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The Pirates of Rhio - The Rhio Islands are a group of small islands thirty miles south of Singapore. Over a hundred years ago, a gang of pi­rates from Borneo decided to hide there. Their chief was called Kerbau Hitain, or Black Buffalo. He had a very dark skin and was very big.

"It's not easy to land," Kerbau Hitam said to his men. "The Raja of Rhio is very strict and he has a lot of men to help him. Let's disguise ourselves as traders from Johore."

"Excellent! Excellent!" said his assistants.

The next morning, the pirate ship approached the shore. The Raja was waiting for them. "Where do you come from?" he called out.

"We are traders from Johore," Kerbau Hitam replied. "We have some batek cloth and lace we'd like to sell."

The Raja had a pretty daughter called Normah, who was looking for some cloth to make a wedding dress. She was going to get married next month.

"All right," said the Raja. "You can land."

Tlie pirates landed with their weapons hidden under their shirts. Ina flash, they seized the Raja and held adagger at his throat.

Kerbau Hitam called out to the villagers who were watch­ing, "if any of you try to move we'll kill the Raja."

He ordered all of them to be locked tip in a store near the Raja's house. The Raja was bound and gagged and taken back to his house. His daughter Normah tried to run away from the back of the house but she was easily caught by Kerbau Hitam's men. Kerbau Hitam grabbed her by the throat. "I'm looking for a wife," he said. "Would you like to marry me?" She screamed so loudly that Kerbau Hitam ordered her to be gagged. "Shut her up with her father„' he ordered, "She'll soon change her mind after she's had nothing but rice and water for a few days."

But the pirates did not know that Rahim, Normah's husband-to-be, had been mending some fishing nets near the harbour when they had landed. He had seen everything that had happened.

Without waiting a minute longer, he jumped into his boat and sailed for Singapore. He decided that he could do nothing himself and that it would be best to go to Singapore for help. Fortunately, the pirates were so busy that they did not see him.

Rahim landed at Tanjong Rhu. Soon he was surrounded by a group of fishermen. "You'd better come with us straight away to see the Temenggong, who is the chief of the island," they said.

When the Temenggong heard his report, he said, "It's ter­rible. The pirates must be stopped. I think I shall ask one of our Chinese friends to help us." He sent for the Chinese head­man, and discussed a plan with him.

Beforedawn the next morning, a Chinese junk leftSingapore for Rhio. The Temenggong and Rahim were on board dressed as Chinese, together with the Chinese headman and about twenty other Chinese.

Soon they arrived at Rhio. The Chinese headman shouted out to the pirates who were guarding the beach, "Can I speak to the Raja?"

Kerbau Hitam came forward. "I am the Raja," he said."What do you want?"

"We're on our way to Singapore. One of my officers died at sea. He begged us riot to bury him at sea as he wanted to be buried near a famous Chinese temple on this island. Don't worry about money. We have plenty of gold on board. If you can allow us to land, I shall give you a big reward. "

Kerbau Hitam answered, "Oh, all right. But you must come ashore with all your sailors. My men will guard your ship and the gold."

The Chinese headman rowed ashore in a boat with the Temenggong, Rahim, ten of his men, and a coffin. When they reached the shore, they carried the coffin on their shoulders an(] walked towards the Chinese temple.

"Stop!" shouted Kerbau Hitam. "Are you carrying anyarms?"

"We are merchants," said the Chinese headman. But Kerbau Hitam ordered them to be searched. Not a weapon was found.

Kerbau Hitam and a large band of pirates jumped into a boat and rowed out to the Chinese junk. They did not know that the rest of the Chinese were still hiding on the junk wait­ing for them to come. Before Kerbau Hitam and his men knew what had happened, they were seized by the Chinese and shut up in the hold of the junk.

By this time, the funeral procession had reached the Chi­nese temple. The coffin was put on the ground. "Now!" shouted the Temenggong. The Chinese opened the coffin and armed themselves with the guns, swords and knives which they had hidden inside.

They ran to the Raja's house, led by the Temenggong and Rahim, where the remaining pirates were easily captured after a short fight.

"Praise be to God that you came in time," said the Raja. "They were just going to kill me and my daughter."

Rahim rescued Normah. He then set free the villagers who had been locked up,in the store at the back of the Raja's house. Rahim and Normah decided to get married immediately. The Raja thanked the Temenggong and the Chinese for saving his life. He invited them all to a big feast.

The Pirates of Rhio - Story from Malaysia

The next morning, the Temenggong and the Chinese sailed back to Singapore with the pirates. Later, Kerbau Hitam and his gang of pirates were tried and hanged.

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