Mouse Deer sang his song as he walked through the forest. He was looking for tasty fruits and roots and shoots. Though he was small, he was not afraid. He knew that many big animals wanted to eat him. But first they had to catch him! (translation from the Mouse Deer and Tiger)
As we celebrate the end of ES Book Week we thought we’d take a look at a much-loved traditional Malaysian fable, Sang Kancil (pronounced: sung kahn-chill), a clever mouse-deer who uses his intelligence to trick his enemies. Elephants, tigers, snakes, crocodiles and farmers are no match for Sang Kancil who employs ingenuity and wiliness to protect himself and get out of tricky situations involving far more powerful adversaries.
Set in the rainforest, the stories of the clever Sang Kancil have been passed down through the generations and are among the most famous folktales in Malaysia and Indonesia. The expression ‘Cerdik macam Kancil’ is based on the animal which literally translated means ‘clever as a mouse-deer’.
If you’d like to learn more about this smart little mouse-deer please check out the books in our ES library!
By the way, in case you were wondering… a mouse-deer is a small shy animal around the size of a cat. It has the legs and tail of a deer and the body of a mouse. It only eats plants but lots of animals eat the mouse deer so to stay alive it has to be quick and smart. Hence the fable!
Cover design property of Institut Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia