The magician of Sarawak

In Sarawak, long, long ago, there were two Dayaks called Simpurai and Laja. One day, they were bathing in a stream. They left their clothes on the bank. They did not know that an­other man, Apai Aloi, was watching them from behind a tree. When they were not looking, he ran out and stole their clothes. He hid them under some bushes.
When Simpurai and Laja had finished their bath, they weresurprised to find that their clothes were missing.
"Who could have taken them?" Simpurai asked. "Listen! Who's that coming?"
It was Apai Aloi. He stopped when he saw them. "Well, well,what's the trouble?"
The two young men told him that they had lost their clothes.
"Leave it to me," Apai Aloi said' "I can find them for you. Didn't you know that I am a magician? If I think about it to­night before I sleep, I'm sure I shall be able to see in a dream where your clothes are."
They all went home to Apai Aloi's house where they stayed the night. Next morning, Apai Aloi told Simpurai and Laja to follow him. He pointed to the bushes behind which he had hidden their clothes. 'That's where your clothes are," he said. "I saw them there in my dream last night."
Simpurai and Laja were very impressed. "You're really a re­markable magician," they said. "You must let us give you some­thing in return."
Apai Aloi shrugged. "I'm not very interested in money," he said.
"Then let's give you ajar"' the young man said. "It's a very valuable old Chinese jar." (To this day, old jars of this kind are very valuable in Sarawak.) They gave him a jar worth nearly two hundred dollars.
Apai Aloi danced all the way home with it. He showed it proudly to his wife and family. Soon all his neighbours beard about it and he became famous as a magician.
Before long, a man of another village lost his diamond ring.Apai Aloi was called in to find it for him. When he arrived at the village, some men asked to speak to him privately.
“We know that you're a clever man so before you find out for yourself we'd like to tell you that we found the ring on the road where it had been dropped. What shall we do?"
"You'd better hand it over to me."
Apai Aloi thenhid the ring in a well opposite the house ofthe man who had lost it.
That night, the man gave him a big dinner which all the vil­lagers attended. The celebrations went on until late at night.
When Apai Aloi got up the next morning, he cried out. "I know where the ring is! It's in the well in front of your house. I saw it in a dream last night."
Then the owner of the ring ran to the well and looked down inside it. He could see his diamond ring twinkling like a star in the water. He dived into the water and brought it out.
"You're really the best magician in Sarawak," he said."Please let me know what your fee is."
"My usual fee is a jar," replied Apai Aloi.
And then a very old man came up to him. The old man looked at him for a long time. He then said, slowly and clearly, "If you tell lies, God will punish you."
"I don't know what you mean," Apai Aloi answered. He hur­ried home but the old man shouted after him, "You'd better run. Your enemies are following you." Apai Aloi ran as hard as he could but lie tripped over a root. The jar was broken.
When he reached his house, he covered his head with a blanket. His wife asked him what was the matter.
"I was given a very large jar but an old man told me that myenemies were chasing me. So I ran and fell over and broke the jar. I'm going to sue the old man in front of the king tomorrow. "
When the king heard the case the next day, Apai Aloi said, "Your Majesty, I am a professional magician. I was asked to at­tend an important case. My fee was a jar. As I was going home afterwards, the old man told me that my enemies were chasing me. I believed biro, so I ran as fast as I could. Then I fell down and broke the jar. When I turned round, there was no one fol­lowing me."
The king asked the old man what he wanted to say.
"Yes, Your Majesty, what Apai Aloi says is true. Iadmit that I deceived him. But I wanted to teach him a good lesson and do to him what he did to others. He is not a magician. I saw him hide the diamond ring in the well. And the men who handed over the ring to him saw him do so too."
The king asked the men who had given the ring to Apai Aloi. They agreed that what the old man had said was correct.
The king stood up. "I dismiss the case," he said to Apai Aloi. "If you tell lies and deceive people, you must be ready to face the consequences."

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