Born and raised in Malaysia, Mazlan is proud of his Malaysian and Asian heritage. He likes to write about its culture and current issues.
Children Bedtime Story - The Adventures of Mouse Deer
This enduring legend about the story of mouse deer and the crocodile is one of my favorite Malaysian folklore. It is also a popular fable in other parts of Southeast Asia.
The mouse deer or Sang Kancil (kancil is mouse deer in the Malay language, and Sang means revered), is considered the most intelligent animal in the jungle. It is also a humble and cunning animal. Despite its small size, it is always able to trick and outwit its enemy to escape trouble.
So, many animals will come to seek advice and help from Kancil who is always ready to assist his fellow animals.
There are several stories that revolve around Sang Kancil. This story of mouse deer and crocodile tells the tale of how Kancil outsmarts a crocodile, not once but twice.
Mouse Deer and the Crocodile
Once upon a time, there lived a clever mouse deer named Sang Kancil. He lives in the great forest and has many animal friends. But he also has enemies -the not-so-friendly animals that want to harm him or even want to eat him. So, he has to watch out for these animals.
One day while walking along the riverbank, he saw some delicious and tasty fruits on the opposite bank of the river. The water doesn't look too deep so he will just waddle across. But as he was about to do so, his very good friend, the fish, quickly swam near Kancil and warned him of the crocodile. The crocodile, Sang Buaya, is not a friendly animal. He is always on the lookout for Sang Kancil, to catch and eat him.
Kancil is aware of that, so he has to think hard about how to cross over safely. He looked around for any fallen tree branches that he could use as a raft but there were none. He thought fast and finally came out with a brilliant idea.
The Clever Mouse Deer
Sang Kancil shouted for the crocodile "Sang Buaya, Sang Buaya!' The crocodile, hearing the mouse deer slowly swim nearer to the river bank and asked "Yes Kancil, what can I do for you. I was just getting hungry. Maybe I should eat you"
"Ha ha ha, that's funny," replied Kancil.
"Sorry, not today," he adds.
'The king is organizing a grand feast and he wants to invite all the animals in the jungle. I have been asked to check how many crocodiles will be attending this grand feast.'
'Oh...OK. I will tell the rest of my fellow crocodiles and will let you know later" said Sang Buaya.
"I can't wait that long, I need to know the answer now. Please call all of them. Ask them to line up from this side of the river to the other side, so I can count all of you" said the clever mouse deer.
Kancil Crossing the River
Sang Buaya wasn't sure if that's a good idea but the thought of being invited by the king was too exciting. So, he called all the crocodiles in the river to line up as instructed by the cunning mouse deer.
"OK, we are all here. You can count us now" said Sang Buaya.
'But not until you promise not to eat me. Otherwise, I won't be able to inform the king on the number of animals including you, the crocodiles, that will be attending the feast' said the clever mouse deer.
"OK you have our promise,' said Sang Buaya.
Sang Kancil quickly jumped onto the crocodile's back, counting the number as he jumped from one crocodile to the next crocodile. He kept jumping and counting until he reached the other side of the river.
Kancil Fooled the Crocodile Again
'Are you done?' asked the crocodile.
'Yes, and there is no feast, ha ha ha!' laughed Kancil as he quickly ran into the forest, towards the fruit trees.
Sang Kancil once again managed to outwit his enemy, Sang Buaya, who is now so angry that he is even more determined to eat Kancil the next time he comes to the river.
Mouse Deer and Crocodile Moral Lessons
So, what is the moral of the story of this mouse deer and the crocodile? Is it not to be too trusty of our enemy? Or should we be grateful to people who help us? Maybe, the moral is we must always be honest and declare our real intention?
Maybe all of the above are the moral of the story?
What say you?
More Adventures of Sang Kancil, the Clever Mouse Deer
If you enjoyed this mouse deer and crocodile story, there are many more short bedtime stories for kids based on his antics. You can read my version of Mouse Deer and Tiger here, and how he witted a farmer Mouse Deer and the Farmer here.
Footnote - Facts on Mouse Deer
Mouse Deer is the smallest hoofed animal in the world. It is slightly bigger than a cat with the legs and tail of a deer. The body and the face resembled that of a mouse.
The smallest species, Lesser Mouse Deer, measure about 18 inches and weighs 4.4 lbs. The biggest species 'Greater Mouse Deer' measure between 2.3 to 2.5 feet and weighs between 11 to 18 lbs.
Mouse deer can be found in the tropical rainforest of central Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the southern part of Thailand and India. Poaching activities and the current rate of deforestation that results in the loss of their natural habitat will slowly turn mouse deers into endangered animals.
What Does Mouse Deer Eat?
Mouse deer are herbivorous and love fruits, leaf shoots, and even fungi.
Link to My Other Stories for Kids
Do you know how the Chinese New Lunar Years were named after animals? Then, read Chinese Zodiac Story A Bedtime Story to find out more.
Do you know that Crabs, many years ago fought the Sea Waves? Read to find out why.
© 2012 Mazlan A