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How Apai Saloi, the trickster, makes Loki look like a noob

During a particularly fruitful durian season, Tambap or better known as Apai Saloi made plenty of tempoyak (fermented durian) with his family.

Looking at their work, Apai Saloi had an idea of selling their tempoyak to the people who lived up and down the Gelong River.

He told Indai Saloi (whose name was Chelegit) of his plan. But before he set out, he put dung below the tempoyak in all of his jars. He thought the smell must be similar, and that he would be able to sell more.

Satisfied with his handiwork, he went out to sell his tempoyak to those living in the longhouses along Gelong river.

As his longboat approached the longhouses, he began to call loudly to the people in their longhouses to come and buy his tempoyak.

Excited, for it is a family favourite even to this day, many came down to buy the tempoyak from Apai Saloi.

Apai Saloi’s fraud is uncovered

He even went as far up as Keling’s house at Panggau Libau located in the headwaters of the Gelong river. Apai Saloi’s trickery didn’t go unnoticed for long, the women discovered the dung in Apai Saloi’s tempoyak and were outraged, telling their husbands about Apai Saloi’s fraud.

In their anger, the men rushed down from the longhouse to catch him.

After they caught him, Simpurai (one of Keling’s first cousins and his head warriors) ordered Apai Saloi to be put in an iron cage to wait for his punishment.

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Three days later, the people of Panggau Libau decided to take Apai Saloi downriver to throw him into the water while he still in the cage.

When they came to Lubok Wong Dalam Nerajang, a deep pool of water, they went to a nearby longhouse to inform them of what they were about to do, leaving their boat with Apai Saloi in the cage.

More victims of Apai Saloi’s fraud

When he was left alone in the boat, a man named Sabungkok came sailing down towards Apai Saloi’s boat.

Sabungkok asked him what he was doing inside the cage.

“I will go into this water to see my deceased parents and relatives in the other world,” Apai Saloi answered.

Hearing this, Sabungkok also said that he would like to meet his deceased relatives.

Apai Saloi saw his chance for escape, telling Sabungkok, “If you want to see them like me, then open this cage and come inside with me.”

Believing Apai Saloi, the poor man quickly opened the door and entered the cage.

After he had entered, Apai Saloi left and sailed away in Sabungkok’s longboat.

Shortly after Apai Saloi left, Simpurai and his friends came to the boat. They threw the cage into the water, thinking Apai Saloi was inside it.

Some weeks later, Apai Saloi accidentally bumped into Simpurai and his friends.

They were surprised to see him alive. Again, Apai Saloi took this opportunity to trick them yet again. He told them he had met his parents and other dead relatives in the other world but was able to return safely to this world.

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After listening to this, many wanted to see their dead families and friends just like Apai Saloi claimed to have done.

Many cages were made for the people who wanted to be thrown into the river. Unfortunately, all of them were drowned.

Many drowned believing in Apai Saloi’s lies.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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