Folk tales are mirrors of a people’s soul, distilling the wisdom of generations. Many of the old tales warn the listeners to be respectful of the unseen world around them in the jungle. Mock a spirit, or an animal and disaster will follow! Disobey farming taboos risk a bad harvest, and famine! Neglect the poor and helpless members of your society and the good spirits will avenge these victims!
History is preserved in folk tales. Did the hero Datu Merpati really sail his boat overland from Sambas to Santubong? Was Tugau able to wield a sword when he was newly born? Could Keling fight three sets of wicked giants in one day? Old stories re-tell those feats to impress courage and adventure in the minds of young listeners.
A lot of folk tales are fables. Farcical tales of a stupid hero like Apai Saloi are pure entertainment, some of the earthy kind. They raise a merry laugh among the audience sitting around flickering lamps in the longhouse verandah. These stories are simply too good to be lost!
There is a hidden truth in every story, and a good storyteller can bring it to life! – Heidi Munan,
About the Author
Heidi Munan was born in Switzerland. She relocated to Kuching in 1965 at the age of 24 after marrying a local there. Sarawak has been her beloved home since. Author of more than 20 books, Heidi has spent many years researching the material culture, folklore and history of Sarawak. She is well placed to collect traditional information, and re-write it in a spirited, readable manner.