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A TALE FROM THE PADAS RIVER  (Tenom) ( A Murut Folk Tale )

There was once o lonq house in Kampung Tatamuan beside the river Malalap. It was the tradition of the Murut people, that men had to hunt animals for food as a contribution to society.

There was a young hunter among them who went on a hunting trip with other villagers. He had to leave his family and his pregnant wife behind at the long house.

In those days, a hunting trip usually took many weeks, as they had to poach and wait, or very often penetrate far into the jungle.

During their absence, the village folk discovered a python on the bank of the river. They immediately killed it for food. The remains of the skin were used to make big and small drums.

It had been quite a while since the hunting group had left the village and there was still no sign of their return.

Out of boredom, the villagers decided to hold a feast. Feasting was very common amongst them and it was part of their tradition as well. They began to celebrate with meat from this huge python. They had plenty of food to eat and to share.

Usually light entertainment, such as dancing and singing were performed during such a celebration. This was accompanied by playing the drums which were made from the skin of the snake. However, the moment they hit the drums, the cats and dogs began to fight with each other. Even though they tried, but somehow, the villagers could not stop half way during the celebration. They decided to change to the other drums also made from the snake skin.

This time, the sound of the drums caused an evil sort of spell and the villagers started to fight amongst themselves. There was havoc and death and it was a very sad situation. Some of those who were fortunate enough to be alive, escaped the plundering by hiding in the jungle. It so happened that the young hunter's wife also escaped and a short time later gave birth to a child.

Eventually the hunting party returned and they were remorsely disappointed at such misfortune. They decided to go their separate ways and set up families elsewhere. The young hunter took his wife and child and left the village. After a short while, they arrived at a clearing near a river bank. All of a sudden the hunter's dog caught sight of a Tempadau (wild cow) and chased after it, closely followed by the hunter. By now the hunting dog had caught up with the Tempadau which was wading across the river. Suddenly there was a voice from the top of the hill admonishing them to stop their hunt.

The young man, already frustrated with what had happened back at the village, was in no mood for such a warning. He still followed his hunting dog. A bolt of lightning struck, followed by a thun 'en They have unknowingly trespassed onto holy ground and were immediately turned into stones.

Till today the young man is known as the Batu Balingoi. The Tempadau in the middle of the river is called the Batu Masokoh. The wife and child who followed behind are called the Batu Magibah.

This all happened along the Sungai Pagalan and the stones can still be found there in the river at Tenom.


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