Oleh: Kanisius Kami & Robert Eppedando
[caption caption="Ebu Gogo, Homo Floresiensis"][/caption]
Ebu Gogo merupakan cerita rakyat yang berasal dari Nagekeo - Flores - NTT. Tidak seperti cerita rakyat tentang Sangkuriang dari Jawa Barat dan Maling Kundang dari Sumatra Barat, cerita tentang Ebu Gogo belum banyak dikenal masyarakat Indonesia. Meski demikian, cerita rakyat tentang Ebu Gogo telah mendunia melalui film “The Cannibal in The Jungle” dan novel “Legends of the Ebu Gogo”. Cerita Ebu Gogo mencuatkan misteri antara kanibalisme, legenda dan fakta.
Adalah Dr. Gregory Forth. Dalam bukunya dengan judul “Images of the Wildman in Southeast Asia: An Anthropological Perspective” ia menulis tentang Ebu Gogo sebagai berikut :
Ebu Gogo were like humans: they walked erect and did not have tails, but were covered in hair and their faces resembled a monkey or an orang utan, with large canine teeth. The females had long breasts – so long that they carried them over their shoulders and suckled their infants from behind. Ebu gogo were shorter than people, just over one metre, but they were exceptionally strong and very powerful runners; humans were unable to catch them.
There were perhaps as many as fifty ebu gogo living in Lia Ua, a cave about a kilometer upslope of the old village of ‘Ua; the cave was very large and contained a passage, perhaps a kilometer in length, that led to an eastern exit. Ebu gogo knew no tools or weapons; nor did they use fire. They ate their food raw. They never bathed and therefore smelled very bad; people could detect them by their smell. Ebu gogo stole corps from the gardens and field huts of ‘Ua people. They would sometimes appear at feasts held in ‘Ua village and in smaller subsidiary settlements. People would then give them food, which they would swallow whole. Being greedy and uncultivated, they also swallowed vessels made of gourd and coconut shells. When attending these feasts, the ebu gogo would perform a kind of circle dance, by themselves and separately form their hosts. They were able to speak, but their speech was different from Nage and difficult to understand.
Once a female ebu gogo was caught stealing from the fields of an ‘Ua ancestor named Huma Leli. Before beginning her foray, she left her infant in Huma’s field hut; and when he later returned and discovered the small creature, he promptly stabbed it to death with a palm rib. The mother then came back to collect her baby, but was set upon by Huma Leli’s dogs. Ebu gogo were scared of dogs; they were also frightened of bamboo head combs. Addressing Huma by name, the female ebu gogo exclaimed that his dogs had bitten her child to death. She then fled with the dead infant.
Because of their thieving ways, the ‘Ua people later decided to exterminate the ebu gogo. Once, after the creatures had attended a feast, ‘Ua men waited until the ebu gogo had all returned to their cave. They then sealed the cave’s eastern exit and tossed a large quantity of arenga palm fibre, 500 bales in all, into the entrance at Lia Ula. This, they told the ebu gogo, was for them to use as sleeping mats; but being stupid, the creatures mistook the fibre for clothing. In the last bale of fibre the ‘Ua men inserted a firebrand, thus causing a conflagration that killed the ebu gogo inside the cave. Only a male and female pair, who had been out searching for food, were able to escape destruction. They fled to Mount Ua, in the region of Tana Wolo. After the ebu gogo were exterminated a great mass of maggots emereded from Lia Ua and crawled for half a kilometer, before dying in the heat of the sun.
(Ebu Gogo mirip manusia: mereka berdiri tegak dan tidak punya ekor namun badan mereka berbulu dan wajah mereka mirip kera dan orang utan, dengan gigi taring yang besar. Yang perempuan punya susu yang panjang - begitu panjang sehingga susu mereka bisa dibentangkan di bahu dan anak mereka boleh susu dari belakang. Ebu Gogo hanya punya tinggi satu meter tapi mereka sangat kuat dan lari sangat kencang, jadi manusia tidak bakal bisa mengejar dan menangkap mereka.
Mungkin sekitar 50 orang Ebu Gogo hidup di gua Lia 'Ua, satu kilometer dari kampung asli 'Ua. Gua itu sangat besar dan punya lorong masuk hingga satu kilometer panjangnya menuju pintu keluar bagian timur. Ebu Gogo tidak mengenal alat-alat atau perkakas atau senjata, juga tidak mengenal api. Mereka makan mentah makanan yang mereka dapati, tidak pernah mandi jadi bau badan luar biasa. Manusia bisa mendeteksi mereka lewat bau. Ebu Gogo mencuri makanan dari kebun dan gubuk orang 'Ua. Kadang-kadang mereka muncul di tempat pesta di kampung 'Ua atau permukiman-permukiman kecil di sekitar. Orang-orang di kampung lalu memberi makanan untuk bangsa Ebu Gogo ini, mereka lalu makan semuanya.