Print Zoom

Loi Hunu

At the southern base of the Mundo Perdido range is the village of Loi Hunu where the creation narratives of local springs are linked to the development of irrigated rice production. A past Liurai of Loi Hunu, Fransisco da Costa Guterres relays the following story: 

One day an old man called Loi Hunu and his dog called Bui Lua were roaming the forest uplands where the man had been tending to his swidden. He and his dog entered a cave looking for bats to hunt and eat. The old man managed to kill many bats and filled his bag. But his return out of the cave was then blocked by a sudden flow of water. During the next seven days he could not exit and he ate all of the bats and even his clothes. Then a python came along. The python said to the old man: 'Loi Hunu come with me and I will take you to the sea, I will take you out of here'. But a black eel came along and told Loi Hunu not to do this: 'It will eat you on the way,' the eel said of the python. With that the python continued on its way. Then a huge white eel came along and asked Loi Hunu to go with him. The black eel again warned against it, 'It will cast you off on the way' it said of the huge white eel. Then the black eel said 'If you get on my back I will take you back above ground'. They set off on a long journey. They found a small hole leading to the surface and Loi Hunu kicked at it, enough so that the eel's head could emerge. They gave this small hole in the ground the name Bui Lua (the name of Loi Hunu's dog). The man and his dog continued on down through the underground channels until they saw more light. The old man gave a big kick and the water poured forth onto the ground above.

Given the length of time he had spent underground, Loi Hunu's family in the upland area presumed him to be dead and had already carried out his burial proceedings. Meanwhile in the place where he emerged from the ground, a woman from the nearby hamlet of Ira Daba had come to draw water. She saw the man and his dog and became scared. She ran home to tell her family. Prior to Loi Hunu's emergence at this spring, the waters had been only meagre, now it had become a large water source. The people of Ira Daba came and took Loi Hunu home with them. They fed him and gave him something to drink and he recounted his story.
Type of spring
Image file


Related entries

Label / Notes Owner Date Modified
Lisa Palmer 21-Mar-2012 01-Jun-2015