The Woman and the Squirrel

One day a woman went out to find water. She had no water to drink, because all the streams were dried up. As she went along, she saw some water in a leaf. She drank it, and washed her body. As soon as she had drunk the water, her head began to hurt. Then she went home, spread out a mat, lay down on it, and went to sleep. She slept for nine days. When she woke up, she took a comb and combed her hair. As she combed it, a squirrel-baby came out from her hair. After the baby had been in the house one week, it began to grow and jump about. It staid up under the roof of the house.

One day the Squirrel said to his mother, “O mother! I want you to go to the house of the Datu who is called ‘sultan,’ and take these nine kamagi and these nine finger-rings to pay for the sultan’s daughter, because I want to marry her.”

Then the mother went to the sultan’s house and remained there an hour. The sultan said, “What do you want?”

The woman answered, “Nothing. I came for betel-nuts.” Then the woman went back home.

The Squirrel met her, and said, “Where are my nine necklaces?”

“Here they are,” said the woman.

But the Squirrel was angry at his mother, and bit her with his little teeth.

Again he said to his mother, “You go there and take the nine necklaces.”

So the woman started off again. When she reached the sultan’s house, she said to him, “I have come with these nine necklaces and these nine finger-rings that my son sends to you.”

“Yes,” said the sultan; “but I want my house to become gold, and I want all my plants to become gold, and everything I have to turn into gold.”

But the woman left the presents to pay for the sultan’s daughter. The sultan told her that he wanted his house to be turned into gold that very night. Then the woman went back and told all this to her son. The Squirrel said, “That is good, my mother.”

Now, when night came, the Squirrel went to the sultan’s house, and stood in the middle of the path, and called to his brother, the Mouse, “My brother, come out! I want to see you.”

Then the great Mouse came out. All the hairs of his coat were of gold, and his eyes were of glass.
The Mouse said, “What do you want of me, my brother Squirrel?”

“I called you,” answered the Squirrel, “for your gold coat. I want some of that to turn the sultan’s house into gold.”

Then the Squirrel bit the skin of the Mouse, and took off some of the gold, and left him. Then he began to turn the sultan’s things into gold. First of all, he rubbed the gold on the betel-nut trees of the sultan; next, he rubbed all the other trees and all the plants; third, he rubbed the house and all the things in it. Then the sultan’s town you could see as in a bright day. You would think there was no night there—always day.

All this time, the sultan was asleep. When he woke up, he was so frightened to see all his things, and his house, of gold, that he died in about two hours.

Then the Squirrel and the daughter of the sultan were married. The Squirrel staid in her father’s home for one month, and then they went to live in the house of the Squirrel’s mother. And they took from the sultan’s place, a deer, a fish, and all kinds of food. After the sultan’s daughter had lived with the Squirrel for one year, he took off his coat and became a Malaki T’oluk Waig.