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.
This is an old story about crocodiles. It happened many, years ago in the Samarahan River.
There were lots of crocodiles living in that river. The crocodiles were very friendly towards people then. They never ate children. They never took dogs. But one day the crocodiles changed. This is how it happened. One night there was a gendang party in kampong near the Samarahan River. This party was to celebrate the end of harvesting. Many boys went to the gendang party. Among them there were seven strange boys. The people in the kampong wanted to know where they came from. But when the gendang was over, the seven boys quickly left the kampong. One old man thought that these seven boys might be crocodiles. He was not sure about it and he wanted to find out. Held a meeting with the other kampong people. He told them of his plan to find out where the strangers came from. So, one night, they held another gendang party in their kampong. The gendang began and the seven boys came again. The older men quietly left the house. Some of them went to the foot of the hill because they thought the seven boys were from the hill. Some of them went to the river. Soon, they heard people running towards the river. It was the seven boys.
The men hid and waited to see what the boys would do. The seven boys quickly ran into the bushes and then jumped into the river. The men saw them turning into crocodiles! Now they knew who the seven boys were, they believed that the crocodiles could change themselves into people. One man wanted to catch one of the crocodiles and make him stay human. So he held a gendang party. Then he hid near the river and waited. A few minutes later the man saw the water in the river moving.
Seven crocodiles were swimming to the river bank. There they changed themselves into seven boys. They put their crocodiles skins on the branches of a tree. Then they set off to the gendang party. When they had gone, the man took one of the crocodiles’ skin and hid it. The six crocodiles jumped into the river and swam away. Later the boys returned. They picked up their skins and jumped into the river. But one of them could not find it. One of them saw a man’s footprint on the muddy ground. They knew then that a man must have taken the skin. The six crocodiles jumped into the river and swam away.
The last one cried when the others told him to stay as a boy. He did not want to be a boy. He wanted to be crocodile again. He cried and cried. He wanted to see his six brothers, his father and mother again. At last he died of broken heart. They would revenge their brother’s death. From that night crocodiles began to catch and eat human beings. But the six crocodiles only killed the relations of the man who had killed their brother. Since then crocodiles became very dangerous. People could not bathe any more in the river. They could not take water from the river for cooking, drinking and washing. They had to go away from the kampong. But the six crocodiles still continued to take revenge for their brother’s death. They went everywhere seeking the great-great-grandchildren of the man who had killed their brother. And even now, the crocodiles catch and eat people.
The Mountain or hill is a sacred place for most indigenous peoples of Borneo, especially among the Kadazandusuns of Sabah, and the Dayaks of Sarawak and Kalimantan. This is where their ancestors (and thus, they themselves) originated from, and this is the same place where they will go in the after-life. For this reason, these indigenous people are also often refer to as “orang gunung” or “hill people” or sometimes “people from the mountain”. The legendary belief is that the mountain is like their “Heaven” or “Nirvana”, the basis for their ‘temporary’ existence in the present world.