There once lived a fierce hunter who hunt with his faithful dog Maliksi. Both dog and master lived along the lower south-eastern shoulder of Asog along the Boie’ river that is now more popularly called Barit river. Sarikaw as he was known in his village was born with bowed-right arm. Sikaw is the term his people use to refer to ‘bowed-arm’. So the name Sarikaw. While he was growing up other children would make fun of his deformity. So he grew up closer to his pet animals more than to other people. He is able to relate better to his animal pets more than to people. He grew up a loner with great wild-game hunting skills. His faithful hunting companion was his hunter dog Maliksi who was flit and fierce on the hunt just like his master and trainer – Sarikaw!
Sarikaw’s hunting ground was the lower south-western shoulder of the Asog mountain where game was plentiful and not forbidden for hunting. It is in the realm of the Enkanto where hunting was forbidden. The Enkanto were the forest spirits just like elves in European folklore. Sarikaw’s people respect the Enkanto realm and believe their good ancestors join the Enkanto kingdom when they die. An Enkanto will only show itself when he or she chooses to to anyone they would want to talk to or give a message to. They could take the appearance and form of humans as they themselves have human features albeit fairer & taller with supernatural abilities and normally invisible to ordinary humans. They were respected and feared for they were trusted custodians of their realm who possess great powers!
The Enkanto keep their domain pristine as Bathala has created it and entrusted the same to them. They are able to talk to the animals in their realm and protectorate. Ordinary people are allowed to go into this realm as long as they do not hurt any of their plants or animals or befoul their pristine streams and tarns. Ordinary people may only take what they by extreme necessity need from the Enkanto realm especially things they need for curing illnesses. However they must first ask the Enkanto’s permission if they have to take anything from their territory by talking aloud to them even if they cannot be seen because the Enkanto watch and protect everything and everyone in their domain. Small violation of their territory like making a natural-water spring dirty can be punished immediately by making the responsible person sick. When this happens only a Para-bawe’ who are able to communicate with the Enkanto can cure and remove the Enkanto’s spell.
Sarikaw was greatly flattered when he brings home big wild game from his hunt – the attention he gets from his people greatly flatter him. When this happens he gets praises from his people which made him arrogant and conceited. His pride and egotistic conceit made him horribly a vain person. Sarikaw’s popularity with his people got to his head and he thought of impressing them with more extraordinary exploits even though his usual hunting ground was still full of sufficient wild games. He looked at the Enkanto realm to hunt his next wild game that he know will impress his people more than ever. But this was strongly forbidden!
So Sarikaw violated the sacred trust between people and the Enkantos when he planted an arrow right in the heart of an e’pe’n or wild pig in their territory. As the e’pe’n falls mortally wounded by Sarikaw’s pana’ the arrowhead of which was laced with rita’ poison; a lady Enkanto caught it and gently laid its head on her lovely lap to comfort it before it closed its eyes forever. Sarikaw did not see this though. He did not see the beautiful Enkanto’s tears as he elatedly pulls off his deadly arrow from the e’pe’n amidst the frenetic barking of Maliksi. His village mates were impressed with the size and juiciness of the e’pe’n. Sarikaw did not tell them that he bagged this wild game from the forbidden Enkanto realm. He knew they would not approve of his sacred violation of the age-old pact between people and theenkantos. Sarikaw has became a very bad man!
Only the village Para-bawe’ did not partake of the e’pe’n meat – he knew too well that this came from the Enkanto realm because he is able to communicate with them. He tried to warn Sarikaw in private about not violating the sacredness of the Enkanto realm. But Sarikaw quickly dismissed and disregarded his warnings. When he went back to the Enkanto realm to hunt again, an Enkanto in an old man’s appearance showed itself to him. In a nice way the old man reminded him that it was forbidden to hunt in the Enkanto grounds. This was Sarikaw’s second warning that he similarly snottily did not listen to and quickly dismissed! He had not only violated the sacred pact with the custodian of nature but also showed great disrespect to an elder. Indeed Sarikaw has became a very very bad man!
Even with two warnings Sarikaw’s pride took the best of him. He has become extremely and unreasonably greedy. Greedy for the attention he was getting now that he did not get when he was growing up. He did not hunger for food, he hungered for attention and people adulation. His arrogance made him feel good and felt the sense of power that he mistakenly thought he was naturally entitled to – he was wrong!
The next time he trespassed in the Enkanto’s realm he wanted bigger game. Sarikaw wanted to continually impress his own people with bigger exploits. With this he knew he would get more flattery. He did not know how to end the evil cycle of feeding what has already become his sick egotistic greed. No one dared to help him as everyone in his village had already been turned off by his arrogance and conceit.
As Sarikaw crossed the Enkanto’s realm, Maliksi stirred an usa or deer that was drinking from a stream that bolted with Maliksi barking spiritedly right behind it. The usa not used to violence in the Enkanto realm briefly got confused, turned around and tried to talk and reason with Maliksi. Sarikaw took this fleeting chance quickly snatching a straight arrow from the bamboo quiver slung on his back and loading his bow and expertly planting it right in theusa’s heart. As the deer fell mortally wounded the Enkanto princess suddenly appeared seemingly to Sarikaw from nowhere wrapping her delicate arms around the usa’s neck comforting it as the usa looked at her now teary eyes asking, tay-nga’?
The Enkanto princess repeated the usa’s question now directing her gaze to Sarikaw – WHY? As the usa closed its eyes for the very last time, the princess stood up to face Sarikaw. “You have enough wild-game near your village and you had been warned. The para-bawe’ tried to reason with you before and was trying to help you respect nature. Our Realm is where all of your wild games come from. You have been warned by an Enkanto who appeared to you as an old man but you did not only disregarded his plea but also disrespected an elder.”
“No one seems to be able to change your ways Sarikaw. You are possessed by your own greed for recognition and flattery. This greed is the worse because you seem not to get enough of it – you have become big-headed.” As the Enkanto princess was talking to Sarikaw, Maliksi poked its snout on the precious warm blood flowing from the usa’s heart. He then circled his master Sarikaw as if goading him to now take the slain usa back to the village. As Maliksi’s blood-stained snout touched Sarikaw’s bare leg they both immediately turned into stone.
The villager’s wondered whatever happened to Sarikaw and Maliksi. One day the para-bawe’went to collect medicinal herbs from the Enkanto’s realm. There he noticed a big rock that when he looked closer had the form of the hunter Sarikaw and Maliksi by his feet. As the news spread among the village people curiosity took the better of them and they went to see for themselves the rock that kept growing as people came to check it out.
Sarikaw with a heart of stone turned into stone! This may happen to people with unchangeable heart for the betterment of the natural environment – for after all you cannot squeeze blood from a stone as the saying goes – might as well turn people like Sarikaw to stone!