Sang Kancil, the Clever Mouse Deer

Sang Kancil, the Clever Mouse Deer

31 March 2016,   By ,   0 Comments

A Tale from Malaysia and Indonesia

As retold by Duniya Ku

Long, long ago, deep in the forest in the Malay Peninsula, there lived a tiny mouse-deer named Sang Kancil. Despite his size, he was spunky and clever, and all the other animals respected him.

Sang Kancil loved to eat tropical fruits ~ Rambutan, Durian, Mangosteen, and his favorite one of all was the Jambu Air (water apples).

On one hot afternoon, Sang Kancil was foraging for fruits in the forest when he felt thirsty, and so he went down to the river to drink. When he reached there, he saw a tree on the opposite side, full of ripe and juicy water apples.

“Yay, jambu air!” Sang Kancil squealed with delight. “But how do I get across? The river is wide and deep, and I can’t swim. I will surely drown!” he pondered aloud.

A crocodile, who was taking a nap nearby, awoke when he heard Sang Kancil’s voice.

“Sang Kancil! Why are you making so much noise?! I am trying to get some sleep!” said the crocodile.

In his excitement at seeing the fruit tree, Sang Kancil did not notice the sleeping crocodile. He was startled at first but quickly recovered, and decided to trick the crocodile.

“Ah, there you are Sang Buaya! I have called you many times. You must be deaf!” Sang Kancil bravely replied.

“Well, I am here now! What do you want from me?!” The crocodile was obviously annoyed with the little mouse-deer.

“Oh, but I don’t want anything from you, Sang Buaya. I am here on the Sultan’s orders. His Majesty has ordered me to count the number of crocodiles in this river. There will be a big reward for each of you if you help me.” Sang Kancil said earnestly to the crocodile.

“A reward, you say…?!” The crocodile was now fully awake.

Without further ado, he began to slap his tail on the water to wake the other crocodiles who were sleeping in the river.

Splish! Splash! Splosh! They all lined up side by side like a bridge, across the river.

Sang Kancil could hardly hide his excitement at seeing this. “This is easier than I thought!” he chuckled to himself.

Sang Kancil then hopped, skipped and jumped on the back of each crocodile, counting aloud as he merrily went along:

“One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight…
Lay still, Sang Buaya, line up straight!
Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, water apples I must have.”

Sang Kancil was overjoyed when he finally reached the opposite bank.

“Thank you for helping me cross the river, Sang Buaya! Now I can eat all the water apples I want…” and waved happily to the angry crocodiles.


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