gallery’. If he goes inside the room, you call ‘inside the room!inside the room!’,” said Oyau Ovi to his sister. If he goes to the top of the roof, you call out ‘on the rooftop, on the rooftop’,”continued Oyau Ovi instructing his sister.

Then Utan hid herself. The Giant was looking after the cooking pot, cooking the wild boar.

“I know where you are! I know where you are!” came the voice of Utan.

“Granduncle, that’s the voice I was referring to,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Grandchild, where should I go?” asked the Giant.

“Why don’t you hide in the bamboo clump,” said Oyau Ovi.

He hid in the bamboo clump.

“In the bamboo clump! In the bamboo clump!” said the voice.

“Granduncle, it knows where you are,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Grandchild, where should I go?” said the Giant.

“Why don’t you hide behind the leaf wall of the longhouse,” said Oyau Ovi.

He hid behind the leaf wall of the longhouse.

“Behind the leaf wall! Behind the leaf wall!” said the voice.

“Grandchild, where should I go?” asked the Giant.

“I also don’t know, granduncle,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Why don’t you hide in the gallery of the longhouse,” continued Oyau Ovi.

He went inside the gallery.

“In the gallery! In the gallery!” said the voice.

“Grandchild, where should I go?” asked the Giant.

“I don’t know, granduncle,” said Oyau Ovi.

“Why don’t you hide in the room?” continued Oyau Ovi.

Then he hid in the room.

“In the room! In the room!” said the voice.

“Grandchild, that’s its voice again. ‘In the room’, it says,” said the Giant.

“Where should I hide?” asked the Giant.

The plot was working. Oyau Ovi didn’t hide all the knives without a reason. Oyau Ovi took the knives that he said he broke. He planted them, with their sharp edges pointing upward, all around the longhouse. This was a trap.

“In that case, granduncle, why don’t you climb up to the rooftop,” said Oyau Ovi.

Then the Giant climbed the longhouse, to the rooftop.

“On the rooftop! On the roof top!” said the voice.

“Grandchild, where should I go?” asked the Giant.

Then the Giant fell off the rooftop. He fell onto the sharp knives planted all around the longhouse, and was killed.

“That serves you right!” said Oyau Ovi.

The Giant, that had killed all the people in the longhouse, died.

“Now, you are dead,” said Oyau Ovi over the dead body of the Giant.

From then on the new people of the longhouse lived peacefully, with no Giant to threaten them.

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