Legend of Mount Kinabalu

The Mount Kinabalu being a significant feature in the life of the early Kadazan/Dusun, also has a variety of legend and superstitions attached to it.

One of popular legends of Mount Kinabalu is about the dragon who lived at the top of Mount Kinabalu, who was said to have a 'Butiza', a lunimous jewel a bezoar stone, which he used as his lamp and plaything.

On moonlight night the people of Ranau and Tamparuli places would look up at Kinabalu and they saw the bright gem being tossed up and caught again and again on the dragon's forked tongue.

The story about this dragon luminous jewel, spred beyond the seas, even as far as China. The Emperor who heard about it was determined to get possessions of the jewel. He send away of his best warriors to get it but all in vain. Till, he finally decided to send his two sons, Wong Wang Kong, the elders, and Wong Song Ping, the younger brother. The brothers sent in their own junk equipped with men.

When they finally reached Borneo and came to Kinabalu Mountain, they found out that it was such a difficult task. The elder brother was disappointed with their futile attempt but the younger brother was working on his strategy to take the jewel.

He first made a colorful Chinese lantern and lighting a candle inside. It glowed like a fabulous gem. He then made a giant kite with light string but the strongest cords. Then he waited for a soft breeze. But as he waited we watched and learned from far below the habit of the dragon. He learned that at a certain hour, the dragon would leave his jewel unguarded to look for food. Then the right moment came for him when the wind was right and the dragon went to look for food.

He mounted on the kite himself with his lantern and ask his men to hold the ropes and ordered the kite to be launched. The kite rose up till it reached the mouth of the dragon cave and quickly he grabbed the gem and substitute it with his gleaming lantern. As a signal, the kite was hauled back and Wong Song Ping was back into his ship. When the dragon returns, he soon found out that he has been tricked. Quickly he swam toward the junks at unbelievable speed. The men thought they were about to perish when Wong Song Ping had another bright idea. He ordered his men to heat up canon balls until it red hot. When the dragon drew near, it opened his terrible mouth to seize his victims, the men flung towards him the glowing balls. Surprised and absessed by his longing for his gleaming plaything, the dragon thrust out his tongue, caught and swallowed one of the glowing balls. Lashing the water to a white froth with his frenzied tail, his stomach seared by the heat and heavy with the iron within him, the dragon dropped behind until exhausted gave up his pursuit and sank below the waters.

When everything was calmed and the two junks sailed happily on towards China. Just as they are about the reach China, the eldest brother who was consumed with jealousy for not being the one to capture the 'bezoar stone', told his brother that being eldest he should be the one to have and present it to their father. Without much hesitation, he seized the jewel from his younger brother. But the younger brother being an unselfish man let him have his way.

When they reached China and went up to their father, it Wong Wang Kong who told of their successful mission, their hardship and danger and nothing about Wong Song Ping cleverness in taking the stone and saving their lives. However, the emperor was wise man and know his sons well when he saw the change in the younger son's face. He guessed much of what had happened and was sorry for it.

Secretly, he ordered his first jeweler to make a replica of the gem and gave it to his younger son. However, his son knew that this was not his bezoar. He therefore decide to leave China in order to avoid a fight against his brother.

That night he reloaded his junk with his men and set sailed. He did not care where he went, he just let the monsoon take him where it blew. He finally at a river mouth on the coast of Brunei and there they anchored.

When the Sultan of Brunei heard of his arrival he send his brother to receive him. There they exchanged gift and felt between them. Wong Song Ping decided to stay on in Brunei and when his friendship with the Sultan, Halah Batatar, deepen Wong Song Ping asked for the hand of the Sultan beautiful daughter in marriage. The Sultan readily consented to the marriage and great feast and rejoicing were held throughout the land.

Through the years that followed, the Sultan saw all the wise and courageous things that his son-in-law did, his trust and affection for him grow. He therefore decided that be became his successors after his death. So Wong Song Ping, Prince of China, slayer of the dragon of Kinabalu became the second Sultan of Brunei, who ruled wisely and well.