"Searching for the Bad Dream"

"Very bad dreams in the middle of the night!"

[Biatah – Serian, 1st Division of Sarawak]

"Seeking the cause of, and praying to stop, certain dreams from always coming." (pp. 308-10) compared with "The Dead Prince" (Melanau, pp. 366-9) and with "Searching on the Way Back from Looking for Souls" (pp. 310-1)


"To dream that __."




one’s hair is falling out


all one’s teeth are falling out


one is __

being saved


being nursed


very dirty




"in mourning, as shown by the hair"


"over the head"


"being beaten ... on the neck, ... the ears, and ... the face"


"over the ears"


she is __

"saying the ngiriyn prayer"


"saying the ngirogin prayer"


"committing adultery"


being saved


in the red hat festival


putting a red cloth over her shoulders


"wearing ... a red hat upon her head"


sitting on the swinging plank


"nursing the young soul"


"lying among pieces of ranehary wood"


"twigs of the wild pauh mango tree"




hitting someone



quarreling and hitting someone


involved in a court case


"paying kati banda fines"


answering a man’s proposal of marriage


going in among things that had been ordered which have just arrived


separated from her husband


finished with her husband


dividing her property


packing away her good belongings


going away


resting at the top of the bachelors’ quarters


looking at the stars


looking at the first day of the new moon


"reach for the moon"


[she is __]

looking at the first day of the dying moon


"looking at the smoky stars" {stellar nebulae?}


looking at the moon being swallowed by clouds


[continuation of the list]


"To dream of __."


"Returning from the __."


being swallowed by flames of fire



resting __

in the old jungle


old jungle


on the cemetery grounds


edge of the cemetery


"being hit by tewai bamboo"


"tawai bamboo"


resting at the __

"foot of the parai palm"


"parai rawun palm"


"pool of paleness"


"house of the grandmother of Bubot"


"grandmother of Bubot"


"house of the grandmother of Tauh"


"grandmother of Tauh"


"house of Kitapung Bannau"


large stretch of low-lying land


big area of flat land


"grove of the bemban palms"


"noisy mountain"


"Natub mountain"


resting among __

"falling boulders"


"falling boulders"


"rolling logs"


"rolling stones"


resting __

"while in a deep hole"


"deep hole"


"on the slope of a mountain"


"slope of a mountain"


in an old jungle


deep old jungle


in a very deep old jungle


very deep old jungle


"with a coil of young vines"


while sick and suffering



"in someone’s blacksmith shed"


"among beating drums, the demon’s drum which is flat"


"great sebang api drum"


in the dried leaves


"inside the small porcupine hole"


"track of the small porcupine"


"along the wild boar track"


"track of the wild boar"


"in the deer’s pool"


"salt pool of the deer"


"on top of an anthill"




"on top of the hill of white ants" [termites]


"nest of white ants" [termites]


"on a rotten log"


being __

"chased by the snake"


"bayed at by the wolf"


"barked at by the dogs of the demons"


"resting inside a hunting shed"


"hunting shed"


"sleeping at the foot of the betelnut tree"


"foot of a big tree"

{An implication is that "bad dreams" are variations of episodes in the "return trip" of a shaman[ess] from having sought a lost soul. Are "good dreams" variations of episodes in the "outward trip" of a shaman[ess] setting forth to seek a lost soul?}

{comparison with journey by Quetzal-coatl (sequence of episodes is not identical throughout)}


Dayak (HTS)


Aztec (WHHB)




"Quetzalcoatl took the form of a black ant; with a red ant to guide him he went within the mountain Tonacatepetl" (O, p. 299). "Transforming himself into a black ant, Quetzalcoatl squeezes through the narrow opening and follows the red ant deep inside the stony mountain" (WM, p. 271). "they went into the mountain together. That is, Quetzalcoatl followed the red ant" (ILK, p. 58).


"steps going up to the big tree"


"Quauhtitlan, where there was a very great tree ..., and he took up stones and stoned the great tree; and all the stone he threw sank into it, and were for a long time to be seen sticking there, from the ground even up to the topmost branches.


"bamboo flute blown by the wind"


Continuing his journey, having flute-players playing before him, ...


"bamboo water carriers"


that fountain was called Cohcaapa ...


"bamboo cross at the edge of the padi field"


great tree called pochutl, ... the tree looked like a cross ...


"Being laughed at by the partridge" {Talos "in the form of a partridge" (GM 92.c) was source of "Sardonic grin" (GM 92.m)}


servants, being humpbacked and dwarves {humpbacks as objects of ridicule (sometimes functioning as jesters) were a frequent feature in mediaeval European and other courts}


"to step on the round notched log"


... on that bridge he crossed ..., and he named the place Tepanaoaya ...


"single handrail"


the print of his hands ... He called that place Temacpalco ...


"Going together along the playing ground"


... here he used to play the game called tlachtli. ...


"going inside under the atap roof."


Through the midst of this court ...


"sitting facing the newly laid offerings"


He cast into a fountain all the rich jewels that he had with him ...


"drinking tuak wine from the longest bamboo tube"


took the wine and drank it through a cane ... And that place was called Cochtoca.


"going inside one’s own room"


... built certain subterranean houses called mictlancalco; ...


"to bring the soul back ... inside the small bottle ... with the five fingers"


balanced a great stone [cf. soul of hero "sealed inside a great boulder" (HTS, p. 346)], so that that one could move it with one’s little finger


[a christening]


... he it was that named all the places ...


"rhinoceros hornbill"


plumage ... found in the province of Xicalanco"

WHHB = The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft. Vol. III = "Myths and Languages". San Francisco : The History Co, 1886. http://books.google.com/books?id=UngQAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA253&lpg=PA253&dq=Quetzalcoatl+Quauhtitlan&source=bl&ots=hIR6wcpWbN&sig=OVMU7uNuFQ_iPzXPMg-FlmuLpHo&hl=en&ei=Om1RSo3tMoqEtweupI2mBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4

O = Padraic Colum : Orpheus : myths of the world. 1930. http://sacred-texts.com/etc/omw/omw82.htm

WM = Marina Warner : World of Myths. http://books.google.com/books?id=xr7wES9T-ksC&pg=PA271&lpg=PA271&dq=ant+Quetzalcoatl&source=bl&ots=EF44CLZt08&sig=7vAVvaWu97c7auqcZ3rAnbU-n2M&hl=en&ei=AkJSStCPO4WJtgf86amzBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9

ILK = Miguel Leo`n-Portilla & Earl Shorris : In the Language of Kings. Norton & Co, 2001. (quoting the Legend of the Suns, IV)

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

p. 380 "Searching for the Bad Dream," ... to appear under the title "A List of Bad Dreams Chanted as a Cause & Cure for Missing Souls" in Technicians of the Sacred, Jerome Rothenberg, ed., University of California Press, reissue, 1984/85."

Carol Rubenstein : The Honey Tree Song : Poems and Chants of Sarawak Dayaks. Ohio U Pr, Athens, 1985. pp. 308-310