Tuesday Tales #8: Yapudep

Tuesday Tales #8: Yapudep
(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)

As told by: Rose Belare
Origin: Kenyah Jamok, Long Tungan, Baram
Edited by: Adrian Jo Milang & Juvita Tatan Wan
Sketch by: Loretta Livan Milang 

This is a story from the times of old, when we were still living in the heart of the rainforest, by the rivers and hills. A pastime, for whence the adults, parents alike went to the fields for senguyon (communal farming), a babysitter would be appointed to take care of the children left at the longhouse.

It was created around the children’s imagination to keep them at bay. Once they are all gathered together, the babysitter begins to tell the tale, one of which is called Yapudep (Firefly), reimagined as a small kid. 

One day, there is this insect called Yapudep. Of all the other insects, he was dirty, smelly and naughty. He did not like taking baths and when he played around with the other children, he would beat and bully them. Many disliked him because of this behaviour, yet he still did so.

Every now and then, kids loved to stay over at their friend’s room for the night. Like the others, so did Yapudep. So he flew from room to room, inviting himself in.

As he flew his wings made a sound that goes “Yapudep sekempop empop empop”. 

(Now, the number of rooms differ in each tale, according to the number of children listening. If there were ten of them, there shall be ten in the tale.) 

Back to the tale.

So, as Yapudep flew, he arrived at the first room then asked his ‘friend’, “May I stay here and sleep with you tonight?”. The children answered, “No! We do not want you to sleep with us because you are smelly!”

Dejected, he then flew to another room as his wings flapped “yapudep sekempop empop empop”.

When he arrived he then asked, “May I sleep here with you tonight?”.

Again he was refused. “No! We do not want you to sleep with us because you are naughty!”  

He went on to other rooms and was answered the same, until he flew to the last one.

This time he was answered. “Our room is not big enough for us all, but if you do not mind sleeping in the bathroom you are welcome to stay!” 

So, he was invited in and went to the bathroom.

Shortly after he settled in, he collapsed and fell through the cracks, under the longhouse – where the pigs, chickens and dogs were. The animals started chased after him, thinking that he was food. 

He flew and flew, crying, and kept flying away till sunrise. 

Moral of the story:
Treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. And maintain good personal hygiene!

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