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( A Kadazan Folk Tale ) 

Tareb, the son of the god Kineringan wanted to marry another god's daughter. However, he was restricted because he could not deliver the 'Barian' (dowry) to heaven. The dowry had to be obtained from the earth.

He was very upset and disappointed. He thought of a plan which involved swallowing the moon. Once he had done that, there was darkness on earth and the people began to worry and became afraid. They thought that they had offended the gods and decided to hold a feast.

They prepared all kinds of food, gathered their gongs, drums, jars of wine, items of jewellery and beads, dressed in traditional costumes and began to celebrate. They danced and sang, beat the gongs and slaughtered animals as a sacrifice to please the heavenly deity.

Tareb, on seeing such delighfful sights, began to savour the spirit of their celebration and, having forgotten all about the moon in his mouth, he accidentally opened his mouth and released the moonlight again.

Tareb, by this time, was so engrossed with delight at the sight of the barian, consisting of the gongs, musical instruments and jewellery, that he could not care less what happened to the moon. He had got what he wanted and was able to marry his loved one.

The people on earth were even happier at the sight of the moonlight.

The story goes even today, that whenever there is an eclipse, the folk still adhere to the traditional ways of bringing back the moon by celebrating to appease the spirits, same as they had done in the past.


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