The Legend of Monsopiad

~ The head hunter ~

In Sabah, there is a legend of head-hunting. Well, that was a few hundreds of years back. One thing that is still exist..... the skull of 42 men. The legend begins.....

His Birth
Monsopiad It is said that when Kizabon was pregnant with Monsopiad, the sacred bird, Bugang made its nest on the rooftop of their house to lay its eggs. The months passed and when the time came for Monsopiad to be born, so too, was the time for the eggs to hatch. Monsopiad's father, Dunggou, looked upon this coincidence as a good omen and a sign that his son would have special powers. Thus, whenever the baby Monsopiad was given his bath, Dunggou brought down the young birds to bathe with him. After which they were returned to their nest. This practice was diligently observed until the birds were finally able to fly and leave the nest.

His Birthplace
Monsopiad was born and brought up in a village called Kuai, where his maternal grandfather was the headman. The village however, did not have enough warriors and was often plundered by robbers. During each attack, the villagers had no choice but to retreat and hide in nearby jungles until it was safe to return to their homes.

His Trainning
As the grandson of the village headman, Monsopiad received special training as a warrior. Monsopiad turned out to be a natural fighter and handled every weapon with ease.

His First Mission
While Monsopiad was tilling his rice field one day, a group of women came to him and started criticising him for working so hard, saying it was a waste of time as most of the fruits of labour would be enjoyed by the robbers who always attack shortly after harvest. The women also ridiculed the men of the village and called them weaklings for not being able to defend their village effectively. Monsopiad, angered by such mockery, made a vow there and then that he would start looking for the robbers the next day and finish them off. He promised to cut off the head of their leader and bring it back to his village as a trophy to be hung from the roof of his house.

Monsopiad said he would bring along three young boys to bear witness to his deed. The boys would also return to Kuai ahead of him to announce his success and herald his impending arrival by blowing on a bamboo trumpet.

Monsopiad said that in response, the women must then put on their best costumes, bear bamboo trays and give him a grand warrior's welcome, failing which he would kill them all. The women promised to do as Monsopiad wished if he succeeded.

Monsopiad's First killing
Monsopiad set out with the three boys early the next morning, in search of the robbers who had been victimising their village. He finally found them five weeks later and a blobby fight ensued. As he had promised, Monsopiad fought the leader of the robbers and beheaded him. Seeing their leader dead, the other robbers fled for their lives. The three boys, who had seen the battle, sped back to Kuai.

When the people of the village heard the bamboo trumpet, they were at first confused and frightened for they had not expected Monsopiad to succeed. The women who had mocked him were terrified for they had never before welcomed a warrior home and remembered Monsopiad's threat to kill them if they did not fulfill his promise.

Fortunately for them, a bobohizan (priestess) knew what they had to do and gave them instructions. The women, bearing bamboo trays and led by the bobohizan, then formed a procession and the entire village joined in. They began singing songs of victory as soon as Monsopiad entered the village.

The sight so inspired Monsopiad that he vowed to wipe out all enemies of his village.

His Death
As the years passed, Monsopiad continued relentlessly with his self-imposed mission and in time, no robber nor evil warrior dared to enter Kuai. He had by then however, become an obsessed person who resorted to provoking other men into fighting him just so he would have an excuse to kill and behead them. This made the other villagers, including Monsopiad's close friends and the other warriors, wary and extremely afraid of him. But a group of brave warriors got together and decided that despite his heroic deeds, Monsopiad's uncontrollable desire to kill had made him a threat to the village.

The warriors made their move while Monsopiad was resting in his house one day. He put up a fierce fight but found that he no longer had the strength he possessed while fighting enemies of his village. Monsopiad realised too late that by abusing the special strength bestowed on him by the sacred bird, Bugang, he had gradually become a common man. Monsopiad lost his life that day but the villagers still held him dearly in their hearts for he was alter all, the man who had vanquished their enemies. He had, in all, collected the heads of 42 powerful warriors, a feat which no other man could equal.

They forgave Monsopiad for his mistakes and in memory of his good deeds, the villagers erected a monument in his honour and renamed the village after him.

This page was created on 1 March 1998 03:00.

Copyright © 1998 by Leonard Ng Sze Lung (NH901933).
All rights reserved.