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May's Borneo Legends & Myths

THE ORIGIN OF RICE

Text & Images Courtesy of SarawakAlive!

 

IN ANCIENT TIMES MAN had no rice with which to still the pangs of hunger, but had to live from wild fruits and flesh of wild animals.  It is true that the rice plants were there, but at this time the ears were empty, and naturally no food could be obtained from them.

One day, Bambarazon (the Goddess of Mercy) saw how difficult men's lives were and how they were always hungry.   Her compassionate heart was touched and she decided to help them.  One evening she secretly slipped down the fields and pressed her breasts with one hand until her milks flowed into the ears of rice.  She squeezed and squeezed until there was no more milk left, but all the ears were not filled; so she pressed once more with all her might, and a mixture of blood and milk came out.  Now her task was completed, and man had rice to eat.  The white grains are those that were made from Bambarazon's milk, and the ruddy red ones are those that were formed out of the mixture of her milk and blood.

From generation and to the present day, every Dusun or Kadazan celebrates the "Modsurung", which is known today as the Harvest Festival, in memory of the great Goddess of Mercy.

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