Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Legend of Lake Chini


Local legend tells a tale of a wandering group of Jakun tribesmen who cleared the land to grow food crops. During their labour, an old woman appeared who proclaimed that she was the rightful owner of the land and that her permission should have been sought before any trees were felled. The Jakun humbly apologised, whereupon the woman allowed the men to continue their work. Before departing, however, she planted her walking stick in the ground as a mark of her ownership, telling the men never to remove it.
The men continued with their work, but some time later they heard one of their dogs barking and snarling at a decaying log. One of the Jakun threw his stick at the log, but immediately a torrent of blood issued from the log causing the man to run back to his friends in fear. His friends thought he was possessed by demons and tried to keep away from him. However, the barking continued so the entire tribe returned to investigate the log. A spreading pool of blood had formed around the log.



In fear they hurled their own sticks at the sight, whereupon a dark cloud gathered in the sky. The thunder roared, the lightning flashed and a torrent of rain fell from the sky. The men grabbed their belongings and ran for cover, but in the chaos one of them pulled the old woman's stick from the ground - the very stick which they had been warned not to touch. Immediately a fountain of water poured from the hole made by the stick. The water flowed for many years, thereby creating the lake of Tasik Chini. The tribe realised then that the log was actually the dragon called Naga Seri Gumum.



Of course, no magical lake would be complete without stories of a resident monster or a long-lost, sunken city. So, Tasik Chini has both ! Much like the famous Loch Ness, a serpent-like monster is reputed to make the lake its home. More seriously, there are theories that an ancient Khmer city once existed in the vicinity which has prompted archaeological studies of the lake and its surrounds.

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