Bau Travelogue Day 4: Fairy Cave’s fascinating fable of trickery, sugarcane waste and stone-inspired formations

The Fairy Cave, Bau entrance. Photo taken on May 21, 2024.

By D’Diggers Team

BAU, May 22: Isn’t it ironic that the legend of the Fairy Cave, Bau, a name that brings forth mental images of mystical fairies, actually has nothing to do with these enchanting creatures at all?

Instead, the story begins with a legend from the Bidayuh community in Kampung Kapur, where the villagers, adhering to their traditional practices, would hold Gawai ceremonies to cure the sick and host feasts as needed.

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In the village was a poor boy who lived with his mother, and one day, during the Gawai celebration in one of the houses, the poor boy’s curiosity led him to peep through the door, an action that annoyed the owner of the house.

Irritated by the boy, the owner decided to humiliated him by gathering some sugarcane waste and wrap it neatly to make a beautiful bundle.

“I give you this bundle of ‘pork’,” told the house owner to the boy.

Certainly, the poor boy, convinced that the bundle contained pork, was overjoyed and happily returned home to present it to his mother.

“The house owner who’s holding the Gawai celebration gave me a bundle of pork!” he exclaimed, delighting his mother.

However, when she unwrapped the bundle, she was surprised to find it contained sugarcane waste.

Infuriated by this deceit, the mother resolved to exact revenge on the neighbour for humiliating her son.

She dressed a cat in a human-like dress and decorations, then, during the Gawai celebration, she set her plan into motion.

While everyone crowded the neighbour’s house, celebrating, she tossed the cat into the centre, and upon seeing its absurd appearance, everyone erupted into laughter.

As a consequence, a storm with thunder and lightning suddenly arose, and all the village inhabitants were transformed into stones as punishment for laughing at the cat.

This very legend as stated in ‘The Land of Freedom Fighters’ by Chang Pat Foh explains why some stalactites and stalagmites formations within the Fairy Cave resemble humans. However, it still does not clarify the origin of the name ‘fairy’.

The Fairy Cave is located 44km away from the centre of Kuching, roughly 50 minutes by car, and charges an entrance fee of RM1 for local adults, while foreigners are charged RM3.

However, children under 12, senior citizens, and disabled individuals can enter for free. Those who prefer a guided tour or wishes to climb the summit can arrange one by contacting the Fairy Cave Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) at least one to two days in advance of the visit.

The book ‘The Land of Freedom Fighters’ by Chang Pat Foh.
D’Diggers Team member posing with stone formations inside the Fairy Cave that resemble human outlines.
Another image of the stone formation that resembles the silhouette of a human in Fairy Cave.

Tom, German engineer turned wanderer

During the D’Diggers Team’s expedition into the Fairy Cave, we encountered a group of lively European men. It was very heartening to witness foreigners venturing to explore Sarawak’s natural wonders.

Tom, a 34-year-old German member of the group, had initially pursued a career as a civil engineer but abandoned it after two years to sate his wanderlust.

“I’m too young to do this (civil engineering) for the rest of my life,” said Tom to DayakDaily during our conversation by the Fairy Cave.

To support his travels, Tom had undertaken various jobs, including hospitality, manual labour, and farm work, viewing each as a valuable opportunity to gain diverse experiences.

He had been traveling in Kuching and other nearby areas for the past week, and when asked about his favourite place so far, Tom had a particular fondness for the Kubah National Park, which to him, its crystal-clear waters and the opportunity to swim by the waterfall are particularly appealing.

“(For) Kuching, I like the area. It’s not so hectic like other places in Southeast Asia,” he said.

As for local delicacies, he mentioned having tried Sarawak Laksa, but when it comes to favourites, Tom had a preference for all sorts of fried noodles while highlighting the importance of indulging in the local cuisines while traveling. — DayakDaily

Tom posing for a photo by the entrance of Fairy Cave, Bau.
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