This story is published here to point to their existence and add another version to the few already in circulation. It is re-imagined and rewritten folklore, first shared during the launch of Bookish Charms: A Folk Tale Collection; a for-charity collaboration between Heartwrite Co. and Enya Bijoux. For their creativity, twists and deficits, we ask your kind indulgence.
This story starts when a young Emperor from China was told the tale of orbs which had celestial powers located somewhere in the South Seas. Soon after, the Emperor began having dreams. In these dreams, he was young and powerful, loved by his people. At first. Then he grew old, sick and mad. His people suffered, and instead of love, he felt a great chasm. Every night he dreamed recurred, and every morning he felt older and more desperate. It was more than he could bear to be hated, and so the seed was planted in him to remain young. For that, he needed a magic crystal.
After a fortnight of waking up dry mouthed, sweating and afraid, the Emperor called two revered warriors to court. They were brothers. Their assignment: to retrieve one magic crystal from a fierce and colossal dragon which lived on Mount Kinabalu. With haste, the two brothers set off with a great fleet of ships.
For months they were at sea, and they arrived finally to see a gleaming light at the top of Mount Kinabalu. After days of observation, they devised a strategy to trick the dragon away from the crystals and swiftly put the plan in motion. They climbed the mountain, bringing along a couple of goats. At the dragon’s lair, the brothers let the goats loose. The dragon picked up the scent and came out for the unexpected meal. Without hesitation, the brothers sneaked in and stole away the crystal.
When the dragon returned, it immediately realised that its magic crystal was massing. Enraged, it started looking everywhere. Then it caught a gleaming light in the middle of the sea. The dragon went for it, attacking the ship with its huge tail.
The brothers ordered their men to incinerate whatever metal they had on board and throw the fiery lump at the dragon. Mistaking the fireball for the crystal, the dragon, swallowed it, causing its demise. It fell into the water with a massive splash.
An adventure like that is not easy to get over. It could be the trauma of it all that led to what happened next.
Most of the ships in their fleet had been destroyed. It took them days to repair the two that remained. Everyone worked diligently and in silence. Out of the blue, one of the brothers demanded that he be the one to give the magic crystal to the Emperor.
The other brother became suspicious by this change. The demander was insistent. When he tried to reason that they would both present it to the Emperor, the crazed brother took out his weapon. Unable to believe the betrayal, he released the crystal ball. He no longer trusted his brother, suspecting that the brother was possessed.
While one brother continued course to China, the other took a smaller boat and headed to Brunei where he eventually met with Sultan Muhammad. In fact, the story, if we were to pry our eyes away from what happened in China, turned into a romance, with Ong Sum Ping marrying the Sultan’s sister and leading a life of bliss in his new home land.