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A-Bao-A-Qu

The A Bao A Qu is a legendary creature described in Malaysian mythology. It has also been described in a number of literary works, such as Jorge Luis Borges's 1967 Book of Imaginary Beings. Borges claimed to have found it either in an introduction to the Arabian Nights by Richard Francis Burton, or in the book On Malay Witchcraft (1937) by C.C. Iturvuru. The Burton reference was given in the original Spanish, but it was changed to the Iturvuru reference in the English text, possibly to make it sound more exotic, or as a reference to Borges' friend C. C. Iturburu. Borges's tale might be inspired by the Orang Asli myth of "Abang Aku".

Overview Edit

The A Bao A Qu lives on the steps of the Tower of Victory in Chitor, from the top of which one can see "the loveliest landscape in the world". The A Bao A Qu waits on the first step for a man brave enough to try to climb up. Until that point, it lies sleeping as nothing more than an amorphous blob of translucent goo. Then, when a man starts climbing, the creature wakes, and follows close behind. As it progresses further and further up, it begins to become clearer and more colorful. It gives off a blue light which increases as it ascends. But it only reaches perfection when the climber reaches the top, and achieves enlightenment, so his acts don't cast any shadows. However, no man has ever made it to the very top; as the A Bao A Qu follows the climber, it drains the climber's life force in order to gain strength and form. When the climber dies upon the final step, the creature loses form and oozes all the way back down to the bottom of the tower, becoming shapeless again. In doing so, it gives a small cry, so soft that it sounds similar to the rustling of silk. When touched, it feels like the fuzz on the skin of a peach.

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