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March's Borneo Legends & Myths

THE GIANT OF KINORINGAN

Text & Images Courtesy of SarawakAlive!

 

The Headman just stared at the giant

        LONG AGO, in the peaceful village of  Kelawat in Sabah,  there lived an old man and his wife who had no children.  Time after time,  they prayed to Kinoringan (God of the Dusuns) for a child.
        One day, when they were having lunch, a strange light suddenly filled their room.  They were terrified and crept to one corner of the room and closed their eyes tightly.
        A voice said, "Do not be afraid.  I have come to help you.  Kinoringan will give you a child."
        The old man and his wife opened their eyes slowly, thinking they would see a spirit with wings.   But they saw nothing, only the strange light.  "Where....where are you?" said the old man trembling with fear, "and....and how can we have a child?"
        "Do not ask questions, old man,"   said the voice again, "But listen.  You must not let the child  see blood for seven weeks.   Farewell."  The strange light became smaller and smaller until at last it was gone.
        Several months kater, a beautiful baby boy was born to the couple.  Everyone was very happy in the village.  the old man, remembering what the voice had told him, took great care to keep the baby away from blood, and the villagers, who knew about the promise,helped him.
        For six weeks, the baby was well looked after.  On the seventh week, the people who were looking after the baby were not so careful.  While they were busy talking, one of the guards knockesd a jug onto the floor.  It smashed into little pieces near the baby.   One of the sharp bits fell on the baby boy's arm, and cut it.  Blood began to flow down his arm into a pool on the floor.
        The baby saw the blood on its wrist, and suddenly there was a quick flash of lightning, followed by rolling thunder.  It was so sudden that the villagers didn't know what happened.  The people who should have been guarding the baby saw the broken pieces of the jug lying on the floor where they had left the tiny boy.  The baby had gone.   A search for the baby began.  The baby had seen blood-the promise to Kinoringan had been broken and now they would be punished.
        For many days the people of the people of the village lived in fear.  They were afraid of Kinoringan, and how he might punish them.  But, the months passed and nothing happened, and the villagers soon forgot all about it.
        One day, the villagers all came to a meeting in the square.  Suddenly, a man covered with blood pushed through the crowd and ran straight to the headman.  It was Talip, one of the Headman's warriors.
         Talip fell to the ground, breathing hard.   "Talip! Talip!"  cried the Headman, picking him up,  "What has happened?   Where is your brother?  Who did this to you?  Tell me, Talip."
         "A giant . . . . caught Tiap.   I . . . . ugh!"  Talip fell back on the arms of the Headman.  He was dead.  The Headman was puzzled and angry.  Talip and Tiap were his best warriors.
         Next morning, twenty strong men set out with the Headman to search for the giant.
         It was late in the afternoon and the men were tired after walking so many miles through the forest.  They came to a river and decided to rest.
         The Headman suddenly saw a shadow.   A one-eyed giant stood looking down at them.  His eye gleamed.  His teeth were as big as elephants' tusks.  The body was hairy and the finger-nails were like the talons of an eagle, but much bigger.
         For a moment, the Headman just stared at the giant.  Then suddenly, he shouted,  "Run into the forest.   Hurry!"  Some of the men sprang up and ran to the forest with the Headman, but the others were too frightened to move.  The giant swooped down and lifted four of them up-two in each hairy hand.  The monster ate them one by one.
        The others ran back to the village.  Everyone heard how the giant had eaten four of them.   Some decided to move to another village.  The Headman told his people that the giant would kill them if they left their village.  The monster was waiting outside the kampong.
        When the villagers heard this, they stopped packing their belongings.  The Headman was a wise man.  They decided  to listen to his words.
         As time went by, the villagers had less and less food to eat.  They could not hunt in the forest because the giant was there.
         At last the Headman asked the spirit of Libabau to help them.
         The spirit of Libabau heard the Headman's cry for help and came to the village.
         "What help do you need from me?"  asked the spirit.
         The Headman told the spirit about the giant and how they needed food but were too frightened to hunt outside the village.   Then the Headman asked, "Why is the giant here?  Why won't it go away?"

The giant can only be killed when seven
arrows have been shot into its eye

         "I'll tell you,"  said the spirit.  "Kinoringan was very angry with the people of Kelawat.  They did not listen to his warning.  They let the baby boy see blood on the seventh week.   He changed the baby into a giant and sent it back to frighten the people of Kelawat.  But i will help you.  The giant can only be killed when seven arrows have been shot into its eye.  The tip of each arrow must be dipped in a pot of blood seven times.  The blood must come from all the people in this village.  You will find the bow and the seven arrows just outside your village."
        Then the spirit of Libabau left the village.  The Headman took a pot, pricked himself, and a drop of blood fell into the pot.  All the others villagers did the same.
        The next morning, the Headman left the village with the pot of blood.  No one else was brave enough to kill the giant, and anyway he was better at shooting with a bow and arrow than the other villagers.
        He found the bow and seven arrows and walked into the forest.  He came to the place where the giant had eaten the four men.  The Headman felt very, very angry again.   He decided he would not go back to the village until he had killed the giant.   He vowed to destroy the giant or die in the attempt.
        He saw the giant in the afternoon.  It was even more terrible than he remembered.   Quickly dipping one of the arrows seven times into the pot of blood, the Headman shot the arrow at the giant's eye.
        The giant saw the arrow coming and put out his big hairy hand to catch it.  The Headman's heart beat hard.  It would be terrible if the giant caught the arrow.
        But the arrow flew through the gaint's hand. The gaint let out a loud cry of pain as the first arrow hit his eye.
        The giant saw the arrow coming and put out his big hairy hand to catch it. The Headman's heart beat hard. It would be terrible if the giant caught the arrow.
        But the arrow flew throught the giant hand. The giant let out a loud cry of pain as the first arrow hit eye.
        The Headman dipped the second arrow seven times into the pot of blood and shot at the giant. The giant could not stop the arrows no matter what he tried to do. The Headman saw that these were magic arrows! When the last arrow hit the giant's eye, he let out a terrible cry. The Headman stared. The giant was slowly getting smaller. Suddenly the giant was slowly getting smaller. Suddenly the giant had gone.
        The curse of Kinoringan had been broken and the village of Kilowatt was happy again.

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