Folklore. The Wonderful Dog.

Apero Fublic.- Believe it or not, people say that in the village of Sambulu in central Kalimantan there still lives a group of people who are physically somewhat different from other villagers. At the age of the fifty, the backbone of a man belonging to this group protrudes as much as the length of two fingers, rather like the tail of dog.

On both sides of a woman's breast there appear five, six or seven pairs of black dots reminiscent of the nipples of a dog. This group of people is said to be descendants of a wonderful dog, about whom a story has been handed down from generation in Kalimantan. The tale goes as follows.

Surrounded by trees in central Kalimantan, there was once a village called Tangkahen, where Bagalah, the head of the village, lived with his wonderful dog. In appearance this animal looked just the same as any other dog, except that he was bigger and more intelligent. But there was something strange about him, for, unlike other dogs, he had the ability to go hunting on his own and to kill birds in flight only by barking.

Whenever he came backfrom hunting, Bagalah shared the gains with his fellow-villagers; similarly, whenever the dog barked, birds that happened to be flying in his vicinity would fall down dead and then be distributed among the people. Never being short of meat, as this was provided by the dog, the people were grateful to both, to the dog as well as to Bagalah, and therefore they had come to love them both.

One day, it happened that a strange-looking pig passed through the village. This pig was known as Bawoi Amai Ueng, and had extremely big legs, the hoofs of which were not split like those of ordinary pigs; also her snout was as large as a drum. Before the animal reached the village, she had already crossed over seversl streams and now she was running eastwards.

Bagalah's dog caught sight of her and  ran after her. Using all her power, she at last arrived at the bank of Lake Sambuluh; the very spot where she was standing bore the name of Pukang Pahewan. the pig then stood still, as if thinking what to do.

"Shall I try to cross it? But it is impossible. it is too wide a lake!. The dog, however, was at her heels, so to hesitate meant death for her. Hence, with no choice left, she jumped into the water in an attempt to save her life.

When the dog reached the spot, he saw the pig swimming as hard as he could to reach the other side of the lake. The dog apparently did not dare to swim, for he  just howled incessantly. All of a sudden a storm gathered in the sky.

Shortly afterwards, lightning flashed as if seeking to cleave the earth in two; the thunder roared, the wind blew hard, rain began to fall, and the waves on the lake grew high. The pig turned to stone, while the dog changed into a human being. The spot a called Pukang Pahewan became a big village, which was later given the name of Rangkang.

In the meantime, Bagalah was waiting in vain for the return of his dog.

"Where can he be? He has never stayed away for such a long time. he said to himself. As the dog still did not appear, Bagalah made up his mind to search for him. He strode through the forests, walked over mountains and streams, and at last arrived at the village of Duhian Kait.

"Hello! Can you tell me anything about a dog that one day ran after pig? "He asked the people living there. No one could give him any information about the dog. But they mentioned the village of Rangkang, which had come into existence in a strange way. So Bagalah set off for Rangkang and there he stayed with the head of the village, who was called Rendan Tingang.

"Friend, do you know anything about a dog running after a strange pig one day? he asked. Rendan Tingang himself could not help Bagalah with information about the dog, but he asked him to stay with him for sometime.

One day, Bagalah was sitting in his boat and Rendan Tingang was repairing the roof of his house. Bagalah was in a sad mood as he still could not find his dog. To comfort himself , he took out of his bag the dish that he used to use when feeding the dog.

"It is lucky that I have this dish to remind me of my dog. he whispered. In the past he used only to tap on it and the dog would approach him. This time, as he played with it, he happened to tap on it.

"Look! said a voice, and Rendan Tingang unexpectedly jumped from the roof. Instantly he had a tail, and then his feet changed into legs. This went on until he was completely a dog.

"Good heavens! shouted Bagalah. It is my dog!.

Great was Bagalah's surprise, but greater his joy, when he discovered that his dog had once had the shape of a human being. At the same time, great was the astonishment of Rendan Tingang's wife when she saw that her husband had changed into a dog.

"Heavens! I'll never get him back again. Lost for ever. she cried. However, Bagalah took pity on her and promised to care for her and her two children. After wards he married her and had a child by her. They would have lived happily ever after if Bagalah had not become homesick after some years had passed.

"Wife. he said one day. I'm going home. He wanted to return to his village by boat and so he cut down a big tree to build one. As he was working, using a piece of wood to hammer the end of his chisel, another strange thing happened. Every time the wood struck the chisel, the dog barked. At first Bagalah did not pay any heed to it, but as the dog kept barking he became surprised and finally annoyed.

"You terrible dog! he shouted. In vexation he threw the piece of wood at the dog; it struck the animal's head and cleft it in two.

"What have I done? Bagalah cried. He was shocked at seeing the outcome of his hasty action; he had never meant to kill his feet dog, whom he had cared for and had searched for everywhere. Now he was dead! Tears ran down Bagalah's cheeks. But then through his tears he saw something glittering in the open wound on the dog's head. Looking closely, he discovered seven diamonds, each the size of a grain of corn. To the piece of wood that had struck the dog's head adhered a diamond as big as a dove's egg.

"Strange!. he whispered to himself. Then it dawned on him what the dog had been crying for.

"You good and faithful animal!. he said. Bagalah buried the dog in the same way he would have treated a human corpse. Sometime later he gathered the bones in a coffin made of teak-wood and richly furnished with ornaments. The diamonds he left to his wife and her children, and then he set out for his home village.

But the coffin turned out to be a strange one. whenever there was an evil spirit present, the coffin barked. One day when Darung Bawan, the king of all ghosts was in a rage, he pulled out the pillar placed beneath the coffin and threw it into the lake, where it stuck in the vicinity of the stone pig and where it can still be seen nowadays in Lake Sambuluh.

Oleh. Dra. S. D. B. Aman.
Rewrite: Apero Fublic.
Editor. Selita. S. Pd.
Sumber . S. D. B. Aman. Folk Tales From Indonesia. Djambatan. Jakarta, 1995.

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