(This is the beginning of our Tuesday Tales, where we highlight folklores from indigenous communities from all across Borneo. These are stories personally shared with us. We strive to translate and edit it to the best of our capabilities for your enjoyment)
Origin: Kayan (Tubau)
As told by : Hureng Emang
Transcribed & Translated by : Adrian Jo Milang
Sketch/Drawing by: Loretta Livan Milang
One day, Ditut, an orphan child who lived with his mother in a farm hut, went to look for durians together, for it was the fruit season. So they made their way to the farm, and saw many durians had fallen on the ground and started eating as they collected the fruits. His mother only had three while he ate the most. But he was not satisfied yet.
He looked up a durian tree and saw more ripe fruits and started to climb the tree. When he reached the top, he started to peel the fruits open and ate them all, throwing down the skins and shells for his mother below. Having his uncontrolled hunger satisfied, he was then full up to his neck.
He cried out to his mother below, “Mother, I am too full, I do not know how to get down from here!”
His mother replied “Look at the ants and imitate how they climb down”.
He looked for ants on the tree and imitated them, he climbed down head first, and fell down hitting the ground.
He said to his mother again, “Mother I am too full and I can’t move!”
His mother then dragged him with a rattan and pushed him into the river nearby to ease his full stomach. When he felt better, his mother picked him up out of the river and carried him in her ingen (back-basket).
Before they made their way home, he told his mother “When we pass by the young girl’s hut later, if they ask you what you’re carrying, tell them you’re carrying nothing but vegetables for breakfast in the morning, and for dinner later in the evening”.
And then he continued “When we pass the elder women’s hut tell them – it’s Ditut the glutinous, who ate durians as far as a walking distance, it’s Ditut the ever hungry who ate every durian on the trees!”
So they made their way home as he hid in his mother’s ingen, passing by the young girl’s hut first. They called out to Ditut’s mother and say “What are you carrying, dear mother?”
She replied, “It’s Ditut the glutinous who ate durians as far as a walking distance, it’s Ditut the ever hungry who ate every durian on the trees!”
The young girls giggled and laughed to Ditut’s dismay. He scratched his mother’s back in anger and annoyance. Then as they continued their journey, they passed by the elder women’s hut, and they called out to his mother “What are you carrying, my dear lady?”
She replied, “Oh nothing but vegetables for breakfast in the morning, and for dinner later in the evening”.
Annoyed once more, he scratched his mother’s back in fury.
Finally they reached home, and the poor lady’s back scarred from Ditut’s scratching. Ditut expressed in frustration “That was not how and what I told you to say to whom!”
His mother smiled at him cheekily.
The moral to this story as shared by our elders:
Live life modestly and in humility, or one shall suffer the embarrassment or loss.
Edited to suit younger audience, without changing the context of the original version.
For non-commercial replication, kindly credit the website, storyteller and translator.
For commercialisation opportunities, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.